Warrior riders!

Published 2:15 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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It was under a distinctly maudlin sky that promised rain with raw morning temperatures that found both Donna and I tacking up our horses for a morning hack through the woods. But we were missing a third.

“Where’s Sami?” I asked.

Donna looked at her phone and smiled. “She says it’s raining at her house. I told her it’s not here, so get going.”

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I felt a momentary pang for Sami. She’d been rehabbing a shoulder and was back to riding, but on a cold, wet morning with rain pattering against the window, it takes a Herculean effort to leave the warmth of one’s kitchen and piping hot mug of coffee to layer up and come ride a horse who would also hit the snooze alarm with his hoof.

On the other hand, there were, I was quite sure, countless people sitting in their drab offices or lying in hospital beds who would give anything to trade places with us. And so I added, “Yes, tell her to get her butt over here before my hands go numb.”

Arrive she did, and in no time at all we were astride our respective mounts, donning our rain gear and walking up the long, gradual hills of one of the fields before descending into the woods along the bridle path. Sami rode Mikey, who tended to be quite obedient, and Donna rode her Fjord mare, who has a penchant for using her thick neck against a rider (“Built Fjord Tough,” coined Donna) and routinely tried to smash into the Kardashian-esq rump of Mikey, held back by Sami so as not to run into my horse like a trio of bumper cars at the carnival.

It began raining in earnest, and with soaked jackets, gloves, manes and necks, we looked a rather dejected bunch, but we were determined to enjoy this sodden morning of ‘forest bathing.’ 

“Whose woods are these? I think I know. His house is in the village, though. He will not see me stopping here ’cause being in the rain would make him a schmo,” I thought as we pulled the last hill to return to the barn.

Donna pulled out her phone.

“Turn your horses around to face me,” she said. “This‘ll make a nice photo.”

We obliged, wheeling our horses around and plastering smiles across our faces, proud of our dedication to daily fitness. Before long the barn was in sight. As we dismounted and unsaddled our horses, Donna said she was going to post our woodsy portrait on Facebook. 

“Great idea!” I enthused. “Maybe it’ll inspire others because, on a day like this, it’s so easy to look out the window, shiver, and go back to the couch.”

“That’s right!” said Donna. “You gotta keep moving. No matter what the weather is, ya gotta move. And it’s always worth it afterward.”

“Warrior riders!” I cried.

“Warrior riders!” Sami echoed, pumping her fist into the air before jumping in her car and cranking on the heat.

Somehow, I had this image in my mind that when I saw Donna’s photo on her Facebook page, we would appear exactly as we felt: invincible teenage girls, larking about in the woods on their ponies.

I peered closely at we three amigas. 

We looked like a commercial for Boniva.