Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2013 > Daily Dispatch #152

June 1, 2013: In Fairbanks, First day the CTR clinic

This morning I found myself thinking, yes, this is a real, bona fide clinic. Laurie Knuutia had organized and was running it. Eight riders were present, and two people were auditing it.

Early on, she talked about Competitive Trail Riding – what it’s all about, and how to go about doing it. She also talked at length about what gear to carry, and where to carry it. Gave me a great idea, which is to put together a small first aid kit for my saddle bag. Her thought is that leg lacerations are most common, so it’s best to be prepared for this.

Laurie Knuutia negotiating the fun noodles

Laurie also brought to mind many things that I was not sure about – for instance, I’m going to need to make sure my saddle bags are balanced on both sides, and remember to have on my person those items that I’d need should I come off my horse, and the horse ran off. (Yesterday I’d heard, on the radio, a fellow mention ten items needed when going hiking. This included a whistle.) I also learned more about saddles and saddle fit, and also some about how to condition my horse.

In the afternoon, after a demonstration on proper equitation and lunch, we went for a trail ride. I wasn’t looking forward to this because I am near phobic about riding in groups with strange horses. Plus, one of the attendees was riding a large Palomino horse who she forewarned, kicks. I appreciated knowing this, and as well, that she put the universal sign of the kicker on her trail, which is a red ribbon, but it sort of unnerved me. And this horse, a mustang, had come by her reputation honestly. According to Laurie, she once backed down trail with the owner on her back, with the intent of getting at another horse. Now I’d heard that only polar bears stalked their prey. I guess mustangs do the same.

Amazingly, the ten mile ride went quite well. Heather rode Signy and stayed in front most of the time. This was good because Raudi was wanting to blast down trail. I was a bit unnerved because this was not the Raudi who I dealt with this past winter, which is the trail swishing, obstinate creature of old. Rather, it was a highly energetic mare who wanted to be up with the front runners. It was preferable, but also unexpected.

We had absolutely no problems with any of the trail obstacles or trail distractions. This included the giant mud ditch in which the water was up to the Icelandic horses’ bellies. Laurie did warn us about one obstacle in advance -- a roadside memorial with Mylar balloons and flowers and white cross. Signy and Siggi went past quietly, and Raudi followed suit. And all remained calm when we rode alongside the ditch on Chena Hot Springs Road.

The best part was when we came to a low lying branch. Other horses went around, and we ducked under it. All in all, beautiful trails with last year’s leaves on the ground. And there were leaves on the trees. The terrain was gentle ups and downs.

Pizza for dinner. Then I gave Heather an impromptu bareback lesson on Signy. After, I took Raudi into the arena, and we did some obstacle work. No problem. Yes, Raudi and I are now moving forward. Never thought I’d see the light of day in the dark and dead of winter.

Next: 153: June 3, 2013: Overwhelmed