The Best View

Today might possibly have been the most perfect day to be out in the woods all year. This morning the biting insects were gone. Fallen leaves that smelled sweet, and yet somehow like old campfires, were underfoot. The sky was blue and the sun lit up the leaves still in the trees so that the world glowed like old stained glass.

I had the perfect vantage point to take it all in.



Last weekend Tonka and I were in a dressage show. We placed second and third in our class. A couple of people, watching the competition, commented to me how nicely my horse and I worked together. Tonka and I do practice hard at our dressage patterns, but being harmonious comes from more than that. It comes from wandering in the woods, too. Horses are designed to move, mostly at a walk, for long distances, every day. They’re curious animals who are primed to look ahead. But they’re not animals who like to go out alone. We’re glad for each other’s company. Today we walked for five miles.

This is the first time that Tonka and I explored the paths at a nearby state forest. Anytime that I put Tonka into the trailer and go somewhere new, I have a tiny case of nerves. As good as my horse is, so much can go wrong. This time of year, ground wasps are on the attack. Deer bound across your path. Mountain bikers careen around corners.

None of those things happened today. When we were deep into the woods, Tonka neighed loudly as if to ask Where is everybody?

We didn’t see any bikers, or walkers with dogs. However, there were squirrels and birds, and gusts of wind pelted us with acorns.



This forest is populated with trees that turn yellow in hue.



I saw a flash of color through the woods and so we took a detour to the river. We were heading home, and he knew it, but Tonka willingly left the main route and marched right over, through belly-high ragweed, as if he knew that there was going to be something wonderful to see.

There was.

I believe that Tonka enjoyed the view as much as I did.

water and trees



  1. Outstanding pics Terry! I can imagine how glorious your day must have been. Those special times spent with a loved friend are the ones we don`t soon forget. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. So nice! The view between your horse’s ears is mighty fine indeed. Glad to hear that you had the perfect fall day for your time with Tonka. Congrats! I love seeing your great work with Tonka.

  3. Your ride took me back 50 years ago. I was a young rider, with my best friend, my horse. My horse was a cattle horse, fast, smart and willing to go anywhere I ask. We would be gone for hours on the trails by the river. We seldom saw anyone. Alone with nature was all we needed to be content. The river is now nothing but dry sand, the trees are dead and housing developments all around. Thank you Terry and Tonka for taking be back to a time when I didn’t have a care in the world.

  4. What a wonderful day for you both! I’m sure that Tonka appreciates getting out of the ring and exploring with you. Do you keep in touch with his formor owner? I bet she would be so pleased to know that Tonka is having such a grand time!

    • Tonka’s previous owner is a trainer at a horse rescue. She only let Tonka go because she didn’t have the energy to ride him after riding seven other horses daily. I do keep in touch. I’m grateful for the excellent start that she gave him.

  5. Fantastic pics, no better view than from the back of a horse. What a very special day, how wonderful it must have been. When you go somewhere new is the trail marked, do you go round in a circle or take a compass and find your own way. I used to love doing that, fond memories…:)

    • I have an app on my phone that helps me get back if I get lost. Most trails are marked – but not all and not always clearly.

  6. No better view than that through a horse’s pricked ears. Lovely photos, lovely sights, and lovely horse. Certainl beats how I spent the day, i.e. cutting down the garden beds. Terry, I completely understand the waft of anxiety involved in trailering your horse and hitting the trails when even the best behaved horses can be spooked by so many things. We need to find you a riding buddy. (I always preferred ones who were relaxed, capable in a crisis, kind to their horse, and knew when to shut up and just enjoy the ride. :)

    • Your list of criteria for riding buddies is the same as mine, and hard to fill! I have a couple of friends that I get out with, but Tonka likes to go slower than their horses, and he gets frustrated when he has to rush to catch up. We do like going out on our own. It’s a trade-off.

  7. Terry, need to ask when you give girls the pumpkins do you take some of the skin off it seems very hard or do you give them as they are ? Thanks..:)

  8. Thanks, Terry, for the beautiful autumn pictures. They brought back fond memories. I was born in Ky but moved to Florida when I was 11. Your description of sweet smelling fallen leaves but yet like campfires really made the memories flow for me! Now if I just had a horse!

  9. What a lovely post! It truly makes me want to get outside. I am in upstate NY and so far the sun is shining today so I think a fresh air outing will be on my list too. Thank you for sharing Terry :-)

  10. Always a beautiful view from the back of a horse, though your colors are much prettier there than in dry, dusty California. Unfortunately, my horse has been down with an injury for the last 8 weeks. I’ve missed that view horribly, and cannot wait to get back out there!