Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Silver and black

Well, our moonlight ride was only half a success. The horses did great under the circumstances, but we timed things very poorly.

We waited til the moon was almost over the hills to the NE, then headed out. But the sun wasn't all the way down - it had just dropped behind the mountains to the west - and we were riding west so we couldn't see shit. The sky was bright and the earth was dark and it just wasn't a good combination.

But we were riding down the gravel road, so we persevered. We stopped for a while at the end of the road, til the sky got darker and the moon was all the way up, then we started down the straight sandy trail. But as soon as the trail headed downhill, even a little bit, we couldn't see anymore because the moon just wasn't high enough.

We were undaunted and turned to head home a different route - but then we were riding directly toward the moon and I swear to god it was too bright to really make out the trail. I could kind of see the trail, but that particular trail is just a twisty path through the sagebrush, and the bushes were casting huge long shadows and in 100 yards I wandered off trail and ended up against somebody's fence and we said fuck it and went home.

Our horses looked fabulous in the moonlight! S was on Summer, who is also a paint, and the horses were just glowing silver. The scenery was a million shades of grey, from midnight black up to pearl-grey. Really beautiful!

Dixie behaved quite well. I suspect she thought we were going to die and came into heat real fast in the hopes of getting some before death, but I won't know for sure til tomorrow. She stopped once to pee and Summer nickered at her, which he never does unless she's in season. But my sure sign that she's in heat is our monthly battle about the bit - she H-A-T-E-S contact and slings her head nonstop when she's in. I have to be extra light with her. I'll know tomorrow.

No pictures - it's hard to get a moonlight picture to come out from horseback, and I knew Dixie would need all my attention. Yall can imagine a silver horse in the desert :)


  1. Yeah....moonlight rides can be kind of a crap shoot - but when they go well they are SO VERY COOL!!! Keep trying :) I haven't ridden in moonlight for over a year. :(

  2. It must have been pretty - although a little nerve-wracking! That thing about the bit when she's in heat is weird - perhaps she's just distracted, or maybe her back's a bit sore? Mares! :)

  3. The moon has been so bright here the past few nights, I could've read a paperback novel by moonlight. But only with the moon BEHIND me, as you noticed!

    Later in the evening is better. Horses really "bloom" on night rides, in my experience. It's like they know you can't see, so they are more responsible about watching the trail and making sure they don't walk into a tree or over a cliff...or even off the trail!

    Did you take glowsticks? Sometimes those help for the between/betwixt times when the light is weird.

  4. Kate - I think when Dixie's in heat, she gets really distracted. She wants to do what SHE wants, not what some silly little human says. If I am extra soft and very persistent, I can get her to cooperate! I worry about saddle fit, so I often poke at her back after we ride, and she never reacts. Maybe she rotates an ear back like "Why are you poking my back?" but no flinching or ear-pinning.

    Aarene - The later in the evening the colder it is! We are thinking maybe next month we'll wear all the clothes we own and go out the day before the moon is full, when it rises earlier - that way it'll be higher up before it gets quite so cold and late.

    I didn't bring glowsticks. We each had a flashlight or a headlamp, in case we really needed to see, but turning those on wrecks everybody's night vision. Maybe if I tied a glowstick to her breast collar... good idea!

  5. That sounds like a good ride other than going into the sun at the beginning. Moonlight riding is fun provided that one trusts one's horse. It's strange at first feeling a little disconnected from the ground owing to the darkness, then I think that senses become better atuned.

    The best moonlight rides are in the snow though - with a full moon and a clear sky, it's almost light enough out to read a book. But such rides truly are freezing.


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