Monday, March 9, 2015

The Beach Dilemma

It has been a while since I blogged anything about work!
 I'm a little behind on my tales from the trail.
 As of lately we have had a surprising amount of very normal people (a couple from Australia, several from Utah, Minnesota...) and as usual, a massive amount of selfies. So many people take selfies on horseback (we take a picture of you on the beach at the end....) I've even had someone face timing while they were riding! Last week we had a very touching group of people- they were all siblings that were on vacation because the one sister had a husband who recently passed away. She had really been struggling with his passing and decided she needed to get out and enjoy her life- so she bought tickets for all of her siblings to fly with her and vacation in Hawaii!
How awesome is that?

Anyway, we have had to deal with a number of issues involving weather. Many days have been rainy and we have been caught in the pouring rain (completely drenched. That's how my phone broke a while ago) as well as super high winds. (the trees were creaking so we had to ride behind them the best we could and we eventually convinced our boss he was an idiot for having people ride in the wind and he canceled.) Good thing too because three trees came down that night!

So this week, we are cruising along with our little trail group, and about 1/4 of the way up the beach I am suddenly surprised by our trail. There is a fricking crater dug out in the beach! They had dug a trench from the ocean in order to create a river that will irrigate the fields so water can flow right through. Except nobody told us this was in the middle of our trail, so there is this huge trench with steep sandy slopes and ocean water crashing in through it. I attempted a couple ways around it, but there was none, and the other guide was attempting to get her horse through it. 
Problem #1: The horses absolutely would not let the water touch them and were starting to get nervous about it
Problem #2: The other guide started attempting to cross and her horse sunk to his knees like it was quick sand.

(This is the next day after our maintenance guy spent four hours digging. Imagine this even more steep with the ocean crashing through it. It is hard to tell but its about a 10-15 foot drop down this hill)

We shook our heads at each other, rather upset that our boss failed to mention this, and had to turn our group of riders around. We apologized because they had spent a great deal of money on this ride and we couldn't even complete it. Sarah (the other guide) told the polo trainer Javier what happened and he went to go talk to the boss.

On a side note my boss is a little ridiculous. He's a super nice guy but doesn't listen well and tends to make bad decisions.

Our boss could not believe that this trench was such a problem and went down to investigate. Once he came back he was all freaking out about how that needs fixed because we have to have trail rides going. He said that instead of running sets with the polo horses, he wanted me and Sara to pony them all and run laps across the trench in order to pack down the sand.

I have never seen Javier (the polo trainer) so angry! He just started yelling at our boss in Spanish- he's a very patient guy so when he loses his temper it is bad. We absolutely adore him by the way.

After being thoroughly scolded we all ended up riding a few trail horses down to it and crossing it (which was quite the adventure) Luckily Gary, our maintenance guy, had started frantically digging a bridge for us and trying to pack sand. 

There was a lot of fighting that went on that day between our boss and well...pretty much everyone else.  It was very unsafe for him to expect us to take anybody across this thing that had no experience!

The next day while we were bringing horses in, I was told to go down and test the beach since Gary had been working on it all morning. I swung up on Blossom (bareback and halter..for the record) and we cruised down there.

Much better! He had built us a bridge, but it was still a very steep decline. (Hard to tell, but still about a 6-8 foot vertical drop) 
Well someone had to test it out before we attempted to get people across this.
I grabbed onto Blossom's mane and gave her as much lead rope as she needed in order to pick her way down this very steep hill. She was a very brave lady- snorting and carrying on the whole way. We were able to cross without sinking and as long as we instructed people how to balance we would be just fine. The best part was riding back up the super steep hill because they get speed walking and start really climbing (it's a weird feeling to be vertical on a horse!)

Our first trail ride across went pretty well- only one horse didn't want to cross it and we were able to pony her down the sand dune. As guides we were able to let out a huge sigh of relief because we were able to get everyone to cross safely- and the people loved it. The other guide (Alex this time) led the way and I was in the back pushing everybody across like a cattle drive. Everyone was excited because they had to hang on and go through the water- very rural.

Nothing quite like the ocean to cause a huge disrupt in your day!