WiFi is hit and miss here (mostly miss) and very slow when it works so posting will be spotty at best this week. We finished up the first part of our stay at the Alisal today -- Kyle and Camille joined us for the weekend. We had a great time together -- it's been a few years since they have been able to join us here. Pesky school schedules have put a crimp in our annual family get-away. We tried a weekend for the first time (more people, more money) and it worked out well.
Brett and I are having a good time despite a few setbacks.
We took Winston and Flash out on a trail ride Saturday. We asked the wrangler to just take us on an easy walk ride as we ease Flash back into work after his hock injections. Flash started out great but then we went up a fairly steep hill and then back down the other side, dropping down to the lake. Flash was so-so going up the hill but couldn't do the down hill at all. I felt horrible for him; his head was high and he hopped, trying to keep his weight off the left hind hock. Back on level ground by the lake, he walked well but his days of doing hills are over.
Brett sat with Flash in his paddock for the rest of the afternoon, showing up just in time to join us for dinner. During dinner, he didn't say a word and he climbed into bed the minute we got back to the room. I felt horrible for him.
Flash will be semi-retired going forward. He will still do the mounted patrol work they both love so much and Brett will still ride him on the flat roads in our community. It's not going to be an easy transition for either of them.
This morning, Brett rode one of the ranch horses on the morning ride and I saddled up Winston. While we waited for the groups to be mounted and go our, Winston welcomed attention from guests walking by, chewed on the railing and played with my helmet. Brett, Kyle, Camille and I headed out with one of the wranglers. Winston was worried and unhappy about going out without Flash, stuck with a bunch of strange horses (he doesn't like strange horses). He called to Flash and pranced a bit. After we left the barn, walked past the paddocks full of ranch horses munching their morning hay, and headed towards the lake, our wrangler stopped and walked her horse back to see how everyone was doing. Winston started freaking out -- first there was no Flash and now the wrangler's horse was leaving him. He reared up and pranced around. She (woman wrangler) came back to the front and announced that we were going to pick up a trot. Winston was beside himself by this time and instead of trotting, he bucked. And bucked and bucked. I hit the dirt. Hard. Winston trotted off but he didn't go far. I sat in the dirt thinking about how much my hip hurt and how embarrassing it was to come off with an audience.
Someone nabbed Winston and I climbed back on. I moved further back in the line in the hopes that Winston would settle if he was behind a quiet horse instead of the wrangler who was moving hither and yon, keeping an eye on our small group (just Brett, Camille and I). A few minutes later, she picked up the trot again. Winston jumped into canter but behaved... for two strides. Then we were on top of Camille and her horse, Little Mo. With nowhere to go, Winston used his energy to buck again. This time I landed on my lower back. Winston looked at me in confusion and when the wrangler tried to catch him, he trotted away. With his phobia of strangers, I knew I had to be the one to catch him. Brett called to him and he walked towards Brett but then stepped on a rein and startle away again. Winston was clearly nervous and unhappy. I winced my way to my feet and called to him, stepping his direction. With a huge sigh of relief, Winston walked over to me and allowed me to catch him. I climbed back on and requested that we not trot or canter anymore. The wrangler took us up steep hills, off the trail, and back down. Winston was wound up but he didn't buck anymore. It was a long, stressful, painful ride but we went another good hour before getting back to the barn. I led him the last bit because he was getting hyper when we got within calling distance from Flash.
Brett drove me to the ER and I have some wonderful pain pills for my lumbar strain. No broken bones, no compressed vertebrae. Just bruising, dirt down my pants and pebble marks in my skin.
We won't be taking either horse out on the trail for the remainder of the trip.
Today through Wednesday will be quiet. Its just Brett and I and there are no activities scheduled. We will ride on the ranch horses, do some wine tasting and relax. Thursday starts the couples weekend. Hopefully, my muscles will be pretty much recovered by then.