Horsing Around…

Greeted yesterday by a cobalt blue sky as I left my little house on the hill. Early February in Vermont. A blanket of purity covered the landscape. The snow glistened so brightly my eyes forced a squint. A reprieve from this bitterly cold gray icy winter that has felt oppressive to me.

A few quick turns in a neighboring town brought me to roads unknown. Roads easily mistaken for a driveway. I navigated the oversized paths in my all-wheel drive vehicle and soon arrived at the horse farm where I was to meet an art colleague of mine. I parked just down the hill from the barn. Hardly noticing the rugged conditions of mud and ice. A preview of our upcoming fifth season. Reassuring sunlight guided my footsteps up the plowed path from my car to the barn and all things horses. My footing was as unsure as I.

Temperatures in the low 30’s. A welcome warmth. The sun was enhanced by the awe-inspiring rural setting. A dark brownish black structure was seated high on the land. Proudly unobscured. The barn grand in its antiquity. Wyeth-esq.

Tromping around a horse farm felt as familiar as my childhood. Stalls. Woodchips. The hayloft intoxicating. Hay stacked to the heavens. Uniquely fragrant. Sunlight finding opportunity through the cracks in the siding. Golden light warmly illuminated the supporting beams of the vaulted ceiling. Sturdy and strong. A hundred plus years described in the wide creaking floorboards. A tack room where bridles were uniformly hung.  A leather saddle familiarly groaned as I ran my hand across the smooth well-worn seat. English equitation. I chatted with my colleague while I secretly escaped into a time of trail rides, jumping competitions and numerous horse shows. Riding my childhood Roan and best friend Diamond though the cornfields that described the farming neighborhood I grew up in. A connection deep in meaning was once again before me.

The horses were equally enjoying the day. Heads tilted toward the sun with eyes half shut. Pasture after pasture of freedom. I visited with each of the five residents. My hand instinctively sank into a thick winter coat while discovering colors spectacular. Highlights of warm sienna, alizarin red intertwined with a dark umber. Colors I wished to recreate in my studio, but nature had already perfected them. A complimentary mane course yet lush. The therapeutic quiet that surrounded this sweet spot was broken only by the chomping of hay by my newly acquainted friends. We coexisted for only a brief visit, but I will return not as a rider but as an artist…

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.” –  William Shakespeare




Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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