Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Late winter at Back Acres Farm

My housemate has a morning ritual of counting down the days to spring, via the front hall blackboard. There are little chalk-drawn flowers, and a slowly lessening number of days until that blessed event. I don’t have the heart to point out that 30-odd days until Spring lands us in the middle of March - called the cruelest month for good reason. Still nasty cold and offering only mud season to look forward to. Of course a good perspective is to remember a few years ago after the 2008 ice storm. I was not very upset about the damage during January and February, since I couldn’t really see it. Then March came, and the melt revealed the extent of the devastation to trees and fields and fences, and I reeled back, totally overwhelmed. There was no place to which to avert my eyes, since the mess was 360 degrees - everywhere. It seemed that even if I hired every chain saw in Plainfield I didn’t have a prayer. Yada-yada-yada. Of course it got cleaned up, though it took about a year and a half.

And so far this year, we only have snow - and, er, ice - oh yeah. We are spreading shavings and stall leavings on it for traction, but nonetheless leading is done at a snail’s pace. I swear these horses are so plugged in. I talk to each of them in turn, reminding them that slow and steady wins the race and no fooling around, please - it’s not safe. And danged if they don’t listen. We take our time over the slippery bits, chatting and stopping as needed, and they get to their day turnout or night stalls all cheerful and ready for hay and water and whatever. Nice.

One of the cool things about owning this place is that I get a lot of choice over what happens here, and lots can happen since a Farm upside is that it is pretty large. One of the Back Acres trainers has organized a clinic for the 27th - a Complete Spontaneous Liberty Dancing clinic with Bonnita Roy who draws inspiration from Klaus Hempfling, Carolyn Resnick, and Karen Rolfe. I did not know what this meant at first, but apparently it involves using body language to create "dance steps" with your horse, utilizing basic natural dressage movements at liberty.  It sounds wonderful - I am looking forward to seeing it.  The link is for anyone who wants to read more about it.

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