Pie and I had a hysterical adventure bareback and bitless in a snowstorm this afternoon. It was 26 degrees and I didn't plan on riding but it was gorgeous and blinding and white - I just couldn't pass it up!
I didn't get to the barn till 2pm after spending the entire morning in a chair in the living room opposite Maizie. We were decadently lingering over multiple cups of coffee as I worked on our Christmas card design (very late this year!) and Maizie worked on homework. Brian was on a long mountain run that normally would include Maizie, but she twisted her ankle at tennis practice on Thursday night so the weekend has been sadly one of no running for her.
More than anything, she and I were happily enjoying our little house dressed up for Christmas. We bought and decorated our tree last night and this morning we weren't too eager to leave.
After lunch with the holiday card design (finally) off to the printer and Maizie's homework done, we headed over to the barn. Maizie planned to help decorate my mom's tree and I was going to just groom inside the barn since a small snowstorm was churning out a few wet inches. But, when I got there, the snow was so lovely and Pie seemed eager to go, pawing as usual since it was "his turn".
I took these photos when I was collecting the boys to go inside. I wasn't able to take any pictures on the ride - I didn't even take the phone along. Pie isn't the best horse usually in storms - he feels the change in weather conditions more than the other two horses.
I knew he needed the exercise - he needs a ride every other day to be fully calm. It seemed to make more sense to ride bareback than with a saddle because of the snow on his back, but I knew that picture taking was out of the question.
This one of Sovey and Foggy shows how the snow was falling fast and furiously when I arrived.
Pie and I made our way around the farm with little problems. I talked to him the whole way. He was a tiny bit more spooky than on a perfectly sunny day, but way better than I expected. I made sure to keep my mind empty, prattling on to him with stories about Christmases past. I also relaxed my legs which was difficult because my winter riding pants have a faux leather full seat for extra grip which is amazing in a saddle, but kind of weird bareback. It grips a little too well and feels like I am attached to the horse with Stickum. I know, what am I complaining about?!! It's just that my legs have trouble moving naturally.
We wondered around through the woods and I was beaming the whole time. The snowflakes were coming horizontal - one hit me square in the back of my throat and I started coughing which made him shy! Still, it was like riding in a snow globe. Last winter I finally got all the proper riding gear so I was warm as toast and able to look around and enjoy a snowy ride without freezing! The woods were quiet, allowing us to observe many woodland creatures running here and there - it was amazing. The cardinals were darting on branches with their red incredibly vibrant in the snow.
Then I saw footprints and first thought they were my mother's from earlier today. But, they went on trails I knew she wouldn't take. My next guess was that they belonged to our neighbor, Chris, who seems to live in our woods. He is the leprechaun-esque guy I mentioned last May who wanders around out there and is completely harmless in a woodland sprite/Stevie Winwood in Traffic/Canned Heat Goin' Up The Country sort of way.
At the end of one trail I spied a figure standing in the brush and I yelled, "Chris" but the person just bent down, as if to hide. Even though it clearly wasn't Chris I started laughing because there is little foliage this time of year and with the snow, I could see the person perfectly well. Pie could too and in typical "I'm going to look in your windows" Pie fashion, my horse started marching right toward the crouched figure.
I called out a warning in case he thought he was actually hiding from us - "I can totally see you!" I yelled, taking a line from one of my favorite commercials EVER. The kid stood up and walked out. He didn't have anything with him and looked scared to death as Pie frisked him by completely nuzzling him up from top to bottom.
He said he was tracking a fox. Of course, my horrible hearing from years of too loud music through headphones made me hear, "I am trapping a fox." I went nutty, screaming about how we don't harm animals! "No one can harm animals!" I repeat fanatically. My fury made it completely clear that I would have little problem harming him, but nobody better harm animals. Just then he whispered, "I said, I was tracking a fox. I'm really interested in photography." "Oh...Nevermind," I said in my sweetest Emily Litella voice.
Pie was so involved in the conversation that he never shied or acted silly throughout the entire exchange, proving once again that your horse is always perfect when your mind is on something other than how your horse is going to fling you off.
I rode back to the barn with the stupidest grin on my face. I doubt I will see that boy in the woods again, but I sure gave him a story to tell of the kooky lady who lives on the farm. I did learn where he lives and I've met his parents before so I'm not too worried. Poor kid seemed nice enough after I stopped screaming at him.
Here is a photo of the boys when I turned them back out after our ride. The snow had stopped but was followed by sleet. Just this second we got a text message from the school - two hour delay tomorrow!!!! Yippee!!!!!!