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February 28, 2018: The Horse Life: Horsey Home Schooling

I am genetically wired to be an educator. My parents were teachers, my sister was a teacher. None got the respect or pay that they deserved. This was societal and not at all due to their lack of acumen. My father once said that he didn’t teach literature, which was his passion, because he knew he’d be pained by student disinterest. I did, for a while, teach writing, which is my passion, and was pained by student disinterest. I am now older, wiser. If I were to be hired to teach writing (which is unlikely given that I am both near retirement age and haven’t taught in 16 years), I would just treat it as a job. I’d show enthusiasm for the subject matter, and I’d spend the requisite amount of time

with the students. But I would not at all be bothered (as I once was) or be blown away if the students remained hoop jumpers.

Once a teacher, always a teacher. These days, I’m doing horsey home-schooling. I do not consider working with horses to be a step down; rather, I see this as being a step sideways. Horses do not, as do students, have a prefrontal cortex, so I have to do as they do, and take each day as it comes. However, I consider them all to be talented and gifted.

There are days in which I consider blowing off going to work. I am most apt to feel this way on days like this, when it’s cold and windy. What ultimately gets me out there is the fact that my students need me. I, as a teacher, have a responsibility to my students, and it is no less important than the responsibility that teachers have to their human counterparts.

Some days I have a plan. Other days I have a partial plan. Today was an instance of the latter. I got out mid-afternoon and figured out things as I went along. I first spent time with wise old Tinni. We went for a ride around the loop – I did my body awareness exercises – Tinni paid close attention to my movements. I rode him without reins most of the way, and we worked on speeding up and slowing down, with me giving thought to the ball of light in my core, and the correspondence between his and my hip movements.

We rounded the final corner where our neighbor Craig was shoveling out his plow truck. He had his young German shepherd and his older Gordon setter with him. I got off Tinni and played with the dogs. Tinni stood quietly while the dogs darted about. This lesson, it was a good reinforcer for him, a reminder to remain calm when dogs are underfoot.

I next ground drove Hrimmi around the loop. This was the first time we’d done this in a while, and she did wonderfully. This was her cart horse in training exercise.

And I next got Tyra out and went cross-country skiing. This was good for Tyra exercise-wise, for she soon found herself in chest-deep snow. And she had to stay in front of me. Alas, I fell down three-quarters of the way through our trek and had a hard time getting up. After several minutes of thrashing about, I grabbed onto a birch tree and managed to right myself. By then, Tyra had taken the high road home. I no longer get annoyed when she or any of the others do this. I want them to know that coming home rather than running off is the right thing to do.

With all three, I spent time doing carrot stretches, crunches, and the panther walk. This, in the long run, is going to make all, especially Tinni, more supple.

I did not get Raudi out, and I feel bad about this. But she will be the first one I work with tomorrow. We’ll go for a lengthy road ride, heading in the direction of Buffalo Mine Road.

Teacher education continues. Tonight I’ll watch Intrinzen videos. There is always something new for the horses and for me to learn.

Next: 60. 3/1/18: The Examined Life: Thoughts about Moving

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