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December 5, 2018: Community

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about moving. The winters are quite long and the winter darkness does take its toll on me. And I am by myself a lot of the time – the very selfish redneck snowmobilers and ATVers who have no qualms about tearing up the trails make me angry. And so, I often dream about heading down to northern New Mexico, and perhaps moving to an area where I can trail ride year around and be amongst other trail riding Icelandic owners. The few who are here are into seasonal competition.

But then again, there are times in which I see the good outweighing the bad. The Mat-Su Valley is spread out geographically and the area is growing so the sense of community is very diffuse. I have in fact

 Raudi with Joshua the ferrier
Raudi with Joshua the ferrier

pretty much accepted the fact that because of this, and because I don’t text or “do” Facebook that my friends are going to be far apart in number.

However, the reason why I am more and more reluctant to pull up roots is because over time we have developed a rapport with people with like-interests, people who are incredibly good at what they do. The list is actually quite long and includes Josh, our horse farrier, Zach, our veterinarian, and John, our hay supplier. All are honest, ethical, intelligent, hard-working individuals. And in addition to being my friends, they’re Pete’s friends.

Now add newcomer Ben Cagle to the list. Ben has recently moved here and is now a fitness trainer at Active Body sports in town. He’s from Wisconsin. The other day he seemed wonderous, he told me that he has, in just a short time, seen the Northern Lights, experienced an earthquake, and watched as two moose came into his yard.

I had for some time been wanting to work with a Functional Movement Systems trainer because this has been the model for Steiner and Kathy, who founded the Intrinzen program. They did FMS training and began drawing parallels to horse and human movement. My work with the horses led me to believe that this training would benefit me in similar ways. I just didn’t see anyone close by ever having this training. And I wasn’t up for working out at the Alaska Club or what I call a franchise gym.

I’ve been following programs that Ben’s set up now since September. The main thing I’ve noticed is that my riding has improved immeasurably. I have a much better seat, and it feels like my body parts are doing a better job of communicating with one another. Today I made the connection between ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder, and lo and behold, elbow creep disappeared. And overall, I am more flexible mentally and physically.

Today was a breakthrough day. I was an unhappy camper when I got to class because at home, before leaving, my lower back went out. That’s the only way to describe it. All the sudden I could not stand up. I hobbled out to the car and somehow made it into the gym. Then I collapsed by the far wall in tears. Ben soon appeared and began the hour-long process of assessing the situation and modifying my program.

He was right – I do have to make note of what I am doing physically that’s causing me this pain. And this means paying attention to what moves are aggravating my, ahem, temporary condition. I have a pretty good idea that the way I’m shoveling horse poop and snow is causing me duress. I am also to do my warm-up exercises twice a day. And I’m to alternate standing and sitting when at work. And, additionally, I, like many others, am after standing for a while, cock one hip. I need to alternate standing and sitting.

Ben’s directives, which were conversational, were not beyond my comprehension because they were so specific.

I began feeling better as soon as I started doing my warm up because I discovered that I could move again. And in being able to move, I immediately grew less apprehensive. The effect was synergistic. I was a very happy camper when I left the gym because I was on the upswing.

Yes, today was a reminder that it would take a long time, if ever, for Pete and me to build a support network that rivals what we now have here.

Next: 340. 12/6/18: What Next?

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