As I write this, it is hotter than Hades here in Kansas. I am really missing the crisp, cool air of over 7000 feet elevation in Colorado. Very few bugs, incredible scenery, and a multi-sensory experience. You can SEE the beauty, HEAR the water and the hooves on the rocks, FEEL the movement of your horse as he picks his way over boulders, and SMELL the crisp air and scent of evergreens. Truly, there is nothing like it in my opinion.
All told, we did 4 rides while in beautiful Colorado. Finn really did well, in spite of a few “This is TOO HARD!” tantrums on the first couple of rides. (See last week’s blog.) This was his second summer in the mountains. I told Alan that I will give Finn some grace at the beginning of season three next spring, but one day he’s going to have to occasionally be lead horse. He’s much happier following Kadeen, and I get that. Kadeen is a natural leader; Finn is not. Consequently, I find myself looking at Alan’s back most of the time. In this video, I tried to get Finn to cross the bridge first. He wasn’t interested, and I wasn’t interested in pushing him. He’d done too well otherwise.
As I have mentioned before, I am a member of several equine-related list serves. One of them is Aging Horsewomen. Recently, a gal posted about how she came off her horse while riding alone in the pasture. I’m not sure the rider ever knew what spooked the horse. I commented on the thread, and noted that I was unexpectedly appreciative of the fact that Alan and I had purchased Hit-Air vests before heading to the Rockies to ride. Part of me was a wee bit resentful about considering an air vest, a reminder that I was of an age where I should think a littler harder about my safety. However, I quickly realized that wearing the vest gave me considerable peace of mind as I gazed down at countless jagged rocks and drop-offs on the mountain!
Let me reiterate– Finn did great. He didn’t stumble and he did pay attention. I had borium nails in their shoes to provide additional traction on solid rock. Nevertheless, stuff happens. Soft landings are extremely rare in the Rocky Mountains. I knew what Kadeen was capable of, as we have many mountain trail miles together. But Finn is still somewhat of an unknown. I was not disappointed in him!
In spite of my attempts to condition the horses prior to our departure, they still tired fairly quickly. Consequently, we were careful to give them time off between rides. On one such off day, we hiked. The humans did 7.25 miles and the dogs did at least 10. It was National Forest, so dogs were allowed, although they were supposed to be on leash. I have excellent recall on the dogs, and they lie down off the trail if they see another hiker. Additionally, we picked a slow trail in the middle of the week. Here is an example of practicing our recall!
I must say, tired dogs sleep well. Kara will be 7 months old the first of September. She listened well on our trip and hopefully realized life is pretty awesome in our family! Lots of FUN TIMES! It is quite the dog pile in the back of the truck as we travel, but only occasionally do I have to settle sibling squabbles. Kara, of course, prefers to lie on her back, feet in the air, and take up way more than her allotted space.
This coming weekend I have a four day veterinary conference, followed by a week of working extra days. Back to reality! I’ll try and post some tidbits from the conference for next week’s blog. Stay cool if you are “enjoying” this heat wave, and try to stay safe! We had ID MyHorse Emergency tags woven into the horses’ manes, on the saddle, and medical tags on our person. If we part ways, I want my horses back!