Got a call from Vicki Talbot late in the morning saying that she’d like to come over for a trail ride. I said sure, we never pass up the opportunity to go for an outing with others. This is good for our horses because they get to interact with others, making the trail rides more interesting for them. And so we are quick to oblige. I walked Hrimmi, Pete rode Tinni and ponied Raudi, and we went as far as the Grizzly Camp campsite. I had the following conversation with Hrimmi as we headed downhill, for home.
Alys: Hrimmi, what did you think of the snow cave in the spruce grove?
H: It was interesting. It had a narrow opening, too small for me to enter.
A: Too bad.
H: It smelled like those kids who have been laying out traps.
A: They probably built it and slept in there.
H: What made them want to sleep outside? They don’t have thick coats like us horses.
A: They probably slept in sleeping bags.
H: Sleeping bags?
A: Yes. Bags filled with duck feathers. People crawl in them at night in order to stay warm.
H: Duck feathers?
A: Yes, duck feathers.
Alys and Hrimmi
H: Where do they get these feathers?
A: From ducks.
H: They take the feathers from the ducks?
A: In a manner of speaking, yes.
H: In a manner of speaking?
A: Yes, they kill the ducks, slit their throats, pluck the feathers and stuff them in nylon bags.
H: I wish you hadn’t told me that.
A: But you wanted to know.
H: You could have lied.
A: Would I lie to you?
A: Can you give me an example?
H: No. This is because I don’t know what an example is. Do examples, like ducks, have feathers? And do they ever kill examples?
A: You know Emily Dickenson once said that hope is that thing without feathers.
A: Okay. Forget about the example. That’s a homeschool lesson for another day.
H: I want to know more about what happens to the ducks.
A: Oh brother.
H: You know, I have a very thick coat. A human, such as yourself, could one day decide to kill me and make a sleeping bag out of my beautiful brown and white pelt.
A: I would not let that happen to you. You are much loved and cared about.
H: I’ll bet that those poor ducks get told this all the time.
A: Yeah, but the ducks that are loved and cared about don’t get eaten. People keep them as pets.
H: Am I a pet?
A: You have been treated like a pet now, for 3.5 years. Notice, today you are wearing a saddle, a bridle, and ice boots.
H: And don’t forget, I’m also wearing a bit.
A: Yes, the bit that belonged to your dam, Signy.
A: So you are on the verge of doing what big horses do.
H: What’s that?
A: Carrying a rider.
H: I had this sense that this was what was in the works. You rode me a little bit last fall. It felt odd, having you on my back.
A: Far better to be a riding horse than someone’s sleeping bag.
H: Do they ride ducks?
A: No. That’s why they kill and eat them.
H: Do I have a choice as to whether I’ll be a riding horse or a sleeping bag?
A: You are going to be a riding horse, just like Signy.
H: And Tinni and Raudi?
A: Yes. We have high hopes for you.
H: You think I’ll be a good riding horse?
A: I do. You’re calm, steady, and very, very trail savvy.
H: I rather like things the way they are now. Walking with you on the trails is quite enjoyable.
A: Yes, but change is good.
H: And so when are you going to start riding me on the trails?
A: This summer. We’ll go for short rides.
H: You will?
A: Me or Pete. Do you have a preference?
H: No. You’re lighter but he is more relaxed.
A: I’ll start putting the miles on you when you are five.
H: Why then?
A: Because you’ll then be physically and mentally mature enough to handle the rigors of the trail.
H: That sounds like a plan.
A: And it’s a good one.
H: Can I have a treat?
A: Not until we get home.
H: Why are we wasting our time talking? Let’s get a move on.
27. 1/27/16: Bones