Monday, January 23, 2017
Bella is Back
Bella is Back
We have had a spell of warm weather. Kevin and I have been able to ride quite a bit in the last few weeks, since we are retired, but Shari has to work and hasn’t been able to get Bella on the trail in weeks. Saturday morning was her first opportunity. It was warm, but the river was too high to cross.
Needless to say, Bella was extremely excited. She pranced down the hill. Cole and Starry strolled down, quietly. We rode to the river’s edge to let Bella dip her toes in the river. Bella did plenty of her Bella skipping and dancing. We decided to ride back and forth on the flat part of the trail on the bottom of the hill. I don’t know how many times we did it before Bella finally just walked.
We went back up the hill, and she was all excited, again. Of course, we turned around and went back down. She did a little better. At the bottom of the hill, Sam, the Thoroughbred and his rider, Diana, caught up with us. All four of us started back up. We didn’t even reach our turnaround spot, and Bella really started acting up. Shari immediately turned her around to take her back down. Kevin and Starry left us at this point.
We made our way down to the bottom. Bella wasn’t much better. Shari was amazing with her steadfast patience. As we turned around at the bottom of the hill, we heard a crack, and I saw a large branch fall and roll partway down the hill. All of the horses jumped--Bella jumped the highest.
That was enough for us. We all headed home.
Later on, Shari tried riding down the hill by herself, and Bella was perfect!
The next day, the river was low enough to cross, so Shari and I tried again. Honestly, our hopes weren’t very high. We crossed the river successfully and started trotting on the other side. Bella started out well, so Shari clicked her several times to let her know how much she appreciated it. That showed Bella what Shari wanted. We continued to trot, and we were amazed how well it went. Of course, we knew it wouldn’t last forever, and we weren’t surprised when Bella burst out into a canter and didn't want to stop. We decided to stick to a walk after that, but we were so happy that we made it so far, that we didn’t mind.
We turned at the next river crossing. Kevin on Starry caught up with us there, and we went home together. We decided to try trotting again, and we were successful! Well, until Cole started to get a little too excited and wanted to pass Bella. I knew that wouldn’t go over well, so we brought them back to a walk. We did get pretty far.
It was a very warm day for horses with winter coats, so we walked from there. Bella tripped crossing the river, but she regained her balance.
There is one spot on the hill where we go around a corner and up a short, steep slope. This is the one spot in the whole park where Cole is the most likely to act up. Many times, when he feels excited, I will get off and lead so that if he acts out, I will be safe on the ground. It was muddy, this day, so I didn’t want to dismount. Mistake. Bella and Starry went ahead of us. There was a squirrel walking up the trail, and he seemed oblivious to us. Bella was fixated on him and it looked like she wanted to chase him. Starry was close behind. When Cole stepped onto the sloping part of the hill, he burst with happiness. The other horses did the same. We got to the top of the hill, laughing.
It was a surprisingly successful ride compared to the day before. We were able to do a lot of trotting, They walked quietly when we wanted to walk and it was so much better than, the day before. This gives us a lot of hope for the spring when we want to get back into regular riding.