A fine day to take a leisurely stroll with the MeetUp through our favorite Live Oak trails bordering Lake Cachuma, the jewel of local riding opportunities.
Five riders, 3 lady equestrians and 2 cowboys, 4 horses and 1 mule.
I did let out an audible gasp when we turned a corner in the trail and I saw that this tree at the bend in the trail had collapsed.
The lake makes rides here so special, as we track along the sides of the hills and then loop back around to have a view of it.
When we get to a special vantage point with Cachuma in the distance I always like to take portraits of my riding companions, to gift them in thanks for being good company on the trail with me.
Directly past the coastal range is the ocean, but you'd never know it back here where in the heat it felt like we were exploring the Serengeti.
And there, at the edge of the plateau, what do we see?
Horses like Marcos are also the product of selective breeding, but in his case the goal is to produce a magnificent war horse with energy and beauty. His mother is Mariposa, an Azteca, but his father was a full Andalusian stallion so he has 3/4 of the good looks and firey attitude of the Spanish horses.
Mariposa is a Mexican rodeo Azteca, meaning she is half quarterhorse and half Andalusian, and is the proud mama to Marcos. She definitely knows her job. She recently taught her owner's son Chewy to ride, and so she was chosen for Christina because she's a reliable ride.
And then, of course, Tobe the hybrid whose mother was a Rocky Mountain mare and his daddy was a Mammoth Jack Donkey. He is gaited, so his ride is extra smooth, and he has a brain more like a donkey so he takes it all in stride. A most sensible fellow.Santa Ynez Valley Riders recently donated some picnic tables under oaks out on the plateau, so we diverted from the trail to check them out.
While we took the break I decided I'd photograph the saddles in use because they were so different in style.
First this fancy white Mexican style saddle that sets off Mariposa's dark coloring perfectly.