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Mojave Desert Trails
Images by Merri Melde
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These Old Trails || Trails A Fire || Sweat || 2011 Fire Mountain


Sweat

Wednesday January 19 2011

If you want a good workout in the Ridgecrest desert for your endurance horses, you haul to Brady's. The trails are no-nonsense, as they go right up and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

If you do the short loop, your horse has a mile-long climb up to the water pipeline road (water for Los Angeles that comes from Owens Valley), which gets steeper toward the end. He gets a little breather before he has another mile-long hard climb up, before descending back to the valley. (If you do the long version, he has the mile climb, then a couple of miles of flat road,

then a 1 1/2 mile very steep climb up before descending a steep trail down to this second mile-long climb.) We did the short loop today.


The views of the Ridgecrest basin get broader as you climb, and the views of the Sierras grow even as you ascend towards them.


With their wooly coats, Kav and Spice and Raffiq were coated with sweat. As were we three girls. And that was just at a walk. Even when it was a mild 71*. If your horse is really really fit, as in Tevis-fit, he might trot some of these trails; but today, with the horses' winter coats, they didn't need to trot to get the full-on super workout.
When your horse's eyebrows are sweating, you know they are working hard. It should be 10* cooler for next weekend's Fire Mountain ride, and we'll shave some of their thick hair off.


If you can't appreciate what your endurance horses willingly do, you probably shouldn't be riding them. I could feel every muscle working beneath me as Kav dug his toes in the sand in his efforts to get to the top of these little mountains. I heard his huffing and puffing, and I rubbed his sweaty neck. And he was done with one hill, I pointed him toward the next, and up he went.

It was a good day's work on our amazing mounts.

Merri Melde