Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2013 > Daily Dispatch #35

January 4, 2012: Stupor Bowl Sunday

This is what I call this day, a day in which millions watch a football game and as many ads as corporate American can cram down their throats. This form of inactivity makes no sense to me at all. It just seems to me like sanctioned violence.

I don’t even give the matter much thought. Rather, I’ve come up with a tradition, one that I adhere to religiously every first Sunday in February. Most people, and in particular, trail trashers (my new name for them), are inside on this particular day, which is why I head outside. It’s actually the best day of the year to be outdoors. It’s like it would be if there were fewer people in the world.

I didn’t waste any time this morning. I went outside (again, first time, to do chores) after breakfast and got Signy and Raudi ready for a jaunt. It turned out to be a longer ride than I thought it would be. This was because they, as well as I, were up for this.

We got a ways down the road, going at a nice trot, and then all the sudden Raudi became more animated. Head up, ears forward, nostrils flared – the same old same old. I looked down the road and saw what she saw – two women on fat tire mountain bikes, coming in our direction. I used to ask bicyclists and what I call two headed people (humans with children on their shoulders) to talk to me, and explained that this makes horses less nervous. Now I instead invite conversation, usually by exchanging pleasantries and posing a question. Today I did both, by asking the first how she was doing.

Her friend then pulled up and we stopped and talked for a bit. Like me, they were glad to be out. I asked if they were, as I was, obviously taking advantage of the fact that it was Stupor Bowl Sunday, and they both said yes. They continued on after alerting me to the fact that there six snowmobilers ahead of me. They didn’t say how far back they were, and I didn’t ask.

I suddenly recalled that the game wasn’t going to start until later; hence, the bilers were most likely getting in a pre-game ride. I put this all out of my mind and kept going. I never saw them. It turned out to be yet another wonderful ride. I got to thinking that I’m getting more and more at ease with riding Signy and ponying Raudi.

I later realized that I’ve gotten a little too at ease with riding Signy and ponying Raudi. On the return ride home I asked Signy to canter, and she bolted. I didn’t do as I’d done in the past, and panic. Rather, I assessed the situation as darling Signy hoofed it uphill. There were no oncoming cars, no decapitation limbs, no slick spots ahead. So I rode it out. Signy soon slowed down, and when I asked, stopped. I’d dropped Raudi’s line a minute before. She raced alongside for a bit, and then stopped by the side of the road.

I went back to get her. I was determined to get a hold of Raudi without getting off Signy. Raudi was at first evasive, but gave in when she saw that I had pulled a treat out of my pocket. I grabbed her lead and again got us situated – both horses standing quietly, side-by-side, me with reins in one hand, and the lead rope in the other.

I knew that the two would take off again, had I encouraged this. But I did not. We trotted another mile, then I got off and we walked the final mile home. I’m pleased with how Raudi and Signy are doing. Long slow distance is good for us all.

I’m soon going to begin doing more groundwork with all the horses. This will make them more responsive and supple.

I later went for a second ride—I rode Tinni and Pete rode Signy. As I was concerned this was a great way to spend Stupor Bowl Sunday.

Next: 36. 2/5/13: Rise and Shine Moosey Moosey