“Riding is the privilege we earn from the care we give [to our horses].” DawnHoof
Ah, the First Ride of the New Season —
Such a long time in the making.
Born from the perils of WINTER.
Wind. Rain. Hail. Snow.
Mud. Ice. Frost. Muck.
Keeping me out of the saddle —
Keeping the horses fallow in their deep, muddy fields.
The Trials of Winter
Here, in our 6,000′ mountainous elevation,
I haven’t ridden since Fall’s golden foliage faded, and
Winter’s frigid arrival. Instead, my tasks —
Month after month: Hay bales purchased. Hauled. Unloaded.
Day after day: Breakfasts and dinners measured. Fed.
Night after night: Icy roads. Frozen hands. Gusting windstorms.
Six long months: Facing the elements. Focusing inward.
Awaiting the return of Spring.
Hints of Change
Yet, slowly, the seasons begin to shift. The days, at least some, warming.
Cottonwood catkins burst, and fall, carpeting the Earth in burgundy festoons.
Verdant leaves soon to unfold, like tiny umbrellas, vanishing the gray
Trunks and branches, naked, exposed for so long.
All this, signaling one grand thing: SPRING!!!
And the ability to join my horses in the saddle, and
Head back out onto the trails, again!
To the uninitiated, it seems that all horse-people do, is RIDE.
Yet to us horse-minded humans, we know that all we do, is CARE.
Like for a small child: Food. Water. HoofCare. VetCare.
We end up spending more time hoping to ride, than actually riding.
Riding is the privilege we earn from the care we give.
It all looks so easy — the human, on a whim,”hopping” onto a horse,
Without a second thought. Oh how foolish that would be!
We merely make it seem Easy. Spontaneous. Unplanned.
Rather, Weeks. Months. Years go into it.
(Years raising. Years waiting. Years training.)
Lifetimes compose our Rides —
Alongside endless interruptions: School. Work. Child-rearing. Weather.
Lifetimes spent developing, deepening, the finer nuance —
The “Secret language” we share with our Horse.
The BIG Day!
Oh, the JOY of finally “hopping on”, once the
Groundwork is complete: Hooves trimmed. Shoes in place.
Winter’s wet earth dried out — solid, not mush.
Hair coats shedding. Manes untangled.
Exuberant-excess-energy worked down. Out. Safely,
First, without a rider, running in their field —
Bucks and twists and bursts of gallops at Liberty.
Free! With no one yet on their backs.
(This done daily for a couple of weeks, just to be sure ALL the bucks are out.)
And so, Today: Sun finally shining :))
Temperatures rising: 40s, 50s, 60s!
Horses: Worked. Shod. Prepped.
Just Today for the first time since late fall!
Tuned up. Relaxed. Finally — Ready to RIDE!
At the tie-up area, I bring out saddle and bridle.
Aria gives a sniff. Calmly accepts the routine.
Dips her neck with open mouth for her bit.
At the mounting block, I land, softly in the fur-lined saddle seat.
Aria turns and strides. Silky. Forward. Engaged.
Out the gate, Starboy in tow on a rope, behind us.
Up the road. On Terra Firma now — not mud or ice.
Light, free. Swinging along with the motion of the horse —
I’m a kid again! Warm sun on my face. Cool breeze in my hair.
Horse and human, finding our rhythm. Effortless. Bliss!
Little Dawn with Breyer Horses — Grandfather photo
Little Dawn jumping :))
Favorite “horsey” sport!
“Lifetimes compose our rides . . . spent developing, deepening, the finer nuance — the ‘Secret language’ we share with our Horse.” DawnHoof
In lilting voice, I sing Aria’s praises.
I’m living my childhood dream!
Horses and trailrides. Laughter and love.
I see, again, our shadows streaking over treebark;
Flashing across patches of newly sprouted grass —
The very same artwork I rode as a kid.
The moving, fleeting shadows that weave the Story of my Life.
As we climb now, Aria surging, soaring into the trailway,
I notice the sound of her breathing. Saddle leather moaning.
Hoofbeats on hardpan — the same music that’s always enthralled me.
Over and over, I praise her. And stroke her.
In all this, my Heart sings. I ride, again, the Soundtrack of my Life :)) and
Relish in the beauty, and the GLORY of riding this
Wonderful. Responsive. Intelligent.
GREAT MAGNIFICENT HORSE :)) :)) :))
Join Dawn for a Soul Horse Ride! Experience the thrill of becoming one with your Horse . . . Join Dawn and her homegrown herd for a Soul Horse Ride in the Frazier Park Outback!
Call to book your Life-Changing Adventure today: (661) 703-6283
Please also visit my Life Blog, Journal of Dawn,
for Strategies and Insights into the
Journey of Life
Photos: Dawn Jenkins
Additional photo credits: Grandfather’s family archives