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February 16, 2019: The Horse Life: Horsey Home Schooling

I have not been writing about my ongoing efforts at horsey homeschooling because I’ve been working on other projects. It’s like drinking nourishing soup – near too much and I say “enough!”

But though I haven’t been writing in my journal, I have been continuing with my education-related efforts. What to do with Raudi? This has been my number one concern lately – she just has not seemed as happy about being in a learning environment as the others.

This morning I took her out on Siggi’s Trail right after cleaning the pens and before going in for breakfast. At the same time I ponied Tinni. In the process I had several revelations.

Raudi puts her foot in the tire
Raudi puts her foot in the tire

The first revelation was trust the horses’ judgement and act accordingly. At the Murphy Road Trailhead, Raudi supposedly saw something I did not. Her ears went forward, her eyes widened, and she planted her feet. I thought that she was yanking my chain and started pulling on her leadline. She refused to move. I blocked her left eye with my body (this is the side that she was then using to see) and she moved a bit. I finally grew impatient and slapped her with the rope. She then followed me up the trail.

I mounted up, and then turned my head in the direction of the road; then heard people talking. I looked over and saw two bicyclists coming up road. I then realized that Raudi had not been obstinate; rather, she was paying attention to what was coming up road.

The second revelation was that Raudi is not (as I’ve been saying) sluggish or disengaged when I’m riding her. Rather, she is responding to the way she’s being ridden.

I’ve been reading Denise McCluggle’s Centered Skier – in the final chapters she writes about centering in relation to skiing, and specifically, making carved turns. I did not, when I read this section, see how her directives were applicable to horseback riding. But then, while out on the trail, I began to envision turns around bends on horseback as being analogous to bends on skiing. I then started sitting in the center of my saddle and pivoting my hips around my body, putting weight on the outside left hip in going around the bend, then doing the same with my inside right hip. Raudi then fluttered her lips, lowered her head, and moved in a more energetic fashion, through the deep and often punchy snow.

The third revelation was that Raudi, who appears independent, is happiest having a buddy along.

Raudi would every so often glance back to make sure Tinni was with us. And she would every so often exchange snorts with Mr. T. She also changed strides, this then enabled Tinni to keep pace with her.

The fourth revelation was that Raudi learns best when given external cues.

We arrived back at the Oceanview Road/Murphy Road turnoff. I dismounted and first worked on walk and whoa. I then had this idea, why not try to do what we’d been doing (with limited success) in the Playground of Higher Learning, which is gee and haw? I did this, standing a ways back. Raudi circled around to me on both sides. This was so different than yesterday, when she indicated to me that this exercise was not to her liking.

Based on all the above, I am going to do something different agility-wise. I’m going to do off-lead competition with her. I think that we’ll have way more fun.

Next: 48. 2/17/19: The AHIA and The Dissemination of Information

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