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February 10, 2015: The Dog Posse

There used to be the posse, Deb Moore’s extended riding group. And now there’s the dog posse, Claudia and Frank Sihler’s riding group. Today Claudia pulled her trailer up into the roadside parking spot – I glanced in her truck cab and saw six dogs, four belonging to the Sihlers and two belonging to J, Claudia’s good friend. The dogs looked happy, expectant – like dogs that knew they were going on an adventure.

Claudia and J unloaded Katla and Giff and little Hroun, Katla’s four month old foal. I looked closely at the two older

mares. When the Sihler’s first acquired Giff and Katla, the two appeared to me to be resigned – it was as if they were in manner and appearance saying here we go again, lugging more unappreciative bozos hither and yon. These days the mares are much happier than they were previously. They have remained with one another, which is a very good thing. And they will soon both have foals, which will provide them with further continuity. And they are getting the absolute best of care. I think that Katla is pleased to have yet another foal to raise. This is because she is well aware that she’s good at it. And indeed, she’s patient, kind, and gentle.

As Claudia and J were bridling the mares, I went up and got Ryder, Rainbow, and Raudi. We then proceeded up road with the other mares, foal, and dogs. I found myself wishing that a neighbor might drive by and take in this amazing sight. For sure, this would have been a traffic stopper.

We continued on to the Murphy Road trailhead and everyone waited while I unleashed our dogs, and then mounted Raudi. Raudi stood quietly, and squealed once at Hroun, who at one point ventured too close. This was their only interaction. I was concerned because I wasn’t sure how Raudi would respond to Hroun running loose. I put her in front of the line and she did just fine, even when Hroun was right on her heels. I was also concerned about our two dogs being in the company of six other dogs. They too did just fine, following the horses in near single-file, up and down the hilly trail. Once in a great while a dog would go off and check things out, but after, would come back.

Midway through the ride I looked back at Rainbow. What I realized was that she was as happy as I’d ever seen her. She was bright eyed, bouncing along like a much younger dog. Pete and I have been working hard to assure that her later years have been her best. Today was proof positive of this. As for Ryder – she’s happy because she’s still young.

Raudi was a tad bit slow I think because the footing wasn’t to her liking. But at the same time, she was calm. Finally, in part through default, she’s my number one riding horse. If she were still alive, I’d be riding Signy. And Tinni is now Pete’s number one riding horse. I didn’t think twice about taking Raudi out on this adventure. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

At the ride’s conclusion I gave Claudia and J a demonstration, with Raudi and me doing some obstacle work. We picked up a flag in a cone and put it in another cone. We walked through a set of poles and then backed. And we went around the barrel and moved the stick on the top. I then did the same things on the ground, without the lead.

After, we came inside and ate food and drank tea and talked horses (mainly) for a long, long time. It was nice not to be in a hurry and not have the company be in a hurry to go elsewhere.

Tonight I talked to Dick Stoffel, and he and I decided that he’ll enter Jokla in Saturday’s trail trial. And I will give the pair a hand. We’ll do what we’ve been doing here, on the day of the event. The human relaxation, the horse body work, and the obstacle. Raudi and Tinni will get a much-needed day of rest.

And now, late at night – I am thinking that I’m very lucky to have such good friends, that is friends who in being animal lovers are kindred spirits. In this respect, life could not be better.

Next: 42. 2/11/15: Field of Dreams Farm

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