DAY 79. As the days tick down to the end of the 100-Day Trainer Challenge so too do the days of summer. It won’t be long before fall weather sets in and it’s back to riding in the confines of the footed-arena, in the dark and the cold.
To enjoy the opportunities of summer we decided to go on an exploratory trail ride. Since Nayborly Farms moved to Tenino in 2005, every year we expand our knowledge of the network of trails within our reach. Today I rode out with Kelsy, a Preliminary level three-day eventer who trains with me at Nayborly Farms, and our friend Alyssa, an endurance rider. In theory we knew where we wanted to set off and where we wanted to loop around to, but there was no map to guide us on the in between parts. We ended up quite a bit farther out (and higher up!) than we expected, momentarily debating if we might accidentally end up in the next town over. A couple of hours into the ride the only sign of human life was a discarded Pepsi can circa 1975. But the roads were fresh and eventually we saw more promising indications of humanity–chip bags, parked logging machinery, and soon enough the sound of cars. In the end we emerged from the woods on exactly the access road we had hoped, only a mile from home. In the words of some cowboy somewhere, it was “sweaty saddle pad” horse training. But mostly, it was fun!
I opted to ride in the Western saddle (padded seat!), donned an attractive orange vest to ward off any early hunters, and as always wore my helmet. Solar wore a pair of back hoof boots for protection from rocks; thanks to great feet he only wears shoes in the front. He looks fabulous in Western tack and seemed very comfortable with the extra leather attachments (back cinch, breastcolor, etc.). The change in tack does not change the training principles.
** Thank you Alyssa Gottschlich for wearing the helmet cam on this ride and for riding my horses over the weekend! **