Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ridge Trail

Last weekend, Brett and I took Flash and Winston out on the ridge trail.  We often ride out on the short bit at the end of the trail that comes back into our community.  It has a nice view of our community but is short and easy -- it was the first "trail" ride I took Winston on and it was easy and short enough for Jackson in the past.  The last time that I rode the entire ridge trail was in 2006 or 2007 on Auke.  A long time ago!  The trail is extremely steep -- 50-60 degree inclines -- rocky, and long.  It takes two and a half to three hours to complete.  At the summit, there are some amazing huge boulders.  I remember wondering whether I could fit Auke's huge Friesian body through the boulders last time I went on the trail.

The trail head is about halfway through the loop trail, in the section of the canyon that we call the enchanted forest.  It is densely wooded oaks, with tall grass and poison oak underfoot.  There are fallen logs and branches across the trail and gnats.  There are always gnats.

The trail quickly climbs out of the canyon.  It climbs up and over the stoney ridges of the Santa Ana mountains.  The trail is steep, littered with rock and scarred from the rains making gullies.  A group of people in our community, together with rangers and members of the Sierra Club have been working on clearing the trail.  They also put a tie rail up at the summit so you can stop and rest, and maybe picinic, there.  We wanted to check it out.

I also wanted to ride the trail because Winston also has no butt.  Hills are the best way to build those muscles.  I put the helmet cam on Brett's head, told him how to turn it on, and off we went.   The video doesn't give a good sense of how steep the trail is.  Brett and I always lean forward going up hill so we are balanced over the horses' shoulders -- much as you lean forward when scrambling up a steep incline.  This gave the impression, on the video, of the trail being level which couldn't be further from the truth.  You can get a feeling of the effort Flash was putting into launching himself up the trail by the heaving motion on the film.

Winston did very well.  He didn't blow hard but he did slow way down on the steep parts.  His endurance is better than his muscle strength at this point.  His hooves took a bit of a beating -- they were quite chipped up when we got home.  But he wasn't at all sore -- and neither was Flash. 


  1. i could stand to climb a few hills myself. :)

  2. omg can I come stay with you and go trail riding with you?! That is so gorgeous! We just have nothing like that in Indiana.

  3. What a gorgeous trail!!! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

  4. Absolutely beautiful trail. Thanks so much for the video!
    Makes me wish that my trails would dry up- I'm itching to get back onto the hills!

  5. Wow! It looks plenty steep to me! Good ponies!

  6. Gorgeous! I got a feel for the mountains when Brett did the panoramic views. Flash looks like a really fun, reliable trail horse.

    I had some helmet cam footage of hills and one really steep decent from the Turkey Trot, but I was disappointed to find that everything looked level when I watched the video. I couldn't even find the steep decent portion of the video. Just goes to show how important perspective is. Your views of the mountains made all the difference!


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