Miss Rose had another wonderful day yesterday, prompting one of our resident trainers to describe her as “magical,” which may be the most perfect term for her that could be dreamed up. Last night we went out for a nice group trail ride which featured four OTTBs. The cast of characters was Magical and Perfect Rose, Woody, Midnight (a gorgeous black gelding who looks like I dreamed him up when I was a kid- seriously, he is *that* gorgeous), and perhaps the most magical of all, Phinny, Allie’s awesome and wonderful miracle gelding.
Heading out, Mr. Woods was a little uppity- not doing anything but sort of bouncing a little bit, and looking at things I’m pretty sure he doesn’t normally look at. Several times, Rose thought maybe she should follow his lead, but a reminder that “we’re really not doing that today” was all it took to keep her in a settled walk.
Her first “real world test” came early in the ride, when Phinny and Woody geared up to jump a few basic jumps that came up along the way. With my own horse, and even a little with Klondike, the issue of being with a larger group, and then having part of that group go ahead at a faster pace, was a difficult one. She seemed to be a little weirded out by the jumping at first, but she figured out, after watching Phinny and Woody go over it once and circling back, that she didn’t have to worry about them leaving her. From that point on, she just stood and watched as they repeated the jump a few times, and other than one little “let’s get on with it!” paw, she was perfect.
Later on, we would take turns leading and following again. And again, she cracks me up with her leadership skills. When she’s following other horses, she’s a moseyer, and will just plant her nose behind someone else’s bum and sort of zone out. When she’s in front, she’s on a MISSION! There are THINGS to see and PLACES to go and there MIGHT be something VERY IMPORTANT around the next corner. You put her in front, and you will find that you are leaving your friends far behind.
After a very enjoyable CANTER cavalcade trot and canter through some fields, we were home again and decided to try a few of the smaller obstacles along the driveway at our farm. We followed Woody over the teeny log, and she had her First Real Jump. Then, we trotted the ditch for the first time. The first few times actually trotting it, she was a doll. All I had to do, really, was keep a bit of leg on, grab mane, and look up. She has a really honest feel to her, which is hard for me to describe. Klondike was pretty honest, but I always had the feeling (rightly, probably) that I had to actually ride to the jumps. And he could, on occasion, be just a teeny bit squirrely. There is no such feeling with Rose. Unless I do something monumentally bad up there to ruin her or overface her, I expect that she will just do whatever we ask her to. And I don’t have to be technically perfect either. Just leg, and hang on.
However, after a few times over the ditch, she was pretty sure she was done. And as I’ve mentioned, she can be just a teeny bit opinionated about such things. So when I turned her back around to go back down the driveway, she said, “nooooooo! don’t want!” and hopped up a little in front. I should mention here that rearing is one thing I really have an irrational fear of. When horses hop up like that I normally tend to freeze a little bit, with a small amount of internal panic that says “don’t do anything until their feet are on the ground” Strangely, with her I didn’t get that feeling so much. And just popped her on the shoulder and continued on our merry way. I’m normally a whip-behind-the-leg girl, but the shoulder was sort of an automatic reaction, and for some reason seems to work well with her, so there you go. After that, she came down the log and was lovely over the ditch again.
I’m thinking that the possibilities for the little show this Sunday might be slightly expanded from just the walk-trot class 🙂