Sunday, March 28, 2010

Aidol's Story....... Tales from the Trails........ Getting Started

Part 1

I probably should have mentioned in the last post that Aidol is a true 15.2 hands tall while Mark is 14.2 hands in the way that many owners of horses and Arabian horses in particular are known to measure them. Getting on Mark I could almost do without a crane. Getting up on Aidol with that extra 4 inches felt more like going for an extra foot....... but we got it done and that's what counts.

Did I say up front that this was a big ride, probably one of the biggest poker rides I have ever been on. I don't know if it's size related to the easy terrain of this ride or what but there were horses and riders every where, or so it seemed.

Of course, the more horses you get, the more inconsiderate people you get too. Up until this ride I had only experienced problems with people on the trail a couple of times.

Usually any trouble has to do with passing. There's just something about "how" strange horses go by each other than can make or break the experience.

If the riders care about their horses and their safety and the safety of others, things usually go fine. It's those riders who believe they "own the trail" and everyone else should get out of their way that can really cause problems. This ride seemed to have more than its share of the later.

I'm pretty much a walk kind of gal out on trails I'm not familiar with. Now with Dave along for his first ever RIDE, let alone a couple hour long poker ride, walking was our course of action. Most riders on the other poker rides I've been on were pretty much of the same thought.

Right from the start I knew this ride was going to be different. Before we ever even got out of the parking area, riders were flying by us. Some horses trotted, some loped, others galloped by.

I remember a big Daffodil ride I went on with Mark where he wanted to keep up with the other horses. Luckily Mark had grown wiser about such things or Dave would have had his hands full. Mark was content to plod along being a perfect baby sitter for Dave.

Aidol didn't seem to mind staying right there with Mark. Even though this was his first exposure to trail riding, the horse seemed to be perfectly comfortable just taking in the scenery and following the trail. Even when other horses went flying by, Aidol didn't flinch or get strong. He just kept along with the pace set by Dave's horse. There was no hint that Aidol hadn't done this a million times already in his short life.

Lots of the riding at Fort Lewis is on old logging type roads. The particular section of the fort we rode in that day has a lake in one part and real trails that circle around the thing. I'd never ridden this section before then so I didn't really know what to expect. All I knew for sure was this would be relatively flat compared to the usual rides in the Cascade Mountains.

Mark is a great trail horse. He likes to walk out and Aidol just followed right along. Before long we actually caught up with a group of riders. The area was wide enough we didn't have any trouble going by them. The funny thing was once we did pass, those horses decided to stay right with us. Evidently they were looking for a leader.

Now we're riding along in a group of about ten horses. We came upon a brushy area but the trail was well marked so I just kept following those markers hoping I'd get where I needed to be.

All of a sudden behind us we heard all kinds of crashing sounds. I didn't know if we'd stirred up some kind of wildlife or what. Something was certainly going on. Whatever it was, it was coming our way.

Most of the horses got a bit agitated at first except for Aidol and Mark. It wasn't until I saw the first rider galloping around a corner that I realized we were being overtaken by another group of those inconsiderate riders.

As these horses grew closer our small group began to spread out in all directions. Some horses had panicked looks on their faces looking for some place to run. Most riders had a good handle on their horses and managed to stop the stampede. The approaching riders got half blocked by congestion and had to slow down but they did so reluctantly looking for any path possible to run through.

These approaching riders spoke as they neared. "You don't mind if we pass, do you?" like they were giving us a choice. There was no choice, they were coming through whether we made room for them or not. The problem was, they weren't giving us time to make room for them either. This was not the kind of ride I had hope for Aidol's first ride............ or Dave's for that matter.

To be continued....................

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  1. Jerks. I hate riders like that.

  2. How frustrating! And for the record, "real" trail riders won't ride like that. There is so much that can & will go wrong in a group ride that safety is most generally a trail riders main concern. Not saying I haven't rode with some like that -- I have! There are some in every crowd... but those aren't the people who respect the trails and their horses.

    Anxious for the next chapter.

  3. Trail manners are interesting aren't they .I got in the habit of flagging my horse tail (no because she kicked) just to back off the fools that though it was a good idea to "tailgate"

  4. GunDiva, Me too, fortunately haven't dealt with them often. Most are great.

    Tammy, I'm with you. These people didn't respect anyone including themselves or their horses.

    This particular ride was actually the worst I had ever seen but there were many more great people there too.

    fernvalley, I've heard other riders say that too. Lately I don't get to go often enough to worry about it. Being geographically challenged I don't go unless someone who knows their way around is going too. It's hard to match schedules up to get that done. My regular trail riding partner no longer can ride due to osteoporosis. I miss her bunches!

  5. A poker trail ride - sounds fun... Hubby doesn't ride much anymore therefore we don't do much trail riding with others anymore...we live in an area where it seems like we could ride all day... So riding alone is A OK with me... it is quiet and no bullies on the trails!

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog. I have looked around yours and am envious ... you have HORSES!!! I used to have a wonderful horse, Sunny. He was not very tall, which was great for a small person like myself. He would stand still until I was settled in the saddle and then move. Don't know where he learned this, as my husband and I trained him but it was great. (Of course he wouldn't stand still for my husband, so maybe he just loved me!)

    Keep up your wonderful work with Arabians .. I love that breed.

  7. Riders who are so inconsiderate should take some courses in manners. What a bunch of jerks. I don't like dealing with my horses when these types show up. I'm glad that Aidol an Mark were so well behaved and unconcerned by the rudeness of these riders, so far as I can tell...