Tonight I went for my third ride of the year, despite the mercury leveling out around 40. At this time of year it seems as though winter’s grasp is finally being loosened, as the warming rays of that wonderful ball in the sky cut through the frost and snow to reveal a terrain long forgotten. Thus was the feeling as I made my way out 9 miles on one of Iowa’s long, lonely roads. I was grateful for the brisk tail-wind that I was rewarded with on my return voyage, and as I glided down the last hill into town, something really cool happened. I was coasting along when I noticed a number of horses just ahead off to my right, it seemed as though they were returning to the barn after a good evening stroll though the corn field. I whistled as I approached them, as I often do when passing interesting wildlife or animals, and a couple of them turned their heads to ponder at this strange sight, a metal cowboy as Joe Kurmaskie would say. Then one of the horses toward the back of the herd broke out into a full gallop, running along the fence row, as if to escort me home. It’s night black mane flapping in the wind like the standard of a cavalry charge, it’s hooves throwing mud high into the air, it was running with me, not because it was spurred on by a skillful rider, but because it wanted to. Some of you might think I’m getting all emotional over nothing, but the feeling of connection that was exchanged in that moment was, for lack of a better word, cool.
Riding with the Horses March 1, 2011