Monday, February 13, 2017

Team Sharibella (Shari/Aribella)

Team Sharibella (Shari/Aribella)

Once again, we were able to ride with Shari and Bella on a surprisingly nice day in February.  We were even going to be able to cross the river!  It had been cold the last few days, so we knew that the ground would be frozen and rough.  The ride would be a walk-only ride, but just getting a trail ride in February is such a treat, who were we to complain?

Kevin had family obligations, so Ellen got to ride Starry.  I was on Cole, of course.  We met at our usual time and headed for the trail.  Bella seemed very excited, but sensible.  It looked like it was going to be a successful ride.

As we rode down the hill, we caught up on what we have been up to.  The river bank looked very muddy, and there was a line of inconsequential ice along the edge of it about a foot from the water.  The ice had formed when the river was a little higher, and when the water retreated, it left the ice behind.  It was about a foot wide, and so thin that it would just crumble away when stepped on.

We knew it was harmless, but Bella thought it was very dangerous.  Starry crossed, first.  Cole had seen ice like this before, so he didn’t even notice it.  I had him go next, and I hoped that Bella would see his confidence and willingly follow.  She didn’t.

Ellen and I watched Shari and Bella from the other side.  She went back and forth, back and forth.  She didn’t want to step over the horse-killing ice.  After a few minutes, I brought Cole back across to try to lure her in.  He stood in front of her quietly in the water, and still she refused.

Eventually, we gave up and went back, across.  Shari told us to go on our way and hopefully she would eventually be able to cross.  

I kept looking back, and I could see Bella standing there.  

Ellen and I rode out to the next river crossing and turned around to come home.  A couple minutes later, who should we see but Team Sharibella.  Bella was walking quietly with a relaxed look on her face.  Success!

After we left them, Shari reached into her clicker training tool kit.  She asked Bella to take four steps, clicked, treated and repeated--right into the river.  She crossed the river a little on the fast side, but once she got to the other side, she relaxed and walked like a lady until she caught up with us.  She was a little excited when we were walking home, but that wasn’t a surprise--she was going home, after all.  Just the same, we were very impressed by her.  It has been weeks since she was across the river.  We didn’t think that she would be this calm.

This gives us great hope for the springtime transition to trail riding.  Bella may not be as excitable this spring as she was last spring.

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