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February 5, 2015: At Play on a Windy Day

Woke up to the sound of wind – it roars around here. It seems particularly bad when it blows hard because our cabin is up on a hill. At least this is what I tell myself before heading outside on extremely blustery days, like today. Once I get down to the horse pen, it isn’t so bad. And this morning, when we took Hrimmi and Tinni for an outing, it was bearable. The wind has had an effect on the moose, two of whom were on the far side of the road this morning. We went past carefully – for moose do charge people – and they don’t use their credit cards.

It seemed to get worse after Pete went to work. This is why I didn’t get out to work with the horses until midafternoon.

Notice that I used the word “work” here. Work is what we do. I saddle them up, go for a ride, and then once back at home, I unsaddle them. And this is what I’d intended to do today, though the wind gave me reason to pause. I just didn’t want to deal. And I felt even less so in observing the horses. Raudi and Hrimmi were full of themselves. One of the two, most likely Raudi, lifted the half-latched latch, and the two bounded out into the yard, heads up, tails up, like range ponies on a windy day. Ryder and Hrimmi have this deal going on – Hrimmi starts banging on the fence with her hoof and Ryder starts barking. It often gets pretty noisy. Today Hrimmi ran over to Ryder, spun around, and kicked out. She didn’t connect – I think that if she’d wanted to, she could have.

It took some time, but I finally got Hrimmi and Raudi back in the pen. I next got Tinni ready to go for a ride. I leashed the dogs, headed up road, and once at the trailhead, unleashed them and got on Tinni. He was extremely chipper – I didn’t have to urge him on, which is often the case. I was just going to go a short ways, but once out and about, I decided to do all our trails. The trees were creaking – Ryder’s shiny black coat was scuffed by the breeze. The snow was blown into clouds. It was cold, but not biting.

Tinni’s energy level picked up on the return trip – and he did a few short bolts. The wind had to have been putting him on edge. We made our way back to and up Siggi’s Trail. At the intersection of Siggi’s Trail and Jim’s Road trail the old duffer bolted. He went quite a ways before I was able to stop him. Something startled him – I am not sure what. It could have been Ryder. Tinni and I walked back to the intersection, not because I wanted Tinni to know he erred because he knew this and did care, and nothing I could do would make him care, but because I dropped my crop. Needless to say, I decided not to ride Raudi, for I feared that she might act in a similar fashion.

Once home, I tied Tinni to the hitching post, walked back up to the house, and returned to the pen with my large exercise ball and hula hoop in hand. I was going to set up the agility course and “work” Raudi – but I decided instead to play with her and Hrimmi. I had the pair chase the ball – Raudi bats it with her nose – I’m now using the clicker and working on multiple hits. I also kicked the ball and had both horses chase it. The one who got to it first and touched it got rewarded.

I next had Raudi stand in the hula hoop. I also put it over her head, and as with the ball, put it over and under her head. Then I did the same with Hrimmi. It was all fun – the horses clearly enjoyed themselves.

I moved on and set up the agility course – when complete, it consisted of the cone weaves, the labyrinth, and the bridge with a piece of plywood and hula hoop at its base. And I again got the corn oil containers out.

I worked Raudi off lead because we both do well at this. And today was more of a challenge than usual because the wind was whipping around. Also, as we discovered, the moose were still out and about.

Raudi did as asked, with considerable enthusiasm. Then when I went to get more treats, galloped off. I called her and she came racing back to me. I of course rewarded her. It was a truly beautiful sight, watching her run through the snow. She worked and took off a few more times. Then she began doing obstacles of her own choosing, lastly moving in a very fluid fashion over the labyrinth poles.

I then picked up her dropped lead, clipped it to her halter, and put her back in the pen with her two buddies. Raudi got a parting treat because she’d done so well. I finally put the equipment away.

I was pleased. I didn’t “make” Raudi or Hrimmi do anything. Rather, I initiated a play session and they followed suit. This seemed to me to be a very worthwhile activity. Otherwise, they’d become dull, and totally unenthused ponies.

Next: 37. 2/6/15: Blowsi

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