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Changing Roles

The shoe was on the other foot for me this weekend. Instead of having someone coming to the farm to visit their horse, Jason and I drove 440 miles one way to visit my horse Hoffy in North Carolina. Hoffy has been on lease with Jessie in North Carolina since April as I simply did not have time to ride him along with Bonnie and Lexi. I have missed him and have especially missed seeing his big, white face waiting for me every morning since he left. I think Jason was sick of listening to me talk about how much I miss Hoffy as he happily spent his weekend driving 900 miles so I could visit him. Any horse would be happy to be living with Jessie, and being the compassionate horse lover that she is Jessie recently rescued Jakob, a Friesian gelding. You can read more about Jakob on Jessie’s blog about him.

I was rolling my eyes at myself as I babbled on about Hoffy as we drove to Asheville on Friday evening. I kept asking Jason if Hoffy missed me, what Hoffy was thinking when he was on the trailer to Jessie’s farm, if Hoffy was as happy there as he was with us. The answers to all of those are no, Hoffy doesn’t miss me, he wasn’t thinking about anything except eating the hay in front of him as he was on the trailer, and he was every bit as happy in North Carolina as he was in Tennessee.

How did I know these answers before ever seeing him? Because horses and all animals have the gift of living in the present, not the past and not the future. As long as their present circumstances are as good or better than their previous circumstances they are content and happy. Hoffy’s life with Jessie is the same as his life here. He lives in gorgeous, well maintained pastures in a temperate climate with compatible friends. All of his needs are attended to and he wants for nothing. But every bit of common sense and horse knowledge I had seemed to be flying out the window onto I-40 as I talked about Hoffy.

Hoffy and I in front of Jessie’s barn; Hoffy has an adorable, goofy personality

On Saturday morning we got up early and left Asheville to drive the last 100 miles to Hoffy’s new residence. When we arrived Hoffy’s reaction was exactly the same as how the residents here greet their owners when they visit. He definitely recognized me, he was quite happy to see me, but was definitely more interested in the treats I had brought for him. As long as I was feeding him treats it was “Oh my gosh mom I’ve missed you so much, where have you been???” As soon as I stopped feeding him treats and he realized he was not going to be getting any more his reaction was “Well, thanks for stopping by. I would really like to go rejoin my friends now.”

I had run out of treats so he moved on to grazing

I now understand why it is so tempting for our clients to keep feeding the treats when they visit. Because I felt so loved and so missed as long as I had the treats. Without the treats he honestly was more interested in eating the grass in front of the barn. Eventually even the grass in front of the barn wasn’t enough and he was ready to rejoin his friends. I was thrilled that this was the reaction I got from Hoffy because it told me he was perfectly happy with his life and didn’t need me.

We made Jessie join us for one picture

After spending a couple of hours with Hoffy and Jessie Jason and I headed back towards Asheville. We spent the rest of Saturday exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains and drove part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather was spectacular, the foliage was right at peak and was spectacular, and the mountain views were gorgeous.

The typical view out our window as we were driving on Saturday and Sunday; the trees at our farm are just now thinking about changing colors

Taken in the Blue Ridge Mountains

On Sunday morning we ate breakfast, checked out of our hotel and took the long route back to our farm. We spent the balance of the day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We experienced more fantastic weather, saw more gorgeous mountain views and the most spectacular fall foliage either of us have ever seen. And given that Jason is from Ontario and we lived in Vermont we’ve both seem some pretty amazing fall colors. The fall colors we saw today were the most breathtaking fall foliage we’d ever seen and we took lots of pictures!

All in all it was a nice weekend. I spent time with Hoffy, spent time with Jason and saw some amazing scenery. Not a bad weekend!

Another scene in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The pictures don’t do the scenery justice; my camera couldn’t pick up the colors on the mountain tops as they were too far away; I took this with full zoom so I could capture some of the mountain colors

Me in Smoky Mountains National Park

Jason on the walkway to Clingman’s Dome, elevation 6,643 feet

Jason and I at the entry to the Appalachian Trail

Pictures simply don’t do justice to the views

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