Sometimes you just need to find another way around it. Seems those times are happening more and more, the older I get.
I went riding with my riding buddy, Tessa, yesterday while it was still relatively cool. Because of forest closures on our side of the highway, we had to ride through an underpass to get to the trails that were still open. (Nope, I have no idea why we can go south of the highway but not north; both sides are as flammable as matchsticks right now)
I'd never been on these trails, but Tessa has run them on foot so she was leading. At one point we got into a wash. There actually was water in a couple places, which surprised me, but we were actually in a branch of Lion Springs, not just a runoff wash. The dogs liked that -- they got to get a drink and Lacey got to lay in the mud.
But going down that wash we came to a couple of what were, to me, scary parts. I was on Dash, the horse I rode up Gibson Peak, and there were places that reminded me of some of the places on that mountain where we were going down a steep slope and had to step down a ledge. One step-down in the wash was probably about 18 inches but it was in the open (not next to or under a tree) and I just sat still and let Dash figure out how to drop her front end down, using her hindquarters to hold herself in place. She did great.
In another place we had to do a double step-down and had only a narrow passage to go through and a six-inch tree limb was diagonally over the place where the horse had to start the descent -- just at the height of my head. Tessa had gone through it but I hadn't seen how she did it and I couldn't figure out how to get my head on the downhill side of the tree limb before Dash got to the edge where she had to figure out how to get down. So . . . reluctantly . . . I got off. I ducked under the branch and stepped down into the wash and led Dash to the edge of the drop off, and she maneuvered her way down. I got back on and we continued the ride. (Tessa later told me she had leaned BACK to go under that limb, something I wasn't willing to try; I wanted to see where we were going.)
But there was another place that was even more treacherous. We had to go down a slope covered with loose granite, where we had only a narrow path to go down, and a misstep could cause us to slide sideways down a slope. Tessa got off and led Poncho down to the bottom, but when I tried to do it, I was having trouble with my own footing. So I handed the rope to the more sure-footed (and younger) Tessa, and she led Dash down for me while I held Poncho.
Dash willingly came down, sliding sideways a bit, but stayed upright and I got back on and we continued the ride. It was a bit challenging compared to our usual rides but really no more dangerous than anything I've encountered on the posse rides.
There were a few places where I didn't choose to follow Tessa, and rode around a scary part because I didn't feel like ducking branches.
Gone are the days where I feel I have to prove I'm as tough as anyone. While I consider it "wussing out" to some extent to get off my horse and lead it, discretion is the better part of valor and I'd rather stay safe than feel I have to prove something. (One reason I wear a helmet now.)
Thirty years ago I would have been the one offering to ride or lead someone else's horse through a "scary" part; but thirty years ago I was about Tessa's age.
The torch is passed.
And that's the latest from the Ranch.