Take a look at those clean knees, fetlock joints and left stifle
(Not to mention what a handsome boy he is!)
Since it's been a few months since my last post, I wanted to update you on where we are today, in case you and your horse have a bad incident and worry that you'll not get over it.
You Can Take Your Horse to Water .....
Last month I took him with a friend and her mare to a local equestrian park which has access to the Potomac River.
It was a big test for Cruz and me. My friend told me that her horse likes water, so I assumed she meant that her mare happily walks in without a lead.
We reached the top of the sand slope leading down to the shore, and my friend said, "My mare needs a lead into the water."
To which I replied, "So does Cruz!"
The weather was very windy, and loud waves were crashing onto the beach. Our wimpy steeds tried to hide behind each other, saying 'You go first,' 'No, you go first.'
... But Who Knows What Will Happen?
Well, we were here, and I didn't want Cruz to know he could back out of this. Plus he had been in the water before, albeit with his big Clydesdale buddy, Gabe leading the way. It was a test of my ability to give Cruz the courage he needed.
As you can imagine, I was working hard to push his swimming pool accident out of my mind as I urged him forwards!
He was reluctant, but early on in the trail ride he'd tried to weasel out of going past a particular bush (heaven knows why!) and I'd won that battle. So it was fresh in his mind that I wasn't in the mood to take 'No' for an answer. ;)
You Cannot Be a Hero Without Being a Coward
(George Bernard Shaw)
After some backing uphill into the mare, and evasive sideways movements, he finally marched bravely forwards. The soft sand gave under his hooves and he hesitated a moment, but was easily persuaded to keep going.
I walked him on the white stuff beside the noisy waves for a minute or two, so he could get used to them before walking into the water. I inched in slowly until he was knee deep. Soon he forgot to be worried and stretched down to drink.
He was a little surprised when the waves hit his nose, but each time regained his composure and drank some more.
Then he walked deeper into the rolling river and pawed in it enthusiastically.
I was thrilled. He'd not suffered any long-term effects from his December experience with our swimming pool: he was back to the horse I had last year!
And not only that, but he was brave enough to walk into scary waves without a lead.
It was a double win for us.
On seeing that all was safe, my friend's mare joined us in the water, and soon we were splashing around together.
You know that saying about getting back on the horse as soon as you fall off?
I've learned through this experience that the sooner I face the situation that scared me and/or my horse, the faster we can put it behind us.
P.S. Cruz is also back to jumping over creeks again. See photo below, taken in April by Christina Dale whose brilliant work you can see at http://www.phyxiusphotos.com/