Well now what?
In addition to riding parades with the Rangerettes, I co-founded a local non-profit trail riding organization. We are called the Oklahoma Family Equestrians (OFE). We were not going to let this Oklahoma heat wave ruin our summer fun … no way, not us! We have monthly moonlight rides through the seasonal months, but because of this heat, we have gone bonkers and a large number of us have become night riding addicts. Yes, addicts.
Every Saturday night our group converges on the small equestrian facility at Prague Lake, Oklahoma, strap on colorful glow bracelets to our horses and hit the trails around 9 p.m., moon, or no moon. The first ride was our normally scheduled moonlight ride. The riders had SO much fun that it “stuck” and now our group rides every Saturday night. The group plans to continue to do so until this heat breaks.
I use to ride moonlight rides all the time at a local rental stable with my youngest son. The rental horses are dead broke. The worst thing you have to worry about is getting stuck on a horse that won’t do anything but stand there and graze. If so, you will sit there kicking the living daylights out of him while trying to pull his head up from his feast, hopefully getting him to move before your group moves on and your $25.00 and two hours expire.
I’ve never ventured out at night on a trail ride with my horse, Filly. I was not sure how she would handle it. I was even more concerned for my son. His horse, Repo, is a very energetic and vivacious four-year old thoroughbred. This would be her first night ride as well. Being the horse lovers and “confessed addicts” that we are, we loaded up and headed east for the lake in search of a great time with a great group of people. We would not be disappointed.
There was no moon this night. But hey, it’s just “the dark,” right? And the horses can see better than we can so I wasn’t too worried about the ups and downs on the trail that I’ve ridden during the day. Besides, I could see this really cool line of glow lights moving in synch with the horses in front of me. It was a pretty sight to behold. I was already having a BLAST. Now, to get out of the parking lot.
Our determined band of riders gathered at the trailhead and headed off into the forest. Suddenly it was black. I mean pitch black, can’t see your hand in front of your face … darkness! But you could see those glow bracelets and the occasional lightning bug. We could hear the rustling of the leaves and feel the cool breeze blowing through the trees. It was so peaceful! I couldn’t see the ground beneath me, but I knew Filly could so I settled in for a nice, enjoyable ride. We chatted back and forth through the line, told stories about the ride the week prior, laughed about ghost stories and practical jokes pulled on a rider last week and started to get to know each other.