Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Big Adventure

Remember I mentioned the big trail adventure?

Well, Ranch Boy, his mother, and I took a long trail ride to a river. It is about an hour and fifteen minutes in, and out (at least 3 hours roundtrip if you stop for photos, lunch, etc.)

We got to the river via a series of logging roads and trails, passing through other people's property and gates and under power lines. Ranch Boy's mom's ride, an Andalusian gelding (ex-dressage champion) had never been to the river. The horses were spooky starting out but quickly tired as there was a lot of climbing and the winter hair always warms them quickly.

We tied up to a fallen tree at the riverside and started eating our chicken sandwiches. Ranch Mom's horse starts fussing and pawing and generally impatient. My little Loretta mare was just resting nicely. She was puckered out!

{escape artist: the white Andalusian on left....}

Suddenly we look over and Ranch's Mom's gelding has come untied. Instead of heading over to visit with the other two horses, he wanders across the river rock and starts up the trail for home.

I ran and untied Loretta and started leading her after him thinking he might turn and stay. No such luck. Ranch Mom runs up after him but he's gone.

So, Ranch Mom walks out the hour or so back home. We think we spot his hoofprints in the logging road dirt but honestly it's hard to tell if they are his as many other horse tracks are there, both old and new. By the way, we spotted a lot of other tracks. Coyote, deer, wil turkey, wolf (? gulp) and hunter boot tracks.

We had no idea if this horse would make it home. The path home is not a straight shot, the logging road goes for thousands of acres and to various other homes. We call a neighbor to stop by the ranch to see if he'd shown up yet. No such luck.

Twenty minutes later, as we are about 15 minutes from home, we get a call from the neighbor that the gelding had made it back! Two people in a truck had found him crossing the road (which we have to do to get to our trails) and tied him to the hitch rail. His lead rope was shred and pieces of rope were stuck in his shoes.

We figured he'd make it back and it proves what an amazing sense of direction horses have. Here is a horse that has only lived on the property for about 3 months, has only been up on the those trails about two handfuls of times, and had never been as far out as the river ride!

All is well that ended well, whew!

Today I got out for a ride with my friend. We just stayed close to home but it was a crisp sunny ride. Loretta was being snorty at every shadow and rock she could think to jump out. Silly pony! My Boy was great for my friend. We came around a bend and she said, "There are deer up there." I took a look and they were NOT deer. They were huge~ two BIG bull elk! I have never seen them that close from horseback and let me tell you, at first glance I thought, moose.  Not knowing how Loretta would react I quickly dismounted. We let our horses see them and made a bunch of noise. The bulls looked at us curiously and did not rush off, they finally wandered up the hill. I realized that bull elk can probably charge if they feel provoked. These ones eventually wandered off but we turned around and made a loop back the direction we came from just so they didn't decide to cross our path. We passed several does on the way home, and they looked so little compared to those bulls! Their racks were gigantic.

{Good motto for fall trail riding!}

I love riding this time of year, minus the spookies! Hot summer weather sure makes for more mellow horses. But it is good to get them out and exposed to these things on the trail this time of year. You just never know what you might run into! Speaking of which, did you read this story? She was on David Letterman a few weeks ago telling the story of chasing down a bear on horseback to save a young boy on a trail ride. Amazing!

I hope you are all having safe riding adventures this fall!!

Don't forget to check out my Etsy shop (see sidebar) I am listing lots of new goodies every week!!

xo~ Ranch Girl


cowgirljlynn said...

Good thing that Ranch Boys mom is in such good shape right!!! Or he might of been walking!!

fernvalley01 said...

rotten that ARB's mom had to hike home! Escape artists are not fun! Saw an article on the horse, and wrangler you mentioned , what a hero! both of them

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I bet that was nerve-wracking til he turned up. NOT a good feeling.

I've had to walk home a few times and even though I've always been fortunate enough to be on my own property, I worry the whole way home about the what ifs...What if the horse didn't head home? What if he was running and stepped in a hole? What if he was running and didn't see a fence?

So definitely glad it was an adventure...and not a disaster. ;-)

Crystal said...

Wow I sure would not be a happy camper if I have to walk home. I dont think my horses would walk away from the others either though, but I sure dont want to test that theory ;)

Rockin Heart Jewelry and Vintage Finds said...

Ranch Boys mom LOVES to walk so she was actually fine. Ranch Boy would NOT have been so happy.....if that'd been his horse he would probably have been safer to end up at someone else's property, LOL! And BEC, there was plenty of down fencing (old barbed wire) along the way so yes, we were very lucky that all ended well! ~RANCH GIRL

baystatebrumby said...

First, I love your environment. Your pictures make me really wish I was your neighbor. And ELK!!?? I squeal with delight at that story, even though I sure don't want to see big bossy bull elk anywhere near me unless I am in a Land Rover!! I love all of your pictures and just now am going to the link about the woman who chased down a bear. Yegads, I always get nervous when people and wild animals mix. I don't want either to get hurt. Already my heartrate is elevated!

Cousin B said...

Oh, I'd be ticked off if my horse left me! What, Farmboys horse wouldn't carry them double?
She's lucky she could walk out that far. It is amazing that they could find their way home.