Ready for the Head of the Lake

(To those who may not know, the “Head of the Lake” is the ginormous water complex at Rolex, and if you haven’t been to Rolex, you really need to go.  Just sayin’.)

Yesterday we had a lovely ride, accompanied by Allie and TRUCKEEEEEE!!!! (sorry, but Truckee is just a silly horse that it’s like you always have to shout his name and squeal, rather than just saying it).  We started our toodle in the usual way, casual walking back to the trails.  TRUCKEEE!!! occasionally saw some dragons hiding in the bushes and jumped or snorted- to which Rosey responded by first flinching (well, he could be right about those dragons) and then rolling her eyes as if she couldn’t believe what a dork he was.

As we continued our trail (with some trotting and cantering and such) we turned toward the creek in the woods for some water education.  Rosey is pretty good with water, even though her first real experience in the creek involved the HORRIFYING experience of having water FLUNG at her by one of the other horses on the ride.  She was pretty insulted by that, reacting much like a teenager in a silk dress might to a kid with a water gun.  On later trail rides, when no one was around to see, she gave pawing in the water a try herself, but stopped quickly, to maintain her air of maturity and superiority.

So this time, though TRUCKEEEE! is pretty decent at crossing water, we gave a lead down the creek to actually walk along it and play in the different kinds of footing that exist in stream beds.  We then managed to find a lovely stretch where the footing was even, not rocky, but also not too soft or trappy, where we could take a little trot through the water.  At first, Rosey wasn’t so sure that’s what I wanted her to do, but she picked it up fast enough and went trotting through like a champ.  Rolex? Here we come!

As I was bringing her back to a walk, I suddenly heard a peal of hysterical laughter behind me.  As we turned to look, we see TRUCKEEE! on his belly in the water, looking completely innocent, as if he had NO IDEA of how he got down there.  “Who, me?  I would never, ever, intentionally try to roll in the water.  Not me!”  Allie managed to get him up before he actually tried to roll, but couldn’t contain the giggles, which lasted for a good five minutes.  Again, Rosey looks down on this behavior, because it is so beneath her, and she’s embarrased all the time by it.  You could almost hear her thinking, “Boys…

We made it back without incident, and because people were schooling in the big jumper ring, I took the opportunity to take her around a little up there.  Klondike was very wiggly his first time out there, with no fence and such a big space, he didn’t seem to feel comfortable his first few times.  But Rosey had no issue with that, and went all over the ring in her usual straightforward way.  After seeing the pictures of Liza riding (see previous post), and listening to how Allie described it, I tried going for a more forward trot.  I think I tend to feel a little uncomfortable on Rose at the more forward gait, if only because she’s small so I feel sort of awkward.  I’m used to slightly bigger striding horses, so it’s an adjustment for me.  I think over the next few rides I will use a neck strap or something, to help me balance on it and find where I’m supposed to be without doing anything bad with my hands. 🙂  In any case, at that more forward trot, she definitely offers to stretch her head down and out much more, at one point approaching something near Long & Low, which was pretty cool.

After a brief canter, Allie set up a small crossrail for us.  The first few attempts?  Sort of a fail.  She’ll go over anything, she just wasn’t jumping it. She was sort of crashing over instead.  Part of this was probably me- I could feel myself getting to the jump and doing the typical lean-forward thing, which really wasn’t necessary.  I don’t know if she was reacting to that, or if she was just being a goof and as a result I was feeling my mistake more, or what.  But Allie put the jump down to a pile-of-poles, and when I approached and didn’t “jump ahead” she actually picked her feet up and hopped over.  From there, back to the crossrail, I tried to remember that feeling, and she did indeed actually jump over.

When going to that crossrail away from the barn, she did get a little salty, wanting to toss her head and go back the other way.  It took a little insistence (shaken rein, a little pop, and lots of leg) but she did go over the jump, and jump it.  One more time over for good measure and she was done for the day.  My lesson… use a neck strap and find my balance better, and stop trying to jump for the horse, as they are quite large and can do it themselves, but it’s a lot harder with a monkey flinging itself at the horse’s neck.  🙂

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