Monday, September 10, 2012

High River Rides

Another rainy weekend here in Ohio. I think the drought is over. Anyway, the river was too high to cross on Saturday and Sunday. while everyone else was riding their horses in the indoor arena, we were riding up and down the hill that leads to the river.

On Saturday, I started with 3 trips on Cruiser. My sister didn’t ride Ranger due to his abscessed hoof. She thought she would give him one more day for recovery. Instead, she walked next to Cruiser.

I then brought Cole out for his three trip. Remember, we are still in training on the hill. It is just across the street from our stables, so the horses have a reason to rush home. We have been working sporadically on trotting up the hill. Saturday, Cole did awesome. The only time he seemed to get excited was on the central level section, so we would start walking at that point.

On Sunday, My sister rode Ranger for the first time in a week. He went on Cruiser’s ride and we just walked the three trips. I expected Cole to do better on his ride since it was the second consecutive day, and I was right. on the first trip up, we trotted from the bottom all the way to the end of the center section. This was the furthest we ever trotted. We walked up the next steep slope because of stones and we even trotted on the top section, in view of the street, a couple times. I would ask him to stop before he built up momentum and click him for it.

The second trip up went well until we got to the center section, and then I felt his excitement. I thought I would see how far I could get before I needed to stop him. There was a muddy spot up ahead. I thought if we could just get through that, I’d be happy. Wouldn’t you know it—he chose that moment to throw his head down, do a tiny buck and break into a canter.

“Great,” I thought, “the street is just ahead. I hope I can get him to stop before it.” Then, I decided to say, “Whoa.” It was that simple. He slid to a stop, I clicked him and gave him a bunch of carrot slices. I have tried this before when he has taken off, but it has never worked. When it happened, I was astounded—and pleased. I usually don’t click him after he’s done something bad and then followed it by something good. I don’t want him to decide that if he does his bad behavior, it will lead to a good behavior and then a carrot—but this was extraordinarily good—he deserved that carrot.

We walked to the top, turned around and headed down for one more trip. That time, I walked up—because I always walk the last trip.

In retrospect, since he wasn’t in a panic, I think he would have stopped at the steep gravelly slope with very little encouragement. He hates stones, and I don’t blame him. Still, he wasn’t thinking of that at the time—he was having fun and going home.

Tonight, I will start our arena schooling since, with the early sunset, I won’t have time to take both of them on the trail. Cruiser gets priority for trail riding.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Good boy Cole!!! I would have clicked him too. :D