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January 27, 2019: When Things go Awry

It was a good weekend here – both Pete and I had a lot of things on our respective and combined lists, and we managed to get them done. For sure, a Herculean effort on both our parts. We both went to our wilderness first responder class yesterday, which met from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Then he went to a BCHA meeting that was clear across town. I tended to the animals and then wrote the day’s dispatch and then worked on my proposal chapter. For me, this is icing on the cake. It’s a relief, to get away from justifications and citations and just write about a past memory.

Today, I worked more on the proposal – Pete cleaned up and made yogurt. We then did agility with Raudi who wasn’t into it. Then we went for a horseback ride, Pete riding Raudi and me riding Tyra. Tyra’s eyes grew wide when she saw six very fast snowmobilers on the trail, but she did not budge.

Pete and I both had a wilderness first responder assignment due tonight at midnight – we had to answer three questions in response to a six, single spaced paged write-up about a fellow who was central to an avalanche accident. I had so much going on that I read and thought about this write-up on our way to our friend Dick Stoffel’s place.

Things going awry in the assigned essay, this was what was on my mind as we went to fit an Equimeasure pad on Jokla, one of Dick’s three Icelandic horses. Kohlfaxi, who died, previously had a Synergist saddle, and the plan is now to remake it for Jokla. In order to do this, Dave and CJ at Synergist Saddle will need the right measurement; hence, the reason for the pad. You heat them in the oven and then mold the flat piece to the horses’ back.

It was like in the essay – nothing went as planned because there was little previous planning. The narrator of the essay said that he knew that the slope his companions ventured out on was unsafe, but he did not speak up. The narrator of this dispatch knew that what we were doing was unsafe, but she did not speak up.

Dick, who has his arm in a sling (shoulder replacement surgery), went into the horse pen, got Jokla, and came out. A mule followed and ran loose around us. I did not insist that he give the horses and mules hay, and I should have. Dick then got a cellphone call. I took Jokla and tied her to Dick’s truck. The mule kept running around us, distracting Jokla.

Pete finally appeared with the pad in its pizza box, and laid it on Jokla’s back. Alas, this pad, which had previously been used, quickly became a huge drippy mess. Back to the drawing board – the Stoffels will have to pay the big bucks for the new one.

Pete went back inside in order to clean the plastic drips that were in the oven and Dick and I put Jokla and the mule away, a process that took fifteen minutes. The mule was clearly enjoying herself and didn’t want to go back in the pen. So we put hay in the horses’ manger, took down a portion of the electric fence, and herded Jezebel back into the enclosure.

In retrospect, we were far luckier than the backcountry skiers who lost their lives in the accident that the fellow writes about. Dick or I could have gotten kicked or knocked over by Jokla or the mule. That we did not means that we live to tell about this is now, a story with a smidgeon of hardship.

My sense is that Dick and his wife Mariann are getting up there in years and no longer have the energy required to tend to four horses and two mules. And so, horse care is on the decline. What to do at this end? Just give a hand when I am able.

Tonight I wrote my response to the avalanche article. My response was a father’s letter to his son. I was quite proud of my efforts when done.

Had we had internet problems, I would not have gotten this assignment done on time. This then, would have been another thing gone awry. Planning seems to keep hardship from occurring. But quite often, good luck prevails.

Next: 28. 1/28/19: A Conversation with my Tooth

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