We started 2021 on New Year’s Day with a once-in-a-lifetime ride. Neither of us had ever ridden in a sleigh pulled by horses.
It was the perfect day, sunny, windless and mild. The temperature was about 15 degrees. We had two horses, Newt and Frosty. They were brownish Haflingers and they seemed to enjoy pulling the six-passenger sleigh through the woods. The sleigh and the horses had Christmas bells that jingled and jangled when we moved. We were comfortable with our legs covered by long johns on the inside and heavy blankets on the outside.
The trail wound through the woods; the trees and branches were covered with fresh snow two days old. The low hanging branches kept our eyes straight ahead, but the scenery was too picturesque for wandering eyes. The experience, literally, was a breath of fresh air -- clear, crisp, winter air.
Did we sing "Jingle Bells?" No, we were busy talking about how much fun it was going around a lake, how great the winter scenery was, and commenting on the perfect weather.
I remember reading the advice that everybody should own a convertible at some time in their life for the fun that only a convertible can provide. I can’t argue with that, but my advice would be that once in your life, you should ride over the snow in a sleigh pulled by horses. It’s like dreaming of a White Christmas. It’s why you never see a picture of Santa Claus driving a convertible. In half the world, a sleigh ride over the snow through the woods would not be possible. If we want to have peaceful, friendly relations with our fellow human beings around the globe, we should invite all diplomats for a sleigh ride in America. The worst that could happen would be a snowball fight.
One further detail would cinch the good feeling of a sleigh ride. Our driver was a 16- year-old girl named Katelyn who is a quiet, charming horse owner herself who boards her horse with the sleigh people, Denise and Brian, and takes care of horse details to pay the rent. She was a steady hand at the reins, getting the sleigh smoothly around the corners and up and down the hills. She loved it and we loved the ride even more with her cracking the whip. Actually, there was no whip, that’s just an expression we horse lovers use.
For a final bonus, we enjoyed visiting with the goat in the barn after hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies at the end of the ride.
Do it, just once in your lifetime.