Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Welcome Break

Friday September 18th   After days of plodding across the monotonous plain, it was quite a welcome surprise come across this sign..
..though the dangerous hill hardly fulfilled its threat..
 It was still sweltering with the threat of thunderstorms, so it was a relief to arrive at  Woodland View Farm, a riding and boarding stables near Knoxville, owned and run by the dynamic Brad and Betsy Larsen....
Trained geologists, they decided to take over Brad's 320 acre family farm to set up an equestrian enterprise, and currently have around thirty boarders.  Quite apart from facilities such as indoor and outdoor arenas, the farm boasts 38 acres of wetland, woodland and prairie which includes an extensive network of trails.  This is because the farm is signed up to a scheme promoting regeneration of the original natural landscape - tall grass prairie used to cover much of the Midwest, and I was surprised at just how tall and thick it was - the grass here is about 6ft high .... can just see the farm buildings in the background.
The family farmhouse was a lovely old brick building - I was shown to a luxurious attic bedroom with en suite, and crashed out exhausted after several long days travel in the oppressive heat. It did not take much persuasion from Betsy and Brad for me to stay on another few days, and I had a reinvigorating rest, sleeping, eating and enjoying a glass or two of wine and some lively conversation in the evening.  Lady had use of a stall and a grassy paddock. Many many thanks for your hospitality!
Betsy shows a young customer how to pick out a horse's hoof..

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