The colours (duh!)
Do I even have to say anything here? Yeah green is nice and fresh, but nothing beats the vibrant reds and yellows of the season. Plus, it goes with all my tack.
2. The BIG trot
Cooler weather + endurance season fit horse = wheeeeeee!!!!!!!! The giant gaits and frisky snorts are pretty much my favourite thing ever. Catch that air!
3. Chase the spotlight
The days are short. Change out those old batteries in your headlamp and hit the trail in the dark. It may seem scary at first, so stay close to home, but the feeling is unbeatable. Bentley and I play chase the spotlight, I just point my light where I want to go and he goes (of course at the big trot). For all the times your coach reminds you to “look where you want to go, not at your hands.”
4. Flannel, Wool and Pockets
Don’t get me wrong, I love my summer clothes, but once the weather dips enough for me to put on a sweater, I relish all the pockets that come along with them. Seriously, why don’t they make more (and affordable) riding tights with good cargo pockets. Give me like 20 down my legs please! Vests, hoodies, jackets, so many options for storing phones and treats! Then add in the cozy comfort of a nice flannel or wool baselayer or jacket and…. oh I am melting with comfort.
5. Change of Focus
Winter I think of my upcoming season and set my goals. Spring I am implementing the training plans I made in winter, bringing both myself and my horse up to condition. Summer is compete compete compete. Fall is just about fun. We play around in other disciplines (Bentley loves to jump and seems to know once Oktoberfest is done, he goes jumping!), go for leisurely rides, and just hang out in the paddock and play. What a relief!
No animal in my household is allowed to get past October 31 without being completely humiliated. As an adrenaline junkie, I like to push my limits of how much I can get away with before said animal turns around and bites me in the ass.
7. No Stirrups November
You mean you DON’T love this? Whats wrong with you?! Maybe I am a little masochistic, maybe I am just addicted to the great feeling that comes with improvement. Either way, my advice for those of you thinking about how sore your muscles are going to be tomorrow: that’s tomorrow’s problem. Pull those leathers right out, lube up your thighs and lady bits with some body glide, and stock up on painkillers. You can do this!
8. Hunts, Hunter Paces and Fun Shows
Going to a real hunt is still on my bucket list… maybe this year we will get there, but I have been to hunter paces and love it. I think Bentley did too, despite being very confused. I could practically hear his thoughts through the back of his head “Oh boy, time to ride! Wait, who cleared this trail, they did a lousy job, all these big logs to jump. Weird place for a hold, here’s my left leg forward… where is your stethoscope? Isn’t it early to start drinking Sarah? I haven’t even dumped you yet. What, its over already? Can I go again… and like ten times faster? That was fun!”
9. Fur Coats & Blanket Season
Nothing cuter than when all the horses get their furry winter coats… thick enough to bury cold fingers in. Mmmmmmm. Add to that blankets… oh yes they are a pain when you have to change them as quick as the weather changes, or when they shred them to bits, but if you have a grey horse like me, you appreciate how clean your horse remains from the neck down November through March.
10. Apples and Carrots
Ever notice that in Autumn you can get giant bags of carrots super cheap?! Not to mention all the free snacks growing on the trees down the trail. Bentley knows where every apple tree is on our route and will drag me to them… even in the dark and I have no clue why he’s beelining it into the woods. Cheers my friend, get your winter potbelly on. You have earned it.
Cute chubby animals are everywhere (not just beneath our saddles). Deer, coyotes, grouse, turkey, porcupine, skunks, raccoons… I have seen them all within the last few weeks. Every time I go to the forest I swear the chipmunks have multiplied at a rate that could only be explained by mitosis. Once I saw one pop out the side of a very steep hill (poorly placed exit you idiot) and roll a good 20 feet down the hill, desperately grasping at all the loose leaves on the ground with no avail. I laughed. I laughed so hard. Nature can be so stupid, thank goodness its not just us people! I will treasure that memory. Busy critters make for great entertainment, and there is no busier time of year than Autumn. Plus, the mosquitoes are (mostly) gone!