Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #106

April 16, 2014: Sloshing in my Galoshes

The above dispatch title aptly describes what most of us do when dealing with breakup, which is the real onset of spring. The ground is sodden, like a sponge. There are patches of what Stacey Re calls “dirty diaper” snow. It’s gross, it’s ugly. It’s hard to keep the place clean. Mud seems to have no boundaries. And yet, it’s one of the most wonderful, if not the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s no longer bone chilling cold. It’s no big deal if I forget my gloves. And the ice has melted. So I no longer have to take minute, cautionary steps as I attempt to navigate the treacherous terrain. And, the geese are back. Yesterday we were

Loading up Signy for camping

at the bank, getting horse insurance forms notarized. As the clerk did the requisite administrative paperwork, I sat and watched as the wavery V made its way up and over nearby Matanuska Peak.

All the animals here know it’s spring – or like me are happy that the days are again warm and that it’s now daylight until 10 p.m. And all, the chickens, goats, dogs, and horses, have more of a spring to their step.

Today I rode Tinni and ponied Hrimmi around the loop and up onto the trail. Tinni, head high, could barely contain himself. He’s never felt better since arriving here. No, he’s no longer the sad, sick fellow with a hacking cough. Rather, he’s a happy fellow who doesn’t even have to stop to catch his breath. Hrimmi also moved at a good clip, taking off at a gallop once we got to the trail and I released her.

I didn’t have the time to do anything with Raudi. And I had just a little time to work with Lifre. He’s getting increasing more agreeable – and he is staying out of my space when I enter the pen. He seems to like it here, but as I said yesterday, what’s not to like?

This morning I took Raudi and Hrimmi out of the pen and tied them to the hitching post, where they ate breakfast. I then opened the pen gate so that Tinni could join Lifre. This worked out well. They focused on eating. I then put Hrimmi in with the boys. This worked out well. They focused on eating. Then I put Raudi in with Hrimmi and the boys. This worked out well. They focused on eating. There was no kicking, squealing, bucking, biting, or rearing. Still, I took no chances. I returned Tinni to his pen after Pete and I ate our breakfast.

This evening I put the hay out and then opened the gate for Tinni. This worked out well. They all focused on eating. So herd dynamics are looking good. It’s now time to focus on ground training and riding.

Ground training – that’s my job. I’m going to need to chunk things down for old Lifre. Tomorrow I might have Lifre stand quietly in the driveway and work my way down to the road. I can’t take shortcuts or push things beyond what I think they ought to be. I need to use body wraps and do body work. I can do this.

Pete’s going to continue to ride Lifre and maybe pony Raudi tomorrow. I’ll ride Tinni and pony Hrimmi. We are again a group of four. It’s what Stacey Re calls “the new normal.”

I still miss Signy something awful. I miss her more than Siggi in the sense that while I trained them both to be riding horses, I rode Signy more. As soon as the ground is thawed and it’s green again, I’ll write up a eulogy and read it in the place she should have been buried – up on the hill where Bootleg and a handful of chickens are buried. And then I’ll say my goodbyes. At least we have Hrimmi. At least this is what Pete and I keep telling one another.

Next: 107. 4/17/14: Horse Training: Alys on Lifre