Monday, June 21, 2010

Cole's Weekend

This weekend, our goal was to get Cole down the trail, again. Last time I tried it, he kept stalling out, and I had difficulty getting him going. Friday evening, we practiced driveway and street. A friend came down the street, riding her horse towards the trail. I followed her on the street and we went just a short way down the trail, turned around and came home.

The following morning, my sister and I led him half way down the trail. He still kept stalling out. It was very puzzling, because he didn’t look scared at all. Since I have been working so hard on his transitions, I know he knew what I wanted. I was able to restart him in less then 15 seconds, each time, but I just didn’t understand what was going on. We got him halfway down the hill, when he started to improve, so we decided to quit while ahead. We practiced whoas and on the way home.

Sunday, we did it again. This time, my sister, who was far enough from him to really watch what was going on, figured out the problem. Each time he would stop, he would veer left or right—looking at the very enticing shrubs and trees the border each edge of the trail. Of course, he was stopping because he was more interested in checking out the salad bar on either side of the trail. His previous owner had told us that the only problem she ever had with him while leading was he would keep trying to stop and eat. I have a piggy horse.

Since we determined he wasn’t afraid, but only had a different idea of what he should be doing, we got tougher. Every time he stopped, he got a firm pop with the whip. It worked. We didn’t do this before, because if he was afraid, it would make him more afraid. Of course, he got praised for going forward. The problem eased up the further we went down the hill. We made it to the bottom, and a couple horses just crossed the river to go home. We didn’t want to follow them up, because we figured he would rush to try to catch up. My sister suggested bringing him to look at the river to get his mind off the other horses.

We didn’t expect much, so we were very surprised when he went down the bank and walked right to the water’s edge. He put his head down to look at it, but soon was distracted by the mother and baby deer down stream. He would alternate looking at them and looking at the water. He drank, dunked and started rotating his nose in circles in the mud. He didn’t seem afraid. He got clicked, of course.

About then, my sister realized that the mother deer was trying to teach the baby to cross the water, too! She would wade out, wait, go back and nuzzle the baby and wade out again. At this point, Cole got half a hoof in the water. The baby crossed, falling at one point where it got deep. Cole put a whole hoof in the water, took it out again and we decided we would quit on a good note. We took him back home, practicing whoas.

My sister did have a girth that fit him, so we saddled him both days. He is getting better with bridling, too. We did some ground work, and he seems solid lounging at a walk. I may try to up the speed this week, but I would rather spend my time walking him on the hill. It is cooler in the shade!

We had two very nice rides on Cruiser and Ranger, too.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Happy birthday!! :)

That is soooooo cute about the doe teaching her fawn to cross the river!

Cole doesn't sound like he's going to be afraid of much. :) He's doing so great. I know what it's like having a piggy horse and you do have to get after them. I think Chrome is going to be the same way. He's always ducking his head to grab something.