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June 9, 2012: Ever Ready Raudi

Yesterday, later in the day, Pete and I went for a late-afternoon ride. It was overcast, and down in the hinterlands, buggy. Alaska seems to breed bumper crops of mosquitos, and this area has its fair share. I decided that the only thing worse than an older, slower, calculating mosquito is a younger, flighty, erratic mosquito. That’s what we have now. They have not yet been thinned out by the birds, so there are far more than there will be in a couple months.

The natural horse bug dope that I purchased at Three Bears doesn’t work. In fact, it’s a bug attractant. I count my blessings every day; yesterday’s was that the bugs are far worse at the lower elevations.

Raudi and her mom Gerjun
Raudi and her mom Gerjun

As we were saddling up, Pete and I decided to go a bit farther than originally planned, and settled for doing what I call the semi-residential loop ride. It turned out to be a quick trip. I’d presumed that Raudi would be like she was the day before yesterday – cool, calm, collected. But I soon discovered that I was riding a different horse. This one seemed to be hot, energetic, and mentally at loose ends. I was okay with this. This is, in fact why I have so many horses.

Riding Raudi often reminds me of that creepy book Sybil – which is about a girl with 17 personalities. I don’t know why she had 17 personalities, as opposed to 23 or 33 personalities, but this is what she and her family had to work with.

Raudi has five gaits and seven personalities, just enough for me to deal with. The day before yesterday, she was so mellow that I wondered if something was wrong with her. In fact, that night (see previous dispatch in which I talk about evening fretting) I went down to the shelter after dinner and did ear slides. Then I got up at 6 a.m. and looked outside, just to make sure she was okay. She was just fine.

Yesterday, she was so energized that I knew that nothing was wrong with her. If I’d had my druthers, I would have done as Sybil’s mother had done, and checked her into a place in which professionals, through the use of drugs and counseling, get the patient dialed in again. But I, who was on a trail ride, could not do this.

We jiggered down the road a bit, and then turned onto one of Raudi and my favorite trails. (In other words, one that has not yet been torn to shreds by the ATVs.) I put her in front of Siggi and Pete and gave her the cue to pick up the pace. Raudi complied, going into a nice, level-headed, and collected trot. And when I asked for whoa, she first did as told, and then snorted gently.

Going down hills was a bit tougher – Raudi threw herself around a bit on what we call the Four Corners trail. But we worked through this by going back up and down it a few times. The rest of the trek was relatively flat. I asked Raudi to pick up the trot in the less boggy areas, and she did as requested—I must add, with considerable enthusiasm.

I got off and did some groundwork with her on the home stretch. I was, of course, by then one happy horse owner. What I learned was to better work with the personality that I have on hand at that given moment.

The personality that is receding into the distant past is that of the young, fractious, willful, immature horse. I’m reminded that this used to be the dominant personality as I work with Chris Romano on Raudi’s Story. She’s now illustrating the book, and doing a wonderful job. I looked at an illustration she did last night, of Raudi running away, and I think – that kind of behavior – it now seems like it was so very long ago.

I can’t help but wonder if Raudi now knows that she’s now, officially, my number one riding horse. Maybe Tinni’s absence has alerted her to this fact. I miss his one consistent personality something awful; however, my now spending more time on Raudi is doing us both a world of good.

Next: 184. 06/10/12: Hrimmi is introduced to the herd