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July 5, 2019: Tyra and Alys’s Big Adventure

Susan asked, and I decided to accompany her and take Tyra to the Becky Hart Centered Riding clinic, which was being held over the weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado. I could have taken Raudi or Hrimmi, but after considerable agonizing, I decided to take Tyra for no other reason other than that this would be a good educational experience for her. Sure, it would also be a good educational experience for the other two, so in the end this was just an arbitrary decision.

Today was the day in which Tyra and I were to do the pre-requisite road trip. This morning was an instance, not of hurry up and wait, but hurry up and hurry up. Pete and I were packing up in a very relaxed fashion when Corky appeared and asked Pete if he wanted to spend the day at the Cow Creek Camp. Coincidently, this was the place where we camped on our first pack trip – I then called it Private Cabin Camping area. I was indeed envious because it was my favorite campsite and I wanted to go back there. I’d told everyone that I envisioned spending time there as a writer in residence.

Tyra loaded into Susan’s trailer, no problem. She saw the hay bag hanging up by the window and hopped right in. Huck looked down at her and she looked up at him. Large and small, they were quite the contrast.

Many trailers were damaged by the hail
Many trailers were damaged by the hail

The ride over the nearby Snowy Range was quite breath taking. We had considered doing it on horseback, but we were right in dismissing this option. It was still snow covered and would have been impassable on the trails.

I continued to take in the view as we drove, the tall mountains giving way to rolling hills, giving way to the residential area known as Fort Collins. There was considerable more traffic and roads here, which complicated the given farm directives. Susan called up an app on her cellphone, and I thought, “Yes, we are back in civilization.”

We turned off the roadway and drove up a long fence-lined driveway, and entered the farm grounds proper. There were, I noticed, several large houses surrounding the well-kept barn and arena. It then occurred to me, as is often the case, the land surrounding the farm was privately owned, and most likely inaccessible to trail riders. No matter, this was a dressage barn; meaning the horses at this place most likely spent their work day indoors, in the arena.

The clinic organizers had not given much, if any thought to where we’d put our horses; so directives were a few minutes in coming. The owner of the facility, an older, gray haired woman named Anna finally introduced herself and showed us our options. I immediately chose to put Tyra in a corner panel pen, so that she’d have just one horsey neighbor. Also, she’d get to interact with the horse people going up and down the driveway.

I unloaded her and got her in this pen before discussing options with Susan. Susan then had to figure out where to put Huck. I gave her an assist, by locating Anna and telling her that Susan thought that the one available option, a small enclosure, was not suitable. Anna said that the pen gate could be opened, so problem solved.

I got Tyra situated and then attended Happy Hour, which took place in the dressage arena. The entire evening I felt out of place – the endurance riders all seemed to know one another and weren’t that interested in talking with me. And they were less interested in talking with me when they caught sight of Tyra, who in their minds was (as one person noted) “A cute pony. Well suited for grandkids.” Grr, grr, grr.

Becky Hart, the clinician, gave a brief presentation after dinner. She was gray haired, had (as all the older female centered riding instructors do) excellent posture and a very forthright manner. She passed out handouts on the basics of Centered Riding and remarked that she’d forgotten her demonstration skeleton.

She wrote down the Centered Riding basics on a white board and then did exercises related to each. I was impressed with how she both simplified things and made the lesson short. Perhaps a good thing because the sky was bruise yellow in color by the time she finished. Quite clearly, we were in for one hell of a storm. I did my evening chores quickly, and when it started to sprinkle, I retreated to Susan’s live in trailer. The other clinic attendees did the same.

I had considered pitching my tent, but seeing as there was no place to clandestine camp, I took Susan up on her offer, which was to spend the night in her live in. Within minutes, the sky opened up. It was a terrible storm, one with all the fixings. Rain turned to sleet, which turned to hail. The thunder was deafening, the lightening near blinding. The hail pummeled the roof and the water came rushing into Susan’s trailer. Susan was, at the time, in her upper bunk. The water came in through a hail damaged upper vent, and she covered herself up with her riding skirt. When the storm abated some, I ran outside, opened the trailer storage area, and pulled forth my rain sheet, which I gave her to use.

Poor Tyra, this was all I could think. Her enclosure had a small stall overhanging. All I could think was that I hoped that she had enough sense to stand underneath it. When, finally, the storm passed, I ventured outside and ran over to her. Much to my amazement, she was nibbling at the hay in her hay bag. She was, I decided, a very brave horse, for sure.

Next: 184. 7/6/19 At the End of a Long Day

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