Dave Seay Progressive Horsemanship
Moonlight Ride

It's a Marvelous Night for a Moon Ride


There was only one question that Dave did not have an answer for as he prepared the group for our first moonlight ride, and that was, “Where’s the moon?!?!”


We had made plans the night before, coordinating as we watched a perfectly full moon appear over the tree-lined horizon. It was exactly 8:22 pm.


Our preparations began with a cookout at a friend’s new farm where we’ve been exploring the trails and attempting to cut through the blast of spring growth, unusually thick for this time of year, even in the South. Perhaps due to an 11-year peak of solar storms, this winter and spring have been especially warm, bringing abundant life to a mix of baby trees, kudzu, and poison ivy. Still, our faithful guide Dave Seay and his horse Loree Darlin’ have been navigating these trails over the past few weeks, and outside of the possibility of a random wild hog, they know just about everything these trails have to throw at us.


Given the timing of moonrise the previous night, we planned to saddle up and hit the trail at about 8:00 pm so we’d be in the wide-open field down the road as the moon rose and cast a perfect shadow of our crew in the night. As we rode away from the farm, past the very dark field down the road and into the trees, I found it interesting that my horse felt exactly like he always does. It seems silly now, but I expected he might be different in the dark. Sillier still as Dave kept reminding us of the simple fact that ‘horses do live outside and move around during the night’.


As 9:00 pm drew near we all started wondering, just where is that darn full moon we experienced the night before? It was REALLY dark! But we kept going, keeping close together as it was way too easy to lose site of the group if you fell behind.


We got to a small clearing and decided to take a break to see how everyone was doing. It was chilling how quiet it was. Quiet, but not. Talking in a normal voice sounded like shouting, and every tiny movement was recognizable and exaggerated. After finishing his conversation with a nearby owl, “who-cooks-for-you”, Dave asked around the group for thoughts on our experience so far. There was a very common theme that came across for all; the amazing feeling of closeness you have with your horse when you can’t see where you’re going. You must rely on your horse almost completely to work his way through the darkness and keep you both safe. As a horseman, Dave is one who lives and breathes the mantra of trusting your horse and letting him do what he needs to with his head and his feet to keep safe on the trail. And wow, what better example could there be than this? You have to let go!


By now we started thinking that maybe the moon just wasn’t going to make an appearance that night, so we started heading back to the farm. Coming out of the woods and nearing the once dark field, there it was, the moon! One day past full and a few hours “late”, but just as vibrant as ever. We couldn’t help but set back out and enjoy the night some more.


Returning to the farm we were all aglow and already planning for our next outing. If we end up getting another night half as perfect as this one, then we are truly blessed!


© Dave Seay Progressive Horsemanship.