We have some upcoming horse camping plans and I figured a one nighter at a local park would be a good chance to see how Eugene would deal with camping before setting out on more epic camping adventures. Although the campground is great, I was a little concerned about taking Eugene on the trails at Grant Ranch. This park allows dogs and bikes, which Eugene, as a Mustang, hasn’t seen much of yet.
While camping is a great way of relaxing, the prep work can be killer. Since we haven’t camped since October, we had to pull all the sheets and blankets and wash them and then clean out the truck, which was a mess. We also had to go through all of our camping supplies to make sure we had everything. Subsequent trips shouldn’t be quite so much work.
We also had to buy groceries and do food prep. I’ve mentioned before, but the food is one of the best things about camping:
Since we weren’t trying to do a long ride, we even got to sleep in a bit on Saturday. Then it was off to the store to get some things we forgot and onwards to the barn to pack up the ponies. The ponies loaded okay. We had some issues with Eugene not wanting to load, but once I took his fly mask off, he hopped on. Nilla got on all right and arrived at the park without any injuries despite it being a very difficult, windy, slow and annoying drive. Every trip makes me hopeful that we’ve solved – or at least reached a compromise on – Nilla’s trailering issues.
We let the ponies chill out a bit while having our own late lunch and then we tacked up to hit the trails. Our first ride was almost the same as the last ride we did there last year. It’s an easy loop up onto a ridge and then down through the valley. The ridge trail is great; there are clear views down and across Silicon Valley:
All of the trails are nice, wide ranch roads with few rocks. The width was great for Eugene as he likes to fly sideways when presented with people. I think we ended up seeing one couple hiking the entire time so it wasn’t even necessary. The hills are nice and rolling and there’s some opportunities for shade. I really like trail riding here and wish the drive was easier so that we could do more day rides here.
We did run into one potential scare factor: cows. Last year, Shasta basically went unhinged at this park from cow terror. Eugene and Nilla were both a bit concerned about the first set of cows that were literally standing on the path and only moved when we yelled at them. We dismounted to go by and I then had to spend 15 minutes walking along looking for a spot to remount. I am working on a new saddle solution, but right now the treeless just slides sideways if I have to mount from the ground.
Te next set of cows was not nearly so concerning and we were able to ride on by.
While Nilla likes to drive me absolutely crazy by not drinking on rides, Eugene is turning into a really excellent endurance horse. He practically throws his head into every water we come across. Even scummy, gross water.