Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Hill Revisited

Anyone who has been following the “Adventures of Cole” knows that I have struggled with the hill at the beginning of the trail leading down to the river. Cole wanted to trot it regardless of the direction we are traveling.
Last month, he really improved with going downhill. Now, he seldom trots more that a few steps occasionally on the steepest part.

We still needed to tackle uphill, which was more difficult because that is the direction of home.
Since we had so much rain this month, I only got Cole across the river 4 or 5 times. That meant that I had plenty of time to work him on the hill. To start with, I continued to work with him in the arena or walk him up and down the driveway for a few minutes before putting him in his stall after coming up the hill.

Early in the month, I worked him in the arena, first, and then Ellen and I would take him on the hill—me riding and Ellen walking. Each time, he did a little better. A few times I did it by myself in the evening. At furst, he he was ready to burst on the way home those evenings, so I rode down and led up. by the end of the month, I could ride up, too.

The last couple weekends, I was sick of riding in the arena and I just needed a break. This is when he was being strange in there, so I think he needed a break, too. I decided to do multiple trips with him on the hill. Back last fall, when I was first trying to get him to settle down on the hill, I was leading him multiple trips. The result was that each successive trip, he got worse instead of better! I’m glad to say that this time he got better on each trip down. The first few times I just did 2 trips and towards the end of the month I was doing 3 trips each ride. sometimes Ellen rode Ranger and sometimes Kevin rode Starry. A few rides were with Ellen on foot.

I don’t really need Ellen’s help. I could try it by myself, but she likes joining us. She does the same if I am riding Cruiser. It is great having a companion like Ellen, and the horses think so too. they really like her, and I spend a lot of time keeping them from trying to nibble her.

The results from all my hill work? Last weekend, I took Cole down trail. I met Ellen on the other side of the river, and she walked while I rode. It was the best ride of the year, and for the first time this spring, he did pretty good trotting. When we got back to Ellen’s car, she went home and left me to finish the trip by myself. I had been leading him up the hill after a trail ride because that’s when he was typically the worst. This time, I rode up—and he was perfect!!!! Not a single trot step!!!!!

Now, that put a smile on my face.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

That is so awesome!!!!! I'm so excited for you. Perseverance always wins in the end. :D