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An Unexpected Pleasure: Riding to Church on Horseback

A friend and her husband invited us to ride horses to a small church so she could read at an early service this morning.  This was in the little town where I live with an extensive horseback trail system, so we got up before dawn, tacked up the horses, and rode almost an hour (trotting and cantering uphill since were late) to their house.  We joined them on the trail outside their house just in time.  Before long we were tying our four horses up under a tree outside the church in time for the eight o'clock service.

Christ Church Episcopal is stunningly beautiful, a jewel case.  Its service made me miss the Anglican Church in which I was raised.  Presbyterians, in their efforts to reach out, might have lost some of the mystery that, for me, forms the heart of a worship service.

Jasmine, the horse in the photo, was her usual surefooted self.  At one point, though,  the horses were particularly skittish because the trail ran in a kind of a trench, where they couldn't escape.  I was reminded of a similar point in my novel The Sureness of Horses when the horsewoman responds, "Understand, horses aren't predators.  They're prey." 

Riding back, the reader and her husband took us a way that included a hundred yards riding upstream in a river near their home.  After we said goodbye, we rode back uneventfully.  That's a good thing.  Finally we washed, fed, and put up the horses, ending a morning of unexpected pleasures.