So, I think by now with today's visit, writing about the first visit is completely obsolete. I had a hunch this would happen, that I'd never get around to writing about the first time around. I'll have to go on however because after today, my last visit with Rose two weeks ago IS obsolete.
Of course the day started out late. I had the alarm set for 4:00a.m. so I could get the horses here out, stalls cleaned and get the farm ready so I wouldn't have to work when I got back home, but things didn't work out and I ended up oversleeping by an hour. I ran to the kitchen, hit the on button on the coffee pot, scared the piss out of Halie when I woke her up by flinging on the light, threw the clothes on and hustled off to the barn to get the horses out. Thankfully everyone was polite enough to poop in one place so I just left the chores for us to do when we got back.
With all horses out, I loaded up Poison and drove up to the house to get the last of the things, down another swig of my coffee and we hit the road.
Two and a half hours later, we reach our destination. I pull up and park, unload Poison, rig up her water bucket to the trailer and then went to see Halie's mare. She had nicked herself and had been gimpy so Halie, trainer and I took her out to lunge her around a bit to see if she was still gimpy in which she wasn't, so good news for Halie, she was able to get a lesson in.
We put her mare back in her stall so Halie could come with me to visit Rose. From across the farm I could see her looking through her stall watching us walk towards her. Of course my left pocket was plumb full of cookies and I had her box of supplements in hand to take to the girl who is riding her. I could barely get the door open before her nose was right on me, sniffing out her treats. I immediately handed her one and proceeded to scratch all her favorite spots. After scratching, I'd stand near her hip and offer another cookie which would make her reach all the way towards the hip, stretching the muscles. Went around to the other side and did the same. Her rider came around the corner to let us know how Rose had been doing. She proceeded to tell me she could feel Rose getting stronger, her back is still holding up and they just put shoes on her. Oh wow! I was so excited! My baby had her first pair of baby sliders on.
After a great welcome, I went up to the office to discuss a few things with the gal who works there and it just so happened the Big Guy was in there. So, I started a conversation with him regarding another horse. Then he asks "where would you like your white filly to be." I told him I merely wanted for her to be the best she could be and that I didn't think she was futurity material due to her being so far behind any other futurity horses and of course the obvious, her back.
Now, the Big Guy can be a very stoic man. When I talk to him, you can see he actually listens to every word and you can nearly see him thinking. When this conversation started, he was very straight faced with a matter of fact voice but when I said "I don't think she's futurity material" he cocked a grin and said "if she's just as good as I think she's going to be, I wouldn't count her out just yet". He went on to say he really didn't want to get hopes up but she showed great talent and that she's strengthened in such a short time and what they're doing to maintain the soundness in her back. He said she's treated special for that since he's never had to deal with a handicap like hers before.
I went on to thank him for all he's done so far and that we really can only take it day by day with her.
After my talk with the Big Guy, Halie and I went to saddle up. I was nearly through my lesson when I spotted Rose and her rider walking up the road towards the arena. Now wouldn't you know I felt like the teenage kid waiting on her prom date to walk up the sidewalk and ring the doorbell and I had to snap back to what I was doing. I mean, Rose IS one of the reasons why I've got to be the best reining rider I can be. So Poison and I continued to lope our circles while I kept trying to "feel" my leads, Rose and her rider loped into our same circles. Another first I noticed. Rose was now sporting a full cheek snaffle! My last visit she was riding in just a side pull, now she was in snaffle and rode like she'd had a bit in her mouth for years. As Rose passed us in a circle, Poison nickered at Rose but Rose never acknowledged her old pal from home. In fact, Rose never acknowledged any other horse in the arena for that matter.
After loping my circles, I had to show my coach what I had been working on at home with my turnarounds and it was about this time I noticed that the Big Guy was in the arena. Rose and her rider were at the other end and her rider was dismounting while the Big Guy stood there and then it happened. The Big Guy legged up and walked off on Rose. As I was putting Poison through her motions I made a crack about how distracting it was and my coach said "well, go ahead and take a break for a minute if you want to watch". I responded, "nah, that's okay, I need to get used to this. I've got to learn and can't just drop everything every time Rose is in the arena." That's when my coach chuckled and said "well, take a break anyway cause I want to watch." I laughed and said "Okay, won't get any arguments out of me!" I trotted Poison to the middle of the circle next to the coach, Halie pulled her mare up beside me and it seemed at that point in time, everyone stopped what they were doing and just watched. The Big Guy loped her around to the right a few times, then took his leg off and she folded in half with her little stop. I know she slid at least five foot (she just got her shoes on a few days prior). As everyone exclaimed some sort of hoot or whistle after her little stop, my coach hollered across to another of the trainers "do you think he likes her". The other trainer looked at me with a huge surprised look on his face and said "he's NEVER gotten on any of the young colts that's only been under saddle three - four weeks. Never."
Then the Big Guy wanted to see what she do with her turnarounds. Each time he asked her to turn, she crossed over correctly with each step. She may have gotten bound up maybe and I mean a huge MAYBE 4 times, but each step was over and correct and she never once gave him a fit. He asked, she gave.
It was right about this time a young colt slip out of his halter at the end of the arena and decided to take off in that run of freedom around the barn, tail up and causing a ruckus among the stalled and pastured horses. My coach and the trainer on my right jogged out of the arena to help along with the rest of the crew that was in the arena. The Big Guy and Rose were at a standstill at the other end and at the opposite end, it was just me and Halie.
The Big Guy started Rose off again at a lope in right circles. As he came through the middle, he asked and my little white pony changed leads and they continued to lope a few left circles. My jaw hit the saddle horn. I looked at Halie and said, "did you see that!" She slowly nodded her head yes without saying a word. I think we were both in disbelief. I quickly said "good, cause nobody is gonna believe what we just saw."
With the runaway captured, everyone returned to the arena. The Big Guy brought Rose to a stop near us, dismounted, handed her reins to her rider, gave her a pat and walked to the rail. I swear I saw him grinning from ear to ear!
I asked him how she felt and he nodded and grinned and said she felt strong. She had a good mind, she didn't get "pissy" with him at anytime and he was happy with her. I could only reply "good".
So as Rose was led away, Halie and I rode for a few minutes longer then it was time for us to hit the road again. I led Poison to the trailer and unsaddled her, grabbed two handfuls of cookies and set off on my trip across the farm to tell my little white pony how much I loved her.
The pictures of her under saddle were from our last visit. The top photo is from today. Halie happened to get a picture on her phone while I was in her stall.