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March 25, 2015: Setting Up the Agility Course

I’m sitting here, looking at a clipboard that contains a now crumpled and slightly muddy sheet of paper. This sheet of paper contains information about the March, 2015 First Level pony agility course. I’ve been looking at obstacles in particular for the past few days. I think that I now have all the materials for all of the obstacles. I will next need to figure out how to arrange the obstacles.

Yesterday Pete and I went to Anchorage, in order to tend to my dental affairs. After (and I was looking forward to this), we worked on getting the remaining agility obstacle materials.

Pete was a very good sport about this – this is pretty amazing, considering that he does not have a vested interest in this. It’s just more work for him – and right now he has a lot on his plate – even more than I do.

We had a lot of fun. We first went to Value Village and then to the Salivation Army (this is what I call it). We wander around – in part looking for flagging for obstacle #7 – the flag alley. We found a single piece of pink/red cloth in Sally’s. Pete said we had more material at home, so off we went, to the carpet remnant place.

Next on our list was material for obstacle # 8 – a contact mat. The course directives indicate that the horse must “trot across the mat with confidence and halt for a count of three with his hind feet on the mat before walking on.” This piece of carpet must be 3 feet by 3 inches. The first place we went to (American Carpeting) yielded no carpet. The second place (Big Don’s) didn’t have any there either. But the woman there suggested that we head down the road and check out either Big Bob’s or Jungle Jim’s. Both, she said, would most likely have what we were looking for.

We went to Jungle Jim’s. The clerk was large, affable, and had a low key sense of humor. He said that yes, he had what we were looking for. We followed him into an adjacent building – and yes, he had exactly the right size piece that we needed. He charged us $5.00 – this didn’t seem right to us because the piece was destined to go into the landfill. But we thanked him and forked over the five.

On the way back into the shop, Pete asked about Jungle Jim and was told that it was the name of the Beta fish in the bowl on the front counter. I was glad to see that J.J. was so well cared for. His water was clear and he wasn’t floating belly up, which is often the case in such places. (Off gassing, you know.)

Our next stop was Wal-Mart. We generally make it a point not to patronize this place – this time we made it a point not purchase any more items there than we had to. Here we purchased agility obstacle #6 – the hula hoop. I have a choice this month – I could also use a jump. I am thinking that I’ll have better luck with the hula hoop, though I just had an idea – I might make a jump using tires. We went with the silver-green hula hoop without the blinking light because it was cheaper than the one with the blinking light. We did double duty and looked for Fishy Peat, for our garden starts. Couldn’t find it. Hurried out of Wal-Fart – it’s a human freak show.

This morning, as we were talking about setting up the May obstacle course – Pete resumed talking about obstacle seven – the flag corridor. He suggested that I put the flagging on the fence with clothes pins. Right then the construction of this obstacle all came together in my head. I foresaw that bandanas would make for good flagging. I then ran upstairs and pulled seven of them out of my top dresser drawer. Plus, I could then clip them to the fence. And I could, on the other side, put poles in the cones and fasten flags to them. And I could drape green tinsel on the fence. (I purchased this recently, at the local thrift store.)

Right before going to work, Pete assisted me in digging the teeter totter out of the ice. It was on the side of the hay shed.

Lastly, I organized everything – everything that I use in constructing these courses is now in our trailer. When May comes around, I’ll most likely store it all in the hayshed.

What I’m trying to get at here in this dispatch is that constructing these courses have been as much fun as working with the horses. We’ve (so far) spent very little money, and instead relied heavily upon our imaginations.

This time around, it’s icy out, so I don’t feel as though I’m doing something that should otherwise be spent doing something else –which is trail riding.

So off I go, yee haw, with clipboard in hand. Gonna have a good time now, setting this all up.

Next: 79.3/26/15: The Writing Life: Getting a Life

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