Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Long weekend with Cole

Well, Cole went from challenging to simply wonderful. Friday evening, it was very windy and chilly, but I bravely decided to ride, anyway. I was in the indoor arena. He started out fine, but after 10 minutes, it got really hectic at the barn, and with all the nervousness he had about the wind, he just couldn’t’ take it. I decided to get off and lounge for a bit, but that went straight downhill, and I decided I had enough for the day.

I wanted to turn him out to play Saturday before I rode, but it didn’t work out. The turnout areas were in use by other boarders. I took him out on the trail in spite of the continuing high winds and very chilly weather. It was his worst trail ride, ever, but under the circumstances he did well. He was so jumpy and nervous. We were out for an hour, and wow, was I glad to get out of the saddle. Good trail horses have to learn to behave in all weather.

Sunday was so much better, it was amazing. This time, we went out with my sister on Ranger. We stayed at a walk and went for about an hour and a half. The funniest parts of the ride were when Ranger told him not to get too close to him. Just laying his ears back caused Cole to quickly back away. Once, Ranger flicked us with his tail when we were walking next to him, and Cole jumped like he got a jolt of electricity. I guess we don’t have to worry about Cole being disrespectful to other horses!

Monday was trotting day. We introduced it a little last week, but now it was time to be serious. We rode down the hill, crossed the river and walked about 10 minutes. He was a little goofy, so my sister and I agreed he was getting bored with our routine and needed to be moved up to the next phase of training.

With my other horses, I would just take them out and work trotting into the routine, practicing transitions and hoping they would settle down sooner or later. It worked with all the horses except Cruiser—my other high-energy Morab. It took a long time to get Cruiser to settle down and get him to stop well on trail. But, now I have clicker.

I had my sister walk up the trail, and we would trot to her. I would ask Cole to stop at her. (My sister was the target.) with this exercise, I was actually teaching him a lot. First, I was asking him to go from a walk to a halt, stand and wait while his friend, my sister, left, walk on command, trot on command and finally stop on command. Each time, he got better and my sister went out further and further, too. I clicked him a few times for the standing and waiting, and I was really pleased how he caught on to that. We did all this for about a mile. When we got close to the next river crossing where I was going to turn around, I told my sister I was going on without her. I stopped him once on the way, restarted him and went on to the river.

His trot is amazing. It is fast and smooth. I know, in time, it will slow down, but wow, it is amazing right now. I did finally figure out how to post it, and then he evened out his tempo. I love a good trot.

I’m glad to say, when we turned to go home, he walked quietly. Only when we got close to home, did he volunteer trotting, and that’s no different than it has been all along. I just keep correcting him. He is no longer persistent with his requests. I’m hoping that as he gets accustomed to the trot command, he will learn to wait for it.

I can’t wait until next weekend to get him back on the trail. Until then, we will work in the arena.

I also rode Cruiser on all 4 days on the trail, too. He was great, of course. that is nothing new. My goal is to get Cole to be as good as Cruiser. It’s a lofty but worthy goal.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Sorry it started out rough, but good for you for sticking with it. :) Cole sounds awesome! He's picking things up so fast. I don't think it will be long before he's a great trail horse. I love putting miles on a new trail horse. It's so much fun. :)