Feb 18, 2012

I’ve been remiss in noting rides. Its been a bit busy lately. Aldo and I got out today and did a nice Peach Orchard loop. I decided we should do the loop in reverse for a change … I can’t recall the last time I did that. If I don’t reverse a long trail once in awhile I tend to lose my mental map. Trails DO look different when you ride them the opposite way!

As we were headed up the long rocky gulch we were startled by someone VERY nearby who started shooting. I know we were in moderate proximity to two very isolated houses, but we were not on posted property. At first I thought maybe someone was target practicing, but I soon changed my mind and I think whoever it was was doing it on purpose to dissway us from our path. Dharla was in the lead when this happened and it occurred in the fist fifteen minutes of so of our ride … a time when the horses are usually pretty fired up and feeling frisky. I felt Dharla flinch at the first shot. It was very loud and booming … definitely a rifle of some sort, possibly even a black power rifle. Dharla held it together and I kept her moving. There was a quick second and third shot, followed by silence. A few minutes later we heard several shots, rapid fire style. That was when Aldo said maybe someone was target shooting, but I didn’t think so. And to prove my point, as we continued farther up the gulch, the shooting stopped. I think someone was having an attitude about our being out there … not that it’s any of their business! I was very pleased at how Dharla kept herself under control and just followed my instructions to keep moving at a steady pace. Wow! Very impressive for a young, frisky feeling mare!

Once we got up onto the orchard it was blustery and cold. I was kind of glad I’d suggested we do this ride in reverse because the wind and chill would have been a bit much at the end of the ride. Toward the end of the orchard, way off in the distance we saw someone approach on a horse. That’s a bit unusual! After all the times I’ve been up there I’ve only run into another rider maybe all of three times. As the horse approached I could see it was another buckskin and I racked my brains to think of someone we might know who rode another buckskin. We don’t see many around these parts.

Turns out this was a local guy who leases his horse from friends. He says he rides up in the orchards a lot, but I’ve never met him before. We stopped and chatted for about twenty minutes. His horse was very antsy and the rider bemoaned the fact that his horse is often hard to slow down. Both Dharla and Bullet relaxed and stood quietly as his horse pawed, fussed and danced around. I felt bad for the guy … I know how annoying that can be! (And I was SO proud of my girl for being SUCH a lady!) We exchanged names. The man said he’d look us up in the near future to get together for a ride. Hm. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that before!

The rest of the ride was uneventful. I decided to take a slightly different trail at the beginning of the long loop and soon discovered nobody has used that trail in eons. There were places where I was seriously thinking maybe we were lost, but I focused on every step and tried to follow a very faint indentation in the thick layer of leaves that covered the ground. Right about the time I was getting a little worried and wondering if maybe we should turn around and retrace our steps back to the starting point, then take the more obvious trail, I found the spot where the detour rejoined the main trail. Phew! Glad I wasn’t alone on that ride! (No that Aldo is any help. He has NO sense of direction at all)  I’ll have to try doing that part of the trail again real soon so I don’t lose it in my memory. It was too cold to be getting lost of having to retrace steps, so I’m glad we ended up where we were supposed to be.

Overall, it was a great ride. A little windy and chilly, but I was glad to get out for a nice loop with Aldo.

Time: 3 hours

Distance: Guesstimate, 6 miles

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