Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Someone Pinch Me

Heading out in the late afternoon, as the sun starts to sink behind the ridge.

Rhio's already sweating through his dense winter coat and I'm in summer tights and a t-shirt!

Checking out some other trail users on a different segment of trail.  Without trees, you can see little dots of color and movement all over the ridge as people move along the trail.  Rhio is fascinated.
Saturday January 18, 2014.  66 degrees, sunny, with just a light breeze.  I am definitely not in Minnesota anymore!  Rhio and I trekked around our "home" loop of about 5 miles up and down the ridge, just enjoying the weather.  Of course, we shared the trail with umpteen other users, but Rhio seemed to find all the activity thrilling.  He was very forward 99% of the time, and trying to turn around to go home the other 1% of the time.  This loop is excellent muscle building, as it's a steep, switchbacked trail up to the top, which we then have to trace back down to the bottom.  Unfortunately, it is very rough, rocky, and technical, so we have to walk almost all of it, but I think that Rhio's dexterity with his foot placement, attention to the trail, and just general balance and coordination has noticeably improved since we've been doing this trail regularly.  It is certainly entirely unlike anything we ride in Minnesota! 

On the way down, a small girl riding on her dad's shoulders was thrilled to see Rhio and asked if she could pet him.  Of course the answer was yes!  However, we were on an upper part of a switchback, and they were on the lower, so even though we weren't that far apart, she had to wait for us to come along the switchback and meet up with them.  Her eyes lit up with joy, and on her dad's shoulders, she was just the right height to pet Rhio's face and neck.  The family's chocolate lab was a little concerned about what this large creature was, so we didn't linger too long.  As we walked off down the trail, I heard the girl declare: "That's a baby horse!"  Despite her dad's opinion that Rhio was not a baby horse, she insisted.  Little interactions like this are so nice - hopefully the girl and her parents will remember horses and riders with a positive opinion and be on our side when things like trail use access, etc come up.  I have always felt that it is my job to have very friendly, positive interactions with members of the public; every time I'm out there with my horse, I'm on a public relations assignment, so to speak.

Our trotting lane on the flat.
We finished up the ride trotting home along the flat as the sky lit up with an amazing array of color at sunset.  Bliss!

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