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May 22, 2018: Older Woman, Older Horse

Notice that I did not say old woman, old horse. Raudi and I are not there yet. We are both, really, the same age, somewhat past our prime. We will grow old, happily, together.

Horses have a too-short life expectancy – 20 is considered old and 30 is considered very old. This is really life’s unfairness, actually second great unfairness because dogs that live into their late teens are considered to be really old.

Icelandics are supposed to be longer lived than other breeds – looking at Mr. T you would think that this is the case.

Three Mares

The shorter life expectancy thing is such that we humans, who have a life expectancy that’s 3-4 times as long, acquire and spend the best years of our lives with our horses when we are young, middle aged, or old. Raudi and I are spanning the latter two categories.

Raudi is a complex individual – she has to have a good reason for doing as I ask. And she does not suffer fools gladly. We’ve figured out a lot out together – but I still have not figured out how to get her from grass diving when I am riding her. Nothing has worked, and most likely, nothing will work. The compromise is that she will now stand still when we are near grass, with her head up, and let me check her heart rate. This used to be a major fight.

The coolest thing of all right now is that this year I am training for the Competitive Trail Ride in a more serious fashion than previously. I am doing proprioceptive work, and doing the same with Raudi. I did my lessons on my gymnasium mat and then had her stand on a garden mat while she ate her pre-ride hay. I then had her do carrot stretches on the thin mats.

I’m keeping track of the distance covered, time riding, miles per hour, and heart rate. I originally was keeping track of Raudi’s heart rate exclusively, but now I’m also keeping track of mine. The two are close. We are both in the 60s range.

I’m also running with Raudi. Today’s nine mile workout was varied in terms of the distance, speed, and mileage. We went to Ridge Runner circle, then did Siggi’s and Peaches’ loop, then went to the top of the bench and down, and concluded with a ride up Pat and Ray’s trail, going about a half mile past Raudi’s Bridge. On the way down we did suppling work, by weaving around the trees. For some odd reason she seems to like this.

We began our ride with us both running about a mile and a half together, while on the road. Raudi was a bit pacey at first, but when I speeded up and then asked her to trot, she obliged. I also walked with her the steeper portions when I took her up the bench. At the ride’s conclusion, we finished up by walking home together. The running is getting easier for me.

I have always felt a certain kinship with this mare, but lately I’m feeling like we are a team. For the longest time, her opinionated attitude was difficult for me to deal with. There are many who contend that I spoiled her – but I am of the mind that had I been more forceful, she would have been even more resistant. Finally, we are on the same wavelength. And getting into shape together is strengthening our bond.

Next: 143. 5/23/18: Pete’s World

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