Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trail Season Begins

Most folks have the mistaken impression that trail season starts the first nice day of spring, I've got two words for that ... yep, those are the words.  I have no interest in fighting the bugs, the mud, and every cabin-fevered idjit who owns a pair of hiking boots for a bit of trail space.  I'll snag a few miles in spring and summer, but Ohio isn't exactly comfortable during those months when you're sitting on a 1000 lb heat machine & biting insect attractor.  Give me fall with its glorious cool days, low humidity and bugs dying by the tonne.  From September 1st through the end of November, I put as many miles in as I can.  Hell, I've been known to load up & ride in December and January - mosquitoes really hate snow.

So, after months of not riding, I went on 4 trail rides in the past week - roughly 10 miles each ride.  They certainly weren't taxing rides, mostly walking & slow gaiting; I didn't want to abuse the boys after they languished in the pasture all summer.  Both Freedom & Gambler were confused at the whole, 'get in the trailer' thing but got back into the groove once we struck out on trail.  Our local trail systems are nice, there are several parks with an hour's drive to keep things interesting.  The parks are fairly horse-tolerant on their multi-use trails; while they don't provide horse-only trails around here, riders are given right of way in most encounters and aren't completely barred from many parks.  While I enjoy the hustle & bustle of riding on the more manicured trails, what with their strollers, bikes, and folks on roller blades, I prefer the single-file dirt paths through the woods - I'm going for a ride to avoid humanity, not to be surrounded by it. 

So, Huzzah for the start of trail season!  If you need me, you'll find me with Freedom on the furthest trail we can find.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Riding Armed

I started to respond to this post by Haiku Farms in comments but decided it would be better to make it into a whole post.  I agree with her self-defense post up to a point.  A person who decides to get a gun and never shoots, just gained an expensive & odd looking paperweight; so she's right - if you don't intend to practice, there's no point in getting a gun.  However, I don't agree that you have to be a hunter or a soldier to shoot well; heck, you don't even need constant access to a range.  You can practice grip, target acquisition, posture, etc with snap caps while watching TV.  A gun is a tool, you don't have to make a hobby out of it, just learn to use it.

The entire premise of the post is having to defending yourself, not making an escape, not barricading until help arrives (these options were covered in previous posts) so why not have & learn to use the best defense weapon out there?  I, at 5'6" and 145lbs, am not going to pit my strength against a goblin intent on doing harm - no matter what size skillet I may have access to.  Intent is everything in these scenarios; the goblin has already planned on causing harm.  You have to decide what your own intentions are when someone threatens you (and I agree with Newbius's post on what a life is worth).  Defending yourself is the final option, you've decided that you cannot escape and your life is in danger.

In regards to being able to hit a target at close range (< 25yrds), I have up to 16 tries to neutralize the threat - I doubt I'd have that many tries to stab them with a pitchfork or beat them with a frying pan before being overpowered.  I also don't see someone advancing into gun fire, even if I am missing.  I can see a goblin risking a whack or two with a pan to subdue his victim.  A gun is the greatest equalizer and if I've made the decision to fight, I want as many factors in my favor as possible.  Shooting, of course, would be the last resort in any goblin scenario; if I can avoid, flee or diffuse a dangerous situation I will.  However, if I'm afraid enough to draw a gun I'm shooting to kill, not to wound and certainly not to frighten.

Of course, adding a 1000 lb creature into the mix makes things more difficult.  As mentioned in Haiku Farm's post, unless you've desensitized your horse to gunfire you're asking to be dumped firing from its back.  That said, if I'm contemplating shooting while mounted, things have gone so far beyond pear shaped that being dumped is the least of my concerns.  The only (human) situation I'm not running away from is a goblin with a deadly weapon; anything else, run-pony-run.  If someone's threatening me I'm shooting mounted and taking the associated risks.  

I do advocate desensitizing your horse to gunfire regardless of your choice of self-defense.  How will you know if someone else on trail isn't armed or someone isn't hunting nearby or that a goblin won't light off a few rounds just so you're thrown.  You desensitize them to a host of other sights and sounds, why not one that could save your life?  I'd recommend Cowboy action shooting as a place to start for information.  It's a large and healthy organization and they're one of the friendlier groups of horse people I've ever met.  Find a forum or a local group to help you with the basics.

Any non-mounted horse scenario is comparable to being jumped going out of the grocery store - the horse is an external element.  If you're in camp and it freaks & runs away, you can look for it later.    Overall, I can't see the justification for obstaining from guns if you truly endeavor to defend yourself,  especially if you're out in the wilderness alone or in a small group.  This goes double if you're female;  goblins just don't come in our size and they don't fight fair.  Best to stay aware, use your head and have the greatest advantage possible. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NC Blogshoot II

Well, we had quite a turn out this year for the NC Blogshoot!  Thank you, everyone, who came and shared your toys, stories and food.  Heath and I enjoyed hosting, y'all were great company and we're looking forward to doing it again next year.  Hell, we have to do it again, I still have Tannerite!

Speaking of which... Many thanks to Dan over at Tannerite; without his services we wouldn't have had any exploding goodness for the weekend.  I called him up on Tuesday to see if we could get a couple cases of targets by the weekend.  With a few phone calls / e-mails they were shipped that afternoon and at my door Wednesday night.  No hassle, no outrageous charges - just excellent customer service.  If you enjoyed the reactive targets at the shoot, drop by his site and let him know! 

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did this weekend.  Getting to try out everybody's toys (Thanks Old NFO, Mad St. Jack, ThotPolice, Sean & apologies if I missed someone) was a blast and reminded me that I haven't been shooting near enough this summer.  Nothing like decimating water jugs, stuffed animals, computer components and a car to make a weekend feel worth while!

All the food was terrific; I over stuffed myself trying to taste it all.  Newbius's pizzas were delectable, I mourn the return of my fridge space :-(   Breda's chicken & her mom's stuffed cabbage made it impossible to not go back for seconds (who am I kidding - thirds!).

So, it looks like everyone else remembered to shoot their cameras as well as their guns; I, however, forgot.  So, I'll have to leave the photographic evidence of the merry-making to everyone who came.  Again, thank you for the absolutely enjoyable weekend, I hope to see you all again next year.

And for all of you who loved on our dogs... they miss you and have made their displeasure regarding the decrease in belly rubs and head pats known!

*Note for anyone who concerned about the review:  I paid for the gorram Tannerite - so bugger off.*