Monday, July 28, 2014

Two more Firsts for Dante

Two more Firsts for Dante

On Saturday, we took Dante up to the show ring trail. Ellen has tried to ride him up the big hill twice, now, and he has refused both times. She ended up leading him. It was time for a rider switch. Before we got to the hill, we switched horses. When we got about 50 feet from the hill, Dante turned around to go home. He was really starting early this time. Near the base of the hill, he stopped. I started kicking constantly until he started up. After a few steps, I he started to slow and I started to kick, again. I stopped when he walked well and started whenever I felt hesitation. When he got 10 feet up, I clicked him, gave him a treat and asked for forward movement, again. I had no more troubles after that.

It is a very steep hill, and up until just the day before, it had a huge, scary rut going down the center. He either didn’t like the way it looked or didn’t like the steepness. Hopefully, it was the rut, since it is repaired now. I will ride him up it the next few times so we can straighten out the problem before Ellen tries, again.

We trotted all about the trails on top of the hill. I was in the lead on the way back, and I heard a bunch of noise behind me. Cole got scared and wanted to run. I spun and stopped him to see what was going on. Dante had stumbled on his front legs, and instead of slowing down and pulling himself up, he just kept trotting. I don’t know how he did it, but he went 8-10 steps scrambling like that with Ellen leaning over his neck. Finally, he caught himself. She dismounted and caught her breath and checked him out. He had a tiny bit of hair scraped off one knee. We walked him for the next 10 minutes, and he seemed fine. At the bottom of the hill, she mounted back up.

The river was very low, so I suggested that we switch horses, and I try to cross Dante on the river crossing that we have been avoiding by going on the ford. She wasn’t sure, but I was persistent. Cole went down the bank, first. Dante watched him step into the water, and I asked him to walk to the river. He put his nose down and stepped right in. It was a very uneventful crossing. One more thing checked off the list. At the next opportunity, we will try that river crossing on the way out, too.

On Sunday, we were very much relieved to find that Dante was completely unhurt from his fall. We took them out on an easy ride, just in case. It had rained the night before—must have been more than we thought because the river was higher and muddy. It was only slightly higher than it was a few weeks ago when I crossed Dante on his own, so I knew he would be fine, but Ellen was still very nervous about crossing. I showed her the rock tower that Kevin built to help us measure the depth of the river and explained if we saw that much tower, it would be knee high. She said she would try.

Cole went first, and she was with her own eyes that it wasn’t that deep. (Cole is, after all, a pony.) We were on the nearly on the other side when I glanced back and saw Dante take a step into the water. She clicked/treated him and then they were on their way. It was, yet another, uneventful crossing.

We had a leisurely ride for about an hour. When we got back, to our surprise, the river went up another inch. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it does make it look scary since there was a lot less land showing on the other side. Once again, Ellen sent me into the water first. Dante then crossed like the gentleman he is. He walks slowly and carefully—stopping if she asks him to. Another item off the list—a little higher and muddy water. We are getting there.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

I'm so glad they are doing so well conquering their fear! I've had a house stumble like that... Not fun! I'm glad he wasn't hurt.