Monday, July 5, 2010

What Lovely Horsies: Undermountain Farm, Lenox, MA

I like to think of myself as a bit of a risk taker.  I pride myself on the fact that my boys are willing to try anything.  I also love horses. Like with most large animals, some urge comes over me to scratch their ears, pat them, smile at them.  But, my last real experience riding was not a good one.  With little training I was at a cantor with a friend ahead of me who trained horses.  We started to race up a hill at camp and my horse shot ahead of hers.  As she tried to catch me to settle my horse, her ride threw her head first at a tree.  An hour later an ambulance made it to the rural spot in Maine with her eyes closed and slow breathing.  Thankfully a neck brace for her, but not a lot of riding for me after that.

So, the boys seem to share my love of large farm animals.  We hit the pony rides at Belkin and Davis, but that was just a tease.  Today, we met the coolest horse trainer I've ever seen.  She managed our party of five and two others, while calming gearing up the horses, directing her staff and generally holding court with kids ages two to fifteen.  "If he's over six months old and can sit up on his own, he can ride."  So as our two closest girlfriends (or 3rd grade super heros as the boys like to see them) led the horses, the boys took the mounts.  For thirty minutes they replayed every fantasy I had since watching Black Stallion in the seventies and reading the entire series (I know, I know, I was the only boy doing this, but at least the main character was a boy too).

This place is more than just rides though.  It is set over Tanglewood admist the mountains and trees.  It was a perfectly clear day with a bit of heat, and they were full up.  Some kids were getting ready for jumps, others like ours were on their first real outing. They run everything from trail rides to day camps.  They have it all.  But in the end, the have one most important factor to my boys; a love of animals.