Photo by Audrey Pavia
Being able to ride my horse around the town where I live is always special, but doing it around Christmas time is magical.
On Sunday, my friend Michelle and I saddled up our boys and headed out onto the bridle path. I was riding Milagro and ponying Rio alongside. Michelle was on Teddy. My horses donned their Santa hats — a pre-Christmas tradition I first imposed on them several years ago. Teddy would have nothing to do with such nonsense, so Michelle dubbed him “the antlerless reindeer.”
As we rode through the neighborhoods, we looked at the Christmas decorations that blanketed many of the houses. It was daytime, and I lamented about how we weren’t getting the full affect because the Christmas lights weren’t on. Still, you couldn’t help but feel the Christmas spirit that filled the community.
Part of the joy of riding around this town is seeing all the many critters that live here, and this Christmas-time ride was no exception. We were greeted by the usual crew of dogs objecting to our presence, although one Mastiff and one Lab, who were laying in their front lawn while their owner worked in the garage, just calmly watched us go by.
We saw the two Vietnamese potbellied pigs that share a paddock with a couple of horses, and marveled about how they had grown up over the last few of years. When I first saw them, they were adorable little piglets I dubbed Charlotte and Petunia. Now, they are full-grown pigs. How times flies.
One section of our ride took us past two old donkeys, which have lived in a large paddock since I moved here nine years ago. They share their space with some ancient farm equipment and have very swayed backs, which belies their age. They seem happy enough — relaxed and content.
Some of the animals we encountered could only be heard and not seen. Goats bleating, roosters crowing and horses whinnying serenaded us. Although we couldn’t see them, it still made us happy, knowing they were nearby. It was all part of the magic of our urban-farm Christmas ride.