Riding Alone

I walked home last night, Holly in tow. She's been cooped up in the yard with the ice we've had so she's getting a bit plump and bored so I thought I'd take her out for a ride.
It was near dusk so the woods took on a whole different feel than they had in the light of day, one where the deer and heffalumps - those mystical characters from Winnie The Pooh stories who dwell in the woods - weren't as discernable.
Is that a heffalump, asked Holly? How about that? Can't be too careful, being a horse and not knowing what Heffalumps eat, or even what they really look like.
I have heard the saying that the best time to get off your horse is the first time the thought crosses your mind. For me it's usually the second time since I'm a slow thinker and I like to evaluate my options, but I never ignore the instinct that I can honestly say has kept me safe for 40 years. It's far more useful than just relying on luck. I admit that the depth of the snow and the distance from home do cross my mind, but that's why I always wear good walking boots and only go as far out as I'm prepared to walk home when I'm alone. I'll take far less chances than if I'm with company.
So I got off Holly when her body rose up and I could feel her heart pounding through the saddle. We went back into the woods and worked on the ground for a while, clearing some branches off the trail and having her stand straddling a log (a.k.a. a mounting block when you're on a 16H trail horse), until she settled down her imagination. The snow wasn't too deep so we left it at that and walked home, having slayed the boogeymen who could have been there. Today we'll go out with another horse in tow since Holly likes company and the pony could use some ponying.
I used to do the same with Tatti when she was a young lass, using my long western reins to do some ground work with her until she found her sane brain as a three and four year old. I imagine I'll be doing more of that with her too as I return her to her career from the security of being on maternity leave with the herd.
Live to ride another day, that's what I always say.

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