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December 10, 2020: Are We Having Fun Yet?

The phrase, are we having fun yet? Was coined by Bill Griffith, the cartoonist who came up with “Zippy the Pinhead.” Zippy was embraced by hippies, who took to Griffith’s weird ass humor. I sort of got it. Pretty amazing, since I didn’t get or fully appreciate Bugs Bunny. I also wasn’t fond of the Three Stooges. But I liked Zippy. And lines like, “reality is a great place to get a sandwich” resonated with me.

Zippy’s line came to me a few times today. First, I was working in the Playground, getting the December course set up, when it entered my mind. Yes, I said in response, I am having a good time. Then when Tinni walked up and joined me I had an even better time. I’m not alone in that I too appreciate an appreciative audience.

Alys drawing on the back window of the SAAB

Later, I thought the same when riding Tyra. She was moving along nicely today, glad to be on an outing. In fact, she and I both did so well that I suggested to Pete that we go further afield, which we did.

No, it was not I am Having Fun, but rather, Am I Having Fun Yet? This is because in both instances, the fun part was anticipatory. I was enjoying building the December course in anticipation of having the horses navigate the somewhat tricky obstacles. And I will enjoy going through the course with the horses in anticipation of their successes. The best obstacle of all, and the one I most enjoyed working on, is the annual December free choice obstacle. I put Shadow’s dog agility table on two sawhorses, and the mounting block in front of the table. I’m going to have Shadow hop on Hrimmi’s back and walk her in a big circle, then get off.

I put (for now) Tyra’s obstacle under the table. I’m going to have her step in a rubber feed bucket, pop two balloons, and then do a turn on the haunches. Lastly, I’m going to have Raudi spin a decorated bicycle tire. Then I will do a few gyrations (is this the word for it?) with my hula hoop. I might then have Raudi step into the hula hoop and do a turn on the haunches.

Tyra on the trail – I was in balance mentally, more so today than yesterday. Yesterday, on the way to the trail, I attempted to keep her out of my space by using the crop. This made her antsy. Today I used the clicker and a treat. She was much more relaxed from the onset of our ride.

Are we having fun yet? The anticipatory aspect is called SEEKING. We are doing something that we think will get us something else. This is a survival mechanism. If it wasn’t fun, we would not do it. The anticipatory chemical is dopamine. Horses secrete it in anticipation of getting a treat. Rats too. Rats have been known to wear themselves out wearing out levers, in their never-ending quest for treats. So maybe treats should be used judiciously.

Way fun, learning about all this and then putting theory to practice. The way I see it, I am fortunate in that I am able, as Nabokov says, “to explore, play, create the world.” I won’t go off on a tangent here, but I had an education that lent itself to my developing my more creative side. And I am attempting to provide my animals with a similar, more investigative education, so that they might also ask, “am I having fun yet?”

Next: 340. 12/11/20: Are We Having Fun Yet? Part II

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