The Current Situation

By Terry Golson

It’s been just over a week since the governor of Maine shut down businesses to try to shut out the corona virus. Only people in essential positions are allowed to travel for work. Farmers are in that category. I’d like to think that I’m essential to my horse’s well-being and so come under the exclusion for “livestock care,” but the truth is that right now I’m not. My boarding barn has hired staff who muck, clean, feed and turnout. In addition, Steph, my trainer, is making sure that all of her client’s horses are looked over daily and exercised as needed.

At first, this “stay safe at home” decree was for two weeks. That seemed doable for me. I’d be able to get back to the barn on April 9. But it’s now been extended to the end of April. Another 4 weeks.

Even in that amount of time, Tonka doesn’t need to be ridden. He’ll lose condition, but he’ll be ok and when I do get back on him he’ll be perfectly sane and amenable. However, for their health, horses do need to move. He’s at a barn with large individual paddocks, but we’re in the midst of an early and soggy mud season. Tonka is often restricted to his small paddock attached to his stall. At least he has that.

He has friends. He has fresh air.

On bad weather days when Tonka doesn’t get out to the big paddock to stretch his legs, Steph is hand-walking him. She’s also picking his hooves daily and swapping out blankets as the temperature changes.

It’s not ideal.  But then again, “not ideal” is an understatement for what’s going on in the world right now.

When life was normal, my schedule (and my mental health) revolved around riding Tonka. Now I’m adrift. My barn time inspired what I wrote here on this blog. Without that, I’m having to recalibrate myself in other ways to write. It’ll take a bit to do that, but I’ve got some horse-focused posts in the works which I hope to share starting next week.

I need to move to think, and unlike many who are stuck in their apartments, I’m able to get outside. This is the marsh in my “front yard.”


I’ve been taking daily 3-mile hikes.


My house borders on 4,000 acres of conservation and public land. There’s a network of old roads and trails. None are marked. Thank goodness I get cellphone coverage so that I can locate where I am and backtrack when I need to!

Yesterday I found the stream that feeds the marsh.


Over the winter some strategic logging took place. It’s not clear cutting. Select trees are removed. In exchange for the wood, the loggers maintain the fire access roads. They work when the ground is frozen.


They’re gone now. The logging makes sense and they’re careful about how they treat the land. This, though, makes me angry. Someone has been joy-riding, and they don’t care about tearing up the trails. Ruts like this don’t go away, they just worsen.


So far, though, on my hikes there is no worry about social distancing. All is quiet. Well, I’m a tad noisy. I carry a bear bell. I don’t want to surprise my shy neighbors.

I’m grateful to be where I am and able to get out and hike. If it weren’t for missing my horse I’d be in a better state! Many of you are missing your horses and are confined indoors. I feel for you! If it helps, follow my Instagram for photos from this peaceful corner of the earth.

I know how fortunate I am not to have to worry about our jobs (Steve and I are mostly retired) or food. We’re rather isolated here, so am hoping that greatly reduces our risk of contracting the virus. That doesn’t change how much I miss my horse, or how sad I am at what I’m missing out on (our son’s graduation from college, a scientific conference Steve was supposed to present at in London, a much-looked forward to vacation, all cancelled.) All of that, though, is kept in perspective by what is right outside my front door. (This photo was taken on March 31. We’re still getting hard frosts.)

What’s remaining good in your life?

5 thoughts on “The Current Situation

  • Laura allemand

    This situation does really make one search for the good things in one’s life. We were lucky to have taken a trail ride just last Monday, but they closed access to that trail just after we left. That was the last maintained trail we could ride locally. I’m sad, but I know how lucky I am that I can go outside and see my horse, love her, and keep her exercised, and smell that wonderful horse smell whenever I want to. I’m also lucky to have worked at home for the last 25 years, so no change there either. Finally, I’m definitely grateful to be able to spend this time with my family and everybody is healthy.

    • Terry Golson Post author

      Wonderful update. It’s a shame that trails had to be closed. They closed the beaches here because people couldn’t maintain proper distance from each other.

  • John Schaller

    We are having a beautiful spring here in Vegas, and keep getting snow in the mountains west of town. Here, though they implemented a stricter lockdown yesterday, the Governor I believe acknowledged that outdoor recreation is still ok, so long as social distancing is practiced. So, while a number of scenic loops and access parking lots are shut, we are still able to enjoy the beautiful physical environment, here. My work has shifted to more phone calls, etc., obviously, but long-term that’s imo a good structural shift. The local supermarkets have been remarkably well-run and cheerful, so honestly each time I go to the supermarket it’s a little pick-me-up in terms of the nature of the country we live in.

    • Terry Golson Post author

      I expected Las Vegas, with the huge influx of people from away, to be an epicenter of the crisis. I’m relieved to hear that, in the context of everything else, that it is going well. It does help to have good weather! If only it would stop raining here! I do agree about the supermarket experience. I go as infrequently as I can, but when I do shop, the people working there are AMAZINGLY cheerful.

  • Jan

    Very true words, I feel blessed to have a garden and my Girls. Because of my age and asthma problems I have qualified to get online food delivery’s so am very lucky. Have already been in for over 4 weeks and have been told our restrictions are likely to be in place for months. Many business’s are going to fail but we must think positive. My family live close so I still see them once a week but only through the window for which I am grateful. Feel really sorry for people who do not have the internet to keep in touch, you don’t realise how much you use it until you are stuck indoors. The NHS is doing a remarkable job with little equipment and local people and firms are helping any way they can. When thinks get bad people always show their better side. Really enjoy reading your blogs, hope you get to see Tonka soon. Keep safe. 🙂

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