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June 20, 2012: Garden and Horse Talk

This morning Leah came over. We first talked some about gardening. She’s very inspiring. I’m not sure why. It may be both her enthusiasm for the subject and her particular kind of knowledge base. She’s innovative and likes to experiment. Plus she’s very positive. She doesn’t see our gardening venture as a pathetic, near failed project. She routinely says “try this,” or “try that.”

She brought along some tomato starts – the seed source is Siberia. Cold climate tomatoes – I can see that this might be why in the past we haven’t been able to get tomatoes to grow – our seed stock might be from a warmer climate. However, the starts that Ellie gave us have already produced fruit.

Leah and I also talked about sheet mulching, using compost, manure, and cardboard. Doing this, she says “will enrich the soil.” How cool is that? So I’m going to set aside some of my compost for this, and as well, put some manure in stations. In the fall, I will give this a try.

We next moved on to my area of supposed expertise, horses. I was at first concerned about Raudi and Signy getting along. Their one altercation four weeks ago has made me leery about having the two together.

I was also concerned about putting a non-rider on Raudi. Leah has had some riding experience, and is a yoga instructor.

Like the big horses, Hrimmi now stands for bathing

Hrimmi no longer hesitates to go through water

I tend to fret, but needn’t have worried about these things. Signy and Raudi were congenial, and Hrimmi did not get in between them. And Leah has had some riding experience, so she felt comfortable on Raudi.

Raudi did okay. Watching someone else ride her actually gave me some insight into her character. She repeatedly pulled over to the side of the road and began grazing. I saw first-hand that Raudi needs a take-charge rider, otherwise, she does as she pleases. Last night, same thing. We were out on a long ride, and she at times refused to pick up the pace. I finally grabbed a stick and put it in my hand as if it were a crop. She knew I had it and moved out. Just in case she was tired, we walked the last mile and a half home. She was not tired this morning.

My big picture realization was that Raudi isn’t a Tinni horse, nor will she ever be one. Tinni, while past his riding prime, does as he’s asked. He also watches out for his rider. Raudi, who is in her riding prime, doesn’t always do as asked. And she does not watch out for her rider. I miss having Tinni around something awful, but it really is a good thing. If Leah had ridden him today, I would not have had these insights about Raudi. All this is going to make me a better rider.

More on Hrimmi. Last night, on my ride, I stopped and talked a bit with Karen, who is her number one admirer. I said to her that I can now brush her and pick up her feet. Karen then laughed delightedly, and remarked that Hrimmi is going be a very well trained horse. It then occurred to me that Pete and I are figuring out a training strategy for Hrimmi that’s fairly inductive. We are doing with her what we are doing with the big horses. The big horses, which are tied to the hitching post, get groomed. Little Horse, who is next to the hitching post (untied), gets groomed. The big horses, which have been groomed, get their feet cleaned. Little horse, which has been groomed, gets her feet cleaned. The big horses go for a trail ride. Hrimmi goes for a trail walk.

If we had vast pasturage, we’d leave Hrimmi with Signy. We do not. All need exercise, so all get exercise. And Hrimmi is getting early training. I had decided before her birth to have a complete hands off policy. This didn’t pan out. I am discouraging nibbling, and discouraging her getting into my space without being invited into it. We’ll see how this experiment works. It’s right up there with cold climate tomato growing.

At the conclusion of our ride I explained to Leah that horses are my teachers. There are some who feel that they are their horses’ teachers, exclusively. These people tend to be male, and they give clinics where literally hundreds of people come and watch them. I don’t buy this. Learning, as this relates to horses, should be reciprocal. It has to work both ways in order for there to be a safe and harmonious relationship.

And so, a recap. About gardening: Nope, I don’t have the gene. But I am now eager to take on more gardening tasks than I have in the past. And about horses: Today I learned that having a continued firm hand with Raudi is what’s needed. And I learned that I have an evolving, but plausible training philosophy when it comes to Hrimmi.

Tonight I’m going with my friend Heather to see her horse Rio. Heather, it seems, has some stuck points. She is with Rio where I was with Raudi just a short while ago. How cool it will be, when we work through these issues, and she’s able finally to come for a ride with us.

Pete called. He and Christopher are on their way home. In their absence, I’ve been thinking about some fun things we might do together. I’d like to take Christopher on a gardening tour.

Next: 195. 06/21/12: Summer Solstice, 2012