Dante lay down in the creek and refused to move.  The creek runs alongside the two bridges pathway.  I’m surprised that there’s water in it, but also relieved.  We’d gotten a quick start to the ride, but by 11:30 waves of heat were rising off the pavement.  It was clear it was going to be be well over the predicted 85 degrees.  We made it back to the barns, limp and tired. We sponged the horses, filled their water then all went home a took naps, while the temps soared into the high 90’s.

Not wanting a repeat, after waking, I got busy on the computer and started to reschedule today’s ride.  Can Julia come at 5? Oh yes, that would work perfectly!  Do you know if Savannah is coming? No, I don’t. Kate, can you come at 5?  I know you wanted to help feed, but I’m going to feed earlier then go home and skip the heat.  You want to help feed anyways?  OK, I will pick you up at 11:30, your grandma can take you home, then bring you back at 5.  Can Allison come at 5? Oh, she’s not sure she’s up for riding again?  Allison had ridden in the heat with us.  Sophia has play rehearsal that starts at 6:15 so she’ll have to cancel.  Then I get a text from Sierra’s mom: “can Sierra come a little late?”  Sierra wasn’t on the schedule.  Good thing Sophie cancelled.  What? Sara can’t ride on Wednesday and wants to riding tomorrow?  Oh, I guess that will be OK, except that Rachel is going to Hawaii on Friday and her last ride day will be Wednesday and she will be upset if she doesn’t ride with Sara so now Rachel wants to come too.  Good grief that’s seven riders!  Savannah, will you ride Dancer?  Sure, ought to be fun.  And that’s how we ended up taking Dancer on his first real group trail ride, Sierra on Velvet in the lead, Rachel and Sara bringing up the rear on Stoney and CG, CG bareback as usual with Sara looking cute as a button.

Although today proved not to be nearly as hot as yesterday, but riding in the evening, without the pressure of getting home for homework and school the next day, gives us the delightful advantage of riding without swarms of gardening trucks and cement mixers and speeding BMW’s.  Up La Paloma, across Robleda, up Josefa to the Packard trail they go; Sierra on Velvet, Savannah on Dancer, Kate on Chavali, Julia on Freedom, Mikatrin on Jackson, Rachel on Stoney and Sara on CG.  People will now think we are a caravan.

At one point, Savannah put Dancer in the lead because Velvet was too slow, but then Velvet raced and tried to ride up on Dancer’s butt, which pissed him off and he kicked out at her so we went back to Velvet in front, but Kate gave Sierra her whip so Sierra could ensure that Velvet kept up a good pace.  Other than that the girls rode together with perfect skill and precision.

When we stopped for a break at the top of the Packard Trail, Sara got off and hugged Julia and cried.  She said, “I will miss you so much!”  That’s for sure.

Down the two bridges, up Elena, down La Barranca, right on Purrisima, left on Concepcion, then right for a run up Via Arline, which came to a halt just minutes after it started as there was a buck half way into the path.  He was eating the fallen apricots.  As Sierra edged closer, he finally bounded up the hill and the girls, all seven of them, bounded after him.

Having Sara and Rachel branch off at Golden Hill and head back to Quail was a no brainer.  It was 7:35 and I was proud that finally there’d be ample time at the barn before the parents arrived.  I had to stick with Mikatrin, who was on Jackson, so I followed the campo crew, but not for long.  After turning on to Newbridge, I got a call from Rachel.  Trying to keep the sound of panic out of my voice, my first words were, “are you all right?”  “We found a stray dog!  We don’t know what to do.”  And they didn’t have any lead ropes on the horses so they had nothing to use as a leash.  Mikatrin and I turned right and headed to the cut through that intersects Golden Hill.

By the time we reached Rachel and Sara, they’d improvised a collar using their phone fanny packs. Sara had the dog by the “collar”, a sweet, friendly, adorable, healthy golden retriever who, by the state of her engorged teats, was obviously nursing a litter of puppies.  There aren’t many friendly people in Los Altos Hills, but one of them lived very close by.  That one also happened to be watering plants in her front yard.  I described the dog and she said, “Oh! Mirabelle!  I wonder how she got out! Thank you so much! Would you like to come see the puppies?”  That’s akin to saying, “would you like a million dollars?” or “would you like world peace?”  The horse girls would always chose the puppies of money or peace.  I think there are six of them.  They are being raised as service dogs and “we need people to handle them and socialize them.”  With any luck, they will be home tomorrow when we stop by at the end of our ride.  They have the puppies for another four weeks.  Good thing they have a big driveway where it is convenient to have the horses wait.  I wonder if I can convince them to put in a tie rail?


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