Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Dante Stalls Out
Ellen and I took Dante and Cole on a trail ride one day. When we reached the second river crossing, Dante tried to zip up the trail that leads to the ford to avoid crossing the river. That didn’t surprise us too much, since Cole did that for a while once he learned he could cross that way and keep his feet dry.
Ellen turned him to the river bank—and he refused. He had been crossing there very reliably, so that was a surprise. Then she remembered that he stumbled in the water crossing on the way home the previous ride. This had happened before, here—Dante stumbles and then he won’t cross the next time. Evidently, a stumble is a traumatic thing for Dante.
It didn’t help that when he took that bad step, he splashed Cole. Cole has always been funny about getting splashed. These days, he usually just cringes or walks a little faster. This time, he got splashed a lot, so he started dancing and sidepassing about—making it a much more chaotic experience.
It took Ellen about 10 minutes before she could persuade Dante to cross. The whole time, Cole stood in the water and waited patiently.
We continued on our ride, turned around and headed home. This meant we had to cross the river, again. Since we were going the same direction that we were when Dante stumbled, he was much more resistant. Ellen couldn’t even get him to take a single step down the bank.
After about 10 minutes, she gave up, dismounted him and he fairly readily followed her across. It is pretty deep where we cross, so she got soaked. The whole time, Cole stood patiently in the water.
I suggested that we ride past the trail that leads home and go on a fun little dead end trail that we like to do when we want to make our ride a little longer. We have done this before with Dante, and he can be resistant about passing home. Ellen suggested keeping Cole right by his side to block him from turning down the trail that leads across the river and home. I tried, but Dante just stopped since he couldn’t turn. Ellen tried to shake him loose, but he wasn’t budging. After several minutes, I suggested bringing Cole back to him to see if he would follow Cole.
I circled Cole around and brought him right to Dante. Rather than walking past Dante, Cole paused, swung his head to Dante’s face and uncharacteristically pinned his ears back and opened his jaws wide—pointing his nose at Dante’s face.
I pulled Cole away from Dante—and Dante stepped right behind Cole without the least bit of hesitation. I don’t know what Cole said to Dante, but I’m thinking he got tired of waiting for him in the river, and he didn’t want to wait here any longer.
The rest of the ride went smoothly.