Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The Next Days on Dante
The Next Days on Dante
Ellen wanted me to ride Dante the next day, even though she was very sure he would be fine. Dante had showed a pattern, over the years, of acting terribly the first day we try something we haven’t done in a long time--and then being perfectly normal the next day. Ellen thought this would be the case.
It happened to be Easter Sunday morning, so the park was particularly quiet. This time, it was only Ellen and me; going out alone. We mounted at the beginning of the trail and headed down the hill. I could immediately feel the difference in Dante’s manner. This was the horse I knew--not the tense creature of the day before.
Cole was a different case, altogether. Not that he was tense--he was just happy to have Ellen aboard. He tried to do his silly walk numerous times--in hopes of getting a click. Sometimes he just stopped and said he deserved a treat. When that didn’t work--it would be time for the silly walk, again. He had me chuckling all the way.
We crossed the river without much ado. I put Dante in the lead, and we trotted off. Dante is much slower, naturally than Cole. Cole just can’t trot as slow as Dante. Ellen would hold Cole back, click him, trot to catch up, stop, click him and repeat. Cole thought it was a great game. Finally, he got Ellen to give him a lot of treats! Dante just trotted happily down the trail. Sure, he tossed his head around a bit--he always does when he is excited--but his feet just trotted on, steadily and smooth.
He had one minor spook--but that was no big deal. We continued on this way to the next river crossing, turned around and walked home. This was the Dante we know and love!
The next day, I wasn’t going to ride until the evening and Ellen could only be there in the morning, so she rode with Kevin and Starry. This was very, very brave of her, since if she had a problem, she couldn’t switch horses with me.
Of course, they had no problems. Once again, she put Dante in the lead, and they trotted most of the trail--except where they cantered. Dante volunteered the canter, but Ellen insisted he trot--but after he trotted a bit more--Ellen asked for the canter. They did great.
I was able to ride with Ellen the next day. This time, we made things a little tougher. About half of the ride, we put Cole in the lead. Cole sets a faster pace. It did cause Dante to break into an unwanted canter with a little buck, but it wasn’t anything Ellen couldn't handle with ease. Towards the end of the trail, we put Dante back into the lead and Ellen asked him for a canter. He did great. Cole just trotted along behind him. We walked home.
We are sure that there will still be hiccups in our rides, but things look pretty good right now. Ellen is quickly getting her confidence back--for good reason, too. She’s got a great horse.