11/01/08 - Thompson, Ohio - I pulled out of Geneva around 9 am. At my first break I took a picture of an icon from America’s past - a drive in movie theater which has been abandoned for at least 30 years. The morning was fairly uneventful and I arrived in Madison in time for lunch. During lunch, a whole bunch of really nice people stopped by to chat and see the horses. A few kids got to sit on Deedee and Doc. I really enjoyed this lunch break.
Leaving Madison, we continued south on route 528. It was the start of a slow climb in elevation. Not long after leaving town, we passed across a large bridge over a fairly deep chasm.
Before reaching Thompson, the horses had been pulling steadily uphill for a couple of hours. On a steeper hill, Joyce loss traction and fell. She was pretty tired and a little shook up, so it took about 10 minutes for her to get up. A nice guy (Rob) offered to help. As it was a couple of miles to Thompson (mostly uphill), the team was tuckered and Rob had a pickup, I accepted his offer to pull the wagon with his truck to Thompson while I led the horse up. The fourth picture shows the four horses being led by me - pack train style.
In Thompson, Don offered to put me up at his place about 1 1/2 miles out of town. I hitched up the team and drove through the town square before detouring east to Don’s. Don was a great host and set the horses and I up first class!
11/02/08 - Middlefield, OH - We pulled out at around 9:30 am. Like yesterday, most of the day was a slow climb in elevation. After a couple of miles, Doc got an attitude and decided he didn’t have to listen to my commands. I had a nice wide side street to play on, so I decided to spend about 10 minutes putting him and the team through some reinforcement type training by having them back the wagon, do some side stepping, then pull forward a bit. I did this about 3 times. Everybody got the message and all the horses were as good as gold for the remainder of the day.
Dave Maddox offered to put us up at his farm in Middlefield. The horses are set up great on a nice field of graze. Dave picked up some horse shoes I need for Joyce and Deedee and took me over to an Amish Blacksmith’s shop to get Drilltex welded on the bottom. Dave’s daughter Jessica has the distinction of being the “2007 National Percheron Queen.” All three of Dave’s daughers are great with draft horses and really pitch in with the work for their large herd of Percherons and Belgians.
I’m taking tomorrow off to give the horses a well deserved rest. In about a week and a half, I need to find a place where I can rest the horses for about a week while I rent a car and drive back to New Hampshire to attend the closing for the sale of the home in Deerfield. This will have the added benefit of giving the horses an extended break. They’ve come about 750 miles in the past 2 1/2 months. Even after a one day break, I can now look in their eyes and see that they are not fully rested. They’re about ready for a full week off where they can pack on a few pounds, rest tired muscles and be normal horses for a while.