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November 21, 2014: Raudi Speaks

I asked, and Alys agreed that I’d get to write today’s dispatch. I dictated it to her. As I told her what to say, and she wrote it down, it immediately felt like the good ole days, when we worked together. I really enjoyed working with her on Raudi’s Story. I wish she’d get off her fat ass and get back to marketing it. She says that she’s now too busy working on Lessons Twice Learned, which is about our summer’s jumping lessons.

Let me tell you this – if I was writing that book, it would be completely different. Alys acts like she knows what she’s talking about, but she does not. I take

that back. She knows what she’s talking about – that is our summer’s lessons and our perception of them. This is well and good. However, more feedback from her would improve her credibility.

She’s right about some things, like the fact that Beth is a very good instructor. Beth was good in part because she liked me so much. She really did think that I could make it over those jumps. And after each lesson she’d spend time telling Alys what a beautiful horse I was. She was of course right on all counts. And because she was right, I wanted to work hard for her.

Alys was not (because she did not know this) able to write about my perceptions of some of the other horses. Like Gracie. We started out on the wrong hoof because Gracie and I both thought that we should be out front when doing flatwork. However, when I finally conceded that it didn’t matter to me, we became friends. And it was then that we started talking horse talk with one another. Like me, Gracie would like to have a foal. If only, we both thought, we could convey this to our hapless owners.

Alys, in a chapter entitled “Seeing Things Anew” says that horses are able to perceive color limitedly. How does she or anyone else know this? To my knowledge, no human has ever asked a horse point blank if they can see color. Instead, they train us to look at squares and in this way identify various shades of color. This seems to me like a hard-earned way to earn a treat.

I’m not sure that I can explain the color thing to you, but I will give you one example. Your green is our orange. That’s right. You see green grass and we see orange grass – very bright, very vivid. Grass. It’s quite beautiful, especially on a sunny summer day when it’s lush and tall. No wonder all we want to do is hang out and eat.

Really, more people should listen to what horses have to say. Alys does pretty well. Her short falling is that she isn’t as attuned to the feelings of her own kind, but that’s her problem. Well, she’d hear even more from horse if she didn’t harbor skepticism about her being able to communicate with us. Yes, we do see things in pictures. And we do have a limited human vocabulary. Mine, for example, includes the words treat, cookie, hay, grass, grain, forage, supplements, and whoa damn it.

We horses also use body language to communicate to one another and to humans. For instance, I swish my tail when I’m annoyed or when the flies are bad. And I lower my head when I’m relaxed. If I recall correctly, it was Tinni who taught me to soften my eye muscles when requesting a treat. He was further right in saying that Alys was a sucker for this every time.

Back to the subject of books and publication. I do hope that Alys, after she finishes Lessons Twice Learned, will again write another book with me. I would like for us both, together, maybe also with Pete and Hrimmi, to do another long trek. Then once we finish we could again collaborate. I could present my point of view and she could present hers. I don’t want to write about what happened to Mr. Siggi – and I don’t think that Alys does either.

It’s closing in on winter here. Today Pete turned the compost with the tractor. It was so hot that it was steaming – and phew, it stank. Alys has been complaining a great deal about the increasing amount of darkness. She has nothing to complain about because she’s inside in the evenings, in that building where she can turn the lights on and off at will. How amazing is that? I was once under the lights at the Sindorf Center at night – let me tell you this, it was really strange. The other horses thought so too.

Well, Alys feels bad for Hrimmi, Tinni, and me because she thinks that we don’t like the darkness. Actually, we three think that we’re quite lucky because we get to gaze at the stars and watch the moon come up from behind the mountains. She would see what we’re seeing if at night when she came down here, she turned off her headlight. Maybe sometime she will.

Next: 311. 11/22/14: Unreal