Monday, June 1, 2009

The "Shakedown" Cruise

All the details are set set for the Matt Sheridan clinic in two weeks. We've got someone to watch the store, watch the house, and we have a safe trailer to go up and down Tehachapi grade.

Saturday morning we planned to leave at 7 am for the shakedown cruise of the HMS Liberty (our trailer). It was going to be hot and we wanted to get an early start. Got up at 5:45, (ugh, on a Saturday?) and fed the horses. We had breakfast and got the horses all brushed up. The trailer was all ready hooked up and loaded with the tack, so we just needed to pull out on the street and load the guys up. I had cut a couple of pretty big limbs off the front mulberry tree bringing the trailer in, but this was the first time we had taken the trailer out of the yard. We learned that negotiating between the two mulberries takes the trailer in a slightly different angle. Looking up there was another branch in the blocking way.

I backed up and tried for a wider angle but there just wasn't enough room. I pulled out the tree saw and the step ladder and then I saw the 10" branch I needed to cut off. It took longer to get the chainsaw out, fill it with gas, and get it started than it took to cut through the branch. We dragged it off to the side and that gave us the six inches of clearance we needed. Added to the To Do list is to move the gate to the other side of the yard where the trees will not be a factor.

The horses loaded easily into the spacious trailer and we headed off. The Tundra pulled it nicely. We were only about 30 minutes behind schedule. The river was already bustling with people. The bike path was busy with both cyclists and runners. There were people going up and down the bluffs and there were already quite a few horses out on the trail.

Jessie was fresh and interested in everything going on. We did some trotting which burned off some of the excess energy. We found these little markers and practiced an exercise of trying to steer the horses between the markers using only our legs and body (no reins). On the way back there is a mini obstacle course. It has an "L"-shaped chute, about 20 feet long on each leg and 10 foot wide, that we backed through. Then there were about ten railroad ties set 2 feet apart that we stepped through. Back at the trailer we had some soft drinks and sat in the shade for a bit before going home.

Sunday evening we rode through an area near home that we haven't been by for some time. We thought it had been blocked off, but the neighbor who bought our old trailer said we could still get through, so we decided to try. The Mexicans who own the property are quite friendly and we tried to talk to them as we rode by. We had to cross through their property and my Spanish and their English were just enough to get us by. The had built some very nice pipe corrals. There were a lot more horses there now, at least 15 head. They had also build a round pen kinda thing with a long alley way. And they had about 5 cows in the pen. The have some sort of competition where they run along the alleyway on horseback and grab the cows by the tail. I guess you have to be there.

The evening had cooled off nicely and there was a nice breeze blowing. We had a stretch of trail going west and got to see the sun set before turning south and heading for home. The horses got hosed of in the twilight and were happy to get back to their alfalfa.
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