Last night Flash and I did a moonlight ride with a conservancy group in Irvine, Calif. I've ridden with this group about two dozen times through the old Irvine Ranch behind closed gates where the public does not have access. We follow old stage coach routes where robbers used to hold up the stage in the rugged foothills, where California ranches first began with Spanish land grants, and where you can still spot owls, deer and mountain lion.
|Trailers lined up, horses tacked up, ready to mount and head out.|
|I'm ready Dad, let's go.|
|Our docent telling stories to "kill time".|
The group of 13 riders were scheduled to be "in the saddle" at 5PM and ready to head out from the staging area. Usually there is a large parking lot for trailer parking; however, the lot was under construction so everybody had to park in single file along the service road. Temperatures were in the low 90's, but the first few miles were under a canopy of oak trees and there was a slight breeze so it wasn't too bad. The docent who led the ride had set a time table so the group would be at certain spots along the ride so pictures could be taken at opportune times. After 45 minutes into the ride, we were 20 minutes ahead of schedule, so there was some down time at certain spots. Those gaited horses just don't get it. Flash tried to tell them to slow down and "just enjoy", but prance off they did.
|Stopping at Dripping Springs for "dinner in the saddle".|
|Rugged foothills as the sun is setting.|
It turned out to be a beautiful ride, and once the sun started setting, the temperature was really nice. We stopped for "dinner in the saddle" at a natural springs, but I was the only one left in the saddle, (too difficult to get back on with bad knees). Flash was his usual funny self. One rider felt sorry for him and gave him half an apple and some carrots. Then another rider had her back to Flash and was trying to feed her horse chocolate chips cookies which her horse wanted nothing to do with. Flash reached around with his neck, (he can bend when he wants to), and said he wouldn't mind the cookies. She gave him two. I was then embarrassed and decided to share my peanut butter sandwich with Flash, and he took three bites, leaving me with the crust.
|Sunset with the moon rising in the east.|
|Looking out towards the Pacific ocean past Newport Beach.|
After the dinner break we rode about 2 miles up a long hill to the top where we could see the Pacific ocean and the first lights of Newport Beach coming on and the Channel Islands in the distance. When we finally started back to the trailers around 8:30 PM, it was pitch black, (no lights whatsoever, only the full moon), and we were walking down an asphalt service road for about one mile. Every so often, the horses that were shod would put their foot on the asphalt, and sparks would come out from their shoes. Very weird light show.
|As Lori would say, "night all".|
The ride was great, Flash was great. The only down side was we didn't get home until around 11 PM, and after putting Flash away it was close to midnight and I had to get up at 5 to go to work. After getting in bed Annette said, "aren't you going to do a blog dear"? Maybe tomorrow, goodnight all.