Farm for Misfit Horses


But First Fancy Dinner

Nick is the best date planner pretty much on the planet. Mainly because “Kristina Days” are truly “Kristina Days.” Somehow when I plan “Nick Days” they more often than not turn into “Kristina Days.”

A few weekends ago, in classic Nick style, he told me to pack a bag for the weekend: something nice for Friday and clothes to layer up in on Saturday.

We kicked off our fall adventure at our favorite go to restaurant – Michaelangelo’s in Little Italy. If you haven’t been – I suggest you go, and get the Sacchetti Al Tartufo which is ricotta and black truffle stuffed pasta topped with tartufata and black truffle cream sauce. The steak is amazing too!

Peridot Equine Sanctuary

After dinner we took a little drive and pulled into an air B&B out in Chardon. The sun was setting, the house was cozy, and the horses were grazing out back. Nick knows I have a thing for horses and a soft spot in my heart for all things ‘broken.’ Peridot provides sanctuary for those horses who would otherwise might be sent to slaughter and allows them to live out their lives in “a consistent familiar herd, that supports them physically and emotionally” (Peridot Book Binder).

These horses will not fall prey to the tragedies of being unwanted horses

Lindsey Holland, Peridot Sanctuary Owner

One of the things I so appreciated about the owners of Peridot, Lindsay Holland and her husband (I feel like an ass for forgetting his name) was the time they put into capturing the stories of all the horses in their herd. In our bedroom was a binder telling us all about Donovan, Little Guy, Raine, Tic Tac, and Lucy.

Here is a bit of their backgrounds:

Donovan – Donovan is a thoroughbred and was meant to be a racehorse, but due to a variety of circumstances instead ended up abandoned – “a bag of bones…in a small muddy paddock with a halter so small it was growing into his face” (Peridot Binder Book). Once “labeled crazy” he “has become a very proud horse” that now leads the herd at Peridot “with dignity and respect” (Peridot Binder Book).

Little Guy – Holland describes him as “a walking contradiction: on the one hand he seemed withdrawn from other horses when he was in the herd, but on the other hand he panicked heavily if he felt left behind or separated from them. Though he rode well and always tried to do his best, there just wasn’t anyone out there that seemed to connect with him.” This has improved greatly since making his home at Peridot.

Raine – No sad story here. This guy has swagger in spades. Described by Holland as free-spirited, curious, and overconfident he can be intimidating to handle. During my visit to the farm, he definitely lived up to his characterization as the jokester of the herd who “enjoys testing the boundaries.” He literally couldn’t quit chewing my arm and still, just as the book said, I was “naturally drawn to his presence and energy.” Holland was spot on when she said that this horse is a “social butterfly wanting to be a part of every situation as well as having to investigate everything and everyone.”

Tic Tac – Once viewed as the prized pony who according to the binder, “helped…kids win their first ribbons showing him in lead line classes” he eventually outgrew this purpose and this changed his life drastically. Holland says, “No one really knows what happened during this gap in his history, but when he did resurface he was not the same pony he once was. He was fearful and both emotionally and physically damaged, with injuries that he would carry for the rest of his life.” Thankfully he is able to find some comfort among his new herd here at Peridot.

Lucy – The owner sums up Lucy like this: “sensitive, intense, and amazing.” She had a good start to life but once sold from her first owner, transition proved “too much for her sensitive soul and she became quite the unruly little mare” (Period Binder Book). She was brought to Lindsay “to sort her issues out” and “there seemed to be an issue with everything. She would not load on a trailer, she was hard to catch in the field, she kicked the stall walls constantly, she would not physically canter….the list seemed to be endless” (Peridot Binder Book). Progress was slow, and the owner out of patience. That is how Holland ended up adopting Lucy as her own, and that is when the real change happened; “it’s as if she knew that her days of being passed around and no one understanding her were finally over” Holland recalls.

I loved getting to meet the herd, and hear their stories.

Our trip to the farm meant even more to me when I realized just how a ‘not Nick’ thing this was to do. When I told Nick’s grandma he took me to the horses she gasped, “why would you do that Nicky – you are deathly allergic to horses” – he pointed at me, smiled, and said “her.”

Concord Grape Picking

After leaving the horses we were off to pick concord grapes at Eddie’s Fruit Farm (waaayyyyy less packed then Patterson’s and thus much more my speed) and the grapes are so so good. If you ever plan on going grape session is really only through September and sometimes that first weekend in October. We missed it last year when we tried to go. But this year, we made it just in time. We stayed for a clambake, steaks, and live music after!

My Most Fave

Given such an amazing weekend, it may come as a surprise what my most favorite part of our time together was. It was a quiet, unexpected moment at home right before bed on that Saturday night.

It happened like this…

Nick was playing the electric guitar he had bought me (he is sooo good) and I was admiring from my meditation cushion (that is used much more for decorative purposes then for meditating). I decided to show him the two strings and 3 frets I had recently learned and so ran upstairs to get Olivia’s acoustic guitar. I took a spot across the room from him on the couch and once he stopped playing I started.

I had just tried my hand at my first basic riff and was still messing up a lot when I practiced. Shockingy, as I played I was hitting the notes when I was supposed to.

And then I heard him – he came in slowly, gently, gracefully – strumming his strings in tandem with mine. I didn’t want to look for fear that i would break this beautiful thing that was happening.

We were making music together.

There was no expectation. There was no pressure. There was just playing and feeling. Feeling and playing.

He was able to identify the key and come in that way he always does – he didn’t overpower, he didn’t try to show off – but he was there holding things steady, supporting me, encouraging me, complimenting me. It felt pure and unbidden and welcome. I didn’t know how good it could feel until I felt it.

I wish I was better able to express what this musical co-creation felt like better. I even tried looking up quotes from famous musicians explaining that thing I can’t quite define. However, I couldn’t find much. So if you know of any descriptions of how it feels to engage in that kind of musical collaboration please send them my way, or better yet – if you are a musician who plays with others – how would you ‘write’ it.

Thanks Nick for always finding ways to surprise and spoil me! I love you!

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