Our rest days at Knicker Knob Stable were wonderful. We were treated like family there and brought a warm breakfast every morning! Georgie and David also let us sleep in their guest bed for a couple days, and made us a couple lovely dinners. For those of you interested in how Fiddle is doing – we had a huge – and appalling breakthrough. Richard was working hard had rigging her pack saddle so that it had two cinches instead of one. The idea was to put even pressure on each end of the saddle to prevent movement. While we were adjusting it, we put it on her back again. That’s when something strange caught my eye. I thought I was seeing things at first, but the tree of the saddle looked backwards. Just to rule it out, we turned the saddle around. Lo and behold, it fit better. It was an appalling moment for us. We realized that the saddle that came with Fiddle when we bought her, the one that had her name on and she had been wearing for years, was backwards. The britchen was attached to the front, and the breast collar was attached to the back. We felt soooo guilty that we had not noticed this sooner and that we had just ASSUMED that her saddle tree would be on her correctly. We had checked the fit of everything else and it only needed minor adjustments. We just never thought to check the tree. We hugged her, apologized profusely to our pour sweet mule, and thanked her for her kind service to us despite her discomfort. It was a moment that made me want to cry. A word to pack horse owners- don’t make the same mistake. A pack saddle can be taken apart, unlike a riding saddle, and can be put back together backwards. Check any new one you get- even if it has been used recently! So anyhow, we are hoping that this discovery fixes a lot of the problems we are having with her. In time, we hope her fur will grow back and her saddle sore will heal. We will continue to use other precautions though, until we know for sure that this was the cause of the problems.
As for our riding days, we had yet more rain. It was a pretty ride going through the trails and cliffs along Folsom Lake. We got to ride on part of the famous Tevis trail, as well as the Pony Express trail. We even went up the extremely steep “cardiac hill” on the Tevis trail. Accurate name, I’d say! Thank God for safety on that because with the rain, it was muddy and very slick. We were grateful for the stalls at the Auburn Fairgrounds, as it allowed all of us to stay damp but protected from rain for the night. Our new friend Kelly, an endurance rider, escorted us the next day through the confusing trails down to “no hands bridge” by Cool. Richard and I are very excited to being going to an old stomping ground – the first place where we actually know where we are going and who we are staying with!
Quick prayer request- because of all the rain, we are now battling again with fungal issues with Apache’s back. If I touch his back now, he literally shrinks away from me in pain. I can not put the saddle on him at this point, and we are hoping we can figure out how to cure this new problem in time for the next riding days. Otherwise, I’ll be walking next to him! We have been giving several things to try, and I will switch pads to make sure that is not the problem. Please pray for healing and sunshine!
The next several days will be devoted to map study, research, investigation, and scouting trips to decide how to cross the Sierra’s. We’ll keep you posted on that next hurdle!