In our farm’s east woods there are stone walls and an old logging road. It’s another world back there—shaded and lush; quiet; home to a lot of deer that don’t seem as concerned as they should be, given the hunters’ tree stands we’ve found. “No Hunting” signs are first on our list. Then we’ll clean up the logging road and make a trail. Even where the road peters out, there’s a natural path by the stone wall, flat enough to trot and canter. We’ve stockpiled sand from the old indoor ring for trail footing.
We’re planning a trail around the farm’s entire perimeter—through the woods and over the meadow, flat then gently sloped, and steep in one spot above the pond—great for the horses’ fitness and state of mind. We ride them around the meadows after their workouts, and walk them up the steep gravel driveway for hind-end strength. Sometimes I trot them on the grassy hill. When we have our trail, we’ll be able to skip the arena entirely some days work them out on the land. Back to my fox-hunting roots; I can’t wait! Our horses will love it.