The BackCountry HorseMenAndWomen of California had their annual Camp & Ride up at Live Oak, and I went out for a stroll with some mule gals.
Length: 6.2 miles
Duration: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Very easy riding. But Tobe has had a "hitch in his get-along" since Catalina that appears after a distance, and today it kicked in pretty severely at 1 hour/3 miles. His back legs seemed to be in pain, and he was very difficult to handle on the trail, and after the ride I took him to the vet for xrays and ultrasound to try and determine the problem. He'll be on layoff, on painkillers and anti-inflammatories for two weeks.
View BCHC Live Oak 10-22-11 in a larger map
Altitude gain: 960 ft
When we arrived at Live Oak Camp this mule deer and friends crossed the road right on cue.
Tobe was happy to go out on the trail with some pretty mules, in a place we very much like to ride in.
The chalk hill rides above the river plain, we usually do a big loop and then end the ride coming down that white trail on the right.
The first access gate, made to keep the cows and wild bucking horses inside. I so clearly remember how insurmountable this gate once was, and now I can open and close it from Tobe's back. The gate didn't change, I did.
First view of Cachuma Lake. A beautiful sight, and this is the jewel of local riding areas.
It is pretty well dried out after the summer, but just traveling across empty areas has a calming effect on equine and human.
The stately oaks are such an iconic symbol of the Old West.
The bucking horse mares and colts have no fear of riders, and Tobe always calls to them and it is a bit of a rodeo to keep him from running off and becoming a wild thing.
The dry riverbed, the same one we crossed at belly-deep fullness this winter. In a land largely without seasons the ebb and flow of water in the frontcountry and the grass cycling colors are welcome markers of time.
The shadow riders survey the terrain.
And then patient Tobe got fussed over at the Alamo Pintado equine veterinary clinic, with the latest in ultrasound and xrays, as if he were an expensive racehorse from one of the nearby thoroughbred farms. For now, the Rx is rest and anti-inflammatories, and we'll hope to be back out on the trail in a few weeks. Poor guy!