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July 5, 2015: Horses as Teachers

Horses have a great deal to teach us; that is if we allow for this. Quite often we do not. Rather, we assume that we know everything and they know nothing, and act accordingly. If they had thumbs and we did not, things might be different. But such that it is, we often taken advantage of our having this opposable digit, and all that goes with it.

Horses have a rare kind of intelligence that is going to remain foreign to even the most astute of horse whisperers. Time and time again, I’ve been reminded of this, and also to the fact that I need to keep an open mind when interacting with all beings equine.

I am learning from horses how to deal with fear. Here, on this trip, I have been dealing with fear on two levels. I have been dealing with a riding-related fear. Long story short -- I came flying off Raudi and messed up my back. This is what I will tell most people. However, there is more in the telling.

I decided to do this trip, and walked into the campsite. I had, for the past few days been watching other riders take off for day rides early on, then later in the day listened to them talk about their adventures. It has been painful to be left behind. But at the same time, I’d been wondering how I might have done had I gone on the day trips. I would have been nervous about doing this, because this is just the way I am. In fact, I’d been wondering if I was indeed well enough to ride, and if my staying put was a form of riding-related avoidance.

This latter thought prompted me get on Tinni this morning, this was after Pete said that we should take the horses further afield so that they might have access to more grass. I agreed, and so we saddled up both horses. This was right before breakfast.

I got up into the saddle, and Tinni again became my number one riding horse. We didn’t go far, just a short ways up the trail we came in on. My back was not unduly sore, but I feared that if the horse underneath me made a wrong move, that it would hurt like hell. However, my back was somewhat sore, and this was enough to make me feel apprehensive. The temporary loss of one or several muscle groups compounded my fear.

We let the horses graze for a bit, and this allowed me to regain my composure. I right then realized that I was not physically yet up for a more lengthy trail ride. So no, my sense that I was practicing undue riding avoidance was unfounded. I was then able (with a clear conscience) to say to Pete, when he asked, that I would not be up for a more lengthy afternoon ride.

The grass in the area we were in began growing scant, and so we elected to return to base camp. Horses as teachers – I hoped that Tinni would not do anything stupid while I was on his back, and he most certainly did not.

I was indeed scared about getting back on him, I now think because I feared I’d again come off and again hurting myself. I didn’t say anything about this to the other riders because I didn’t think they’d understand.

My figuring out that I am physically not up for a ride came about after I got back up on Tinni, my number one riding horse. So I have again learned something from him, in this instance the importance of taking acceptable risks.

Next: 173. 7/6/15: Leaving Grass Camp

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