Farewell Ride 9/10/09

Last Saturday I awoke to a voicemail and an email from Jill about a WWII plane that was landing on the island that morning.  Both of the messages were the same –  “Do you want to meet me out at the airport to watch it come in?”  Ted and I had just read about the plane in Friday’s Town Crier, and I had already planned to ride out to the airport to see if I could get a photo of it landing.  Going with Jill just made it more fun.

The plane story is planned for tomorrow, but this post is about what happened on the way to the airport.

I was trying to get out of the house at the same time Ted was leaving for his volunteer job, so I was running late.  I had just gotten on my bike when Jill called again.  “You’ve got to hurry!  A group of riders just left the East bluff for their final ride of the season.  If you get going, you can catch them in the woods near the airport!”

So I go streaking as fast as I can up the road through the village, hit Annex Rd. and turn right (please know that “streaking” for me means maybe the speed of a middle aged turtle).  Jill calls again, and I have to pull over to the side of the road to answer the phone so I don’t wreck. 

“They’re at the cemetery now (she’s riding along with them on her bike) – where are you?” 

“I’m stopped on the side of the road because I had to answer the phone!” I panted.

 “Hurry up!” she says. 

“Then stop calling me!” I panted again.

On Labor Day weekend, these horse lovers take a farewell ride –  from the East Bluff to the West Bluff – which traditionally marks the end of the riding season on the island.  The riders will be leaving the island a few at a time over the next several weeks, although some will remain through the winter.  Today they had groomed their horses to perfection, put on their formal riding attire, and mounted up for one last ride as a group.

The photos below were shot by Jill on the East Bluff as they started their ride.  She also took a couple as they passed the cemeteries. 

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At the intersection of Annex and Garrison Road, I heard them coming.  It sounded like the calvary in those western movies I used to watch.  I pulled over, got my camera out, and started shooting.  There were probably 15-20 horses – mostly thoroughbreds and Friesians. Atop a rise on Garrison Road they rested the horses for a moment, then turned onto Annex Road to continue to the West Bluff through the woods.

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Here’s my favorite.  If you look to the left of the horses, you will see Jill pedaling like crazy up the hill.  You have to understand that Jill is like the energizer bunny.  She weighs maybe 80 lbs. soaking wet, and she has more strength, energy, and stamina that Wonder Woman!

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We  didn’t follow them, but continued on to the airport.  I felt a tinge of sadness watching them ride out of sight.  It had struck me that this was the first of many “farewells” that were to come over the next 52 days.  

But it’s way too early to start thinking about that, right?  Hmmmm . . . maybe throwing away the calendar would be a good idea!

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9 thoughts on “Farewell Ride 9/10/09

  1. Oh my gosh, that had to be a beautiful thing to see, and to hear. I`m visualising in my mind what it must have sounded like to hear all those horses . Beautiful pictures.
    Marianne
    P.S. Keep peddeling Jill.!!!!!

  2. This is funny and poignant and sad/nostalgic all at once. Am giggling about the image of you and Jill rushing around like crazy running off to get a blog. But that “final ride of the season” sounds too much like summer coming to an end…

  3. How sad to say goodby to the beautiful rides and riders of summer. These horses and their owners are one of the most unique aspects of the island and we will miss them till they thrill us again in the spring. Jill is worth her weight (all 70#s of her) in gold.

    Love the blog as usual.

    Cathie

  4. I’m so jealous to have missed that AND to not have been a part of it! What fun!!! They are so lucky…as are you to see it. 🙂 I love the island so much…

  5. The photos are great. It is a sad time of year when this ride comes around, as it does mark the nearing of the end of the season. My horses leave next Friday. The walk down the hill is a sad one.

    • Thanks, Michelle for your comment. I had tears just watching all of you ride away into the woods. I can’t imagine what emotion there has to be when it is actually your own horses you are taking off the island. I will surely miss seeing them. I hope they go where you can ride some during the winter. Brenda

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