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A Vermont Sleigh Ride | Dashing Through the Snow

A Vermont Sleigh Ride | Dashing Through the Snow
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Ivy the Belgian
Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Ivy the Belgian

Dashing through the snow? Check.

In a one horse open sleigh? You betcha.

O’re the fields we go? Yep.

Laughing all the way? Ah, not really.

It was more like speechless awe. Our Vermont sleigh ride had us riding on rails instead of radials, with chilly air rushing into our faces, amazed to experience cross country travel through the winter world without a windshield.

Linda Ward, who has been giving sleigh rides for 14 years, held the reins of her Belgian, Ivy, while her party of two snuggled into the hundred year old sleigh robes behind her.

Linda and Ivy are harnessed up and ready to go
Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Linda and Ivy are harnessed up and ready to go

Then we were dashing past the lyrics of “Jingle Bells” and plunging into the real life lyrics of “Over the river and through the woods”…and we should have felt as silly for all this old timey fun, but we didn’t.

We were smitten. There are so may ways cross a winter landscape—skis, snowshoes, snowmobile, Subaru—but is there anything more intimate than this—horse and driver and cuddling cargo?  And to ride so quietly in a vehicle that glides, the runners hissing on snow, occasionally scrunching on ice, pulled by the hay fueled heart of our noiseless engine?

approaching the covered bridge
Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
approaching the covered bridge

Our great great grandparents would no doubt find our thrall amusing. Our new year’s joy ride was their bus and grocery getter.

Bundled up in blankets on the bench behind Linda, we're heading out for the fields and woods
Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Bundled up in blankets on the bench behind Linda, we’re heading out for the fields and woods

Yet for the duration of our jaunt, their scenery, what they would have seen, was our scenery, too: the arched over birches, the burly mountain backdrop, the sugar woods and the snow smothered field.

Oh what fun? Heck yeah.

 

 Linda Ward owns Raven Ledge Farm in Waterville, VT
Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Linda Ward owns Raven Ledge Farm in Waterville, VT

 

 

Julia Shipley

Author:

Julia Shipley

Biography:

Contributing editor, Julia Shipley's stories celebrate New Englanders' enduring connection to place. She digs up facts and stats for each issue's "By The Numbers" feature; she's also the author of Yankee's "Vermont Rural Life" blog, as well the Yankee Plus column, "The Farmer's Life." An award winning poet, her long-form lyric essay, Adam's Mark was selected as one of the Boston Globe's Best New England Books of 2014.
Updated Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
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3 Responses to A Vermont Sleigh Ride | Dashing Through the Snow

  1. Amy O January 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Beautiful photos! I love horses.

  2. Angela January 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Beautiful photos…I have never been on a sleigh ride and you show it in a wonderful way!

  3. Linda V January 26, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    I adored the photos and made me wish that I was back East, if only for this sleigh ride….the horse is just beautiful and the sleigh ride would be like a meditation in the open fresh air of Vermont…so relaxing and peaceful…..

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