Thursday, July 21, 2011

I think my niece is falling in love.

I think my niece is falling in love. Last night, she came out for her ride. Since the river was too high to cross, we rode Ranger and Cruiser on the hill. We worked on trotting on the bottom, flat section so she could practice posting. Since she learned most of her riding on Mingo, she never needed to post. He was as smooth as a Cadillac. She loved Mingo, and she still talks about how she misses him. They were 2 peas in a pod. I have never seen a person and a horse fit together so well as my older niece and little Ming.

After our ride, I got her started on watering the 38 horses. With the intense heat, they have been drinking so much. I rode Cole in the indoor arena since the outdoor was still muddy and there was a horse turned out in it. We didn’t do much that was exerting due to the heat and dust. We did walking, bends, leg yielding and sidepassing. Then I through in some walk/trot transitions, some trotting/bending and I was clicking anything that was good. Once he started to do his “show trot” consistently, I decided it was time to work on leg yields at a trot. I only did this once before back in April, so it was like starting from scratch. After about 5 minutes, maybe less, I was getting about a step and a half, and that made me pretty happy. I think he knew what I wanted and was just trying to coordinate it. I was nearly out of carrots for clicking, so I called my niece in so she could ride him a little.

At first, Cole only wanted to follow me, but gradually, he started to listen to her, instead. She is a very gentle rider, and some of the horses take advantage of it, but Cole only did that once—when he wanted to go look in one of the barns and she didn’t want him to. I had to help her get him unstuck. Once she got comfortable, I asked her if she wanted to try a trot. Since she isn’t real consistent with posting, I knew it might be a problem, but if he did his slow, ordinary trot, she should be able to sit it.

I explained that with Cole, unlike our other horses, you squeeze and hold your legs until he starts to trot—and then you release. The other horses will trot with a tap of the heels. I thought the squeeze and hold would be a better approach with him, so that’s how I trained him.

In the past, when I have allowed other people to ride Cole, he has been very difficult to get to trot. Maybe because I had been working him for the previous half hour and he was very responsive to me, he was for her, too. He went right into the trot—and after a few steps—went into his show trot! He collected himself, rounded up and turned on the impulsion. My poor niece! She didn’t know how to sit that! His show trot isn’t fast, but it has so much impulsion that he will throw you right out of the saddle. It takes a person with a strong sitting trot (me) to sit it.

To rescue her, and reward him, I clicked him and treated. He has never offered his show trot with anyone else besides me. She trotted him twice and then I was out of carrots.

I sent her back to watering, and I walked him outside. I wanted to put him in his stall, but my boyfriend had Cruiser in it so he could clean Cruise’s stall. I put him in the crossties, unsaddled him and suddenly—there was my niece. I gave him to her and she led him around the arena.

When his stall was ready, she brought him back and we went to hay the horses. When we were done, I had her sponge off Cole while I cleaned up. What I saw was her relaxing and enjoying herself in a way that she hadn’t been with Ranger this summer or with Starry the year before. I joked with her and said it was because he was black like Mingo. She just smiled and said, “I like Cole.” She may be falling in love…


Mary said...

That's really sweet, I'm glad Cole behaved himself for her, she sounds like she's very gentle. I hope she never looses that gift.

Dom said...

He sounds like a good boy and it seems she's really warming up to him. Aw.

achieve1dream said...

Aww so sweet. I do believe you're right. :) She sounds like a natural around horses. It's sweet of you to teach her to ride.