Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Trail Riding from Middle Ranch

Horse-eating-sheep pasture
This past Saturday I went on a lovely trail ride, departing from the northern part of Middle Ranch. As a boarder, it is so fantastic to be able to just get on your horse and hit the trail. You don't have to walk your horse on the street, or trailer out to another property, both things I have done in the past.

The trail I use most often at Middle Ranch is referred to as "the loop." First stop on the loop after a nice quarter mile or so hill is a large plateau that is home to several fuzzy sheep, as seen in the photo at left. These sheep are always a disconcerting sight for Miss Africa. Luckily her reaction is usually to just stop, snort and stare. It makes me laugh that she has such a strong reaction to these harmless creatures, as we have also encountered deer, snakes, a bobcat and coyotes, all of which she reacts to in much less dramatic fashion. 

Fire roads stretching out before us
Once we've passed in front of the horse-eating-sheep pasture, it's onto the fire road, at right. The benefit of boarding your horse in an area know for out of control brush fires is the amazingly well kept roads that are used by fire trucks and park rangers. Although a bit too hard for anything faster then a walk or sometimes a trot, they are wide and well groomed. These roads continue on from the Middle Ranch property into the adjacent Angeles National Forest.

Shady section of trail "loop" at Middle Ranch
After strolling along the fire road for a while, the loop comes to it's last stretch alongside a creek that only has water flowing in late spring, but provides enough water that large oak trees shade the path. It is my favorite part of the trail as it is shady. You can start "the loop" by entering this shady stretch first, but I like to save it for the end. Right now it is still somewhat green in all of these photos, but by the end of May it will probably be mostly brown, which is still beautiful in it's own rugged way.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Southern California Turnout for Horses

Yes, "Southern California Turnout" is pretty much an oxymoron, especially close to major cities. While on the East Coast turnout usually means an acre plus of open space, probably with some actual grass growing on the ground, in SoCal it generally means your horse goes out for an hour in what is euphemistically called a "sun pen." These range in size from 24' x 24' on up, and allow the horses to move around a bit more than they can in a box stall and roll if they are so inclined. It is not ideal, but most horses seem to cope pretty well, especially with daily riding and/or hand walking.

Here's a video of my mare, Africa, having a bit of fun in the "turnout" today. She was a little peeved that I came to get her out and decided to show me she was still WILD and I should leave her be. I only caught a bit of her hijinks on my phone, but it made me smile since is 19 years old and still up to acting goofy once in a while.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Welcome to Los Angeles Equestrian!

Nothing says Los Angeles quite like smog, subdivisions and parched earth, but we make due with what we’ve got! For some time now I've wanted to document my equestrian adventures in the unlikely landscape of Los Angeles, but hadn't quite found the right forum. Well, except for Facebook.

My friends and family have been subject to numerous posts about dressage shows, eventing and the intricacies of body clipping. Fascinating stuff, but only for the horsey set. Luckily about 10% of my friends and family are "horsey," but I have a feeling everyone else just looks on in bewilderment. Therefore I have to throw in "normal" posts and photos pertaining to work, food, etc. so as not to seem too odd, but with this blog I am going all horsey, all the time!

I'll be posting more about my intrepid mare, Africa's Secret, and the types of things we do together, but for now I've put forth enough brain power for one late night.