I had one goal today. To remember what it felt like when I was in high school and I had all day long to ride my horse. No rules. No worries. Just riding in the mountains with my best friend.
Something I walked away from the Parelli Ranch with was the idea that horses should be fun. Riding horses should be fun. Being safe is #1 and having fun is #2. I think I forgot that in the mess of figuring out how my horse feels about me, about his environment and about the riding process. Having fun was taking a back seat to everything else.
So today I set out, bareback, in my sneakers. No cell phone. Just myself, my horse and my dog.
I listened to the call of the hawk as he soared above.
I looked at the beauty of the day reflected in the winding waters of the creek.
I watched a little buck bound away through the sage brush.
I spotted the snowshoe hare racing away, wildly bounding and dancing over the sage brush.
I leaned my head back and felt the wind brush across my cheeks.
I breathed deep the warm smell of sagebrush in the air.
Fall is my favorite time of year.
We followed the road until I found a place we could hop off and then we cut our own trail across the sagebrush and rock. We followed a draw and climbed up and up. We stopped when we came to a fence. I was so glad that Billy understands how to maneuver his body so well as we were stuck between a big rock and an old dead tree, with the fence in front of us. I simply asked him to back out of there and he did so, quietly and without running into the either the tree or the rock. Then I asked him to bring his shoulders across and we climbed the other side of the draw up to the top of the rock out cropping. From there I could see all the way to Ennis Lake. We sat up there, catching our breath, breathing deep, feeling the wind brush away the sweat, cooling us. Samson bounded through the grass all around, looking for mice, gophers and bunnies. Luckily he didn’t find any.
Billy looked off, down the side of the steep hill and we watched a little two point buck bounce off down the hill. He didn’t even disturb a single little rock as he lightly made his way down the draw, hopping over sagebrush and disappearing over another hill.
We started down, disturbing many rocks and having a little conversation about which was the best way down. I wanted to avoid the big dead tree and Billy wanted to follow Samson, straight through the dead tree and over the side of the rock cropping. Obviously we went my way.
When we got to the bottom we climbed back out onto the road and Billy had a few minutes of eating some green grass I spotted growing there.
Then we started back down towards our house and the irrigation ditch.
When we made it to the ditch I hopped off and offered Billy the idea to get a drink. He did so and then I suggested he go ahead and walk on into the water. He did. He pawed and splashed and grabbed at the wet grass growing along the edge of the ditch. I walked along the side while he walked in the water, pawing, drinking and snacking on the grass. Samson bounded up and down the ditch, so happy to be sharing it with Billy. He would dash up and splash Billy in his exuberance and then dash back down the ditch. Billy mostly ignored him, splashing himself with all the pawing. I enjoyed giving him this time to get really comfortable in the water, drinking and eating. It made me as happy as Samson was.
After that stop, Billy, Samson and I walked back down the hill to our house. We arrived, tired, with dried sweat and dried mud all over us and so so happy.