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December 3, 2019: A Dang Good Day

It is now the darkest and, I think, coldest part of this winter. It may seem colder than it is because the sun now sets so early. I get out at noon, and I barely have enough time to get the horses out and the barn chores done.

Still, it was a dang good day. It began with my getting a note from Vanessa Bell, who is the founder of the International Horse Agility Competition. She told me that Raudi had come in first and second in the recent photo contest. She beat out 37 others in the action category and 36 others in the agility category. She came in second in the latter category to a horse named Boots. I am looking forward to seeing that photo.

The photos were judged on the basis of horse/human interaction as well as composition. Pete and I spent a lot of time going through our stock photos – he practices good file management, so this made selection possible. Then we learned that our entry had not gone, so he had to send them again. Arrgh, this is what we said.

For some time, Pete’s been taking photos between video takes. In the two photos we sent in, Raudi looked attentive and intent. I said to Vanessa (and I meant it) these were just two moments in time that Pete happened to catch digitally. This makes me think of the first photo Pete took of Raudi and me, now 15 years ago. I was at that moment a proud new horse owner. And Raudi was a proud new human owner. Neither of these photos in any way indicate that in the years in between the photos, there would be many, many ups and downs.

Raudi, her mother Gergen, and Alys
Raudi, her mother Gergen, and Alys

First place: Class A Horse and handler in movement  through pole bend obstacle - Raudi and Alys
First place: Class A Horse and handler in movement through pole bend obstacle - Raudi and Alys

There is, this month, an agility competition: do a new, assigned obstacle a day, and then do the course in its entirety and submit the video. I had decided to forego this because the first few day’s obstacles looked pretty difficult. Also, the November course was difficult, so much so that I bypassed submitting a video.

It’s interesting that even a smidgeon of praise can be a motivator, both for horses and people. As I was cleaning up the pen this afternoon, it occurred to me that I might just give the 10 in 20 competition a try. I dragged the obstacles from the Playground shanty to the driveway and set up a course. I put out targets. And I then put the horses through their paces. They understood what they were being asked to do and did as asked. I then took them for walks, Tinni and Hrimmi first, Tyra next, and Raudi last. What struck me as most interesting was how much they enjoyed both doing agility and going for a walk. Raudi seemed to be the most content. We walked companionably together, which was a far cry from the way it was our first few years together.

So it was a good horse day. I am hoping Pete will assist me in the next few days in getting the obstacles in order. And the arena, it is going to need to be plowed.

One day at time. This is today’s motto.

Next: 335. 12/4/19: A Conversation with Tyra

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