Friday, July 29, 2011

Mountain Horse Riders

Hope you all do not get tired of me going on about this trip we took... but, I wanted to finish up the posts with a look at our last ride.

YES, the boat came with one of the men and my man was the only one that did not partake of the hours on the lake fishing, not his thing. My man did go up the mountaindside at Wallowa lake State park in a tram  unit!
And- YESSS, my NEW ANSUR "Konklusion" Saddle  rode the prairie and mountains fantastically. The foward panels gave me room to move and the deeper seat of the all purpose, also kept me in place nicely, for the hills. The mare and me both were happy riders with no sores. I did get my  WintecWebbers for the trip!The double leathers and buckle under the thigh was a no-go!
While we could have ridden another day, we opted not to, my man and I, along with our travel partner( Theo's mom) took the day in the town of Joseph. What a blast we had and viewing the gorgeous artworks( inside the shops...and outside) of the local artisan community.

There were fabulous Bronze, life like sculptures, on every corner!

 Wa mare and Theo got a break, after the Prairie ride. (though-the other  3 riders went for another "Host generated ride") Us two horses resters, thought to ride off property that evening to the nearest mountains seen below, towering above the Timothy grass fields- and Buffalo!

While we wanted to do a mellow ride that eve....

. . . . there was a freak Thunder- Lightening-Hail nope..
So, watched and went for another GREAT meal out later. The local dining was truly fantastic! 
I missed out on that ride and sometime will go back for it. ( Yea really want to go back to the Wallowas!) 
There was reported to us, by our host, to be a waterfall.
When the others returned and reported that the ride they went on( while we shopped) supposedly to see meadows and lakes..was so bogus and terrible due to the trail being obstructed by trees. I was happy I went shopping and took a nap!

Everyday, before breakfast, our dear friend and her Paint Big Skye Paint always  rode or walked the country side. She is an early bird ( in fact, most the folks we went with were) My man and I ARE NOT! I got up early to feed at 6am but would not be a functiong woman till after breakfast..and even that was rather early for us..8:30am.
At home, I am just getting up at 8:30 as I work till 9-10 pm on my late nights. Another freind on the trip, Julie  of "EQUINENMINE BLOG" , works till like she and I are on the same page with timing!

Big Skye and his early bird rider~

I sat upon the deck and watched  Big Skye confidently stride down the country road while we  waited for breakfast to be served.  I happily sipped my JAVA, and ate my homemade biscuit with lemon curd on- with my man!

The linens and accessories were to blame cute...horsey all the way!

After breakfast, the soft clean towels behind the shower also awaited my choosing-  in thier cute scale holder~

The rubbish bin even was adorable and cowboy-isk

So, all  had discussed several things for this days ride, the day before and that morning, at breakfast. The day brought forth -yet more discussions on the was somewhat confusing and I left it to the others..but chimed in when " lake views or meadows"  were mentioned.  Our HOST got involved again.

 I have not mentioned much about the hosts..cause well, they were very different than any other B'n'B  hosts we'd  ever had. My man and I have had over 12 unique stays over the years, in many states and countries...but these folks took the cake, er..."participation" in our stay.  Somehow they showed up  EVERYWHERE we were...and almost insisted on what we did and where we went. They also inserted themselves into conversations, which was annoying and very different from any host, as I said, we have dealt with before.
The way it has gone for my man and I ere now, usually is: "We won't be there when you arrive-hse keys under mat- choose your room and leave the fyler on the doorknob to when you'd like your farm fresh, or uban homemade  breakfast, -seeya! Oh and, fresh berries and Port or Sherry are in your room"!!! No kidding, we have had that kind of experiences with Hosts- over and over!

So..Our lake view ride was chosen for this day. We were assured that only the" first half mile" were -boulder rocks- on the trail, and then it was smooth riding.
We were off to Wallowa Lake park... ooou pretty!

Parking was a breeze, got the last two, for horsetrailers. We started the ride so very optomistic! Signs are always good~

Nice trails so and flat...

The accent began....up and up, on rocky terrains~ this first quarter mile, fits the  host's description

...then narrower and narrower began, with uneven and rocky footing~

..okay we have gone over 2 miles and this just  gets a bit worse now...bouldesr to step around...hopefully NOT on the CLIFF side!

Hiya ya doing?
The steep switchback afforded some great views at almost 4miles up -that felt like 10- for the roughest terrains I have ridden, for that long, on one trail.

Having started at lake level, to now overlooking it ,we could see how far we'd ridden~

My mare and Theo were a bit tired, with the constant footing challenges and so were we... so  we decided to do a photo op and then decend this rough trail, knowing for as far as we'd come so far, the same was to be had, going down!!

I had my handy-dandy flexible camera mounting tri-pod on board...yea! But 10 seconds to scale the camera's  perch point,to my mare...oops, got my back side!

Some other riders came on by..perfect spot for allowing them to pass- this time- too. We had had several hikers and other horse groups come along before this, at the most un opportune passing areas...this trail really had some hiker did'nt allow us to pass, but with huge backpack aboard..just laid hands upon our horse buts and passed them,without asking! I thought it rude and rather brave, as they slid by with a parichute noise..they could have gotten kicked right down that mountainside-if our horses had taken objection!

These 2 rider's horses
 looked the mountain horse part...hefty!

 My Wa mare and I scaled the downward hills-together-as did Theo and his rider...on foot all of was easier, and as the horses showed us, safer.. as  both the horses almost stepped off the trail once...we made it down fine and and feeling accomplished again...we'd done something we maybe never would have chosen to do!

Later, the horses took a nap and rested in the shadow of the big red barn that I loved~

When we returned home again, us 2 riders that turned back, appropriately so, for our skill level...we were met with a scorn full host (2). We over heard a chat they were having with host(1) on the (1) was on a horse-at the destination spot they had bid us to go to..and we all were NOT THERE!!
They called to report this to host (2).
Some names were thrown out for us to hear( not nice at all),
Then host (2) hung up and turned upon my friend and I, as we parked my rig....I did not appreciate the tongue lashing about  "go where we tell you to go!" So I retorted  in a far  nicer fashion, about how " we had BAD DIRECTIONS and had followed them to a "T"...and when we had discovered they were bogus, we turned back and -HENCE- here we were- safe and sound!"  Host(2) shut up and went elsewhere...we had gone back to the lake to see if the other two had made it down the mountain, after we settled the horses and unhooked the trailer..and yes...we had seen them on the road,coming home so we were not alarmed  but assured, as we had been with letting them go onward, them being experieiced trail riders and all!

Here they are about half way to where my friend and I turned around~

Alls well that ends well..and this trip was a challenge all the way around,(during the third night-all night- I recieved txt msg's,about my mother in the hospital from my sister that was with her. That made for a wasted-tired day- for this the moutain horse trail day)...
 but,we have memories of beauty and peaceful settings and the desire to return, under different accomodations.
I  have a feeling of great accomplishment, having traveled far with my mare~

This travel journey has meant so much to me, I am so proud of my TB mare!
Good girl Wa mare, such a journey of trust~

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prairie Riders of the Zumwalt

Our Trip to Wallowa County last week, was smooth traveling. We arrived to our destination 7 hours after leaving the Portland, Oregon area. The horses were very happy to get out of the trailer and stand on solid grounds.
The near 800 mile trek we made following our PBO, that made me happy to have a focal vehicle, and the security of if something happened to us..someone would know. I very  happy with my truck, it gave us all a good ride with enough power to manage the massive hills pulling the 2 horses in the 3 horse space.

My husband set up the Temp fence in the 1 acre lasted all of 7 minutes! Oops happened, as someone forget to latch their temp fence gate and that allowed their horse to then proceeded to allow our horses to escape!
That scared my turnout buddy and I into using the 4 board fence corral, up by the main house! Barbed wire and new spaces with adjoining herds of horses...nope..we chose security over grass.
The view from across the street to one of the pastures, from the main house~

Looking up to the main house and our horses in the board fenced corral, happily munching hay from the "Porta Grazer" hay barrels. These barrels simultale grazging,  as the horse must pull hay from the incert. A hard form with holes the size of  horse mouths, makes the horses pick hay from it, as they would grasses. It is great for keeping horses from eating sand on the grounds, as well. My PBO found them at a horse event and purchsed them for her stable's horses. They are awesome! If it takes a horse 1 hour to eat a given amount of hay, liberally so...this makes them slow down, and take twice the amount of time.

The building above my mare & Theo below, is where my man and I got to stay at this 1904 farm house. Our room was over the carrige house that has been converted to loft room, over the current garage storage space.
It was luxerious!

Our first ride the next day,

Everywhere we went we saw the mountains of the Wallowas. Someone said it is called "Little Switzerland of Oregon"...I saw why!

looking forwards or back, all we viewed were glorious mountains!

Then we arrived...after a REALLY long, rutted, gravel roadway of about (felt like) 20 miles!
I was the last to mount up and my mare got uppity as the rider started walking...once I said, "
please wait", and we went second, that was it for her compettitve attitude! YEA!

We see these corralled off areas all over the hillsides of the Zumwalt. They are to protect select sparce vegitative outcroppings from the  Elk, moutain goat, Bear, and other larger hoofed and pad footed animals.
The 330,000 acres of prairie is the last remaining in the continental U.S.- for the natural "Bunch Grasses" and other species + wildlife in the preserve.

It's Harsh climate, and poor soils have  preserved it from the plow, unlike most other areas of it's like, around the U.S. .

We pretty much rode through dappled, but  minimal shade. It only occurred when the scattered, dense clouds banks rolled overhead. it gave us such pleasure to have the shade for a few minutes...there were NO TREES here for us to get relief!
Us Western Oregonians have it so good, for that shady relief of riding the wooded parts of trails.

I was extremely proud of my mare, for she would travel in front, in the middle, and almost anywhere I put her... it is what I (HOPED) thought would happen, as she looked over the vast prairies, with NO END in sight..NO HOMEWARD direction!

We had gotten some distinct impressions from our host, about places to ride that were a bit confusing, when all said and done. I believe she thought us to be wimpy Westerners for our riding habits...none of the places she sent us to were as she described, or even where she said they would be...we frequently got turned around with faulty directions. It was rather frustrating. I have decided- WHEN I RUN our Ranch B 'N' B, I shall have GPS units, with preset routes programed for all the rides there are- to take!
 AND, we shall give a course for how to use the GPS unit so all can manage themselves!
We rode and rode and rode, into the prairie loop we set out to accomplish. It seemed so much longer than anticipated!
My friend with her hoof booted Theo horse and me,  with my rear "RUBY SLIPPERED" mare, had some problems with the boots...mine twisted and contorted..I constantly had to readjust them. So we fell behind as the 3 others trotted up and over the hill.
We all managed the GATES of the place..there were at least 10  barbed wire and post gates on this trek.

I looked up our riding lands HERE-BUCKHORN RANCH wow what a property!

After our 3 amigo friends  trotted up and over the ridge,  my riding partner and I adjusted our hoof boots...we saw them no we went on down to a pond, to see if the horses would drink.

Proves again, you can lead or ride a horse to water....

Theo just looked at the water and ate some grasses next to it..mine drank heartily, making me happy.
 As we left the pond side, I heard an unfamiliar statement from my riding partner ( I won't repeat the   exclamation) it made me laugh and wince and moan- all at once...
. . . she LOST A BOOT!

We then went back over our tracks to find it...I was already off my mare so when she actually said, "THERE IT IS!" I was able to pull it from the bog and then rinse it off in the pond....Can't believe she saw this...

Can you imagine seeing it from atop your horse. . .

 . . . with just the smallest part of the red showing!

Again, after reapplication of the red boot, we mounted up and began the Open Range Ride homeward. While beautiful, it was warm with no shade in sight, or riding partners.
I fantasized out loud, many times, about how 
I should have given our partners my truck keys...just in case they felt pity on us, and decided to bring the trailer round to shorten our road ride.
 We had accomplished 8 out of the 13 mile loop... while I do this kind of millage in just over an 1 hour and 1/2 at home...our elevations here, made it slightly more difficult.

At    9 1/2 mi, we made it to  One of the large Entrance gates. Our  long, graveled road home, lay ahead of us now. Near 4 miles of it.

My mare was still perky though...with a forward walk..good girl!

We saw a car coming once...a large dust cloud, is what you actually see..then the vehicle ahead of it. Again...I said aloud, " OH! Maybe they sent that vehicle to come get our keys, to bring the trailer round!"

Nope...not this vehicle, this time...drat!

BUT THEN, we did see another dust trail, and a truck this was one of our riding partners to the rescue!!! She and our friends had trotted and cantered most the way back and decided to spare us...she got the keys from me,  and we just sat down and waited!

I was saying, " that MY RIG cruising at high speed
 down the roadway??!!"

Yet, we were all smiles when it got to us!

My friend driving my rig exclaimed, "how much easier it was to go 45-50mph
 over the ruts,verses the 30 mph we drove in at"! I was thinking, that is my rig and you flew like that with ...then, after we loaded the horses..I found out, she was right! It WAS  a much smoother ride, going we flew on home and left only dust behind us!

A little hand grazing and little napping, the horses did...and we too...a little hand grazing a little napping!

It was a good day for a  Wallowa Prairie Ride!

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