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January 6, 2018: The Horse Life: The Ride Relived

I just took a minute to take a look at the photos of today’s ride. There were nine horses total, three of ours and six of Deb’s. The youngest rider was eight, and the oldest was in her early sixties. The smallest horse was 12.2 hands high, and the largest 16 hands. Three dogs also went on this outing, one of whom was our dog Ryder.

Heather rode Raudi, Pete rode Hrimmi, and I rode Tyra. Tinni was left to eat a few flakes of hay. We did all of our trails and Tin Can Loop twice. It was a most amazing ride – we did not have the sunshine like we did the other day, but the trails were packed down from our previous outings. We could hear snowmobiles in the distance, but they did not venture onto our narrow trails.

Looking at the photos, I am wonderous – beginning to end, happy people, happy horses, happy dogs. I felt fairly relaxed, like I was amongst friends. I was last, behind Hrimmi. Raudi was in front of Hrimmi. This was a big deal for Tyra, who had previously only gone on one ride with big horses. I wondered how she would do, given that she has had full trail autonomy now for three months. She did just fine, just one attempt to take a trail short cut. And it was a big deal for Raudi, who was being ridden by a another rider. She knew where I was, and that I was riding Tyra.

Heather later said that Raudi cantered nicely up-trail, but that she did not ask her how to do this. I told her next time, prepare for the wanted transition by doing a half-halt, putting weight in the lower half of her body, squeezing on the reins, and looking straight ahead.

I talked some to Jessica Kelsh who now lives near Deb. I met her at an Alaska Icelandic Horse Association/Centered Riding clinic about twelve years ago. Raudi was then two, not old enough to participate. If back then I’d be told I’d be going on a trail ride with Jessica, and on our trails, I would not have believed it.

At the ride’s end, I went back down road to pick up my rump blanket that I left hanging on a tree at the beginning of the ride. I walked Tyra who both wanted to accompany me and accompany the other

Little Red Riding Hood riding Little Red Riding Hood

Raudi the rescue horse

These rides become a blur

horses back to basecamp. Heather, walking Raudi, came with me. This was, I thought, a smart move because it made Tyra less indecisive and Raudi less self-directive. I thought I might, on the return trip, give Heather some pointers on how to ride Raudi but decided that I should just get on my horse and show her how I make my expectations clear to her.

Raudi was wanting to take off and join Deb’s horses who were being loaded into the trailer. I did half-halts, serpentines, had her back, walk and trot. I was very no-nonsense about all this. At the same time, I was very relaxed. In part I was relaxed because I always do this kind of training on the road, on the final part of our rides. When we were about 100 yards from the trailer, I then turned Raudi around and had her walk and trot and canter away from the other horses. This had to be the high point of my horse training career – a moment unheralded by others, but one that in my mind affirmed that the horse of my dreams and I now, after 13 years, are finally a well-matched pair.

Once we were back at the trailer, I had eight-year old Kyla get on Raudi. Pete and Deb then took photos. Little Red Riding Hood was riding Little Red Riding Hood from a Place in Alaska. (Raudhetta fra Alaskastadir). Then, there was the grand finale. I walked away from Raudi, fell to ground, feigned being injured and called to her. She could have gone back to the barn or continued to hang out with the other horses. She instead walked right over to me and put her nose to my face.

Trail riding is such fun – this is why I (in writing, talk, and photos) constantly relive each and every outing. It’s important because if I don’t, these rides become a blur that are indistinguishable from one another.

Next: 7. 1/7/18: The Horse Life: The Number One Riding Horse

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