Run Through the Jungle

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On our camping trip last week we had discussions about being stuck in tents and trailers with those who snore. I told Madison (we hung hammocks in a stall) that I could not guarantee a snore-free experience because I had no idea if I snore. The next day she exclaimed “Nope- Jaime doesn’t snore… but she hums.”

I guess I’m a music-head.

Which brings me to thinking about how many of my blog posts have ended up with music themed titles- because my experiences bring to mind a song and it gets stuck in my head. Thus often ending up the title of my blog. [You Get What You Need… Time, Truth & Heart… She’s Got a Ticket to Ride… I’ll Follow You Into the Dark… Over the River… etc] Today I was hearing CCR as we made our way off the mountain.

I’ve been getting out to the barn around 6am this week because #1 it’s just too hot, and #2 Ed is off this week so I’ve been wanting to get some time with him in the days. As I’d really like to get Khaleesi in shape for some LD riding at the end of the summer, she’s my first priority right now. Faygo is getting maintenance attention at the moment which means a ride or two a week.

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Monday we had a pretty uneventful ride. She is still occasionally doing the “I don’t want to go forward” thing and trying to turn me back toward home. I have tried Madison’s suggestion of backing her and it’s a great idea. She DOES get tired of backing up the way I want to go and will turn around to move forward. I also now remember to carry a little leather strap that I drive her forward with and between the two we are getting through these episodes pretty easily. The leather isn’t to “beat” her with just a few light slaps on her shoulders is enough pressure to get her to realize that YES- we’re doing this.

We’ve been doing about 6-8 miles, just enough to get out and keep in the habit.

Wednesday we headed up the mountain- I wanted to get her to do some climbing and so we took a nice trail that I’ve worked on clearing out that I call my “blue trail” and it goes about half way up the mountain to some remote areas even the hunters don’t get to (the old logging road is rough, but I keep it passable by horse) and it’s really pretty. We loop back home on my “main trail” and it makes about 6 miles with a good climb.

First unexpected thing: I “lost” my woods connecter trail. I wasn’t overly concerned but there were small branches down and it wasn’t as obvious as usual. I have blue flags marking the way, but I’ve done this so many times now I wasn’t worried. It’s nice open woods and easy to wander through with good visibility. We ended up passing the little meadow where I pick up the trailhead and having to backtrack down and check my GPS.

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The overgrown trail with briars at my meadow trailhead

Upon arriving at the meadow trailhead I was shocked at the growth since the last time I’d been up there- less than a month ago. That visit the berry briars were beginning to take over where my trail goes and I’d gotten off to do some good cutting to get through more easily. As I saw where I wanted to go- indeed it WAS A JUNGLE. I hate to push through briars and stopped to dig through my packs for my clippers- might as well cut them back a touch. As I sat there, dogs at our feet wondering what to do next, me digging through many different zipper compartments I heard Karen Chaton’s voice: “You also need to know where in your pack everything IS because you don’t want to be wasting time digging for something you need when you need it”.

Do I even have my clippers?

Now with two horses… two saddles… two different packs that fit the saddles… shoot- the clippers could be in Faygo’s pack… or did I stick them in Jackson’s pack when I rode him the other day… 

So much for ‘be prepared’ – a lot you’ve learned thus far…

What is that… sounds like a ‘buzz hummer’ bee or fly… you know those big slow ones that…

RATTLESNAKE RATTLE….

GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO

The snake had been just at our feet- right by the dogs too. I’d been sitting there too long for his (or her) comfort apparently and it scared the living crap out of me. Forget the clippers- we forged right on immediately partly into the briars, then back into the more open woods to bypass, but those woods were messy with old branches, grapevines and rocks and we were sinking into layers as we picked our way as quickly as was safe through.

Khalessi was perfect- she went exactly where I asked without complaint (I think she knew we were in survival mode at the moment and she didn’t question me). Dogs THANKFULLY completely in tow and after I yelled at them to “LETS GO NOW!! LEAVE IT” they high tailed it with me and did not bother the snake.

I am SO thankful that I did not find the clippers. My intent was to find them and then hop down and walk through that part of the trail clipping back the briars. I would have dropped out of the saddle right onto that snake’s head. I’m thankful I found a pair of used half chaps at the OD sale and now wear them when I ride (that would have helped some). Also thankfully it was an early cool morning and that snake had to be feeling a bit slow. I am certain God was watching out for me this morning. Important lesson learned today- don’t get off if it’s so thick you can’t SEE the ground. I am not going back through that spot until the jungle has died back- and I’ll get it back under control in the late Fall/Winter. That trailhead is closed for me right now!

Continuing on the trail I was still amazed at what a jungle I was picking through. I’ve ridden this trail for a few years now and have never seen it this thick. It’s at this point after fleeing from the snake that I started hearing that lick from Run Through the Jungle and the song kept in my head the rest of the ride.

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Nothing was as bad as the snake meadow, but the footing was particularly soggy and we often were sinking and slipping around in sections. I also found a ton of downs that forced us on small detours into the woods. It was a good time for focusing on precision steering and Khaleesi was starting to get better at anticipating which way I wanted to thread through the trees.

At one point I was looking for the best way to cross a few logs that were down and she started to step on her own. I thought “ok- she’s got this… maybe”- but no… she slipped a bit and backtracked, got a foot off balance in the mud and we went all the way down (belly on trail!). It was slow motion and not that big a deal, but it was our first time going down together. She was gold all the way- she went down on all fours, got her front legs under her and then waited there. I considered jumping off, but she took my hesitation as the green light and she popped back up with me still on top. She was a little flustered for a moment but we were fine.

I am glad to have the chance to go through these small things together and get experience. I am also glad that she’s so solid even as a green horse that she keeps her wits about her.

We were both “done” for the day as we approached my “main trail” and kept a pretty good trot as footing allowed most of the way home.

In other good news, this is ride 3 that we haven’t lost a hoof boot. The rides have been shorter and I doubt we are home free, but I think we’re getting the fit down better now. We’ve also been riding mainly alone lately which is a nice thing for our connection and communication. I did not think I would be able to take her out on the trail solo this soon and am so pleased at what a good trail horse she’s making. I can’t be happier at how levelheaded and confident she is. I didn’t think I could get another trail horse as good as Faygo- and while Khaleesi has a ways to go, she shows fantastic potential. Gotta love a good mare!

Hopefully we can get together with some friends and start upping our mileage as well soon.

Meanwhile, I’m staying on my cleaner trails and roads for a while, and I’ll be singing this all day-

Better run through the jungle….. run through the jungle… better run through the jungle… whoa don’t look back to see…

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One thought on “Run Through the Jungle

  1. You are my hero Jamie! I wish I had a horse now…. Love the dogs in the water and the fact that Kaleesi handed herself well in the “hole”. Good girl and she didn’t loose a boot??

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