i went riding again yesterday – same place, different horse.  the weather was rotten all weekend (much like the rest of last week) and our original plan to ride on sunday was foiled by hail and thunderstorms, but luckily our visiting itinerant canadians flew out late enough yesterday to squeeze in a morning ride.  and the day was glorious.

we were greeted as we drove up by a cute clydesdale foal keeping guard at the gate, all shaggy feet and whiskers, and by a fiery little stallion about a hand shorter than the clydie, and separated by a strong fence.

as before, we rode sedately down through the farm valleys, amongst cows (including a crazed calf that charged my horse) and wild turkeys.

there were a few slippery spots due to the recent heavy rains, but apart from walking down any sort of incline in a ridiculously exaggerated zigzag, my horse bert behaved himself. 

the beach was clear of footprints, scoured by a chilly wind coming off the substantial surf. 

i had been warned that bert had a penchant for rolling in soft sand, but he didn't seem interested in giving me another close enounter, so we stayed upright.  and in spite of the recent storms, the sand was largely clear down by the tideline, and the sand was firm underhoof.  further up the beach, however, we found a variety of interesting tidecast objects.

there was evidence of historic debris, too.

we had a nice walk north along the water, then came back to the starting point and divested ourselves of fragile and flapping objects before heading off for our canter.  this was my first ride since the fall, so i was a little nervous, but tried not to convey that to bert.  and he was very good to me – he wanted to gallop, but consented to the canter and even dropped into a trot when asked.  he wasn't a huge horse, so even the canter was a little bumpy, but i stayed put and didn't have too many panicky flashbacks.  and it felt great to get another uneventful run under my belt.  i was never planning to stop riding, but i guess the first time after a spill is always going to be a little tense, especially if it's been a few weeks.

we returned at a leisurely pace along the beach to the shelter and had morning tea before starting the climb back up to the farm.  the horses were enjoying the fine weather as much as we were, although i think bert was hamming the uphills a little with his emphasized puffing and sighing.  the only other moment of note came when we crossed a creek where the normal sloping bank on the other side had caved in, leaving a cutaway at about the height of the horses' chests.  bert thought he wanted to jump the bank at a spot that was more like the level of his chin, so we had a brief battle of wills and wits, but he ended up seeing reason and we took the more sane route, still getting a good jump out of it.  no more rogue cattle challenged us and the horses were unperturbed by the flock of noisy paradise ducks that accompanied us through several fields, and we returned to the yard on schedule about three hours after departing.  bert and the other horses got thank-you carrots before we headed back to town, and i feel good about going back in the future.

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