I started taking riding lessons this past spring, and immediately developed a love affair with horses. Being in a saddle, atop these magical animals isn't even something I can fully explain. It's just that-- pure magic. The energy and joy that fills my blood, provides a kind of meditation I can't achieve by sitting and closing my eyes in silence.
A few days ago, my friend Raq texted me, "If you want to come for a sleigh ride you better get your ass here." I dropped everything and within 20 minutes I pulled up, ready for the most amazing experience I'd have all winter.
When I decided to take the season off from lessons, I felt like something was missing. But then again, look at where I live and all that country life has to offer. Raq and her husband have a farm (Odd Corners Farm), with 4 draft horses, a pony, llamas, dogs, hills and trails, a skating rink-- i could go on. I call it the fun farm, cause it's really just the most amazing place for them to raise her kids. We have weekly coffee dates here, go hiking and play with the animals. We also promised ourselves we'd get on the horses (Belle, a Clydesdale and Marty the Shire) regularly this winter, so we keep up with the riding and get them into shape for sleigh riding season. Oh I forgot to mention, this was their first time working in about a year and a half, as Raq and family moved to this property shortly after my move, and have been busy with settling in, renovating their old farmhouse and preparing their property for farm life. So naturally, when I got the message that we'd be going on our first ride of the winter, I was over the moon. Even better, I got to see the process from start to finish.
When we finally got on the sleigh, I didn't know what to expect, because I'd only ever been on the large wagons, with like 15 other people. This experience was totally different. It was a small sleigh, just me, Raq, and her husband-- I got to stand on the "passenger's" side, learn as we went along, and was able to just live in that most freeing moment. When we first took off, I was almost in tears. It was breathtaking watching Belle and Marty move, side by side, in sync... the perfect team. You could see the excitement they shared being back work-- running, pulling, fulfilling their roles. They did it! They impressed the crap out of us-- moved as though they'd never had a year long break.
Now that Marty and Belle are ready to go, Odd Corners just might be opening to the public, sooner than expected. So get ready for sleigh rides and hot chocolate in the hills of Warkworth, Ontario.
Okay, I've gotta stop talking now and just let you see for yourself, the magic of this day-- My play date with Belle and Marty.