I got out again yesterday on Dharla, this time alone. She was very good, albeit a bit spooky initially. We got through the rock ledges where the icicles have been such a problem, but they’ve since melted. Now there’s just a ton of water dripping down the face of the rocks. Dharla gave that the “eye,” but kept moving forward as asked. I was pleased.
When we reached the opposite side of the large viaduct I saw a man approach carrying a camera on a monopole. Hm. Since I love photography, I stopped Dharla and the man and I proceeded to gab about photography for the better part of 45 minutes. This was really great practice for Dharla and I’m always so pleased (and a tad surprised) that she will stand patiently any time I stop to talk to someone on the trail. And I do mean stand, as in stock still. No fussing. No prancing. No dancing. No pawing. Wow. That SO impresses me given she’s young and somewhat impatient at times. Then, as the conversation was drawing to a close Dharla stamped her front foot once. I laughed, and kept chatting a few minutes longer. Perhaps she sensed I was close to moving on or maybe she was just tired of waiting. I don’t know, but when I didn’t move off right away she stamped again. She didn’t fuss or dance around, she just stamped a foot. Hm. I’ve never had a horse do that! Eventually, I said goodbye and headed off down the trail.
About five minutes later we crossed a paved road and picked up the second leg of our ride. We weren’t more than a few minutes along when we started to hear the sound of a chain saw off in the distance. I couldn’t see what was being cut or where they were, so we proceeded with caution as I tried to locate where the sound was coming from. A few seconds later there was a loud crash as a large tree fell to the ground up ahead. This was not boding well. We tried to keep moving forward, start and stop style, but the chain saw started up again and continued to buzz loudly. We were fast approaching another rock ledge passage and it sounded like the logging was taking place up on the ridge above the ledge. Dharla stopped, head high, eyes wide. I dismounted and urged her forward a few feet more, then suddenly we heard another crash! This was not good.
The loggers couldn’t see me nor I them, but Dharla and I could see the tops of the trees they were dropping. There was no way I was going to get Dharla through the rock cut- through and chance getting “stuck” on the other side, unable to convince Dharla to walk through the passage again to get home. And that’s assuming I could coax her through in the first place. If I could see the loggers and they could see me, I might have signaled them to hold off for a few minutes while we tried to pass by. Even then I’m not sure I could have convinced Dharla to pass. She was pretty spooked. It looked to me like too big of a risk to undertake and so we turned around and headed home.
It took Dharla a good fifteen minutes for her adrenaline rush to subside. She held it together, but she was pretty blowy and snorty. I didn’t blame her and I thought she handled the situation as best she could. I was pretty bummed that our ride had been cut significantly short, but it’s always better to make the safe choice. I can only hope whoever is doing the cutting gets the job done, and soon! I’ve waited to patiently for better riding conditions and I would be seriously discouraged if this turns out to be a long-range project for someone. It would mean I’m seriously running out of safe places to ride.
Time: 1.75 hrs.
Distance: 3 miles