Riding: it’s not just an adventure!

Posted: August 8, 2012 in Animals, Humor, Just for fun, Personal, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Riding in the mountains is not just an adventure; it’s a job.  At least it’s a job for the person riding first in line.  Because there be monsters in them thar hills and it’s your job as rider to look out for monsters.  Don’t believe there are monsters?  Just ask your horse.

Oh, no! I’m in the lead! Heeelp!

Every horse prefers to be in the line, but not be the lead horse, because every horse knows that when you’re in the lead, the monster will get you first!  It’s just a fact.  Monsters never come from behind.  They always get the lead horse and therefore the lead horse needs to be always on alert, filled with energy and a little moxie.  Because you never know when the monster will show up.

It’s safer being second!

Just to make things more difficult, there’s a different monster for each horse.  For one horse, it’s a large rock.  For another, certain types of logs lying close to the trail.  A monster could be a squirrel racing along a downed tree, a deer, an odd shape, or a something that a human can’t even see.  So you have to know your particular horse’s monster and be on the lookout for it so you can cajole your horse into believing that there is absolutely nothing to worry about because you are capable of taking care of any monster that might be lurking in wait along the trail and that it’s perfectly safe for your horse to go right past and on its way.  However, if your horse is second in line (or even farther back), you don’t have to worry.   The monster will get the lead horse first, so you can just amble along at whatever speed (or lack thereof) you can get away with.  Don’t worry; you’ll have time to run away while the monster’s getting the lead horse.

Forget the scenery. Those could be monsters coming up ahead.

All this is true.  However, there are  some things for which the rider in the lead really does need to be on the lookout.  Bears, for instance.  Several years ago, on our first ride of vacation, Megan and I had just ridden up a steep slope after crossing the creek and were settling into our ride when I looked ahead and saw, about twenty yards in front of us, a brown bear ambling along his trail.   The fact that it had been our trail was a moot point as all trail in front of us was now his trail.  He glanced back at us casually, secure in the knowledge that we were unlikely to continue farther, and rolled stately onward.  I quietly told Megan to turn her horse around and head back down the trail.  I followed with alacrity, taking a few quick looks over my shoulder to be sure the bear was continuing on his way.  For the rest of the time, when we were anywhere in the vicinity, I kept a sharp lookout for him but fortunately never saw him again.

Ooooh, that could be a monster!!

Although this year we haven’t seen any, moose are usually part of the scenery.  Moose, although not necessarily handsome, are very, very athletic.  They can run through a forest without ever hitting their considerable rack (the antler kind, please) on any trees.  I’ve seen a grown male moose walk up to a chest-high wooden fence and leap it from a standing position.  They can run very fast and in the spring, when testosterone runs rampant, the males can be more than a bit belligerent.  When there are young, the mothers can be even more belligerent.   Quite a few years ago, the girls and I were on our way back from a ride when a little distance ahead in a wide open area were a young moose and its mother.  The young moose, filled with curiosity, thought that we were the most interesting things he’d seen all day and that he should come closer to see us better.  But every time he moved toward us, the mother moose made menacing moves toward us, too.  We eventually had to back track and return by a different trail.

Definitely. No doubt about it.

A few people have reported seeing and, in one case, even being shadowed for a distance by a mountain lion.  Fortunately, that’s one type of monster I’ve never experienced and I’d like to keep it that way.  However, I’m fully on alert at all times for any wild rocks, trees, squirrels, deer, or imaginary monsters  that might be lurking, waiting for me and my lead horse to come within range.  Or we can just go to the end of the line!

Don’t worry. I’ll protect you.

  1. billgncs says:

    I remember that moose and calf. The little one wanted to see us, he was curious but momma moose wanted to grind us into moose pate.

  2. Robin in New Jersey says:

    It looks like you are having a great time! I have always wanted to be able to “go riding” on a regular basis.

    • Our regular basis is just during our vacation here, but it’s certainly wonderful. Today’s our last day to ride, as Thursday is the day off for the horses and also the day we have to get the cabin winterized, which is a fairly big job. But a week is certainly better than not being able to come at all!!

  3. It looks like your having a lot of fun! 🙂

  4. Great post – I don’t have much experience with horses, but from what friends have told me, you’re giving us a good look into their minds(?). And I also love your stories of the “people monsters”, the REAL scary things in the woods 😉

    • I love horses, but they’re not the brightest stars in the animal firmament. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I had fun writing it…and it’s all true!

  5. bigdogzola says:

    OOOOooooo how exciting…I would have gone in the front to lead …er…well…that is only if I had the super cool horse who could gallop away absurdly fast at the sight of a big bear or angry moose face…yikes.

    • You’ve got the idea!! If dogs go on the ride, they can run wherever they want, so if the monsters are around, you just casually drop behind. Please come riding with us any time.