Drove up to a friends house in Paulden the day before the ride as they live just 8 miles from the trail head. Mocha was glad to get out of the trailer after the long 4 hour drive and seemed to enjoy meeting the other horses that surrounded their old stud pen. Up until about a year ago they raised Arabians and owned 3 stallions. In fact the horse she took on the ride was one of their stallions until they had him gelded about a year ago. He is the horse my friend Jo Ann rode when we went to Box canyon last spring.
The next morning I loaded Mocha into their 3 horse slant load. Mocha had never been in any other trailer so he was a little hesitant at first but didn't give me too much trouble.
Mocha is fairly new to group rides so he can be a little stubborn in unfamiliar places getting him to go in the direction I point him at times but he is getting better.
I had to lead him through the first water crossing. I knew I would probably have to do that. That is always how I introduce him to new things. He did better after that and on the way back he marched on through all 5 water crossings with no hesitation at all. Poor Sue, the woman who I went with, took the drink on the third water crossing as her horse felt he needed to JUMP the river! He lost his footing and threw Sues balance off and kersplash! Because he was a stallion he is new to group rides as well. I always hold my breath when I see anyone go down knowing the possible outcomes but she was fine and continued on. Her cell phone didn't fair so well though but she was glad that her electronic key survived.
Mocha had a few "wardrobe malfunctions" with his hoof boots and I had to stop 3 different times throughout the ride to either fix them or remove them. He ended up going the last mile or two barefoot but he wasn't ouchy. I took a lot of pictures but most turned out a little blurry and/or cockeyed as most are taken from horseback. I would have loved to be able to get ahead and get off and take pictures of everyone crossing the water but I didn't want to hold everyone up as they all seemed to want to keep moving.Most of the turning leaves we came to see fell from a cold snap they had a week earlier so most of the leaves were yellow and light green.
We turned around and left the ride early with several others because I didn't want to drive home too late at night. It is a 3 hour drive one way. Next time I'll have to make it a two night stay so I can devote an entire day to riding. I made it back home about 7:30. It was scary driving in the dark coming down Yarnell Hill. I do want to do this ride again someday but like I said earlier, I will have to make it a two night stay to have time to do the entire ride.