I have extended conversations with all of our animals, conversations in which we talk about many, many things The ponies, who live outside, learn about the inside world in listening in on our human conversations. Ask them, and they will tell you many things, things that you might not think they know anything about. Chats, conversations in which I attempt to lay down the law, are brief and very rare. Tinni, Raudi, Hrimmi, and Tyra are all far smarter than I am, and I am willing to concede this. But it makes me feel like I’m in charge when I have Come to Jesus Talks with them, as I did yesterday afternoon, with Raudi.
Alys: Raudi, you and I need to have a little chat.
Raudi: (Rolling eyes and pinning her ears back) Here we go again.
A: Again? We haven’t had a chat in years.
R: Hmm, we had one the day before yesterday. You let it be known that I was in the wrong when I would not go onto a side trail.
A: A few swift taps of the crop on my boot did you no harm.
R: You were messing with my psyche.
A: That is in the past. We need to have a chat. Now.
R: (Snorting) make it quick. Dumb Dumb over there is chowing down on my hay pile.
A: She’s not Dumb Dumb. She’s Tyra. And that hay pile is not exclusively yours.
R: That hay pile is mine. Hey wait, now that miserable goat is helping himself to his share.
A: That’s not a miserable goat.
R: He looks pretty depressed to me.
A: That’s Ranger and he is upset. He just lost Rover, his best friend in the whole world.
R: (Lowering her head) Rover was the dark brown one.
R: Too bad. I liked him. He backed off when I told him he was in my hay pile. You getting a buddy for Ranger?
A: I don’t know. We’ll see. I’d like to.
R: Yeah, bring on another hay burner.
A: Raudi, you are turning this chat into a conversation.
R: Smart human.
A; Smart horse.
R: Yes, I am very smart.
A: Which relates very well to what I want to talk to you about, that is agility practice and your behavior yesterday.
R: I thought that I did quite well.
A: You did okay. Not great. But for all the practice time we’ve been putting in, you should be doing better.
R: I don’t like the hula hoop obstacle. It was bad enough when there was just one hoop, but lately there have been two. What gives? As I now understand it, I’m to put my front feet in one hoop and my rear feet in another, then wait five seconds before moving on to the next one.
A: Each and every time you go to step into the hoop, you hit it with your hooves.
R: It makes a really nice sound, doesn’t it? Sounds like rattle snake rattles.
A: The hoops are not to make any sound at all.
R: What fun is that?
A: Apparently for you, no fun at all.
R: That’s right, no fun at all. I have an idea. I really liked the December obstacle, that is the one where I rang the cow bell that was attached to the cross piece of the jump stand. Why don’t I do that obstacle twice?
I can hit it once with my nose, go under the cross piece, turn around, and hit it again.
A: Because the bell isn’t an obstacle in this month’s online agility course. And in addition, the rules don’t call for a horse and handler doing the same obstacle twice.
R: Stupid rules. Who designs these courses?
A: Vanessa Bee, the founder of the International Agility Horse club.
R: You need to have a chat with her and tell her that Raudhetta fra Alaskastadir, an ADVANCED Level agility champ-e-on, is insisting upon some chainges. No more hula hoops, no more S bends, no more poles.
Keep the scary corner, the curtain, the ball kick, the narrow gap.
A: Vanessa isn’t going to go for this. She uses differing obstacles because she’s wanting horses and handlers to become well-rounded.
R: I’m as well rounded a trail horse as they come.
A: Well rounded horses go through hula hoops.
R: I have never, ever seen a hula hoop out on the trail.
A: Remember the time we came across the coiled up garden hose?
R: Oh yes. I skittered right around that sucker. Sidepassed really nice. You didn’t know I could do that.
A: You are too smart for your own good.
R: If you think so, why don’t you sell me and get a stupid horse that does everything you ask for, when you ask for it.
A: I have at times considered this.
R: I’m sure you have.
A: But I’ve decided not to part with you.
R: Keep me, sell me, it makes no difference to me.
A: You say that but Pete thinks that if I sold you it would break your heart.
R: Hearts are for breaking.
A: (Shifting from one leg to the other) Look. All I’m asking is that you step into and out of the Goddamned hula hoop.
A: Pretty please, a horse treat with sugar on top?
R: Well, some really good apple slices, like the ones I saw you giving Hrimmi and Tyra, offer me some of those and I might pay attention to where I am putting my feet.
A: You’ll think about it?
R: Yeah, I’ll think about it. But I’m not going to make promises that I cannot keep.
Next: February 16, 2017: Goat Inchoate