Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #223

August 18, 2014: Clip Clop

The plan was for my friend Ruth Hersinger to come over with her horse Curly Sue and her pony Diablo. She’d unload them and her cart from her trailer, and we’d go for a short jaunt. All went according to plan with a few variations on the initial idea.

As Ruth and I were taking the cart out of the trailer, a neighbor, Judy Donegan, came a strolling down the road. I had previously thought about asking her if she’d like to come along. It was just happenstance that she appeared as the cart and horses appeared. Of course, she said yes, she’d love to go for a ride. So 45 minutes later, we set out in Ruth’s carriage, a Monarch, made in Holland and shipped to the US. It turned out to be a splendid ride. We first went around the loop, then went up Ridge Runner Road. It rained hard, intermittently – it was like a fresh spring rain. We then returned to Judy’s and showed the cart to her son Kirby and his two kids, ages two and four. Of course, the kids had to have a ride – Ruth took them and Kirby back to our place.

I figured that the adventure was over, and I was okay with this. However, Ruth and her horses have a high degree of stamina – they can and do go all day.

This was why Ruth suggested that we go for a ride to the end of Buffalo Mine Road and back. So this is what we did. Ruth, Judy, and I gave Curly Sue and Diablo time to cool down, and went and put on dry gear. (We were all soaking wet). And I made hot tea for everyone.

We headed (as planned) down Buffalo Mine Road, which is paved but soon turns to hard packed dirt. The cart was so well built that we bounced nicely through the puddles. It has springs and an independent suspension. It also has a brake which Ruth can engage, should the weight of the cart be too much for Curly Sue to hold back.

We moved at a very nice clip, sometimes walking fast, and sometimes trotting slow. We could see and hear Moose Creek on the right side of the road, down below us, and see the Talkeetna Range up on the left side of us. We went about six miles, all the way to the end of the road; this is where Steve Lampher lives. The gate was unlocked so I opened it. In we went, up his long driveway. We met up with Steve walking his two dogs, one of which is an Australian cattle dog pup. As we talked, Curly Sue and Diablo stood quietly – steam was rising off of Curly’s back, just like in the movies. As I’d hoped, he was very impressed with the cart, and let us go all the way up to his place.

On the return trip, I sat on the back seat and alternated between listening to Ruth’s stories about riding/carting near misses, and thinking some about my past. I recalled that as a kid my mother once took my sister and I to Quebec City. We had a wonderful time – went on bus tours and checked out museums and old town. However, I didn’t get to do what I most wanted to do, which was to go for a carriage ride.

I now know that if one lives long enough, that they will get to do those things that they did not get to do as a child. Sometimes things are not quite as good as what one envisions, and sometimes they’re better. This was one of those times that fits in with the latter part of the above statement. I did not go for a short ride in the city. Rather, I went for a long ride in the country. And the driver wasn’t a stranger, but rather a friend. And another friend came along.

Indeed, life does not get any better than this.

Next: 224. 8/19/14: Putting the Cart Before the Horse