Friday, August 24, 2007

A fun night ride!

San Tan Mtn Park
"The big loop" - main road to Fox Wash to the 4 lane highway to west hills down to backside wash up the trotting road across to the big rock wash and double track road home.

Went out for my first night ride at the San Tans last Saturday...what a blast! There were a group of 4 of us that met up and rode for about 3 hours...myself, Stephanie Palmer-DuRoss, her husband Pete, and friend Denise Martin.

Amazingly, all 4 of us were riding mares, and not a single hoof or tooth flew during the entire ride! We went for the big loop that runs out to the backside of the park and along the back wash. The park has made that into an official trail now! The downside is that means more traffic on it when the weather gets nicer...ick...but at least they're giving us more trails again! Yay! And parts of that trail really could do with some more improvement. Now they need to fix the north hill climb other than just posting a sign that says "dangerous trail ahead."

But this was my first time riding down at the park at night, and only Mimi's second night ride. She did so amazingly well! I'm so proud of her...she had a blast. Stephanie and I took turns switching off leading, and when I wasn't leading, I relegated the pony to the back of the pack, and she actually did so well back there. I think the fact that we did so much trotting really helped make her happy.

The one downside was my Easyboot Bares were giving me fits...her front ones are a little big, and one of them got so filled with sand that the gaiter ripped off and I lost one of the boots. Well, I retrieved it, but that still left her bootless in the front, so I yanked off her back boots. They're old enough now that they are flexible enough to cram on her front feet, so that's what I did for her fronts, and we went barefot in the back for the last half of the ride. Fortunately, the second half of the loop involves a lot of sand wash.

It was so awesome coming back through the sand wash with the big horse-eating rocks. She tiptoed by the rocks, then we lead the way back through the sand wash. She was going at her big pony trot, not spooking at anything, on a loose rein. I just did my best "well-balanced bump on a log" impression and she went flying down the wash. Didn't even use any glowsticks or anything...I had them on my breastcollar, but never used them...those suckers are expensive, and I didn't want to waste the money when we were out in full darkness for less than an hour. But I felt like I didn't even need them, which is awesome.

It's amazing what being on a well-trained horse you're accustomed to can do for a confidence booster. I've got a really good feeling about the night portion of Tevis now...Mimi was less trippy and spooky in the dark than in daylight!

We pissed off a big-ass rattlesnake around dusk. We were all trotting down the wash, came around a curve, and sprayed a snake that was huddled int he corner with a bunch of sand...he was so mad! I was at the back of hte pack, and by the time I reached him, he was hissing and rattling! I don't know how big he was...I just got a glimpse of him, but he looked big. And mad. Mimi cantered by him. :)

Seriously, though, it was a lot of fun, and I think I'll be riding at night more often now.