breakup season in the spring. They race around most of the year, but winter seems to be their down time.
I picked up the manure, and every so often I glanced at the horses, making sure that they were doing okay. Without thinking about it, I looked to see all were eating, moving around okay, and had no nicks or bruises. A year ago, I noticed in the morning that Hrimmi had a nasty gash above her eye, one that necessitated a veterinary visit. Didn’t need stitches, just needed to be cleaned up. Zach, our veterinarian, taught us how to do this. Hrimmi was so calm that he did not have to sedate her. He said after, “You saved Mommy and Daddy money by being so cooperative.”
I also broke the ice on the water buckets and scooped it out with the deep fat fryer. Pete fills the buckets with water after breakfast, after I give him a report. Today it was all the buckets were full. In such instances, he empties the cold and adds hot water.
I ran the full manure sled over to the compost station. Pete had said he’d unload it later. I then laid out hay in the pen for the horses, who walked back in, in a line, and resumed eating. Tinni remained outside, so I let him eat the scraps. Done for now, I went back inside.
Off horse time for a bit, I worked on my recycling book, eyeballing the clock. This is something that I don’t do when on horse time. At noon, I called it good and again put my winter outerwear back on. Today we were to have visitors, so I made sure the pen was (again) clean and tied Raudi and Hrimmi to the hitching post. My old work colleague Jana had emailed me and said she was going to bring her daughter and a friend over. I had no idea what these three wanted to do or how old the kids were – I figured I’d play it by ear.
As it turned out, Amelie and Tabitha were respectively, 22 and 26 years old. Jana is in her 50s. So I says, let’s ride. They weren’t dressed to ride, so I dressed them up, supplying hats, boots, and heavy coats. I decided that Tabatha would ride Tyra, Amelie would ride Raudi, Pete would ride Hrimmi, and I would walk Tinni and keep Jana company. The wind had come up, so it was blowsy. The temperature was about five degrees.
It took a while to get the horses and humans ready to go, but we did it. Tyra has just had two riders, Pete and me, so she was a bit confused. Prior to the ride she looked to me for direction, so we went for a road walk. Once on the trail, Pete on Hrimmi took the lead, with Raudi and Tyra following. Jana and I walked Tinni. Ryder raced about, looking for squirrels.
The sun was again low in the sky, casting what I call light shadows, beautiful shades of yellow and orange. As I always do when out on the trail, I thought about how lucky I am, to own these four wonderful horses and to be so close to a trail system. Yesterday, Thanksgiving, I walked Tinni and let Tyra run free. Yesterday she moved at the speed of light. Today she moved at the speed of molasses. No big deal. It’s winter, and so the energy ups and downs are really pronounced.
We rode the lower trail, Peaches’ loop and Siggi’s trail. I would like to have ridden the Tin Can Loop too, but our guests were getting cold. So we left out our favorite trail and returned home. Once inside, we had tea and ate Pete’s chocolate chip cookies. Our guests got warmed up and we hung out by the woodstove and listened to the wind howl.
After they left (at about 5 p.m.), I went down to the pen and checked on the horses, all of whom wanted more hay. We’d moved slowly, so they did not get wet and therefore I did not have to blanket them.
Once again inside, I resumed work, and again became a clock watcher.
I will check on the horses at 7 and 11 p.m. And undoubtedly, I will putter around, even late at night making sure everything is okay. If I was boarding these horses, they would not get near the level of attention they are now getting. And I am able to put other riders on them in even inclement weather because I do spend so much time with them.
Right now I can’t imagine having less horse time. I suspect that in being around our four that my cortisol level drops and my oxytocin level rises. Writing can be a high-anxiety preposition, so my not having the animals around would raise my cortisol level and lower my oxytocin level.
An unfathomable thought – boarding, having the horses elsewhere, having to drive someplace in order to spend time with them. Time wasted spent driving; time wasted bickering with barn owners about their care. I can’t imagine.
If there is a down side to having lots of horse time, it’s that I don’t have time for more mundane things such as texting, face booking, or twittering. I say if there is a down side because I have not explored these alternatives.
The day ends with my doing some late-night reading. Right now I’m reading a Guide to Better Movement: The Science and Practice of Moving with More Skill and Less Pain. Here I’m making the horse/human body awareness connection. Right up to the day’s end then, I am on horse time.
Next: 326. 11/25/17: Trail Blazing Fools