Horse Camp: On the Fly

Rancho2013_I love it when my birthday, June 8th,  falls on a Saturday.  On June 8th, about 2 weeks  ago, the scheduled temps in Chico, Ca. were around 108 degrees.  At Sundog, up in the foothills,  the temp might ONLY be 103 degrees (how do I make a degree sign on a computer?)  So I asked Rockin’ Roy…if we could do one of my favorite things.  Camping in the cooler mountains and not just regular camping,  horse camping, even better.   You see,  I have my Appaloosa gelding named “GQ” trained so good right now I can just about let anyone hop on his back for a ride and that means Rockin’ Roy gets to ride him.  Lucky Roy.   I can hop on my newest ride Chiron.  Chiron is pictured above after loading into the big tin can trying to sniff the big black thing in his face and asking “where the you know what are we going now?”Rancho2013_-2I tell Chiron “you are going on a trip with your buddy and staying right next to each other all day and night ”  He does not care about anything else.   Like the fact we are going to a place called Skillman Campground about 2 hours drive from here where it might be 10 degrees cooler. Rancho2013_-3The feeling of driving away with the horse trailer and camping gear is just about as good as it gets.  Only one problem.  No Sundogs are aboard.  The campground we are going to requires dogs on a leash and some of the trails go too close to highways.  Taking a Sundog or two would be way to complicated and even dangerous.  Besides,  it is good for us to have vacations away from each other once in a while.   Just like Rockin’ Roy and me go our separate ways quite often…I mean once in awhile.  AND it is not like the poor Sundogs are deprived.  They are staying home lounging by the pool being spoiled by some lucky Sundog sitters.  IMG_0114

See, here they are. Minus one.Rancho2013_-9“On  the fly”  to me means spontaneous,  not fly fishing.    Non tent living quarters pictured above is part of the “on the fly” theme.  Spontaneous is fun and makes me feel young again but it has some drawbacks since neither Rockin’ Roy and I are all that organized.Rancho2013_-4Like…..I had to immediately wash all the camping supplies due to ample amounts of wood rat droppings in the camping stuff bin.   Of course it was not MY fault because I did not pack the truck.  The person who packs the truck with STUFF is supposed to check the STUFF since this was the first trip of the year….. but I did the dishes anyway.  Doing the dishes when you are camping is like playing house when you were a kid.  Plus the scenery is nice.  I was a bit embarrassed to put up this photo of me doing the dishes but I wanted you to see our “on the fly” set up.  Please don’t laugh at our camping gear, we keep the thrift stores in business.Rancho2013_-5What a nice fire huh?    I built this fire while being left alone for an hour.  Left alone because someone (who me?) forgot to put everything we needed in the cooler.  Like coffee and cream which is a must for waking up on my birthday morning.  And another someone (not me) forgot to bring along the lantern, another must have camping item.   Making a fire with dry wood is a piece of cake.  In fact with this fire who needs a lantern?  GQ and Chiron are into their busy bags.  The best part  about horse camping is sleeping near and looking at your horses all the time.  It’s like we are living together.  I think I will title this photo “Life is Good”.Rancho2013_-10“Life is Good”  came to an end when in the morning I had to clean the stalls.   Lots of horse poop is a fact of life having horses, unless you have a poop picker upper.   Which most of us don’t.  But the duty is not so bad since we are in the cool mountain air and the flies are at bay.Rancho2013_-8While cleaning the stalls the horses had to be tied up to a hitching post.  A wood hitching post is an old fashion invention. Why they make them out of wood I’ll never know.   Standing still while tied is a horses job.  As you can see in this photo Chiron is not exactly doing his job well.  He is starting the annoying habit of pawing at the ground due to boredom I quess.  GQ watches me wondering why Chiron gets all the attention all the while misbehaving.Rancho2013_-26The pawing kept him busy for a while.  I tried not to make much of it.Rancho2013_-23He built up some pretty nice soft soil there around him to stand on.  Maybe that was what is was all about?Rancho2013_-20

GQ decides to go introverted at the hitching post.

Rancho2013_-35It is all he can do to deal with the situation.  Being tied to the hitching post with Chiron is about as bad as it gets.Rancho2013_-16Eyes closed, head down, nose to post.  “Maybe nobody will notice me”.Rancho2013_-17Secret whiskers on alert.Rancho2013_-18Time to wake up goober nose.Rancho2013_-15
Chiron feels he has to help GQ wake up by sniffing around and tickling GQ’s belly.  GQ is enormously tolerant of Chiron in this way.Rancho2013_-7“Mom come and get me now “!Rancho2013_-30Chiron on the other hand has other ideas.Rancho2013_-28As you can see a wood hitching post has its disadvantages.   Notice how nice and straight Chiron’s teeth are?  No I DON’T brush them daily.  Also notice the orange drips on the hitching post?Rancho2013_-29Habanero sauce, which usually works to discourage wood consummation.  Chiron did NOT do all this damage to the hitching post.  The many horses that visited here before did it.  Chiron was just doing his part.Rancho2013_-13After a bit of Habanero sauce Chiron quickly lowered his head under the hitching post as if to say…..”I think I’ll just hang my head low and be a good boy like GQ”Rancho2013_-19“Or maybe not”  As you can see this horse has some pent-up energy.  Lucky me I get to ride him today, my birthday.Rancho2013_-36Speaking of birthdays look what I got!  What more could a cowgirl want?  No not the Corona…..a new tool.   Besides a couple of knives it’s got wire cutters and a bottle opener.  Even though it was only late morning we were camping and it was my birthday so off popped the cap on the Corona Light which is like drinking water almost.  It is good to loosen up a bit before a rideRancho2013_-12Being an experienced trail horse GQ goes back to snoozing while Roy has to check the map one more time.  He knows all about conserving his energy before he has to work.Rancho2013_-22The warm mountain sun is starting to get high meaning we are REALLY late getting started for our ride today.  Do you think GQ cares?Rancho2013_-27Absolutely NOT!Rancho2013_-37But the time comes to ride.  I tack up the horses because Rockin’ Roy is allergic to them. Rancho2013_-38Doesn’t GQ look fabulous in his new headstall?Rancho2013_-40Chiron finally calms down knowing he is going to get to move his feet soon.  Saddlebag not needed today.  Rancho2013_-39Whoa Roy!  Heels down, shorten that inside reign, lower those hands, elbows in.  GQ wonders “who is this on my back and why is my usual human standing on the ground in front of me?”

At this point my trail camera bit the dust and it was time to get on with the ride.  Chiron was calling me to hurry up and get on.  No more blogging time just riding time.  Rockin Roy and I had a glorious ride through the forest.  We even had lunch at a cafe along the trail.   The weather stayed below 95 degree’s I think.  GQ and Chiron were perfect mounts and the rest of the weekend went of without a hitch….ha ha no pun intended.

Adios Amigo’s…until next time.

8 thoughts on “Horse Camp: On the Fly

  1. That would have been the best birthday EVER!! I would LOVE to camp with my horse, your boy GQ reminds me of my QH…patient ad kind…. I smiled so many times throughout your post I am going to read it again! Giddyup!

  2. Happy belated birthday. What a wonderful way to celebrate your special day. Loved all the horse close-up shots. Beautiful. And now that I have seen the Sundogs’ pool, do not be surprised if one day you find me scratching at your door. 😉

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