Monday, October 14, 2013

Dante and the River

I know that everyone is sitting on the edge of their seats—just waiting to hear all about our riding weekend. Such excitement.

Anyway, Kevin and I went on a short and fast ride Friday evening. It went well, but we realized it would have to be the last of the year like that. It was just too dark to be riding along the street when we got back. Time to start riding in the indoor arena. Kevin is retired, so he will just ride without me during the day.

On Saturday, Ellen and I took Cole and Dante out. Remember last weekend when Ellen ended up leading Dante across the second river because he refused to cross? Well, this time, she brought a change of clothes. Her plan was to dismount if he seemed at all hesitant—before he figured out that she was dismounting because he wouldn’t cross. Right away, when they reached the spot where the trail splits—one way leading to the river and the other to the street—Dante demonstrated that he wanted to go to the street. Ellen dismounted.

I rode Cole into the water, and Dante came down the bank—one slow step after the next. I would say that it took him less than 5 minutes to get into the water. It was a huge improvement over last weekend. Ellen remounted on the other side and we continued the ride. On the way back, she dismounted right away—after all, she was already wet. This time, he went down the bank fairly steadily. I would say it was less than 2 minutes to get into the water.

We rode home happily.

She rode Ranger while I hiked along.

On Sunday, we planned to do the same thing. As we neared the river, she told me she had a theory and she wanted to try things a little different. If they worked, she would tell me the theory. I asked her if it would give me something to write about. When she told me “Yes, absolutely.” I was all enthusiastic. She said to ride just beyond the spot where we turn to the river and approach it from the other direction. There was a convenient tree in the right spot to loop around. I brought Cole first. She followed along with Dante—staying in the saddle this time.

Dante slowly and carefully made his way down the bank. There was very little hesitation. I would say it took less than 2 minutes to reach the water. He then carefully followed Cole across.

We enjoyed a nice ride on the other side, turned around and came back to the river. We approached it the same as always, because there was no choice in this direction. He was in the water in less than a minute.

I know you are dying to know what her theory is, but I am going to hold back until we get a little more proof to support it. There has been a number of odd things that Dante does that have been puzzling us all along. Her theory explains them all, but I want to observe him a little bit more before I let everyone know what it is. The theory is a little off the wall, so I don’t want to sound like we are crazy. I do know that it worked.

She then took Ranger on a ride as I hiked along.

Now for the best news. Cruiser’s appetite is fully up to where it was before he lost it. He is back to eating like a horse.

Another thing—right before he lost his appetite, I tested him at the trot—and he seemed stiff but as sound as he was before the injury. (He has a bit of arthritis as most horses his age.) I didn’t tell anyone because he then lost his appetite, and I didn’t know what was going to happen. I then decided to keep it to myself for a while since I have gotten my hopes up before only to have them dashed to the ground. It’s bad enough that I have been going through an emotional roller coaster—no reason for Ellen to go through it, too. Well, while I was walking him this weekend, he started to misbehave and Ellen saw him trot. the cat was out of the bag. I asked her opinion as to if he looked as good as he did before the injury, and she agreed.

I don’t exactly know what we will be doing in the near future, but only a couple months after I gave up complete hope, there is some hope back that I may be able to do light rides with him next year. He has pulled off miracles before in his life, and he might just do it again. He has sarcoid warts that disappeared on their own—astonishing the vet, and tumor on his thyroid that vanished—astonishing the vet, he came back from a bad tendon injury (not so miraculous, but close) and completely recovered from that hopeless cough last year due to COPD—and we haven’t had any trouble since—just by switching from hay to hay cubes.

Will he be able to heal from a bad injury at such an advanced age? Or will he manage to aggravate it again. Time will tell, and I am actually reluctant to start hoping, again, but I am human. And hope springs eternal in the human breast…


achieve1dream said...

Yay I'm caught up! I really want to know what the theory is! I'm glad it's working. :)

I'm glad Cruiser is doing well too.

Allison B said...

I want to know the theory too!
Another way to get a horse into water that I saw this weekend. . .back them in. I watched a friend riding her Shire who refused to do a water crossing. My friend just turned the mare around and backed her in, no problem. I was impressed.