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June 23, 2012: Big Horses and Little Horses

Yesterday was a day to be gotten through. There have not been many days like it. I was tired from the night before (it turned out that my deciding not to drink was fortuitous) and since I cannot take naps, I had no choice but to put my head down, my shoulders to the harness, and plow through the day.

Beautiful weather made plowing easier. It was yet another beautiful summer day. Finally, I could step outside without having to put on any additional clothing. And on the way to do this or that, I basked in the heat of the sun. If anything, it was a bit too hot. Too hot around here is 80 plus degrees.

I weeded while Christopher sat on the picnic table and played his borrowed guitar. I stopped, mid-weed, to write a poem about working in the garden. I’d discovered the night before that Peaches had gotten into the broccoli. I thought when I told her that Pete would be angry, but she simply said that the gate had been down. If it’s to be, it’s far better that old Peaches enter the garden rather than say, younger Rover or Ranger. The youngers will become freezer meat if they step in this hallowed space. I think that they know this. Peaches is the Squalor Holler matriarch, so it won’t cost her her life if she slips up now and then. Amazingly, she did not go for the lettuce, which would have really raised my ire.

After I completed my poem, Pete and I tacked up Siggi and Raudi, and then went up Jim’s trail. Christopher, bandana on forehead, walked. This trek was more of a slog than anything else. The trail is now steep, slippery, and overgrown. And here and there were mud filled ruts and bogs. It was also somewhat buggy. We finally came to a bog that Raudi bounded across, but Siggi decreed to be impassable. We then all wisely elected to go back downhill. The look of relief in Siggi’s eyes when he was asked to do an about-face was most telling. As I told Christopher, he is our smartest horse.

Pete and Christopher headed home, and I took off on a side trail. Raudi and I then did the Grizzly Camp route. Raudi enjoyed being ridden on the flatter terrain. I’ve been asking her to do a lot of hill climbing lately.

I got back home, and after giving Raudi a bath (she detests this and made this known to me), I decided to continue halter training Hrimmi. I’m most determined and obsessive when I’m tired, so this may not have been the best time to undertake this task. Common sense also goes out the window. Obviously, it would have been more prudent to work in a more confined area.

Hrimmi is now eating grass, so I used this to my advantage. I managed to finally get the head piece fastened around her neck. Getting the nose piece up on her nose was far more difficult. This took over an hour. Maybe, because I was tired, I did not see how I could chunk this task down. I thought that if I didn’t get the halter on her, that the next go-round would be equally difficult.

I finally knelt down in front of her, and as she was taking dandelion greens out of my hand (she had no interest in eating chickweed), I slipped the nose piece over her nose. It repeatedly slipped off, because the top strap needed to be tightened. Somehow, some way, I finally managed to do both.

The halter I was using was too large, so I decided to put a smaller one on her. Foal halters are like kid’s shoes. They don’t fit for long. This is why people have them sitting around. I now have four hand me downs. Hrimmi is now too large for a suckling halter, so I had to use one of the weanling halters.

Once it was in place, Hrimmi shook her head and danced around like a dervish, making it known to me that she was pissed about the imposed restriction. I explained to her that life for a horse often involves being restrained. I added that she’s also not going to like what’s ahead. She’ll have to remain restrained, when in July, the farrier and veterinarian trim her feet and give vaccinations.

Signy wasn’t bothered by my following Hrimmi around. She stood quietly and watched while Pete held her.

I removed the halter before leaving the pen, since she could snag herself on something. This morning, I went into the foal stall and first put the halter on Signy. Then I put the foal halter on Hrimmi, this time telling her that little horses must do what big horses do.

This all begs a question -- is the slate blank? I contend that the writing is on the wall. Hrimmi was her own horse before she was born. And she came into this world with a clearly defined personality. She’s curious, independent, impish, fearless, willful, and independent. These can be good or bad traits. It’s our job to bring out the best in each one. I did not at all stress her out with the haltering, though if I were to do it again, I would take several more days to do this.

Hrimmi has already learned a great deal. She stands for brushing, allows me to pick up her feet, and stays out of my space. But she also has much to learn. She will in the very near future have to learn some elementary things, trailer loading and unloading, ponying, and stand quietly included. And she will, in the distant future, have to master some more advanced things, such as standing when tied, and to be accepting of tack.

I got Raudi when she was eight months old, and taught her most of what she now knows, and what Hrimmi will eventually know. Then, I was blissfully ignorant as to what all this would entail in terms of time and patience. Now, because I have been through this, I know what’s entailed. And so, this time, I am feeling overwhelmed. If there is (right now) any consolation, it’s that I will learn a lot in the process of interacting/training Hrimmi, who I now love as much as her other herd members.

Next: 198. 06/24/12: Tinni’s Summer Vacation