Good Morning! I’m so happy you are able to walk with me today. It is a sunny, comfortable day, and the temperature is 81 degrees. We’ll walk up old Stagecoach Road and hope to see the two deer I saw there two days ago. Here’s a picture I took that two days ago. It’s unusual to see a buck, and you can see that his antlers have started to grow. But I don’t wish to talk about deer today; rather, I would like to talk about horses.
Dale and I have sent our granddaughter, Maddie, to a camp at Twin Ridge Farm here in New Hampshire. She attends camp from nine to three, and she comes home each day having learned so much about horses, things that I certainly do not know. I have not followed in the footsteps of my mother’s father, my brother, or son Bradford in having a great love for horses.
In the late eighteen-hundreds, my grandfather had sixteen teams of horses at his company located at Faneuil Hall in Boston. He delivered groceries to different stores in the Boston area. My mother told me that he would come home from work so tired that he would sit quietly for an hour to rest and then would be her dad. At that time, flour and other wares were delivered in large quantities in most cases by barrels which made his work exhausting. As well as his delivery horses, my grandfather also had a few racehorses. Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer in his early forties. My mom was only nine years old when he died and had only a few memories of him. His love for horses was something she remembered.
As an adult, my brother Bill owned horses when he lived in Jacksonville, Florida. When he was a boy, Bill would ride horses and work in a stable whenever he could. As a matter of fact, Bill would skip school and go to the stables nearby to work and ride. When he came home, my mom would say, “Bill, you have skipped school again.”
“How do you always know?”, he would reply. Of course, he came home smelling of the stable, not school.
Our son Bradford had to find a horse somewhere to love. Whether at home, at college, or on vacation, he would find a horse to love. And when you visited him, Brad had to show you the horses he had befriended. Brad lost his two front teeth when a horse reared up on him. I’ll never forget that day! Much later when he had to have his wisdom teeth extracted the dentist impressed upon him the risks involved and the pain that followed. Bradford told his dentist that he wasn’t worried. After all the last time he had a tooth removed, it was by a horse. I have some wonderful pictures of Brad with horses.
My Uncle John, my father’s brother, had his daughter so convinced that his horse Jenny, could talk to him that she asked my dad in private if her dad’s horse really could talk to him. I do not know how my dad answered.
On the farm in Barrington, New Hampshire, my father and his brothers were known for coming onto the church grounds on a Sunday with their horses running as fast as they could.
Now I have only ridden on a horse once, and that was at son Brad’s request. I rode only a short distance, and that was enough for me. Dale cannot get near a horse for immediately she has difficulty breathing. I learned that when we had a carriage ride at Uncle Abe’s, no relative, in Pennsylvania. That was our first and last (romantic?) carriage ride.
Now our walk has taken several days for it is now Sunday August second. Maddie’s camp is over, and she has returned to her home. What a wonderful time we all had as a family together. Every day she had a new experience. She learned about how to approach a horse if you were going behind the horse; how to French braid a horses’ tail, how to mount a horse, saddle a horse, walk and trot and direct a horse. They had a scavenger hunt for items related to horses, a fly spray, a comb, and many other items. She painted a horseshoe different colors as a craft and witnessed a horse being shod. Each day she swam with other campers.
Maddie has gone home now, and we learned from her mom that she is rather bored. I wonder why after this week filled with adventure? I hope other grandparents experience the wonderful time we had with our granddaughter. She was always loving, helpful, polite and kind.
Horses are mentioned many times in the bible. They are noted for the sense of freedom they give to their riders – but most they are looked upon as a weapon of war. The Hebrews feared the chariots pulled by horses and horses were taught to rear up and crush with their hooves. Here again is another place where I believe we have made great strides. Oh, we still have tanks to replace horses, but we have learned as a society to be kinder to animals. Our record is stained with the mistreatment of animals. It seems we did not recognize the “rights” of animals along with our own rights. How much we now know about elephants and their caring society and how we must work to protect them and other animals.
This is what was most pleasing about our granddaughter’s visit. Maddie is a very kind young person She was a wonderful companion to our dog, Molly. She played with her, ran with her and Molly slept in her room for a time each night. Visiting a special farm nearby she gently carried a duck to a new cage, watched in wonder as the pigs ran about their pen, saw one of the cows chewing on my shirt, saw a new calf named McBoyle and the next day gently touched a new donkey.
Our Christian faith is centered around kindness – kindness to all human beings and all creatures. Like Saint Francis may we look upon the creatures God has made and rejoice in their beauty. Oh, And do you like horses?
There is so much to be happy about in our world in spite of the difficulties we face as individuals and as a society. May God continue to bless us and all creation.
Hope you will join me on our next walk – until then – “May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”