Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goodnight, moon

We've had a lovely hunter's moon lately, and with the accompanying beautiful weather and clear skies, I've been taking advantage of it by riding Lim after sundown.

Some rides began shortly before sunset, but before I could even get into a warm-up trot, the sun was deep over the horizon and the moon was already high in the sky. Moments like that create a surreal mash of fading red light and growing blue light, complete with moon shadows. Nighttime--what's that?

Limerick was full of pep and spook for the first couple rides in the moonlight, and honestly I didn't blame her. If I were by myself, I too would be a little creeped out by the coyote yips in the deep shadows surrounding the outdoor arena. But before long, the routine became old to her and she relaxed.

Each time except one, it was just Limerick and I out there. Naturally, I could hear really nothing (those coyote yips were very, very close by, so I could hear them) and during the earlier rides, when the moon was not near full, I could barely see anything past her pricked, fuzzy ears. But I knew the lay-out of the arena and I knew that Lim could see quite well, so I trusted her to know where to go. In having all my senses gone except feel, I could thoroughly concentrate on my seat, my legs, my arms, and my shoulders.

As a result I was able to sit her spirited trot, playful bucks--and yes, occasional spooks!--with nary any difficulty. And although her senses were not gone, and she was at times on high alert, Lim listened to me acutely, her ears flicking back to catch my whispers and her body responding to my reassuring hands on her neck. We were very in tune with each other.

And now the moon is growing smaller again, and we have several days of clouds, rain and cold ahead of us. There will be no more moonlit rides....for the time being. But the memories of the past week will never fade.

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