|Perfect for zooming!|
Last Thursday I had no agenda and no time constraints. I knew I wanted to explore what lay beyond Highway K. And so off we went! It was a brisk day. The wind was bringing with it the first snow of the season (overnight a couple inches fell); both the horses and the wildlife knew, as we saw many grouse, several deer, bald eagles, squirrels, and even a fisher flashed its dark, lithe body away from us through the forest. The horses wanted to *move* and so move we did.
We found insanely beautiful cantering (or galloping) trails. They were the perfect packed sandy footing, with a smooth surface but enough spring to cushion our hoofbeats. Pine trees mostly lined the two-track lanes, and kept us focused forward and on course. I thought we'd just have a nice, comfortable long trot. The boys had another idea entirely. Zoom, zoom we went, zipping along at a very forward pace, the boys cantering in step with each other but not racing. I did briefly wonder about the wisdom of flying down the trail with two horses under my (pseudo)control, as flashes of wild turkeys jumping out in front of us passed in front of my brain. However, there was no talking the boys out of their run. Two manes were flying, two tails were flagging in the wind we created, and we cantered a 3 mile stretch effortlessly.
We explored an out-and-back snowmobile trail as far as we could before the bog through which we were traveling engulfed the trail ahead of us. We startled a county guy who was out picking up trash (oops). We trotted and cantered and walked and paused occasionally for a bite of grass. We three existed in our own space, united, for the afternoon. We traveled the trail together; the harmony between us was magical.This is why I ride endurance - these moments of perfect union with my horse, the shared experience and desire. To share those moments with both my horses at the same time was really amazing. We made it home before dark.
|The first opportunity to take my hands off the reins for a moment and snap a pic - 9 miles into our 14+ mile day.|
|Cooling out and mowing the lawn|
|Snack stop - the boys are mugging me for carrots|