Moonlit Rides, A Thing of The Past? Everyone Has Arena Lights These Days.

The moon through the pecan tree.

Last night was a super moon, I didn’t get up at 4:30 this morning to see it but I did feed after dark last night and it was bright.  I was putting hay out in the pasture for the horses and thinking about how bright it was and the last time I had done a night ride without arena lights.  It’s been years.


When I was in college a friend and I planned out a night ride on a full moon, it was during winter so we weren’t getting to ride much, the farm that we boarded at didn’t have any arena lights.  We checked the calendar for the next full moon, kept track of the weather forecast for a clear night and one night it actually worked out.  We just trail rode down the street (it was a quiet street), and rode around the pasture a bit.  I remember us talking about how we should ride across the country at some point.  We never did that ride across the country but it was such a memorable night.

After my first ride on Emma.


A year or so after I got Emma, I had a tough day at work, I wanted to ride.  It was dark and the arena lights weren’t working, so I took my bridle and helmet out to the pasture, caught Emma and hopped on and went for a walk.  There was a full moon, it was clear over head but far off to the east was a beautiful lightning storm.  I couldn’t hear the thunder but I could watch the lightning while walking around the pasture.  It was another amazing night.

Ever since that night about 9 years ago, I have been at a facility with arena lights and then when I moved the horses to my house, I ride under barn lights or I have lights that I set up to ride with.  I had already ridden both girls yesterday, otherwise I might have gotten on for a night ride.

Yes, those are contractor lights on a tractor bucket, it worked.

Sometimes I forget that I started riding because I like to ride, I get so caught up in worrying about conditioning, dressage scores, and whether I am ready to move up levels, that I forget to just ride.  I know some people who don’t get out of the arena ever, I kind of get it, but to me that takes all of the fun out of riding.

I got my first horse when I was in High School and I happened to board my horse on a 100+ acre ranch, they had a nice arena and I had some great rides there, but my best rides were riding around the ranch.  Galloping up the big hill, swimming in the stock tank, sliding off my horse while she was swimming, trail riding around the exotic deer pens, and racing the Kawasaki Mule.

I am lucky enough to live in an area where I can go out and trail ride but if I am being honest with myself, I usually have some ulterior motive about conditioning while I am riding around the neighborhood or through the creek.  Recently I got to go out riding with my neighbor, we walked 6 miles, we chatted about all the stupid horse things we have survived.  Sometimes it’s nice to get back to those easy trail rides where you chat with your friends and just enjoy being on a horse.

When was the last time you got out of the arena, or rode just to ride?  Have you gotten to go on a moonlit ride?

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