I can tell I’m gonna be sore. I just posted a bareback trot for more than 300 yards on a trail ride. I’ve been working up to it, but it’s been a few days, and this was a longer go. I grew up with “your grandfather always used to say: no pain, no gain.” I’m not sure I completely agree, but I’ve been doing athletics enough of my life to know that getting back into shape requires a little discomfort.
These rides have been a small attempt to get my Norwegian Fjord gelding Torrin in shape, too. We only had one horse-logging job this year, and he’s come to believe his job is eating, not working. I’m forcing myself to ride him around what we call the woods loop once a day. It’s just half a mile and completely beautiful, so I shouldn’t have to ‘force’ myself, but sometimes it’s so easy to think there are more important things than some pony hair on my jeans and some fresh air in my lungs.
Today’s trot ended a few yards earlier than I’d planned. Torrin saw a moose and came to a complete stop. We had been seeing a cow and calf regularly on our rides, so I was aware that we might see them again. And I could tell Torrin could smell something because his nostrils were wide, and his ears were pricked hard forward. Fortunately, the two of us have seen enough moose together, including working in harness, that I knew he wouldn’t spook, just pay attention. Sure enough, Torrin took the opportunity to grab a big bite of dead grass, and we were off, just a little faster than before.
The photo shows Torrin and me (and our intrepid canine sidekick Sadie) ‘commuting’ to a recent skidding demo for two employees of the Colorado State Forest Service. Thank you, Kathryn Hardgrave, for the picture.