It was another long and hard day of work for Chief, my palomino quarter horse, and me. We were out on the Stanley Draper Lake Riding Trails making our way back to the stables with our last tour group. The late evening sun’s rays beamed across the field, making Chief’s sweat covered coat shine like gold. My body was relaxed in the saddle, Chief’s reigns loose, and my hips swayed in sync with Chief’s steps. After successfully leading the large group back to the stables, I helped the younger children dismount, then I led the horses to the water trough where they spent plenty of time playing in the water. The stable’s trail horses were let loose into the open pasture for their nights rest. However, the workers’ horses were tied back up on the wood railing where they silently waited to go on our moonlight ride.
Once the stable work was done and the sun had set, all of the workers, including my mother and me, attended to their horses and prepared them for the nights ride. As I walked over to where Chief was tied up, Ryta shouted my name. I quickly turned around facing her, “I was wondering if we could trade horses for tonight’s ride.” she stated, “Who you are supposed to be riding?” I asked. “Sugar Baby, I know you haven’t ever ridden her before, but I promise she will be on her best behavior.” Ryta partially pleaded. I hesitantly accepted the trade and took Sugar Baby’s reigns from her open hand.
Before mounting, I petted Sugar Baby’s forehead and rubbed her ears so she could get used to my scent and touch. Then I swiftly mounted with a reluctant surprise that the stirrups were long enough. I started her warm-up by doing lateral exercises, changing gaits at certain intervals, and then stopping abruptly, so I could get used to her movements. I quickly flowed into sync and relaxed in the saddle, then observed Sugar Baby’s ears settle into a relaxed position. I loosened her reigns and gave her a few praising pats on her neck.