After the Ride depicts Weir's youngest daughter, Cora, with the family donkey, Ned Toodles. Duncan Phillips, impressed by its fresh, unaffected charm, wrote in a 1922 essay on Weir that "this picture is first and last just a vivid glimpse of the real world at Branchville, Connecticut, and of a little girl who had a good time with that particular donkey, and who used to tie on to that particular rustic fence which her daddy had noticed took on just that grayish violet tone at the hour of the sunflecked green midday." Throughout his career, Weir took special delight in painting members of his family, especially his daughters by his first wife, Anna, who had died following Cora’s birth in 1892. Weir usually painted children in bucolic outdoor settings, creating images that are tender and idyllic without being overly sentimental.
Weir's approach to figure painting changed significantly over the course of his career, from his early, more tradition-bound portraits to later works influenced by Manet and Japanese art. Except when figures were just small accents within the larger landscape setting, as in The Fishing Party, Weir was usually unwilling to sacrifice solid form and the identities of his sitters to the impressionist effects of light and atmosphere. Even when he experimented with asymmetrical compositions and decorative designs, he preferred an approach indebted to his early French mentor, Jules Bastien-Lepage, combining plein-air lighting effects with solidly modeled, academically correct figures. After the Ride is something of an exception. Here the figure of Cora becomes a part of the sun-flecked landscape, her features obscured by the bright summer light, her white dress reflecting the colors of the surrounding grass and trees. The vigorous pattern of repeated horizontal and vertical brushstrokes creates a rich surface, while the figures of the donkey and Cora anchor the composition in depth. The painting is charming in its subject and at the same time somewhat detached; it is both the childhood vignette described by Phillips and a rigorous study of texture and light.