Wednesday, March 13, 2013

View From Atop a Spider...or...Apples for Apples

In most of the communities where I've lived in the past few years I've found that many people are open to bartering and trading for services, food, clothes-whatever people are in need of.  In Washington, I even attended the well-known Okanogan Barter Faire, a multi-day festival devoted to the idea of sharing and trading goods.  This system is truly alive here on Waiheke Island.  Perhaps it is left over from Waiheke's counter-culture days or perhaps island lifestyle still necessitates it, but whatever the reason, it's great fun to give what we have in excess and get what we need in return with no money exchange.

My most recent "trade" has been with our neighbor and her horse.  Though he's just one horse, he produces way more manure than his owner knows what to do with.  On the other hand, because our land is solid clay and we collect any sort of organic material we can get our hands on, we fully encourage Spider to poop as much as he wants.  We come and collect heaps of poo to add to our compost and Spider the horse gets a clean paddock.  (Luckily, all of the wwoofers have been willing to help me with this job.)

Riding English style
In addition to us coming to visit Spider once a week to shovel poo and bring him tasty treats from the orchard, I've also been riding.  His owner often has to go to town all day and was worried about him getting a bit lonely.  Knowing that I would be too timid to offer to ride him, Chad made arrangements on my behalf, and now Spider and I enjoy each other's company each Wednesday for a sunset ride.  It's been a great learning experience for me, as well as a chance to overcome a fear.  I've always loved horses and riding, but I've never had the responsibility of saddling one myself and riding alone.  Even when I was little and had an absolute OBSESSION with horses (like so many little girls do) when I actually had opportunities to ride I'd become too nervous to even enjoy it.  I even remember a couple of times at 4-H camp when I faked being sick so that I didn't have to do the trail ride.  Of course, after a few minutes of being on a horse, I'd feel much better, but those initial butterflies were hard to ignore.

I still get those butterflies each time I ride after taking some time off, and I certainly had them when I first took Spider out.  Each time we go, however, I become more and more confidant.  Being able to ride the same horse regularly is not something I've ever done before, and I'm beginning to better understand the relationships that people form with their animals.  I look forward to my rides each week and his owner is happy for him to have some company.  And Spider loves the apples and carrots I bring him.  Win-win-win!

Flat Stanley has been staying with me for a few days now and was very excited to meet Spider.

Almost looks tropical....

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