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August 9, 2014: Lessons Learned: Making up for Lost Time

Went to the horse show again today. Had a good time but could hardly wait to get home and go for a ride. I left after Vickie finished her last class. I had my priorities in order. I came home, saddled up Raudi, put the dogs on their leashes and went for a ride. Went to Grizzly Camp. Raudi was attentive but not reactive. Had a wonderful ride. We trotted where we could; in places the trail was slippery. And we cantered part way up Grizzly Camp Hill. On the return trip we cantered along the final portion of the trail that leads to the trailhead. I particularly like this stretch because the brush has grown up along the trail – it’s twisty turny so you can’t see what’s coming up next.

Raudi and Rio the trail horses

Today, Raudi’s exemplary attitude got me to thinking what it is that I most value about our partnership. Believe it or not, I am the proud owner of an amazing trekking horse. Raudi has many attributes that validate this statement.

Raudi has common sense – she won’t trot on slippery ground, but she is now quite willing to move out on the sections in between. She also is willing to slow down when I ask her to. (I do this by squeezing on the reins.) Canters when I give her the cue, but no longer takes advantage of the situation. Is quite happy to go out alone, or with other horses. And is content to be out front or behind, though these days she likes being out front more than being behind. It used to be the other way around.

Goes down gentle inclines really nicely, the way Signy used to do; in fact, she feels balanced. Doesn’t spook when dogs jump out of bushes or suddenly come up behind her. Goes through water like it’s nobody’s business.

Raudi has one fault and this is that while out on the trail, she will dive for grass. She loves to eat – in this respect, the worst time to be out riding is in August because it’s so lush. Best time is of course January. Have not been able to break her of this habit, so I am learning to live with it.

Today, Marie (who takes lessons at Beth’s and was at the show) said that it took a while before she felt up to taking Ash, her Irish sport horse, for a ride out on the trail. “I took him out on an itty bitty ride,” she said, adding “and I got him to walk through a puddle.” I didn’t say, but hearing her talk took me back in time. I remember one of Raudi’s first forays – out onto one of the Murphy Road trails. There are a handful of puddles in this area and for a bit, Raudi dodged them. But by the time we were done she was marching through them like she’d been doing this all of her life. It was if something in her head clicked.

I have been thinking that I’d like to do a show or two next year. But that would be it. This is in part because of time considerations. A jumping class takes at the most five minutes. Let’s say one does five classes a day – that’s 25 minutes of riding in a day’s time. I think that I’d much rather be spending my days on trails and with my trekking horse.

Next: 217. 8/10/14: The Writing Life: Seeing Things Anew