-I woke up this morning around four o'clock and couldn't go back to sleep again. I have too many things to worry about, I guess. I tossed and turned and then decided that I could keep trying to sleep or I could make good use of the time. It was a full moon outside. What could be better than an early, predawn ride on a moonlit night? I put on some sweat pants, a sweat shirt, ear muffs, boots, and a jacket and headed out the door. The horses were stretching, yawning, and peeing when I opened the barn doors and turned on the lights. I haltered Nadia and brought her into the barn aisle, looping the lead rope around the stall door pole, tying her up. Then I caught Scout and tied him up next to Nadia at the next pole. I gave both horses a quick curry and brush down and then I put the bareback pad on Scout. I put on my helmet and then I chose the snaffle-side pull bridle for Scout. Last time I rode him out back I had him in the curb bit and I think that was one of the reasons why he reared up and went over backwards on me. That was almost six months ago. I'm still recovering from my broken ankle.
I easily put Scout's bridle on, then I untied Nadia and walked out of the barn to the pipe rail fence, leading both horses. I climbed up on the rails and Scout sidled away from me while Nadia grazed on the other side of us. I thought 'great, I can't even get on my horse!' But I manuevered him right up to the rail, this time on the off side, and, throwing my left leg over, eased onto his back. For some reason, all my horses prefer to let me get on them from the fence using their off side. They tend to step away when I lead them up on the near side. Gathering up Nadia's lead rope in my right hand and the end of Scout's looped roping rein in my left, we headed out into the bright starlit night. We rode around the neighborhood, to the back forty, staying on the gravel roads. Sandy joined us, sometimes trotting ahead of us and sometimes romping through the fields. I could tell the horses and dog were enjoying the ride as much as I was. Scout's head stayed low as he stepped out and Nadia pricked her ears forward, walking easily beside us. I love ponying her. Except for holding the rope in my hand I don't have to do anything to bring her along with us. It's the same way when I ride Nadia and pony Scout. They just get along so well together, although Nadia does pin her ears and nip at him occasionally. I thought about how much I love my horses, how well behaved they were. Even though I haven't ridden for several weeks and I didn't even warm them up or work them down, they were a pleasure to ride and pony. This is how I like my horses. Although they're half broke (not ready for the show arena or any sort of competition) they are easy going and ride with very little guidance from me. We even had an awkward moment when Scout stepped into a deep rut in the road, only to find that it was full of water. He just stood there, confused, and when I asked him to step out of it, he did, and then walked right into some very tall weeds that made him stumble. I had a fleeting moment of panic, 'were we going to go down again?' but he recovered and we walked on. I never asked for anything faster than a walk because I wasn't sure of the ground after that incident. When we arrived at the place where we had our accident in April, my heart pounded and Scout sensed it and seemed a little nervous too. We continued walking past however. I wanted to bring Nadia along with us for two reasons: to get some exercise since she is confined in her stall and run most of the time and also to comfort Scout and I in case of fear issues. I worried that we might see cows in the field, or coyotes, or, God forbid, the pack of dogs that took us down that fateful time we rode out. The only thing that brought any notice to Scout was a realty sign in the field. He looked hard as we passed it by but did nothing else. We even passed solar light sticks that glowed blue-purple in the darkness.
The entire time we were riding, Yalla! and her mother, Annie, were calling to us. I'm sure the neighbors, if any were awake yet, wondered what was wrong. Nadia only gave a low nicker once and I was proud of Scout because he never made a sound. There was a time, not so long ago, when he would trumpet his distress for all the world to hear. Probably having Nadia along with him helped ease his herdboundness.
We didn't ride very long because it was still dark when I put them away. I fed them their mash and their hay and then I went over to feed the alpacas. I hand fed them pellets and they nuzzled my hands. I snuck in some neck petting and then, making sure they had plenty of grass hay and water, left to go get ready for the day.
I couldn't Sleep Last Night - song: Sorrow, artist: David Bowie, album: Pinups