Friday, April 11, 2014

What Happens?

                                                by Laura Crum

            What happens when you take a couple of horses who haven’t been ridden much in a month, other than short rides around the property, and haul them to the beach on a brisk spring day with a chilly little wind blowing drifts of clouds around, and the waves crashing in a sprightly way on the shore? Well, lots could happen, but because these two horses were Henry and Sunny, our two very reliable trail horses, what actually happened is we had a lovely ride.
            Ok, I’m bragging. But I’m not bragging about myself because I didn’t train these horses. Nor am I doing anything to help keep them solid (see the above mentioned lack of riding). No, I’m bragging on my horses because they are such good horses and I’m proud of them. They are the ones who have simply decided that being reliable, calm trail horses is their job, and they intend to do it well—because they choose to do this. Whatever happens, they take it in stride.
            Yesterday we had the time, so hauled them down to the beach near Moss Landing (the central point of the Monterey Bay) for a ride. And they were so good. So happy to be out—it was quite obvious—brisk and forward without once pushing on us or doing anything disruptive. We had a lovely ride and I am just so grateful to these horses. What a gift they have been.
            Sunny power walked quite a bit, and I let him. We were in pretty deep sand and I didn’t want to risk trotting or loping, so we power walked down the beach for a couple of miles with sea lions playing in the waves, sand pipers running along the shore, and sea gulls swooping overhead. It was big fun.
            And my son’s 26 year old Henry was just a champ. As free moving as if he were 6 rather than 26. As long as we avoid hills, Henry is completely sound. Which makes the beach a good destination.
            Here we are headed down the trail through the sand dunes to the beach.

            Looking toward Monterey.

            Looking toward Santa Cruz. You can see the curve of the bay if you bigger the photo up.

            My son and his 26 year old Henry. My 13 year old kid does not like his photo taken, but doesn’t Henry look good? Those are the stacks of the Moss Landing power plant in the background—which I sometimes refer to as the “Two Towers.”

            Anyway, this isn’t much of a post, but I hope you can all enjoy a brief vicarious experience of riding down the beach on a pretty spring day on a really good, reliable horse. Not a dead head, but a horse who is enjoying the expedition as much as you are. A horse you can trust to take care of you. It doesn’t get much better than that. (At least for lazy riders like me who have no interest in going 50 miles, or even 30 miles, let alone 100!)


Unknown said...

Looks like fun! I am always grateful for my rides on Blaze, my steady eddy who is safe against all odds but not boring.

Don't be so self deprecating, your horses choose to behave the way they do, if that's how you look at it, because they have a happy and fulfilled life and are content in their partnerships with you and your son. That is every bit as valuable and thrilling as riding 100 miles, if you think about it, isn't it? :)

Laura Crum said...

Thank you, Bird. My horses make me happy and I think they are happy, and I guess that IS what counts, as you wisely point out. I'm just sort of in awe of you endurance folks knocking off fifty miles last weekend. My longest rides were thirty mile (or so) days in the mountains on pack trips, and I thought they were WAY too long. I was always more of a fifteen to twenty miles is plenty sort of trail rider, even in my younger days.

Allenspark Lodge said...

It would be fun to roam the beach that way. I always thought our guys might be a bit frightened of all that water since they are sort of desert/mountain horses, but when we rode next to some extremely large lakes with wind blown waves, they took it in stride - even though they were wary of the strange sounds.

And yes, you CAN take credit for your horses' behavior. You have worked with horses before that had riders who didn't deal with them well. It doesn't take long to turn a really good horse into a pretty nasty creature - so congratulations on such a wonderful ride!
Bionic Cowgirl

Laura Crum said...

Thank you, bionic Cowgirl. Those good rides make everything worthwhile, don't they? And one feels so very grateful to the horses.