Monday, July 29, 2013

The Definition of Dante

The Definition of Dante

Ellen looked up the definition of Dante. Of course, Dante was a famous Italian poet, but what does his name mean? It means enduring, steadfast, long-lasting. Wonderful for a horse, but I will tell you what it really means—boring.

Dante is not going to give me much to write about. I got so many good stories to write about with Cole. Even Cole’s most boring and mundane experiences were more exciting than Dante. Dante is boring.

Well, I will give it a try.

On Friday, Ellen was alone. She rode Dante in the arena, and he did well. She then led him down the hill to the river. Dante pulled Ellen down the river bank to the water’s edge. He wanted to go on a trail ride, and he told her the only way he knew how.

She put her foot in the stirrup—and lost her nerve. Dante may be boring, but Ellen has always had some confidence issues, and she hasn’t been able to grasp the fact that Dante is boring.

She felt bad, and she promised him she would ride him on Saturday.

Saturday morning, we met at the barn—in the rain. Fortunately, Ellen wouldn’t let a light rain shower break her promise. She had checked the radar and knew it would be worse if we waited. We decided to go out right away. I saddled Ranger as she saddled Dante. The rain continued.

We led them down the hill, mounted and crossed the river. At first Dante was a little excited, but I put Ranger take the lead. We walked to the next river crossing, turned around and came home. That is the end of the story. Dante was flawless.

See what I mean about boring? Back in Cole Train’s early days, he would have pranced around, tried to trot, maybe jumped for joy. He would have tried to dash away when Ranger swished his tail, tried to bite Ranger and gotten Ranger angry or threw his head up in the air and waved his long mane all over the place. Oh, he would have also had a fit about the rain, too. Cole hated rain, even though he lived outside before I bought him. He would toss his head and try to run home. Not Dante. He just followed Ranger quietly.

Though it rained all morning and half the afternoon, it iddn’t rain so much that the river got bad. The next day, we got to try it again, but happily, the sun was shining.

This time, we thought we would up the ante. We were going to do some trotting. At this point, Ellen has trotted plenty in the arena and just a little at the bottom of the hill on the days she couldn’t cross the river.

We arrived a great section of the trail for trotting. We planned that Ranger would take the lead to set the pace—besides, Ranger prefers the lead at all times. We spend much of our trail riding time trying to keep Ranger happy.

Ranger trotted slowly, and Dante followed.

That is the end of the story. See? Dante is truly a boring horse. We would have had a more difficult time trying to trot Cruiser and Ranger together after a long break. Cruiser would try to fly past Ranger—and make him angry. Ranger would try to do his snake neck and make ugly faces at Cruiser.

The first time I trotted Cole Train on the trail—we launched forward at 100mph. For the first few months, Ellen usually joined me on foot, and she would see us go off in a flash and hope we would be able to stop before the next river crossing.

Dante just trotted along. Boring—but wonderful.

So, how did we get here?

First off, he did have trail experience from his years in West Virginia.

Second, he is a good natured, quiet horse who truly seems to enjoy going out and about. The only problems we ever had on his previous trail rides had to do with his over enthusiasm.

Third, we think the weather helped. Ellen was forced to spend a lot of time with him in the indoor arena in the last few months getting to know him. It was time well spent. He learned to trust her. How does a horse learn to trust his rider? By clear and consistent riding. It’s not magic, but it isn’t necessarily easy. We have to ride with awareness. You can’t ask a horse to do something one way, one day and a different way the next. You also need to respond in the same way to your horse’s actions each time. You just can’t get sloppy and careless, because then horses get confused and worried. Dante learned he could trust Ellen.

When Dante was ready to seriously start his trail riding career on Ohio, he told Ellen. He had had enough of arena riding. He was born to be a trail horse.

This is just the beginning. I expect more boring articles in the future.

Sorry, but the definition of Dante is boring.

Ellen is a very lucky person…

(She is also particularly pleased when Dante doesn’t give me anything to write about.)

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Boring is awesome with horses lol! I'm glad she found such a great horse.