Sunday was balmy, really and truly balmy - over 40 degrees on December 11 and sunshine. It won't come as a surprise to anyone that I spent the day outside, with my ponies. I haven't had a horse day in a few weeks, and I was severely in need of one. I did forget my camera, though, so I didn't take any pictures.
The day began with a long, leisurely walk with Cricket and Sefira. Sefira is Gesa's youngest, a homebred filly just a few months past her third birthday. She is not under saddle yet, and needs to start getting out and about to get used to the wider world. Cricket loves her, and with his age and wisdom, is a perfect buddy horse for her adventures outside of the home farm. He also loves to go for walks. He struts. And poses a little bit, ears perked, neck arched, and tail up. He is the picture of a happy, engaged horse and no one would guess he is a mere 3 months shy of 30.
We were out for over an hour, walking along the shoulder of the paved road briefly, with a couple of vehicles and a large pile of rocks to get used to. We continued up a dead end gravel road, again with a couple of vehicles, wind blowing in the dry grass, a barking dog, etc. Sefira was a little upset by the new things, but Cricket was unfazed and his calmness really helped her. She was not brave enough to lead, but was happy to follow.
We also stood and observed a neighbor's herd of minis and llamas. Even Cricket was on alert when they all came up to the fence and stared back at us, but relaxed when one of the minis whinnied. We continued onto a bit of trail and Sefira handled that like a pro. On the way home, we saw some people with kids and ATVs - yet another good thing to be exposed to. We let the horses "graze" on the dormant grass outside the pasture as a reward, and all the while we'd been chatting, catching up, and generally just enjoying each other's company. It was truly a lovely way to spend some time.
I rounded out my horse day with a fantastically fulfilling ride on Red. It was our first bareback pad ride of the year, and I decided to ride until I got cold (a common method I use to determine how long to ride in the winter) and after nearly an hour and a half, with dusk quickly falling and only my knees a little tingly with chill, I decided it wasn't going to be an appropriate measure for this particular ride! I could easily have ridden twice as long. We traversed all over the immediate neighborhood, taking in two gravel pits, some woods trails, and a nice trot up the road about 1/2 mile and back. I am a little out of shape for bareback riding with speed, but it's just a pleasant ache in the thighs.
The horses all give two hooves up for their new treats, "German Horse Muffins" made in St. Paul, MN. They came free from Valley Vet with my recent wormer order!