8/29/08 - New London to Newbury, NH - It was a beautiful morning when I woke up at Pete Messerís farm. The farm is situated on a large hill, looking out over a valley with the town of New London on the opposite ridge. In the field across the street, Pete has a really pretty pair of roan Belgians that were descended from an imported horse.
Earlier this year, Pete was training a team in the woods when the evener popped off the hook on the sled he was riding. Pete hung on to the lines (he doesnít have much ďlet-goĒ in him) and was pulled off the sled, tearing the tendons in his right knee. Because he has been laid up, Pete had to sell several of his horses, including his prize winning big team. I wish Pete a speedy recovery.
I left Peteís place about 9:30 after giving an interview to a reporter for the New London paper. The terrain was very hilly and the team was having a hard time of it. Just before noon, we were about a third of the way up Grace hill on Rt. 103a, when they had enough. I broke them out for a nice long lunch. While there, a friend, Josie, stopped and presented me with a driving whip long enough to reach the lead team. This will be invaluable as I didnít have anything but my voice to get them moving. Maybe now, I can get Dolly to do some work. Thank you very much Josie.
I was about to hitch them back up when Alex Neuwirt stopped by to say hi and asked if I needed a hand. Alex was kind enough to use his truck to hall the wagon over the hill (the horses looked pretty tuckered and I wanted to spare them the misery). I walked the horses over in a 4 horse long train by tying the lead ropes to the harnesses. We looked like a packhorse train coming down from the mountains.
On the other side, I couldnít get the ball hitch off the end of the tongue, as the locknut on the bolt had seized up. A really nice farmer (Dan Wolf), passing by on a tractor sent his helper back with a set of torches to cut it off.
While there, my friend Bob and his buddies showed up on their motorcycles to deliver my mail. It was really nice seeing them.
Iím camped at Alexís house right now. The kids got a kick out of brushing and feeding carrots to the horses. Alexís daughter got a chance to sit on Dolly for a while she grazed.
The Neuwirt family are really great and are the perfect hosts. Alex also makes a really good homemade pizza.