Thursday, July 21, 2016
Solo Ride on Cole
Solo Ride on Cole
I realized last night that I no longer ride Cole out on the trail by myself. I ride with Ellen in the mornings and Kevin in the evenings. I like my riding companions, and I would much rather be with them than ride by myself.
Back when I had Cruiser, I often rode Cole alone because I would ride Cruiser with Starry or Ranger. He did very well on his solo rides.
Last night, Kevin had family plans--I was on my own.
The first thing I noticed was that Cole walked much faster down the hill than he has been. Usually, he is waiting for Starry or Dante, and he actually prefers them to lead down the hill. Without them, he was much more forward.
We crossed the river, and moved out at a trot. He was faster without Dante plodding behind him, but slower than when Starry is flying at a trot up ahead. He was steady and delightful.
I thought I saw a loose dog way up ahead on the trail. When I got closer, I saw no trace of the dog, but there were a couple people walking towards us. Suddenly, Cole burst into a gallop. We found the dog. I asked Cole to stop, and he slammed on the brakes. That impress me that he was so responsive when he was frightened. I clicked and treated.
It was a Husky puppy. The two guys walking towards us were trying to catch her. I told Cole to stand and warned them he might kick. For several minutes, the puppy ran all about and refused to listen. She did approach Coles hind feet several times, and Cole continued to stand like a statue. I kept clicking him--I was so proud. The puppy thought this was a most fun game. The boys kept apologizing and getting panicky whenever the puppy entered the danger zone.
Finally, one of the guys thought of running down the trail in the opposite direction--hoping the puppy would follow, and it worked. I don’t know if they ever caught her, but she left us alone.
I asked Cole to trot and he shot off at a very brisk speed. We didn’t go far when we found a man with a nervous looking German Shepherd. We walked past, and the dog barked at Cole.
I guess Cole had enough of dogs after that. When we trotted, he flew down the trail. I asked him to canter, and he did so very enthusiastically.
There is one part of the trail that we call “The Canter Stretch” where we canter nearly all the time. Since that is our routine, Cole anticipates it and likes to go fast. We went really, really fast. It was fun.
I crossed the river. (That is, after we had a little argument about how much he would prefer to cross the ford.) On the other side, he was still hyper. I wisely kept it at a trot since that is a very winding trail. I didn’t want to surprise any fellow trail users. His trot was extremely fast. While we were trotting, I decided that we would turn around at the end of that section. The last part of the trail is right out in the open alongside the street. With Cole in this mood, I felt that walking that trail was the only smart way to ride it, and that’s not much fun without someone to talk to.
We turned to go home, and it was surprising how fast he wanted to walk. I love a fast walk, so I was happy about it. We crossed the river, and he burst into a fast trot on the other side. I thought I might have accidently told him to trot, so I let him keep going--and then he started to canter. That is a very unusual thing for him to do. If he wants to go fast, he usually trots very, very fast. There is no need for him to canter. I had to struggle to get him to stop by zigzagging him back and forth on the trail. Suddenly, it occurred to me that Cruiser had possessed his body--this was just like a Cruiser solo ride on a hyper day.
I decided that Cole could walk the rest of the way home. He walked fast and behaved like a gentleman.
That is, until we were going up the hill right before the barn. He has a favorite spot to do his Cole bursts--sudden accelerations for no good reason except high spirits. It is a short, steep slope and he burst up it. I stopped him and laughed.
I’m sure that a lot of his hyper behavior was because it was a solo ride. With a horse like Cole, any change in routine can really wake him up. When I used to ride him alone, a lot, he would get excited when I rode with other horses. It’s just his nature. He’s a very fun horse to ride.