Runners — as in, elite athletes who run races and keep stats and set annual goals like “age-graded national class” and “win the local gran prix and place in the top n of the regional gran prix” — face all the same challenges as horses, I’m finding. It’s all about condition, nutrition, and injury prevention. And confidence. And communication. Heart and desire. Focus.
Rocky and River and I spent some time at liberty on the ranch last weekend, but since I hadn’t let Rocky work off some high spirits in the arena first, he didn’t spend the time in peaceful contemplation like River did. Instead he sprinted around like a nutball and we ended up getting busted by Erin, who suggested that for everyone’s safety and health and the integrity of the grounds, we keep “outside” time mellow. Otherwise, it’s possible someone (and Rocky would indeed be the one) will peel out and impale himself on a branch, or fall into the pond and not be able to get out, or get tangled in a wheelbarrow, or trip over air at top speed and break his neck.
Here’s an example of why I say Rocky would be the one to get hurt. He could have sprained his ankle on that thing.
Rocky has spent some arena time bucking and galloping and wheeling this past week, but our arenas are not big enough for him to get up to speed before he has to turn. I have to stop procrastinating and find a buddy with a trailer who can take us to the huge arena down the road. I can see the joy in Rocky when he gets to run all-out, and I agree with Erin that the ranch isn’t a safe enough place for him to do so.
River on the other hoof used her freedom to walk around calmly, looking at things, and grazing next to other horses who watched her over their fences.
Rocky did eventually decide that grazing looked like fun, and went to join the donkeys on the main lawn.