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February 18, 2019: The Horse Life: Engagement

We’ve been getting a LOT of snow lately – it’s not been falling all that heavily, but it has been accumulating. Pete’s waiting for it to stop so he can get the tractor out and put it someplace. Put it someplace are operative terms – we have so much snow from before that we have no place to put it.

We are managing to keep the horse pen clean; although the snow along the fence line is getting high. If these stout ponies were jumpers (and they are not), they’d be long gone by now.

We are very fortunate in that both happenstance and planning have enabled us to integrate horse activities into our

Alys and Tyra pass between two piles of snow
Alys and Tyra pass between two piles of snow

lives. Otherwise, they’d be long gone because disuse leads to boredom, which leads to lethargy, which leads to mental and physical health issues. Right now, they’re all a bit on the plump side, but because I get them out in the playground, on the road, and on the trails, they’re in good mental and physical shape.

We have, and use, the Playground of Higher Learning, the trails, and the residential loop road. There are always local options. For this reason, we don’t have to trailer the horses elsewhere. Their use is related to accessibility – right now, the trails and the playground are near inaccessible because of heavy snowfall.

So today I instead had to opt to take the horses out on the residential road. I have during walks been doing education-related activities. Yesterday, I encouraged Tyra to do panther walk and I worked with Raudi and Hrimmi on gee and haw, with the two walking in front of me.

I didn’t have a lot of time today – I had to go to strength training – and the plow had not yet come through, so walking would have been a slog. So I first rode Hrimmi and then rode Raudi.

Varying the activities is good for them and good for me. For me it was another revelatory day. Language matters because it shapes our attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions. For the past few years I’ve been obsessed with the word forward – and been dissatisfied because neither Raudi nor I seemed to be making progress in this area.

But I realized today (as I was out riding in the snow) that forward is no longer the operative term. Rather, the operative term is engagement. Defined, to be engaged means to be in the present, in body, mind, and spirit. And to be disengaged means the opposite.

All three of the mares will, at times, become disengaged, I think because I have put too much of an emphasis on internal motivation. Today, they were more engaged. Hrimmi and I worked on trot on the upper road – she was better able to maintain this gait because my posture and balance are so much better than previously. If I fall forward, we both lose momentum.

And Raudi became more engaged when I varied my seat at the trot. I alternated sitting, posting, and going into two-point. She then came to life. And I had both horses do serpentines. I finished both rides feeling a sense of accomplishment because, yes, both horses were engaged.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow – I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow, so I’ll be able to get all the horses out on the road.

Next: 50. 2/19/19: Pow and Plow

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