Monday, November 10, 2008

Pleasure Driving

For my birthday this year, our friend Ben took the whole family pleasure driving with his Suffolk draft horse named Red Rock Surge.

It was one of those fall days when you wanted to stay outdoors forever, and the leaves were just starting to change in the park where we went riding. People stopped to observe this strange sight: an old-fashioned horse pulling a cart, which incidentally was designed by the Amish for agricultural use.

The Suffolk draft horses are bred for agriculture, Ben explained. They are smaller and shorter than other horses, and they "pull like crazy." Surge certainly seemed to enjoy pulling us as much as we enjoyed the ride.

Ben tries to go out driving as much as he can. He says it's relaxing to spend time outdoors and be by himself with nature.
It was fun to watch him interact with Surge and see how the horse responded to him. Because I'm a big fan of sled dog racing, I thought it was pretty cool to hear him use the familiar terms "Gee" (right) and "Haw" (left) that I've heard on Iditarod videos.

Afterwards, we waited at the stable, while Ben washed and fed Surge. Taking care of a horse is quite a responsibility. The wait gave me a good chance to chat with Ben's wife, RoJean, who has become a great friend.

And then? We all went out for good old Nebraska barbecue. A satisfying way to celebrate my birthday.

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