Covering 1,778 acres (nearly 2.8 square miles), the property lies about eight miles south of Santa Maria in the Solomon Hills in Northern Santa Barbara County.
We had not planned to have a guide, only a whim to reverse the trail we took last time we rode here and see if we liked it better in that direction
But our pal Stormy who is a volunteer Trail Marshall at the Ranch turned up with her Arabian Pico, and so we knew we were in good hands.
Or hooves, as the case may be.
The entire property is crisscrossed with trails. Some may have been made by cattle, others are being laid out now to accommodate multi-use recreation.
We slowly wend our way along.
The line up shifts, the animal personalities find their own levels. And the humans can bask in the 3D landscape where light and shadows shift as we pass through.trails are often undermined by ground squirrel holes.My trusty mule can see and avoid most, but this week he stepped on a place that had a hole underneath the surface that collapsed, and he pitched forward onto his knees. It was on a single-track trail with a steep drop-off, and there we were, both of us praying. I was forward on his neck, and he gave a mighty shove and stood back up, putting me back into the vertical.
The POLEYS on the Australian saddle, the plates that lock my thigh in front and behind, KEPT ME SEATED. I won't speculate on the grim possibility that in my previous saddles I would not have fared so well. Hooray for the Aussie style, and for Colin Dangaard custom designed saddles!
And what a view it was! So very much worth the climb up to see all the way out to the Pacific Ocean to the West, skimming over the Solomon Hills and over Orcutt, across Santa Maria to the sea. Pico and Tobe agree!
Of course it was just the right place to take a photo of the whole group. Now, if you were doing math, you see why there were ten riders, ten horses, and one mule. One cowboy ponied an older horse who has a medical condition and can't be ridden far but still wants to come along. Now, the question is: "If I'm on Tobe Mule taking this photo, how am I over there on the right?" Magic!
Another pleasant day, and despite my thrilling moment that could have gone awry no one did fall off. Another Mule Trail walk in the Central California that evokes the past as present. A step outside of the indoor life to experience a different way of thinking.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
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