Friday, July 1, 2011

Horsing Around

Another dear friend, Theresa, invited me on a trail ride this week. Of course I said YES! I have to admit that I began to have my doubts and the morning of the ride I woke and thought, "What if I can't even manage to mount a horse anymore?" But I put on my jeans, a long sleeved shirt, packed a sack lunch and bug spray and bravely headed out. I found an oldies station on the radio and let it transport me back to being 18 or 19 - in great shape, feeling like a million bucks and riding regularly. It helped.

A couple of surprises. First, we weren't going to ride horse after all. Her friend wanted us all to ride her mules, they hadn't been out in a while. And we were to wear helmets. Well, I thought, I hate helmets but it's not a bad idea. What if I fall off?

So being unfamiliar with mules (but secretly thinking I would probably like them very much), I met Dan, Molly and another guy whose name I've now forgotten. (Michaela rode Romeo, a Morgan/Arabian mix). The mules were large. Dan looked like a horse with a mule shaped head, really large ears and a short mane. He was big!

Looking down from Dan's back, Theresa reminded me of a very young girl. Cute as a button.

We headed out across a meadow towards the woods. Darlene, the owner of the farm, Theresa, her 14 year old daughter Michaela, and myself. Our plans are to meet up with two more women, Kathy and Chris, on the trails. Wow, these trails cover a lot of territory and lots of peoples' land. I was lost the entire time.

We headed into the dappled woods. I immediately realized the beauty of the helmets. It wasn't so much for falls from the horse as the limbs that batted our heads from time to time.

And the occasional water crossing with pauses to let the horses and mules drink. We met up with the rest of our party and let me tell you, it certainly felt like one. Spontaneous songs of praise would break out. There was prayer. Conversations. And general joy at the beautiful day and the opportunity to be out enjoying creation on horse and muleback.

When we got hungry we stopped in the woods and tied our mounts to trees for a rest. We pulled lunches from saddlebags and sat around on the ground enjoying the fellowship. (I packed an apple and some carrots for my ride. Dan seemed to enjoy them a great deal.)

Then we check our horses/mules

Make faces for the camera

Tighten up saddles

And head back out

We even stopped to see Chris' mother. Chris' father died just 10 days ago so I'm sure a visit from her daughter and a passle of women on horseback was a welcome distraction. Dan did a little yard trimming while we waited.

We made our way through the neighborhood and back to the trails.

I think that Dan got as tired as I did yesterday. He actually made some noises that sounded a bit like grumbling as we got nearer to home.

And we fell behind. I told him it was OK and that I appreciated him hauling me around. I had a fantastic day!!

But please don't ask me to hurry anywhere today. I'm a little sore.

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