But I’m already fretting about the upcoming visit. I fear that Raudi and I will somehow screw up again. Last Sunday she got away from me two times. This in terms of arena etiquette, is a huge no no. A comparison: if Raudi was a member of the Catholic Church, she would have been excommunicated by now. Hell would have hell to pay if my little red rocket ended up there. She’d be so demanding that they’d send her back home.
I’m making light of something that I ought not make light of. Raudi knows I’m apprehensive, and I know that she’s apprehensive when we’re accountable to authority. (And last week, Sharon was authority.) And we feed off one another’s fears. This goes all the way back to our Moose Creek Ranch days, where we were expected to toe the line. Our trainer, Katie Long, didn’t cut us any slack – never mind that Raudi was a young horse and I was an inexperienced horse owner. She let us know that we knew nothing. She was right about that.
I can’t speak for Raudi, but I can speak for myself. I very much enjoy arena work. Watching dressage competitors at the highest level – this is indicative of years of hard work and discipline on the part of horse and rider. And I see it as a necessity for the average joe horse and rider. Being able to do leg yields, shoulder in, change of leads – all come in handy when on the trail, and are best learned in an arena.
Raudi has the makings of a phenomenal trail horse. I’ve seen her exhibit a high degree of common sense on many, many occasions, by (for example) refusing to cross what she considers to be questionable terrain. And, at the same time, I’ve seen Raudi forge across what she considers to be acceptable terrain. This winter, she quickly figured out that she had ice shoes on her feet – then, and only then, did she venture across icy overflow.
I have come to trust Raudi’s judgment while on the trail. I previously considered her to be just a horse, and therefore incapable of being able to reason. Slowly, ever so slowly, I have come to see that she knows as much if not more about some things than I do. We are becoming a well-matched team.
So what to do? I can hope for bad weather on Sunday, this way our having to venture into the arena will be a moot point. But undoubtedly, it will be a sunny, snowless day. This time, I’ll prepare for our appointment by putting a soft lead on Raudi’s nose. And I’ll put myself in the zone, and when I can, focus on my breathing.
And down the road – I’ll try and find someone to work with us in an outdoor setting, one that’s more open and has obstacles. This way, we can learn some of the things that good trail horses and good trail riders need to know.
Raudi’s Book, update:
Raudi’s Book is an ebook. So far, the response has been good. People are liking both the story and the illustrations. I’m surprised to see that readers see this, a self-published ebook, as a legitimate publication. I see it as a way of moving forward – hopefully, a reputable print publisher will want to have copies published and distributed both nationally and internationally.
I am not a big one for marketing – I’d just as soon be working on my other book. But, I now realize that marketing is what you do when you have a book out there. If you don’t have a book out there, you deliver pizza, late at night, in blizzards, driving cars that are missing one headlight and have no heat.
Next: 354. 11/30/30: Wind