As light fades into a November night

We’re back at Windrock Farm after five days in Masschusetts. Today I got a late start. My final mount of the day was Spanish-native Duende, an Andalusian stallion. Duende is a gray in the horse world, but to most people he is what they would simply call a white stallion.

As the two of us left the property today’s magic began. We rode out for about an hour with the November darkness quickly descending. I am easily taken over by delusions of grandeur, yet what could be grander than riding a horse who could have literally jumped out of the pages of a book of fairy tales?

The pockets of fall color that clung to the trees when I arrived two weeks ago are long gone. Today felt like winter. It was in the thirties and flurries of snow sprinkled down all day. Duende and I walked, trotted, cantered and galloped through the Dutchess County countryside. I relished every moment, knowing that my respite here is just about over. In the woods, a carpet of rapidly decaying leaves was underfoot. In the fields, summer grasses were long drooping as their winter hibernation began.

White tailed deer fluttered by frequently, on the run from fall hunters, and the man on the big white horse. The deer didn’t faze Duende–not much did. He’s a big sweet horse with a generous heart.

The sounds of the ride were memorable too. Flocks of geese squawking, and the hooves of Duende clip clapping on the country lanes. The rhythm of Duende beneath me made me wish he and I could go off forever—to a mystical land.

As we were walking down the lane into the farm it was dark. A hunter straggled across our field toward his Dodge truck. A car pulled in behind us. The two headlights cast two giant shadows, side by side, of Duende and I dead ahead across an expanse of lawn. They were comically large shadows and the perfect visual for ending the perfect ride.

I removed the tack, sprayed down the big white stallion’s legs, brushed him, and put his rug on for the cold November night. When I left him he was in his stall, munching hay.

Thanks Duende.

Jim Breitinger is Cari’s brother. Today is his last full day in New York before heading home to Arizona. Duende, a native of Spain, is a special horse seeking a special home.