On a ride

It’s a rough assignment, but I think we’re up to it: I’m planning a multi-day horseback riding trip later in the summer so I’m trying to spend a few hours at a time in the saddle several days a week. When we first went to Julie, she told me “this dog can follow your horse all day!” and I didn’t really believe it would ever be possible for that crazy dog to do such a thing, but he’s really gotten quite good at it. Mostly.

Things have gotten a bit interesting for Chico – and a bit problematic for me. A couple weeks ago, for no apparent reason, Dakota chased Chico across the pasture. Since then Chico has, rather sensibly, decided the safest thing to do is keep his distance from Dakota. That’s fine except if we meet a car on the road – Chico is keeping all his attention focused on where Dakota is and where Dakota’s feet are pointed and what they are doing and paying absolutely NO attention to the car that wants to get by us.

On our quiet country roads, that’s not such a huge problem, not right now, but as more and more summer visitors show up traffic moves faster, city people are less aware of how skittish a horse can be, they’re looking at me on the horse, not down at ground level where Chico is – it’s a bit nervous making for me. I’m concocting a solution. The plan is to teach Chico “side” as a command. If he knows what the “side” of the road is and can go there when directed, he’ll be fine, and I can teach him where the side is, I know I can.

When I’m riding, it often takes both hands and most of my attention to manage the horse and the dog, so it’s hard to get pictures, but here’s a pretty lady slipper we saw the other day:

Small and maybe a bit blurry, but lady slippers were the first flower I learned to identify.

Small and maybe a bit blurry, but that pink spot is a lady slipper.  Lady slippers were the first flower I learned to identify, perhaps that explains my deep affection for them.

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