Sunday, February 3, 2013

All-Weather riding

Trees in a silvery frost
Though Oregon's cold isn't as cold as the rest of the country's cold; in the single digits, ours was a record setting for this past January. I think we'd all just vaporize, if that single digit temperature stuff ever happened (or wish to)!
20's during the nights and 30's in the daytime,  for a few weeks. While it makes for a "cleaner winter" with mud frozen and makes getting water to the horses harder, and sometimes driving out to the country, dicey!  
We people here in the PNW were in a state of shock, at least most of us. It rarely stays that cold for very long. I am less active on those colder days, only getting to the stable and work.  It sure does make for a beauty and spender in the trees and surrounding vegetation though.

The mare was happy to see me those colder days. She longingly looked out her stall towards the back of the stable. I told her we were going out there, this cold day. It would be our 3rd ride since October.

It was truly nice to get out on the open trail. The shadows of the bright white foliage and ice spots had the mare on her toes...last time we were out, it surely DID NOT look like this!!

Coming home at sunset in the wintertime, never looked so good! The dense fog was perfectly glorious for seeing the sun rays of this frozen world.

At home in the city, we have had Hummingbirds to look after here in Oregon. One would not think this would be true, that they may migrate onto warmer climates. But that said, there 2 species that will remain in our parts for the entire winter, one of which is Anna's. With the freezing temps though...the  liquid food will not thaw, if left out  all night. That would be terrible for our little visitors breakfast! So, I bring it in every night and have a "Hummer food alarm" set on my phone, to wake me 10 minutes before sunrise. Our  current resident hummer apparently is not an early riser. I am all bundled up over my P.J.'s, waiting for her to show, and she did only once at daybreak, for 2 1/2 weeks!!
In the past they have greeted us-hovering an arm's length away, as we set the feeder up for them . This one comes soon after we set the feeder up, she is quite shy, sitting atop the branches watching warily.

The first week back to riding with my mare was pretty cool, with the grounds hard and not slick, and the lands decked out in their finest!

Washashe was doing her best to keep cool, but she was bursting with pent up energies. I knew better than to allow her to go too long in a trot and to walk up the slick hills on foot, with her.  She has no muscle for being off so long, and trotting is easier(not better than) walking up hills. And much harder!

On our third outing, it was a dappled sunshine day. We strode along blissfully , soaking up the sunshine. I was aware of the mare's muscle atrophy and soreness in some sections of our ride. I plan on walking ,walking, walking with her for many miles and hours, to build her back up.

She is with this plan whole heartedly, I can tell. She has had no turn out since October and to get out of her small environment is healthy  and welcome!
We went by the lower ponds to find them frozen somewhat. It made them look glass like, and pretty.

Another day , it was a foggy wonderland...making the roads look unending and mysterious~ the mare a little bit pensive for what lay ahead.

All in all the rehab has been good, though the hock has never returned to normal. It remains puffy, and also hard in some sections. There is no apparent heat or pain now. I try to do all that I can with massage, cold applications and micro current, stretching exercises and give her supplements that help ligaments and joints. 
Her gait has been super strong, and she does tell me though, when she has had enough of any one thing.

Local farmers field new view , recently clear cut trees just beyond

Returning home from one of the last rides we had before this February weekend, I made a definite notation between saddle riding and bareback soft saddle riding. I was worried that my mare could be feeling a difference between the harder tree'd saddle and the closed cell foam "Cashel soft saddle". Nope, this day with the new, older Stubben  saddle I bought on ebay, she acted no differently than when we rode with the "Cashel soft saddle". The saddle is so very compy for me too. I am so happy to have stirrups again!

We both heaved out a large, contented sigh, the mare and me....we made it up the long, slick hill coming home . I walk this coming and going for now, while the conditions are quite slick. The mare walks nicely, while I hold to the  stirrup leather, near the bar.

 Home again near sunset. The sun rays sliding gently down  through the trees, as they do, before hiding behind the earth altogether. This frozen earth went easy on us, for the first ride times out.

Now, as the world thaws out, and the sunlight begins to brighten the lengthening days and certainly~ spirits~ our mission is to


  1. So happy that you and Wa mare are out and about again. Your rides sound wonderful. I can feel through your writing how happy you both are to be on the trails again.

    Gorgeous pictures as always. Love the glassy water and frosty greenery.

  2. I am with you on that, yes get out and about! Its a beautiful time, and to be honest, if we dont ride now, when will we!
    The pics are fab!

    1. You are so time like now, and it will never come around again like this. Sure seasons come and seasons go...every year, but NOW is what we live and own...not the next season!

  3. Hey! You're back. I did not realize that Wa mare has had no turnout since October. She must be so happy now! The trees are so dramatic in those "frozen" pictures.

    1. Yes, trying to be back while the computer and blogger and>> seems-all else keeps me from being here!
      Life NEVER stays the same.

      Wa mare does seems to happy to be employed and getting OFF the property..but a bit bored, as she still is not in regular turnout- since loosing her turnout horse. The accident s and injuries have been too many with him and so...she'll have to go out alone..but where and when-still up in the air.

      Thanks, Lori, sometimes, we too have dramatic scenes to photograph

  4. So happy the Wa is doing so much better. You are a good horsey mommy to take it slow for the sweet girl. What a story about the hummingbirds and your kindness in feeding them before sunrise. You are truly amazing!!! And I love your photography - all perfect as can be! What a beautiful place you live and ride. As always, I am envious of all your trail beauty!!! Enjoy the journey back to health with your girl.

    1. We all live in the beautiful world, and it just takes pausing to see it's fine splendor!
      The gift of freedom the horse offers, to those who partner with them, is rich and allows me see even more things to photograph! THOUGH- The ears of my mare are my favorite to look through, for any photo!

      Thanks Jules, we ride for health...I have been feeling EUPHORIC, after riding just 5-6 times now !!

  5. Nice to hear you are back on the trail with your girl! What a good Wa, taking it all in stride after being off for so long. I wish I could muster up the courage to head out alone. Your photos are so pretty, gorgeous rides.

    1. Well, let me tell you about my "MUSTERING COURAGE" ....
      6 years ago with this wild mare....It took time and it took and out of the arena for me to feel the confidence to ride off into the sunsets alone.
      I always had a working phone, and always wrote out on the stable's message board-when I left, where I intended on riding and expected to return.

      Before those times though it was a good year and a half of me and the mare...hand walking all the places we were to ride and also going with someone else firstly...I was careful and cautious. I always carried instructions on me to who I was and who to call, should there be an accident.
      I have those items on me all the time still... just more tags and also a "saddle tag" marker -saying who my mare belongs to, her vet,her place of boarding..all of it!

      So..going out alone is and was back then, no small thing!
      You too may be able to go alone...but your confidence in yourself/your horsey -is key

  6. Love your header KK, as always.... and all your beautiful photos of your rides. That gorgeous shot of the sun rays was cool. Loved it so big... almost as if I was on the back of WA with you... :) Glad she is better and able to ride... your love for animals and birds...and God's creation...makes me smile. I love them all too. I miss my fact I miss all my birds. AR provided a garden sanctuary for me and dad... but now I call this 3rd level condo home... nothing is the same! I would have done the same thing for my hummers if needed. You are a very very good caretaker of your furry, hairy and feathered friends...

    hugs to you and yours
    Patrina <")>><

    1. Oh you are the sweetest, thanks Patrina. God has really given me the heart for animals...I just adore them all and spending time with and around them makes life just heightened. They are such individuals, each one of them...though having common species traits, they can be such characters.
      I am sorry to hear of the loss of your sanctuary...LIFE can take away, but hopes that somehow , you may create another little haven for the birds.

  7. What a beautiful area to ride in! I love the pic of the puffy, fluffy hummingbird. Enjoy your winter rides.

    1. Thanks my dear!
      I feel it, the blessing of our area to ride. Though Oregon can be wet and grey and sloggy at does make for beauty when the sun is out, and sometimes...even when it is not!

  8. I enjoyed your beautiful pictures so much!!! Yes, the frosty winter wonderland is amazing in its' beauty, but oh, so cold!! I enjoy the frozen mud part of it though, and the sunny skies a lot! Blue skies over grey and dreary certainly makes me feel more happiness and joy. I really must be a central Oregon kind of gal!
    So glad to hear that Wa mare is recuperating, and you're riding her again. Walking is so, so good for building her muscles. I have just rode my Eagle for the first time ever last evening. It wasn't "pretty", but it's a start! I was so very nervous, but kind, sweet Eagle waited patiently for me to get my shit together. I cannot wait to get comfortable on him and start riding the trails once again. It's been far too long!! He sensed my timidness and my lack of leadership/nerves and was reluctant to move. But, we'll get there. He's the sweetest, most loving horse I have ever known! We just need to build our history of shared experiences together, which will build our trusting relationship. Keep us in your prayers??

    1. Oh yes Lorie, praying for you all the time. Having horses is one of those prayer worthy ambitions!
      I must stop by and see your EAGLE! Love that name!

  9. Your photos are just breath taking! I felt like I was on those rides with you. I didn't know that those hummingbirds stuck around here year round,. It's funny, I just saw one snooping around my yard just today, I better get my feeder ready. I feel a tinge of guilt now that I know that. Oh well, I will remedy it soon. I am glad that the "new" saddle is working out, I imagine it is nice to have your feet in the stirrups for a change.

    1. I adore taking the shots! Sometime, I must post all that goes into the ones I actually post. It may be too boring though!
      We too were flabbergasted, when we found out that taking the feeder down is NOT a good thing...not only for the ones that stay, but for the weaker ones, that migrate after they are strong enough to...THEY NEED OUR HELP! So we pretty much keep our up year round; cleaning it and changing the feed every couple of days. The local "Wild Bird Shop" has the coolest items for the hummers...they have come up with a heated feeder and a heated birdbath!

      Loving the saddle...but still kinda want a softer tree...looking into the Flex EE from Heather Mofit

  10. Glad to hear Wa is doing better. Lovely photos from your ride! Now that I've been sidelined for the rest of the winter (most likely), I'll have to take more photos on my walks. Winter truly can create awesome art. Hope your mare continues to improve!

    1. Thank you, thank you Imel.
      GOSH O MIGHTY- dropping by find out why you are laid low and laid up!

  11. What a good girl Wa is. Not many horses would be so well behaved with no turnout. Sweet Wa.
    The photos are lovely.

  12. Those pictures are making me drool. I want a trail ride so bad. Your trails look pretty nice. I will have to do some research. The places closest to us are muddy right now but it looks like not every where is ruined.


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