First published Oct. 18, 2013.
I did not end up selling LT, because the more I rode her, the better I liked her. In 2015, she earned an Appaloosa national championship and a reserve world championship in Jr. Working cow. I think I made the right choice. I really like that horse.
By Patty Wilber
…I didn’t say banana?
Jim and I did not draw elk tags this year, so we and MaryAnn went to the Pecos to ride in the midst of rifle season for elk.
We wore a lot of ORANGE!
Orange vest, orange hat under my helmet, orange streamers on the horses. Red lead rope. (borrowed from Mojo, the Fjord). We were not going to be mistaken for prey.
We were our own little orange parade! Braided tail decorations and everything.
MaryAnn and Tulip who says: u cannot have too much orange!
It started out pretty cold–see the frost? But it was a beautiful clear day.
Due to the “hard work” of our illustrious and functional Congress, the gate to Jack’s Creek was locked. Fortunately, MaryAnn knew a back trail to Iron Gate–it was much shorter than riding three miles up the paved road to Jacks, and we sure enough did NOT want to drive up to Iron Gate.
As one hunter told us, “Last time I drove up there I busted a joint on my trailer. Never driving up there again!”
I took LT. Been riding her regularly and she will be listed For Sale on Horse Clicks in 30 days or so. I wanted to give her the experience AND get some sale video of her in the back country (in orange, of course).
We rode from Cowles to Iron Gate to Hamilton Mesa, over our bridge project below Beatty’s Cabin, back to Jacks Creek then down to Cowles. About 20 miles, and LT, who is three and a half, was mentally tired by the end, but physically still eager.
No luck on finding a map that you can see.
As mentioned, the road to Iron Gate is awful. The trail is no fun either. It is long. It is dark due to both the aspect and the trees. The trail itself has narrow and sloughy spots. The Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen has worked on some of the worst reaches but there are still iffy sections.
LT fell off only once. That was not really the trail’s fault. She just wasn’t watching where she was going.
I am not brave. I wanted to micro manage EXACTLY where she put her feet on those slender trails. It is better, however, to let the horse figure it out and help only in case of a major horsey mis-judgement. LT does follow a trail so all I really needed to do was redirect her when she started looking for deer (all the elk were hiding I guess) and keep her from ramming my knees into trees.
After Iron Gate, the trail becomes scenic. There are aspen. Graceful, bright with a more open understory.
Jim and Cometa. We are just out of Iron Gate in the aspens–they have not turned that vibrant fall aspen gold here yet.
There are vistas! At the junction to Mora Flats/ Hamilton Mesa we went left to Hamilton Mesa. That trail follows a ridge and then opens out onto grass and views. Incredible views.
This picture does not capture the majesty, but you can just see the snow on the peaks in the back ground! Tulip likes the grass!
We watered the horses a spring-fed metal tank–mud all around, lined with a black tarp. I thought LT would balk at the mud or the tarp or both. Nope. She practically shoved poor Tulip out of the way to suck down lots of water. A good trail horse should drink readily. Check.
Here are LT and Tulip (and Cometa’s ears) in Beatty’s Creek with a smattering of snow.
There were a fair number of down trees on the trail, too–probably due to a strong wind storm last week. LT did not jump any. She picked her way over. Nice.
LT says: logs, shmogs. we luv orange!
Me: What does the “orange” have to do with anything?
LT: nothing. why?
MaryAnn and Tulip in more gasp-en (because it is so beautiful you must gasp!) between Beatty’s and Jack’s Creek–closer to Beatty’s.
As we came past Round Mountain and out onto the meadows above Jacks Creek there were some nice stretches for trotting and loping. LT got a little hot about that faster work (she figured she could out run Tulip since she already pushed her off that water). A bit of walking was all she needed to re settle.
Our one near disaster came right at the end of the day. We thought we’d try to go along the river bottom to get back to the trailers instead the short stretch of road. We had to cross the water and Tulip forded easily at a fairly (three feet) deep spot. LT followed without a fuss but she was nervous. The footing was strewn with big rocks and she stumbled, dumping her right shoulder and me up to my right hip in the water. I was soaked on that side almost instantaneously. She regained her feet and lunged onto the bank. She said, “i saw that going differently in my mind!” Yeah. Me, too!
Despite the fuzziness of the photo, you can see the splash marks on her butt, the dark (= wet) of my leg (compare the color of my jeans to the picture above in Beatty’s creek) and that 1/2 my saddle bag was also wet! We were only five minutes from the trailers (and we had emergency gear, too.) You can’t really see that her entire neck is wet!
Hypothermic distress was averted because we were out of the wind and we were close to the trailers, so it wasn’t too long before LT had a five-sizes-too-big sheet draped over her wetness and I was in the truck with the heater on.
Another adventure on horseback with fantastic people and horses you can be proud of!
It sucks to need to sell them but LT was purchased as a prospect…
PS: She had a 10 foot sliding stop in the arena Thursday and hit all her lead changes.
Remind me: NO MORE PROSPECTS! Selling horses: Dislike Immensely!