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March 29, 2015: A Day’s Plans

I had my day planned out last night. I like it when I’m able to accomplish what I set out to do, especially if it all goes well. For this to happen, I must live the semi-monastic lifestyle. Semi monastic is good because it leaves room for the unexpected. If I lived the monastic lifestyle, my life and accompanying activities would revolve around a faith-based cause. There would be a lot of prayer, some meditating, and very little sleep. The latter would be based on the premise early to bed and early to ride. I go by the adage late to bed and late to ride. I could not sustain the energy required to lives such a life unless, of course, I first believed that there was a higher power, and secondly, that my

actions would have a positive effect on His decisions.

I hadn’t planned on our having a visitor, but this was what happened. Our good friend Bill Schmidtkunz, who does believe in a higher power, came over after going to church. He came bearing daffodils, strawberries, bananas, and a copy of his most recent manuscript, entitled Home. Red Horse Press is publishing it. Pete made some fall-apart waffles, and they were actually quite good. I took a look at the final version of Bill’s poems. They are good – he’d revised them since the last time I read them. Pete’s been formatting the manuscript. And today, after Bill left, he finished the cover design. It’s really good – it looks very professional. I am very proud of my boys’ accomplishments.

I got down to business after Bill left, meaning that I again went with my plan. I finished two dispatches (I was behind) and then took an hour and stretched. I’m determined to keep doing this. I next took Raudi for a ride around the loop. I did this because I wanted to get her warmed up before her stretching session. Like the past two days, she was both relaxed and forward. No problem with the neighborhood activities – one man sanding his upended picnic table, and another piling brush into the bed of his pickup. And coming around the second to the last corner, we came upon six guys with their heads under the hood of a van. That had to seem odd to the horse. It was like the van was growing human tentacles.

We did canter/trot/walk transitions. My using the clicker works well. Raudi fully understands that when I click, it means that she’s been doing the right thing. She immediately stops after, so as to get her reinforcer. The most important thing of all is that I click for existent behavior.

After our ride, I did stretches, relying on old and new resource material. I’m going to keep doing this.

Then Pete and I set up the agility course in the slop and glop of the horse paddock. Raudi and I did okay. I could definitely see where she was attempting to figure things out. So, we called it good after a few takes. I don’t know if I will submit a March video or not. This one wasn’t our best.

Then Pete took the dogs for a walk and I brushed out the horses in preparation for a ride. We are experiencing an early and long breakup, or so it seems. There’s now a whole lot of shedding going on. I always wonder how I’m going to get the horses brushed out when they blow their winter coats and how I’m going to get the pen clean when it finally thaws. Somehow, I do it, though I don’t always stay on top of it.

Then Pete and I went for a ride, first going three-quarters of the way around the loop road and then up Jim’s road. Raudi was again very well behaved. I did even more walk/trot/canter transitions.

I hope someday to find an instructor who is willing to work with us both – and at the same time is into the use of positive reinforcement techniques. This is a tall order. How wonderful it would be to work with someone who understands and accepts my rationale for using a clicker and treats.

Then I was done with what I’d planned to do today. For sure, there were variations on a theme – but I did do what I set out to do. And yes, I feel quite good about it all.

Next: 82. 3/30/15: We are Family

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