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September 30, 2014: A Good Swift Kick

Today was a good day to be out on the trail. The sun was shining, and I didn’t want to waste a beautiful day. So I first took Raudi and the dogs out and rode to Grizzly Camp.

The trail was slippery in places. Raudi was extremely careful; though she did slide around at times. Returning, she and I stopped before going down the short but steep embankment into what we call the mud hole.

As I write this, I now realize that stopping was a god idea because this allowed us both to access the situation. I considered getting off and walking.

However, Raudi was doing this at the same time that I was. Raudi finally took charge and then headed down and across the water. I gave her a treat when we reached the far bank.

Overall, my sense was (and is) that she’s now a reliable trail horse, which is one who I’d like to ride on a long trek. I now feel as confident riding her as I did in riding Tinni so many years ago. This has to rate up there as one of my major life accomplishments.

My training days aren’t over, not by a long shot. Hrimfara is now what in Beth’s words is “an up and coming superstar.” I cannot, in all due honesty, say that I feel as good about her progress as I do about Raudi’s, that is if today is any indication.

Pete has been ponying her near exclusively, and doing an extraordinary job. School’s started, so he’s now busy with other things, so I must take up the slack. I decided today, for this reason, to take Tinni and Hrimmi out for a jaunt on the lower trail system. It did not go well. Hrimmi kept stopping to eat, and Tinni, who was responding to my increasing level of anxiety, became more and more fidgety. I dropped and retrieved the lead rope numerous times – the last time Hrimmi, smart girl that she is, averted her head and would not let me catch her. This was much to Tinni’s great dismay. I finally got behind her in hopes of sending her up trail, ahead of me. She finally stopped and would not move. So I (gulp) smacked her with the crop on her fat brown and white behind. Hrimmi let me know that this was unacceptable by kicking out with her two unshod hind feet. Her right hoof connected with the top of my soft rubber boot, making a thwacking sound. I saw stars and felt woozy. It was such a dead on and hard blow that the top of my foot immediately went numb. I didn’t feel anything, nor was I able to move my toes. I suspected that perhaps I’d broken a bone or two.

The horses and I continued down trail. Hrimmi veered to the left and I veered to the right. By the time I reached the trailhead, my foot was hurting. In fact, it hurt so bad that I felt the pain shoot all the way up my leg. Once back at home, I tied Tinni to the trailer and hobbled up to the house. There I called Pete and left him a message, one in which I explained what had happened. He called back shortly thereafter and said that he was on his way home.

I put an ice pack on my foot, and this both relieved the pain and cut down on the swelling. True to his word, Pete came home, hopped on Tinni, and went and got Hrimmi. He later said (wise man) that he took her for a ride – whether or not he knew this, this was the right thing to do since otherwise she was rewarded for her indiscretion.

I learned a major lesson in this outing. This is that Xenophon was right – “violence begins where knowledge ends.” (The art of horsemanship). I ought not have chased Hrimmi around on horseback, or slapped her on the butt. I should have instead gotten off Tinni, grabbed the line, mounted up, and continued on our way. I don’t feel like I deserved to be kicked – but I am very much aware that there are behavioral consequences. In this instance, the horse responded to being thwacked by kicking.

I have decided to do more groundwork with Hrimmi so that we develop a better rapport. In fact, I have already begun doing this. I am being more firm about boundaries when I’m feeding. All the horses must now stay out of my space when I’m feeding them. I’m also going to resume TTeam training with her, so that she better knows what my on and off trail expectations are. All in all, I’m making the best of a not-so-good situation.

Next: 261. 10/1/14: Trail blazing one and All