9/8/08, Castledon, VT - What could be finer than driving 4-in-hand through the Vermont countryside on a beautiful September day?
Like most days, I was up well before the first gray of dawn. The moon had set around 1 am so the night was dark and still. I went to check the horses and could vaguely make out the three grays. With her black coat, Joyce was cloaked in the darkness.
The horses were harnessed and hitched by about 9:30. There was a minor rodeo trying to drive the wagon out of the yard. The tires had sunk into the soft ground and it took a considerable effort to break it out. Finally, with the help of my hostess, Sue, and when the horses decided to pull together, we started to roll down the street. I was loaded down with some beautiful hay, thanks to Sue and the nice lady across the street (sorry Iím terrible with names). Her daughter Wendy rode with me for a short time. Wendy has driven single and was excited about the chance to drive 4-up.
The path through Rutland was mostly through suburban neighborhoods, quiet with the kids off to school and the parents off to work. Before I joined up with route 4a, I had to take a detour because of low overhead clearance from a railroad bridge. Coming around a corner, I saw my detour was a 10 foot wide, 150 foot long, single lane bridge with steel planks, across a river. As soon as Docís hooves hit the steel planking, I new this was going to be a tough crossing. He danced around on the steel for about 2 minutes, very nervous about the sound and the lack of traction. I just started talking calmly to him. He and the rest of the horses started to feed off my calmness and began pulling the wagon across the bridge (with a nervous sort of trot).
Just beyond the bridge, there was a grain store, so I pulled in and bought 3 bags of grain and a couple of mineral blocks. The team waited patiently at the hitch while I went inside.
We stopped for lunch in a parking lot in the town of West Rutland. Several people stopped by to chat and see the horses.
Iím currently camped at Edís place, about halfway between W. Rutland and the town of Castledon. Ed grew up farming with horses and was happy to have me camp at his place. With the help of his neighbor, Ed used some milk cans to haul in water for the horses - Thanks!.
The Gates family (Cody, Angie, Haley, Don and Morgan) stopped by to bring me some groceries and a copy of the Eagle Times Newspaper, which had a nice article on the wagon, the team and I - Thank you Gates Family. We had a very pleasant evening.
The title of this blog pretty well sums up my feelings about the day - a little excitement, nice places and people, but overall, just pure Bliss!