Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Meet Some Horses

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We were a little sorry to leave such a pretty campground, but we were starting to want to have some adventures. So we headed up Vermont's Route 7 to see what we could find. Route 7 is full of very picturesque little New England towns, and is not a very fast road. However, it is very pretty. We enjoyed the views until we finally came to our destination, the UVM Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge. The Morgan Horse Farm is "dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the Morgan Horse through breeding and selection."

I have been interested in Morgans ever since I was a horse-crazy kid and read the book "Justin Morgan Had a Horse." Morgans are unique in that as a breed, they all descended originally from one single horse owned by Vermont schoolteacher Justin Morgan. When we got to the Farm, we took a tour led by one of the farm's apprentices, who told us that the original Morgan (named after the owner) was a genetic mutant--Morgans have one less vertebra than other horses, and they have several other skeletal peculiarities. The original Morgan, while somewhat smaller than other breeds, was exceptionally athletic, able to outrun and out-pull any horse he was matched up with. His genetic mutation was evidently dominant, because his offspring all took after him in looks and ability.

At the Morgan Horse Farm, horses are bred and trained. All the horses there are also for sale. We met a number of horses who were being groomed, or trained (to pull a cart, or to be ridden), or just hanging around the barn. They are so beautiful--especially their eyes. "Expressive eyes" is one of the breed's traits, and they truly were special. We were allowed to wander through the stables looking in at the horses in their stalls, and seeing some of the colts (1-3 years old) who were all together in a large indoor-outdoor area. (They were mostly indoors-- it was still so hot!)

Every year the farm has a raffle for one of the foals born in the spring! Our guide reassured us that if we won and had no facilities to keep her (the foal--whose name is Rosette), we could "always donate her back to the farm." But I knew that if I won, it would break my heart to have to give her back! So we didn't buy any raffle tickets. But we both really enjoyed seeing the horses. We are planning to visit the Morgan Horse Museum in Shelburne and learn more about them.
After our tour, I called a nearby campground, and in less than 15 minutes, we found ourselves camping beside yet another river! I considered swimming in the river again, but this time the beach wasn't as close by, so we went in the swimming pool instead. Hot, hot, hot... we came to Vermont thinking to escape the heat but it seems it came with us! For the 3rd night in a row, we had no internet, but we made use of the electricity by running the AC again.

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