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April 14, 2014: Horse Training: Only When You Have the Gene

I had some moments today when I wondered if we were nuts, taking on Lifre. First there’s the physical labor aspect. It’s now breakup and the horse pen and adjacent yard are a mess. So the addition of the big guy’s manure has added to the workload.

And then there’s the big guy himself. Lifre is a rather large and ebullient fellow. If he was human, he’d be the life of the bowling party. He has a bouffant for a forelock and kindly eyes. It’s hard not to like him because quite clearly, he likes us. (What’s not to like? We feed him generously, and are attentive to his every want, need, and concern.)

And then there’s the issue of herd order, and who is getting along with whom at any one given moment in time. With Signy, things were really clear cut. Raudi lorded over Signy, Signy lorded over Tinni, Tinni lorded over Raudi. Hrimmi, from the beginning, got along with everyone. Tinni and Lifre haven’t hit it off yet, Raudi and Lifre have hit it off. Lifre and Hrimmi are so-so.

I knew that taking Lifre on, even temporarily, would take considerable time, but I’m now seeing that taking him on, even temporarily, would take more time than I first thought. I’m okay with this; it just wasn’t what I expected.

I decided that rather than succumb to being overwhelmed that I would just take things a day at a time. So this is what I am now doing. All ‘n all, today was a good day. I first did some body work on Lifre, and then groundwork. I then walked him down to the road – he grew increasingly more nervous, so I didn’t take him far.

Pete and I agreed that he’d ride Lifre and I’d ride Tinni – my reasoning was that this would better solidify relations between the two, which up until this point in time had been tenuous. I have to say that Mr. Tinni was the perfect gentleman on our short trail/loop ride. We followed behind Pete and Lifre, Lifre wanting to move out. And together we watched Pete and Lifre canter up Samovar Road. The best I could do was to get Tinni to tolt. Next, on Sybarite, Pete and I, astride our horses, did the whoa and go game. All the while Lifre repeatedly neighed for Raudi, the horse who he now loves dearly. When we were on Sybarite, which is the upper road, she neighed back.

Lifre was far more focused on the trail, but every so often he still let his feelings be known to his rider. I later said that it was a good outing, my thinking being that Lifre didn’t run off with Pete, nor did he buck and rear, as he’s done in the recent past.

I next took Hrimmi, and Pete next took Tinni for a walk around the loop. Hrimmi moved along with considerable confidence. She didn’t miss anyone. Then I took Raudi for a solo ride. I was really impressed with how she did. She started out slowly, and a bit pacey, but never once did she turned in the direction of home, not even when Romeo pleaded with her to return. The farther around the loop we went, the more focused she became. She trotted nicely several times and made contact with the bit. I think she did well because she now has so many trail miles under her hooves.

After our ride, I tied her to the hitching post and left her to eat while I cleaned the pen. Lifre resumed eating, and was not unduly upset by the fact that the mare wasn’t in his immediate vicinity.

Tomorrow I’ll do again what I did today. And in addition, I might put Tinni in with Lifre, first tying Raudi and Hrimmi up to the hitching post.

I don’t know why I persist with any of this. It’s got to be that I really do have the horse gene. My rationalization is that there are far worse addictions to have.

Next: 105. April 15, 2014: Horse Training: Spring has Sprung