Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #120

May 1, 2014: Dog and Pony Show

I hope in the near future to get a vanity license plate that reads DGNPNY. This is short for dog and pony show. This is because it really is a dog and pony show around here. The negative connotation is of a mindless show put on to impress others. The positive connotation is ongoing animal care and training. I subscribe to the latter connotation.

Keeping our show on the road requires considerable focus, time, and energy. I try not (in a given day) to put all that needs to be done on autopilot because this would defeat the purpose, which is to do things in a mindful manner. But most days I do (early on) make a plan in my head and try to stick to it. I also try to not think about the fact that tomorrow I’ll again be doing the same tasks and dealing with the same time constraints – otherwise I will feel overwhelmed, as will the animals.

This day began with my doing the morning chores. Now that the weather’s better, I have the goats accompany me to the horse pen. They then hang out and eat the hay dregs in the hitching post area.

After breakfast – oatmeal, always oatmeal, I got some writing done.

I next continued with my ongoing project (I am taking a few hours each day to do things around the place), which was to clean the tack room. I continued putting things away, and put things that I no longer need in an old feed bag. This will make finding what I need easier and faster. I’m going to have to sit down(!) and clean saddles, bridles, halters, and other leather goods.

I next took the dogs for a walk – did the bench loop. The trails are now firm. The dogs were able to cool themselves off in the mud bogs, which made all, especially Ryder, quite happy.

Next, Pete and I took Raudi and Lifre for a jaunt. We’d planned on just doing the loop, but then we kept going and rode an extra few miles on the road. Raudi and I are doing well together –she’s again trotting for extended periods of time, and she’s cantering long distances on cue. And Lifre and Pete are doing well together. Lifre is out of shape, but he’s a willing fellow who happily does what Pete asks.

Next, Pete, Karen Hoppe, and I moved two truckloads of manure over to Karen’s place. The flies and mosquitoes are now out and about, so having less waste on hand reduces their numbers.

Next, while at Karen’s, I elected to do a practice search and rescue session with Ryder. Karen willingly played the role of the hapless gardener. She wore her straw hat, a long sleeved shirt, and jeans, and as would a real hapless gardener, wandered off into the woods. She went about 200 yards, to the right of her garden, and ducked behind a birch tree. Ryder watched her go. Then, she went right to Karen when I released her. We did a second run, from the same spot. This time, Karen went and hid behind an oil tank. Ryder happily trotted off in her direction, stopping briefly to sniff at the edge of Karen’s dog kennel, which was on her right. I said “on trail” and Ryder resumed the search, easily finding Karen.

Karen went inside for a minute, and I had Pete be Ryder’s subject. Pete went out of the yard and hid behind a tree. Ryder went right to him. Here’s the best part of all. Pete then engaged in a vigorous tug of war session with Ryder. This was exactly what she needed, and the perfect way to end the session. This was because it reinforced the idea that successful searches end with getting some kind of reward.

Next, we returned home and got Hrimmi and Tinni out. I rode Tinni and Pete walked Hrimmi around the loop. This is the most amazing part of all. We were passing by the upper road trailhead when Hrimmi stopped, then stood unmoving. So we went up the trail and let her go. She flew up and down the trails, for approximately half-an-hour, and then she met up with us at the Murphy Road trailhead. I was rather awed in watching her, for she’s maturing into a beautiful horse. It did me a world of good to see her cantering along, her thick red and white mane billowing like a sheet, behind her.

Next, I cleaned up after the horses and goats. The mosquitoes were now out in force and sucking the horses’ blood dry. So I acted as an intermediary, and stood brushing them off their sides and back.

I concluded my day thinking that I’m very fortunate, to have days like this, and also to be able to write about them.

Next: 121. 5/2/14: Horse Acquisition: Little Horses, Big Decisions