Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sudden Change of Plans for Thanksgiving

Sudden Change of Plans for Thanksgiving

Ellen and I were going to go to my brother’s house for our Thanksgiving—and then the plans came to a screeching halt. My sister-in-law called and postponed it unitl Saturday. She isn’t feeling well.

That left Ellen, her boyfriend and me with no plans at all. I could have gone with Kevin, but that would leave Ellen stranded. Since I don’t think I can make it to the grocery store, I made a list of items that I could throw together for dinner and let Ellen pick. I sent her the following email invitation:

You are cordially invited to Thanksgiving Dinner at the Mansion on the Hill. What do you desire for dinner? I don’t have time to go to the store for lasagna fixings. Please choose from the following menu.

Chicken Cacciatore
Sausage soup
Home made macaroni and cheese
Pasta with sundried tomatoes and various vegetables
Homemade applesauce
Whitefish and tuna dinner
Turkey and giblets
Mixed grill
Salmon dinner

The last few items were what I could find in Thunder’s cupboard.

She chose spaghetti and found me a recipe for butterscotch brownies with cream cheese filling for dessert.
It’s going to be a great meal—and we still get to celebrate on Saturday, too!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So Many Horses to Ride

Good news about Ellen. Her ankle is cracked and not completely broken. They put her in a walking boot—for only 6 weeks! She is off of stall rest, and she is now on the hand walking stage. She even might stop out at the barn this weekend for a visit—though she won’t be able to do any work, yet.

Now, a quick update on my rides. My niece came out on Saturday and she rode Dante in the arena. He listened very nicely to her. As she made corrections to her riding, he improved. We finally got a horse that she can learn on! My horses generally won’t listen to anyone except Ellen and me. Ranger isn’t a whole lot better. They are just too used to us and won’t take anyone else seriously. I remember Cruiser just walking to the corner of the arena with them and refusing to come out.

She rode Ranger on the trail with me on Cole and Kevin on Starry. It was a very chilly day, so we were only out just over an hour.

Sunday, I got to the barn early and rode Dante in the arena. He was such a good boy, and I know I am going to like riding him while Ellen is recovering. I then rode Cruise in there for the first time since he colicked. He was all over the place—wanting to look out windows and generally not listening well. I did trot him under saddle for the first time, and he is as sound as he was before the suspensory injury. (He hasn’t been quite right since the bowed tendon in the same leg.)

I then went to take Cole on a trail ride with Kevin and Starry, but Starry kept coming up short. Kevin took him back, and left me to go on a very slow ride with Cole. It was in the low 20s, the ground was frozen solid and only suitable for walking. Cole didn’t like it, and went very slowly. I ended up leading him all the way home to stay warm. I really didn’t enjoy myself very much.

I planned to ride Ranger a few times on the hill, but I didn’t want to freeze anymore, so I led him. It was about a half hour. He was in a very perky mood. The frozen ground didn’t bother him in the least!

Monday evening, I worked Cole in the arena, and he was just horrible! He bolted 3 times and did a lot of jumps and spins. I don’t know what got into him.

My next horse was Cruiser, and I was impress on how much more focused he was than the day before. He behaved like a gentleman, went straight and bent correctly on all his corners. We kept it at a walk, though. There was another horse in the arena with us, and I didn’t want to push my luck.

I then took Ranger for a spin. I haven’t ridden him much at all in the arena, and at first it felt so strange to be on such a big horse—and so wide! In the end, I really had fun. He has a few basic things that need to be smoothed out—like bad circles. We worked them at a walk and trot, and I did see some improvement. At the end, we did some clicker fun. I decided to try to teach him turn on the haunches. We got a number of correct first steps to the right. He loves clicker, and I bet next time it will be a lot easier.

Then, it was time to doctor up Starry’s hoof. I thought he had busted out an abscess a few weeks ago on the pointy part of his frog, but when his farrier looked at it a few days later, he said it was just a shedding frog. So rather than cutting it out a little further, he told Kevin to put iodine on it. I was shocked that I could possibly be wrong. Mingo had that bad abscessed hoof that we struggled with for years—including 2 operations a year apart. He also abscessed in his other hooves. I know abscesses. When Starry had trouble on the frozen ground, I thought it was an abscess after all. Probably the original didn’t finish draining before it sealed. Kevin had a different farrier look at it, and he agreed. It is a very deep one that he didn’t think he could cut out. He told Kevin to do the soaking routine. By yesterday evening, it was much worse, and there was no doubt that it was an abscess. Starry wasn’t’ compliant with the soaking—it hurt too much, so I talked Kevin into a poultice. I helped him with it, and hopefully it will drain in a few days. I think it will be coming out of his heel, since it seems sensitive—and it wasn’t on Sunday.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cole Train Saves the Day

Cole Train Saves the Day

Ellen and I took a few vacation days last week for trail riding. The first day was another of a series of near perfect rides with Dante. The second one was the same until the end.

A while back, I mentioned that Ellen had a theory as to why Dante was being odd at one of the river crossings and it explained a few other odd things we noticed. That day, she angled him down the bank in a different way, and he was much more cooperative. We are fairly certain that there is something odd about his right eye. We have been around enough horses with blindness issues, that we know he isn’t blind at all, but maybe it that eye isn’t as strong or has poor depth perception—something like that. It happens in people; why not animals?

It explained why he had trouble walking into his stall door. Ellen learned to circle him around to get him out. With a lot of positive reinforcement, he is fine, now. He also would get very nervous when horses approached him on the right—even horses he knew. We experimented with him and Cole, and there was a distinct difference in his behavior. On the left, he could care less. On the right, he shied away. This has also improved.

We think he was relying on the wall in the indoor arena, because in the one spot that he had to leave the wall to make the turn, (it is slightly “L” shaped) he would fight to say on it. That, too, is nearly gone.

The one thing we haven’t been able to fix is traffic. He is great with cars on the left and very upset about cars on the right. He is fine if they approach from the rear, but if they approach from the front, he is spooking nearly every time. It even happened to me one day when I was leading him, and I forgot about it—so it wasn’t a case of him picking up on my anticipation. It wasn’t a problem until one day, a car went past him too close and too fast on his right side. An ordinary horse would have gotten over it in a short time, but Dante is special.

It really isn’t a big problem, because when you are on the proper side of the road, cars pass you from the right.

Well, on this fateful day, we stepped out of the trail to get to the barn—just 2 doors down—and there was a truck completely blocking the right hand lane. Ellen and Dante were in the lead. There was no traffic coming, so she was going to go around the truck and back to the proper side of the street. When she got into the far lane, a car was pulling out of the driveway from the neighboring stable—forcing Ellen to the wrong side of the road. Though the driver went slowly, she was very close to Dante. He spooked and just as she passed him, she jammed on the gas and took off.

Dante was a nervous mess—and another car was coming. To get him out of the way for everyone’s safety, Ellen decided to bring him into the ditch alongside of the road. It is a shallow ditch and there wasn’t any water in it. It seemed like a perfect solution to the problem. Dante did spook again, too. Unfortunately, Ellen took a misstep caused my the uneven ground and went down—hearing an audible snap as she did.

I wasn’t too far behind with Cole, so I was there, immediately. She felt she could walk, but walking Dante was out of the question since we didn’t know how he would behave. She told me to give her Cole. At worst, if she couldn’t walk, I knew that Cole would stand quietly for her until I could get help. Of course, he would probably be parked out and bowing, but he would stand.

I took Dante and we headed down the nearby drive—tears in my eyes. Ellen was following with Cole—very slowly—much slower than Cole would typically be walking with the barn in sight. The woman who owned the neighboring barn saw and asked if she could take Cole to help, but Ellen declined because Cole was supporting her and she gimped along.

I got Dante back to the barn, and Kevin was there. He rushed out to Ellen and helped her to a chair. I unsaddled the horses and we prepared to take Ellen to the hospital. This is when she told me what Cole did for her. He really did save the day. A few years ago, I taught him to match my footsteps when I walked deliberately—mostly to get control of him when he used to be a bit wild. This morphed into his silly walk. When I lift my legs high, he does too. Well Cole, who Ellen says is her hero, matched Ellen’s slow and deliberate step as he brought her home.

Her ankle is broken, and she is very, very upset. I will be taking care of her horses until she gets better, so I will be quite busy. Too bad for me that winter is here and most of it will be indoors. Good for her, though. She won’t be missing any fantastic trail rides. The only ones she’s miss will be very, very cold.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cruiser Dodges a Bullet—I Hope

Cruiser Dodges a Bullet—I Hope

It was a very rough weekend. I went out to ride Dante on Friday night in the arena. (I was giving Cole a break.) When I brought him back into the barn, Cruiser was laying down. That alone wouldn’t have been alarming, except that Kevin mentioned he was laying down earlier. He was on his side and breathing hard. I thought I would lure him to get up to make sure he was alright. I grabbed his hay cubes that had been soaking and put them in his stall. He immediately got up. I went to unsaddle Dante, looked back at Cruiser and he was standing in his hay cube dish instead of eating out of it. I got scared. He then lay back down, and I grabbed the phone to call the vet.

Of course, it was the emergency vet at this time of the night, and I didn’t know her. I told her what was happening. She said she was out walking her dog and would call me when she got back in. By the time she got back, Cruise seemed perfectly normal—and was trying to get to the hay cubes I had taken away from him. He didn’t have a fever, either. I was worried he may have gotten the virus that Ranger had a few weeks ago. She said not to give him any food and see how he was in the morning.

The next morning, he was fine. Ellen and I went riding, came back and he still looked good, so I gave him some hay cubes. Ellen went out to ride Ranger, and I walked with her. When we returned, Cruiser still seemed good, so I took him on his half hour walk. He then had his lunch, and I went home.

A few hours later, I got the call. Cruiser was lying on his side and breathing hard. Kevin lives very close to the barn, so he went to check. I didn’t wait to hear from him, but called the vet right away. It was the same emergency vet since it was the weekend. She was way out on the other side of the world and couldn’t make it for an hour and a half.

I went out to the barn to find Kevin leading Cruiser. He kept wanting to lay down. This was serious. When the vet finally arrived, when she saw him, she told me she didn’t have a good feeling about it. We brought him back to his stall. She gave him a tranquilizer and a shot of Banamine. She then examined him and tubed him. He had passed plenty of manure while we were waiting for the vet, so an impaction seemed unlikely. She couldn’t find anything apparently wrong, and that was a good sign, but it could be a sign that things were more complicated. The biggest problem—his age. She felt it was serious enough that she gave me the “talk.” If he doesn’t improve in 48 hours, it will be time to end his suffering. He was no candidate for surgery, and if I took him to a clinic for further examination, I wouldn’t like what I saw—and couldn’t do anything about it. Though, she did say that he looked very healthy and that was something in his favor.

When the tranquilizer wore off, he immediately tried to lie down. She said that was a very bad sign. We pulled him out of his stall and kept him walking. Every time I tried to put him back in his stall, he tried to lie down, again. When the vet left, she told me I could give him another dose of Banamine and it would take about 45 minutes to work. I did, but it didn’t. 45 minutes came and left. I would allow him to stand as long as he was comfortable. When he felt bad, he wanted to walk. A few times, he nearly knocked me over in his desire to be moving. We would walk a few minutes, and then I would try standing, again. Eventually, I realized that I could have him stand by the mounting block and then I could sit down. Kevin got us some dinner from Burger King, and we ate in shifts.

Almost an hour and a half from the time I gave him the Banamine, I had him standing by the mounting block and one of the boarders was talking to Kevin and me. I was just watching Cruiser and noticed his eyelids were getting heavy. Could it be? Yes! He was falling asleep! I let him rest a few minutes, took him back to his stall and right away, he fell asleep standing up. The worst was over.

Kevin and I went back to his house for a few hours. When I came back, Cruiser looked fine, just tired. I led him around to make sure. Then—back to Kevin’s for a few hours and then back to check on him. All was the same. I went home. I knew they did the AM feeding about 5:00 AM, so I slept—waiting for the phone call—and it didn’t come.

I went back to the barn in the morning, and he looked good. I called the vet, and she said we could feed him some hay cubes and see what happened. I waited to feed him so we could make sure he was alright. The vet had said we had to remain vigilant for the next 24 hours. Ellen and I were there all morning, riding the other horses, and when he still seemed healthy, I figured I could go home for a few hours. I gave him the cubes—made them really soupy—not the way he likes them. He nibbled at them. When the other horses got their grain and he didn’t, he was very upset. He stopped eating his cubes and stood by his grain dish. He was going back and forth. Finally, he took his hoof and flipped the hay cube dish upside down. I went to get him some hay to soak and Ellen scooped the mush back into his dish. He started to eat then, since at least it wasn’t soupy. He dug into the soaked hay, too.

The day before, it seemed that the colic showed up about 3 hours after feeding. I had time to walk the dog, take a shower and get a nap in before the call would come—but it never did. I went out to see him in the late afternoon, gave him more cubes, back to Kevin’s for a few hours and then back to the barn for another small meal of hay cubes.

We have been giving him many small meals, and he hasn’t gotten any grain, yet. Maybe in a few days. He seems 100% normal. Since we don’t know what caused it all, we don’t know if it will happen again. He has never been a colicky horse. Time will tell, but in the meantime, I am just thankful I still have my wonderful Cruiser.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Riding Vacation

Riding Vacation

I took a little riding vacation in the middle of the week, and it was so much fun. It started on Monday night. I decided to give Cole a day off and rode Dante in the arena, instead. This is the first time I ever did it without my sister around, so I got to ride the whole session. I really enjoyed myself. He was so well behaved and attentive. There was another horse being lounged and later ridden while we were in there—and he never even glanced his way. That’s not how it would have been on Cole or Cruiser. It was most wonderful.

Tuesday, we woke up to our first snow of the year—and it was pretty chilly. Ellen was off, too, so we took Cole and Ranger out in the snow for a 5-mile ride. We had fun and managed to stay warm. The river was a little high, so she rode Dante in the arena. I was able to take what I learned from riding the night before to help her out. I have never seen her ride him so well. I had introduced half halts to him, and he was starting to understand them. Well, I coached Ellen on it, and she continued the lesson. He kept moving and a prettier and prettier frame. I led Cruiser for 15 minutes and then rode him for 15 minutes. He did well.

Wednesday, Ellen had to work, so I planned a ride with Kevin. For variety, we decided to do the show ring trails. I haven’t been up there in about a month. Well, between the wind and cold and the fact that it was in the middle of the afternoon—a time I seldom ride—I ended up with a very hyper horse. His worst moment was when Starry took off while he was behind him and startled him. Cole bolted and bucked. You should have seen the look on the fisherman’s face that we nearly ran into. Well, it wasn’t that close, but I think the fisherman thought so. From then on, Cole was charged. I ended up leading him part of the way home—partly due to his behavior and partly because I was cold. I was glad I did because we heard some pretty loud gunshots and he leapt into the air. Starry didn’t notice. I think he is a mutant horse.

Thursday, Ellen was off, again. She asked me to ride Dante since the river was too high for her comfort, but she knew I would be fine. She rode Ranger. Dante was just awesome, though he did spin at the water’s edge on our first try. He was very willing for the second try. We trotted a lot and he didn’t even spook when the flock of turkeys took off to fly across the river. They were so beautiful. A blue heron flew by at the same time. What a sight.

I then took a ride with Cole and Kevin on Starry. They were so much better than the day before, but we were on familiar trails, so that helped. It was the warmest day of the 3, making it a very enjoyable ride.

Ellen then came over my house and we worked on my garden wall until dark. It is nearly complete. Almost all the stones are laid down. I have one corner to fix and then we will level the dirt and wait until spring to get some new topsoil and plant flowers. It has taken me all summer and fall with help from Ellen and Kevin, but it was worth it. It will be so pretty when it is planted.

Monday, November 11, 2013

This is our world in November

November in cleveland can be pretty dreary. Most of the leaves are down and it is very gray. We get a lot of cloudy days this time of year—and the few sunny ones are to be treasured. Here is Starry crossing the river this weekend. Being a dirty buckskin, he kinda blends right in!

Dreariness doesn’t keep us from riding, though. As long as it isn’t raining, you will still find us out there. The park is quieter and that is a bonus.

It is supposed to snow a little over the next few days, so that will liven things up.

Fun Fall Riding

We had such a nice fall weekend. On Saturday, my niece came out to ride with us. She rode Ranger—who hadn’t been on the trail in a week because of his virus. Since it was his first time out and the weather was chilly, he was a bit of a challenge. He did a couple of his kitten bucks and there were countless spooks, but my niece stayed on and had a good time. Cole was very patient and well behaved. Due to the height of the river, Ellen chose to ride Dante at the barn. She worked him in the arena for a while and then let my niece give him a try. She rode him a few months ago in the arena, and he was totally uncooperative. This time, he was very responsive. We then took him outside with Cruiser, and we rode the barn trail. Both horses did well.

On Sunday, I got to ride Dante on the trail and Ellen rode Ranger. Both horses were awesome—Ranger was much more reasonable than the day before. This meant I could ride Cole on my own—no more being kind to my fellow riders. We went blasting down the trail, and we both had so much fun. Towards the end, a squirrel ran right in front of us. Cole was startled and swerved away and I lost my balance. He wouldn’t stop, and he was running right for the street. I didn’t think I would be able to stay on, and I wanted to keep him off the road. I put my effort into trying to turn him. I started to regain my balance—and he swerved the other way! I nearly lost it, again, but in the end, I lost my other strirrup, instead, grabbed his belly with my legs and somehow found myself right in the middle of the saddle where I belonged. Then he stopped. Silly boy—all over a squirrel.

On the way home, we met Kevin and Starry out for a ride and moseyed on back with him.

Then I got to ride Cruiser again! My third time! I am leading him for 15 minutes and riding him 15 minutes. He is doing well and seems to like it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

How to Make a Special Day

How to Make a Special Day

Ellen and I were going to take a day off, together, but she couldn’t get that day. I decided I would take it off, anyway. She would be able to ride with me in the morning, so all wasn’t lost.

Then I saw the forecast—it was supposed to rain all night and continue on into the morning. There was enough rain to ensure that the river wouldn’t be able to be crossed. All was lost. I would have been better off at work.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I didn’t tell anyone what I planned. I was going to make it a special day—after all—I was celebrating an anniversary. Well, I don’t know what the actual date of the anniversary was—I never wrote it down—but I knew that I bought Cruiser 24 years ago in early November. It was early November. I was going to celebrate—by riding him!

I felt he was ready to go. I had been trotting him every time we went on our physical therapy walks for a month and I hadn’t seen a bad step. It was time to increase his workload, and I would do it by adding my weight on his back. I know that it was an important part of his recovery from his bowed tendon, so it should help with the suspensory ligament.

When I told Ellen, she was surprised and happy. We started our morning with her riding Dante in the indoor arena. I wanted to lead Cruiser for 15 minutes and then ride 15 minutes. Towards the end of her ride, I saddled up and brought Cruiser in to lead. After a warmup walk, we did some trotting in hand. A few times, it turned into spooking in hand and even bucking in hand. I think that Cruiser was excited to be saddled up. He seemed to have more lift in his step in both the walk and the trot. He definitely was acting out, too.

Ellen put Dante back in his stall and came out to help me with Cruiser. She held his stirrup, and I climbed up. I gave a happy sigh. I was at home. we walked around a few laps and then the rain quit. We headed out and rode the little trail loop in the back of the property until we hit our 15 minutes.

Of course we stayed at a walk. His walk felt good with no irregularities. If anything, it seemed more even than in the past. Ellen told me it was a little pacey, but it wasn’t so fast that he was doing his stepping pace.

It was a lovely and exciting feeling to be back on the best horse—ever. I hope Cruiser wasn’t disappointed that it was such an unexciting ride, but he seemed content. He has always been a horse that was happy to work—as long as he was on the trail. This was kind of a trail. Maybe it wasn’t a special moment for him, but it sure was for me.

Ellen rode Ranger and then she had to go to work. I took Cole on the hill, and we rode up and down 4 times--twice we trotted up. We did a lot of trotting and cantering at the bottom, too, so he ended up getting a good workout.

It turned out to be a great day after all.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Leaf Season

This is a very busy time of year for Thunder—leaf hunting season. With all the leaves falling, he seems to be glued to the windows. We have 2 large picture windows—and they both belong to him. If we have one of those gusty days, and he is busy elsewhere, he will run to the window when he hears the wind whistle. He just gets so keyed up.

In the morning, after a big breakfast, he will go up on his tower and refuse to come down for his teeth brushing. I can’t pick him up because he just hangs on tightly with his claws. Sometimes, I have to put the chair by the tower and threaten to brush his teeth while he is up there. That convinces him to come down for a couple of minutes. I brushe his teeth—and back up he goes.

In the evenings when I come home from work, he is definitely more tired than normal. I think that leaf hunting is cutting into his napping.

He has even been coming to bed late. He wants to stay up and watch the leaves. I am feeling so irrelevant.

Still, it is only a few short weeks in the fall and spring that he gets like this. (Much of my trees are red oaks that lose most of their leaves in the spring.) I do find I can get more things done around the house because he is so busy.

If I bring a leaf into the house, he doesn’t make the connection that it is just what he has been so intently hunting.

Maggie, aka Dumb Dog, doesn’t get leaf hunting at all. This is a good thing—since she tends to mess up his squirrel hunting. When she starts to bark at the squirrels, he climbs down his tower just far enough so that he can reach her—and bats her in the head. At least he can hunt his leaves in peace.

Arena Ride Day 3, 4 and 5

Arena Ride Day 3, 4 and 5

With all the excitement of Ranger’s virus, I forgot to mention about Cole’s arena work. On Day 3, I opted to turn him out to play in the huge outdoor arena. It finally was dry enough that I felt he would run. (He won’t run much in mud.) Run he did—until he was just dripping in sweat. I cleaned him up the best I could and then rode him at a walk out on the drive for a half hour until the indoor arena was empty of riding lessons. We then went inside and rode all around the arena—mostly at a walk since he was exhausted. After 15 minutes, he was totally desensitized in the indoor arena.

I gave him a day off and then tried Day 4. I waited until the arena was empty and the barn was quiet. Well, we were successful. He did try to run to the barn door on the first lap around, but when he found out that didn’t work, he behaved quite well. We worked on trotting on the scary end, and by the end of this ride, I was totally desensitized to the indoor arena.

The next couple rides fell on the weekend, so we managed to get a couple trail rides. Yesterday was Day 5 in the arena, and he was his old self—and so was I. We were able to work on our transitions and consistency with his trot. I am just so out of practice. This arena trotting is tough. His movement is just so big. The most I managed was one and a half laps before I would have to stop, pull myself back together and then start again. I made it a half hour and then headed outside to ride on the drive because it was such a pretty night.

Now that his mind is in the right place and my nerves have been calmed, maybe we can start having productive arena rides, again.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Scary Weekend

 Ellen, Kevin and I all the 5:00 AM phone call on Saturday morning from the barn manager. Ranger wasn’t eating his breakfast and was acting like he was uncomfortable. No one wants to get that call. Ellen went out, and I just waited by the phone. I couldn’t go back to sleep—I was a wreck. I’m sure Ellen felt even worse. She called me a short time later—she was going to call the vet. Something was really wrong. I still waited at the phone. The vet was there and gone by 7:00 AM. It wasn’t colic! Hurray! It was a virus. He had a 102 degree fever and was feeling pretty bad. She gave him 3 shots, and gave Ellen all kinds of instructions.

I was supposed to take my niece out to ride that morning, and she called a few minutes later to cancel. I headed out to the barn to find Ranger looking mopey, but he was eating. After a while, he just broke out into a full body sweat. There was steam all over. He was eating, though. Ellen rode Dante in the arena while I walked Cruise. When we were done, Ranger seemed much better. I took Cole out on a ride with Kevin and Starry, and Ellen hiked along. The ride went well. We all went back to the barn. Ranger seemed pretty good—just tired.

Ellen went later in the evening to check on him. His temperature was normal, but he still seemed tired.

The next morning—you would never know anything was wrong at all! She took him with me on Cruiser’s walk—and he was friskier than Cruiser. Hard to believe he was the same horse. What a relief.

The river was still too high for Dante, but Ellen didn’t feel like riding in the arena. Instead, we did the hill twice. He is having some issues on the hill—multiple trips seem to bother horses until they understand the routine. There is nothing we can’t work out with practice—he is nowhere near as bad as Cole was for the first couple years. Cole was just a terror on the hill. Dante just wants to rush a little on the way home and not stop. When we got home, we didn’t take him into the barn, but led him to the back of the property—something he often does after an arena ride. Well, Dante threw a few temper tantrums because he didn’t go back to the barn. He gave us one more thing to work on.

I was able to take Cole on another fun ride with Kevin and Starry. The second river was pretty high, but it was clear. Since the park was so busy with people enjoying the beautiful fall weather, we opted to cross the river instead of using the road. Cole did so well! He took slow, careful and steady steps. I gave him peppermints. He deserved them!