Wednesday, March 6, 2013

knocking off some dust... 7 years of dust.

Just before Thanksgiving I had a great idea to bring my old man, Rockie, out to the East Coast for a student to cruise around on for a few years.

Rockie was a homebred horse, out of a TB mare that was originally my grandmother's - given to my mom when my grandma passed away. He's by a Morgan Stallion who my aunt (dad's sister) owned, so he was literally a product of both sides of my family. When he was younger, I thought he was a little ugly - all neck and shoulders with very little caboose.

Until the day I got on him to canter through the field.  He was four years old.  My mom had competed him BN, and I was getting ready to move on from my pony I'd had for 8 years. He floated across the field and I promptly stole him from my mother.  From that day on, we began our climb up the levels, running the Training Level Three-Day at Mayfest HT in Lexington, Kentucky, and eventually moving up to Prelim.  Neither one of us had the education to run that level, but I was just dumb enough to try, and he was smart enough to keep us safe. We weren't the most successful, but it really didn't matter.

Right at the beginning of my senior year of college, Rockie had his first life altering health issue.  The night before we were going to leaving for an event (luckily my mom had come out with her mare that day), he started showing colic signs.  A little bit of Banimine and he seemed good to go -- until the next morning when he was in full blown shock.  He was in so much pain that he ran over 3 men to get out of a stall.  For the next 4 days, we took turns (my mom doing the most of it), walking around the indoor with an IV pole, giving him unlimited fluids.  He finally started to come out of it, and eventually returned to health.  He came back to compete in a Novice level event about 8 months later, but I was leaving with P for the East Coast, so Rockie went back to Illinois for a little more rest and recuperation.

For the next couple of years, he was leased by two people who competed him at the lower levels, but his respiration never did seem to recup enough after his illness.  He could get fit enough to run Novice and below, and he loved to be out on the XC course, no matter what the level.

And then his second life altering event occurred.  In a muddy part of the year, he came down with some seedy toe fungus, which was awful in itself.  Then, somewhere among the huge field that my parent's horses live in, he managed to find a 2" piece of metal and jam it into the hollow part of his toe.  You know the saying "No Foot, No Horse"?  Well we nearly had no horse. My poor mother was doing everything in her power to keep him comfortable. One of my awesome sponsors, HOOF WRAPS, was there to save the day.  My mom quickly ordered a wrap in order to avoid going into duct tape and vet wrap debt. Slowly and surely he grew his foot back was normal again!

So, now here we are a few years later.  Rockie is coming 18 this year and my mom was talking about how he needed to stay in work to keep everything moving properly.  I somehow convinced my parents to truck him out here when they were making the trip for Christmas, so they loaded him up (along with all of my things from my old room - I think they are really kicking me out!), and made the long trip out to NC.  Unfortunately, my student who I wanted him for needs to sell her horse (contact me if you know of anyone looking for a lovely open show/lower level dressage horse!) before Rock moves to her barn, so I get to have him around every day to pet and teach some lessons on.

Which (finally) brings me to the point of this post.... The Running Start Horse Trials was originally scheduled for the 23rd of February, but the lovely weather we've been having this winter (sarcasism), required it to move to Sunday. I had Prophet entered in the Prelim CT, but he had a chiro appointment on Sunday so was out for the show.  They weren't going to give refunds, so I needed a replacement, so I figured I should probably run Rock around once before handing the reins to Sarah.  They let me change to the Beginner Novice HT and down to Vass, NC we went.

Rockie was so excited that I wasn't so sure we'd get our giraffe neck down long enough for an entire dressage test, but we did, and it wasn't so bad. Show jumping came and Rockie thought that the jumps were way too small, and that lead changes were VERYEXCITINGTODOWITHLEAPSANDSQUELS!   So on we went to XC where he promptly tried to buck me off every time I attempted to slow him down.  He felt amazing though, and I had such a stupid grin on my face the whole time.  I even let him have a gallop up the last hill, speed faults be damned.

Running Start is sort of notorious for their slow posting of placings, so up the end, I had no idea how we'd placed.  When they finally posted everything, Rockie's name was in the first place column.  To say that I was excited is a bit of an understatement... or a really big understatement.   Really, you'd have thought I'd won Rolex - I was hugging  people I didn't know, squealing like Rock doing flying changes. Holy crap he won!!!!

So now hopefully he will calm down a little bit for Sarah to have fun on, although the horse definitely has jumping on the brain again.

In addition to Hoof Wraps, I also need to give a shout out to another amazing sponsor, CurOST, who definitely helps keep Rockie comfortable and happy doing his job at 18 years young. I have the most amazing sponsors ever!

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