Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Childhood Dream

Well, if you were riding with me, and decided to take a picture during the ride, naturally you'd get my back and Dink's roany rear end.

Dink's had a rough winter, but is on the mend, or at least as much of a mend as a horse who will be 23 this year can have. He's put on some weight, and regained his need to be The Horse, out in front, leading everyone else.

Eddie, on the right, carrying Cathy the Mad Horsewoman, has learned from walking beside Dink that it's better to lag a little behind; when he gets up too close to the side of Dink, Dink will occasionally flatten his ears at Eddie, which is Horse language for "Push your luck and I will knock the shit right out of you." Eddie is too smart to push his luck.

We rode Woodward Reservoir yesterday, reveling in the lack of campers and dog trainers and goose hunters. The dirt roads are getting grassy with winter, the hills green with new grass. The reservoir itself has been half-drained, exposing sandy beaches. The resultant green land, clean yellow beaches, and brilliantly blue water makes me think of an exotic beach location, maybe a lush island, maybe the Riviera. Maybe Madagascar.

We rode on the roads on the way out, but on the way back, I led the way onto the exposed sandy expanses. At times it was like riding through a desert, with the soil/sand cracked and dried by the sun; but then, as we neared our camp, it was like riding on the beach, with the sandstone and sand challenging our horses, the wind blasting us and raising whitecaps on the remnants of the lake.


After being raked, hoed, and pounded by the wind, sitting down to eat our sandwiches and chips and drinks felt like true luxury, even though the wind was so cold we couldn't take our coats off, and had to sit on saddle blankets at the cement picnic table to keep from freezing our butts off.

Being The Chuck Wagon as well as being the Woman on the Horse that Has To Be Out in Front, I made the grub. Sandwiches were semi-subs of seasoned turkey, bologna, salami, and cheese, or chicken with stuffing-seasoned mayonnaise. There were potato chips, and oranges, and bottled water or diet soda. (I brought wine for myself, a cheap but tasty pinot grigio decanted into an empty plastic water bottle. Classy, no?)

That's Dink on the left, tied to the trailer behind Cathy the Mad's glitzy new truck, and Eddie on the right, both of them watching us eat sandwiches with envy. Don't pity them -- we let them graze on the reservoir's land's rich green grass before we ever sat down.

If I had seen this adventure when I was seven, I would have said, "Yes! That's what I want to do when I grow up! I could never have enough of that!" I tried to remember that feeling as I oozed up the home sidewalk afterward, every muscle feeling like worn-out jelly.

We had a wonderful ride, and I hope the horses are rested because tomorrow, Thursday, we're riding out again at Camanche Reservoir.

Our friend Nikki took these pictures; I'm hoping tomorrow that I can take a few of my own.

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