Monday, September 9, 2013

Dante Extends

Ellen and I had a couple of great rides this weekend. She declared that the one on Saturday was the best ride she ever had with Dante. She changed that on Sunday, for she decided that Sunday was the best ride ever.

What made them so special? Dante was perfect. Not once did he misbehave. We did about 5 miles each day with a lot of trotting.

In hopes of encouraging Dante to canter on the trail, yesterday I cantered Cole ahead of him. Ellen couldn’t convince him to canter, but for the first time, he offered a fast extended trot. She was ecstatic. She loved the trot so much, that I don’t think she was disappointed at all that he didn’t canter. I was happy that I could do some faster work with Cole. We did some cantering and some very fast trotting, ourselves.

Cole is very relaxed and comfortable with Dante. With other horses, even Starry and Ranger who he knows well, he gets nervous on any sign of aggression. Even actions that aren’t aggressive are interpreted as so by Cole. Dante isn’t aggressive at all, and Cole is learning that he won’t have angry faces directed at him. Dante will not try to nip or crowd him, challenge him to a race or even lay an ear back. Yesterday, Dante swished at a bug, and Cole didn’t get scared in the least. When Starry swishes, Cole throws his head up in the air. Cole is learning that he can be a leader without constantly monitoring the horse behind him—when the horse is Dante. Finally, we let them sniff noses when they were resting. Cole didn’t cringe—rather he had the prettiest look of happiness on his face. We are going to start turning them out together. We were reluctant to turn our young horses out with the old guys in fear that the young horses might push the old guys to play too hard. (We know of horses who have gotten hurt this way.) Now that we have 2 young horses that appear comfortable with each other, we may have a perfect friendship in the making. They are the same age, and they are going to spend many miles together in the years ahead. It is all the better that they are happy with each other.

Ellen and I have some more vacation time this week, so that means more trail miles if the weather cooperates. We love riding in the fall. We look forward to it all year long. This is simply heaven to us.

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