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February 6, 2013: The Bees Knees and Conditioning Horses

The beehives are almost covered with snow. Side-by-side they sit, undisturbed. There are no bees in the hives – this year they again failed to survive our attempts to overwinter them. Every year I think that this year’s crop will make it – but then a cold snap or a windstorm takes them out. We did have one year in which one hive made it – but they were a weakened bunch, and passed on when a new, stronger hive raided what little stores they had left.

It’s disheartening to open a hive and find 20,000 dead bees. I have this theory that the bees are so high energy that

they continue to give off energy when they die, hence my feeling of extreme remorse.

I’d like to see our hives make it. Pete and I have decided that in spite of the high cost, that we’ll again get two hives worth of bees this year. Leah and Nick (who are going to be our trip house-keepers) are going to tend to them. So this will be one less thing that will be in the hands of others.

In general, trip plans progress. It appears as though we might have a good summer home for Tinni. Terry and her daughter Joy might take him on. I have my fingers crossed that they’ll decide to have him at their place because Tinni would then be in excellent hands. Terry won several first place ribbons and awards in last year’s competitive trail ride. And Joy (who is a college student) is a joy to be around. We have other options, but I really want this one to pan out.

I’m soon going to get going on the dehydration portion of trip planning. I’m first going to go through the boxes we didn’t use on our last trip and do an inventory. Then I’m going to figure out what additional items we need. I may begin by making granola because this is going to be easy to do. I prefer it to oatmeal when out on the trail.

I’m also now conditioning the horses, with an eye towards their being in good shape before the trip begins. Right now, this involves doing distance work on the flats. This is to a large part possible right now because we have Signy on hand. She has a wonderful trot, and will sustain it for a long time – it does not matter if she’s the one being ponied, or is the one doing the ponying. Up until now I’ve mainly been riding her and ponying Raudi. And so Raudi now is both in good shape and better able to trot long distances.

Today I got the four riding horses out. I first rode Tinni and ponied Raudi, then rode Signy and ponied Raudi. I then rode Siggi and ponied Signy. And everyone, in groups of two got walked some.

I will soon begin to vary the ponying order – maybe ride Signy and pony Tinni, ride Siggi and pony Raudi, and ride Tinni and pony Siggi. These are the tougher combinations, but I’m game. I never thought I’d see the day in which I was ponying any of these horses. I remember when Katelyn, Tinni’s former owner, came over and rode Tinni and ponied Raudi. This was a few years back. Then, Raudi had no brakes. Katelyn attempted to stop her when she came to the driveway and Raudi just kept going. And so, so did Tinni. Right then I said to myself that I’d only take out one at a time.

I guess what motivated me to attempt ponying was the image of Bernie Willis, riding around on his ATV and ponying his horses this way. I then figured, why have the horses if you can’t exercise them by riding them and bringing others along? After all, this is what they do in Iceland. So this is what I’m now doing. I’m enjoying this, and so are the horses.

Next: 38. 2/7/13: Pony Grrrl