My daughter’s first pony Nelson was a stinker. She shared him with her sister, Hanni, and later with a world of little girls at Road’s End Farm in New Hampshire. He was also a stunner. We have had many years of riding together, competitively, fox-hunting and lots of meandering trail rides. I don’t think any one memory will stick in my memory like the ride we had Easter morning.
She hadn’t brought riding clothes but we are similar in size so a trip to the closet provided everything she needed. Of course, with Lex, it all had to match and look stunning. And it did.
Growing up she owned a magnificent Arab gelding donated by her godmother. He too was full of attitude but together they were striking, galloping across a field side-saddle in the hunt. Even when Lex lived in Boston, she couldn’t get the horsehair off her clothes. She obtained her license to drive the carriage horse tours in Faneuil Hall. Her tips were always generous as she dressed in costume and worked a passable cockney accent.
Once we gained the summit trail, I snapped a quick shot and fashion had gone out the window in favor of utility and warmth. She sat bareback astride a round, fuzzy pony from Mountain Lane Farm, where I board my mare. Yes, “Ollie” had a few “holes in his sweater” as we used to say when the shedding began. Every healthy beast who made it through the brutal winter is looking a little moth-eaten include us humans. I don’t know when Lex last rode, to climb aboard an unknown mount after any length of time, bareback no less, is risky. As she settled into a walk beside me I watched as she molded him around a stump and danced him lightly though a puddle. “He is so soft and responsive!” she laughed.
“You just have to sit there, right?” our standard reply to folks who think riding isn’t exercise. She was bundled against the wind; the bushes was brown and bent, but as we walked through streams, cantered up hills and slogged along happily, I realized just how much I wanted to store away this moment, this ride through time.