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March 18 2015: BCHA Meeting

Last night I went to a Backcountry Horsemen of Alaska meeting. There was a talk on equine medical emergencies on the trail. The speaker was Dr. Susan Dent. I wanted to learn more about this subject.

I entered the Dent household and discovered that I knew most of the people there. Seeing all those faces felt surreal. As I told one friend, there were all the people who I’d invite to my birthday party. Dick Stoffel was there. Vicki Talbot was there. Ruth Hersinger was there. Deb Moore was there. Frank and Claudia Sihler were there. The

entire Carney family was there. There were all total, about 35 people present.

Even though I knew most everyone, I didn’t feel at all like I was in my element. Rather, I felt like I was in an overcrowded fishbowl. I have never, ever enjoyed attending events where lots of people are present, even if the room, like this one, had a nice view.

I did my best to be sociable and did as people at these kinds of events are supposed to do – I made small talk with just about everyone, entering and exiting the various conversations at the right point in time. It’s difficult for me to make small talk because I’m never sure just how small the talk needs to be. Talking about the weather is about as small as it gets. As I repeatedly heard said, in a variety of differing ways, yes, it was good that the sun was shining. Yes, it was good that it had warmed up. Yes, perhaps spring was finally on the way. Ho hum.

I once went to an academic gathering in Minnesota – the subject being talked about was honor students. At one point some administrators gave an overview of their program, which involved teaching engineering students to be more conversant. Apparently, they’re very reticent. Well, those of us in attendance learned that these administrators would hang pieces of large paper on the wall, and put various questions on each one. These questions were about the weather, classes, fellow students, common interests. Then they put person next to each sheet of paper. The engineers then had to go up to each speaker and initiate a conversation based on the given question. I then thought, if I’d had to do something like this, I would have dropped out of school in a flash.

Horses. Now this is a good topic. Problem is, most who were there last night hadn’t ridden much this past winter, the reason being that (they say) the ground has been too icy. I seem to have been the exception. So really, no one wants to hear that I’ve gone for trail rides nearly every day this winter, or that I worked nearly every day with Raudi on agility related activities. I knew this, but still upon occasion tooted mine and Raudi’s respective horns. Why not? I wasn’t up for talking even more about the weather.

During Susan’s talk, I sat at a long table, between Feona and Millie Carney. Janina, their new step mother, sat next to Feona and held Bubba, age 9, in her lap. Mark, the kids’ father, sat across from all of us. It was cool to see the entire family attend an event that was of most interest to Millie, the oldest daughter.

Feona took detailed notes as Susan talked. And Millie tried hard to pay attention to what Susan was saying. I tried to keep both the 15 and 16 year olds amused by drawing cartoons in my notebook and writing specific things down on the sheet of paper that I’d given Feona. For example, I wrote – careful purchasing beet pulp – get the kind without sugar. This is because the kind in which sugar has been added is not good for one’s horse.

I asked just one question. Susan had said that if you have to put a horse down while out on the trail, that you should use a gun larger than a .22. I asked what a .22 was because I don’t know. I was merely told that a .38 is a good sized gun to use.

After, I pictured myself riding down-trail and pulling a cannon behind me. Yep, if I had one of these along, I’d be able to blow my hoss to smithereens if I had to. Boom, it would be all over. Actually, I hope to never, ever have to put any animal down. It’s too horrific to even consider.

I drove to and from this meeting with Dick. Earlier, we worked with Jokla. Dick rode her bareback and I provided him with instruction. Jokla did better, didn’t kick her belly as much. I’m still thinking that the problem is related to saddle fit.

It was easier doing this lesson than the last because the temperature was higher. I for one am thinking that spring is now just around the corner.

Next: 73. 3/20/15: Knots in a Knicker

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