Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Things I Want To Remember About Rogo

I don't want to sound annoying by saying I have the best horse, blah, blah, blah. And I was quite frank about his 'challenging' side in my last post. But the truth is that I'm totally smitten head over heels in love with my horse. I feel like I won the horse lotto by finding him. I'm writing this for me, and will put it in my stories page, so be warned it may be nauseating to others. If you're faint of heart turn back! It goes with my previous post and is part of the record of him I want to keep.
He's five this summer and has become a riding horse - still green but does walk, trot, canter, bending, circles, etc. and is doing all of training level work, starting to school level one and beginning to hack out.
I met him as a two year old slightly north of Edmonton and we had an instant bond. I was out there shopping for a horse and when I went to his breeding place and went in the field with him he calmly pushed his way through a herd of about 10 or 12 horses (all beautiful warm bloods), came up to me, pressed his nose to my face and insisted on holding it there. If any other horse came close to me he'd quietly push them away, never creating a commotion but never letting another horse into my space. I was there about 1/2 an hour and he stayed glued to me. The owners said he had never done this before and in fact he hadn't had a lot of handling. Here's a picture of us when we met.


I liked him best on paper before I ever went out there, and he checked out well, so after another visit (same behavior from him) I bought him and had him shipped back to NS. 
He's demonstrated a great deal of trust in me from the beginning, and I don't know why. I hadn't earned it when he gave it to me, but it didn't seem to matter to him. From the first time he saw me and still today he'll follow me whenever he can. When I get off after a ride I can walk around the arena, zig zag, do circles, walk away from the barn, and he'll follow me, completely on his own without a hand on him. He's always done this and was never trained to do it. He'll leave his food to come to me if he sees me, sometimes just long enough to say hello, sometimes to stand with me. If he's in the pasture and sees me in the barn he'll almost always come to stand with me and won't leave until I do. If he's in his stall he always greats me at the stall door and pushes his head into his halter.
He is very gentle and kind and has the kindest eyes. To me they look like the eyes of an old soul, and he often acts like a much older horse, in terms of being calm. Some examples of his kindness and calmness:
  1. He accepted me on his back from the very first time without the least concern. He didn't want to go forward mind you, but he's never tried to put me off. He was backed during the winter of 08/09 and there was a lot of ice at the boarding facility where I had him. Because of this he ended up without turn out for weeks on end at one point, but he never acted foolish with me on his back in the indoor.
  2. I've come off a couple of times (once when something went up his nose, loss of balance, etc.) and he immediately stops in his tracks and comes to me. Maybe I'm imagining it but he seems concerned when it happens, touching me with his nose, that sort of thing, never running away.
  3. Even this past spring when he had the three months of very forward attitude (no whip, spurs, always wanting to go, go, go) he was very safe. I don't think it's in him to hurt. Go his own way maybe, if he could get away with it :), but never forgetting he's carrying a rider or wanting to get rid of them. Although any horse, especially a young horse, can forget themselves so I need to be mindful of that.
  4. He's never had the slightest concern about leaving other horses to go on his own with me. He was brought up in a herd environment (supposedly very good for horses) so wasn't separated from other horses until we started training, and it's been a non issue. I can take him away and he doesn't care. He can be in a riding ring and have the other horses leave and he doesn't care. He doesn't even acknowledge that it is happening. Most horses get used to this but Rogo has never had the least concern.
  5. I rode him (had a lesson on him) one day last winter in the indoor when the wind was gusting up to 100 km / hour. It was so loud no other horse could even be longed - they just jumped and reared and had to leave the arena. It sounded like a freight train. My teacher had to stand right beside me and yell to be heard, and Rogo acted exactly the same as if it were a calm summer day. There was no reaction to the thundering noise what so ever. I even wondered if he might be deaf, but he responds well to voice commands. This was pretty amazing for a four year old.
  6. When he was injured (bad puncture wound in his leg) he wouldn't let Doug or the vet touch him and they had to wait for me to come home. It was a complete non issue for me to bath it and put salve on it. He'd sort of hold it forward for me to help him, quiet and calm.
  7. When he went to his second show this summer he ended up spending his first night there as the only horse in his barn (horses were stabled in two barns) because of people scratching. He didn't have the least concern about it. Not a neigh or a peep. The next day more people arrived and when we were all getting ready to go home on Sun. my neighbors told me what a star he'd been, that he acted like the calm 17 year old beside him. Apparently some woman had come by and fell in love with him and he spent an hour nuzzling her - the fickle thing :)
Those are some of the sweet things about him that I want to remember. He is so trusting that I feel it's a gift I need to protect and honor.
One other thing I'm learning to love about him - as he's learned to canter he loves to canter. I've posted about how he can be lazy (I need to sort out hacking, nutrition and not over-working), but as it turns out he LOVES to canter. As I start asking him to lengthen his stride in the canter he becomes so joyful and forward, with big bounding strides, and then it translates to his other gaits. And even though he loves this big canter he responds easily when I ask him to bring it down. Fun!
I guess I feel so lucky to have him because I don't feel like I ever did anything to earn this close relationship with him - he just gave it to me. And I know intuitively that it will just keep getting better as long as I respect it. I can't ever take it for granted and I have to protect his health and wellness like the treasure it is. This is the summer when he started learning to learn and it's been one of the best summers of my life.

13 comments:

Hurricanes12 said...

that's not nauseating, lucky rogo- he has you whipped haha!

Carol said...

Ha Ha - that's true!

Stacy Pitcher said...

A lovely post. You are so lucky to have found a true partner in life.

Brittany said...

It is so nice to have such a strong bond and love for a horse!

Kelly said...

What a blessing - you and your horse having such a "close" relationship. As you said, it will just continue getting better as the years go. Enjoy every moment, write more about it so we can all enjoy it too.

Thanks so much for sharing, it's a great read first thing in the morning!!

TBDancer said...

As one of my dressage instructors said to me last year, "He has taught you well." Sounds like the same thing applies to you and Rogo. We have fallen into big tubs of butter with our horses, and they with us. Ain't life grand?

Anonymous said...

Lynn Macintosh
Loved this Carol.....Believe it or not Jess has the same kind of relationship with Elvis...it was love at first sight when she picked him out when he was a foal in Montreal...he still follows her everywhere and nuzzles her and for a giganti...c horse he is so so gentle - it amazes me. Now, if we can get the crack in his heel fixed....it is 100% better so here's hoping she can get riding again soon. It is driving her absolutely bonkers. I am so happy you found Rogo....I do know how he has totally changed your life.....I am glad he has brought you more happiness than you already had.(Because I know you were happy to begin with!) You are very lucky. I am very happy for you. Now, if I can ever get away from my life to visit you.......

Jenn said...

He's got you wrapped around his little hoof...Lovely! What a wonderful relationship. Here's to many, many more years of strengthening that delightful trust and bond!

Grey Horse Matters said...

It sounds to me that he picked you to be his person.You have his trust and love. You're a lucky girl and he's a lucky horse to have found each other. May you both have a long and fun filled relationship.

juliette said...

Your post tells me how lucky you and Rogo are to have found each other. His trust in you is so deep. I am so happy to read your post and know that you will love him up and never take advantage of his kind nature. You appreciate what you have in him! So often people fail to see the fabulous jewel they are holding! Rogo is yours. Enjoy!

Jan said...

Oh, Carol, he's a one-in-a-million horse! And I'm so glad he's yours! What a wonderful, trusting horse he is, to spot you that first day and show-in his own way- a connection with you. (I think perhaps he could sense what a lovely character you have deep down inside!) And you have proven to him to be a caring, knowledgeable, patient, trustworthy person, so I'm not surprised your relationship has grown so much. I, too, am immensely appreciative of the good horse that I have, and I hope I never take him for granted.

Kate said...

You two have a very special relationship - you are very fortunate!

achieve1dream said...

This was not nauseating at all. In fact reading it brought happy tears to my eyes. What a beautiful relationship you share. It makes me think of when I went to get Chrome he didn't want anything to do with me. For a while after I brought him home he was difficult to handle and hard to catch. Eventually I guess I won his trust because now he follows me everywhere and usually will let me do what I want with him. As much as I love Chrome I wonder if someday I may meet my horse soulmate as you have yours. I'm so happy you found each other and look forward to reading more. :)