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February 19, 2018: The Horse Life: All those Little Inconsequential Things

It’s now mid-February. The days are again long enough for me to deal with. I can now get a full morning’s work done and still have enough time left to ride and do ground play with the ponies. For this I am both relieved and grateful. The absence of light makes me feel claustrophobic. This feeling of claustrophobia is akin to the feeling I’d get if I was a spelunker or a scuba diver. I don’t like feeling closed in, and the darkness does this to me. I might feel different if I took lengthy winter vacations elsewhere. But then again, I am most interested in visiting northern clime countries such as Norway, Greenland, and Iceland. I don’t know if Scotland qualifies as such, but I’d also like to spend time there. And I’d gladly go in the winter.

At about this time of year I get really tired of winter. Small things, like having to take my gloves off in order to put the horses’ halters on bug me. Having wet winter boots also bugs me. My Steiger mukluks were made for dry, not wet snow. And we do seem to have more wet than dry snow these days. But, I take solace in the fact that we are now gaining daylight and that there is now heat in the early afternoon sun.

The best thing of all is, of course, that yes, I am able to spend more time with the ponies. Many I know only interact with their horses sporadically in the winter – and many more don’t ride at all. I get our horses out on the trails most winter days. The rides are very short and on the same trails, but this is far, far, far better than giving up riding for seven months (yes, seven months) of the year.

The time out and about is short, but as I repeatedly tell Pete, every time the ponies get out, they either learn something new or have something they know reinforced. For example, today, on the trail, I practiced my emergency dismount, falling into a snowdrift. Raudi immediately stopped and looked at me as if to say, “what are you doing down there?” Then on upper Murphy, as we were passing our neighbor’s place, Raudi’s ears went forward and she tensed up. I looked to the left and saw said neighbor shoveling off his roof. Raudi could have done one of her infamous spins, but I kept her on the straight and narrow by telling her we were going home. So it was an incident free passing.

She attempted to barge past me going through the gate so we practiced walking back and forth through it – nicely.

Pete cleared off the playground a few days ago, so I have been doing the February agility obstacles with Tyra, Hrimmi, and Raudi. Raudi and Hrimmi have not wanted to trot, so I have been losing points. Today, I had a training breakthrough. I had Pete fasten a round yellow supplement lid to a wooden dowel. The horses are target trained, so they have no problem following the target – at a trot. In particular, Raudi was far more energized than she has been in doing agility.

I sometimes have to remember to remind myself that these seemingly incidental accomplishments really aren’t that incidental. They would be incidental if I wasn’t so diligent about getting the ponies out and about.

Next: 51. 2/20/18: What We Talk about when We Talk about Manure

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