Home > Trip > Dispatches > Local Dispatches > Local Dispatch #18

December 24, 2011: Christmas Eve

I wasn’t up for riding this morning, but I went ahead and did it anyways. When I’m in this frame of mind I recall one evening, many years ago, when I was reading a book on riding horses, and I remarked to Pete that I’d very much like to own Delilah, Katie Long’s horse. Pete said “maybe.” What prompted my request was that I had to pay to ride, and riding consisted of a lesson in which I was lead around by Katie. I also had to bicycle back and forth to Moose Creek Ranch, which took all total, about an hour.

Now I have four horses of my own, and they live in a large paddock on our property. I can, if I wish, ride any time day or night. I never take this for granted. But sometimes, like today, when it’s cold out, I have to motivate myself to get them tacked up and me up onto them. Then the fun (and it’s always fun) begins.

I’m lucky to have four horses at various ages and levels of ability. Working with them is thus gratifying and challenging. Today’s a good case in point.

I first got Tinni out – rode him bareback, starting really slow because it was 0 out. He seemed to enjoy getting out, and when I asked, he moved into a brisk walk, which was followed by an energetic tolt. I had him do leg yields, and when rounding the corners, kept him from

Pete Shoveling Wood Shed Roof
Pete Shoveling Wood Shed Roof

Pete Shoveling Wood Shed Roof
Pete Shoveling Wood Shed Roof

falling in by doing rotations and using my outside leg. At one point, I put weight in my heels, and he snorted. It was such a small thing—but actually quite significant, because it was a reminder to me that this way, I’m in better balance.

We next took Signy and Siggi out. I rode Signy and Pete rode Siggi. The plan was to ride to the Murphy Road turn and back. This was not to be. We got up to the intersection, and turned to the left. First Signy, and then Siggi stopped. Siggi’s ears were pricked forward and his eyes were wide, so I knew something was up. A minute later, I heard the wheeeeeeeee whhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeee whhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeee o.

Snowmachines. Pete and I then sat watching, as seven of them appeared, and one after another, went up trail. I was pleased that the horses held still for this.

We continued to wait, just in case there were more. Then, one of the riders appeared on our right left, on the far side of the berm. Had Pete not said something, he would have come crashing over. I got off Signy, but Pete stayed put on Siggi. Signy held still like a rock. Siggi danced around a bit, and his nostrils flared. We decided that rather than deal with more of the same, we’d go around the loop, which was what we did. Siggi was very animated, and tolted for Pete. And Signy went into a very nice trot, which she maintained for some distance. It’s working – sitting still and encouraging her with my voice and seat to move out.

Lastly, I rode Raudi. I took her out alone so that she’d have my undivided attention. She too did quite well today. She stood still when I talked for a bit with Chris, our neighbor, and on the upper road she maintained a steady trot, even when going downhill. Previously, she would swing into a pace.

So, all in all, I was pleased. What makes this all easier is that I’m keeping warm when riding. A few years back I got a Refrigerware suit, which has been a dog send. And a few weeks ago, Pete and I purchased Steger Muckluks, which keep my feet warm. I’d resigned myself to swapping out fleece gloves when my hands got cold, but today this changed. Between rides, Pete gave me an early Christmas present, a pair of warm Thinsulate gloves. As I told him, his timing could not have been better. This just made for an even better time outside.

I hear that more snow is on the way, to which I say, bring it on.

Next: 19. 12/25/11: Christmas Day