Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spirit Mountain Sunday Ride

Overnight our weather forecast improved a lot, from all-day thunderstorms to only "partly cloudy"; so I was glad we had made a plan to meet at Spirit Mountain for an early Sunday morning ride.

The trails were in great shape even though we've had so much recent rain, and there were only a few flies so conditions were just about perfect.

It seems to have been a naked horse contest however. We had Laura who rides in a rope halter; no bit, no bridle:

We had Bridget who rides on a bareback pad (no saddle) in a rope halter, no bit no bridle:

And we had Ron who rides his horse with a saddle but only a string around the neck - no bridle, no rope halter, no bit:

And if we were seeing a naked horse contest, John was the biggest loser since he had not only the complete saddle and bridle, but even his granny ears fly cap. He didn't seem to mind though.

I wish I'd taken pictures of Bridget doing the bareback mount-from-the-ground demonstration. Her horse is cued to lower his head; she clambers over onto his neck near the withers, stomach down. then cues him to raise his head slowly. This slides her down onto his back, at which point she is over him like a sack of potatoes or a dead body in many westerns. She then wriggles over and upright. I don't think I will be trying it any time soon.

"Can you hear me now" Ron got a phone call from a faraway friend and had a nice long chat. Trail riding in the 21st century: Interruptions are always possible.

It was a good day for the view, all the way over into Wisconsin:

Spirit Mountain is so named because it contains land sacred to the Ojibwe; they have ancestors buried there and hold its beauty close to them. In addition to sacred Indian land and in tension with it, Spirit Mountain houses a big ski operation and an ever-growing number of 'mountain villas' and condos etc.

Whenever we ride there we get lost, and today was no exception: all of a sudden we are off the trail, bushwhacking, no direction feels supernatural somehow. Sometimes it has taken hours to find our way back from a planned two hour ride. It is a contested landscape.

None of this bothers John as long as he can get a bite to eat now & then!


Anonymous said...

Looks like a lot of fun - love all the bitless options - especially the neck string!

Stephanie said...

I am pretty impressed with the guy riding with just a string around his neck. Not so sure I will be trying that option anytime soon!!
I have done some riding with just halters and bareback pads and I like it for an occasional relaxing ride.

Sounds like you had a great time and great weather to go along with it!

jennybean79 said...

I'm amazed about the riding with only a neck rope. I don't know that I'd ever have the nerve to trail ride without some kind of a bridle for stopping power. Looks like you had a lovely time!

Jocelyn said...

I dont plan on riding with a neck string, but I do plan on riding bitless soon. We had a great ride yesterday too!! More fun than I've had in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Awesome ride report! The Naked Horse Crew looks like a fun bunch.

c2b said...

What a lovely name, spirit mountain. As for riding with just a string round the neck..oh my goodness send for the shrink.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Looks like a great ride. Amazing that Ron can trail ride with just a string around his horse's neck. John strikes me as a modest boy (thinking back to that picture of him in his skirt), so maybe he was happy being fully clothed even though the others were more bare.

Horseypants said...

I've seen people using a neck rope before, but never with all that grass around. How did that guy keep his horse from just chowing down?

allhorsestuff said...

What a great bunch of riders!
I love my biteless bridle..and someday...will try a rope halter ride..maybe solo a few times first!

John...we love all your gear!

Anonymous said...

Hey are you a professional journalist? This article is very well written, as compared to most other blogs i saw today….
anyhow thanks for the good read!