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August 5, 2017: Bittersweet

Bittersweet. This term is an oxymoron, comprised of two opposites, bitter and sweet. And so, I who have embraced this term am feeling oxymoronic. I have conflicting emotions right now. Hard to reconcile the differences.

A story and a possible realization should suffice.

I went for a trail ride this morning with Deb Moore and her posse. I fretted a great deal beforehand about whether or not I should do this because I am not at all fond of riding with others. I would not have fretted if I knew that I’d be riding Tinni, our 28 year old steady eddy mainstay.

But Tinni is now officially semi-retired. But the thought that has repeatedly come to the forefront of my mind is that he’s just fine – in a few weeks I will again resume riding him regularly. He’ll go back to doing the Novice division of the CTR and he will again kick butt. I am thinking this way because Tinni is in excellent shape. And he most certainly is not lame.

It’s easy to think this way, given that he is in such good condition. But far better to reduce his workload now rather than have him falter because of my ego-driven decisions. I will continue to take him on short rides, walk him, and pony him because he does need the exercise.

So today, rather than ride Tinni, I rode Raudi. And today she became my number one riding horse. I toyed with this idea in the past – today it came to be. Raudi might have been a bit tired, but I think that she would have maintained the pace tired or not.

I walked her down to the Murphy Road trailhead corner where I met Deb and three others. We then all headed in the direction of Grizzly Camp. Raudi, the entire time, was well behaved. On the way out I had her behind the others. At one point Deb suggested that I have her back more because her horse, Monique, kicked. It was like Raudi heard her – of her own volition she hung back quite a ways.

It was like the charge of the light brigade up Grizzly Camp hill – a whole lot of fun. I decided on the return trip to put Raudi out front and lead the others down the steep hill. I’ve never been a big one for steep hills or being out front – but I thought, well, it is now or never. As we made our way downhill I recalled that about 10 years back, I went for a group ride down the same hill – I rode behind the others. This was on Tinni – and I was terrified. Little did I then know, but Tinni knew what to do. Now I’m riding Raudi who knows what to do – and out front.

Raudi remained out front on the rest of the ride. It seemed to be where she wanted to be. So the sweet part of the bitter-sweet oxymoron is that the original plan, to have Tinni first, then Raudi be the number one riding horse has come to be. This IS bittersweet. There is no way around it.

Next: 214. 7/6/17: Another Hot Day in AK: A Conversation with Tinni

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