Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Loop

Rhio & I set off for our 12 mile loop this afternoon, booted all around for the fresh gravel.  We haven't had many solo rides this season, as I've been lucky enough to have many opportunities to ride with friends.  Last year we surmounted a big hurdle, learning to go out by ourselves, and I need to make sure we keep practicing this skill periodically!  Today he seemed not quite unwilling but not quite thrilled to be heading out by himself. It is always the first several miles down the road that are the most difficult, but once we pass some invisible barrier, he suddenly becomes focused on where we're going instead of where home is.  And it helps to be covering new territory, so today we did the loop "backwards," or at least in the opposite direction that we normally do.  

We have mostly road work on this long training loop - crossing over a busy two-lane road and down a stretch of narrow-shouldered road then we typically cut through the gravel pit to hit the ski & snowmobile trail.  The gravel pits were very busy today, with at least 6 trucks passing us in 1/4 mile, so we continued down the road to the water stop at the public access (Rhio didn't want to drink as we were only about 4 miles in to our ride), then crossed over to hit the snowmobile trail.  Many of our snowmobile trails are swampy or otherwise impassable for horses, but this section is about 2 miles of good footing, rolling hills, and so much fun to ride!

The view at the water stop

Fern-covered ski trail
(Rhio is wearing a fine mesh fly mask for the bugs, hence the dark color of his ears) 

The bugs were pretty ferocious, especially in the woods, but we travelled at a fast enough pace to outrun them most of the time.  We looped around the ski trail and did a portion of the snowmobile trail twice, although when we got to the deer trail that we take as a short cut through the gravel pit, Rhio took a hard left and I was barely able to correct back onto the trail before we had an up-close and personal encounter with a tree.  The trail is hard to spot, and I am not often able to anticipate where we cut through the woods, but Rhio knows *exactly* where it is and takes the turn on his own initiative every time.  Too bad sometimes we're not going that way!   

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to spend this time with such a beautiful, athletic, and willing partner.  These long solo rides are a very Zen-like experience for me; I live completely in the moment for the length of the ride, my mind is totally focused on the now, and we just go.  When we get back to the barn, I feel like I've been on vacation.  I am mentally relaxed and physically tired, and just feel so centered.  It's a definite cup-filler, Qi-booster, rejuvenate-the-soul kind of thing.  And I thank my ponies for the opportunity to experience this with them.  


  1. The Qi-booster cup-filler--man, I wish I had an activity that reliably gave me that! Unfortunately, the thought of riding horses is not a calming thought for me. Ah well. Your watering spot is really pretty! I was expecting, like, a big mud puddle. : )

  2. Well, if we hadn't had an entire MONTH of rain, it just might look like a big mud puddle! Too funny what you pictured & what it really was. (This lake even has a name but I can't recall it at the moment.) And it has a huge, sprawling, Southern-plantation type mansion directly across the lake from the public access where we stop for water. I'll have to take a pic of that next time.