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March 1, 2019: The Inquisitive Icelandic Horse

Fifteen years ago, on a day much like today, sunny, warm, the sun low in the sky, I’d gone with my friend Karen over to check out a black and white pinto mare named Sykra. I don’t know why I didn’t get to ride her; most likely this was a good thing – I would have gotten killed. She was very green, energetic, and opinionated.

On the walk home from Karen’s, I imagined myself owning her, and taking her for long walks. She was sold to someone else so this never came to be. I was disappointed – but now I own four Icelandics any of whom I can take on outings and do other fun things, driving, agility, trail riding included. Today I

Tyra kicks ball through tunnel
Tyra kicks ball through tunnel

thought, yes, this is the stuff dreams are made of. This phrase, one my favorites, is from Shakespeare. In Act IV of The Tempest "We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep." And in the Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart) refers to "the stuff that dreams are made of."

The horsey homeschooling day began with me making a makeshift racetrack for Tyra, complete with obstacles in the roadway. I don’t know who had more fun, me building the course or her tearing it apart. I knew she’d dismantle it, and this was to a large part why I made a video of her being Trashmo. I had a brief introduction in which I said little except that humans plan and horses do not. And her knocking down poles and barrels was indicative of her own non-agenda. I wish that I had concluded the video by saying more – for instance, that this was a lesson in autonomy – she was free to do as she wished and have a good time doing it.

I would also have countered the claims that some might have, which is that a horse acting this way when its handler is on the ground would not behave any other time, by saying that she is ranked #3 right now, at the advanced level of international agility. What we were doing today just seemed to me to be a more fun way of doing training that altogether too often is done in lockstep or worse yet, in an unthinking manner. I’m thinking here of round penning, which creates an illusion of joining up.

And Tyra is just fine under saddle; to a large part because all our like-ground activities have resulted in her being balanced, flexible, and agile.

It was too bad that we ended the video when we did because the grand finale was pretty impressive. We trotted in and out of the downed areas. Then Tyra went and kicked the ball through the tunnel. At least Pete got a photo of this.

After, Pete rode Raudi and I ground drove Hrimmi around the hood. Hrimmi was all business, as was Raudi. On the way back, two riders on horses appeared behind us. Pete inadvertently dropped the line and Hrimmi ran over to check out the two very big horses. I stepped out into the road, held out my hand and called, and Hrimmi came racing over to me, in fact, did a flying stop. I seldom have opportunity to gloat, but gloat I did – all I could think was that those riders had to be impressed.

The horsey day ended with me taking Tinni for his afternoon constitutional. I let him off lead and we walked companionably around the loop, the way I envisioned walking Sykra. Indeed, this day, like most, was the stuff dreams are made of.

Next: 60. 3/2/19: Har Har

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