How to stuff a 12 foot long horse and cart through an 6 foot wide hole (sideways)
AFter a long winter of loss, illness, new cart, new horse, lousy weather, I finally got back in the saddle and have been having way too much fun on my new to me TWH. Loving riding again after a long time.
But today the weather was a balmy low 80s absolutely beautiful and my gaited buddy couldn;t make it to ride. So the thought popped into my head to hook up Zanzer. He has not been in harness since mid February. He has been asking for a lot of rubs lately ---guess he is a bit jealous of Smokey the TWH.
We hitched to my new cart which has sat idle for some time--due to a lot of reasons, one being that hubby had to work out some of the bugs. But that is another whole conversation.
There are still some tweaks needed but the cart was pretty comfortable today. Zanzer stepped out like he had not been off of work for 3 months. He was ready to trot the whole time, but he is a little more plump than he was and less fit. So we did plenty of warm up walking. Practiced a little coming onto the bit, bending, some dressage stuff as well as moving down the trail.
An hour of driving on the local farms and we were heading home. There is a long drive maybe a tenth of mile long I must drive through. One one side is a very thick tree line which seperates the drive from a home. On the other is a seran covered fernery. It is basically like a 5 acre building built out of seran, a screen like material. You can see through the screen. The drive is not very wide. It is a very skinny6 or 7 feet wide.
This gauntlet as I call it has been a much spooky place for my horses. Mexican ferncutters popping up and down cutting fern, little kids running up to the wall of seran hollering horsie, dogs running out from under the trees and even one particularly windy day a big limb fell silently right in front of us. Not to mention having met cars and tractors pulling trailers full of potted trees now and again.
This day we were walking down the gauntlet. I made the boy walk. He was jiggy as we were on the way home. About half way down, all of a sudden, his ears snapped up and perhaps a half a dozen chickens come squaking out of under the trees--
Zanzer attempted his bear evasive manuver (remember last october we met the bear during a CTD and he did a 180 at 8 or 9 mph) but---you take a horse who is 8 feet long with a fixed shaft 4 foot cart behine him and there is too much bulk to turn in that tiny space. Kinda like putting a fat lady in a girdle!!! He hit the screen with his face (thank goodness he did not tear it) and had me up in the trees.
He was pivoting for all he was worth and managed to drag us around.
So I am not sure who was more chicken -- the horse or the fowl!!!
This is an photo in an old album. It shows you what a seran screen fernery is. Basically just a 5 or 10 acre screen room. The seran is an industrial grade screen that stands up to our Florida sun and still lets the rain in. They stand up to a lot of wind, but sometimes the hurricanes shred them.
I basically drive on private property. There is no open land or forests around me. All are privately owned ferneries. Most of the land owners are gracious and have given me permission. Becasue the ferncutters have to be able to get to the ferns, they generally are not fenced. That makes for lots of two tracks through the seran ferneries and under immense oaks.
Next time I will stop Zanzer mid spin , get out and take a photo just for you!!!!
He is so nimble (that made him a great obstacle horse when we were doing CDEs and ADTs) and fast I usually am the last one to know we are spinning.
And as for being braver--once upon a time not so very long ago, I was terrified of getting in a cart. To the point that I would have asthma attacks. It is just lots of miles and perhaps a little insanity. Make that a lot of insanity!!! I enjoy every minute of it!!!
Twfatponies, you are correct, the ferns are used in flower arrangements. You know when you get a spray of roses a fern bed (as in a dozen long stem in a box or in a vase) --it is the that background fern. They are grown in mass locally, harvested by hand by field workers (mostly mexicans), dripped in a preservative and shipped. Pierson FL where I live claims to be the "fern capital of the world" (although Costa Rica might argue with that one now and win). The ferns naturally grow in the shade and dampness found under huge oak trees. They are grown down here in oak ferneries and those huge seran screened deals.
Yip, they are not the type of fern you see potted. Same family different variety. Although there are several different types of ornamental ferns grown and harvested locally.