Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cole and the River

Having a river crossing just a quarter mile down the trail means you need a horse that is willing to cross water—and one that does it safely.

I have been very conscientious with Cole’s river training. I make sure that he is most likely to succeed and give him a lot of praise. With all the rain that we have had this year, there were days that I could cross Cruiser, but I wouldn’t risk it with Cole. I bad slip or fall could be a real problem. Whenever Cruiser falls in the river, it takes about a week to persuade him to cross again. I don’t need that with Cole.

I gradually increased the depth of what I was willing to cross, and though sometimes he hesitated, he still entered the water. The only complaint I have is sometimes he rushed.

This river crossing is over an uneven slate bottom, and it is easy to slip or trip. I prefer a horse to cross slowly and pay attention to where his feet are going.

Finally, I decided it was time to cross knee high and muddy water. Earlier in the day, Cruiser and Ranger crossed with ease. I was going to see how Cole did. This is the first time we were attempting completely muddy water where he wouldn’t be able to see the bottom. The current was rather brisk, too. I was doing this without the help of another horse that would lead the way.
We approached the water, and after about a minute, he stepped in. Once again, he rushed across. Halfway to the other side, his hind legs slipped! My heart was racing, but he caught his balance and walked slowly the rest of the way. We made it!

On the way home, a miracle happened. He walked slowly and carefully across to the other side. The other miracle—that’s how he has crossed every time since then.

Some lessons I can’t teach him. Some lessons he just has to learn on his own.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Those last two sentences are so true. I'm glad he's finally figuring it out. :)