Saturday, August 29, 2020

Different Directions


Heading down the Secret Trail

A few brisk nights put some spring in our steps this week. Harley jogged out to the road before I even had the girth snugged up. I felt re-energized to, despite foot pain that's plagued me for months now. With the oppresive heat and humidity gone, we were ready for an adventure. An aging woman on her aging OTTB pranced down the road, headed out for a morning trail ride before the remaining summer bugs decided to test the temperature and hunt for breakfast. 

I let Harley choose the route, although I did have to give him some guidance when he tried bushwhacking into the woods, convinced he was on a trail....yes, a game trail, with no overhead clearance for riders! He felt good enough to trot up a few hills, where the footing is soft and easy on his joints. I can appreciate that, between my old knees, and my bum foot, hiking hasn't been in the cards since May. A shorter, gentler ride fit the bill.

When Harley and I headed down our first trails together, it was a toss-up whether I'd make it back without us going in different directions. I even rode with a long rope off his halter as a way to hang on, should I come off and lose the reins. Harley's incredible left-hand spin sent me into the dirt the first time I attempted to ride outside the ring--a giant spook over a little lawn mower. These days, I'm able to ride on the buckle, while shooting pictures and video. But as each week passes, I'm afraid I've missed any opportunity to do much more than gentle trail rides with Harley. I had high hopes of participating in organized trail rides, maybe a Le Trec event, or even a rinky-dink show. But time and age have changed our course. So we'll go for little lollygags with an occasional trot or canter if Harley wants to step up the pace. 

Rolex Girl is waiting in the wings; a smart, sassy Thoroughbred that is awesome on the trails. But she needs continuous work--something John and I have neglected this year. Fall is coming, and so is another week's vacation. Maybe that will be the time to throw a leg over Rolex, head for the hills,  and begin to develop a partnership with her. Who knows, as this pandemic erupts again, we may all be home-bound for the fall and winter--a perfect opportunity for us.

I've felt rudderless this spring and summer, wafting back and forth over decisions for our future. With the country holding its breath until November 3d, and the pandemic still spiking in some spots, it's been hard to make concrete decisions. So I take each week as it comes. We have our winter supply of hay, and I get a feeling of warmth, looking at the stacked bales, knowing our horses will be well-fed through the cold months ahead. I'll top off the oil tank, order wood bricks for the wood stove, and start restocking the pantry in case events take a turn for the worse. The uncertainty of what lies ahead, and which direction this country will head only compounds my apprehension. I still won't give up the dream of a small farm, near excellent trail riding, with a view of the mountains, somewhere in Vermont.

Harley stealing the carrot bag

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