Monday, September 13, 2010

More Cole Training

I had a lot of fun with Cole this weekend. Friday evening, we simply worked on lounging. He hasn’t been consistent with it, and since I will be using it more in the cooler weather to take the edge off of him before I ride, I decided I should concentrate on it.

Sometimes I feel like I am training 2 different horses. One is an arena horse, and one is a trail horse. The trail horse is far advanced from the arena horse.

The first five minutes, he acted like he didn’t remember a thing, but then, something clicked. (Actually, it was my clicker.) Suddenly, he understood that I wanted forward motion. Soon, I merely needed to point the whip at him, and he would move off, trotting—not bucking or jumping about. He was trotting 2-3 laps at a time, and then I would click and treat him when he looked balance and calm. What in improvement. I will give him at least one more lounging lesson before I start riding him in the arena, again.

But, the weekends are for trail riding--particularly in September in Ohio. Each day, I rode Cruiser with my sister on Ranger. When we got back, it was Cole time.

Saturday, I rode him down to the river, crossed itand met my sister, on foot, on the other side. She decided it is now too cold for her to walk through the water. We walked a bit until he seemed quiet, and then I did some short trotting stretches, just like last week, stopping when we would reach her. I needed to make sure he had brakes. Since he wants to stop by her, anyway, it is easy to get him to whoa when we reach her.

Now, you people with Quarter Horses are probably laughing at me. If you are, you probably never rode young, barely trained Morgan, Arab or Morab. They are gentle and kind horses with an incredible amount of energy and a love of going and going and going. Why do you think they do well in long distance competitions? They not only have the physical ability, but the drive. These horse love to go. Brakes are very important.

Once I knew I had brakes, I went off on my own and trotted about a quarter mile—stopping once when he decided to canter and 2 more times. He was settling down and getting rhythmic. I was posting.

Wow, was that nice. We walked home. I’m glad to say that he tried trotting without permission far less than the previous weekend when I had him on the trail.

Sunday, I knew he would be better. Sundays, he is always better. Once again, I met my sister on the other side of the river. We walked a bit, and then we trotted up to my sister a few times. Things were going pretty good, and I was ready to leave her in the dust. This time, I had about a half mile of trail until the next river crossing where I intended to turn around. I stopped him a couple times before I got there, walked him a bit and went back into the trot.

All I could say is it was just simply wonderful. He took light contact on the reins, found a steady rhythm, and was as balanced and perfect as could be. He once we got to that beautiful gait, he neither accelerated nor decelerated. We flew down the trail. Cole was made to do this.

Those of you that have been following me for years, know that I love a good, fast trot, and Cruiser has one. Since he bowed his tendon, I have discouraged him from doing it. An extended trot does put some strain on tendons, and Cruiser is too precious to me to risk re-injury. Mingo never believed in speed, so we seldom got up to a fast trot. This was heaven to me.

I got to the next river crossing, and Cole didn’t want to stop trotting this time. I persisted, and he agreed, but I didn’t turn around as planned. We walked right across the river to ride further. He felt he should trot on the other side, so I decided it might be better to walk. He had only been ever there a few times, anyway. I went along for about 5 minutes. I did ask for a trot, once, and he was quite excited and out of control. I decided walking was better. I’m glad he now had reliable brakes. I went a little further and turned back for home.

He didn’t want to turn back. He pouted, but at least he walked. After a few minutes, we came across my boyfriend on his horse, Starry. Cole took the lead and headed for the river. He was thrilled to see my sister on the other side. He had to greet her before continuing along the trail.

I’m very glad that he only tried to trot a couple times on the walk home, and that was when we were very close to the barn. By doing so many walk/trot transitions, he seems to be figuring out that I choose the gait. This has been the hardest lesson for him to learn, but I believe he is finally learning it. It is a very satisfying feeling to know we are progressing so well—and so is knowing that I have a horse with such an awesome trot.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Cole is going to be such an awesome trail horse! I'm glad he's doing so well and he has the fast trot that you like. :) I think it is just too cute how he had to greet your sister before continuing on. :)