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May 16, 2014: Horse Training: Happy Trails

Today we went for a ride with Claudia and Frank Sihler. Claudia is the dog trainer – Frank’s is her paragliding instructor husband. The pair own two Icelandic horses – they purchased them from Misty Circle a few months ago.

There was at first a bit of confusion on my part. Claudia has said that Perla (Katla’s five month old foal) was going back to Misty’s for a while before being picked up by her new owners. I thought when she said this that she meant that they’d take Perla there before our ride.

However, once the Sihlers arrived, I learned that Perla was going to her new home after the ride. I’d planned on riding Raudi after learning that Perla wasn’t coming with us. And so, when I heard that Perla was coming with, I decided to ride Tinni instead. This was because the last time Raudi and Perla were on the trail, Raudi bucked and squealed the entire time. However, Pete offered to let one of the Sihler’s guests ride Tinni.

What to do? I decided to ride Raudi, but told all that I’d double back if she was unmanageable. This was what I expected. I mean, why would she have any reason to behave differently?

We started down road with everyone else riding, and me walking Raudi and Rainbow. I knew in less than a minute that Raudi was going to do just fine. She passed Perla in her usual officious manner and kept on going. This was the polar opposite of the last time when Raudi immediately began pitching a fit.

We went on a fairly long and rigorous ride. First we went up Pete’s trail, then down the bench trail, then over and up the Grizzly Camp trail, and then down the Grizzly Camp trail and back home. As we were going down the bench trail, I sensed that Raudi really wanted to be out front. So I put her out front as we were heading to Grizzly Camp. And there she remained, in the lead, for the duration of the ride.

Raudi’s wanting to be the lead horse is a new development. There was a time in which this desire would have made me nervous since I enjoy hanging back. I have always been this way, and it has worked well when bicycling and sea kayaking with groups. But no longer. I knew that she would not bolt or spook because she was truly happy to be where she was in the lineup. And she didn’t pay Hrimmi or Perla (the two loose horses) any mind. Rather, she seemed to take the job of being lead horse quite seriously.

In retrospect it was good that Perla came along and that I rode Raudi. Otherwise, I would not have arisen to what appeared to be yet another challenge. What happened was that Raudi and I became further connected on this group ride. Now on Sunday we’ll all be going for ride at Eklutna Lake. And I won’t be at all nervous about this. Raudi and I are moving forward, even on the trail.

Next: 136. 5/17/14: Horse Sense: Only Connect