I spent my weekend entertaining the local farm workers.
Idaho's sugar beet harvest is in full swing. Our country roads roar with loaded trucks. The fields are dotted with migrant workers, tractors, and bizarre machinery that chatters and clangs from dawn 'til dusk. Fallen produce litters the roadsides. It all adds up to a very ...um... confidence-building environment for green horses.
Saturday morning, I took Acey out in hand. She looked impossibly cute in my Stonewall saddle and Indian bosal, her wee bay ears flickering amid a great billow of forelock. We walked and trotted along the road, returning waves and smiles from the Mexican workers. A pair of women paused to ask whether I was trying to make the horse tired. I explained that I was mentally preparing Acey to be ridden out in the great, wide world. Jogging away with my little mare, I called back, "But it's certainly tiring me out!"
After riding Acey in the round corral and taking a quick lunch break, I saddled Consolation for the first ride that appears in her new endurance conditioning log (see sidebar). Our fourth mile saw us trotting along the same field. The workers waved again, grinning.
Two hours later, Aaruba and I flashed by on the last of thirteen miles, during which we averaged a blazing (for us) 10 mph. The workers had reached the far side of the field by then, but I swear I heard them laugh and holler. I just shook my head and cantered on. Yes, it's me -- the crazy lady, passing yet again with a taller, greyer, faster horse.
On Sunday, we repeated the drill, except that Aaruba and I swapped our sweaty workout for an hour's hack along the irrigation canal, enjoying a ravishing sunset and periodic stops to mow down clumps of autumn grass.
Exhausted I may be, but I'll never get tired of this.
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