I've had...a week. Actually, more than that. My stress and anxiety due to the construciton process, work, and other personal life dramas is at a high. So, I did what any horse person does in times of need and went riding.
Stan and I headed out with the dogs to explore another new trail option. As we descended the backside of the mountain, the cloudy western skies moved in. It began to rain, lightly at first, so lightly that the forest canopy blocked the large majority of the drops from reaching us. However, as we rounded the low point and began to climb, the skies began to open up.
Not expecting this, my phone was unprotected in my pocket. I opted to take my gloves off and stuff my phone in them to give it a bit more protection, and then stashed it in my waistband along my front body to give it the protection of my forward leaning body as we climbed the mountain.
Up and up we went, bushwacking where necessary. I ducked branches and grabbed mane as Stan navigated up the near-vertical slope. I slipped backwards and had to finagle myself forward a time or two and made a mental note that a bareback pad may not be the wisest choice on this section in the future.
As we emerged from the forest into a mowed field near the top of the mountain, I turned Stan loose into a gallop.
The rain pounded down on us as we raced to the summit. My laughter was lost to the sounds of the rain, wind, and pounding hooves.
As we cruised by the house, I tossed my phone to safety and opted to continue onward. I was already soaked through, why stop now? Rain is has been rare the past month, and I wanted nothing more than to revel in it.
And so we headed back out along the neighborhood road. Out to the main development where the flat, open ridgetop yields 270° views when it isn't socked in with mist and clouds and rain. We meandered through the open spaces, the rain still falling in large drops on us as we went.
I realized about halfway along the ridge that the remote for the dogs' electric collar was no longer on my waistband and cursed under my breath knowing it must be somewhere on the mountainside we climbed and bushwacked up.
I told Stan we'd have to go get it, and turned him to the right, picking up a hand gallop across the open meadow.
We backtracked our previous path, slowing to a walk when we entered the forest at the top of the incline where I dismounted so I could look closer in the fern-laden understory.
While my day to this point had been rife with poor luck, I was excited when I spotted the remote on the ground halfway down the mountain where we'd been 20 minutes prior. I whooped and hollered my excitement over my find at the top of my lungs, laughing as it echoed in the hollow below us.
I pocketed the remote, positioned Stan on the downslope, and jumped back on, grabbing up two fistfuls of mane as he rocketed back up the steep slope.
As we emerged from the forest into the field once more, Stan dug deep and flew, faster than before, up through the field. I laughed and cheered and threw my arms wide to the wind and the rain.
We settled into a trot along the road at the top before picking up a hand gallop again along the path that borders another open field. We galloped along, flushing turkey hens and poults from the tall grass as we went. Stan's ears darted forward and his pace slowed a titch, but he still plowed ahead.
In minutes, we arrived back at the barn.
I dismounted, dropping to the ground in a squelch of water from the puddles that had accumulated in my boots. My tank top and tights clung to my skin, thoroughly drenched through from all of the rain.
Despite this, I smiled. The rain and a good, fast horse had washed away all of my anxieties. It was just what I needed.