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April 5, 2021: When Work is Play and when Play is Work

Woke up early, to sunny skies. Yesterday compared to today – like night and day. Yesterday was stormy and blustery and cold; today was the opposite. The sun on the snow was blinding, a reminder, I need to start wearing sunscreen.

I was faced with yet another day of having to road ride. I wasn’t looking forward to this simply because I prefer trail riding, and when its cold, it is sometimes a bit of a slog. But being the responsible horse person that I am, I decided to get them all out. I didn’t even decide this – I just did it.

I took Raudi out first, at 9:00 a.m. Since it snowed yesterday, it was a given that the

Alys takes Tyra out for a road ride

snowplow and sander would be coming through, I thought, in the late afternoon. Grr, grr, grr. I took her out first because while she is reliable, she is quick to react, and therefore, I reasoned, would be the most unsafe, should a plow come up upon us.

I took her down to the turnoff – we worked on walking fast and walk-trot transitions. No plow came upon us. She did do a 360 going past our neighbor Jim’s driveway. I stayed seated. We came home and I took Raudi out with Tinni. It was a near uneventful two rides. I had a revelation, which is that Raudi was more attentive when I kept her focused on the task at hand. My basis for comparison was our ride with Tinni. I just let her walk along – I wasn’t expecting her to do anything, and she knew it. There was a decided change in attitude.

I next took Hrimmi out. I was going down the road, and actually commending myself for having gotten out early and beaten the snowplow when it came around the corner. I hustled Hrimmi back to a neighbor’s driveway and waited for it to go by. I then took her back on the road and rode her home fast, knowing that the plow was going to come back the other way. I was right. We made it home in the nick of time.

I unsaddled Hrimmi, put her away, and ate lunch. Pete said that the grader wasn’t going to go by. How men know these things is beyond my comprehension. He was right. The sander then went by. I again got Hrimmi out – I was, this time, far more relaxed because I wasn’t anticipating having to deal with the snowplow. I worked with Hrimmi on walk/trot/tolt transitions, going further on her than I did on Raudi. We went clear to Ridge Runner Circle and back.

Lastly, I got Tyra out in the early evening. I also rode her to Ridge Runner. Less walk/trot transitions on the way out, but more on the way home. Walking briskly, in a straight line, and doing some serpentines and circles sufficed.

I got this sense today that, yes, I was asking the horses to focus, and that this does not come easily to them. And for this reason, it was good that I kept the sessions short, that is in Raudi’s case to one hour, and in Hrimmi and Tyra’s case to one and a half hours. Do they enjoy this? I think so – for them, as well as me, the same old same old is boring.

Soon enough, we will be back on the trails.

Next: 95. 4/6/21: A Gift Comes in the Mail

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