180211-nrr-milleroutdoorshorses

The Millers’ three horses after their ride on BLM’s North Bank Habitat Management Area.

photo Courtesy of Carol Miller

“This isn’t my thing,” I muttered as I walked my horse past some bona fide horsewomen.

“Then you should make it your thing,” one saucily retorted.

“She’s right,” I thought. Clearly I need to make more effort to enjoy riding, because my newly retired husband is besotted with his horses.

Feb. 3rd, a perfect winter afternoon, was a balmy 60 degrees out at Bureau of Land Management’s North Bank Habitat Management Area. North Bank, well-managed and lovely, even in the wintertime, attracts equestrians and hikers alike. The Comstock Day Use parking lot was prancing with activity.

While my husband, Kyle, saddled our three steeds, I learned that his 8-year-old mustang, Goliath, is a chick magnet — nearly every woman in the parking lot was drawn to him like flies to a freshly steaming pile. Hmm, I really need to ride more often with Kyle.

The ride started without incident. I relaxed in the warm sunshine. I can do this. So what if I am afraid of horses. It’s great having the horse slog through the mud and labor up the hill for me. I know Kyle buys calm stock for his horse packing trips, what am I worried about?

Then Goliath, being led behind our paint, Dazzle, decided to test Kyle’s mettle and a rodeo broke loose. While Kyle fought both of his horses for supremacy, I battled for control of my horse, worried that Joe was going to bolt or buck.

This really isn’t my thing.

Kyle switched to riding Goliath and leading Dazzle. The fight was on, and it riled my horse as well. Long after I had concluded that this level of riding was above my pay grade, Kyle finally had had enough and traded back to riding Dazzle. Whew!

Or not whew! Now I was riding behind Goliath. I know from experience that Goliath is a double-barreled kicker. More than once I have seen the bottoms of those hooves a little too up-close and personal.

Slowly the horses settled into a rhythm. The sun was shining, the creek was burbling by. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” make this my thing.

Maybe.

To reach BLM’s North Bank Habitat Management Area, take North Bank Road 5 miles out of Wilbur to the West Entrance Parking Area, or 12 miles to the Main Entrance which accesses the Comstock Day Use Parking Area where there are extensive trail options and a picnic area. The Main Entrance Gate is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, October through March. Summer hours are 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Pedestrian access is open 24 hours a day at all entrances.

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