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Horse versus Human, Part II
By Maddy Butcher Gray
Comet and I watched wearily as our competitor ignored the panoramic vista. We’d just completed this first leg twice as fast as our last visit, riding about four miles in 30 minutes. And even that slower ride was no walk in the park.
Read Horse v Human, Part One
Why not pause, Dear Cormick, to sip some water, enjoy the view, and appreciate our good health on such a serene summer day?
I pulled Comet gently from her grass snack, muttered my apologies, and returned to the path. Cormick was running 30 yards ahead of us.
I considered the route’s second leg:
Rolling hills winding through meadows, fields, and timber.
Wide paths with good footing, except for some small areas of mud.
Five miles or more with two rickety, narrow bridges to cross.
Some shade, but mostly sunny exposure on this 80-degree day.
It might have been meager, but the pause nonetheless had given us a second wind. Combined with the next mile’s uphills, we were able to pull ahead by 40 yards and maintained our lead for another mile.
But the bridges and descents hindered our pace and helped the runner:
I continued to struggle with comfort and form while moving fast downhill and then I wasn’t willing to push Comet over the bridges at anything faster than a cautious walk.
With about two miles to go, Cormick passed us.
Then something cool happened:
-- Comet got cowy. After nearly an hour of indifference, she looked ahead at Cormick and actively pursued him with a quickened pace. She tracked him around the bend and down into the woods.
The Runner managed to pull ahead slightly, but Comet kept her eye on him. As we pulled into the meadow near the parking lot, she gave an extra spurt towards the finish.
Ok, so the Runner won.
But it should be noted that none of the competitors really pushed to anywhere near exhaustion. Comet and Cormick were breathing hard at the finish. Yes. But a few minutes later, they weren’t at all.
It was great fun. We completed about nine miles in just over an hour.
Here’s my To Do list for the Rematch:
Don’t forget your breast collar.
Anticipate that it’ll be more challenging without another horse.
Use the ascents to gain ground (Running uphill seems to be easier for the horse than the human.)
Improve your downhill riding.
View Reader Comments:
Nice to see you two looking so great!
"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry
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