A Beautiful Blue

Anna & Rosie in new forest section of “Blue Elderberry Trail”

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Yesterday, I understood that “All roads lead to Rome”. In that moment Anna and I on horseback were paused at a forest intersection of five roads. I wanted to grasp our location from a map on my cell phone, and to my shock found my phone had a map detailing this area, except for the road on which our horses were standing.

This “new road” was one Janet and I found a day earlier. Today, Anna and I were exploring it. I had been attracted to a faint old trail going toward the woods. It soon became better defined and continued a half mile. It petered out at an area surrounded by terrain destruction from vehicles in hunting seasons. We continued along the vehicle road and arrived at this intersection.

During my earlier ride with Janet, I recognized this road’s termination near the hunter’s camp on my “Blue Elderberry Trail”. Still, this intersection confounded until it appeared on my phone’s map. The road bringing us here was one I’d noticed previously, had been curious, but not explored. I skipped opportunities to ride on it, and now, saw it as integral to a more complete “Blue Elderberry”.

What months ago began as “my giant corner” of the Horse Butte National Forest has shrunk into a small corner with all roads meeting. These might be mappable for horseback riders as one large loop that contains several smaller loops. Just maybe, for trying to visualize that overtasks my brain.

More about yesterday’s ride. Anna on Rosie mostly was in the lead because of Rosie’s bigger stride. While following on Sunni, I benefited from Anna’s descriptions of Rosie’s frequent muscle flexings. Rosie seemed to flex too often and Anna began searching under the saddle, found a bit of tree debris. She wondered if it were poking at the horse, removed it and continued to ride. Anna said that Rosie’s back muscles now completely were relaxed.

Anna is sensitive, thoughtful, and a natural teacher. I rode Sunni who in a bitless bridle suddenly would halt to grab for grass. Anna showed me an alternate way to hold Sunni’s reins, and demonstrated how a rider can brace elbows against hips and resist sudden neck-dippings. Ha! With a little practice, I became the decider of whether and when Sunni grazed.

Later this week, Anna and I will ride again. We’ll be out east by the Badlands. She’ll be on her giant horse (17+ hands), with me on little Sunni (14- hands). Until then, I’ll go and hawk some wares at Costco.

Dear Friends: This summer’s rides might generate a “New Blue Elderberry” paper map. Diana

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