Friday, April 30, 2010

Trail Training Newsletter - #112 - Springtime Ride

Springtime Ride

Cruiser and I were out alone on an evening ride. In the spring, everyone seems to come out. Our park can be a pretty busy place, because we are in suburbia. That evening, there were plenty of bicycles traveling in herds on the close-by street and paved all-purpose trail. We saw a number of joggers and hikers. The dog walkers from the local shelter were out in full force. There were lots and lots of motorcycles on the street—and most were really loud.

One part of the ride got pretty scary. I saw a crashed bicycle on the all-purpose trail and some people sitting near it. I went down the trail a little further, and I saw the flashing lights of an ambulance. I figured it was going to help the cyclist. We were about a half mile from the spot that I planned to turn around and go home. Where, I wondered, will the ambulance pass me on its trip to the hospital? Will it have it’s sirens blaring?

The last part of the trail is right out in the open by the street. I flew down it, turned around and flew back. Well, sorta flew back. This is spring when Crusier is still pretty hyper. We would trot, and when he got too fast, I brought him back to a walk until he settled down. Then we would trot, again. Gone are the days of trotting at top speed. The extended trot is hard on a bowed tendon.

Finally, we got back into the woods, so we walked quietly. I figured the ambulance would be on the move, shortly. As it turned out, the emergency workers were just finishing off when we got near the accident scene. We weren’t close, but we got a clear view. Unfortunately, we were at the top of a short, but very steep hill. I didn’t know how much longer they would be, so I started down the hill, hoping to get to the bottom before they hit the siren. No sooner had we started, the flashing lights came on. Cruise was cruising down the hill, as he likes to. I was chanting, “Don’t turn on the sirens, don’t turn on the sirens…” They didn’t, and all was well.

A short time later, a Great Blue Heron took off from a tree directly overhead and startled me. I nearly jumped right out of the saddle. They usually don’t let us get that close before flying. Cruiser didn’t care.

As we were crossing the river right before home, I noticed 4 Mallard Ducks just upstream. One of them started to rise out of the water. I turned Cruiser toward them and had him stand. I didn’t want him to get startled if they decided to fly away. Well, they didn’t fly away. To my horror, they all rose from the water and came straight towards us. We froze and watched them pass us—two on each side—no higher than my eyes. I’m so glad that Cruiser didn’t spook. That part of the river tends to be slippery. I was so proud of him. No matter how much you train your horse, you can’t prepare him for everything.

Sometimes I wish we rode in a quieter, more secluded part of the world, instead of a very busy public park. It would be so much easier. This night, I was reminded that we do have one big advantage in our park that we wouldn’t have in the wilderness that I hope never to use—easy access to emergency vehicles.

Besides, two of our scariest moments of the evening involved wildlife!

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

LOL great post! I loved the part about the heron and ducks. I hope the injured guy was okay. It must have been pretty bad to call an ambulance. Sounds like Cruiser was a really good boy. :)