Summer has arrived. I switched out my t-shirt for a long sleeved cotton shirt, to protect my arms from the sun. Carol picked us up a little after noon and we drove out to the Greenhorn gulch trail head. This was a new trailer for Prestigious. It's a nice big stock trailer, but there are no dividers in it and there was a new horse in there. I put Roy in next to Smarty (Carol's new horse) and asked Prestigious to step in. It's a high trailer and it took him two tries but he hopped right in. At the trail head, since he was in the back, I asked him to back out. We've been working on backing out since he used to rush out backwards, and this time he went out nice and slow and careful. A few minutes later, Martina drove in with her horse. We started off heading north, up a long steep climb, stopping twice for the horses to catch their breath before reaching a trail intersection about two miles up. With each step the wildflowers filled in all around us. Yellows, purples, reds, oranges, pinks.
Turning west, we rode the rolling hills, gentle ups and downs, coming to our first water crossing. It was just a normal little crossing, about two feet across with willows on either side and some rocks. We had three sort of green horses here. Roy went through first, then Martina and Carol, who's horses struggled just a little bit but went right through. Prestigious went in, on tip-toe, crashing through the bushes and on we went. There were about a dozen more water crossings on this ride, all different. Each one had it's own different considerations, a moldy log in the middle, rushing water or wide water or mud. Each one different. Each time he understood it better and was more relaxed.
The wildflowers were just over the top. Entire hillsides looked like they'd been laid out by a landscaper, all the colors blending just right amid big boulders and rocks. The sun was out, now and then a gentle breeze would fan us. Another perfect afternoon
This loop is about seven miles, so about a two and a half hour ride. We had a long downhill, some areas were a little steeper than others. Prestigious still isn't happy about going downhill, but he's getting better about it. At the bottom, the trail follows the stream for a couple miles.
"Beaver!" David shouted, pointing toward a beaver dam in the stream. I saw a fat little brown body swimming downstream for just a moment before his tail flipped and he was gone. This is only the second beaver I've seen in our twelve years up here. Pretty exciting.
The last mile took us through two wide and deep water crossings, the water rushing pretty full, and a little short bridge. Prestigious was pretty brave, following the other horses right on through the more than knee deep water without any flouncing about. At the bridge, he stepped onto the first board and backed away, snorting at it. He decided then that maybe if he tap-danced over it that would be best. How funny, we all know that Jaime has had him over that bridge in the arena at Varian Arabians about a thousand times. I guess he never expected to find one out there in the woods.
Back toward the trailer, I rode out in an arc away from the others. He looked, and would have liked to never leave the little group, but did not fidget or whinney at all.