Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Unexpected

As with most of my rides, I keep a close eye on the forecast and try to match up my free time, friends' schedules, and good (or at least acceptable) weather conditions into the perfect triumvarate.  Sometimes it actually works out!  Saturday was one of those days - a winter storm was brewing, but this was the proverbiable calm before the storm.  It was warm(ish), windless, and peaceful, though missing a sunshiny sky that would have been truly fantastic (what a gray winter it's been!). 

The road was clear, and stretched before us as an endless ribbon through the farmland.  Two geldings, one mare, and three new friends set off together without an agenda, a plan, or a schedule.  At each intersection, we'd look at each other and choose a path.  This method lead us on an 11 mile journey, meeting a few unexpected things along the way. 
The landscape is so flat - I thought a crooked photo would be interesting.
The first was the ponies, terrifying ponies.  Why are ponies (or, heaven forbid, miniature horses!) so scary to "regular" horses?  I do not know the answer.  Giraffe-necked and with his heart pounding out of his chest, Rhio faced those curious, small equines with true fear.  Booker, who was our self-appointed bugler on the ride, found an inner well of utter silence, unfortunately.  If he had only whinnied to them, as he had been doing to various buildings, cars, dogs, trees, etc along the way,  and they had responded, I'm pretty sure our other two horses would have instantly recognized them as fellow equines and the fear would have melted away.  Instead, we found ourselves first frozen, then very warily creeping past the adorable ponies. 
The scary ponies
Next up in unexpectedness this ride was a snowy owl.  Yes, really - a SNOWY OWL!!!!  I didn't even try for a photo with my phone, but instead lived in the moment of pure wonder as that big, white bird swooped silently ahead of us, around a house, and back up to a telephone pole, where she(he) landed and regarded the landscape for her(his) next meal.  Incredible, truly breathtaking.  Owls in general are one of my favorite groups of birds, and I love to see, or hear, them.  But this was a sighting to be long remembered, for sure. 

Last on the list of unexpected adventures were the gunshots.  Yep, three loud blasts of a rifle, quite near to us, as we rode past.  The three humans all jumped, but our horses took it all in stride.  The same horses that were freaked out by the ponies, hardly flinched at a sudden, unexpected, loud noise.  Well, alrighty then!  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  Good horsies! 

A few other minor unexpecteds occurred, like S.'s mare spooking at Rhio's snort, and the golden retriever who charged us down a long driveway. With her very embarrassed owner trying to get her to obey numerous commands which the dog blatantly ignored in favor of barking wildly at us, all three horses stood quietly, patiently,  totally unconcerned.  The magic word was "Kennel," at which point she promptly turned tail and ran for the house. 

The six of us were contentedly tired upon our return to the barn.  It'll be at least a week until it's warm enough to ride again, so our thoughts and memories of this ride, and plenty of hay for the horses, will have to tide us over and get us through the wintery weather. 

And just for the record, I don't think Rhio and I have ever had an 18 mile week in January before!  First ride of the season is 3 months away.  Let the conditioning begin!

1 comment:

  1. Owls are also one of my favorites. What a great experience to be able to witness that! Especially a Snowy because they are relatively shy !