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May 30, 2014: Horse Training: Downhill, Uphill

Pete and I have decided to enter the Bald Mountain Butt Buster Competitive Trail ride. It will be held in July, on the nearby Bald Mountain trails. Our decision to enter has been made after considerable forethought. The question that we’ve been considering is Lifre up to two days of strenuous riding, the total distance being close to 50 miles. He hasn’t been ridden in years, so he’s not in great condition. Pete’s been riding him since he got here, so he’s in okay condition. Conversely, Raudi was ridden all winter, so she’s in good condition.

We’re going to sign up for the competitive pleasure class. If all goes well, we might instead sign up for the open class. Either way, Pete and I will ride together if he opts to ride Lifre. Because of his condition, and because he has a physical problem, Pete may have to opt out.

I am still attempting to find out who did his surgery and when they did it. All along, Lifre has been exhibiting the characteristics of a cryptorcid, which is a horse that before being gelded has an undescended testicle. He’s possessive of our filly and mare, and suffers from separation anxiety. However, the surgical scar is directly in front of his penis, so it’s unlikely that this was the original problem.

I don’t think that this problem will ever be solved. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying playing detective. I have now hit a dead end. Lifre’s breeder has told me that no medical records exist. I was also told that the records of the past 500 horses they sold were eliminated from the veterinary office files. If I were to continue with my investigative research, I’d next ask her what veterinary clinic did the castration and surgery and then contact them.

In the meantime, Pete and I keep riding. Yesterday I took Raudi and Hrimmi out – we went up Pete’s trail and down the bench. Raudi was feeling good. Towards the top she saw a moose, spooked, and did one of her infamous 360 degree spins. This was followed by her bolting downhill. I managed to stay in the saddle, which after seemed to me to be nothing short of a miracle. Had I come off, I undoubtedly would have hit one of the trees that line the trail path.

We continued downhill – both Raudi and Hrimmi did well. Raudi didn’t once buck or shake her head, as she’s often done in the past. We came home after this ride, and met up with Pete who wanted to get Lifre out. So Raudi got to go out for yet a second time. She went willingly, was quietly energetic the entire time. We finished the riding portion of our outing by trotting down and back up Murphy Road. Raudi and I cantered the last part. After, we walked the final half mile, so that she could cool out.

At this point in time, I am more excited than fearful about doing the competitive trail ride. This is because Raudi and I are now doing so well together. Today I’ll do some groundwork with all the horses. It’s overcast and rainy, so very short sessions will be most fitting.

Next: 150. 5/31/14: Lessons Learned: Being in Charge Defined