On Saturday we took the ponies – I call all horses ponies – over to Rancho San Antonio for a trail ride. I wanted to go to the beach, but low tide wasn’t at a good time and we had to be at a potluck at 4:00 so we’ll have to go some other time.
Because Dijon is semi-retired, we did just a quick ride; about 5 miles. We rode out to Deer Hollow Farm and then let them run down the flat, wide Rogue Valley Trail.
I really need to get video of this sometime, but Dijon has the most amazing ability to make whoever is riding him look like they have no idea what they’re doing. He likes to switch from running walk to pace to canter with every step. He will even do half of one gait in the front and a different gait in the back. There is no way to sit this without bouncing around. You can’t post it either and even if you try to do a two-point or some sort of out-of-the-saddle seat you will still be bounced around. Luckily, there weren’t a lot of hikers on the trail to witness our flailings.
After this section, we turned onto wildcat loop trail and wound our way up to the Vista Point. This Vista Point is usually packed, but when we got there, there was only one couple with their 20 month old baby. The little girl wanted to pet the horses and since no one else was around, we let her. He dad set her down by Dijon and she pet his nose. He was a good boy about sticking his nose out, letting her pet him, and not knocking her over or trying to eat her. He didn’t move his feet at all. I didn’t get any pictures because I was concentrating on holding him and watching the little girl in case I needed to move him away.
Unfortunately, while the girl was standing right in front of him, Dijon sneezed and basically sprayed the girl with snot. She began crying although her parents just laughed about it. They weren’t upset at all, which is good because it’s not like I could have prevented sneezing. Dijon didn’t even blink about a small child screaming in his face. If this horse were only so easy-going under saddle, he’d be the best kids’ horse. His ground manners are impeccable and he tolerates pretty much everything except for stall cleaning implements (we’re pretty sure he was abused in the past). Alas, he’s a nut to ride.
|Dijon pausing to admire the view – Silicon Valley below
We walked off to let Dijon and Shasta graze a bit and the little girl kept reaching out for the horses. He dad would walk her over and then she would get upset again. She really wanted to pet the horses, but she also did not want to get snotted again. The parents thanked us for sharing the horses with them.
|Shasta shoving food in her face without pause
We left the Vista Point and rode back down to the farm via the High Meadow Trail and then from the farm headed back to the trailer. We packed the ponies up and took them back to the barn with enough time to put everything away, feed the starving beasts, go home, shower quickly, and head back to the barn for a potluck.
|Chickens trying to share Dijon’s food
Despite all of the work it requires, I am very grateful to get to board at this stable. There are only 13 horses and 4 of them are retired. Three of the remaining are mine and my husband’s, so there are very few other boarders. In fact, I’m pretty sure about half the people at the potluck were either current or previous leasers of our horses. The lack of people makes for a significant lack of drama. It’s so much nicer than larger barns I’ve been at.
And the potluck was really fun. We had BBQ and snacks and drinks and all those things while sitting by the pond at the barn. There were boats everyone could take out in the water and a bunch of the kids were swimming in the pond and catching tadpoles and salamanders.
There was also a big fire to sit around while chatting. I’m not a social person so it was especially nice that I know everyone at the barn and could talk with all of them. Some of whom I hadn’t seen in a while: like my one ex-leaser who moved to a new barn or the parents of the 2 teenage boarders who I had stopped seeing much of since their girls got drivers’ licenses.
We brought Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, soda, beer, and chips and dip to share. The cookies were a big hit. They’re actually pretty easy and fun to make and they taste awesome. I can share the recipe if anyone wants.
It was a really enjoyable day and I’m grateful to be part of such an awesome barn.