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July 2, 2019: Raudi and Wicked Hill

Lately I’ve had several dreams about Raudi – last night I dreamt that she was sliding down the upper portion of her highline rope; her feet were off the ground and she was tied to her halter. She got smaller and smaller and then disappeared.

What do I make of this? I think she’s been channeling me through my subconscious. She’s telling me that I need to be paying more attention to her. I’m a realist and therefore am only on nodding terms with my subconscious. However, given that this is my spirit horse, I think I need to give her request more thought.

So today I rode Raudi. The feeling of riding her after riding Tyra now for two months was akin to putting on a very well worn

Pete and Hrimmi ponying Tyra

and perfectly fitting jeans. I immediately felt comfortable on her, and she felt comfortable with me on her. I didn’t even have to think about my cues – she did as I asked, and willingly.

We were to ride to a distant ridge, in order to get there we had to cross a field of sage, then ride down a dirt road. We wove through the brush – way fun, then on the road she trotted, and when I asked, she did her signature gait, her rocking horse canter.

We rode down the dirt road, came to a creek, crossed it, and then headed up a steep hill. This hill, it was steep and winding. The terrain consisted of dirt, gravel patches, and ruts. Raudi, who was in the lead, stayed to the side of the ruts, and the other two followed suit. Up, up, up, we went – the sun was shining brightly so we had a clear view of the view of the valley below and of the nearby town of Saratoga.

We did not get to the top. By now it was hot and we did not want to overtax the horses who were panting. Interesting, they resisted when we turned around – they did not want to go downhill.

Always, going downhill is more unnerving than going up. This was the case in this instance. I pretended that I was on an escalator at JC Penny’s and did not look down – just straight out at the horizon. I further relaxed my jaw, softened my eyes, breathed deeply, and held baby birds in my hands.

In response, every so often Raudi snorted, so as to let me know that we were both in balance. This then, made her job, which was to pick her way down hill, that much easier.

I had her stop and rest on the less steep pitches – I used the clicker and gave her treats. She did as she always does, bent her neck, and with her lips, took the treats gently from my hand. This is in contrast to Tyra, who gets excited and acts more quickly.

We arrived at the base of the hill and took a shortcut through the sage back to basecamp. I decided to pony Tyra the last mile in. Tyra, who now was tired, was compliant. I realized that I didn’t have my gloves – had she pulled away from me, I would have suffered a rope burn. Thank dog, she didn’t do this.

Next: 181. 7/3/19: A Tale from the Trail

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