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January 27, 2021: Riding, Just Riding

I just logged in my Icelandic virtual ride hours. I rode 4.5 hours today. I got all the dogs and ponies out, and it was an uneventful afternoon. These are the best. In between rides on Hrimmi and Raudi the road grader went by. I always consider myself quite lucky when this happens. A few weeks ago, the plow was up at the intersection – the driver was shoveling sand from the hopper onto the roadway. Raudi, Tinni, and I had to wait for him to finish. Raudi did consider heading back home – if she had, Tinni would have been right with her. But no, she stuck with me.

All such good animals. These days I take great joy in watching Shadow and Ryder race along on the trails, the icing on the cake is that I am usually riding, so I can observe them at the distance.

I am always amazed at how well they all do. Today, for example, our neighbor’s young dog, a blue heeler, came bounding out onto the road, and up to the trailhead where I had just gotten off Raudi. It barked at us several times, then as heelers do, it fell in behind us. I ignored the dog, as did Raudi and Tinni. We then just went calmly on our way, while the neighbor repeatedly yelled at his dog “come!” Our animals take such things in stride because they are not new to them. If I only got them out periodically, I’d expect differently and with good reason. I am also fortunate in that we have nearby riding trails. If we lived in an on the grid residential neighborhood, I would not be able to get them out nearly every day.

There is a downside to my upbeat attitude. I don’t have any friends who are as fortunate as I am. Those who do ride are trailering their horses to arenas or distant trails. There is a lot of this going on this winter because of the icy conditions. I also have friends who are not riding at all, for one reason or another. One friend can’t separate her horse from its buddy or the buddy gets all lathered up. Another friend’s horse now refuses to get into the trailer. Still another friend is commuting to Anchorage – says that it’s dark when she leaves home and dark when she returns. And yet another friend says that these days, family obligations have superseded her riding time.

I try my best, in talking with these friends, to not talk too much about what a good winter I am having because it sounds like I’m gloating. Well, maybe I am gloating. Yes, I am lucky to own Icelandics who are very trail savvy. And I am fortunate in that I live close to trails.

However, a few more things need to be said. Getting out as often as I do requires a high degree of discipline. Sometimes the weather is inclement, and I’d just as soon stay inside. Sometimes I get chilled. Sometimes I hesitate to ride, knowing that I might have to deal with plow trucks, moose, snowmobilers, and even bicyclists. Sometimes I’d just as soon take a nap. Sometimes I get weary of riding the same old trails.

However, this is what needs to be said: I am not riding in order to boast of my accomplishments. I am riding in part because I am a responsible horse owner. To allow them to be lawn ornaments would decrease their lifespan. Tinni is a good example of this. He’s 31, and if I didn’t exercise him, he’d be dead. He’d get stove up.

The price I pay is that, yes, I sound like I’m gloating when I tell my friends about my day. It’s a small price though, and one I can easily afford.

Next: 28. 1/28/21: Something to Gloat About

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