My sister and I took a 4-day weekend off from work to get some trail riding in.  Just like the one we tried a few weeks ago, we couldn’t cross the river the first 3 days.  That meant doing the hill leading to the river with Cruiser and Ranger and working Cole in the arena.

   It is great to have eyes on the ground to watch me ride—even better when she can take video.  Cole was trotting very curled up and behind the bit, a lot.  There was a lot of tail swishing going on, too, which is something that seldom happens.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  My sister’s eyes and the video helped.  It showed that I was curled.  My shoulders were slumped forward.  Who knows what caused this.  Maybe he did.  It may have been me responding to him—causing him to respond to me.  A downward spiral.

   The next day, I made a conscious effort to uncurl, and guess what—so did he.  He moved on the bit with a lighter forehand.  I know, because I saw the video.

   The following day, we did just as well.  After about a half hour, I let my niece ride him.  She did very well with him, although he kept trotting.  She figured out it was because she has short legs that rest on his side—where my long legs go beyond his sides.  Her normal pressure was probably cuing the trot.  yes, he is that sensitive.  Of course, he had to use that big show trot of his, and that threw her around the saddle.  She learned how fast he responds to “whoa,” too.

   Since she rode with such composure on a challenging arena ride, I asked her if she wanted to ride down to the river.  Of course she did.  She was nervous.  She usually rides Ranger, and he goes fairly slowly down the hill.  Cole is speedy going downhill, and she was concerned he would try to trot.  Since he was doing it in the arena, and I used to have trouble with just that, it was a reasonable thing to be concerned about.  I had her do a lot of transitions down the hill when he got too fast.  When she got to the bottom, he did try to trot with her a few times.  He walked quietly on the way back.  She was so happy to have ridden him on the trail—even though it was only about 10 minutes of riding.

   Yesterday, my sister and I finally made it across the river.  We went on our favorite ride to the show ring trails.  I then took Cruiser our for 5 miles round trip in the other direction.  It was a pretty day, but the mosquitoes were bad.  I can’t wait for cooler weather.

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