Unfamiliar Paths…Sometimes They Take You To The Best Places

New Zip Code, New Beginnings

Some of you already know, others do not, Equine Challenge changed zip codes in March.

I got the news the end of January that the ranch Mackie and I moved into in August 2009 was going up for sale.  It wasn’t the first time I had heard this, or the first time it actually was listed for sale but It was going to be the last time I was going to stick around to see if it sold.  There were a lot of emotions involved for many reasons.  A lot of memories, a lot of wonderful Morgans had passed through the ranch, but it was time for new beginnings, a fresh start.

It was time to downsize from the 20 acre ranch, and the hunt began for the perfect place for myself, the horses, dogs, cats & African Greys.  The perfect place was found 2 weeks later, and now it was time for the hard work to begin.  Packing up the house and ranch, taking down years of work that Mackie and I put into the pastures and paddocks, while still giving you all the service you have grown to expect and deserve!

Equine Challenge Where The Cattle Roam

Where The Cattle Roam

Well, got the ranch packed up and moved in 3 weeks time and we all got nicely settled in to the new place.  Though no longer at the base of the Sierras, I am surrounded by hills, orchards, lakes and a backyard that backs up to hundreds of acres of open land, and like the old place, my backyard neighbors are grazing cattle.  I always wanted a place that I could just saddle up and go out

Equine Challenge Rocky & I out for a ride

Rocky & I Out For A Ride

my driveway and ride, and I am so fortunate and blessed to have found just that.

Rocky and I headed out for a two hour ride a few days ago.  Always a great time to reflect and think.  The first part of the ride was quiet, lots of time to reflect on the past and present…family, loved ones that are no longer here and people that have come into and gone out of my life.  I know how blessed I am to have family and a few good friends, and to have Equine Challenge Supplements.  Being able to carry on the dream that Mackie and I had of helping horses thrive all across the United States is such a blessing and gift.

As Rocky and I were finding new trails, trying to dodge the large ag equipment and workers, that were getting a couple areas ready for planting new trees, I was quickly reminded that with the move came new adventures on the trails!

Rocky and I were headed down a very narrow dirt road, a road that divided the pistachios from the almonds, when 50 yards down the road a red work truck turned on the road, headed towards us.  There was an opening in the row of pistachios to our left so I headed through the opening, waiting for the truck to pass so we could get back out and continue on our way.  The truck didn’t pass us though, it eventually stopped right before it got to us and a man stepped out.  With years of “safety/security training” from Mackie, my  mind was already working on what I would do if this guy was looking for trouble.  The man announced himself with a “hello” from the other side of the truck (where he stayed) and asked for directions!  He asked if that little dirt road would take him all the way to the freeway!  I wanted to ask him what he’d been smoking, to think that was even a possibility, but I refrained.  He continued on and added one of the workers told him that it would take him to the freeway, but he was thinking he should turn around and go back out the same way he’d come in, to work on a pump.  I told him that was a really good idea!

When I rode at the “old” place, I would come upon a scared coyote every once in a while, the friendly gopher snake and a few times, a badger who wanted to make my place “his place” until coaxed to move on.  In this past week riding out here I have come across a lot of tractors and ag equipment, quads, a guy lost in the orchards, a couple scared coyotes and a deer that came flying out of the orchards.  That was a surprise as deer don’t normally chill in pistachio orchards.  I am told there are at times wild pig out there (hope not to meet any of them).

These are all great reminders that no matter how peaceful a ride is, one should always be prepared for anything (or anyone) to pop out at any time and to know what you would do in any given situation.  Do you have a plan?

Rocky and I made it to our destination…out where there is open land and nothing but the breeze blowing, great ride, great horse, great memories.



Would love to hear from you all in the comments as to what animals or obstacles you have encountered on your rides….

Until next time….Happy Trails!


Kathy Hartwig