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July 8, 2012: Happy Trials and Travails

I went riding with Heather today. She came out to our place with Maggie, an older Arab/Morgan mare. I’d only met Maggie twice, but she’s endeared herself to me. One of the biggest unfairnesses in life is that horses cannot tell us what they’re thinking. I sense that Maggie very much wants to open up, and tell us what’s on her mind. Perhaps an animal communicator could give an assist.

So, short of hunting down her former owners, we can only speculate as to her checkered past. Maggie is an old soul – you can see this in her eyes, which appear questioning and worrisome.

Heather and Pete putting the saddle on Maggie

It’s almost as if she’s saying “please don’t make me do anything I don’t want to do!” Maggie also has battle scars, one of which is a funky rear right leg. She doesn’t put her foot down, as do most horses, heel to toe, but slams the whole hoof down, the way a waitress would set down a plate in a two-bit diner

Heather is very kind to Maggie. Heather’s a fairly calm person, but today she was calmer than usual. I think that Maggie appreciated this. The pair is good for one another. I had reservations about Heather’s bringing a strange horse to our place and going for a lengthy ride, but these reservations soon fell by the wayside. Maggie listened to Heather, and vice-versa.

After Heather unloaded Maggie, I groomed and tacked up Raudi so that I could accompany the pair. It occurred to me that if Tinni had been here, I would have ridden him instead of Raudi. I knew what he would do – just mosey along. I didn’t know what Raudi would do. As it was, she took our going out with a strange horse that was a non-Icelandic in stride, by paying her little mind.

We went up Jim’s road, turned down Jim’s trail, and came to the trail that goes up to the bench. I then presented Heather with two options, saying that we could either go to Grizzly Camp, or the hill loop. She said she wanted to do the latter. It had rained, so the uphill trail was slippery. Maggie didn’t have shoes and Raudi’s are flat on the bottom, so we walked the final steep uphill pitch. Then, after a short break, we headed down the parallel trail. Maggie was even more steady on her feet than Raudi, who insisted on doing her imitation of a ping pong ball.

We made it to the base of the hill and then turned left, onto the flat trail. Heather had previously indicated that she was most concerned about Maggie being able to cross bogs and streams. And, as Heather predicted, Maggie skirted the first water crossing, which is a large puddle. Heather then had her horse go back and cross the puddle again. Then, she had her do this again a third time.

The second and third times Maggie put one hoof in the water then put her head down and prepared to take a drink. The realization that she was in water scared her a bit – she raised her head, and looked around. Each time, Maggie was a tad bit less rushy. We finally called it good and moved on.

Maggie did not disappoint. She went through the remaining water crossings with increased confidence. We continued on to Jim’s Road, did the road loop, and ended the trek back at Heather’s trailer. Maggie was bothered by my putting Raudi away – she whinnied for her several times when the two parted company.

Heather said that she was very pleased with how Maggie did. I thought, it would do us all a world of good if Maggie could talk, but she can’t. Maybe horses know that they can’t converse with us, and either become frustrated or accepting of their lot. Dunno, and wish I did know.

I do know that I was very pleased with Raudi’s behavior. I remain quiet when the focus is on other horses. And I ask other horse owners lots of questions. This is because I know that Raudi isn’t the center of the universe. Well, she’s the center of my universe, so my detailing her accomplishments in this blog is most fitting.

Ahem. Once again, Raudi was attentive but not reactive. Now I know for sure that I can ride her alongside horses that are inexperienced, badly behaved, or just plain unsure of themselves. I wouldn’t be feeling so sure of this if today, I’d ridden Tinni.

Heather is going to do the competitive trail ride with Pete and me, and will be riding Maggie. Three people and three horses makes a posse. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Next: 213. 07/9/12: Going to see Gary Snyder