Murphy Monday: In Which Mt. Murphy is Climbed at the Endurance Barn of Our Dreams

Murphy is now at Sonoma Coastal Equestrian Center, aka the Perfect Endurance Barn.

Daisy dubbed the ‘hill’ up to the summer foal pasture: “Mt. Murphy”.

It’s not really a hill. It’s a stair master set to an incline of 10 and strewn with rocks.  A month of climbing that every day will whip the most out of shape rider into being able to ride two-point, no stirrups, for hours.

First, you have to hike down to the gate.  It’s an endurance barn: there’s no starting from the parking lot. You have to hike to the beginning.

We wheezed our way up the hill.

Note the big boulder on left: reference point. Also, so we have perspective on scale, those are  adult horses.

Above looks fairly level after the gate.  FYI, it’s not.

Below is looking back at the barn, before we hit the California live-oak lined section…

…that’s the section where the stair master hits 300,  and we want to flag down a Cable Car. (Totally worth the five bucks.)

Oops, sorry, I was hallucinating. Ran out of electrolytes.

We see this:

And this:

And then we’re in the live oaks.

Sheer gorgeousness.  Did my calves hurt a second ago? I don’t remember. Whoa, look! Spanish moss. It feels like we’re hiking in a park.  

After much discussion about where to put the relief station-slash-emergency oxygen supply, we come to the bottom of the summit:

We make it to the top without resorting to the Donner Party “you look tasty” vibe.  (Though Daisy has pointed out several scenic areas where her dead body could be found.)

The Foal Summer Quarters:

This is the first time I’ve seen it without tule fog. WOW. While I’m busy with dumbstruck-ness, Daisy unbuckles Murphy’s halter from the gate.  She is already onboard with a reality that hasn’t hit me yet.

  1. We’re staring at acres of land.
  2. There is not a horse in sight.
  3. Therefore, we are not done walking.

We go into the pasture, and after about five minutes of extremely lucky tromping, we spot them.  Four white socks: Murphy! They are not even remotely this close.  Zoom lens.

Donkeys are extraordinarily observant. Penelope (left) has spotted us, and is already walking up the hill.

Neither of us would ever bring treats into a baby pasture.  They don’t care. We have pocket-things: treat holders. Instead of leaping to Daisy’s aid, I document the mobbing.  (I’m not sure why, but we both think this is normal.)

I’m mobbed by a lone donkey. I’m at donkey mouthing height: crouched down to take photos. I don’t think much about her (this is bad) except to repeatedly pull my hair out of her mouth.

Thanks to Penelope, I now have an adorable, asymmetrical Donkey Cut. (Getting fixed tomorrow by Antonio, my human stylist.)

Never ignore a donkey.

Daisy and Murphy hike back up to the top  of the hill to the gate. I follow them, making shutter clicking noises. Penelope follows me, trying to reach the few strands she doesn’t consider asymmetrical enough.

Back at the top, out of the pasture. Our baby is growing up. Can you see the adolescent in him starting to form? FYI, alllll that land behind him? Rideable.So tell me…how is mom?

Murphy is slightly sore; that’s a lot of land to be climbing up and down. But it’s doing wonders for his engine.

You sure? Leaving already? I could go with you…

Hard to believe he’s seven months old.

Remember 3 days old? (His first time out of the stall)

How about 10 days old? (His first time in a turnout larger than a round pen.)

And now, his world is HUGE.

16 thoughts on “Murphy Monday: In Which Mt. Murphy is Climbed at the Endurance Barn of Our Dreams

    1. I know. Seriously. Awesome. I don’t have a wide-angle lens, or you’d get a much better idea of the scope of land that is rideable. All kinds of terrain. Plus, they have *sob for joy* yoga for equestrians weekly in the evenings…
      They have some serious endurance riders who train for the Tevis, and are attracting DQ notice as well!

  1. Seriously, the place has jaw dropping riding and vistas. This is only a slim showing. I am so impressed with what the owners have accomplished on what I am guessing was a serious fixer-upper of a property. In addition to wine-grape vineyards, there’s a brand new state-of-the-art arena (huge) that would make the pickiest DQ forget herself and gush!

  2. 🙂 Spotting y’all (and anything else that might bother the kids) is Penelope’s job. 🙂 Donkeys are great baby-sitters! What a wonderful place!

  3. What a beautiful place! Murphy looks quite pleased with the new digs.

    PS. If you’d taken Penelope home with you, she could have evened out your haircut – no visit to the human stylist needed! I’m sure she’d fit in the back seat of your car (truck?), no problem!

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