Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Leaden Skies

Shall I carry a big sign that says "See us!  We are here!", or do you think I've got it covered?
For our first solo ride from the new farm, Rhio & I had a very chilly, dreary day to contend with.  It was technically still summer today, but I sure couldn't tell by the thermometer (46 degrees), the heavy clouds, or the three layers I was wearing.  As the day was so gray, and I knew we'd be riding much more heavily travelled roads than we used to, I decked us both out in bright and reflective gear.  Rhio sported his blaze orange rump rug and reflective fluorescent leg bands on each leg, and I wore a safety vest with "Caution Horse & Rider" emblazoned on the back (though if anyone were close enough to be reading that, I would be pretty upset).

This is the first time I've ridden Rhio off the property since moving the horses three weeks ago.  I was very pleased that he didn't balk at all about riding out the driveway, and that Cricket wasn't calling for him but seemed to be content with Paco.

We started up the road, riding against traffic on the (narrow) shoulder.  As it was midday, and mid-week, the traffic was light.  About half the vehicles slowed & moved over, and about half didn't.  Rhio is very traffic safe and didn't bat an eyelash, but I was considerably less relaxed than riding on the quiet gravel roads we used to.  I also worried about slipping every time we crossed the paved apron to a driveway, as he is shod now and pavement + steel shoes are not the best combination.  He had no difficulty, however, and once I got more comfortable with the road, off we went at a nice trot.

We travelled several miles north along the road before turning east along a gravel road.  The first house had a German Shepherd which gave us a single fairly uninterested woof, and the second house had a Golden Retriever cross on a tie-out that was really giving us the eye.  Sure enough, after we all made eye contact and Rhio started moving off, the dog lunged to the end of his rope, completely silently, and Rhio spooked and spun.  By the time we made it 360 to look at the dog again, it was cowering up on the porch.  This dog could be trouble if it were ever loose, so I'm notching it in my memory banks for sure.  

The road ends at another paved road, so we turned south along the shoulder until we reached a second gravel road, which we took back west to join up with the farm road, making a "P" shaped loop ride.  I had forgotten my GPS, but drove it after we were done, and it was about 7 miles.  I have to say, despite the less than ideal road riding, the views are spectacular.  This photo doesn't even do it justice, even on a gray day, and the fall color is just beginning.  Looking back south along the road, with Lake Superior and the rolling terrain spreading out before us, it reminds me why I live here.

It is hardly noticeable on horseback, but we've been climbing the entire 2+ miles from the farm.  The slightly deeper blue to either side of the "peak" (Hawk Ridge? I think so) is the lake, with the heavy clouds pressing down and blending their gray-blue with the water's blue-gray.
It was a pretty successful ride, and Rhio did great.  I will keep investigating to see if I can come up with a route that has more quiet gravel roads and less shoulder riding.
Returning to the farm.
Upon returning, he & Cricket got some free grazing time while he cooled out beneath his cooler and Cricket got his "lunch" meal.  The old man has gained about 50 pounds since I began adding oil to his diet in mid-August.  I'm thrilled!
Cricket seems to be thriving on his 3 meals a day plan, and finally settling in with the herd.  Yay! 

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