Today we had a final trail ride and then a pot-luck picnic. It was a beautiful day, sunny and in the high 60s. Perfect fall weather - leaves slowly twisting in the breeze as we made our way through the woods. The horses act different in the fall. They pay more attention to their footsteps because it is hard to see the terrain under the carpet of reds and golds... They prick their ears toward the sounds of squirrels rustling through the forest, sometimes they act suspicious and curious at the open views through the woods. Things you cannot see in the summer are visible. The stream below from the high road, with little white caps where it bubbles along the rocks. The old camper someone left long ago, hidden in the summer by the thick forest. You would think that seeing everything would be better, right? LOL, wrong! Horses are hypersensitive to changes in their environment, even the smallest ones.
We started our day with some bur removal. LOL. Burs are the bane of my horse existence right now. Everyday Takoda has a tail full of them, or his forelock is caked with stickers and I spend a good amount of time carefully plucking them out. By the time we got tacked up it was a nice sunny morning with a pleasant breeze. Our familiar path took us through two fields, along a densely wooded trail with several water crossings, up the side of a semi steep ridge and onto an old logging road. From there we wind back down into the fields and home.
There is a lovely semi deep water crossing on our way home but we decided to not take it today because although it was sunny it was still a bit brisk. In the summer, this is one of Takoda's favorite parts of the ride. He loves water. I am quite certain that he would swim readily if given the chance. This particular crossing is just deep enough that you actually just barely get a sensation of floating. It is like you are THAT close... And then you aren't. LOL.
Once back at the barn and after bunches of kisses and "good boy" carrots and clean up, I put him in his stall with a big pile of hay before turn-out time. Then we ate! LOL. I was starving! So was everyone else I guess because we all dug in and had a great lunch, then sat around, laughed, talked and tried to make the day last as long as possible.
From here forward we may find ourselves kicking around in the arena and adjacent field while the woods gets overrun by hunters for a bit. But, I will be thinking back and thankful for this day for quite some time.
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart