Friday, March 21, 2014

More “Trail Rides”

More “Trail Rides”

My next opportunity to ride Cole outside came last Friday. This time, I used what I learned the last time and turned him loose to play in the indoor arena. When I thought he had sufficient bucking and galloping, I saddled him up and we headed for the loop. I led him for the first lap and rode the following 5 laps and he was just great. It was hard to believe he was the same horse from earlier in the week.

On Saturday, I started out by riding him in the arena for 10 minutes. I then got really brave and took him on the hill for the first time in several months.

We quietly walked down the hill until it got very icy. The lower you go, the less sun shines on the trail. We made it about two thirds of the way down. He behaved lovely, but it was just too short of a ride. We went partially up the hill to the beginning of a level area, turned around and trotted up to where the trail starts going down, again. We did this about 5 times—walking towards home and trotting away from home. He was fast, but well behaved.

We then rode back home and went to the back of the property and rode the loop four times—without a single misbehavior. All was good in the world.

Sunday was much colder, so Ellen and I did most of our work inside. We then took Ranger and Cole on the loop together for a little while, but the wind was so wicked, we didn’t last long. Still, they were as good as they would be on a hot July day.

I was feeling really brave on Monday. I let him play for only about five minutes before heading for the hill. Once again, we rode down to the ice, turned around, went to the beginning of the level section, turned around and I asked him to trot.

Away we went on a fast canter. I tried to slow him down, but he was oblivious to me. When we got to the slope, I finally got him to pay attention and come back to a walk—mostly because he is used to walking there. I asked him to turn around to do it again, and he fought me about it. He wanted to keep going down the hill. I won, and we went back and forth a few times at a walk and then we did it at a trot. He was very, very hyper—not at all the horse he was a few days ago.

I brought him back to the barn to do the loop. When I was the furthest away from the barn, I saw someone turn her horses out in the outdoor arena—which is between the barn and the loop. It was just the quiet Thoroughbreds, so I wasn’t too worried. They usually just stand around.

Not this time. Sam decided to run. Cole became hyper alert, so I decided I should dismount and try to lead him back. Sam saw Cole and got very wound up. I asked Cole to do his silly walk, and he did, so I clicked and treated him. Now, he was paying more attention to me than to Sam. We would walk 10 silly steps, and I would click him. We managed to get all the way home without any real trouble. Sam never did settle down—very unlike him.

I decided to finish my ride in the arena, but it was really dusty and I was feeling discouraged.

I guess the moral of the story is, “A well-behaved horse one day is no guarantee of a well-behaved horse the next ride.” The inverse of that is a badly-behaved horses is no guarantee of a badly-behaved horse the next time out.” Maybe he will be great the next time I take him outside.

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