A Near-Perfect Day

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Yesterday, I hauled the horses to Oregon’s west side over the mountains to visit our trainer. From my perspective in Central Oregon, after days of rainy weather, there was a worrisome possibility of running into rain while traveling to Lebanon through the passes, but aside from a running into a few sprinkles, the drive as usual was uneventful, and of course, curvy and slow.

I always plan and try to arrive at the trainer’s before our lessons, early enough for the horses to enjoy a little grazing time after their long trip. The lead photo above shows Rosie as a happy pig in tall grass–and best of all she’s not alone. My friend, Elaine, while recently visiting Bend, suggested tying Pimmy to a breakable collar on Sunni’s neck in order to lead all three equines at once. Well yesterday, the sight of that tall grass motivated me to try Elaine’s suggestion. I rigged up a collar for Sunni, and to it, hitched Pimmy, and Presto! The three followed me quietly, without separation anxieties, and grazed peacefully.

Later, the work with our trainer became an enlightening experience. First with Rosie, I learned more about how to exercise her, using long ropes. The ropes, handled correctly, can control the speed and directions of her trotting. I learned about bringing her closer to apply more control, or closer to regain control when she does as she wishes, changing gaits so that the ropes become loose and sloppy. As she trotted, I practiced handling the lines, alternately bringing her closer and then sending her out farther. Our trainer had me practice having the horse reverse in direction, as I adjusted my hands on the ropes, in a way to control her action and speed.

During Sunni’s session, we hitched this pony, a push-button, she has it together and is a dream to drive. Yesterday, I practiced handling the reins and turning her correctly while she’s trotting. The focus was to keep her body and head in balance while approaching and making a turn, and completing it still in balance. It’s striking how the action of driving a horse–applying the reins–is similar to the use of long lines in exercising a horse.

Later, driving home was challenging because we ran into rain, and in some places downright downpours. The windshield wipers swung to and fro at full-speed while we went through the highest reaches of Santiam Pass. A bit later again, the wipers returned to high action through the town of Sisters. Thankfully, beyond Sisters the rain eased, and prior to reaching Bend became a light sprinkle.

Dear Friends, it’s good to be home safely, and with elevated training goals. Diana

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