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January 20, 2018: The Horsey Life: Riding the White Highway with Tyra

I woke up this morning with a clear sense of resolve. I was going to ride my fat tire(d)! bicycle on the White Highway and take Tyra with me. The day dawned somewhat cold – maybe about ten degrees, and sunny. Perfect conditions. This only increased my sense of resolve.

I did my body awareness work – am now integrating Bones for Life exercises into my exercise program, first putting the individual lessons on tape. I did this and then did my workout. I then got ready – packed my old backpack, put horse boots with studs in them in case we came to overflow, a water bottle, and a few other items. I dressed warmly, a few layers, and I then put Tyra’s bareback pad on her, along with a body wrap.

Tyra coming over to go for a ride

I got my bicycle and we set out. The groomed trail was really nice – firm, and with no lumps in it. She crossed the overflow creek just fine – I lead her around the side of it. Tyra raced around for a bit with considerable abandon and then ran back a ways in the direction of home. She did this a few times, the amount of time it took her to return to me being less and less. I finally just took off, with the hope she’d catch up. She did not. So I turned around in what I call the swamp area – it is low lying and has moss on the trees – and rode hard and fast back uphill. I could have kept going but I did not. Going up that hill made me realize I am not in good shape at all.

Bicyclists began passing me. They were out in large numbers today. The ones that were further back yelled at me that “Your husband has your horse.” Husband? Why did they give Pete that label? I corrected them and said “He’s not my husband. He’s my partner.” One woman, one of the Anchorage crowd, yelled out “whatever.” The Anchorage people are different from the Valley People, the latter are friendlier and stop to talk.

Indeed, Tyra was hovering around Pete when I came upon him and Ryder. I took off my windbreaker, removed a layer, put a lead rope on Tyra, and resumed my ride. I mostly walked on the right hand side of my bicycle, with Tyra on the left hand side – but at times I did ride and pony her. We encountered several bicyclists coming in the uphill direction. Tyra was very polite and they were too. It is a good thing that she’s small because she is not at all imposing.

I let her off line when we got down to the swamp. It was then that the most amazing thing happened. I would like to think it was a click of recognition. She went ahead of me on the trail and kept going. When she slowed down, I told her to speed it up. Sometimes she fell back, and when she passed, it was usually at a safe distance. I kept encouraging her to come up on my left, because this is the side I want her to be on. Once my handlebar end snagged her bareback pad and I went down, into the snow. This was the only mishap.

We went at a good clip down the Corridor Trail and finally came back to Murphy Road. I rode slowly up it, then finally got off and walked. I was tired and Tyra was frosted over. I guess this is why they call these horses Icelandics. The grande finale came on Oceanview Road, our road. I threw the lead line over her back and she first trotted and then galloped next to me back to our place. I removed the frost with a metal scraper, wiped her down with a towel, and then put a blanket on her. She was a little mystified by the blanket – she had never worn one before.

The rest of the seven mile ride was the stuff dreams are made of. A few weeks ago I had this idea, that I’d like to get a fat tire(d)! bicycle and have Tyra accompany me when I rode the White Highway. And today we did it. This didn’t just happen – I’ve been working with her on many things leading up to this, including stay on my right, stay out of my space, move over, and move back. From the swamp trail on, she clearly knew what to do, and enjoyed doing it.

Fun, after having such a wonderful experience, to relive it while writing about it.

Next: 21. 1/21/18: Making the Horse-Human Body Awareness Connection

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