Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2013 > Daily Dispatch #253

December 4, 2013: Happy Trails

As I write this, it’s 3:35 p.m. and already getting dark out. I have now flipped my day around, so that I am getting my animal-related activities done early in the day. I will continue to do this until we again have more daylight hours. My getting out and also taking my vitamin D-3 are enabling me to do a better job than previously, of getting through winter. Think about it – life is short, and winters are long. To spend seven months of one’s year waiting for the other five is a waste of very valuable time.

This morning, when I went out to feed, I noticed that Hrimmi’s left rear leg was again locked. (She has upward fixation of the patella.) I put her halter on and walked her around, and she unlocked

and loosened up some. As I was mucking, Pete came down with the water and I voiced my concern about Hrimmi to him – that she was again locking up. Pete, I later realized, was right in what he said, that getting her out and about is the best thing for her. We have been doing this every day, by exercising her on varied terrain.

We ate breakfast, and I then took the dogs out. Ryder was very excited to be out on the trail; in fact, she was so excited that she didn’t respond to my repeated entreaties to come back to me. I finally let the matter drop. She’s young, and in time her recalls will become more reliable.

I walked the part of the trail that I figured we’d later ride. The route I took was a bit crunchy underfoot – not punchy like yesterday, except for one section. The trail has held up really well thus far – we are fortunate to have been riding this year into December. Ryder, Jenna, Rainbow and I went as far as Grizzly Camp; then we headed back in a homeward direction. I practiced heel, sit, stay, and come with all the dogs. The older dogs are a good model for Ryder, and they also enjoy doing this work.

Once back at home, I worked with Ryder on goat herding. Her shining moment was when, after she put the goats in the pen, she laid down outside the pen and didn’t budge. Amazing – she knew that putting herself in that particular spot would enable her to keep the goats where they were supposed to be. This also turned out to be good practice for me, because I realized that I’m the one in charge. In this case, I had to have the goats follow me up the hill. I have been telling Ryder that her job as a herder is not to run them into the ground, or to nip at the ungulate’s heels, but rather to protect and care for her charges. I am going to continue to impress this upon her although I have the feeling that she’s getting it.

It was finally time to get the horses out. We now routinely tack up and take out all four. It was actually not that long ago that we were taking them out in two separate groups. I’m pleased with how we are doing this now. This saves us time, and also (I’m sure) is less boring for the horses. Practice makes perfect. Tinni is now allowing himself to be ponied. Hrimmi is now less inclined to run up on the other horses. Raudi is no longer throwing tantrums when Hrimmi comes up behind her. And Signy is easier to rate.

Today we started out with me in the lead. I rode Raudi and ponied Tinni. Pete followed on Signy. And as usual, Hrimmi was here, there, and everywhere. We changed positions later on. Twice I dropped Tinni’s lead when Raudi picked up the pace. And twice Raudi backed up and allowed me to grab it. And twice, Tinni held still while I went to catch him.

These rides, on our wonderful self-created trail system, are the stuff dreams are made of.

Once back at home, I did some body work on Hrimmi. Earlier, Pete had done some additional research on her condition. After, we both deduced that stretches, plus TTeam body work, will help. But most importantly, we need to continue to get her out on the trail, where she herself will build up her musculature. She was amazingly loose, and her joints were quite pliable after being out on the trail. If it so happens that we get a huge dumping of snow, and can’t get out onto the trails, I will then (again) build a yard trail obstacle course and take her through it.

Working with all these animals IS time consuming. And it does give me a lot to think about. But at this stage of my life, I would not have it any other way.

Next: 254: 12/5/13: Pete