Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An absolutely GLORIOUS evening...

Yes, the superlative is warranted.  The night did not start out in a way that hinted at what it would become.  I picked up my son from the sitter's a bit early so we could head down to the barn.  His sister was heading off to soccer practice, so the idea was to have some quality mom/son time.  However, the boy wanted to stay and play "Combat" with his buddies, so we had to have a brief conversation about commitment and responsibility - he had promised to ride the pony, she needed exercise, and now it was too late to find someone else to ride her.  Needless to say, neither of us was in a good mood as we started off.

He didn't want the McDonald's I'd gotten for dinner (Shoot me, we were rushed!) and 10 minutes into the trip he started to complain that his stomach was bugging him.  I cannot begin to tell you how many sudden swerves I've made across three lanes of highway to get to the shoulder before Vesuvius (aka Noah) erupts.  We drove from New Jersey to New Hampshire once, and he threw up in every state we passed though.  Luckily, I was able to manage the situation with deft application of sips of water, lowered windows, and air conditioning set on the "morgue" setting.  By the time we got to the barn and he got the pony from her stall he was fine.

We decided to take Betty, the pony, and Sugar, my mare, on a trail ride.  It was gorgeous out; not too hot, bit of a breeze, not too buggy.  As we set off, it was immediately clear that Betty was happiest in the lead, playing trail boss.  That is, until something scary appeared.  Then the pony would slide in behind Sugar, sensibly deciding that if anyone was going to get eaten by whatever bad thing threatened us, it would be  my voluptuous mare.  She's no dope, that pony. 

We rode all over hill and dale, chatting about this and that, while the horses snorted and snuffled and sighed contentedly.  On the way home there's a large hill, an ideal workout for the horses.  I let Sugar set off into a trot, keeping my leg on and hands closed to ask her to engage her core and hind end.  She moved off in the most AMAZING trot I've ever felt in my life!  It was as if her withers and back were coming up beneath me like a bow, and her legs were sproinging off the ground like a coiled spring.  She powered up that hill so damn beautifully and effortlessly, legs reaching and back swinging. I was almost scared to breathe, I was so afraid to send her off balance.  She felt as if she could have done anything -- jumped the moon, or done a gazillion one tempis. I just tried to stay in the middle of her back and not get in her way, and sat up there with what my dad calls a "shit eating" grin on my face the whole way up that hill.

When we got to the top of the hill I asked her to come to a walk and remain engaged. She did, and it felt as if she almost sprung into this beautiful, free flowing, yet powerful walk.  I was absolutely thrilled by her. She was clearly pretty impressed with herself as well; when I loosened the reins she snaked her neck and tossed her head, snorting and blowing and telling the world what a big deal she was. 

The ride ended with us just meandering through the fields, and the night ended with us chatting away about random things as we fussed over the girls; toweling them dry, brushing them off, and giving them carrots and kisses. 

So, a night that looked less than promising turned absolutely glorious, all because of a boy and a couple of horses.

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