Saturday, October 30, 2010

The horses

Back in 1995 I moved to a farm on the outskirts of Port Hope, a lovely little community on Lake Ontario. This farm was at the end of a country road with no other houses on it, and it was across a railway bridge - an old wooden bridge that was pretty rickety. While some of my friends thought I was a bit nuts to be so far from neighbours - the nearest being about half a mile away, I loved it except for the noise of the highway a mile beyond, and always humming.

When I moved there, the black - Dixie, and the bay - Shazam or Niki as I called her were a big part of my family. The horses were my environmentally friendly lawn mower as you can see. The white horse (Commander or Coco) in the background along with the paint (Mr. B) came to me about two years later - from the same woman who bred Shazam - Zoot's friend ( a post of a few days ago). They had been working hard at an equestrian centre and finally were being given a rest. Rather than going to the packing house, they came to me, for which I was incredibly grateful. The only one missing here is "Pony" as I called her - a small shetland whose real name was Candy... I'll save her for another post.

My pathetic excuse for a veggie garden is in the foreground in this picture- along with the vague shape of Bugsy a German shepherd Doberman pincer cross who became one of the doggy loves of my life.

Just beyond Mr. B was the railway track. We had trains go by several times a day. After the first week at this farm, the horses completely ignored the noise, but the first few days? - boy - scary. The little shed in the background in this photo was Bugsy's home for his first six months with me... later, when I figured he wasn't going to run off  it became the garden shed.

The horses loved coming out onto the lawn. They would wait at the gate to the paddock. They had a pasture to be in as well, with lots more hay and more room to run around, but they kept the lawn so well mown it was always succulent and their preferred grazing spot. Dixie had a penchant for my bird feeder though and I quickly learned it had to go inside before she found it or it was always quickly emptied. She was a bit of a hay burner, and could probably have lived on a handful of grass a day.

One of my friends reminds me still of how peaceful it was to sit out on the lawn with the horses around us munching away. It's true, the sound of horses eating and their soft movements from place to place as they grazed was very calming and reassuring.

I miss my big friends. Maybe one day.


  1. Your description is so inviting. It sounds like you had a lot of different things to keep you interested and busy. I miss having farm animals, for years we raised goats, cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys (never all at once). Thanks for sharing this it made me smile.

  2. How fantastic! Your description of the horses and the railroad reminds me of a scene in the novel, Black Beauty. As part of his training, the young horse is put in a pasture right by the train so he can adjust to the sound. In the edition I first read as a small child, there was a line drawing of the train going by, and the young horse starting up, nostrils flaring, in terror. Amazing what all creatures - humans included - can adjust to, isn't it?

  3. What a great experience, thank you for sharing it with us!! The horses are beautiful!