Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The First Evening Trail Ride of the Year

The First Evening Trail Ride of the Year

This is a day I always look forward to each year—the first ride after the time change—no more riding in the inside arena or on the loop in the dark.  I get to ride on the trail.  Not only that, but I get to go riding with Kevin and Starry.  We have a great time on our evening trail rides.

Not surprisingly for the month of March, the river was too high to cross.  Actually, that is better than the last few March’s when we couldn’t cross because the river was still frozen.  Riding up and down the hill isn’t that much fun most of the time, but this time of year, it is a treat just to be out.

This certainly wasn’t my first time on the hill this year.  I have done it a number of times by myself and last weekend, I did it with Ranger.  This was my first time with Starry in a long time, and we thought the horses might be a little hyper.

We were right.  Cole was just plain excited to be on a trail ride in the evening and he scurried down the hill at a very fast walk.  Starry strolled down, slowly, but when he got to the bottom, he was all excited because he wanted to trot.  We opted to put Starry in the lead, because Kevin thought he might act up is Cole trotted too fast.  My challenge would be keeping Cole quiet.

As Kevin started to trot, I felt Cole surge, but gently asked him to trot steady, and he did.  We made it to the end of the trail in seconds, turned around and walked up the hill.

The sky was getting a little dark, and I knew there was rain coming because I checked the radar.  Still, we both agreed to got back down the hill.  One trip didn’t seem enough, and there was no trace of thunder.

When we got to the bottom of the hill, we felt the air change temperature.  Starry trotted off in the lead, and Cole was a little tougher to keep behind him, but in the end he cooperated.

When we turned around and looked at the sky, it seemed a little ominous.  We knew this would be our last trip.  A few minutes later, as we were walking up the hill, I said, “We aren’t going to make it.”  I hopped off in anticipation of problems. 

Within a minute, it wasn’t just raining, it was a deluge.  Cole freaked out.  I wasn’t surprised.   Not many things bother Cole, but rain can really get to him.  He has always been this way.  The very first time it started raining when I was riding him, he tried to spin and run home.  I thought it was a fluke, until it happened the second and third time, too. 

After getting caught in the rain way more times than I can count, Cole has learned to tolerate it.  A light rain doesn’t bother him at all—but this wasn’t a light rain.  It was very hard, very sudden and it was the first evening trail ride of the year when he was wound up to begin with.  The wind was gusting and there was plenty of thunder and lightning to boot.  He wanted to go home—as fast as he could.

What followed was several frustrating minutes of circling, and trying to keep him out of the ditch on his side and me away from the edge of the hill on my side.  They trail that is wide enough to drive a truck down, suddenly became very narrow. 

And then something happened.  Cole just settled right down.  Maybe he realized that he couldn’t get home fast if I kept circling him every time he tried to charge.  Maybe he realized the rain wasn’t going to hurt him.  I really don’t know.  He just put his head down and marched home.  I tried to click him and feed him treats while he was walking, (he wasn’t going to stop for a treat) but I had trouble getting them in his mouth.  Instead, I just started a “good boy” chant.

We were less than 10 minutes from home when the storm hit.  We were drenched.  Lucky for me, I had a jacket on, so simply taking it off and switching from my wet boots to my dry shoes made a big difference.  Kevin didn’t have a jacket, so he decided to go home and change.  (He only lives a few minutes away.)  I scraped the excess water off Cole and started cleaning stalls to warm up.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t take Ranger outside for his walk, since it was still raining.  Walking about the indoor arena isn’t very exciting.  To make it more fun, we played “touch Princess.”  She is the tyrant cat that follows me all over the place.  She loves attention, but too much will end up with teeth and claws.  When Ranger touched her gently, he got a treat.  He liked the game, and Princess was cooperative.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

LOL! Touch Princess!! That is so funny! My new cat will do that too. :D

I'm glad Cole settled down. That had to be scary at first.... I hate getting caught out in storms because they freak me out, even if the horse isn't bothered. I'm glad everyone made it back safe and sound.