Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Continuing Rides

Continuing Rides

As Ellen waits for the best time to start taking Dante on the trail, and as Bella is recovering from a leg injury, that only leaves me Starry to ride with.  The mornings have been bitterly cold through most of the month of March.  On those days, Kevin and I have been riding the loop behind the barn.  We have had mixed results with that.  Some days, the horses are just perfect--and the ride would be boring except for the good company.  Other days can be very challenging--like the day that Starry saw the tarp flapping in the wind...

Kevin and I have continued riding on the trail in the evenings.  Each ride, the horses seem a little better.  Starry has a new routine.  Remember how he never wanted to take the lead?  Well. there are still times that he doesn't want to, but all Kevin has to do is ask him to go forward, and  he does.  Here is the funny thing.  If he gets close to Cole at a walk, he wants to pass him!  We let him pass, but he walks so slow that Cole soon passes him.  We walk along, and when we get too far ahead, we stop and let him catch up.  If we let him get too close--he will speed pass Cole, again.

We are still trotting with only Starry in the lead.  He sets a slower and more sensible speed.  Cole is willing to follow.  When Cole is in the lead, he tends to go pretty fast.  In the summer, it doesn't matter.  Starry goes at his speed and doesn't care if Cole gets too far ahead.  That doesn't happen this time of year.  Starry gets very upset, and he will throw a tantrum and try to take off to catch up.  Not good.  Fortunately, we have an easy solution.  It is great that Starry is willing to lead, now.

We did try putting Cole in the lead once at a trot--and Starry acted as predicted, even though I kept Cole from going very fast. 

We are able to trot a little towards home if the horses aren't "in a mood."  On a few rides, we were able to trot home as much as we would in the summer.

The other night, the river looked low enough to cross the second river crossing.  I went first.  The way that I go has some large rocks under the water, but I just guide Cole through.  He is very manoeuvrable.  As long as I can see the rocks, I am happy.  The river was still a little high. 

Kevin has a different route.  He goes a little upstream where there is no rocks, but it is much deeper.  Cole is such a tiny horse compared to Starry.  I don't like taking him in water any deeper than necessary.  I was halfway across the river when Kevin realized that his way was much deeper than he wanted to go through.  He yelled over to me to turn around.  I wasn't in a good place to do that, so I kept going straight across.  The water was deeper than I liked, but Cole managed it like a champ.

I called over to Kevin, who was standing on the other side, to cross on the ford so we could continue our ride.  Wouldn't you know, that Starry wouldn't budge one bit.  Kevin tried, but gave up.  I didn't want to bring Cole back through the river, so I came back over the ford.  Starry was happy that Cole was back.  Cole thought he got away with something, somehow, so everyone was happy except Kevin.  Even he wasn't that upset.  He seemed to think it was more funny than anything else.  We think that Starry didn't understand that if he crossed the ford--he wouldn't be leaving Cole but going to him.

Over all, Starry is settling down faster than Cole, but that is to be expected.  Starry is just a quieter horse, by nature.  Our goal is to have 2 quiet horses to ride with Ellen and Dante.  She doesn't need our horses misbehaving when she is trying to settle Dante down.  We are getting very close to that time.  If only the weather would cooperate.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Early March Rides

Kevin and I have been getting across the river and having some decent trail rides after a fairly long hiatus.  That means, starting all over.  I could see why Ellen only wants to do this once each spring. 

The first ride was the toughest.  I went by myself, and Cole was so excited!  Early in the ride, I tried some short stretches of trotting to see if he would settle down--plus, it would keep me warm.  It didn't work.  Each time, he got more excited.  I decided we would just walk.  I had one Cole burst near the beginning of the ride and 2 more towards the end of the ride.  All of them were near the fence that parallels the street.  we often trot there, so I think he was just showing his enthusiasm.

It wasn't bad for our first solo ride in who knows when.

Since then, I have had Kevin and Starry join us.  Our first ride together felt like we were both riding sticks of TNT--with the fuses lit!  We both agree that it would be best just to walk.  Cole walks so much faster than Starry when he is hyper.  I kept having to stop and let Starry catch up.  Then, Starry would want to pass up Cole.  I would let him, but that would last for about 20 seconds and then Cole would pass up Starry and walk quickly ahead.  We just kept repeating it over and over.  I did have one Cole burst.

The next chance we got to cross the river went a little better.  We were able to tort the sections of the trail where I don't typically canter.  Once we got to those places, Cole really wanted to fly, so we kept it at a walk.  Surprisingly, we were able to trot a little bit on the way home.  I think it is because I don't canter Cole on the way home, so he was content to trot.  We only did short stretches. 

At one point, we were walking and Starry was in the lead.  Suddenly, he leaped up into the air and tried to charge forward.  Cole decided it was a great idea and immediately joined him.  We stopped them both with ease.  Starry was probably spooked, but we don't know what from.

The rest of the ride went smoothly, but it sure was chilly.

Our following ride was a big improvement.  We were able to trot in most places that we usually trot on the way out.  Starry was quite calm.  Cole would get fractious, and we would stop.  Kevin and I have a system.  When Cole is good, I praise him profusely--and loud enough for Kevin to hear.  Kevin just listens to my dialog with Cole and knows when to stop.  When there was a loud airplane overhead, he purposely held off trotting because he wanted to hear us.

We were able to trot a little more on the way home--but we definitely walked at the fence.  Kevin didn't even trust Starry there.  Since we did more trotting and there was a little sunshine, were didn't get as cold.  That has been a problem.  The temps just can't seem to get out of the mid thirties.  Colder weather means silly horses.  Silly horse means more walking--and then we freeze because it is so cold.

Maybe Ellen has the right idea?

Sigh...when will spring arrive?