Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Training 2011 Pt I

Old Winter back to the savage hills
Withdraweth his force, decrepid now.

No doubt about it, I am three weeks early to be speaking of spring.  Here in the high desert of west central New Mexico, we usually get a good snow in early April and we had 45 mph winds and an inch an a half of snow two days ago though it quickly melted.  Snow is still on the northern slopes and in the depressions and shady spots in the meadows, but it was 58 degrees today and mostly cloudy but a gorgeous day after the bitter cold of January and February.  There was not near as much snow as last year, but there was enough to hopefully give the land some grass when the weather warms.  It is still cold enough with single digits at night to require a fire almost twenty four seven.

Since October, I have been on the road a lot back and forth to Phoenix doing my "blood and bullets" forensic work on several homicides, a driveby shooting, an assault and a police use of excessive force.  Several other cases are coming down the chute so I need to get back on my horses while I can.  I did not get a leg over a horse for January and February due to the bad weather.

My buddy and farrier, Cody, showed up
from Grants today and put shoes on 

Cody.  A good friend, fine horseman and outstanding farrier
 Stryker, Lancer and Chino.  Trooper goes without shoes as there is no way to get shoes on him except to nail them on when he goes by.  He has great big dinner plate feet and does well without shoes so far.  If and when he needs them, I will have to put the first couple of sets on him contingent upon my surviving the experience.  He is ten years old, powerful and twitchy.  I would not dare to put anybody on his back but I love to ride him because you are damn sure mounted when up on the big guy.

I managed to push myself right up to the edge of pneumonia last week and the doc was glad I showed up for treatment.  Today was my last day on the high speed drugs and I could breathe again so while Cody was putting shoes on the lads, I took Trooper out into the round pen and we spent an hour on ground work and flagging to shake off the cobwebs of winter.  He settled down and I put my new decker pack saddle on him without any problems. 

Lancer & Trooper

After Lancer got his new Adidas on, I brought him into the round pen with Trooper and put the sawbuck on him and let them wander around together commisurating about the misery of going back to work.

As soon as Cody was done and had headed back for Grants, I put a saddle pannier on Chino, my riding saddle on Stryker and let them stand while I grabbed a bit to eat.
"Well, let's go"
At 1430, after getting my string of horses tailed up, I swung up onto Stryker and, as it has for over half a century, the thrill that shivers through my body when I settle into the saddle is pure joy.

Almost two hours later, we followed the horse trail that parallels the drive as we came back home.  After such a long layoff, and the inevitable fractiousness of fresh horses, rather like little boys in church, I am always somewhat astounded that we all arrived home at the same time.

My worst day horseback is better than my best day doing anything else.

Getting sorted out

First trail 2011

Just passin' through

Far Rider
See to your weapons and stand to your horses


Hopalong K. said...

Everytime I see you on horse back I get all pumped up and wish I were with you on the ride...
I hope the weather starts getting better. I'm anxious to try out my new saddle...

Anonymous said...

Well...I'm glad you're keeping the "cowboy" tradition!! I'm preparing for my next ride from East Coast to West Coast. I'll start in May. I've got to do something to keep up with my "Continental Divide Trail Ride"! Come on along......

akraven said...

Reminds of my excitement at the beginning of packing season in Yosemite years ago. Thank you for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

I learned some things
1. don't get rid of my sawbuck pack saddle. If I don't have a mule I can put it on a horse
2. even experienced horsemen can have O. S.... moments.
3. Nosey tourists can turn out to be helpful friends.