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October 11, 2018: Rain Day

I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof. I opened both eyes and looked at the window – water was streaming down in rivulets. For a minute I believed that I was back at home. I realized I was not. The smell of coffee brewing and the sound of Griffith, a Bernese Mountain Dog, padding about further affirmed this. I pulled my pillow over my head, closed my eyes and momentarily attempted to go back to sleep. However, the prospect of working with the horses and maybe both riding Gabby and doing some agility with Bella and company motivated me to get up.

I went downstairs, and with Karol watched the rain pour down the living room window. I remarked that the sun room was no longer a sun room; rather, it was now a rain room. The rain was coming down in sheets, so I could not see the lower barn. It was quiet outside – even the barn help was waiting to see if the rain would let up.

I figured that this onslaught was the dregs of Hurricane Michael, which apparently hit Florida pretty hard. It was a category four storm, and many lost their homes and lives. Of course, when I hear about these things, I always think about the animals. When storm victims evacuate, they often have no choice but to leave their animals behind, livestock and pets included. Some

Sally prepares William for riding

contend that animals aren’t as important as people. I see them all as being equally important. We aren’t dealing here with a hierarchy, but rather a web in which all beings are interconnected.

If I had time and money (and I lack both), I’d head down south and I’d join an animal rescue group and give an assist. Alas, I lack both. I could probably come up with money but not time. Poor Pete (back at home) right now has his hands full in tending to all our critters. It’s quality care but with a caveat. We have both come to realize that when one or the other of us is gone, that we go into maintenance mode. The horse pens get cleaned but not the goat pen. And none of them get brushed to an inch of their life.

Sally and Karol figured the sound of the rain pelting the arena roof would upset the horses, so they cancelled today’s lessons. So I instead was an observer today, which was just fine. I first watched Kelly prepare Sally’s three year old, 17.1 hand horse Will for his lesson. She first groomed and tacked him up, and then she lunged him. By the time Sally appeared, he was calm and ready to go to work. Sally then climbed up on him and rode him for about fifteen minutes. Kelly then went through the same routine with Flower, another riding horse. She then rode him. Flower was also responsive and obedient.

In the afternoon I assisted in doing some liberty work with Meagan’s young horse Bear, an eight-year-old thoroughbred Clydesdale cross. Meagan initially chased Bear around the arena. I did not say that this was not liberty work but instead, when she was about done, attempted to show her some autonomous-related alternatives. I then talked with Bear, who confirmed that he didn’t like being asked to do what he was being asked to do.

It’s hard, knowing as much as I do and not being able to be more directive. My way of thinking has not been embraced by those who have a traditional dressage related mindset. But I make inroads where I can. Meagan and Kelly, who both have an interest in autonomous training, are just beginning to think outside the box, and for this I give them a lot of credit.

Next: 285. 10/12/18: Tennis as Metaphor

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