This unusually long, warm fall has offered us perfect riding day after perfect riding day, and you better believe we are taking advantage of them. Trail rides, field hacks, and lessons in the outdoor ring have been happening well into November, by which time we normally have snow on the ground and are grumbling about the wind, the cold, and the days growing darker. The horses know what is inevitably coming, though, and their coats are already thick and fuzzy in anticipation.
I drove into the barn last night and found two boarders on their horses riding around outside, one student teaching her pony how to bow in the indoor, another kid tacking up a green pony she was assigned to work with, the parents of the kids sitting comfortably in our spectator chairs reading books, and the owner of the farm untacking her horse after a ride. Everyone was chatting and laughing while they worked. Seeing this small, happy community–everyone doing what they love in this friendly, safe shared space–it was a beautiful sight. In another few weeks it will probably be too cold and miserable for this kind of thing. The barn will be a little darker, a little quieter, a little more over-run by wild show-bunnies (long story...but if you ride at Sioux River you know what I mean) until spring.
But I'll be soaking up the sun and enjoying the relaxing company of our boarders and students as long as I can. Clients come and go like the seasons, that's just the nature of the business. But right now we have such a wonderful group of folks in our little barn community. From the six-year-olds giggling while they play Simon Says in their group lesson, to the 60-year-olds pampering their lease horses with long grooming sessions, and the kids who spend their weekend baking homemade horse treats, I want to say thank you to each of you for choosing Sioux River, and for the part you play in making it an enjoyable and rewarding place to work and hang out. For many of us, myself included, the barn and the horses and our horse-loving peers offer a much needed refuge from the stressful and not-so-fun parts of life. Thank you.