In which we go to a pokey--er, POKER ride, and Fiddle learns stuff

The forecast was for sunshine in the Swamplands, but the clouds were hanging low and dripping on the windshield as we sped up and over Snoqualmie Pass to the Dry Side of the State. By the time we got to our destination, there were no clouds in sight!
I didn't have to go all the way to the Dry Side to find beautiful colors like these: because Silver Ridge Ranch was hosting their annual charity poker ride on their land just at the top of Snoqualmie Pass.

Which charity? I wondered, and they pointed out the list posted by the sign-in table. The list is huge--basically, every helping organization in the county, from the food bank to the animal shelters, would get some money from this event. Excellent.
The weather was bright and beautiful, the trails were nicely built, with a few "stepover" logs and roots to give the riders a thrill, and there were plenty of folks on the trails.

They weren't moving very fast. Some of them, I noticed, had to stop a few times on the trail to offload the beer they'd been drinking. I totally don't understand drinking beer while riding--I mean, my faithful mount already has a 1,000+ lb advantage on me. Why on earth would I negate some of my balance as well?

I know, I'm a geek. I wasn't the only one on the trail wearing tights and a helmet. Almost the only one, but not quite. Some folks were also astonished that I was riding "alone." Um, aren't y'all standing right there? (also, what about my large friend wearing the saddle? doesn't she count?)

Speaking of my large friend, Fiddle was incredulous when I insisted that she walk a majority of the trail. By her lights, we were in a ridecamp. Therefore, we were supposed to run as fast as we could. The footing was fine, and there were all those pokey horses in front, she could outrun them at a quick walk, she told me.

But that isn't the point, I told her. Just walk and enjoy the day. (We did trot when we had a mile or two of clear space in front of us...she's right when she says that we should take advantage of good footing!)

Of course, I was scouting the location as a possible endurance ride site. Hmmm. Definitely a possibility.

Apparently there's a way to get under the highway and link to the Iron Horse/John Wayne Pioneer Trail, and possibly even a way to hook up to Easton Ridge and the brand new Washington State Horse Park.

I called Gail from my cell phone on the trail. You've gotta check this out!

Yes. Definitely on the list of possible future ridecamps.We did see a foolish cowpokey pony go into the water much further than the rider intended. The lake bottom is mucky, shoe-grabbing mud, and the horse floundered around enough in it to dunk the rider and then itself before everybody got right-side-up again. Fiddle and I declined to enter the lake after watching that. It was just fine to look at it from a respectful distance.

One of the cowpokey people took our picture. Notice that my shirt pocket contains my ride card (poker ride=draw numbers at five spots along the route, high and low "hands" win prizes). For some reason, Fiddle completely lost her marbles the first time I handed my card to a volunteer. So, for the rest of the ride, I got the card out periodically to flap it around her body, and handed cookies to the guys with the number bag to give her when they rattled the bag. By the end of the ride, the whole routine was boooorrrrrrring. Never underestimate the power of cookies.

Thanks for the sunshine, Silver Ridge Ranch. I'll be back next year (or maybe even sooner...)!


  1. Wow, beautiful scenery! Too bad it was pokey - I really have a hard time going 3 mph now, and Dixie has never gone 3 mph well. Fiddle looks lovely and you look so happy!

  2. Why didn't you TELL ME that you were going to this ride!?! The KVTR went, and the only reason I didn't go was that I had to dig up my septic tank and unclog my sewer line (really!). But to see the Purple Pirate, I woulda rented a porta potty!
    Glad you enjoyed the sunshine and the area. I'm getting a post ready on the "fun ride" at the State Horse Park from last weekend--now that will be a wonderful facility when it's finished--already pretty neat.

  3. hey, i stayed there! i had the "duke room." the horse corrals are great and i enjoyed the odd books they had on the shelves of the lodge (i found a sex how-to book written in the 40s (for men)).

    did you get to ride on the air strip?


  4. What beautiful pictures...I especially like the one of you & Fiddle. The cowpokes took a nice shot ;-)

    If i had access to a trailer, this is exactly the type of ride I could take Grif to. Even with his arthritis, the slower pace would be perfect for us. He can go all day at an easy pace :-)

    I can't say I think much of people drinking beer while riding either. I think it's a bit dangerous to both the human and horse. It should be a partnership and the horse needs his/her rider to help stay out of trouble (like wading into unsafe waters or taking a difficult section of trail). In my opinion, it's not fair (and disrespectful)to do that to your partner. If people want to drink, they should stay at the trailhead and leave the horses at home!

  5. Want. To. Go.
    That looks like a blast! Beautiful, lots of people (if some questionably sober) and a lovely looking trail.

  6. So what we're the reslts of the Poker Ride? How did you two do at the end?
    I've never done a Poker Ride. Always wondered how it works.

    I love a nice slow ride sometimes, just soaking in the scenery, but I don't like a slow ride when you're in a long line of riders and horses. Feels somehow likea dude ranch string.
    Good for you that you were able to kick it up a notch out there.

    I'm so impressed with all the horse friendly trails you guys have in the PNW. Most of our trails still allow ATVs, bikes, and loose dogs. And I only know of a handful of trails and places that are horse specific with equine friendly facilities.



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