Monday, April 6, 2015
Thanks to the rain, we were only able to get out across the river once this weekend. It was a little high on Friday, and Ellen didn’t want to take Dante or Ranger across. Kevin kindly offered us Starry, so she rode Starry and I rode Cole. Poor Ellen had to deal with the jarring Starry trot. She came up with a solution—she would just canter him. That meant I got to canter Cole out on the trail for the first time this year—and he just flew down the trail. We did stop once when we heard Ellen yell out that Starry was bucking, but once they got under control, away we went. Sometimes, Cole just needs to run. We walked all the way home, and Cole was very relaxed.
We rode Dante and Ranger on the hill. I rode Dante on Friday. It was his first trail ride of the year, but you would never know it. He was no different than his last trail ride back in December. I really like his consistency. Ranger didn’t want to trot. Ellen had tried him on the hill earlier in the week, with the same results. We were thinking that age might just be catching up with him. Still, when he is out playing, he trots just fine. Ellen can also trot him in hand, and he is very willing. It was puzzling. I suggested we try a different saddle. Ranger’s body has changed over the last year—maybe the saddle isn’t fitting him right.
My WWII Japanese military saddle has a different type of seat that distributes the weight over a larger surface—much like a Western saddle. It is my favorite saddle, but it is too long for Cole’s pony back. I have used it on Ranger when I’ve ridden him over the years, and he seems to like it. On Saturday, we switched horses and I used my war saddle.
When we got to the flat section of trail at the bottom of the hill, Ranger tried to take a trot step before I even asked him! When I did ask for the trot—away we went. Ellen was in shock. We did a bunch of trotting back in forth, and Ranger gradually got faster and steadier. Could it be this simple?
later, I rode Cole by myself on the hill. For the first time this year, I trotted him up the hill a couple of times, and he was great. That was something we were still struggling with last year. It is hard for horses to calmly travel up a hill at a faster speed when the barn is right across the street at top of it.
On Sunday, Ellen wanted to ride Ranger to see if he would trot for her and to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. I got to ride Dante. Ranger gave Ellen plenty to smile about—he trotted well. Of course, Dante was a good boy, too. It looks like Ellen will be using my saddle, now. She will just have to remember to lift her leg up higher on the dismount. It has a “horn” in the back that is used to hold a pack down, I think.
I worked Cole on the hill, alone, again. This involved more trotting uphill. We also did a bit of cantering at the bottom. Ellen set up a log for us to trot over. After a few times of that, I couldn’t resist cantering over it, too. He gave me just a little jump. Overall, I had a very fun ride, even though the river was too high to cross.