In which we formally introduce Rocky, and he takes baby steps

I'd like y'all to meet Rocky.

 Rocky is a homebred Arab, born at Fish Creek Farm, and made from parts found hanging around the place.  He's five years old now, and starting to learn how to do his Real Job.

Steep learning curve:  Rocky can't eat and walk at the same time.  Yet.
Rocky has been handled his entire life, and his training has been very slow and gradual.  

Prior to starting endurance training with Patty, Rocky spent a bunch of time in the arena learning basic dressage.  In the arena, he learned to carry a rider, to walk/trot/canter, to turn, and to reverse.  He can collect himself a little bit, and he can extend a little bit.  He doesn't lose his cool when the rider swaps diagonals, or zips up a jacket.

But he had never seen bicycles before.
"Quick!" Patty said to the nice man on the bicycle.
"Hand him a cookie!"
 We didn't even make it out of the trailhead parking lot when Rocky's learning curve started shooting skyward.  First the bicycle, and then
The man in front is walking at least 7 dogs on leashes.  

Even Ariana gave all those descended-from-wolves people her full attention.  Rocky often sticks close to Ariana, who seems to know so much more than he does about the wild world.

Before we swing up into the saddle, Rocky needs to learn one more skill:
"Pony stays OUTSIDE!"
 the porta-potty.
"I stay outside."
 Porta-potty skills are actually pretty important, as Patty learned the hard way many years ago:  her old (now-retired) endurance horse spent his career in terror of porta-potties.  I can only imagine how inconvenient that must have been!

Finally, out on the trail:
Rocky is actually pretty brave about leading the parade
 It's good to let the baby horse set the pace; as long as he's willing to move forward, he can go slowly enough to see everything that he needs to see.
He's not very coordinated yet--his feet land sort of randomly when he trots.
 Rocky depends on his rider for reassurance, but he also checks in with Arianna pretty often.
"I'm doing this right, right?"  
 Besides, he thinks she's pretty coolio.
"Whoooo, mare germs!"
 Time to test the retention:  does he remember what the wheely things are all about?  YES!
"Hey...any of you guys gots a cookie?"
 Swampland horses also need water skills.
"Walk in the puddle.  Gotcha."
"Oh hey.  DRINK the puddle, too!"
 Rocky's only big bobble so far happened when Meagan's horse Rhythm farted.  We were trotting up a big hill, with Rhythm in front, Rocky on the inside, and Fiddle slightly behind on the outside.  When Rhythm made the noise with her bum, Rocky's brain froze up.  His back feet slid under him, his head went up, and he clocked Patty in the head, whiplashing her neck.  Yowch.

(I'm pleased to report that Fiddle did NOT react.  Not to Rhythm, and not to Rocky's bobble.  Can we credit the removal of hormones?  I think we can!!!)

We made sure Patty wasn't concussed, fed her a few ibuprofen, and finished the ride with the knowledge that muscle relaxers and a therapeutic laser were waiting at home.  She'll be fine.

Here's one more skill that baby horses need to learn:

Tripod horsey gets a snack break

Because otherwise, who will take pictures of Gigantor?


Good boy, baby horse!  


  1. My Pony doesn't fart.... she "Poots". :D
    Hey, I can only think of so many things to help bombproof babies with. Who woulda thunk that now I need to put pony farting on the checklist! Sorry! ;) )

  2. So Rocky must be a magical unicorn who farts rainbows, and rainbows must be noiseless in their exit, then, for that noise to have startled him so? :-)

  3. See... how I always say it? My Pony eats Butterflies and Poops Rainbows! So he was just amazed at the amazingness coming from his big sisters.... oh, wait. :)

  4. Love the "Mare germs" shot!

    I gotta know: What does one DO, if one's horse carries on, or even worse, panics, when one is sitting in the porta-potty, doing one's thing??

  5. Oh Man - you can't say that it wasn't "interesting"! :-) Seems like Patty was still hard at Shade's continuing "education" & now poor Rocky will must have entered "elementary" school? Sure glad the head knock wasn't too bad - those are so nasty... Maybe can ride with you all on Thursday!

  6. I have never thought about holding a horse like that while using the porta-potty. One more thing on my endurance checklist.
    I would love to grow up and train a horse someday, either for driving or endurance. Maybe both!

  7. I once heard a story of a horse taking off while rider was on the porta-potty--rider hung on and horse tipped the potty over. This was at a roping. I'm still not sure I believe it.

    1. I have heard of one pulling its rider out mid stream. She was said to have been struggling to stop peeing, and pull up her breeches...I have had a phobia ever since of having that happen, so I don't dare try it...

  8. Talk about a learning experience! Loved this post.

  9. Is there a special phobia for fear of flatulence?

  10. Ouchy on the head bash. But, Curiosity has ahold of me, can you tell me about your SHIRT?? I am seeing shirts like that all over...Any meaning to them or ??

    1. Patty found the high-viz shirts (mine is purple with hi-viz stripes, hers is pink) at a work-wear shop. They are great for wearing in the woods when there are tons of hikers, bikers, and other oblivious folks around--you'd think they'd notice a 1200-lb steel-shod creature thundering towards them, but no. Bright reflective shirt helps a bit.


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