This has been a season of very little riding, compared to the rest of my years — years filled with all-out endurance trail riding on some of the best horses, best trails on the planet!
Am I just getting old? Why don’t I ride as much as I used to???
My Wise-Woman Hawaiian friend, Wendy, suggested, “Perhaps if you had someone fun to ride with, you would ride more.”
Perhaps — but who?
So, as today was cool, my time was free, the horses shod and ready — I called up Hollie and asked if she’d like to ride.
She met me in an hour, and up we saddled, and off we went. Off into the woods. Into the wonder of riding a willing horse . . . She on Lad, me on Aria.
(Turns out, she hadn’t ridden enough, on her horses, either. And her horses don’t have the same trail access as mine.)
So she clamored up onto Laddie, all 16+ hands of him, quite a bit larger than her two, and onto my Aussie “guest saddle”, perfectly fitted to her size.
Off into the woods we went, happy girls, happy horses . . .
“I’m so jealous of this horse,” she said of Lad. “He’s PERFECT! You’re so lucky to have him!!!”
Yes. I really am!
But without Hollie, who last rode with me and my daughters almost ten years ago, I wouldn’t have giggled, laughed, whooped, full-out-galloped, and had the AMAZING RIDE we had today!!!!!
Although she’s young enough to be my daughter, too, — today there was no age difference between us.
We were two teenagers again, Little Dawn and Young Hollie, riding to our heart’s content on Aria and Lad — the horses both completely willing and into it.
Swooping round the loops and bends of my secret “Sneaky Trail” — Hollie and I, whooping and loving it.
So rare to find another human who can meld with a horse, with my horse, without complaint. Flying across the earth at endurance-pace speed, tireless. Free!
Once we hit the galloping place, Lad, lagging a length or two behind, as usual, suddenly poured on speed — and overtook Aria and me — lunging with leaping strides into all the dignity of his Arabian-cross ancestry. Draft-horse-genes be damned!
He rose to the Endurance Arab in him, and FLEW out in front. So great to see :))
Aria fleet, airborne. Her gait fluid and swift, like silk, and satin, and velvet. Covering the ground in effortless flight, carrying me back to my teenage years of all those horse dreams I lived for. (see: Laddie, Light my Fire)
There, on the ground, on the trees, I saw my shadow, the same one that accompanied me on all my childhood rides. How could my shadow look so young? So nimble?
With motherhood and all the years since, my shadow still rides, upright and strong, firm in my Western-Australian saddle.
So if you find yourself lagging in your adventures, putting off the rides you know you love — is there someone fun you could call up and ride with?
I certainly hope so!
Hollie and I hope to arrange more of these “spontaneous outings”.
Because we both LOVE the thrill of riding perfect horses.
And we both LOVE the feeling of being teenagers, again!
Photos: Dawn Jenkins
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