The last of 6 deer. That's a deer, trust me.
A few days after our lovely Sunday afternoon, I was feeling quite lazy. There was a cold front rolling in, and Truby would need to be blanketed. But...pants. I just wanted to stay home in my jammies and watch Great British Bake Off. You know how it is.
I texted M, to see if she was going to be out and could blanket. She could, but after work around 1 am. Nahhh. So I put on real pants like a Grown Up, and headed over. As soon as I turned into the neighborhood, a small herd of mule deer bounced across the road. I tried to grab a picture, since I rarely see deer out here, but alas, I didn't get a great one. If you squint really hard, you can kinda see one of them.
Spying on the neighbors
It was a really beautiful golden afternoon, so I decided to hop on and go for a little ride. I had just gotten a Nathe soft bit and it seemed like the perfect time to try it out. Now, Truby's been ridden in a bit many times and does just fine. Of course, she really prefers her $180 3 piece bit with the Sensogan metal, because OF COURSE SHE DOES, but she also usually goes quite well bitless, and I'm really lazy. It's so much easier to pop on a sidepull than a bit...somehow.
So, while Truby rides in a bit just fine, and I don't have any silly objections to bits, we just don't use one often. And let's face it, for puttering around, we don't really need it. But...I'm thinking about getting back more in adding in some dressagey type stuff, and a couple times she's run through the sidepull, especially if she's wound up. Having a bit (haha) control would be nice.
So I thought, what the heck, I have too much money this week, let's buy a nice soft bit and give it a whirl.
Truby did seem a little less offended by the Nathe than she has her regular bit. (UGH! I can't BELIEVE you need to use a BIT on ME! Fine.) I stayed on a loose rein, barely touching them at all. Truby held the bit, but didn't really interact with it. After about 20 minutes she started mouthing it and chewing a bit. I picked up the reins but keep the connection very loose and light. We practiced some leg yields, and I think they were pretty good! (You know, for us.)
We ended on a good note. Truby accepting and interested in the bit, not terrible lateral work attempts, and we both were feeling loose and relaxed.
I sat on her for just a few more minutes, feeling the warmth of her underneath me, the rise and fall of her sides, the last bit of sun shining.
The cold front was coming in, and I could feel the temperature drop while I was riding. It felt chilly, and crisp. Like late October back in Maryland. I was pleasantly cold in my sweatshirt over just a tank top.
It felt like it did many years ago, when I used to take riding lessons with my friend Rachel. I must have been 11, 12? My dad would take both of us to lessons, and we'd giggle and talk and laugh the entire way there. Afterwards, we'd stop and get hot chocolate. It would be dark, the early darkness that falls in winter. We often stopped at the local restaurant/orchard/market, and I can remember the gooey brownies we'd sometimes get, or the sugar from the cookies we might share instead. It was a happy remembrance. And somehow, it felt safe, and warm.
It's been years and years since I even talked to Rachel. We fell away as childhood friends do. Although, my dad and I still share a meal at the same place as often as we can. We still talk and laugh. Although, my dad doesn't really giggle.
But even though those days are well past, I remember just how it felt. That's one of the things horses mean to me. It means chilly nights filled with laughter. Horses mean comfort. Horses are shortctus to being friends with strangers. Being partners with a large fuzzy creature that doesn't speak human languages, but we still understand each other. Horses mean there will be friends that will push me to have incredible experiences. To me, horses mean there's always understanding and comfort in the world.
And with those memories and happiness swirling around, I put Truby away, wrapped her and Cinco up, snug as bugs in their rugs, and turned out the barn lights. I headed home, fingers cold, but heart full and warm.