|Hudson and I by the pond.|
On Saturday, the cold wind was blowing clouds swiftly through the sky, and I didn’t feel like riding a horse in that chilly breeze. Instead, I hooked up the brush mower to the tractor and mowed a riding trail over half our property.
The path snaked past the pastures and up the pipeline right-of-way, which was becoming overgrown with thorny roses and berry bushes.
I roared into the orchard, where I will be setting up a jump course, and mowed two intersecting routes that wound among the apple trees and would allow a rider to enjoy the beauty of that quiet area.
The path also edged the hay fields, serving the triple purpose of clearing brush that always tends to creep there, exposing the woodchuck holes that constantly threaten the mare’s legs and making a neat path that keeps the horse and rider out of the hay.
It was easy, fairly mindless and productive work, and on Sunday, after a harrowing day at my for-pay job that left me much in need of some psyche repair, I got on Hudson and went on a test ride.
It was perfect. The orchard was, by far, the stand-out portion. Because it was neglected and overgrown, it was hard to get through before I mowed, and we hadn’t used it for anything. That mown path immediately opened it up for horses and humans, and, as I hoped, it was a quiet and lovely place, with purple lilacs and the last of the white apple blossoms still adding their beauty and scent to the scene. Seeing and following the mown path helped Hudson have less fear in the new place, and when we exited that area, I was filled with a kind of happiness and satisfaction that comes from a perfect combination of horses, humans and nature.
A trip round the hay field found 13 woodchuck holes in our path, treacherous craters that I will be able to fill, now, thanks to their being exposed by the mowing, to make that route safe for a gallop soon.
Speaking of gallops, I asked my big, fat Hudson for a few of them, still thinking about the hunt races in October. She is a lot like I was in high school track – fast out of the blocks, but quickly losing speed due to lack of endurance. She thinks she is Black Caviar for about 100 meters, then turns into Sam the plow horse But that gives us something to work on as we amble along on our riding path through the long, sunny days of summer.