By Laura Crum
Don’t you just love it when once in awhile you have one of those idyllic rides that make you realize why you fell in love with riding to begin with? Yesterday was one of those days for me.
I have been riding very sporadically, between being busy and the weather…etc. Two days a week is about my average. And I actually haven’t been feeling very motivated to do that. But yesterday was sunny and in the 70’s and my friends were going to gather the cattle and do some practice team roping. For the first time in awhile, we loaded Sunny and Henry and went along.
And it was glorious. My son pushed cattle on Henry and I helped run the chutes. We both loped big circles in the huge, beautifully groomed arena. The sun shone brightly. This particular arena has the cattle field on one side and a forest of mixed oaks and redwoods on the other. Not a road or a car to be seen. I loped along on my steady little yellow horse thinking that hey, I’m having fun. My son had a grin from ear to ear. What a pleasure.
It dawned on me that sometimes, between the work and the worry factors, horses can seem almost a burden (well, they’re never quite that, but I’m guessing you know what I mean). So its really nice that we get rewarded fairly frequently with these delightful moments. For me, these days, they mostly occur as I do the mundane tasks of feeding and such, or when I’m riding along the trail. I haven’t been very excited by riding in the arena for awhile. So it tickled me that for once I was thrilled to be loping big circles on a horse who felt good (hadn’t been ridden in a week).
Sunny’s energy was high, he enjoyed the loping as much as I did. His long mane (it hangs several inches below his neck) flared in the breeze of his motion and I was amused to see how much of a kick I got out of watching the shiny gold light sparks on his palomino neck and seeing his shaggy cream colored mane swing and lift in the rhythm of his stride. It felt in some ways like being a teenager again and admiring my horse because he was so “pretty”. At times I think I’ve spent too many years in the horse biz to be seduced by the cute factor, and/or the thrill of just flying along on the back of a horse, but it turns out I’m wrong. Those things can still get me.
On top of which I get the thrill of seeing my son discover these delights. In class yesterday, when he was asked what he would be grateful for on Thanksgiving, he said, “Our horses—especially Henry.” And when we got to the roping arena, big and wide open for loping in the winter sunshine, he said, “I just want to live at this arena. Then I could lope forever.” And I knew just what he meant.
So, anybody else out there have any inspiring horsey moments to share? The ones that get us through the difficult times and make all we do with horses worthwhile. Sometimes its just the little things…like loping circles in the arena on a sunny November day.