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April 11, 2014: Horse Training: Raudi’s Eleventh Birthday

Today is Raudi’s eleventh birthday. I’ve now owned her a decade. We celebrated this birthday by taking a photo of her with me riding her. We’ve been doing this every year since she was three. I used to hold up my fingers and in this way indicated what her age was. I have only ten fingers, so this year I held up a piece of cardboard with a hand drawn #11 on it. Raudi stood still as I mounted, and stood still as Pete took a series of photos. He had to take several because she kept moving her ears back and forth. (I think that she was hoping that I’d sing happy birthday.) This year we got some unexpected snow, so there was more white in the photo than in past years.

We additionally celebrated Raudi’s eleventh by going for a trail ride. I rode her, Pete rode Tinni, and Pete ponied Hrimmi. Once we were a ways out on the trail, we let Hrimmi loose.

Over the years, Raudi and I have had our ups and downs. Actually, there have been more ups than downs, or else I would not still own her. It used to be that I could not walk her on the road. And it used to be that I could not walk her on the trail. I can now do both, although sometimes walking her on the trail is difficult. At heart, she’s a bargy horse and I am never ever going to cure her of that.

Raudi’s pen manners are now excellent. I see the young Raudi in Hrimmi – Raudi also used to be pushy. Raudi now comes up to me nicely, and stands still when being haltered, groomed, or tacked up. As for her behavior under saddle; well, we’ve worked through the problem of her throwing a fit when Hrimmi rushes up behind her. We’ve also worked through the problem of her rushing down hills when she feels fit. A part of this is me – and I’ve been working on this. Now, before going down hills, I look up, put my shoulders back, and put my seat in neutral pelvis. This works well, as does my riding her behind Tinni, who goes down hills very nicely.

This year, I’d very much like to take riding lessons on Raudi. I think she’d like it best if there were obstacles for her to negotiate. This would of course make her an even better riding horse, and me an even more confident rider.

Give Raudi a job, and she takes it seriously. For example, she is an excellent pony horse. She has a great deal of patience with Hrimmi – and if Hrimmi stops, she will, on command, back up. She also will come to me if I feign being wounded. She still stops and thinks about it before doing this, but she does do it.

The most important thing – and the thing most worth mentioning – is that Raudi is my best horse friend. (If I wasn’t with Pete, I’d remove the word horse from the previous statement.) Raudi is not very demonstrative; that is, she does not wear her heart on her little horsey sleeve -- but we are now very close – this has come about in our being together so much of the time.

I also think that Raudi is pleased about there only being three horses in the pen right now – one is a youngster who she can boss around as she pleases, and the other is an old fart who she can boss around as she pleases.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if Raudi and I were to part, and she found herself in the hands of another owner. I really have no idea what she’d think about this. I suspect she’d be fine under saddle but a bit put off in the pen. As for me – I would be heartbroken. Pete’s buddies were also my buddies, but my buddy is my buddy.

Eleven years going on twelve. This is a good age. Raudi’s still young enough to have considerable spunk but old enough (as they say) to know better.

Next: 102. 4/12/14: Horse training: Lifre