Monday, November 28, 2011

11/28/11 Jerry Tindell Ranch High Desert ride

After being unable to ride Tobe for more than a month I was thrilled to spend my birthday going on a short trail ride with friends. Tobe is attending the Jerry Tindell Mule School for the Winter, an equine boot camp, and I am making weekly trips out so that I get educated too!

Length: 2.6 miles
Duration: 1 hour
Difficulty: Very easy riding. We took it slow, and just went for a stroll on the sand roads dividing up the gridded out houses and abandoned properties that fill the high desert now.

Altitude gain: 0 ft 

Grade: I

View JT Ranch High Desert ride in a larger map

All tacked up and ready to GO!
Tobe is still a bit afflicted, and in the arena was not walking properly, mysteriously glitching, but once we got geared up and headed out into the desert he was smooth and calm........... so he will continue to be in school and under observation and for today I got the pleasure of riding him and not feeling him hurt or trying to avoid pain. I have to be positive and think that he is healing up, and we will have many more adventures together.
Two of the gals who also study with Jerry Tindell made a point of being available today to ride with me, so that I could spend my birthday on the Big Guy. Thanks Carrie! Thanks Cat! That's my little BrenderUp trailer parked behind them, and the ranch dog Ruby sneaking up behind.
This is obscure, but up on that roof are a dozen peacocks...... just one is visible if you really look....... so riding by is always an audio delight as they call to each other and fly up to the roof for safety.
There's Carrie cruising along on Diamond Lil, a steady little appaloosa mule who definitely knows her job.
Once upon a time not long ago, when JT moved out to Oak Hills, ALL this was open desert. Now the giant kachinas of powerlines stretch across the horizon, and in the housing boom the valley was gridded up into plots for sale. Ancient sentinels like this old Joshua tree still stand watch.
Since the plots of land are large many have paddocks with horses, and almost all have a posse of junkyard dogs guarding them. If the dogs come out to confront us they meet Tobe the Attack Mule and we charge THEM and run them back into their yards! HA! Who says mules are prey animals!
This is what really GETS me, the abandoned properties. Many, like this one, have their roofs half on....... looks like the funding simply stopped one day, and work ceased and someone walked away and left it to the bank. So they are frozen in time, and wait for the weather to take them down. And the desert, which is never forgiving, abides.
A shadow play, with Tobe leading Lil.
The thing about Lil, she really does think she's in charge. Not all that unusual for a mule.

This is JT's apprentice Cat, and her calm quarter horse Roxy. Just look how mild and compliant it is, this horse seems like a dog that just wants to do the right thing. A bit of a contrast for those of us who ride mules who can't help but express their own opinions when we ride them.
That's why we need Jerry Tindell!

And here is Jerry Tindell and his daughter Joni Tindell-Bennett. 
He is the patient and perceptive teacher who has been my guide for several years as I proceed in the endlessly fascinating and challenging process of learning to ride. 
Joni takes care of running the office and organizing the business so JT can focus on the students, both human and equine.