Nothing disrupts my training schedule at In the Night Farm so frequently and thoroughly as wind.
Our location atop a hill surrounded by hundreds of agricultural acres serves to amplify whatever weather conditions are experienced by the surrounding valleys. The prevailing winds -- northwest in summer, southeast in winter -- herald every shift from warm to cold or wet to dry.
Clocking in at more than forty miles per hour, they tear across the land like rampaging beasts, roaring and shrieking. The entire landscape seems to billow. Wheat bends and straightens in waves, windrows of fresh-cut alfalfa scatter. Tree branches lash and clouds roil over one another like sea lions at play. Tarps whip free of their moorings. Entire flakes of hay fly from my arms to plaster themselves like absurd spiders on nearby fences.
And the horses, oh, the horses! They whirl like devils in the dust. Shades of excitement dance with terror in their eyes. Muscles taut, tails wrapped like myriad tentacles around their hocks, they prance a narrow line between exuberance and fear.
Training doesn't happen in winds like this. Even gentled, virtually bomb-proof mounts turn green again, and green horses regress to wild things.
Committed as I am to almost daily training, I refuse to give in to any but the hardest rain, the sharpest hail, the slickest ice and deepest snow. These things can be dealt with, worked around, dressed for, sheltered from.
But wind, merciless wind! It won't be reckoned with. Speak to it in a moment's pause, and your words will hurl away on the next and greater gust. Better to come inside, watch from the window those thundering hooves. A training session fraught with frustration is worse than no session at all.
Let it go, let it blow. Try again tomorrow.
Oh Wind, if Winter Comes
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