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March 21, 2015: Dick’s Big Day

Yes, today is the spring equinox. It was sunny today from dawn to dusk. I am increasingly energized by the increasing amount of daylight. I worked for a bit this morning on my If Wishes were Horses proposal letter, and then I took Raudi and the dogs out on the trail. Raudi did really well – she’ now going down hills slowly, and even stopping when I ask her to do so. I know what she’s thinking – this is that in order to get a reinforcer that she must work for it. It’s interesting, to have owned her for 11 of her nearly 12 years, and during this time, I’ve used treats in teaching her most things. Once she figured out she’d usually get her just due, she

stopped mugging me. In time, Hrimmi will learn the same thing.

I later went over the Stoffels’ house because Dick wanted his lesson on the home front. I obliged, which was really nice of me because it takes on an average a half-hour to get to his place, and a half-hour to get home. On the way there I stopped at the mailbox and picked up my plastic human skeleton, called Tiny Tim. I immediately showed it to Dick, and using it, I showed him how he was sitting, that is with his knees up and his legs hanging from the knees – this is called the sitting in the chair position.

I didn’t have a plan today. I ought to have had one. I wasn’t sure what Dick wanted to do, so I wung it. And I wung it just fine.

Jokla was in the round pen when we stepped outside. Some kid was there, brushing her. She got her looking good. The horse was clearly enjoying the attention. Jokla is one who really likes being around people. I stepped in, and did some body work. Next, Dick saddled her up. She began kicking at her belly as Dick tightened the girth. I said this was because tightening it was putting additional pressure on her withers. Dick reiterated what he’d said several times before, that Jokla’s problem had nothing to do with saddle fit – and added that she kicked at her belly when he rode her bareback.

The lesson then began, with me providing commentary and Dick attempting to put the commentary to use. The lesson did not begin well – Dick was physically all over the place. He reminded me of Pinocchio. I had him stop and buoy, so that he might find his center of balance.

Jokla was less racy than previously, but definitely not relaxed. So I stood at various spots along the fence and had Jokla walk over to me. Each time Jokla stopped, I again had him buoy. We did this repeatedly, with horse and rider going left and right around the round pen.

It then occurred to me that Dick and I had been talking at length about how the saddle doesn’t fit Jokla, but not about how it didn’t fit Dick. To this end I remarked that he still had a chair seat when riding, and this was because he’s using the saddle that had been designed for Mariann, his wife. I then had Dick remove his left foot from the stirrup, and told him to let it hang for a bit. Right then, his leg a dangling, he finally understood what I was getting at, I think because he first saw it in the skeleton, and then could feel it.

Dick, after riding a bit, mentioned that the woman who generally rides Jokla, does so in an English saddle. He then went into the barn and returned with an English saddle, which is the one that he said the Ali usually used when she rode this horse.

The saddle fits Jokla pretty well, Dick less so. But it’s far better than Jokla’s other saddle. Tomorrow, Jokla’s regular rider is going to take her for a trail ride. This, I decided, is a good thing in that we’ll get a second opinion about what’s going on with the kicking. My guess is that she does have a hindgut ulcer.

Tomorrow I don’t have to go anywhere. I’ll spend the day at home, writing and riding.

Next: 75. 3/22/15: When Pete’s Away

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