I almost didn't make it though. Sunday night, I had snacked on a handful of granola that was doused in Sunflower oil. Usually I'm good at reading labels but it didn't dawn on me that sunflower oil would be used for natural granola. Unfortunately I'm allergic to sunflower so after downing the allergy pills I had to wait out the stomach punishment that was to follow and it was a doozie. I was up nearly all night sick as you can imagine. Food allergies are no fun. At 2 a.m. I thought to myself I'd have to call the farm when the sun comes up and let them know I wouldn't be able to make it at all. Four a.m. rolled around and the stomach pains had subsided, I rolled out of bed determined to see that little white pony after all. I HAD to go. I woke up Halie, we turned out the horses, got ready and headed out on the long trip.
We pulled up and parked outside the barn Rose calls home. Got out and suited up in our coats and gloves, I loaded up my right pocket with a handful of Rounders cookies and headed in to see my girl. Slipped through the door and her feed window was open. She of course was eating breakfast, head buried deep in her feeder trying to round up the bits of grain hidden in the hay. I stuck my head over through the open window and watched as she kept on rooting through her hay. She finally felt my presence and quickly raised her head, eyeballing me for a quick second. I could see the startled look in her eye which quickly fell away as she plunged her head through the window and nearly inhaled my head. She'd place her nose on one of my face and quickly sniff and blow, sniff and blow. Went to the other side, sniff and blow, sniff and blow, went back to the other side, sniff and blow, sniff and blow.
I quickly removed my glove an offered her the back of my hand to smell. You could almost feel her excitement (more so cause I think she knew I came with cookies). Anyway, I opened her stall door and went inside.
She was clean, clipped and content looking. Legs were clean, no sign of stress or damage, which is part of things that I look for especially when your horse is going through the rigorous routines of training even though I think Rose makes her training very easy. You eventually figure out the difference when you've gone through so many horses in training over the years. All in all, I was completely happy with the way she looked.
I loved on her a little bit then before I forgot, I had to run back to the car for my Ziploc baggie and pliers. I had promised someone at Cornell University some tail hairs from Rose. They're working on the splash gene project and requested Rose's involvement in the program. Not a problem for me, I'm happy to help where and when I can.
So, with Halie at her head supplying the cookies, I went to the rear to pluck tail hairs. Every time she started munching away with the cookie in her mouth, I plucked and unchewed cookie bits came tumbling out to the ground. She went through three cookies on the ground before I was finished. I scratched her tail head which seemed to make her quickly forget what had just happened in the back end. As I scratched, she kept attempting to groom Halie's shoulder. I zipped up the hair collection and took everything back to the car.
The Big Guy pulled up. I was a tad bit earlier than he was expecting but he was completely happy to saddle her up to show her progress. We watched him tack her up and as he threw the pads on, he showed me what areas he wanted filled and her exact pressure points he wanted to completely cover and what shape of pad he felt would do the trick. I think he's pretty close of having her whole saddle pad issues figured out.
He continued to saddle and I watched as she stood there so compliant, so steady and content. He unsnapped her from the ties and I made the comment of how content and compliant she looked and he went on to tell me that she's not completely innocent and can certainly have her tantrums. I'm sure Miss Princess does have her moments.
As we were walking out the door, The Big Guy started to lead Rosie and I was standing by her side but she planted her feet and wouldn't move her shoulder past me. The Big Guy turned around to see what was going on and I thought to myself "uh oh, I better start walking!" so I moved forward and Rosie started walking too. After we went through the door I slipped around behind her and she continued to follow The Big Guy to the arena.
Halie and I walked to our usual spot to watch. There were a few riders and horses already riding around and as Rosie and The Big Guy rode in, her ears were perked forward and she walked with the grace of a princess with a haughty air around her. It almost seemed as she was telling everyone "Hey.. .. . . . Howya doin. . . . I'm taking over now".
They started their warm ups then went to loping around. Lead changes were on next in which I watched her swap several times with effortless ease. A few fast circles which quickly transitioned into slow when requested. Then stop and rest. After the break, spins were in order. While Rosie was turning and placing her feet correctly and adding some speed, the super duo is still learning to communicate on asking for speed in the turnarounds. I whispered to Halie, "remember, her clicker is broken." Usually in the turnarounds the rider will cluck or kiss to ask for speed. Well, Rosie is at a slight disadvantage but I'm 100% confident that under The Big Guy's guidance, she'll figure it out in no time.
Then came a few rundowns and stops. Her rundowns were so controlled it was beautiful. Just calm and controlled, not too fast and not in full blown reining horse motions like you'd see in finished horse of course. I don't expect much, she's still young and she's still learning, however once his legs were off she'd slide to the most beautiful position, butt tucked, head down and just rolled her body into the letter C. There was so much smoothness and grace in her movements. The Big Guy looked like he was floating as he rode.
After their last stop, she licked her lips and they rested for a few moments and then walked around a bit. When they were done, they walked over to us and The Big Guy dismounted. Rosie stood calmly by his side, her head by his hip and I could just see how much those two have bonded and how much respect they have for each other.
The Big Guy and I talked about her futurity progress. I told him that if she doesn't go to the Futurity it is not the end of the world for me and it was not our goal. The only reason we are paying into it now is she is looking to be a good candidate. I told him to let us know at any time if things for her change so I can call NRHA and cancel her entry and payments. He responded with as long as she continues what she's doing as well as she's doing it and stays sound and healthy, her future at the 2010 Futurity is completely promising. I myself think it would be an amazing feat considering she's roughly 7 months behind in training than most futurity prospects anyway.
We continued to chat about her for a few then Halie and I had to be on our way. We shook hands with The Big Guy, thanked him for his time and all of his help and walked to the car for the long ride home.