Misty Manor, Marriotsville, MD, State #26
I got here yesterday around 4. I left WV at 8am and EJ stopped by to say good bye. He gave me a warm hug and asked me to email the state contacts about that stupid ranger in Cass that blocked the trail for his carriage when we were in town getting fudge. Its a tourist state owned spot and people were all waving and taking pictures of us. The barber came out of her shop and said we made her day. Why would they try to discourage that???
It was about 7 hours door to door, my longest haul so far but was only about 250 miles. Mostly on country winding roads. I took 2 alleve in preparation and my back did NOT bother me at all! So I am doing that from now on. I stopped twice, once to go to Tractor Supply and stock up on shavings (which I thought I needed for stalls here, but they are letting me use the arena instead), Nutrena, dog bones and food and I got some compressed Timothy and chopped Timothy. The second stop was for gas, as I waited for the diesel pump I watched the car parked there and its 3 young occupants for about 20 minutes. They were oblivious to the fact that I was even waiting. They were all pierced up and the girl was either missing her front teeth or they had been filed down? They were back and forth to the car for loose change, back to the store, the bathroom, messing with the pump. Must be their first road trip. At first I was impatient but then it made me think of my children. As far as I know, none of them have tattoos, all their teeth are nice, no strange piercings and they all have their dad’s visa card and newish cars. They are pretty well off, so why do I feel so negligent? All of those things are superficial I know, our family was not a great place to grow up in and that’s why. I would want strangers to be kind to my kids and it changed how I was looking at these kids. God glasses. Have you ever seen that video? Its great.
I crossed so many state borders, into VA, back to WV, into VA, then MD. I didn’t have to show my expired health papers anywhere. In fact it is so rare that anyone asks I don’t know why I bother. Except FL, they are tough (I was quaranteed for expired health inspections). I have Dr Cassey’s number tho and will call him today to take care of it.
Maryland is very lush and charming around here. Everything is very old (including the roads, lol). Misty Manor is 80 acres and has over 80 rescue horses here. Judy said she has saved over 100,000 horses. Awesome. There are rescued goats, cats and dogs too of course. She even feeds the deer in the winter. When I arrived there were 30 children from a camp here. They had been here all day with the horses and having a blast. Judy had a volunteer help me get settled, so nice. She has a thriving business doing trail rides which supports all the rescue efforts and helping elderly people in the area. Play it forward she says.
I met my old running buddy Joanie at her shop in Ellicott City. It is a historic area, super cool. Her shop is so lovely, its an antique shop and I love everything in it. She is so proud of it, and I am so proud of her. We were such good friends from the late 70’s, but have only seen each other a few times since then. We both got married and moved to different parts of the country. She has never met any of my children. Hers were small when I knew her and now have kids of their own. Time marches on, and has crunched us under its boots some. But we are both resilient, the true test of mental health as my therapist had told me.
Judy had asked me if I wanted to join a ride she has going to Woodstock Inn for lunch at 11 and I said yes. I keep forgetting about my rest day! WF had the day prior to hauling off so do I have to rest her today? Hmmm…
Well I took Tommy for an hour walk and spent the rest of the day basically comatose. It was 85 degrees which didn’t help me gather up any energy. I napped, then painted, chatted with Judy a few times, took a lot of photos of the horses here, and dragged myself around with the enthusiasm of a wet washrag. What’s the matter with me? Its 9pm and I am going to bed, its just getting dark, must be summer time.
Judy has so many bizarre stories from her life its hard to believe after a while, and they just keep pouring out. Thrown out of her house at 16 with no shoes, worked for a carnival jumping a 6 legged horse, worked breaking horses and sleeping in the woods, had her arm almost torn off by a race horse, (among other countless horse wrecks and injuries) married to a mad man who had a contract out on her, rescued the 6 legged horse, worked with every kind of animal you can imagine including big cats. Who could make all this stuff up I wondered as she was talking. But I don’t think she is making any of it up. And the very matter of fact non judgmental way she tells the horrifying stories of the animals she has rescued here. One cat was used for pit bull bait and set on fire, one horse arrived pregnant at 2 years old, and on and on…In between answering the phone calls from people interested in her trail rides, and giving banamine IV to a horse that is colicing, and taking delivery of grain…and the crazy people stories about people coming to ride in totally inappropriate clothing (I don’t just mean shorts and sneakers…try tube tops and thong shorts, guys shirtless). Its like she has so much in her head that has happened and it is just overflowing. Its kind of exhausting listening to her. I had to keep taking breaks. I was already so tired anyway.
I broke down and turned on the ac last night to cool the trailer off for sleeping. I am trying to get myself acclimated to heat again so I don’t run it unless I am zombie like. Its 6:30 and I am drinking coffee waiting for the “mean” dog to be put up so I can let Tommy out. Judy had said he was out 7:30-8:30 but I see him wandering now. Dr Cassey is coming today to do my health papers and he has some Adequan for me. Judy suggested I give her flax seed as well. I’m not sure if this is in the joint supplement I use or not. She also insists I learn how to do an IV shot for emergencies, she said she will teach me but I am nervous about it.
The sheperd rescue dog here spent the entire day humping Tommy. Judy said she is getting him fixed today. They didn’t do it prior because he came in in such poor shape they didn’t want to traumatize him any more. She said she had never seen such a badly abused dog. I do not want to hear this story.
Yesterday she told me to use her hay so I did. She said freshly baled hay can cause colic but I think they are ok, they have had 5 bales of it already, but I only have one left so I will use her hay instead of the compressed hay and the chopped hay (which I just realized has molasses in it, darn!). Hay has been my biggest issue on the road. She said they would load me up with her hay when I leave, its timothy in nice small bales and the girls love it. One of her round bales broke open when she was putting it in the field, right next to the arena so a big herd has spent the day right next to my mares. Dreamy never goes to the fence to talk to them, but Wildflower can’t stay away. There are 2 that moved here last year from CA and for some reason they are very interested in my horses. Lots of head over the fence and squeeling from WF. I think she wants to join them.
There is nothing more beautiful than watching one of her horses gallop off out of sight over the hill. Her pastures are not grassy (she said the soil is bad) but there are enormous. I’ll never forget the day I let Dreamy loose with Riatta Rider’s herd on 10 acres and she galloped off like that. I did a painting of it a long time ago but it doesn’t capture it well. I was so moved by the moment that I left her there for a month to enjoy the freedom. When I came back to get my daughter & her, Dreamy was missing one shoe, one was held on by one nail and askew, she was covered with kick marks and had pink eye. She never looked happier. It was one of the rare times that I could not load her to go home. Some day I will have a huge grass pasture to let them be free. I tell them this all the time. It is my dream, and somehow I will make it happen.
I fed Tommy and went to give the horses their breakfast. I just dropped off the last VA bale of grass hay in the center of the arena. Let’s see how long that lasts, its about 50 lb I think. Judy told me not to hang hay nets on the rail, understandably since the loose horses outside were too interested in them. When I returned to the trailer a very large pig, who doesn’t appear to have any eyes and his teeth(?) are curled up along side her cheeks, was licking Tommy’s bowl clean and the “mean” dog was still loose. And he is mean, he went for Tommy but the owner/helper yelled from the house and he quit quickly. He had also pooped and peed on Tommy’s towel that I leave outside our door. Oh well. Such is life at a rescue I guess. I’m not clear on who actually lives in this house, but there are several. Judy of course, Shaun (20 something, Asian cowboy, raised orthodox jewish by his adoptive parents), the owner of the mean dog who has a crew cut and I think is mom to the boy who helped me settle in my first day, and maybe her son? There is lots of coming and going and I think everyone is a volunteer but I’m not sure. There is another large 2 story house on the property, in the middle of a pasture that is incomplete, I think its just the shell but windows are in, no front door. Judy’s ex built it over a weekend she said. Another very strange story. This guy sounds very bizarre. Someone told me that when he lived here he sat in his truck ALL day and stared out at everyone. One day he said God told him not to work anymore and this is all he did from then on. He thought his brother was God, and I guess the brother thought he was God too…
Its now almost 8 and no one is up and about still. This is a late bunch. I am supposed to go to the Woodstock Inn at 10 with someone that showed up yesterday. And meet Joanie for dinner tonight. I feel oddly unsettled here. So many unwanted & abused animals. I have such a hard time with that. This is such a fallen world. I guess its getting to me. A sharp dose of reality.
I rode yesterday with Howard and Billy to the Woodstock Inn, which is a bar/restaurant on the train tracks in the rural town of Woodstock. I think it is the only business in town. It is on the edge of the park which is a lot bigger than I thought. The ride there was beautiful, the woods are tall and deep and the floor is green with vegetation. We crossed the river a couple of times each way and it wasn’t too swift or deep really. Rocky bottom. I lost Dreamy’s rope (I was ponying her) at the first crossing but she came along just fine. Howard is a snowbird from Florida and leases a pretty paint from Judy here. When in FL I think he rides paso finos on a ranch. I didn’t much else out of him. Billy is a real character, it took me some time to figure out that everything he said was a joke of some kind. He told me we took a wrong turn and were lost, stuff like that. They knew the trail which was great because I wouldn’t of been able to figure it out, too many turns and unmarked trails. We tied up at the hitching posts and went in for a beer (Howard had lemonade). I could see the horses from the bar. The train came by and I could see WF dancing around. She was tied with my horse hair rope on her bosal and I said if you break another rope of mine I’m gonna be really pissed. But she didn’t. The train was moving slowly, probably about 50’ from them, and she settled down eventually on her own. On our way home we crossed the tracks and headed down to the trail and another train came by. This engineer obviously loved blowing his whistle, it must of gone off 30 times and was traveling the same direction as us basically. WF and Dreamy too, thought it was following us and got their knickers in a bunch (as Marci would say). The ride back was not particularly relaxing for me, especially when the lead horse galloped off. There’s no way I was going to let her run the way she was acting, we did a collected trot (with a few spins to shut her down) the whole way back. That’s it, I am getting a shank bit for her, and probably not ponying off her any more. She requires my full attention and both hands.
Doc Cassey came by and did their vet inspection health papers. I asked about the 3 vaccines (Patomic fever, Venezualian EE, strep & west nile) that Judy said I should have here on the east coast and he recommended not doing them since I was hauling in a few days. The stress of hauling would not be good he said, and the Patomic fever one needs a booster anyway. And all the ones he had were combos and would duplicate ones I am good on already. So when I am in NJ for my extended stop possibly I can get these vaccines. And do a new coggins which expires in August, the test takes a few days to a week to get back the paperwork, so I might as well do it then. My CA vet answered my email about the vaccines and she agreed with them with the exception of west nile (their titters are high enough for immunity) and strep (I think because Dreamy had strangles already and the pmu baby herd WF came from was infected with it and most likely WF had it then, I think that makes them immune). Doc also had 2 Adequan packs for me, a little pricey but I am very grateful to have a good supply now.
I left WF at the “patience bar” hitching rail for a couple of hours after our ride. She pawed and called to Dreamy the entire time. So much for patience.
I met Joanie again for dinner at the Trolly Stop in Ellicott City and had crab cakes. It was great to see her again. It takes time to reconnect, our first dinner was all catch up on current events, this was a little deeper. The crab cakes were good but nothing like I remember hers to be. I remember she said you have to use Old Bay Seasoning but don’t remember her recipe, I should get it again. They really were delicious. She also used to make a Mexican salad with Dorito chips that I continued to make for my children all these years. It brings back our running club memories every time.
It poured last night and I have a couple of leaks in the trailer, one in the bathroom from the ceiling vent fan which has leaked before. I need to get up there and seal it again I guess. It drips right into Nalla’s litter box…
I fed everyone but me and its still drizzling but I think its done now. Grey and cool out. Hope to get in another ride today, mud should be interesting. There is so much horse traffic in and out of the property that they have natural forming washboard effect (like a tractor had actually made them, like steps at times) on the trail. WF was very put off by it. Its so strange looking and can be a couple of feet deep in places. I’ve never seen this before. Should be interesting filled with water now, ugh…
Its so funny how those 2 CA horses hang around the arena with my mares. Its like they know they are from their home or something.
evening: I rode Dreamy first, wandering around but it was pretty. Got to the park and back but then a bit confused. We ended up entering Misty Manor thru a broken fence back by the arena where Wildflower was. Oh well, we made it back and it was a good 2 hour ride. Then I went out on WF using a tom thumb bit that Judy lent me. I accompanied a trail ride (2 beginners, guys in their 20’s, very nice young men) and Bridgett who was our guide. I made WF follow like all the trail horses are expected to do (no passing or cutting off each other, her favorite tricks). We went to the Liberty Dam which was passing a ton of water over it, it was so loud! WF had 1 and sometimes 2 ears back at me the whole ride. I am so impressed with the difference using this bit. And no more tugging on her. I am sold. Judy sold a new one to me. And loaded up my truck with hay. And won’t tell me what I owe her, all she says is play it forward. I want to give her money, to pay for hay for the horses she has saved. She talked about going to the kill pens and buying horses to bring back, rehab and get adopted. I can’t stop thinking about the kill pens. I’ve never seen them but her description is haunting me. How can human beings do these things? God help the poor animals please. The song popped into my head…God do something…I did, I made you.