Monday, October 20, 2014

Pretty October Rides

We had some great riding this weekend. It was rainy on Saturday, but not too rainy to ride--just rainy enough to keep the tourists out of the park. We were nearly alone--except for the usual joggers.

On Saturday, Ellen and I took Dante and Cole out on the short ride (5 miles) and they were great. Since Cole’s weekday rides have been shortened due to the early darkness, he was a bit full of himself. We let Dante lead for a while, but we couldn’t take the slowness any more. When we took the lead, Cole flew along the trail. We did some terrific trotting and had a great gallop. We can get away with it because Dante remains calm. We just wait for them to catch up. Ellen did canter Dante a couple times, too. Ellen did insist on leading the way home because she wasn’t so sure that Dante would tolerate Cole vanishing from sight.

Cole did get frightened by a loose dog. The dog was Daisy, one we know well. She jogs along with her owner, and is one of the best behaved dogs we have ever encountered. She just started running around like a nut--to the embarrassment of her owner. Once I got Cole to stand, he just froze until she settled down. Dante was fine.

Sunday's ride was a little challenging. It was sunny and beautiful. We headed up to the show ring trails. They started off both walking dreadfully slow. By the time the trails improved and we could trot a lot, Cole came to life. We had one leap into a canter accented with a buck at the bottom of the big hill. That completely took me by surprise. He stopped readily. They both handled the hill beautifully. Once on top, Cole led at the trot. He was rather spunky, but he was reasonable. I kept looking back to make sure that Dante wasn’t upset when we got too far ahead. There were muddy patches on the trail that we stopped to walk through, and Dante would catch up with us.

All was going well until we got to the end of the trail by the street. I heard some odd bird noises coming from a tree right by the trail. As we neared to a stop by the tree, Cole flew sideways—away from the tree in alarm. He settled down, Ellen caught up with us, and Dante got startled by the tree, too. We turned them around and asked for a walk and Cole leapt up and said we should just get away from that tree as fast as possible. I calmly circled him back under control. Dante was also nervous. As we walked down the trail, 2 hawks were flapping and calling from tree to tree as if they were following us. I don’t think they were—it was probably coincidence. The only thing we could think of is that they were having a territorial issue.

Once we got away from them, we trotted with Dante in the lead. Ellen got him to go fast enough for Cole to trot comfortably and they were great. We decided to pass up the trail leading home and ride out on the front loop that goes around the show grounds. This was the first time we ever did it with Dante. Most of the summer, it was just too hot to go out into the sun and just walk around. Being right out in the open, we have found our horses can get pretty excited the first few times. We were right—they were both keyed up, but all went well.

I had one more problem spot with Cole. When we went down the big hill, Cole decided to trot. The big hill is very, very steep and it has a large rut that was caused by erosion going down the center of it. It wasn’t a place for rambunctious. I asked him to “whoa” which is something he is very good at, and he ignored me. I resorted to bending him sharply—not something I wanted to do on the hill, and finally he stopped. I made him stand quietly for about 30 seconds and then decided I was better off leading. He did better, but he had one more bad moment when we got close to the bottom. That time, it was a little easier to stop him. He hasn’t pulled anything like this since back in the spring. I think it was just his mood. We rode at a walk the rest of the way home, and other than refusing to stop and stand—which is pretty bad for him—he was fine. Dante did better on the ride, overall.

I my issues with Cole are related to cool weather and shorter, less vigorous evening rides. We do have another long weekend coming up—that should help a lot.

Both days, Ellen rode Ranger on a short ride while I walked with him. He was in a great mood.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

They all have those kind of days! He wasn't being horrible or anything. It's good you nipped it all in the bud immediately though. Good job!