Ponies and Bucket Lists

Navarro Vineyards 1985

Navarro Vineyards 1985

On the February page of the Carriage Driving Calendar from Mischka Press is a Welsh Cob navigating an obstacle at the 2013 Vineyard Classic in Woodland, California with grapevines in the background.  It is a very happy image for me because it combines a pony with my fond memories of touring wineries in California in my younger years.  My husband told me that one of the things on his bucket list is to visit Navarro Vineyards, one of my favorites.

The concept of a bucket list was new to me just a few years ago.  According to Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary, the term originated in 2006 and derives from the expression ‘kick the bucket’ or to die.  A bucket list is “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” (1)  I’ve been flattered by a couple of people who have told me that visiting Willowtrail Farm is on their bucket list.

Bridge on carriage road, Acadia National Park 1995

Bridge on carriage road, Acadia National Park 1995

In the January/February 2015 issue of Driving Digest magazine, there is a bucket list story involving ponies.  Linda Yutzy had this on her bucket list:  “Drive my pair of Dartmoors in Acadia National Park.”  This, too, was a happy story for me because of fond memories of being in Acadia on the gorgeous carriage roads there.  My visit was before my pony days, when bicycling was my preferred recreational travel method.  The rock work of the bridges was stunning and inspired many a photograph.

Linda Yutzy’s story was inspiring as well.  She lives in Texas, so taking her ponies to Acadia involved a 2200-mile four-day journey.  Plus she undertook the journey after having a leg amputated.  The event that spurred her journey was the American Driving Society 40th Anniversary Members Meeting, and Linda and her husband and ponies were the ones who traveled the furthest (with equines) for the event.  At Acadia, they drove 100 kilometers during their stay, which is very similar to the distance I rode on my bicycle; those carriage roads are so motivating!  There’s a great picture in Linda’s article of her ponies seeing a sailboat for the first time.  Linda wrote, “The ponies took it all in stride although the wild turkeys gave Flirt something to think about.” (2)

The image on the February 2015 page of Mischka’s Draft Horse Calendar is also a happy one for me.  It shows three teams plowing at the 2013 Durrant Plowing Weekend, Poplar Grove, Illinois, including Jim Buzzard with his hitch of six Haflingers.  Jim is often in touch about things I write in Rural Heritage magazine and generously shares photographs and stories about his hitch.  We obviously share a love of working smaller equines.

Restar Mountain Shelley IIII don’t have a proper bucket list because I am lucky to be living exactly the life I want where I want right now.  I will admit though to having one thing that probably qualifies as a bucket list item:  to walk the fells of Cumbria with my husband with a Fell Pony carrying my pack and traveling over pack pony bridges.  When my husband and I were on the fells in 2005, we felt so at home there that experiencing that again is worth dreaming about.  Perhaps someday I’ll be able to fulfill that dream, but in the meantime I’m fortunate to have a yard full of Fell Ponies who are willing to carry my pack (and more often me!) in our gorgeous setting here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

  1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bucket%20list
  2. Yutzy, Linda and Keith. “Bucket List:  Drive Acadia,” Driving Digest, Issue 193, January/February 2015, p. 29.

© Jenifer Morrissey, 2015

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About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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