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Sometimes it’s nice to simply enjoy the ride.

On my return from spending time with family this Christmas, I decided to take a route I hadn’t travelled in years. This brought me up 10 & 202 through Granby, CT – a road we regularly crossed on horseback as kids to get to our favorite ice cream shop on our way to what we called the sand pit. All property owners let us travel their land with their blessing (sans the sandpit owners). There was even a horse crossing sign (that was new) where we used to land on what is now a busier thoroughfare, so maybe kids are still enjoying the freedoms we did thirty-plus years ago. Sadly, the ice cream shop was gone.

Much of the scenery was as I had remembered it from my youth. The tobacco barns remained, as did the surrounding land still being used for farming. The vet practice we used for our horses was still there in a building that had been repainted, but largely unchanged. The Granby Motel has the same street signage (with the backward N) that graced the property decades ago. Schools remained unchanged. Even the Simsbury bowling alley remained in business (remarkable given how the value of land has increased along this stretch). The same many funeral homes dotted the landscape.

As I passed into Southwick, the state line was marked with an array of package stores (Mass must still allow alcohol sales later than CT) and snow covered roads reminiscent of every winter spent in the area.

Even the old radio stations were still around – WTIC with its talk and soft music format (a station we’d cringe over as kids as my mother forced us to endure it while in the house); and WCCC screaming rock, although the new sound was a lot angrier than the 60s and 70s tunes we enjoyed.

Much of what is discussed in the horse world these days includes a call for change. I’m saddened to see many of the changes that have occurred in NYS in the name of progress, protection or rights. Some of my best equine experiences involved quiet rides across miles of varying terrain with my pony and a couple of good friends to share in the special carefree, exciting, tranquil and fun experiences each ride included. Sure, we were reckless at times – we were kids. None of us ever got hurt, though, as we were blessed with horses that took care of us, landowners who were generous about giving us safe passage and a world where parents weren’t afraid to let their children explore life unattended. It’s sad most of our young riders today won’t ever have such useful learning experiences to draw from as they strive to connect with horses.

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