Friday, June 15, 2018

Oregon Trail Adventures

Cupid and I spend the last 5 days up in Oregon at my friend's ranch!  I was a little nervous about the long drive, but it went smoothly.  I'll write a separate post about the trip and tips I found.  My friend's horses live in an 80 acre pasture, but she has some pens with shelters.  Cupid has never seen barbed wire, and also isn't used to that much grass so this was much safer for him!  He was a little excited at first, especially when the other horses came over to meet him and were running around a bit, but he seemed to settle in pretty quickly. 
Home sweet home, for a few days
In addition to horses, my friend recently got two miniature donkeys!!  They were super cute.  They were originally in their own little pen adjacent to the main pasture, but figured out where they can sneak through so now they just go from their pen to the pasture as they please.  Cupid was a little surprised by them at first, but quickly realized they were harmless.

Mini donkeys!!
The first few days we rode off the ranch.  This area is high dessert - lots of sage brush.  In many parts there aren't well-defined trails and I was a little hesitant about bushwhacking through it, but Cupid didn't seem to mind and made it through unscathed.  However he is very bad about tailgating behind other horses.  Luckily my friends horses are very well behaved and didn't kick him in the face, but he kind of had it coming.  I should have done a better job keeping him back, but it's a lot of effort and I didn't want to fight with him.  Plus it didn't help that even though Cupid is not a very big horse (not even 15.3 hands), he is a bit taller and much longer-legged then my friends' quarter horses and walks faster than them.

We initially had planned to camp out near Crater Lake, but since my friend still had to work a bit it didn't work out.  We were just going to do a day ride there instead, but it turned out the road to the campsites was closed anyhow.  We ended up going to a different trail nearby instead, which was fine except Cupid and I were pretty much eaten alive by mosquitoes!  I have over 50 bites!  (Apparently they are especially attracted to pregnant women, since blood volume, CO2 emission, and body temperature are all elevated)  They liked Cupid too, since he is thin skinned, and he was a bit miserable too kicking his belly and shaking his head.  But he handled the rocky terrain and trail obstacles like a champ!  On the way back Cupid was in front, and he walked a bit ahead, and since I was pretty over the mosquitoes I decided to let him and meet back at the trailer.  If he got too far ahead he would stop and wait until he could hear the other horses catch up.  Once he got a little too far ahead and whinnied, but he was pretty calm, no jigging.

The trail was pretty deserted, we only saw one man with his dogs, and a small group of hikers.  The hikers patted Cupid and said how pretty he was, and told me they just watched Justify win the Triple Crown and were impressed that Cupid used to race too.  Some people are not happy to share trails with horses so I always try to be friendly.
Drinking from a stream
Crossing a bridge
In the woods

Through a meadow

The trip was a great adventure, and further solidified my trust in Cupid and reminded me yet again he is capable of more than I give him credit for sometimes.  Even though we have been going to many new places since getting the trailer last year, we haven't done any overnight trips in a long time so I was very pleased with how quickly he settled in.  It helped to have the other (well-behaved!) horses around as he still gets insecure. We are already looking at doing this again next year!