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Chippewa Is Quite The Hiker!

By: Dr. Marie Richardson (Dr. C)

So, this week Chip has been on two hikes. Yes, hikes. They may have been short ones but hikes nonetheless. Yesterday, Mike, Nathan, Lexi, and I took Chip on a walk around the neighborhood. I had been hesitant because Chip hasn’t been leading well. We found out that the trick was to get him out of his routine and familiar surroundings. Then he trusted us to show him that the world is not a scary place. At first he just wanted to go inside.

Like all of us, he had his routine down and any deviation from that was stressful. Today I repeated the hike with Chip and Paula. This time he felt much more comfortable. It was interesting to see how he handled the objects that he saw yesterday with ease. He had already investigated them and knew that they were not anything to be afraid of. He trotted through those objects with ease. However, each new item he encountered was scrutinized. Very few things gave him a startle. I think that because he is so imprinted on humans, he relied on our reaction and was not startled easily by things or noises that didn’t affect us.

The river made a big impression, he watched the ducks for a while and thought that they were pretty neat but I don’t think he truly appreciated the cold water. I was proud of him that he ventured into it a bit. My mom and I used to have a horse that would look at a small trickle of water and to cross the water she would leap 15 feet to clear it. It was quite interesting trying to ride her over any kind of water.

Chip, on the other hand, took everything in stride. He even walked, quite comfortably, right over the wood bridge at Fun City. When he got to the other side he looked as if he wanted to play Putt Putt but there is that problem about not having opposable thumbs. He then walked over to Sweet Basilico’s and checked out the patrons in the restaurant. Not sure if he wanted some pasta or to just show off his stride. We then finished our hike down Riverside. He sure seemed to like his walk and exploration and it was nice to get him out walking so that we can work on his strength and endurance.

I think that he also enjoyed the attention that he got. Maybe we’ll have to take a stroll downtown one evening and check on the shops. He sure has become a great family project. My husband Mike even remarked this morning, “It’s about family, it’s about love”…Yes, he WAS talking about the horse!

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