Sunday Morning Ride

Sunday (yesterday) was a beautiful day to ride. The weather on Friday was 98 degrees and the temp dropped to 75 degrees by Sunday. My husband heard the night before that I wanted to go riding and he got up at 5 AM to feed Hondo for me. He usually gets feed at 7 AM. I woke up at 5:45 and was saddled up by 6:45 AM. I didn’t want to take the chance of it warming up too quickly and cut my ride short. Luckily it stayed pretty cool and I wore an extra shirt during my ride.

On my ride I saw a roadrunner, a couple of cottontails, coyote, javalina and 2 deer. I got a video of the javalina and deer, but my blog doesn’t support video. I am still using the free version.  I will probably upgrade when I start riding The Arizona Trail to show video portions of the trail.

I took the trail called “Animal Tracks Wash”. It is an easy trail with only one difficult area that Hondo has to pick through. The difficult part is very short, which makes the whole trail rated easy.  I can cut around on another trail to make a complete circle back to my house.

The morning was a perfect trail riding morning.  The weather was just cool enough to give Hondo a little extra energy in his step. There was no breeze to speak of and all the insects were in hiding due to the sudden drop in temperature.

On the trail I always keep an eye out for a plant called the pineapple cactus. The cactus only grows to be 6 – 8 inches in height. It is on the endangered species list which means it is in danger of becoming extinct. Below is a picture. So far, I have only came across it once before prior to this ride.

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As you can see, it looks just like a pineapple. The easiest way to recognize it when it is not in bloom is the starburst design of the thorns. I use to do a lot of flower gardening and I am always on the lookout for unique plants. Since we moved to Arizona, I haven’t done any gardening.  I was pretty ill for awhile and the ground is not conducive to gardening without a lot of attention and care.  I still love plants and flowers so when I come across something unusual or extremely unique, I will take pictures.

In my last blog, I talked about Hondo. I am still writing Part 2 of his story, but I told you about his coloring and the striping on his legs and face. I inserted some pictures I took yesterday to show his markings.  If you look at his face the striping makes him look like a wrinkly old man! The pictures are of his face, back leg, front leg and withers.

Happy Trails and Adventures….

TC & Hondo

 

 

 

 

Hondo’s Story (Part 1)

I was was reading through my past blogs and I realized that I haven’t told you about Hondo…. so here goes…..

Hondo is a 16 hand quarter-thoroughbred mix.  His coloring is a red line-back dun. He has tiger striping on his legs and his face. It makes him look like he has a wrinkled forehead.

Hondo was found wandering in the desert by Border Patrol. He was very sick and dehydrated.  The veterinarian aged him around 8 yrs old.  They believed he was from some illegals running drugs from Mexico due to the tack found on him. The Vet figured he had been in the desert for a couple of months on his own due to his condition.  He had been a stallion when he was found. For anyone who knows horses, that means he was cut late.

Border Patrol confiscated him and sent him to be trained for use by Border Patrol. They had named him Chico.  He had been with Border Patrol for about 6 years. He had some of the best training during that time. He was a very dependable horse I was told.  The Border Patrol agent who had ridden him the most was leaving to another area. They had decided to retire Chico.

One of my friends Sharon who has a training facility acquired him with 5 other horses. She  gets retired Border Patrol horses to train kids in the different disciplines of horse riding.  She has received horses from all over the country and even out of the country for training.

I was at the ranch when Hondo (Chico) arrived. My friend was helping me with my haflinger Trisha.  Trisha and I had lost confidence in each other. We had a bad experience out on the trail and I fell off her and was hurt pretty bad.  After that I started riding Trisha in the arena and she had started bucking me off.  I had gotten scared of riding and my friend was working with Trisha to get her more trail sense and miles on her.  She was also working with me to get my confidence back.

When Hondo (Chico) arrived that day, Sharon asked if I wanted to get on one of the new horses that just arrived. I chose a paint. He was small and short like my haflinger Trisha.  I regret making that decision because I did not have a good lesson that day.

A couple of weeks later Sharon and my neighbor wanted to go on a trail ride. Sharon said she had the perfect horse for me to ride. Sharon was still trying to help me get my confidence back. That was the first time I rode Hondo (Chico).  I told Sharon that he was too tall for me though. I would never be able to mount him without a block. That was one of the reason I liked shorter stocky horses.

After that day Hondo became the horse I always took on trail. Sharon kept trying to sell me Hondo, but I kept insisting he was too tall. One of Sharon’s students fell in Love with Trisha and Trisha was making a better arena horse than trail horse so I sold Trisha to her. I was horseless for about 6 months, but whenever we went on trail rides, I rode Hondo.

Sharon came to me one day and said she was going to have to sell Hondo because he absolutely hated arena work. None of her students wanted to ride him because he fought with them in the arena. Whenever he was ridden outside the arena, he was the best mannered horse you could ask for. I had fallen in love with him and Hondo had helped me get my confidence back.

I had already renamed him months ago from Chico to Hondo.  I didn’t like the name Chico.  I named him Hondo after John Wayne.  John Wayne had a big red horse named Pilgram and I always thought that Hondo looked like Pilgram.  Hondo was the first John Wayne movie I remember seeing as a kid and John Wayne was my childhood hero.  Hence my new horse Hondo!

Well that is part 1 of Hondo’s Story…. In the years that I have owned him, we have written a new chapter in our lives, but that will have to wait until another day 😉

The picture below is of me and Trisha in 2009. I was 90 lbs heavier than I am today. I only put the picture in so you can see Trisha 🐴

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Happy Riding

TC 👩🏼‍🌾 & Hondo 🐴

Bridle Path

I decided to go back to Catalina State Park on Sunday and ride the trail “Bridle Path”. Apparently it is a very popular trail as equestrians, hikers and bikers were all on the trail that day. It is a very easy going trail and wide enough that 2 horses can ride side-by-side. Unfortunately, Hondo does not like to ride side-by-side. You see, Hondo is a big bully to other horses and this day he seemed to be worse than usual.

I know I praise Hondo with great attributes. He really is an awesome horse. Hondo is well trained and he rarely gives me any trouble. We are bonded with each other and that is very important when you ride the trails alone. He has gotten us out of more than one sticky situation in the past. This past Sunday was a different story though.

Every time we passed other riders, Hondo would put his ears back and try to nip at the passing horses. He didn’t care if they were mares or geldings. He didn’t want to try to be friends with any of them. Hondo is very different with people passing us on the trail. He will nicker at them to try to get them to stop and say hello. He loves affection (from the human species!). He pretty much ignores bikers.

We were going around a bend in the trail and started passing a couple of horses and riders when Hondo actually tried to back up and kick the nearest horse. I used my spurs on him to get him away and to stop. Hondo apparently didn’t like the way I used my spurs and he started to crow hop and gave a little buck. I refused to put up with that kind of behavior. I pulled Hondo off the trail and started some simple reigning exercises to get his mind off the other horses and to get his mind back on working. He continually was testing me and kept trying to get his way. It took a good 15 minutes to get him to listen to my hands and legs.

Hondo loves being out on the trails and he gets excited at new trails. I found a trail (see picture below) leaving the main “Bridle Path” and decided to challenge him a little bit more to keep him engaged on me and not the other riders, hikers and bikers. The trail was uphill (there is a trail on the pic below!) and he would have to pay attention to his stepping.

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At the top of the trail we went about 500 yards when Hondo decided he wanted to head back to the truck. He started backing up and kept trying to turn around. This is very UnHondo like behavior. He started little baby bucks and even went to rear a little bit. Hondo was having a temper tantrum. I wasn’t afraid of falling or anything, but I knew it was time to give Hondo’s brain a little rest. I dismounted and went to go sit on a nearby rock to eat my lunch. This was a good time to let Hondo settle down without me putting any demands on him. Hondo was in a timeout. He settled down pretty fast and started munching on some nearby dried grass. We sat there and enjoyed our lunch and the scenery for about 15 minutes. No one came past us as we were off the main trail.

I mounted up on Hondo knowing I did want to turn around and head back. It was getting hot and after wrestling with Hondo, I was getting tired. I did not head back down the trail because I was not going to let Hondo have his way. We went up the trail for about a quarter of a mile and Hondo was being nice and calm. I turned him around and the ride back was much more pleasant. I was able to relax and take some pictures of the scenery (see below). Hondo was even calm passing the riders, hikers and bikers once we hit the main trail again.

And finally we arrived…….

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A bad day of riding, is still better than no riding:)

TC                    horsetrailadventures@gmail.com

The Vet and a Selfie Stick

I called Hondo’s Vet to come look at his ear.  This last week Hondo has been sensitive with anything touching his ear. He actually pulled away when I bridled him and that was very unHondo like…

Our Vet couln’t find anything remarkable with his ear.  The only thing she noticed was that it was very dry and flaky. Her diagnosis was that the flakes may have been loose and worked it’s way to his eardrum and irritated it.  She gave him some medicine in his ear and then asked if I wanted his vaccinations while she was here. I laughed and said he just got them. My Vet reminded me that that was in October, his Fall shots. It was time for his Spring shots.  I swear time is just passing me by…

We talked for a few minutes and I told her about taking Hondo on the Arizona trail and she gave Hondo her medical blessings.  She did suggest I keep some Butapaste with me on the trail. She gave me a tube.  What just started out as a quick look into Hondo’s ear was turning out to be very profitable for the Vet (haha). Any horse person knows what I’m talking about…

After the Vet left, I decided to get some quick pictures with my new selfie stick.  Hondo wasn’t sure about the stick and shied away at first. I have rarely seen Hondo have a negative reaction to any equipment that I have had around him. I was telling myself that Hondo still had a little bit of the sedative in him.  The Vet usually doesn’t need to give Hondo a sedative, but today Hondo was being touchy with his ear. Our Vet also knows to give Hondo half a dose because Hondo is what the Vet calls “a cheap drunk”. Hondo is sensitive to those type of medications.

Hondo gets today off to recover from his sedative.  I am planning on taking him back to Catalina State Park on Sunday.  I will let you know about that trail ride adventure.   I inserted  a few more pics to show off my selfie stick…

By the way my shirt says “A Real Princess doesn’t kiss a Frog”. The silhouette is a Cowgirl kissing her horses nose 🙂

Happy Riding…… TC

horsetrailadventures@gmail.com

Sleeping Bag Dilemma

I have discussed this topic before…. My sleeping bag dilemma.  When I spent the night in the desert, I realized my sleeping bag was just too big.  It didn’t fit in any of my saddle bags and it was too bulky to safely attached to Hondo.  If I attached it behind his saddle, I couldn’t safely mount or dismount.  I guess that is why Cowboys just had a small bedroll back in the day…

I kept pondering what I was going to do and after much researching on the internet I found a sleeping bag (actually several and they were hard to pick through) called a compression bag.  It was extremely hard to pick one out and I kept using my tape measure when they had the size and weight listed.  Another thing that I had difficulties was picking one that had enough protection from the cold.

I finally decided on one that was supposed to be a 4-season bag.  It is a mummy bag and it is supposed to be comfortable for a person up to 6’3″.  Of course, Amazon has 2-day free shipping so I didn’t have to wait long for it to arrive.

I immediately opened it and the bag was compressed into the size a little bit bigger than a football. After I took it out of the packaged I thought the sleeping bag was extremely lightweight and how was it going to keep me warm?  I jumped into it and I am 5’4″, I don’t see how someone that is 6’3″ would fit into it.  It fit me pretty well with not much leftover.  I am still skeptical about it keeping me warm like my other bag.  It just seems too thin….

After much struggling, I finally got it back into the compression bag.  It definitely did not come out the same size as it was from the manufacture.  Luckily, it is small enough to fit behind my saddle with no issues of it being in the way. It fits nicely into the backsaddle bag.

I think I need another night in the desert to try out all my new equipment!  Happy Riding!

TC         Horsetrailadventures@gmail.com

50-yr Trail

I woke up on Sunday and decided that it was a great day to go someplace different for a ride.  I loaded up Hondo and traveled about 20 miles to Catalina State Park.

I have only been to Catalina once before a few years back and I went with several friends.  I’m not familiar with the trails so I printed out a map prior to leaving. I wasn’t sure which trail I was going to take, but after I got there the trailhead for a trail called 50-yr trail seemed to be calling me…

Sunday was another perfect day in Tucson weather wise. If anything it was a few degrees cooler due to me being closer to the mountains.  I saw a few other horse trailers parked in the area so I was sure if an emergency came up, I could find help as long as I stayed on the trails.  My husband Joe still gets uptight when I am out riding alone.  When I know I am getting cell phone service, I text him often.

I was a few miles on the trail and I came to a section that you could choose 3 different ways to go.  It wasn’t marked which way the 50-yr trail went.  It was a good time to get off Hondo, look at the map, think about which way to go and tighten my cinch as we had already climbed up to a ridge. I usually will ride for about 2-3 miles and then tighten my cinch again. It seems to always loosen and settles by then.  While I was taking this short break a lone rider came up the trail that I had just came from.  He was an older gentleman. Due to that I usually ride alone, I am very cautious when I run into someone.  Most horse people are the “I never met a stranger” type and are all pretty friendly.  I said “hello” and he responded kindly, he even tipped his hat so I didn’t get a bad vibe from him. He stated his name was Tim and asked if I needed any help.  This was due to I was not on my horse. I said I was fine and I was just tightening my cinch. I did ask him about the trails though.  I wasn’t sure which one was the 50-yr trail.  He showed me the way and said he was going about another mile on it before splitting off on another trail, so I followed him for that mile.

If I looked to my left, it was a few gently rolling hills with Tucson just beyond them.  If I looked to my right, there were the Catalina Mountains and one of the passages for the Arizona Trail.  The AZT goes over and through some valleys of the Catalina mountains and I am starting to feel my AZT adventure pulling at me to start.  I know I am not ready to start yet, but it will be soon.  I just need to build Hondo and myself up a little bit more.  I also need to work on logistics for getting water and feed for Hondo as I won’t be able to carry all of it.

We completed 10.3 miles on Sunday.  It was a great change of pace getting Hondo on a trail he is unfamiliar with. We will be doing this more often to prepare for the AZT!

Keep Riding,

TC & Hondo……..   horsetrailadventures@gmail.com