by Linda Benson
We ride horses for many reasons. Some of us like to compete in shows. Some like the kinship and relationship that we develop with our equine partners. For some, training a horse is a thrill.
I haven't been riding much recently, but on a recent camping trip, I hiked with my husband on a gorgeous trail through the northernmost grove of Redwood Trees, in Southwest Oregon. And I realized that the most joy that I have experienced on horseback, and the main reason that I like to ride, is to experience wild places.
Because everyone needs a little wilderness.
Even as a girl with a horse (although I did my share of barrel racing and showing in other classes) my main place to ride was away. Gone for the day, into the mountains, up trails that only my horse and I knew about.
These experiences come out in my writing, too. In my short read called The Summer Cat, fourteen-year-old Hannah rides her mare on the hundreds of acres of forest land behind her house. She has names for trails that she uses, like the Wild Rose Trail. (Have you named the trails that you ride the most? I always did.)
"I pushed her up the Wild Rose trail. We trotted straight up the steep slope which opened onto an amazing view of the valley and the forest and mountains behind our property. Those show horse people never get to see this stuff . . ."
The most fun I ever had horseback was a three-day camping trip with a girlfriend, riding the 100 mile Tevis trail (several weeks prior to competing in the actual race) but doing it in thirds, camping along the way.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day. I hope in all of your riding, training, and bonding with your horse, you are able to use that wonderful creature to take you places you might never otherwise see.
Wishing you all a little wilderness.