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Welcome to Trickponies.Net!

Specializing in Dressage and Sporthorses by Renee

Home of FEI Dressage stallion Kamuela

Rainbow Ranch Benefit Ride-A-Thon at Wonder Valley

Want to blow off those dressage arena cobwebs? Spend a day riding for a good cause?
Need miles on a youngster? Those were some of my thoughts when I learned
about the May Benefit Ride-A-thon at Wonder Valley.

When I tossed those ideas out to my assistant trainer, Meghan Wilson, who also works
with the kids at Rainbow Ranch - she endorsed it as a great idea!

The Mill Creek Riders organized the ˝ day Trail Ride to raise funds for the Equine
Therapeutic Riding Program run by Rainbow Ranch. We signed in - part of 56 horses
and riders gathered at the ranch on Saturday morning for this event!

Our small posse consisted of my Dutch schoolmaster - who I had planned to ride myself
for an enjoyable ride in the Sierra foothills - until Meghan’s longtime riding
friend, Nicole, wanted to join us. So Meghan and I opted to get some miles on the two
young Thorobreds I own.

Starting off – we headed out, now a group of 4 (fortune arrived to us by means of a young
cowboy on a good trail horse who knew Nicole), behind 50 horses and riders
already on the trail. We were riding drag with two experienced trail riders responsible
for closing gates as we rode from property to property.

Early on ... our adopted 'guide', me on Huston, Meghan on Smartie, photo credit to Nicole!

1st surprise of the day - a serious creek crossing right off the get go, not even 5 minutes
into the ride! We knew there would be water but this was a real creek; we’re
talking banks, rocks and depth with a pretty good flow to it. Now, I’m on a greenie –
a young TB gelding how had been started/ridden for 2 or 3 weeks - last year,
Meghan’s riding the other TB who hasn’t been out all year - nervous as all get out and
Nicole hasn’t ridden much the past three years she has been prepping for Medical
School at UCDavis!

Let me just say, we were the entertainment for the two experienced drag riders! After
surviving the 1st crossing, the horses started to settle and we managed to catch up
with the group about an hour later at the first rest stop - a wide spot in the trail
with enough oak trees which shaded the entire group.
At this point, I realized our one bottle of water each and lack of anything else (including
flyspray and the sunscreen that got left on the tailgate) was gunna make this a long
day! Combined, we had more than 50 years of riding experience and we were
feeling like greenhorns! We started the 2nd leg of the ride in the 1st group this time –
figuring our drag riders had laughed enough at our expense for the day.
Hills, rocks and logs - by the 2nd pretty good hill climb my youngster was getting jelly
legs! I considering getting off and walking as some of the riders behind us had done.
Not a bad idea, actually, as my old western saddle was getting a bit too familiar -
but we all crested the last incline okay.

The rocks, boulders and outcroppings were not our friends that day either but the several
downed trees blocking the narrow sections of the trail were another story. We
overheard many of the ‘western’ riders complaining that the big ones hadn’t been
removed from the trail but to our compliment our ‘english’ horses did handle the logs
really well! We weren’t even ˝ way yet.

Sweaty saddle pads and no lunch - it was only 11:30 and Meghan wanted to know when
we would be back at the trailer - that ‘gunna be a long day’ feeling returned again.

A much appreciated shady stop along the way!

The 3rd leg was less eventful – level and wide the mild terrain was a relief. The thought
of having a horse tie up out here was making me a bit uneasy and that definitely
would not have made our day.

As the afternoon sun was starting to wear in and the dust of the ride was beginning to get
to us, we were looking forward to the 3rd water as a welcome blessing.
Unfortunately, our mounts had not forgotten the fiasco from the 1st crossing so the
y were not as willing as we had hoped. It took some doing but we got them in - thanks to
Lee, our new best friend and his patient lead horse. So once again, we were in the
back with our drag riders for the final leg back to the ranch.

Cows, flies and more water – getting closer to the ranch we passed a large herd of cattle.
They were settled but very noisy and their constant calling was upsetting
Meghan’s horse. My schoolmaster had lived with cattle before so he was fine and he
knew we were close to our starting point - he had a great walk going on. The
greenster that had carried me so well was tired enough he didn’t seem to even notice
they were cows. Not far up ahead we would have to cross the creek one last time!
But this time the water not a factor – in and out with little trouble - all the horses
seemed to sense we were close to ‘home’.

The trailers were a welcome site and after attending to the horses the ride was topped off
with a delicious western style BBQ, silent auction and the results of the poker
hand we gathered along the way.

It was a successful experience for everyone. We met some nice people, caught up with
some old friends and it was rewarding to help raise funds for a needed program.

Meghan and Smartie, Renee and Huston and Nicole on Jalisco ready to go after the last 'break'!

A Huge THANK YOU to those of you who generously supported our fund raising ride!

Valerie Burch/Riverland Farms
Clara and Nathan Moehlman
Patty and Thomas Issac
Diane O’hara
Melissa Creswick
Marcia Gibbs
Carol Smith
Diane Kroneburger
Paul Satragni
Ray Skeels

Happy riding, Renee

"With confidence I highly recommend and proudly use these quality products!" Renee Johnson

Website owned and maintained by Renee Johnson webmaster@trickponies.net
Sorry - No Photo Reproduction without written permission

January 2010

Questions? E-mail Me!