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December 20, 2012: Horse Rich

I once remarked to my friend Heather Ashe that I was horse poor; then I laid the evidence on her. I couldn’t afford a new saddle, I was concerned about our having enough hay in the barn to tide us over until the next cutting, and if one was available, I would not be able to pay an instructor to assist me in training five horses.

Heather thought about my statement for a few minutes, and then blurted “you aren’t horse poor, you’re horse rich!” “Yeah, right,” I replied. And that was that.

Heather’s retort came to mind today, on this the second darkest day of the year, a

Raudi feels rich whenever we get a load of hay

day in which many at this end of the world sequester themselves inside their houses and try to ignore the fact that it’s again going to be dark in a few hours.

Not me. Pete and I went to yoga this morning and then took care of things that needed taking care of, one of which was getting my glasses straightened. (They became bent a few weeks ago, when I went flying off Raudi.) Down in Palmer, it was extremely windy and somewhat overcast. It was no place to linger, let me tell you. And no one was lingering. We didn’t see anyone out there in the snow swirlies. Anyhow, we returned home where it was just somewhat windy and sunny. The wind was bearable because it was warmer than it’s been. In other words, the nose chill index was above zero.

I spent the remainder of this, the second darkest day of the year, outside, in the company of my horses. I fed, watered, and cleaned up after the horses, and then Pete and I took Siggi and Hrimmi for a walk. After, I walked Tinni. Then I rode Signy. Then Pete walked Rainbow and I walked Raudi. It was then again time to feed, water, and clean up after the horses. I had, after this, just enough daylight time to tend to the goats. (We bought Peaches a goat coat at the thrift store, a black used fleece vest. She looks like Mother Theresa in it.)

I have to say that it was a great way to spend the afternoon. The horses, as usual, were all very agreeable. Hrimmi is doing well with her leading lessons, and Mr. Siggi is also relearning the whoa command. Tinni is recovering from his surgery – looks like we won’t have to put him on antibiotics. Signy did very well under saddle, most of the time moving at a very brisk trot. And Raudi, who I walked, was very energized, but she again hung with me; when near home, I let her off lead. This wasn’t the way it used to be, oh no. Used to be she’d get away from me, take off at a mad gallop, and I’d have to go and find her.

That I write in such glowing terms about my interactions with these fine animals does more than allude to the fact that yes, I am horse rich. I do worry sometimes about not having enough money to keep the ark afloat. And I also worry about not being able to give each the time and attention they deserve. But as I remind myself when I get into this kind of a funk, worry is indicative of being in the future tense. And the future tense is a fiction. It’s the here and now that matters.

Seeing myself as being horse rich (as opposed to horse poor), also opens the door to other, more positive revelations. I have several good horse friends, including (of course) Heather who has been in on my adventures since the very beginning. We met a few weeks after Pete and I arrived in Palmer – she was in my horsemanship class. It’s now ten years later. We have continued to keep in close touch.

And I have taken great joy in writing about the horses. I have penned innumerable articles, and now two books, Raudi’s Story: An Icelandic Mare’s First Year in Alaska, and Raising Raudi: The Search for the Perfect Riding Horse. In fact, today I put a copy of the Raising Raudi manuscript in the mail – it’s now on its way my friend Nancy’s place in Maine. She’s expressed an interest in illustrating it. Pete and I are thinking that this particular manuscript lends itself to pencil sketches, which is what Nancy does best.

Horse rich. Right now the most important thing is that my having to tend to five horses’ needs gets me outside. This is good (of course) for both my physical and mental well-being. Seems to me that this alone is reason enough for keeping them around.

Next: 374. 12/21/12: The Beginning of the End