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May 10, 2015: Easy and Difficult

Winters are long here, and this is an understatement. At the same time, they’re difficult – it’s often dark, cold, and icy. I do not, for example, relish the thought of having to go out and pick up manure at 11 p.m., in February, with a headlight. Just the preparation alone – putting on all the gear --is onerous. And carrying water buckets down an icy hill – no fun moving at a snail’s pace on slippery terrain.

These days tending to the horses is much easier. Last night we went out to dinner. We arrived home at 10:30 p.m. I went directly into the pen and cleaned

up and fed. No muss, no fuss, no plaster dust.

Winter’s chief virtue is that it provides a much needed basis for comparison. I say needed because if it was sunny and warm all year, I would not be as appreciative as I am for this better weather.

Riding is easier in most ways, though in one way it’s a bit more difficult. Yesterday Pete and I took the horses out for a more lengthy ride, and did what we call the larger neighborhood loop. We went from our place to Ridge Runner Road, to Spike Fork Road, and then took the trail to Four Corners, turning off and riding Raudi’s Racetrack trail. Then once back on Murphy Road, we headed home.

This was a shakedown cruise for Mr. T. We wanted to see if he was still lame. We figured that we’d know for certain if we took him on a bit longer ride.

And it was quite the shakedown cruise. First, we had to contend with the now hard-packed residential roads. And then we had to contend with the now very trashed out trails. The ATV contingent (who far outnumber us) took to the trails early this year, so they are still rutted, muddy, and overly soft. There were also tree roots embedded in the mud. As always in such instances, my heart was in my throat, for I feared that one might slip and fall and get hurt.

However, all the horses did really well – they carefully picked their way along the trails and moved in a very relaxed fashion. Hrimmi, who is only three, was the most impressive. She paid attention to where she was putting her feet the entire time. At one point, she was on one side of the rutted trail and Pete and Raudi were on the other. She stood for a moment, thinking about what to do, then jumped the trail, doing a very impressive push off with her rear legs.

I tried my best, while out on the trail, to not think too hard about the fact that the ATVers are an inconsiderate lot who are completely self-centered. There’s absolutely no forethought given to other user groups, who for sure would enjoy traversing these trails. I now know that there’s nothing I can do about this, so I must put this out of mind.

Once back on the home front, Pete and I set up the agility course. This is the easiest one for us yet. I opted to have Raudi do a small jump, the alternative obstacle being have to sidepass over a pole. With this and the other obstacles, she did not disappoint. This course is faster – there’s more trotting involved, so I think that this energized her.

We came up with a good video the second time around – one that would be okay to submit for the May competition. However, we are going to see if we can’t do a bit better. We’re going to move the scary corner, and I am going to come in the near gate, so that we can get trot momentum before going through the arch and over the first jump. Odd, how this works.

As with winter pen cleaning, agility is now a lot easier because the paddock pen surface is more amenable to this particular activity.

Next: 124. 5/11/15: Dem Chickens

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