I have to thank my dear, sweet Sarah for nagging me all summer. Sadly, she has gone back to school today, but this morning, I woke up early and decided that HECK, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and go get on a horse. She nagged at me extra hard last night, put a royal guilt trip on me. It worked, obviously. I'm so glad she did, because we no more than broke into the first canter and I decided this was the best day I've had all year. I do love riding horses.
Sarah saddled up her beloved Joey and Strawberry, a gelding, for me. I've been hearing what a gentle (predictable) horse Strawberry is, but I do know there is no such thing as a predictable horse, and knowing Joey is so young and Strawberry isn't ridden everyday, I was a bit wary. Once we were mounted, the beginning got rough. I almost aborted the ride. Partly my fault, I'm sure, I'd never ridden a horse with a bitless bridle. I was probably not giving him enough slack in the reins and he probably got pissed off at me. He side-stepped off the path then freaked out a little. He tried to throw his head and ended up bucking a bit, which started to freak me out since we were on a rather steep hill (not really that steep but definitely elevated, and I was up high on a horse so it seemed like a long way to fall...I can imagine broken hip at my age). Once we were out of sight of the barn, both horses settled down. Sarah taught me about posting when we trotted, which was hard for me at first but I got the hang of it. It makes it easier to trot without jarring your teeth loose. Strawberry preferred to canter and I love that, it's so much fun. Being unfamiliar with the trail though, and riding behind Sarah, I took a few branches to the face. Still, it was the most fun I had all summer.
The trail was pleasant. We saw thistle, queen anne's lace, ironweed, goldenrod, touch-me-nots, and some kind of red flowers that I don't know what they are. We rode through a field that had a thousand baby gum trees. Some day, it'll be a forest of gum trees (unless it's paved over into a parking lot or turned into a subdivision). We also rode through a dump, which saddened me. It was a contractor's dump and they dump explosives there, along with old PVC, brick, block, miscellaneous crap, etc.
We had our ride and on the way back, we neared the road just as a truck passed. Joey flipped out briefly and Strawberry stopped and reared up a bit...scaring me substantially...my heart skipped a few beats. Then he didn't want to move forward. He started backing up and I had concerns he might back himself into the fence row and freak out even more. But no, he chilled out and followed Joey across the road and into the field on the other side. It was a perfect morning for the ride, and I'm still totally in disbelief that Sarah actually rolled out of bed before 9:00 AM to ride with me.
Today was as fun (maybe more) than our rides at D.H., which is unfortunately now out of business. I've read that the D.H. property is now up for sale and if I could buy it, I'd love to have it. I found an awesome arrowhead in Indian Creek, which runs across the property. It is beautiful there. I'm sure it'll be carved up into housing sites, many of those beautiful hardwood trees will be cut down, the hills will be cut away to make level building sites, and the place will never be the same.
This reminds me that I need to renew my search for some land I can afford that's not too far from here. It needs to be within an hour's drive, and I want something way out, so there won't be noise from sirens, trains, boats, trucks, etc. I want space to plant an orchard and anything else I want to plant (pumpkin patch comes to mind). I want 30 acres, at least, the more the merrier. I might just have to dream about it, but I hope I can find it and make it mine.