by Laura Crum
Happy New Year to all! Here’s hoping 2014 is a banner year for all of us—2013 was a difficult year for many people I know, including me. But there were happy moments, and many of them were on a horse.
I didn’t ride as much this past year as I have in the previous five years, but I did ride quite a bit, even so. And today I am going to post my favorite riding photos from this year, in order. Right up front I have to say that these photos are largely of my son and his horse, Henry, or of my Sunny’s ears. Because virtually all the riding I did this year was with my son. And truthfully, that is what I really want to remember—the happy hours my boy and I spent together horseback, the year he turned thirteen and his horse turned twenty-five. It’s actually one of my really joyful memories about this year—we kept on riding together on our good horses and saw some lovely things. I’ve tried to pick some pictures that capture that magic (at least a little).
So here is my son and Henry last January. I like this photo a lot—a boy and his horse in the wild world. I especially like the completely unmarked sand—we were the first people to ride/walk down the empty beach this winter’s day.
This photo is from the same ride—looking out to sea. A storm was coming in.
Another beach ride—we took a lot of them last winter/early spring.
The view from Sunny’s back—I never tire of these lovely views through the ears.
A favorite thing we did—long trot the horses side by side down the beach. Henry has a very fast, very smooth long trot—Sunny often had to lope to keep up.
We rode at home in our riding ring, too.
Sunny likes to gallop up our driveway from the gate to the house. I usually wear a helmet but my husband wanted to take a picture with my hair blowing, so I took the helmet off for this photo.
During the summer we gathered cattle at my uncle’s roping arena with friends—many, many times.
And we rode out my uncle’s back gate into the redwood forest. This dirt road is perfect for long trotting or a good gallop.
Riding along the ridge.
I took quite a few solo rides in this magical wood when my son preferred to stay at the roping arena and work cattle.
We didn’t ride a lot in the fall—due to much schoolwork and other interests (like bike riding). But we did ride, sometimes just exercising the horses here at home.
And in December we got out for a few more rides. Here in the redwood forest of Nisene Marks.
We rode on our local trails up to the Lookout, about a mile from our front gate, where we can see the Monterey Bay (looking towards Santa Cruz).
Looking towards Monterey.
Many of our rides included our friend and boarder, Wally, with his horse Twister. Wally is eighty years young and still riding strong. This photo was taken just a few days ago, up on the ridge near our place.