There was no sun, but there was wind. Kessy, like many horses, is not real fond of high wind. I'd heard once that's because on windy days horses can smell farther than they can hear. I've never been sure about that old axiom, but I'm sure there are days that horses and wind could be seen as something less than compatible. I've also seen plenty of days when ol' Aeolus, try as he might, can't get a rise out of a solid horse. Yesterday started out with an adventure that brought some visitors and a bit of excitement around the barn, and of course plenty of wind. Kessy showed her steady hand during it all and I figured we could hit the trail.
Pre-ride exercises complete we tacked up, hollered for Saturday and set out for adventures among swaying trees and rattling leaves. Right out of the box we had to detour around a downed branch large enough to supply firewood for an entire winter. Speaking of firewood, did you know the origin of the word, "Windfall" is related to firewood? Yup. Back in days of old in England, people had cut down so many trees for fuel a law was enacted that only branches blown down from the wind could be gathered for fuel, hence, "Windfall," and that's why it's related to unexpected good fortune. Our windfall was more of a bother though than a stroke of unexpected good luck.
Well, we tiptoed around the debris and were soon back on track. It's always worth a chuckle to watch Saturday when we blaze a new direction. He'll hang back and wait for Kessy to show the way before he follows along.
It seemed all nature's children, deer, birds and squirrels were tucked snugly away as we saw only one Pilliated Woodpecker the entire ride. I'd even gone on a search for Cardinals in the valley near the big stream, usually a sure bet to see something there. Yesterday the only thing there were the loud groans and clanging branches of swaying trees. I sat Kessy, listening to the overhead ruckus and thought of my dear departed friend Bob Hollinger, and how he'd always warned of riding on a windy day. "I wouldn't go out today, if I was you," he'd say. "A branch could come right down on you."
It was as if Kessy'd heard Bob. She began fidgeting and snorting, even pawed the ground impatiently. Something she rarely does. I called Saturday and we headed back the way we came at her quickest running walk. I allowed her to set the pace and she sailed along, worrying and snorting but surefooted and safe as always.
We hadn't gone a quarter mile before, strewn across the trail we'd traveled just 10 minutes earlier, lay half an Oak. It was one of those big ol' Oaks that tower and branch tall and wide. The downhill half had just split away and came crashing down. I tipped my hat to ol' Bob, tiptoed Kessy around the big pile, waited for Saturday, then tuned Kessy loose. We weaved along the twists and turns of the tight trail at fast canter.
Soon we were back on the logging road out of any real danger and headed for home. Of course we had to sit a bit and wait for Saturday to catch up. His top speed is something about half as fast as Kessy's.
Wind, ratting trees and trail obstacles included, any day on the trail with a steady horse and good dog is a perfect day! … Hope you have one today, whatever your pursuits!
God Bless & Gitty Up