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December 26, 2015: Women who Run with Horses

There’s a book entitled Women who run with Wolves. I would like to write one entitled Women who run with Horses. Like the former, the latter is about empowerment. Something to keep in mind with my future writing endeavors.

Sunny today, temps in the teens. I began walking/tolting/running with Hrimfara, early in the mornings because I initially wanted to get more exercise. What’s happened is that I’ve now carved out a “working time” with her. Early in the day, this is now the time that we do what I’m calling our formal training.

Truth is, I have not been dealing with a training-related blank slate. Hrimmi has already had a great deal of training. Pete’s been ponying her since she was a yearling, and we’ve both done a lot of walking with her, on and off trail.

I decided to use the daily set time to advance her existent knowledge – we’ve been taking her out solo, so this also is something that isn’t new to her. The motto has always been “little horse must do what big horses do,” but now it’s “Little horse is now a big horse.” And furthermore, there is to be no more little

horse behavior, like stopping to nibble at dead vegetation or to grab at the lead line.

I began a few weeks back my working with her on a really loose lead – first walking then walking and trotting. Yesterday was our best outing yet. She moved right along, and when doing the loop she matched her strides to mine. We then went for a woods walk. Later we went out on the trail with friends. Renee walked her older horse Kirby and I walked Hrimmi. The other riders went ahead of us. Hrimmi was at times a tad bit bargy, but for the most part fairly agreeable. I knew though, that if I let her go that she’d have taken off. Instead she held herself together and walked behind me on the single track trail.

Every day in working with Hrimmi has been revelatory. Today she was slower than yesterday, so I wacked her on the butt with the crop a few times. I’m sure that this didn’t hurt her because she has a winter pelt – the thickest winter coat of any horse that I’ve ever seen. I make an analogy to college dorm room rugs – so thick that it’s full of despicable stuff, like paperclips and condoms and beer caps. But still, it felt wrong to be hitting her. So I’ve decided that I’m going to do things a bit differently. I’m instead going to let her go at her place. The only rule is that she must keep moving. I also had another realization and this is that I need to cut back on the mind chatter. This means giving single, easily understood commands such as walk, whoa and trot. In other words, no more “easy, easy, easy,” or up, up, up.”

Walk, trot, and whoa are commands that she can implement. I’m also going to do the same when riding Tinni and Raudi. Today, in part for this reason Raudi and I had a really good ride to the bench trail. This, well knowing that the snowmachiners were out there. Usually, this knowledge makes me tense. Not today. And on the way home she cantered nicely – it was that slow moving rocking horse gait that is so easy to ride.

Looking forward to tomorrow – I’m now bonding with Hrimmi in the same way that I’ve bonded with Raudi.

Next: 187. 12/2715: Saddle Up arena: Me, Instructing!

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