On Friday, we went for another family walk: 1 horse, 1 pony, 1 dog, 5 humans. This time we didn’t just walk the half mile to the school–we went all the way to Western Gateway Park to rest by the creek. On the way back, we stopped at a restaurant for burgers. Half the town stopped by to ask if they could pet our horses! (Seriously, if you need a babe magnet, a pony works even better than a puppy. Who knew?)
This little lunch break included a quick jaunt to the hardware store across the road for a snow shovel, as Rocky decided to make it very clear that a) he is not afraid to stand next to restaurant tables under an overhang between a wall and several support posts and b) grazing on walks does indeed have an effect on the digestion.
But oh, what a walk. And extra cool is that Krisen brought her pocket camera and shot some photos along the way.
Salsa playing “halter? what’s a halter?” with Jan:
You know that Parelli patterns “do it seven times” thing? The one where they tell us that around the fourth or fifth session, something clicks in the horse and he starts to get it and engage and offer and relax? Yup.
Here’s Rocky walking all calm and interested through the squeeze between the neighborhood and the wooded hill behind the school. (The cute guy is Josh, the photographer’s boyfriend.)
Walking up the hill, Rocky got a little antsy, probably just to keep his reputation intact:
And Rocky behaved for Josh while I took a bathroom break:
This weekend marks the one year anniversary of my move from Los Angeles to Penn Valley, returning to a climate where trees change color:
Walking as long as we did, and stopping for lunch in a shopping center, gave Rocky plenty of time to work through his initial burst of “ack we’re leaving home base!” and get into “hey cool another neat thing to look at.” I am reassured that when we join Erin and her students on trail rides in 2010, he will enjoy himself, even if we have to be ponied for the first 20 minutes. He played at the edge of the creek and took a drink, he took a slim branch in his mouth and shook it to make all the leaves fall off, he nuzzled people’s pockets and obliged the little girls who wanted to pet him.
Salsa-the-formerly-starving lives for grazing, but does look around with ears perked. Nothing spooks him.
I didn’t realize I was decked out in Parelli clothing until this photo of Dan, Jan, and I. Note the pony noses in the background.
On the way back, reaching the school and the footbridges that bookend the squeeze path, Rocky got even calmer. What had been off home base was now part of familiar territory.
We all got fresh air, exercise, food, and relaxation therapy, and I look forward to doing it again!