Weekends are for trail riding, especially when the summertime temperatures soar into the 90s. The last few days have been more humid than usual by California standards and so instead of working in the arena on Friday, a handful of us decided to go out on a morning trail ride.
Knight is a fan of trail riding, and as soon as I used the mounting block to climb into the saddle, he knew a trail was on and did a turn on the haunches to make a beeline to his trail pal/girlfriend who was waiting in the background.
This pretty gray mare is Knight’s girlfriend. They like being ridden at the same time in lessons and cruising around the arena together on a long-rein warmup and cool down walk around the perimeter of the barn property after our lessons.
Yay for shade! The first part of the trail is fairly shaded. We do come across the occasional mountain biker, or dog walker, or bird watcher, but this day the trail was pretty quiet. My guess is the heat drove people into the air conditioned homes or the beach.
There are several clusters of cacti out on the trail which paired with the ubiquitous dust makes everything seem authentically Old West. A few years ago when I was on Catalina Island with a school program a naturalist told us that foxes like to build their dens beneath this type of cactus because it keeps predators out. Very clever.
Party at the Water Trough!
The highlight of Knight’s trail ride is always the water trough that is about ten minutes into our ride. He normally plays in the water, swishing it around and drinking it with such zest that his nostrils will be submerged. On this day he actually dunked his head deep and then flipped it up into the air reminding me of an elephant showering itself with its trunk.
The skies were blue and much of the flora that had been green in the spring due to our wonderful winter rains have now turned golden.
This landscape with the mountain backdrop is our view as we head home to the barn. I was on trail with three other riders and their horses, but Knight has decided he enjoys being the lead horse, so that’s why I don’t really have pictures of our group.
Back at the Barn
Knight thinks the best part about getting a bath is waiting for an available hose and getting to graze on the small patches of grass that form near the water source. (Look at those dapples!)
And a proper shower to wrap up a great way to spend a morning is always in order. Knight is the easiest horse I’ve owned to bathe. I credit his racetrack career/upbringing. It’s so great to be able to hose off his face and he doesn’t care. He loves to drink from the hose and really doesn’t mind baths at all. I think he likes them.
Your Turn: How do you and your horse cope with the temps on these terribly hot summer days? Do you hit the trail or take a break from saddle time?
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