Monday, December 18, 2017

we'll be there with bells on!

Hello, my name is Emma. And I ride a capable, if slightly careless, thoroughbred named Charlie. My friends also ride very capable thoroughbreds. And together, we occasionally make somewhat ambitious plans.

behold: christmas spirit incarnate!
also, this pic is from post-ride, note how loose the hackamore noseband got through the ride.... womp
Such as how we've been planning for weeks to go cross country schooling this past weekend. Either at some sort of typical venue -- or somewhere in Western Maryland that has all-weather cross country arenas.

friends with ribbons tooo!
Alas, holiday scheduling got in the way of that, so we had to make due with a humble trail ride.

Birdie was highly skeptical of the bells lol
But. Ya know. "Humble" is a relative term.

three amigos!!! and damn but charlie looks giant.... he and Birdie are supposedly the same height but.... yea he's massive
And I woke up that morning feeling like.... Ya know. Sometimes, when all else fails, why not manufacture some real holiday cheer??

"hello, yes, Bella - i luv you" -- Charlie
So I stopped by the neighborhood pharmacy and picked up some bells and ribbons. And told Brita and Rachael to "Brace Yo'Selves" bc Christmas was about to go down lol.

jingle jingle jingle!
Luckily all parties were on board and happily pulled out some last minute color coordination. Subtle, ya know?

bc bells, obvi
And of course the horses were happy for the diversion no matter what. Naturally none of them have done much in the way of "outings" recently, and trail rides aren't exactly new for any of them.... but the bells and snow definitely added a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole thing.

horses were happy setting off in the snow
So off we went! Three Two saucy sassy thoroughbreds and Charlie!

and omg, that Riley puppy, wow, she was HAPPY
And, obviously, one Riley dog. Bc damn that dog is like an essential ingredient in all of our trail riding.

just look at that dog tho lol
No joke - if you've never hacked out with an energetic exuberant golden puppy, you're seriously missing out. And nothing - and I mean nothing - breaks a horse to dogs better than a golden (or huskies, for that matter {nothing beats a good sonka dog <3}). Highly recommend!

oooooooh but crossing the ice-covered stream was EXCITING too!! you'll have to watch the video for the full effect haha
Rachael's mare Birdie was seriously lit up (she hauled in for the day and had never seen any of these trails) and was happiest leading the way for most of the ride -- except for the above stream crossing.

What a funny moment! Poor brave Bella drew the short straw for blazing this particular trail, and set one hoof on the ice then LEAPT across when the ice broke. Charlie was second bc he's also seen this crossing multiple times, and Bella in all her leaping hadn't sufficiently broken up the ice.

some areas tho were fully cleared of snow
Luckily Charlie did not murder me, and actually stepped through nicely enough to chop it all up. And Birdie more or less happily followed the other two horses. Made me wish I had my helmet camera on tho, bc I certainly wasn't brave enough to hold my phone up to record it!

the woods were more mixed
The horses also had another tricky section of trail to contend with later on: a fairly broad natural ditch, more like a gully. Birdie led the way there and stepped through like a civilized being. Tho Bella and Charlie both had to jump it. Sliiiightly nerve wracking but damn these are good horses!

charlie's bow <3
For the most part, we just wended and wound our way through the woods - trying to make it last. The ringing of our bells was maybe the sweetest most cheerful sound I've heard in a long time, and it made me so happy to try to capture moments of that - including when we trotted/cantered across a field border.


For that reason alone, I hope you watch the video. If for nothing other than to hear the bells!

lol tail queens (and king)!
Obviously it would have been nice to actually go cross country schooling too... But. Ya know. This was a pretty solid alternative.

gotta love it, right?
And anyway I think Charlie was a little tired and sore from his lesson on gymnastics the day before (post coming soon!), so a low key trail ride was the perfect antidote for him.

the horses in the next field over were highly suspicious of our bells lol
We finished the ride with two wonderful sections of moving the horses out - once along a soy bean field where we mostly just trotted (in the video). But also again once we got into the cross country fields, we just let 'em go!

thanks Brita & Bella for handling all the gates!
Charlie, ever the gentleman, just ambled along in a polite canter. Spooked a little bit at the dog running up on the same side as those blasted bells banging into his shoulder.... lol.... But mostly just cantered right on along!

heading back to the barn quite satisfied, still jingling obvi lol
Which is good for me, bc this DIY hackamore noseband turns out to not be quite sufficient for the pressure I exert on it with Charlie, compared to Izzy. It's a suspender clip from the local crafts store - and after every 2-3 rides I'm finding it reeeeeally loosened up. It might be time to put a buckle on that after all.

and it was all repurposed as stall decorations!
That's for a later date tho. For now? I'm just enjoying having spent a wonderful, cheerful, and musical morning with buddies dashing through the snow around our farm :)

Do you ever like to take holiday spins with your horses? Or dress them up? Have you ever used bells like this? Did you love it just as much? Or was your horse like Birdie - no bells allowed?

32 comments:

  1. I have not been brave enough for bells but that sounds like it was fun.

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    1. Ha yea.... The bells ended up being a no go for birdie too lol. Tho she didn't mind the jingling of horses near her. Maybe it's time to hang bells and wind chimes all around the barn?

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  2. The perspective of that photo re: size of horses OMG. Bella is like....TINY. I feel like y'all are in a funhouse mirror! I literally stared at that photo for a solid 3 minutes before zoning back into reality lol!

    We're dressing up and heading out on our annual holiday Xmas lights right Thursday night. All three of my horses will be there with bells on...well, okay, I don't own THAT many bells, but yeah. Lights and tinsel will happen.

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    1. Yea I mean - the reality is that Bella is not a tiny horse. She's less than 16h, sure, but still quite normal sized. Charlie is just.... NOT very normal sized lol. And he's only getting bulkier apparently lol!

      Anyway tho I always love your Christmas pictures of the horses all decorated! I hope you guys have a blast again this year!

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    1. Sometimes ya just gotta play right??? :)

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  4. Love the jingle bells!!!

    Growing up my pony club would go Christmas caroling on horseback and everyone would cover their poor suffering creatures in bows, bells, and anything Christmas. It was the best!!! I wish there was a neighborhood area where we could do it where I live now but alas all the houses are to spread apart :(

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    1. I love that idea too! Our barn actually does that too - they did it the very same day we did this trail ride, but we had scheduling conflicts and couldn't participate unfortunately. That's ok tho - we made our own little jingle fest happen instead ;)

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  5. I love it! I used to drive (both carriage and sleigh) with my old Morgan and I have lots of sleigh bells! I always do a Christmas Day bareback ride on my horses. Sounds like a perfect weekend adventure! :-)

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    1. it really was great haha - kinda amazing how some bells can transform a normal plain trail ride into something so much more cheerful! (the snow helped too lol)

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  6. Totally agree on the happy golden puppy bit! Lol. Riley even looks a bit like my Harley.

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    1. haha we should all be so lucky to be as happy as these dogs lol

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  7. Awww! Looks like it was a lot of fun

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  8. What a great way to spend an afternoon. Love the bells!

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    1. lol i had been feeling super grinchy about the schooling plans not working out, and then having a tight schedule.... but decided to stop being so grumpy and add some more festivity to the whole thing lol

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  9. Charliemlooks just like that brontosaurus statue in that photo. I always forget he is big until you throw up a perspective pic like that.

    I’m not sure I’m brave enough to slap bells on Gem. That ride with friends looked perfect.

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    1. ha he's got that 'benevolent behemoth' expression down pat lol. and yea, he really is just plain old giant. sometimes i even forget too lol.

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  10. I have a neckband of bells that I made for Gwyn! They're not specifically holiday themed but they are specifically for staying safe with bears (when we rode in bear country) and hunters.

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    1. i definitely believe that the bells were useful for those purposes! and had thought somewhat vaguely that they would be useful in the off chance that there was a wayward hunter in our woods too. we were certainly easy to hear coming!

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  11. Awwww what fun! (No pun intended)

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  12. Ah this looks like a total blast!! You guys have the best time together. And Riley. Omg. ❤️

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    1. she's a very fun puppy to hack out with lol, tho charlie's certainly had to get used to her!

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  13. "Do I dress my horse up"

    Giggle.

    Not a question.

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  14. Oh my god. Charlie looks GINORMOUS. He is even more of a dinosaur than I thought lol.

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    1. yea he's never been small haha, and then gained a ton of weight while on stall rest lol

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  15. Putting bells on Scarlet - or even just trying to - would be like signing a death warrant. No way on earth would he be okay with that.

    Which now means I need to get all the noisy shiny things to shake around him. I need to get him to be chill like charlie. Or as chill as Scarlet can get. lol

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  16. Sounds like a wonderfully merry outing to me! Hahaha

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