she’d give birth and drop the foal in a puddle. I ought not have fretted. Signy knew what she was doing.
The changes in Hrimmi are now so subtle that I have to remain attuned to them. Now (for example) when she raises her head, we are eye-to-eye. And her little hooves are now the size of coffee cup bottoms. And she now has molars coming in. Her nose has also gotten longer. Her chestnut head is near-identical to Raudi’s – when one or the other is standing close, I now sometimes do a double take. Hrimmi is now beginning to shed out. She has some roaning – white hairs mixed with the brown, on her rear hindquarters. It makes her name, Frosty Traveler, seem even more appropriate.
Hrimmi now eats with who she pleases – even Raudi, much to the dismay of Signy, who sometimes is on the outs. But, being the dutiful daughter that she is, Hrimmi will eventually wander back to her mother’s side and eat alongside her.
Yesterday my friend Heather came over for a visit. We’d planned on taking her horse Rio on an outing, but the weather was not at all conducive to trailering a horse any great distance. I decided that we’d instead take Raudi, Signy, and Hrimmi out. I tied Raudi and Signy to the hitching post, and after putting her halter on her, let Hrimmi out of the pen to wander around some. I was finishing up brushing the other two, when Hrimmi came over and took her place on the far outside of the post. I then brushed her, and next (for Heather’s benefit) played dress up, putting the saddle pad on Hrimmi’s back, and my helmet on her head. She just kept eating.
Hrimmi waited while I tacked up the two older mares. We then headed out – Heather rode Raudi and ponied Signy. I then had this idea. I handed her Hrimmi’s lead line, so she then was ponying the dam and the foal. It went quite well; we continued on down road with me making sure that Hrimmi stayed by Heather’s side. I finally sensed that Hrimmi’s attention was wavering, and let her off lead. I put Hrimmi away at the end of our jaunt.
Heather intimated that she might someday purchase a few horses, and start a trail riding business. Hearing this, I asked her if she might someday consider raising a foal. Her response was that she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to do as good a job as Pete and I have done with Hrimmi.
I was quick to note that a year ago I was more than overwhelmed by the prospect of raising a foal. It just seemed like more work than I had the time to do. At the time, we were in the midst of a spring storm like the one that’s going on now. I was out in the enclosure, shoveling snow. Signy was standing right behind me, watching. I then feared that any minute, she was going to have that foal, and it was going to land in a snow pile, freeze to death, and die. Of course, Signy waited until the weather was better before giving birth.
I ought not have fretted about the birth or about how we’d train Hrimmi. It’s been easy, and this is to a large part due to the fact that Signy has been an ideal broodmare, and Hrimmi has, from day one, gone along with the program. This is good because numbers have dictated that we train in a very informal fashion. The credo has been (and remains) Little Horses do what Big Horses do.
Big horses are brushed, little horse is brushed. Big horses have their hooves cleaned, little horse has her hooves cleaned. Big horses go for a trail ride, little horse goes for a trail ride. Big horses are ponied, little horse is ponied. Big horses are trailered, little horse is trailered. Big horses wait quietly to go in or out of the gate, little horse waits quietly to go in or out of the gate.
Like all big horses, all little horses have their own personalities. Hrimmi is easy going, but she’s also bold. She just isn’t bothered by snow blowers, snow machines, kites, or the like. She’s also now been exposed to such things. So she’s now on her way to becoming a reliable riding horse.
Giddy up Frosty Traveler.
Next: 98. 4/8/13: Old Snow Just Melting