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November 12, 2017: The Writing Life and the Horse Life

My writing and horse lives are very separate. My friends are either interested in one or the other. And they see me as either a writer or a horse person. The two converge in dispatches – sometimes in a big way. I write to make sense of things. And I write to relive good experiences.

This was one of those days. I have, early in the mornings, been thinking what should we do with Hrimmi today? Hrimmi is the late bloomer, the slow developer, the horse supposedly behind the eight ball.

She’s extremely cow hocked and has upward fixation of the patella. About two years ago we had a holistic veterinarian take a look at her – she said to do carrot stretches and make sure she gets in a lot of hill work.

We’ve been doing this. The Project Proprius program came on-line just in time – we taught her to do crunches and to stand on a mat and do carrot stretches. Hrimmi has really taken to the crunches – she sees the fence rails in the Playground of Higher Learning, heads in that direction, swivels her butt around, and starts going at it. And the Panther Walk is coming along – we are getting multiple lifts. And she likes agility, in short amounts. Her attention span is short.

Pete’s been riding her on our trails, which are hilly. And lately, I’ve been taking her on walks, on the same terrain. But what to do? She’s a slowpoke. I can’t ride her because Pete’s saddle is too big for me and we can’t afford another.

Well, Hrimmi has something that only she can do, and it appears that she’s going to excel at it – she’s now in training to be a cart horse. A few days ago I said to Pete, you know we should get the cart fixed and train her to pull it. That day, we took the cart to Fence Emporium where the owner said yes, he could weld the weak areas. The cart is back – he did a wonderful job – took extra time and care in welding, putting on plates, and even applying green spray paint over the welds.

A few days ago, we put the harness on Hrimmi and walked her around the loop. No problem. Yesterday we put wooden poles in the traces and walked her the other way around the loop. Today was a big day – we put Pete’s saddle on her and attached carabiners and headed over to our neighbor Keith’s place. Our freezer is there – we wanted to retrieve some berries. His place is about two miles from here. Pete rode Raudi. The sun was shining, low in the sky.

The route was flat, mostly along Murphy and Moose Wallow Roads, with a rutted trail in between. It was a wonderful outing. Hrimmi moved right along, at a good clip, often in front of Raudi. I had her trot a few times and she obliged. We stopped at our friend Cath’s place, tied up the horses, went inside, had a cup of tea, and then headed home. The trip home was uneventful. Raudi too was mellow.

In the next few days we’ll attach a tire to the harness and have her pull it. If we get snow, I’ll try skijoring with her, Pete riding and pulling me on skis. And I am going to get her out and continue to ground drive her when Pete’s at school. This will help build up her strength. In time, we’ll hitch her to the cart.

I feel real good about the fact that we have found something for Hrimmi to do that she can excel at. I am not going to train the other horses to pull a cart – this is her own special deal. I think she knows it. It was her dam Signy’s own special deal, and I think she knows that too.

I am sure that, even though I’ve now written about this, that I will continue to relive this day’s experience.

Next: 317. 11/16/17: Under the Weather

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