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January 9, 2015: Fun and Games

I work every day with the horses because I believe that they have brains. And because they have brains, they are, like their human counterparts, easily bored. I hate being bored, and I would not wish this bored upon any animal. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid being bored. A case in point. We have this problem with our local post office – the counter help is nearly non-existent and the lines are long. And hour wait for service is not uncommon. I had a package to mail, which was why yesterday I took a magazine, well knowing that otherwise I’d be bored out of my mind.

Being bored is excruciating for man and beast, which is why I make it a priority to interact with the beasts on a daily basis. This takes considerable time and energy. It also takes time away from other things like writing, reading, and socializing. Had I known it was going to be this way when I purchased Raudhetta, I might have instead bought turtles and stared a turtle farm.

The upside to all this is that I have a good working relationship with Raudi, Tinni, and Hrimmi. All three are reasonably dependable and also relatively easy to work with. We are all adept at reading one another’s body language—there are seldom any unforeseen surprises.

Today I first did agility with Raudi, then went for a trail ride, and after that did more agility/groundwork. My friend Pam Nolfe indirectly gave me an idea as to what to do with what I’m now calling the ubiquitous hula hoop. She had used it in working with her Icelandic Blessi on turning on the haunches and forehand. So I determined that I could do the same. I also figured out that I might use the S pole configuration not just as a walkabout, but also to teach her to sidepass.

I decided to do all this, first on the ground then on horseback. So I began, on the ground, first having Raudi step in to and out of the hula hoop, then do the S poles. Raudi hit the hula hoop when going through it but had no problem with the pole.

I got on Raudi, she walked through the hula hoop and poles without touching either. Sidepassing over the poles turned out to be a complete and utter bust.

It was then time to go for a ride. We went out alone because Pete had to get to school. I had planned on doing a short ride, but we ended up doing the entire figure eight loop. It went well, with the exception of Suicide Hill. The first and second times Raudi ran out. The third time was somewhat better.

While out on the trail, I thought about the agility/ground work exercises. I decided upon my return that we’d chunk things down a bit. So the second time around I did things a bit differently, by focusing exclusively on groundwork. I had her turn on the forehand in the hula hoop – she did just fine. Then I had her sidepass and then turn on the forehand while going over one of the longer S poles. This went far better than when I was on her back.

I am now, in my head, working on tomorrow’s exercises. I will first have her walk the entire agility course. Then I will again work on turning on the forehand in the hula hoop, going both ways. And I’ll conclude by having her sidepass along a fence pole, both ways. I will not ask her to do any of this under saddle. Having a set plan in mind beforehand, like I do now, is a good thing to do, especially since I now have so many training options.

I really didn’t answer the question as to why I’m investing so much time and energy in working with Raudi in particular. Maybe I don’t really need to come up with an answer. Staving off boredom, both on her and my part will have to suffice.

Next: 10. 1/10/15: The Best Laid Plans

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