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August 23, 2014: Tinni – Still the Number One Riding Horse

A tough call this morning, whether or not to take Raudi or Tinni on an unknown trail. Vickie had a few days before suggested that we ride the Caribou Creek Trail, with the excuse of going on a berry picking mission. I agreed to go along, but then I had a decision to make. This was what horse do I ride? Raudi had worked hard the previous day in that I’d done a strenuous trail ride and jumped her in a class. So I did not want to overdo it. But I suspected that she’d be up for this. And then there was Tinni, who had not been out in a few days. I wondered, could he handle this? I sensed that this would be a strenuous ride, and I didn’t want to push him beyond his old horsey limits.

I finally decided to take Tinni, my reasoning being that I hadn’t taken him on a lengthy trail ride in some time. Also, he’d spent his summer being Hrimmi’s pony horse – and that perhaps he would welcome going for a ride unfettered. And, okay, there was yet another reason. I sensed that I’d feel a tad bit more confident on Tinni than Raudi; this given that I had never before been on this trail before.

So Tinni it was. From the offset he did not disappoint. He loaded into Vicki’s trailer nicely, unloaded nicely in the parking lot, and stood still when being groomed and tacked up. And upon setting out, he moved in a controllable but very energetic fashion (out front) up the very steep trail, one that contained a handful of switchbacks.

Tinni, out front, also set a steady pace the entire way up to the saddle – this enabled me to easily duck under innumerable chest-high branches. And like Hunar, he deliberated before crossing the mud bogs created by the all-terrain vehicles. And, he stood still as Vickie and I cut down a few of the very low branches.

In our quest to get to the berries, we walked through a swampy, boggy area. My heart was in my throat, but as it turned out, the footing underneath the brush was fairly firm. Finally, we arrived at our destination. Vickie and I unsaddled our horses. She put Hunar on a picket line, and I let Tinni free to graze. The black gelding remained in sight as we loaded up on berries.

Two hours later, we decided that in the interest of time that we needed to head back in the direction of home. I retrieved Tinni, and walked him back to where I’d piled up my gear. He then stood absolutely still as I tacked him up, put my berry containers in his rear panniers, and put on my gloves.

The return journey back to the trailhead was quick because it was downhill. Like us, the horses were eager to get back to our starting point.

I rode behind Vickie. Tinni followed long, pacing himself, not once bolting downhill, not even when Vickie and Hunar got a ways ahead of us. Towards the end I got a little nervous because we were riding a single track along a drop off. This is because this brought to mind Siggi’s accident. I dealt with this just fine by putting pressure on Tinni’s right side with my right leg. I also kept my gaze focused to the on the brush-covered bank. Tinni, always careful, and always considerate, did as asked.

The grande finale were the switchbacks. Tinni, rather than cut the corners, moved to the wider turn areas, allowing himself to pivot around without throwing himself off balance. I must say, he did as well as our more experienced trekking horses.

I was, at the conclusion of this ride, ecstatic, for this had been a most wonderful ride. An added bonus was that the skies were clear, enabling us to see the distance peaks. And there were no missteps or mishaps of any kind.

Verified, that still, Mr. Tinni is my number one riding horse. Raudi is, of course, equally good, but Mr. Tinni has wisdom, which comes with age. Raudi may have done as well, but no, she would not have done as well as Mr. T. In time, she will be where he is. We are getting there. In the meantime, the old Steady Eddy horse continues to assist me in becoming a more confident and capable rider.

Next: 229. 8/24/14: Rain, Nonetheless