On Saturday, the day before the ACTHA Competitive Trail Ride, Dacodah invited everyone to head out for a fun ride. I, of course, rode Splendor, my second favorite mare (after my Apache mare, of course!).
We left from the San Acacia historic schoolhouse and rode along the acequias and through the tiny village of San Acacia.
Dacodah’s family owns hundreds of acres of alfalfa and grass hay fields. This was a beautiful….but challenging route to follow because Dacodah invited everyone to let their horses enjoy some bites of alfalfa as they rode through. And well, since Splendor is owned by Dacodah, and she knows the drill, she made every effort to take advantage of any opportunity to gorge on huge mouthfuls of alfalfa and grass as we made our way along the mile long road that traveled through the hay fields. Needless to say, I didn’t take many photos because it took two hands to have control of my horse!
Riding along the river. Notice the steep sand bank? I would not want to be standing there when it crumbles and falls into the river!
Priscilla, riding Festus, telling me to hurry up and stop taking photos so we could cross the river.
Soon it was time to cross the river. Our group was quite large, so we took our time and waited as smaller groups of riders in front of us left the banks before we started across. Looks like Dacodah was taking photos of us waiting on the banks of the river. (See that hill in the background? We’d soon be on top of it, which is also the vantage point where I shot my favorite Rio Grande photo of the day)
Here’s some photos of my friend Kay and I crossing the Rio Grande, taken by my friend, Anna aka DunAppy.
My friend Kay, is one super nice gal with a terrific sense of humor. She’s overcome some major injuries and still continues to ride. She’s an inspiration to me.
I was looking back at my friend Shelley’s dog, making sure he was crossing the river without floating away downstream.
Almost across the river, Splendor and I bringing up the rear, with friends, Kay, Shane, and Priscilla in front of us.
One of my favorite photos I took that day, when we rode up above the Rio Grande onto that hill I wrote about earlier in this post.
While waiting on the sand beside the river (and just about anytime we stopped), I’d find sweet Festus beside me, nuzzling my leg, my back, or begging for a head scratch or a cookie. Thankfully, Splendor likes him. Splen Splen has been known to double barrel any horse she doesn’t like that invades her personal space.
When we rode out of the bosque up onto a hill, Dacodah invited all of the riders in our large group to break off into smaller groups so we could explore wherever we wanted. And we would all meet up at a Rendezvous Point (a large tree) that we could see off in the distance, about a mile away. My buddy Shane decided to be one of the riders in our group.
Our little group consisted of 4 of us friends: Kay (out in front), Priscilla (in front of me), Me, and Shane (at the back of our group)
My buddy, Shane coming down the hill we had all ridden down to explore the wash at the bottom.
When we finally reached the rendezvous point and met up with all the other groups that had been out exploring, Dacodah led us through the thick brush at the base of the cliffs to show us some petroglyphs scattered across the volcanic rocks. (That’s my buddy Priscilla in front of me and Splen Splen)
It’s always great to ride with my friend Anna aka Dunappy of BlueWater Rangerbred Blog. Here she is riding her young mare: Baby Girl.
Several of my friends are in this photo (Hunter, Crystal, LuAnne, Dacodah, and Shelley), but I took this photo mainly to showcase one of the rocky volcanic steps we all had to jump down, like Crystal is doing back there.
I enjoyed riding through this section of bosque. It felt kind of ‘jungley’. Dacodah and his crew did a nice job of clearing this trail last year.
I liked the sense of riding through tunnels.
We soon arrived at the top of a steep hill where we discovered a possible Native American Shrine encircled by volcanic rocks with two rock mounds in the center. Reminds me of the fascinating Stone Lions Shrine in Bandelier National Monument in the Jemez Mountains.
Standing there it was impossible not to be quiet and respectful, while thinking about the people who built this. This photo, looking SouthEast, doesn’t give a clear picture of the location. It is on a plateau, high above the Rio Grande encircled by thousands of acres of mesa and juniper dotted hills rolling off into the distance.
Several people dismounted (we did not ride our horses within the rock circle) to experience this location close up and personal.
This photo gives a better idea of the height of the hill we were on. The green Cottonwood Bosque and Rio Grande were far below us.
This is a view looking west our across the Ro Grande and Cottonwood Bosque….also a view of my friend Anna aka DunAppy on her beautiful Appy mare, Baby Girl.
Here we’re riding down the hill, returning towards the bosque. Dacodah is leading us through the dense growth.
As we neared our river crossing, we saw two friends, Theresa (with her famous Lipizzaner, Zeema) and Carol, that had arrived at the old schoolhouse late and missed the opportunity to ride with us.
We all rode back across the Rio Grande. That’s my friend, Priscilla behind me, riding Festus and my friend Cheryl, riding Lil’ Dude, behind Priscilla.
After we crossed the river, I took some photos of some of the other riders riding across.
Then we rode the rest of the way back to the old schoolhouse, via the ditch bank road. The view behind me.
The view in front of me (Hi LuAnne!).
And the view that Splendor was fixated on: Alfalfa fields and lush grass!
This couple had no idea I was taking photos of them, but they were so cute, I just couldn’t resist!
And lastly, a video of Splendor and I trotting down the road, taken just before we returned to the old schoolhouse. Spendor loves to trot and could trot all day long without getting tired. Thankfully, her trot is pretty comfortable to sit. I love the sound of hoof beats on a road and wanted to capture that, even though Splendor’s mind was more on the field of alfalfa on the left side of the road and I had to keep her trotting and going forward, all while holding the camera. At the end I just gave up and allowed her to have a few bites of fresh alfalfa before putting her up for the evening. *grin*