This cropduster has been working in our area for ... maybe twenty-five years, maybe more.
We've watched him make his graceful turns right over our house, the roar of the engine bringing the whole family running out of the house to watch. I saw the plane in the air as I drove out to the ranch for this morning's ride, and considered calling Cathy the Mad Horsewoman and saying, "Look, there's a cropduster working, let's ride another day," but I didn't do it; as it turned out, Cathy the Mad was already at the ranch.
I noted with relief that the sound of the plane had disappeared, assuming the fields were done. Cathy and I saddled our horses and rode out.
We headed towards the orchards past a cornfield when we heard the drone of the plane in the distance, coming right for us. I shifted my weight in my saddle, preparing for Dink to bolt, and moved my feet to make sure I had only the tips of my toes in the stirrups. (If you're unseated in a horse wreck, you DON'T want to risk getting a foot caught in the stirrup and get dragged!)
The plane approached, getting louder and louder until the sound was deafening, and the plane swooped over the field, releasing its chemical load -- only about fifty yards away!
I was prepared for a bolt, for a buck, for a darting escape into the trees of the orchard to our left ... but it was unnecessary. Neither Dink nor Peanut, Cathy's horse, so much as flicked an ear. They couldn't have cared less.
Now those are two amazing horses.
There are many reasons I like boarding Dink at Happy Talk Ranch, and this is a prime example of one of them: the horses are used to all kinds of heavy equipment being used around them -- backhoes, bulldozers, front-loaders, tractors, hay equipment, orchard machines ... and the sound and sight of cropdusting airplanes.
Then again, Dink and Peanut are exceptional mounts, so incredibly trustworthy. Cathy and I agreed today that we're unlikely to see such two great horses again in our lives.