Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #91

April 1, 2014: Horse Training: Tinni Front and Center

One of the best ideas I ever made (if not the best decision) was to purchase Tinni. This has been verified repeatedly over the past nine years. We acquired him when Raudi and Siggi were two, this was nine years ago. I then thought that I’d need to spend time on an older horse because back then I was an inexperienced rider. I was right. Otherwise, I would not have felt comfortable backing Raudi.

From day one, Tinni has been my best teacher, sometimes upping the ante so that I might learn new things. He’s never, ever tested my patience – but he has at times tested my abilities as a rider – a good thing because otherwise I would have become complacent. And that would have been no fun at all.

A case in point – the day before yesterday I rode him in the direction of Grizzly Camp – we went further than he was used to, and further than he wanted

to go solo. I finally decided to head in the direction of home, and turned him around. Impatient fellow that he is, he took the bit in his teeth and bolted. He didn’t do the Tinsy shuffle, which is a fast, high headed pace. Rather, he galloped, hard and fast. He ran about 3/4 of a mile before coming to a halt. This was at the creek, where on both sides is a high drop off. I was shaking – however, I said in a very calm voice that this was a bad, bad thing to do. Tinni, ignoring me, asked for a treat (as he often does by raising his head high and rolling his left eye). I said “No, not this time,” and we headed home at a brisk walk.

I was pleased. I’d stayed on, and stayed on when he stopped. A few years back I’d either have fallen off, or when he stopped, I would have gotten off and walked. I was not at all fazed this time by his seemingly dangerous behavior, for I knew then, and I know now, that sometimes this is what Tinni does. There was also a part of me that was relieved – I am glad he still has the spunk to do this.

Tinni does not bolt all that often. And he never has, nor will he ever do this with a child on his back or with an inexperienced rider. This is because he knows that this would be completely unacceptable, and grounds for punishment – punishment being that he would be in my disfavor. (I don’t hit or beat on our horses. Rather, I ignore them when they do bad. This, my seeming lack of attention, makes all, including Tinni, feel terrible.)

It’s sort of like a pact we have – he knows that if he does anything stupid, that it has to be exclusively at my expense. And I’m okay with this. Better me than someone else.

Today I decided to take my wonderful steady eddy horse for an outing with Claudia and Frank Sihler. There were numerous reasons for my deciding to take Tinni. First of all, he’s a real gentleman around foals. And secondly, he is a wise horse who does well at pacing himself. Once again, my musings proved to be correct.

We first went up the bench, Tinni moving slowly and deliberately. After a bit, the trail grew steeper. Also, there were slippery, muddy spots, so we all wisely decided to walk. Tinni, who was behind Giff and Katla, watched the two proceed, and consequently chose to walk on what he thought was the safest part of the trail. Once at the top, we began our traverse. As it turned out, the snow (which was on the south facing slope) was soft, so all repeatedly punched through. Each time, Tinni stopped and gave me a look which would kill. Then, after a bit, I heard him (distinctly) say to me “dumb shit.”

When, finally, we came to the downslope, we continued on of course walking. The trail was now even more punchy; plus, we were now going downhill. And the previously firm muddy patches were now slick. It was (at least in my estimation) a long, slow walk to the more level loop area. I of course breathed a sigh of relief when we got there, for no one had been hurt.

In contrast, the loop trail, which is approximately five miles in length, was an absolute joy to ride. It was firm, not rutted, and level. There was also just one place where there was overflow, and we were all able to get our horses safely across it. Tinni, seeing Perla dance across, snorted, as if to say this was very impressive.

Tinni again paced himself, and at one point even lagged behind more energetic Giff and Katla. But, three miles and two left turns later, he realized he was heading in the homeward direction and picked up the pace. He did this smartly, with his head high, and a bit of prance in his step. Then, when we got to Murphy Road, he strutted his stuff, by putting himself in the lead.

I (again) was so proud of Tinni aka Pilot Boy, Scout, Number One Riding Horse. He’s now 24 and May 1 will be 25. He’s getting up there, as is evidenced by his now gray forehead. But oddly enough, he has more energy and spunk than he had nine years ago when I first started riding him. He also seems to be more at peace with himself than previously – he used to brood, but no more. Rather, he now seems genuinely happy.

He was (this time) quite happy to get back to his mare herd. Both Raudi and Hrimmi heard him snorting as we walked up the driveway. I tied him to the hitching post and he then paid them no mind. First things first, it was time to eat.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about how happy I am to have him --- he was the perfect addition to the Squalor Holler herd.

Next: 92. 4/2/14: Dog Training: A Dog for all Seasons