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August 18, 2012: All Things in their Time

Yesterday (Friday afternoon) I went for a trail ride, riding Raudi, ponying Signy, and Hrimmi and Jenna coming with. I decided to go up and down the bench, which is to the first rise in the nearby foothills.

I didn’t give the matter much thought beforehand. I just saddled up the horses and headed out. It was a very good ride – Raudi is the happiest in the company of her herd mates, other Icelandic horses. And she takes the job of being a lead horse very seriously. I dropped Signy’s lead line a number of times and she waited patiently for me to retrieve it, a few times even positioning herself to make this task easier for me.

I recently watched some of the Hestakaup videos – they were filmed in Iceland – and I was struck by the fact that the horses there move in mass. Yes, Icelandic horses enjoy being in the company of other Icelandic horses. Having five, we can accommodate this trait.

Last night, Friday evening, Fran Buntzen and her brother Skip arrived – they live in Fairbanks and were doing a road trip. We were one spot on their itinerary. Fran’s the Alaska Icelandic Horse Association Newsletter editor. In their honor, we’re having a trail ride/barbecue. In the past, Pete and I have hosted a few of these gatherings. The first time out, I rode Tinni. I was then very nervous, especially coming down the Grizzly Camp hill. Then the group decided to do the even steeper bench loop. I recall that Tinni did stumble coming down –scared me.

A year later we hosted yet another trail ride – I rode Raudi. I was equally as nervous. Both times, I didn’t let it be known that I was apprehensive. I just went along with the program and hoped that Raudi would behave. (I would have ridden Tinni, but Emily, who had him this summer, rode him.) We had two creek crossings. The water was moving so fast that Raudi was swept downstream. And Tinni’s head went under the water. And Siggi refused to cross the creek on the return trip. I guess he decided that these water crossings weren’t to his liking. It took some time, but we finally got him across.

Today we’re hosting yet another trail ride. I’m not at all apprehensive; in fact, I’m looking forward to going out with a larger group. What’s brought about this change of attitude? The answer is that I’ve repeatedly put myself in situations in which I’ve had to confront what I perceived to be very real fears. Last summer’s trek comes to mind, as does the competitive trail ride. But there have been many challenges in between. The desire to ride has always superseded my fear threshold.

First, Tinni and I became a team. Now, Raudi and I are a team. It was difficult parting with him for the summer, but perhaps a good thing because he became my default horse, which is the one I rode when I had concerns about riding Raudi. His absence has forced me to ride Raudi, and I’m now more than okay with this. His job in life has been to instill confidence in up-and-coming riders. And he’s continuing to do this. Now Mike, Vicki’s husband, is riding him.

Raudi and I are now doing things that I previously would have thought impossible, like going down steep hills in the company of other horses. When in Portland, I purchased a protective vest. It now seems like this was after the fact because she’s now more reliable and I’m more confident. But I’m going to wear this vest because the unforeseen can happen. Plus, this safety measure will serve as an example for others, who might say – when I saw that Vicki was wearing one – this is a good idea. I also recently purchased a new helmet.

The sun’s now shining brightly. It’s the perfect day for a barbecue/trail ride.

Next: 254. 08/19/12: Trail Ride and Barbecue