By Patty Wilber
Memorial Day weekend in the Pecos is definitely one of the weekends I look forward to. One year we started out in sun and ended up in a lot of wet stuff. On that trip, the dead fall was very intense–over 60 trees down from the top of round mountain to Beatty’s cabin.
This year was dry and also fairly warm, and while we did not ride Trail 25 to Beatty’s, dead fall seemed less than I would have expected…
We got the biggest pen and Derek and Heidi helped me make some minor repairs so that it was safe and secure. In some past years, the grass has been knee high and every morning would be soaked with dew. Our dry years seem to have nipped that in the bud, as it were. But on the plus side, the lack of lush grass virtually eliminated any worry about grass founder.
On Friday, the group (me, Jim, Mary Ann E., Patty S., Bill, Derek, Heidi and Connie) took a fun ride on Cave creek, except there were a few trees we felt obligated to clear.
On Saturday, we did our actual project. We rode Windsor Ridge to Skyline trail (about seven miles one way). We cleared about 25 trees, several pretty large. We had eight riders in the 55+ category and Heidi and Ashtyn in the U13. Ashtyn came with her grandpa and Heidi got to ride Lucy for me as her Dad’s horse ended up with a weird puncture wound that needed vet care, so they went home. The puncture was so deep the bone was chipped (they found out later). We searched her pen, but could not figure out what she had hit.
I rode LT, and this might have been the best trail ride of her whole life. She did not feel the need to be a busy mess in the middle of the pack as she was in between two of her long time buds: Lucy who she lives with and Squirt who lived at my house for quite a while. (Squirt also really likes LT, which helped.)
Both the human girls helped with sawing, clearing debris and were all around fun to have on the trip!
There was water only at the top of the ride, and that creek was the lowest I have ever seen. Cometa drank well, but LT and Lucy kind of sipped. The horses were thus a bit thirsty when we came back.
I thought it was odd that they all went for the pink bucket, but my friend Heather M. told me she had learned that horses prefer light colored buckets. So, I looked that up and this is what I found:
“Based on water intake, researchers found that horses preferred to drink from the turquoise buckets. Preferences for the colors, from highest to lowest, were turquoise, light blue, light green, green, yellow, and red. Horses chose the blues over other colors and light-toned colors over darker tones.”
In light of these results, the researchers suggested that the use of turquoise or light blue buckets might encourage horses to drink.” from Color Preferences Among Horses.
Pink and black were not choices in the study, but I guess I will go for turquoise buckets from now on! Who knew?!
On Sunday, we were missing the tools to widen some sections of trail that needed help. The tools went home with one of our members on accident. Jim and I were disappointed, but apparently no one else was. So, we went for another “fun” ride.
No one wanted to go with Mary Ann, Jim and me. We don’t know why. Mary Ann said it would be an easy ride.
Patty S. texted me this the other day. She was one of the ones that didn’t want to ride with us. She may be smarter than the average person.
The ride did start off easy, with a fun water crossing.
We continued on to the trail towards Iron Gate. Then, we decided to take the low route. The fisherman’s trail. It looked fine. Until it wasn’t. We scrambled over a few rocky sections that hung above the water. They were just a tad precarious. I was Not Especially Relaxed. Jim and Mary Ann were reveling in the adventure… Then we got to a spot that Mary Ann was unsure of, so I got off and used my meager bouldering skills to scale that section. Yeah. I didn’t want to ride over that unless I was running for my life from some other lethal threat.
We did not really want to go back over the other sections either. So, what the heck. We climbed a very steep, but not rocky, hillside to regain the real trail. The horses were amazing.
We went on to Iron Gate bridge. There is a spot right before the bridge that needs Pulaski (a tool that combines an axe and a adze) work. We rode past the bridge on another fisherman’s trail….but we stopped before things got “interesting”.
Our ride back to camp was, actually, easy.
We spent the afternoon packing up and hanging out with the dogs at the creek. We managed to miss all the rain on our drive home.
It was a fine weekend!