Whew! What an unseasonably warm ride. It's the MIDDLE OF JANUARY and we were riding in t-shirts and tank tops today!!! Highs were easily in the mid-60's and the poor fuzzy horses were certainly feeling it.
S and I took Taz and Dig over to "the gym" today near Fort Churchill. LOVE winter riding out here. The gym is a series of long sandy hills. All the trails intersect and connect together, so it's pretty easy to make as many loops and circles as you may want to get in a killer workout. There's no water, so you either need to loop back to the trailer (a bit of one-way repeat), or just plan on a shorter ride. For now, 10 miles is a butt-kicking workout for the boys and we're all pretty much ready to be done after a few hours.
S has a GPS, so here's the link to the ride. We did 10.8 miles with 2,000 feet elevation change in 2:45. This is Taz's heart-rate data, since I don't have a GPS. I *DID* get my HRM batteries all replaced though so Dig was also "wired for sound" as I like to call it. Overall, his pulses are higher while working, but only by about 10-12 bpm or so. While riding, we trot (or slow canter) all the uphills, which is HARD WORK for the horses, and then walk the ridgetops and downhills to get back to the next uphill pull. Sort of long interval boughts. Our overall average pace would be a bit higher, but we went exploring a bit at the end, and ended up having to get off and walk on foot down a rocky hillside that was too steep to try to ride down. There was also a bit of standing around to figure out exactly how we were going to get from here-to-there. ;)
I've ridden out here over 20 times now, this was a favorite spot to bring Sinatra, and I have never seen dirt bikes before. I've heard some, but never ran across them. Today we had trail encounters with no less than 10 motorized vehicles. The first was the worst, along the ridgetop without much room to get off trail, along comes an OLD dirtbike (aluminum fenders/body) ridden by an even older guy, grey beard flying in the wind. In an effort to be nice, he turned the bike off and was coasting downhill toward us. This actually probably made the whole thing scarier for the horses, since now it was more or less silent except for some odd whirring noises. I felt Dig bunch beneath me and asked him to stop, which he graciously did. After talking a bit, he was able to put his feet down on either side and walk the bike past with no issues. The next set was a group of 5 that came over a hilltop onto the adjoining trail. Here we had a nice wide area to sit and wait as they all went by. After the last one had passed, I asked Dig to "chase" them down the trail. The next set, we let by and were turning onto the trail to follow when Dig under his own accord spun around and took off trotting after them. =) Good boy!