For a little over a week we’ve been hosting a chestnut gelding horse who looks as if he will become the second equine presence in the back barn. Double Mac Zero is an American quarter horse, a gelding with a white blaze on his head and four white socks. “Mac” was born on March 8, 1997, in Forest City Iowa, and has been living of late in South Londonderry, Vermont.

Mac surveying the barnyard from his stall

Mac has a broad chest and powerful, round hindquarters, and Ellinore tells us that his physique helps him  move quickly over short distances. In fact the name of the breed–Ellinore again reports–comes from its capacity to outrun other horses in sprints of a quarter mile or less; and it is often the breed ofchoice for ranch or rodeo, barrel racing and calf roping–or, as it happens, riding on trails in the lower Connecticut River watershed.

Mac helps me gather the difference between a pony and a horse. Reme is small compared to Mac, and she now seems the pony she really is. And his presence in the stall is quite striking. Mac is a bit “mouthy,” and will nibble at clothes when given the chance. But in general he’s really a sweet guy—easy going, even mellow, though he is “the boss” of Reme in the pasture or when grain is being scooped in the mornings and evenings. Yesterday the farrier made it over to trim hooves and shoe Mac. Sean Hardy is a farrier, and a pilot, and we watched as he trimmed Reme’s solid little black feet and then worked on Mac’s feet. He reshaped and nailed Mac’s shoes and assured us that he had relatively good feet.

All this week I’ve been working in the barn, pulling up old floor boards and resetting the support system for the barn floor. We’ll be getting a load of hemlock next week and now that we have decided to replace the whole barn floor the wind is blowing up through the open joists and there is a big pile of semi-rotted boards behind the barn. Nathaniel helped me pull boards yesterday while Ellinore did the math, converting stall measurements to square feet and determining the number of 12 and 14′ boards we’ll need. We are building a third stall, too. More on that later.

Rebecca and MAC before setting out on a ride

Since Mac arrived, Ellinore and Rebecca have been exploring our trails and walking further afield. Today, in fact, they are planning yet another trail ride.

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