Virtual Gaits, Virtual Trees, Update

Training Journal

If you’re riding a horse, you’ve already won.

Awareness of the outside world. The plot of No Fixed Line by Dana Stabenow (Gere Donovan 2020 Kindle) hinges on two children separated and detained at the border. A friendly reminder that old horrors don’t disappear when new horrors arise.
The ride is virtual. The gaits and the trees are real.

Milton has bad moments and a good attitude. Rodney has good moments and a bad attitude.

Milton has decided that going around the pasture together is not a race. When Rodney trots off into the distance, Milton toodles along, knowing he will get there eventually. So far, the one time Rodney and I disappeared around a corner, Milton responded by putting up his ears. Wonderful.

We are working on deescalating his issues at the mounting block. Some days he’s relaxed. Other days, he’ll ratchet up the tension meter. Just intermittent enough to keep us on our toes. After a few steps, maybe as much as a quarter of a circle, he’s over it and ready for the day. He’s the same with driving. Weird.

Rodney has decided he is a big, bold endurance horse who cannot be contained by the pathetic paces of his traveling companion. If we are in front, he strides off at a walk, and motors off at a trot. If we are following at a walk, he tries to pop into a trot. Just where do you think you are going? If we are following at a trot, he gets all round and bunched up. If I pick up the reins and tell him where to put each foot, he will do a passable western jog. I am so not interested in riding a horse who I have to supervise at every step.

Our theory is that he has decided to behave but be as unpleasant about it as possible. He thinks I will blink first. Little does he know that Tevis rules allow for the rider to dismount and run beside the horse. Listen up, you big dork. We will finish this 100 miles, if I have to walk you in-hand for the next 67 miles. Put that in your feed bucket and chew it.

I know, I shouldn’t call him a dork. Name-calling is not going to help my attitude.

We went around with a lopper and a handsaw. Took down the more obvious projections. The result was heaps of branches off to the side along the path.

Milton gave them all the side eye. They had not been there before. He did not like the look of them.

Rodney kept trying snack on the downed branches, even as the leaves faded. Leaf jerky. It’s a thing.

Stay safe. Stay sane.
Katherine Walcott

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