4/13/2009

Tumbling tumbleweeds?

The DOR and I went on our first trail ride last Saturday. We had been working very hard to make sure we were both ready. The morning of the ride the DOR braided my tail up so it wouldn't get caught in underbrush. Little did she know, underbrush was not going to be a concern...we would have bigger things to worry about.
We arrived at Horn Rapids and I had to check things out, I was a bit nervous. We did some groundwork so that I could focus...it is like meditation for horses. The DOR saddled me up, I had a bit of Harley's mane on the saddle for luck and so a part of him could go on the ride with us...turns out that was a good thing too.

The DOR lead me around to check things out. I found some really good grass and fueled up. The grass was really tender and sweet, I thought is was going to be a waste of time to go on a ride when I could just stand around and munch. The DOR took me back to the mounting block and mounted up (yes I was a bit naughty about it, I wanted to keep eating) and was waiting for her riding partner to mount up as well. She heard the wind start to whip up and look toward the hill behind us. She called to her friend...she sounded worried. I turned and looked too and saw something I had never seen before. Coming over the hill was a tidal wave of tumbleweeds, it looked like a wall. They came rolling and floating down the hill, gathering reinforcements as they came. The wind was like a twister, kicking up sand and tumbleweeds. There was no place for us to go, the DOR wasn't going to be able to dismount fast enough...all we could do was deal with it. I was frightened, the DOR was too because she didn't know how I would react. I sucked it up, I am not a "girlie man", and found my courage. I listened to the DOR telling me to turn in circles, what I wanted to do was tear off running for a safe place. I turned and turned, the DOR kept telling me I was fine and how good I was. Tumbleweeds were hitting me, going between my legs, and flying over the top of the DOR. The dust was blowing so hard it stung both of us. I knew I had to take care of the DOR, that is part of being a good trail horse. I think we spun in circles for about three minutes, when I stopped the DOR was dizzy. We both needed a few minutes to gather our nerves. The DOR laid her head on my neck and gave me lots of rubs, she said I was worth every penny she paid for me and that I was just the best. I hope Harley could see how good I did...I know that I would have made my friend very proud. I am a bit suspicious that he was playing one final prank on me, it would be just like him to try and scare the poopy right out of me so I would learn a lesson. Well if that was as bad as it gets on a trail I think I can do just fine.
These are a few of the weeds that decided to stay at the truck. What you can't see is the far side is just lined with the demons.


While our riding partner was getting mounted I kept looking in the direction of where the weeds had blown to make sure they weren't coming back.
I kept watching for the pesky things, but they seemed to afraid to come back. They had probably never seen an appaloosa twister before.
I stomped on this little one a couple of times just to teach it a lesson.
We headed out to the trail and had a nice ride. I did have to look twice at a couple of things. There were a herd of weird looking animals that the DOR informed me were just wooden guard rails. She let me look at them and then allowed me to take the long way around. The next time I walked by them like they were nothing, in fact I even walked between them. We walked through brush and more tumbleweeds, I was pretty good. The wind started to whip up again and I turned to face the hill, I needed to keep an eye out in case the tumbleweeds decided to attack us again. I kept going down the trail backwards as fast as I could until the DOR distracted me with a request for a circle.
I know that you may think it is silly to be afraid of a little tumbleweed, but they could eat a horse. Take a look at the one in the picture! My riding partner is a big Tennessee Walker mare...that thing makes her look like a mini. That it the size of some of the ones that were hitting us. So I felt that I had to keep watching out for them, they can be sneaking little monsters.
We also saw two motorcycles and some other horses. One of the riders turned out to be a relative of the DOR, so they visited a bit.
The ride was about 1 1/2 hours long. I loaded up like a good boy. As we were leaving the parking lot several of the tumbleweeds that were still surrounding the truck started rolling after us. It was a bit eerie to say the least.
We had an adventure. I survived underbrush, between brush, over brush, and attacking brush...I am a brush expert. The DOR says she could have skipped the whole tumbleweed twister, but it was an opportunity to learn a few things. I know that it helped us have more trust in each other. The DOR says I am going to be a heck of a trail horse with more practice...what does she expect I had a heck of a teacher. I also think that I am already a heck of a trail horse, no horse would have done better in a tumbleweed twister, I am just a bit green.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

17 comments:

fernvalley01 said...

Oh what a brave boy you are!! Harley would be so proud! I am proud of you too!(if that matters to you )

One Red Horse said...

Jack, You ARE THE MAN!!!! Next time mom takes me out on the trail I'm going to think of you, the spotted twister, taking on a pack of attacking tumble weeds. I will help me walk calmly past the many leaves that hide horse-eating predators. My mom has the week off so I will probably be getting lots of work. Rest up dude. Later, Red

Oz Girl said...

That sounds like a wonderful trail ride, and Jack you did good! I'm sure your DOR is so proud of you. ;)

wilsonc said...

Congratulations on your successful trail ride! Sounds like both you and your DOR kept your brains intact. It bodes well for the future!

OnceUponAnEquine said...

Those are enormous tumbleweeds Jack. You done good!

jc said...

Major says thank goodness we don't have tumbleweeds in Scotland - they sound really scary. I think you deserve a big bale of hay all to yourself!

Mountain Woman said...

I'm following your trail stories with great interest because we are going through the same experiences. I learn so much from you Jack and from your DOR and I'm using it when I get scared and my mare gets scared too. Thanks for all the bravery you've shown. You've helped me.

Split Rock Ranch said...

Wow Cactus Jack - great job! I'll bet Harley is real proud of you. I would have been really scared, too. I hope my Maggie Mae does as well when we finally get to go on trail rides.

Leah Fry said...

Jack, you ROCKED it! Good for you. Ya done Harley proud.

Cheryl Ann said...

Tumbleweeds, huh? I'm sure Cali and Scout have seen their share of tumbleweeds, but the others? I'll have to desensitize them with some of those! Good idea! Glad you were okay and had a good ride!

Betty said...

I don't like tumbleweeds either. It sounds like you did a good job I am proud of you. That was so sweet of you to take a little bit of Harley with you.
~~Hugs and Smooches~~

Paint Girl said...

Sounds like you did a great job Jack! You handled it and next time it won't be so scary seeing those tumbleweeds! I know my Arab would have panicked seeing that happen!

mommanator said...

OMG, I am so glad you were so good and it wasn't a real twister! an undeniable expereince for sure
Loved the pics

Desert Rose said...

Jack...you and your DOR need to come ride with Little Lady and me this summer. She Is a 5 year old mare and a bit sorty and prancy. Your DOR and i will help get you through all these scarey times!!! You did terrific on your ride!

Victoria Cummings said...

Jack - You're a champ! I'll bet the DOR loves you even more than ever after the battle of the tumbleweeds. Harley was certainly there whispering in your ear and watching over you guys.

dazey said...

Jack, you are truly on the right trail for being a safe trail horse for your DOR. If you would like to be ridden without a bit in your mouth, I'm hereby posting a recommendation for your DOR to learn the information in Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse with subtitle of Eliminating the Fear Factors. The author's main purpose is to benefit horses like yourself along with the DOR's. It is a small paperback narrative with instructions available at Amazon and from the author at safetrailhorse@gmail.com. It will show your DOR how to relate to you in a way that lets her communicate with you as a true companion for those Happy Trails!

Cactus Jack Splash said...

dazey,
The DOR rides me in a D-ring snaffle, a side-pull bridle, a rope halter, and a bosal...it just depends on what we are doing and why which one she uses. She prefers not to ride with a bit, but this was our very first trail ride and sometimes I can be a bit "muley", for that reason and the fact that she wanted to make sure she could have better control if needed I had on a bit...turns out in this case it was a very good idea or I might have not listened quite so well. I am still very green, on the outside I have only had 100 rides-not very many-and not too many experiences outside of a riding arena.
Thanks for the advice and I am sure she will read that book.

Thanks to the rest of you for your kind words.

 

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