Saturday, 22 August 2015

A Welcome Break

Tuesday June 16th.  Although having to negotiate the Tellytubbyland of housing estates in the urban sprawl that extends from Detroit, this part of Michigan has some very pretty backroads
  Near Brighton I was fortunate enough to be put in contact with Magen Fulkerson, who is planning a long ride in the US and was interested to pick my brains - or what there is left of them.  Here she is shown below with the mule she has recently bought to train as a pack animal.
On the right is mother Annette, who runs an organic smallholding and made sure I was looked after like royalty while Lady had a stall and paddock.   Magen was also able to advise me on a good route avoiding some of the busy roads in this area of urban sprawl, and on Wednesday June 17th directed me onto the Lakelands trail through quiet woodland..
 It was only a short morning ride to the home of fellow Welsh pony breeder Trudy Laforest of Roseridge Stud, shown here with her beloved Welsh pony stallion Thornberry Woodsman, bred by my friend Fiona Leadbitter in South Wales....
I was able to have a much needed day off in the peace of the Michigan countryside, being entertained in style by Trudy with plenty of flowing conversation!  Many thanks Trudy!
Considerably refreshed and ready for the fray, we set off from Trudy's on Wednesday June 19th travelling southwards to the west of Ann Arbor. 
Early morning on a Michigan back road.....
 I did not stop too long to study this unsettling tableau of an Indian (sorry Native American) pushing a gun-toting army skeleton in a wheelchair......
 .....particularly with the rusty pick up lurking in the background denoting support for the 'Al Qaeda Hunting Club' among other things...
I had arranged to stay with a delightful elderly couple Richard and Lorrie Alexander at Woodlane Farm near Manchester, and although there was a little confusion and concern about when I was turning up ((Lorrie had been given to understand I was arriving the day before!) I was warmly welcomed.  A gentle and charming man with a distinguished past, besides breeding and training horses Dick was formerly a Zoology professor at Michigan University.
Dick and Lorrie (at breakfast, hence the dressing gown!) together with Lydia, one of their four grandchildren.

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