Each fall, the BO invites past and current boarders along with their family and friends to come out to the barn around 4 pm. Everyone is asked to bring their favorite soup to share. This year I brought white chicken chili and added it to the growing display of soups that were already taking up every available inch of the table.
The BO and his wife bring oversized soup mugs, spoons, desserts, sandwiches and thermoses full of the best hot apple cider around. It is a really fun event that I have grown to look forward to.
Since I ride at really odd times, I generally do not get to see any other boarders and this event also allows me to meet the others and chat it up a bit. I got to meet the owner of Gem's newest BFF, a haflinger mare, and her gaggle of children that
Wyatt spent the entire times digging the in the saw dust pile and playing with a boy a few months older than him. It was neat to watch him play and share his digger and dump truck toys. He moved over to the arena at one point and the old crippled gelding came over to investigate. In the process of saying hello he also downed all of Dusty's apple cider and begged for more. I guess the old guy wanted in on the party.
The evening grew chilly as the sun went down and I shouted off a hello to Gem who was enjoying the green shoots of fescue that pop up in the fall. She raised her head long enough to acknowledge my presence and the fact that I was not holding a halter and then went back to grazing.
Haley found me towards the end and asked when the next pace is. She was disappointed that we would be missing the Halloween pace, but Dusty was going to be working. Unfortunately, I doubt she will get to go to the next one either even though she is overflowing with excitement. She is only 14 and works at the barn everyday after school for her board and also takes care of a barn down the road for extra cash. Her mom doesn't help her financially with the horses (I do not judge this at all because I do not know their situation or the relationship). $40 for a pace is a lot for her to come up with as it is and I don't ask her to help with gas money at all since I would be going anyway and she is already at my barn. Yes, the extra weight probably eats more gas than if it was just Gem but that is negligible to me.
However, half the paces take place in NC and half here in SC even though most are within an hour drive of the barn. Since we take mostly back roads to get to these places, I doubt we would get pulled over or in trouble but I am a firm believer in following the rules. This means that I refuse to travel out of state without a health certificate. I told her she would need to get one, but I think the cost would pretty much mean she would have no money to go to ride. Which is sad.
I wouldn't feel so bad for her if she was 16 and could get a real job that paid decent money, but at 14 you pretty much are stuck to odd jobs that pay cash under the table. I am trying to figure out if I can get her to do something for me like clean my tack or bathe my mare to earn some money and help pay for the rides. I would offer to just cover the health cert, but we are drowning a bit ourselves lately with Gem's injury and then Wyatt's ear surgery and I have had to get creative to afford the paces myself.
Anyway...that went a bit off track.
Back to the soup party....
They just started a bon fire when we got ready to head home and said our goodbyes. My tummy was full of various types of homemade soup, pumpkin roll, cookies and hot cider and we went home with that fall warm fuzzy feeling. Of course, it being 80degrees out helped with the warmth too :) Gotta love fall in the south.