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July 13. 2012: Digging Down Deep

This is a phrase I often use – mainly when I have to muster up the energy to take on some physically-related task. An extreme example: In the winter, at night, when it’s cold and dark, I feel less inclined to want to go down to the horse pen to feed and clean up poop. But once I’m out the door, I’m okay. Quite often, the stars are out. I like looking up and them and listening to the sound of the snow crunching under foot.

I said to Pete that “I have to dig down deep” this morning. He, who knew that I was referring to working with the horses, said “If this continues, you’ll have to consider other options,” meaning, get rid of the horses.

Alys with her compost piles
Alys with her compost piles

This scared me because for the first time ever, I wondered if I had my fill of caring and riding them. It was overcast—I was feeling ho hum. I wanted to spend the day puttering around, doing indoorsy stuff, like drink another cup of tea, read magazines, drink another cup of tea, maybe read a book. There was no telling if I’d also feel this way tomorrow.

But I knew that the horses needed to get out. So I puttered around aimlessly for a bit, then put on my coat and headed outside. I tacked up Signy and was soon headed in the direction of Grizzly Camp. Hrimmi was supposed to follow, but got sidetracked by some fresh grass. I went a ways down the road – she followed parallel, on the driveway, whinnying anxiously. I went back and she came racing through the gate, onto the road.

The ride was good. It was a bit too short. I always feel this way when I ride Signy, because being on her is like being on a merry-go-round horse. I just seem to float along.

I got Raudi out of the enclosure after putting Signy away. Pete joined me and saddled up Siggi. Off we went, to the Moose Meadows. It was great fun, riding through the fields of cow parsnip—a veritable sea of white Queen Anne’s Lace-topped stalks. The stuff is now easily five feet tall. Raudi could barely see over the top. I could hear poor Jenna bounding along in the underbrush.

We continued on, trotting where the ground was firm. Raudi was and remained focused. She picked up and maintained a trot or canter every time I asked for more speed. Her one bad habit is that she’s a grass diver, but I can easily forgive her for this. The comparison is that I too have to stop when I pass a chocolate shop.

We were about a half mile from home when I told Pete that I was going to continue on up the bench. He said “you go right ahead,” meaning that he and Siggi had had enough of an outing. Raudi wasn’t up for a second jaunt, but I was, so she had to go along with my program. This, I told her, is the down side of being a horse. If there’s an upside to being a horse, it’s that you sometimes get a reward. In this case, hers came at the top of the hill. I removed her saddle, rubbed her down, and let her graze. I also got a reward. I found a package of dried fruit in my fishing vest. I sat down and ate the contents.

Downhill we then went, with Raudi and I working on whoa. Like her owner, she’s never been a big one for stopping. But she’s now catching on. We alternated cantering and trotting on the home stretch.

I’ve been deliberating about selling Raudi because I’d like for her to have a home in which she’d have access to advanced training. This is because I’m doing this fine animal a disservice. And so, if someone who knows more than I do about gaits and gait training comes along, I’ll consider parting with her. Of course, I hope that this day never comes. It’s taken me nine years total to get her to where she now is. However, where Raudi is now isn’t where other horses of her age are, training wise. And so, in the meantime, I bask in our seemingly minor accomplishments.

The rides on Signy and Raudi energized me. I put Raudi away and then turned three compost stations, combining them into two stations. I know that I’m going to feel this tomorrow because I felt this as I was working. The pain in the wrists and back was a warning sign. I considered starting yet another station – we have a lot of manure and greens on hand – but I just can’t bring myself to dig down deep. If I could have anything, it would be the body I had when I was 25. Where did it go? I have looked high and low for it, and can’t seem to find it anywhere . . . .

Next: 218.07/14/12: The Upcoming Competitive Trail Ride