Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Ellen and I both have good rides
Kevin and I went on an evening ride together on Starry and Cole Train. It was on the hot side, and since it was Cole’s 4th consecutive day of trail riding, I thought he might be a little sluggish. Wrong. He was just right. We did a lot of trotting and a little cantering—on the hard lead! We walked all the way home to cool them off and enjoy each other’s conversation. They mosquitoes were bad, but Starry didn’t overreact as Kevin put his bonnet on and bug spray. I didn’t spray Cole, and there were a few times he voiced his displeasure, but he settled down and just walked very fast. Since I like when he walks fast, I was very happy with the results. I will spray him in the future, but I just hadn’t’ brought my bottle out to the barn, yet.
His only misbehavior was when he rushed down one of the riverbanks—again. I couldn’t stop him—again. I lost my patience with him on this, and decided it was time to make a point. I turned him around and went straight back up. My plan was to keep doing it until he went down like a gentleman. I asked him to walk down the bank. After a few steps, I asked him to stop. This time, he did. I clicked, treated and repeated. Once again he stopped on a dime. I clicked and asked him to continue down. He went very carefully and politely down to the bottom and into the water! I was so pleased with him. I clicked him for walking and gave him his carrot. We then crossed the river. I will do this the next few times we go down that bank so that he knows what I want.
The rest of the ride home was uneventful.
Now, on to Dante. Ellen and I work different hours, so I can’t be with her during the week. Kevin is retired. He volunteered to be me for her, and she accepted. Kevin is a novice in horses in so many ways—a mediocre rider and happy to be that way. Still, he has figured out how horse behavior works, and understands it much more than the average person. He is also a very encouraging person. I knew Ellen would do more if he was there than if she was alone.
She rode Ranger, first, so Kevin didn’t have to get up so early. Dante was much better for saddling. (We saddle with the horses loose in the stall, and was reluctant to stand so she could put the saddle on his back.) She took him to ride in the round pen. According to her email to me, he starts trotting with a big movement at first—just like Cole. I know the first few times Cole did that, I wasn’t sure what he was doing. It literally scared me. Later, I realized it was normal—and encouraged him to keep up like that. That’s how I found his “big trot.”
Anyway, back to Dante. She said he seemed unfamiliar with posting—something Ellen nearly always does. Kevin just encouraged her to keep trying. She switched to sitting the trot, and he was fine. She said he did throw in one buck, but I’m not sure in what context.
After 15 minutes, she unsaddled and headed back down to the river. Her goal wasn’t to cross, but to go in the water. She had him going fine on the loose shale and ended up with all 4 feet on the slippery slate. She called it a success and headed home. She was very happy with her morning. I’m so glad that Kevin was there to encourage her.