The crisp air. The colorful leaves. For many people, fall is a favorite time of year. It means hot chocolate, cozy scarves, Halloween movies and, of course, all things pumpkin. But for horse people, autumn means just a bit more.
Sure, we appreciate a good pumpkin spice latte as much as the next person. But when you’re spending hours a day in the elements, you come to appreciate the finer points of each season.
1. You can predict winter based solely on hair
Just like the famed Punxsutawney Phil is purported to sense the arrival of spring, any horse person knows that it takes only a grooming session or two to see what sort of winter is in store.
Thick coat coming in fast? Plan for a short fall and brisk winter. A little thinner than usual? Prepare for a long fall and mild days after (hopefully). Entering wooly mammoth territory? Batten down the hatches and unpack those heavy blankets, kids; we’re in for a wild one. See how awesomely helpful horses are?
2. An early frost is nature’s alarm clock
Speaking of heavy blankets, few things strike fear into a horse person’s heart like seeing the first true drop in temperatures of the fall season. Because let’s face it, even though we all said we were going to get those blankets washed and repaired during the summer, it’s not until that pesky little snowflake appears on our weather apps that we go running to the local laundromat, shamefully pack dirty blankets into machines and pray no one complains about the mud and hair. It’s like Mother Nature set an alarm clock just for you. Awesome.
3. Layers are so in this season
As in, literally. Layers are a must for fall. Cool in the mornings, warming up in the afternoons, back to frigid at night, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be putting layers on and taking them right back off again as you go through your pre-to-post riding routine. Few non-horse people understand the stress that comes with trying to decide which jacket, shirt and breeches will allow us to be comfortable in the widest range of temperatures during our barn time, while trying to account for the heat that you and your horsey companion produce during a ride.
4. Crunchy leaves are better on horseback
Crunchy leaves are awesome anytime, that’s just a fact. But you know what makes them even more crunch-tastic? When they get trampled under your best buddy’s hooves as the two of you wander orange and red covered trails in the woods. There’s really no better time to hack out than on a lovely fall day, with that fresh autumn feeling hanging in the air.
5. Crisp fall days mean more than PSLs
Unless, of course, it’s the FIRST blustery day of fall, in which case all horse people understand that it’s probably time to put on the gloves and brace for some theatrics. When Winnie the Pooh flies Piglet on a blustery day, it’s adorable. But if Piglet was a four-year old Thoroughbred who just spotted a plastic bag tumbling within ten miles of earshot, Pooh probably wouldn’t have found the ordeal quite so endearing.
6. It’s the perfect in between season
It’s the cool air of spring, without the mud. It’s the sunshine of summer, without the heat (or the horse flies). Less eloquently, it’s the season where you’re not completely freezing your tushy off in the dark (we mean you, winter), which is great too. It’s the best of all the worlds, making it the perfect season for all things horse.
7. The Great Migration is just around the corner
Fall is great in its own right, but one of the things that makes it even better is that it is a precursor of what’s to come. Soon the Great Migration will occur as trainers, riders, owners, and snowbirds the nation over make the long trek south to set up camp on the coast. It’s the time before another thrilling season of rides, shows and parties. That makes autumn the perfect time to take a moment, reflect on the year (and prepare for another one), and enjoy a crunchy leave or two.
And maybe also take some time to wash some blankets.
What do you love most about fall?