December 29, 2009

A Magical Moonlight Ride

I got a very special Christmas gift this year; lots of snow, clear weather and a full moon.

I wish I could teleport all my blog friends, to accompany me on a Magical Moonlight Ride.
It is my favourite riding experience, and I am so happy if I get such a ride during the winter.
It is not easy to get it all at the same time - it has to be new snow, so the trees are heavy, a full moon and clear weather so you can see the moon.
Yesterday it was.

Come with me!

Even if it to my eyes is almost as light as in the day, it is too dark to take pictures, so you have to imagine it all...

First, it is evening.

It is very cold outside, -20C/-4F.
We have put on wool underwear, nice warm boots, chaps and our best winter jackets.
We can feel the cold in our faces, it is biting in our noses and chins, but we are comfortable in our warm clothes. For now.
We bring out the horses.
Today we ride bareback, with bitless bridles. It is better in the cold.

It is completely still outside.
No sounds can be heard.
The moon is shining bright, and it is a clear, starry sky.
The breath from us and the horses are clearly visible in the moonlight as we sit up.
In the air you can see tiny, tiny chrystals that shimmer. The air is letting go of surplus moisture in a wonderful way. Even the air is glittering.

The horses are eager to go, and we cross the road and ride into the small path on the other side.
As we have had much snow the last days, the path is narrow and with much snow, but the horses are walking energetically down the slope.
My horse suddenly jumps as one of the trees beside the path click in the cold. Another tree further down clicks higher, it sounds almost like a gun shot.

As the trees closes in, the lights from the stable gradually fades away, and we are left with the moonlight.
It shines brightly, so brightly that it makes the shadows from the trees turns black and crisp against the snow, and the snow on the heavy laden spruce branches glitters like diamonds.
We can see the path clearly as it winds between the trees.
The only sounds we hear are from the soft footfall from our horses, and the sounds from our coats where the outer layers feels brittle like paper in the low temperature.
As we approach the field in front of us, we can see the cold mist closing in on us. Suddenly the cold can be felt even more, it bites in our brows, noses and chins.

We gather the reins, we have to get a bit warmer by trotting.
Our horses are lifting the legs high in the snow, and I can feel Fame increasing the stride length, eager to go.
Suddenly she stops.
In front of us two moose are crossing the path, majestically moving over to the open field.
After a while they stop and turn their heads to look at us.
Their shapes are almost black against the glittering snow.
We watch them slowly continuing their way over the field, and the horses relax and we resume the trot.

I can feel Fame wanting to go, and I ease up a bit on the reins and let her turn into canter.
I grab hold of her mane as her whole back is moving under me through her forceful strides in the snow.

We slow down as some smaller trees and branches in front of us are almost blocking the path as they are low, burdened with snow.
I can feel my fingers slowly getting colder.
My eyelashes and eyebrows are full of frost, and Fame has got small icecles around her nose.
We decide to turn around, and head for home again.

Summer is nice, but winter too.
In spite of the cold.

Midvinternattens köld är hård,
stjärnorna gnistra och glimma.
Alla sova i enslig gård
djupt under midnattstimma.
Månen vandrar sin tysta ban,
snön lyser vit på fur och gran,
snön lyser vit på taken.
Endast tomten är vaken.

(Hard is the cold of the midwinter night
the stars glitter and shine
Everyone sleeps on the lonely farm
deep into the midnight hour
The moon silently follows his path
The snow shines white on pine and spruce
The snow shines white on the roofs
Only the "tomten" is awake)

Viktor Rydberg:Tomten, illustrations by Jenny Nyström
(Click the link in the poem to see what Tomten is.)
Astrid Lindgren made a children's book out of the poem, "The tomten" a beautiful book.


Siri said...

Sounds like you were out at the same time i was. All alone with the spooked 4 yo:D

Silent moonlight rides are the best! I love Norway in the winter.

trudi said...

What a delight; if a little nippy :-)

Di said...

It sounds absolutely beautiful, wish I was there!!

RuckusButt said...

Oh, how beautiful that must be, you always have the best rides! Thanks for taking us along. I've been feeling a little "arena sour" lately (and it's not even January yet!!) so your ride sounds perfect. I feel relaxed just reading about it!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Your ride sounds absolutely beautiful and peaceful. So glad you got a Christmas gift in the moonlight.

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like a wonderful ride. Wish I could have made it with you.

allhorsestuff said...

Very lovely ride you took us on there! I loved the snow laden branches and the narrower path because of that!
It snowed here today..but your ride is the only one I think I will get to take!
KK w/ Wa mare~

stilllearning said...


Anonymous said...

Wonderful - thank you!

Merri said...

beautiful ride!!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

mugwump said...

Oh HOH, you took my breath away. So beutiful. Thank you.

Once Upon an Equine said...

What a fabulous ride. I admire you for getting out in the very cold weather.

Anonymous said...

I loved your 2 snow scene photos - would you mind if I used one to illustrate a story with full credit to you and your blog?
Happy riding