In which I talk (again) about what you can train for (and what you can't)

I'm back on the laptop today, because I want to post a video, and YouTube refuses to share videos with Blogger.
There was a know-it-all on social media this morning (big surprise, right?) pontificating (as one does?) in response to this picture:

"...blah blah blah if you meet a motorcycle or a mountain bike YOU HAVE TO TRAIN YOUR HORSE IN ADVANCE, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLEnot their fault if your horses isn't trained, blah blah blah."

Of course I believe in training horses to cope with new, weird stuff.  
But it's no good to pretend that teaching your young horse to accept your spouse on a bicycle in the driveway is gonna help when you encounter an entire flight of mountain bikes zooming silently down a hill towards you...meh.  Real life doesn't work that way.  Horses don't work that way.

I've talked about this before, most notably in regards to helicopters.
There are tons of things on the trail that I don't have available for practice at home.  Today, we …

In which my tablet is used to build this post (more prep for the Cross-State)

Darlene made the excellent point that I don't talk much about what a nice horse the Dragon has become. 
I really need to do that.

It's really true: in the 12+ years we've been together, the Dragon had changed from being an (extremely) angry toddler

to being a steady mount in the arena

and most importantly, completely amazing on the trail.

What changed?

The first thing we did was enforce rules and boundaries.

This mare likes rules and boundaries--sometimes, she tests them, just to make sure they are still there, because she finds them comforting.

So, training and lots of it.  Not just dressage and trails, either.  Tricks were important to help her learn to watch me for cues and value my praise (erm, and the cookies in my pockets.  Bridging praise is important!)

Eventually we hit a plateau: very little behavioral improvement. That, plus her perpetual heat cycles, led us to choose an ovariectomy for her.

The result of the spay procedure was more than I dared hope: her chronic …

In which I try another phone-based post (this time with a blogger app)

Today I'm trying out a phone blogger app by a developer called "Ercan Ducan".

Darlene met me at the Victoria trail for a ride. Neither of us expected THIS MUCH SN*W!

Another thing we didn't anticipate: the "horse trailer rig" parking lot was full of CARS. Grrr.  

I considered leaving a nice wet pile of manure near the driver door of each intruder but settled for a polite note on each windshield AND inside the porta-potty.

Darlene and I talked a lot about the X-State ride, as she's planning to go too! I told her what I learned from the BCH folks in Pt Townsend.  We were both happy that apparently there are "mounting rocks" near most of the gates!

There are so many details of the trip to settle, and seek, we leave in just-over two months. I guess that Darlene and I will just have to ride together more and more! (Sounds like fun to me!)

In which I attempt to level up my blogger skills: posting by phone

Once again, we woke to sn*w on the ground, and more still falling.

I have places to go today!  But the nasty stuff did (mostly) melt, and I made my escape.

I missed the first boat and parked in the "standby" line for the 2:45 sailing. With more than an hour to wait, there was plenty of time to explore.

The blue sky is so welcome.

Adjacent the ferry terminal: a state historical park.

Once ashore, I got distracted by a directional sign...

The Pt Townsend library is pretty, and decently useable, which is high praise for a 100-year old concrete building in the Swamp.

Here's the reason (excuse) for my journey: an Endurance 101 presentation for the Buckhorn Range chapter of the Backcountry Horse men people. Theresa is their Prez, and my host--and the former director of the Pt Townsend library!

In which we finally get out of the driveway and go for a ride

The roads are mostly fine, but...
...the parking lots--including parts of the parking strip at our house, and the parking lots at the trailheads--are still awful. 

It was cold.

The ground was frozen, slushy, or slimy.

In the spots where the sn*w has melted, a cold wind whistled around the edges of my helmet.

Many of the trails are blocked by fallen trees and branches.

It was glorious.

Fee snorted and stopped at several tall piles of sn*w along the road away from the trailhead, but once we got on the single-track she put her ears up and her head down and off we went as if she'd been worked steadily for the last month, instead of having just one bareback-for-a-few-minutes ride in the pasture out of the entire month so far.

When we got back to the trailhead, I sussed the parking lot and wasn't happy:  sn*w and icy bits everywhere, not a clear single-track to follow up the hill to the road.  Grrr.   I put the Reindeer into 4x4 and off we went, just as if there was nice s…

In which the sn*w is almost gone, and I turn my gaze towards the Springtime

I wanted to do this last year.

The Cross-State Ride, sponsored by the John Wayne Pioneer Wagons and Riders Association begins in mid-May this year.

Last year, I was all set to do part of  it, and then the Dragon borked a tendon,

which sidelined us for months.

Now, the Dragon is Officially Retired From Endurance, which frees up a bunch of time (and some money) to do Other Stuff.

Stuff like...walk across the state!

I sent in my registration form and money yesterday. 
Jim and I are now brainstorming ways to streamline my camp setup, since I'll need to take it down and put it back up, single-handedly almost every day for two weeks.*

*Several people are also interested in attending the event, but I need to be sure I can do it by myself, just in case plans change.

So far, my plan is to set up a folding cot (or build one in place) in the bed of the Reindeer.  Then I can store my clothes and bedding and stuff in the truck and not have to move it around at all.

The ride organizers pro…

In which the only thing good about the weather is there's less of it

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

It's finally starting to melt.

We are starting to see colors other than grey and white, which helps, a little.

We've been able to get out and around on the roads now for almost a week.

Okay, no.  Four days.

Okay, no.  MY car was able to get out four days ago.  Jim's and Monica's were pretty stuck until Thursday.

I didn't even look at the forecast today until I'd gone for lunch with the Suspects (tea helps everything, but Thai soup is best for depression) and ridden my horse.

Then I looked at the forecast:

Somebody wake me up when it's April.