Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One Fine Weekend

I had a lovely long weekend for riding. Due to the holiday, and since we ride in a very suburban park, we didn’t venture far from home, but we still had fun. Friday evening, I took both Cole and Cruiser on a short trail ride. Cole was awful. I just don’t know why we have so much more trouble in the evenings than the mornings. Well, I will keep trying.

Saturday, my sister and I took Cruiser and Ranger on an hour ride, and they were delightful. I took Cole on the same ride by myself. We did a lot of trotting. Only once did he build up some extra steam and I had trouble stopping him. as a bonus, we trotted on a trail we only trotted once last fall. On this trail, he was great. Last fall, we was absolutely awful when I tried trotting here. It is a slight incline and has lots of sharp bends. I was really pleased with that. We walked all the way home, and I didn’t have to correct him a single time. When we got back, I rode a little while in the arena to show off his pretty trot to one of the boarders at the neighboring barn. It appears that the people over there are starting to talk about him.

We had a big storm Saturday night, so we weren’t able to cross the river. My sister and I had planned to work on trotting Cole with Ranger. You see, we have struggled for years with Cruiser and Ranger wanting to race each other at the trot. We didn’t want to go through this with Cole. There is a stretch of trail before the river that is about 200 feet long. We decided to just go back and forth on this trail to teach the lesson.

My sister suggested we teach Cole to heel to Ranger like he heels for me. I would ask him to trot to my sister’s leg and stay there. We did it a few times at a walk, and it seemed like he understood. When we tried it at a trot, after a few times, he seemed very happy to trot in that spot in hopes of getting a click. I don’t know how many times we went back and forth, but it was a lot. Sometimes we clicked part way, and sometimes we went to the end.

Monday, we were able to cross the river and practice it on a longer trail. I didn’t expect it to go so well. It was wonderful. Only one time did Cole pass up Range, and that is when Ranger slowed down. After that, my sister made sure that Ranger stayed a steady speed. We did the good sections of the trail 2 times with a lot of clicks. At the end of the last trotting section, I felt Cole change. I called to my sister to look—he was going into his pretty trot! Next time we ride together, I bet it will be even better. He actually went slower when I worked him with Ranger because Ranger went slower than Cole typically does on trail. It was so much nicer. I have a feeling that Cole will figure out that a moderate speed is more comfortable than trotting to the max. They were still moving out at a good speed, just not a racing speed.

Another happy surprise—the hill work I did with him last week seems to have had an effect. On one hill that we went on that is short and steep, I led him and he walked slow and careful whenever I told him to put his head down. Also, on one of the steep riverbanks that I ride down and he always goes too fast, on his own, he put his head down and walked slow and careful down to the water. He got a click for that!

I really like Cole, but that doesn’t take away from my love for Cruiser. On each of the days I took him on the solo ride, he was a dream horse. We just trot and canter away with smiles on both of our faces. Cole has big shoes to fill when the sad day comes and Cruiser moves on the greener pastures…

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

It's sad to have to contemplate that, but I don't think Cole will disappoint you when the day comes. :) It sounds like you had an awesome weekend and I really like the idea of teaching him to heel to Cruiser. That's great. :)