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June 24, 2018: The Childhood Dream

I remember being in the third grade – I had this geography book and it had a photo of a group of kids; I think it was taken in Maine. There were a dozen of them, they were riding ponies. I was entranced with that photo – what I wanted more than anything was to be with them. I don’t even remember any of the other images in the text. As for the wording, poof, it was all so boring.

I didn’t see myself ever owning a small horse. I did for a while have a standardbred mare – she was small. I thought I’d end up with a horse, one like Dalila over at Katie Long’s place. She was mid-size, part Arab, part Morgan. Her lot in life was to go endlessly around an arena because she ran off with someone on a trail.

Wheelers and horses CTR 2016
Wheelers and horses CTR 2016

I did suggest to Katie that she sell her to me, and of course she would not hear of it. As It turned out, I acquired Raudi, who is pony sized.

Since, I really have been living the dream. And the dream just keeps getting better. She’s now a reliable trail horse. Of course she has her quirks if you want to call them that. But I am working with them, them being an obsession with eating grass, and them being herd bound when in other places.

I am dealing with the grass obsession by getting on and off of her and asking for her attention when standing on gravel. And I am dealing with her being herd bound by providing her with obstacle-related distractions.

Today we were over at the Saddle Up Arena. There we met up with friends and did horsey things. Sarah and I quickly put together an obstacle course and we first walked it, then walked or rode our animals through it.

The people part – the best I can say is that unbeknownst to them, they were creating new neural pathways, and in this way both becoming more mindful and more flexible mentally. The wheelbarrow – I had everyone push it around – this, as well as the ball toss seemed to generate considerable discussion.

As for the horses – I chunked things way down with Raudi, first putting a body wrap, ankle weights, and a bareback pad on her. Then I walked her over a tarp, a white saucer like thing for sledding, a board, and past a recycling box, and a black plastic bag on a pole. Pete worked with Hrimmi. We eventually got on our ponies and rode the same course. They did not shy or spook at anything. I think that chunking things down reduced the fear of the unknown and increased confidence.

I saw others struggling to get their horses to do as they asked. I quickly realized that if they wanted assistance, they’d ask for it. This was a valuable life lesson for me.

We next did some scent training, having the horses find people who were hidden, gradually increasing the distance and the sight factor. Raudi’s mind was more on staying with Hrimmi, so I again chunked things down, getting off of her and walking her along the road/trail. She did notice Sarah before I did so maybe my mind was elsewhere.

The best part of the day was the end of the day ride with Pete. It turned out to be a very varied ride. We first took a trail behind Brit and Gregory’s to the river, one with a lot of downed logs. Raudi maintained a good trotting pace – and every time I asked her to slow down, she did. We crossed water in a few places – at one point, when crossing Bodenburg Creek, someone with a big truck and a honking big RV crossed parallel to us.

It was ATVs all the way down, then road traffic. I enjoyed the first part of the ride the best, but it was good to further expose the horses to what they rightfully think are strange things.

My only regret is that I did not have a camera with me. I would have liked to have gotten a photo of that RV with the water up over the hubs. Dumb shits.

Next: 176. 6/25/18: A Trip to Town

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