Saturday, October 24, 2015

Big Boy Trails

Mike and I had a fun day but finished up early. So.... I felt like going for a ride but wanted a change of scenery. Liz said she was heading to Harbins shortly, so I jumped at the chance for company and a change of scenery. I decided to take Dan because... I don't know. I just did. So off we went. 
Liz asked which trail I wanted to do and I joking said "Both... Dan needs to get worn out". And so we did. I didn't realize 10 miles takes that long though. ;) We started out on the 4 mile loop walking and Dan was a twit. I finally decided after about 3 minutes to just go in the front rather than fighting him. He can learn to do in the back after he gets out some of his naughties. Only it only partially worked because he was still naughty. 

He was being his typical silly self but at one point he went straight up. And was upright enough that I had that split second of imbalance and fear that he might flip/fall before he came back down. We carried on and Liz calmly mentioned that she had a suggestion for me. She said that she would have beaten him for that! She said that it wasn't the first time he's done that to me and she had seen him do it quite a few times actually. And as dangerous as it was, he needed to learn that it was unacceptable. She's right. I don't mind little playful crow hops, but rearing straight up, especially on the trail, is dangerous. So she said that Michelle, her baby trainer, says that when they go up, you smack them right between the ears enough and yell enough to make them think that the devil has come out and descended upon them. And then it's done. But you make a point. So... I flipped my whip around in my hand and was ready. Of course he didn't do it again. Not at first anyways. He was still bouncy. And I didn't punish the little antics. Because I'm okay with excitement and little antics. But soon enough, he went up again. On a not so smooth part of the trail. It wasn't quite as big as before and I never felt him get off balance but it was up in the air enough that I felt justified. So... I smacked him between the ears about 6 times rapid fire and then quit. (and I'm not beating him beating him... It was quite fair. I'm not cruel). He jumped around and was like "what the heck just happened". And then he thought about things. We carried on like nothing happened and after about 5 minutes, he went back to his sillyness. It was so much better than before though. He was silly but really thought twice about bringing the front end up off the ground and decided it wasn't worth it. :) 

So we continued on our ride and I let Liz back in the front again so that Dan would learn to lead and follow. We decided to trot and canter some. Liz was walking for my sake but I told her that both of us would appreciate burning off some energy. So we did. They did really well together because Party is so forward and Dan's stride is so long. Of course when we first started trotting Dan couldn't contain himself and kept cantering. Which was okay, because it's a nice canter and he's easier to collect. But he wasn't doing what I asked, so... I needed to make a point. So I asked to be in the lead and that worked. I was able to keep him trotting. So then we swapped again and Liz led and it so happened that it was right about the place where she likes to canter. So Dan trotted a bit politely and then I was able to ask him to canter. So I was able to reward him for being polite at the trot and he got to burn off some more energy. WHEEEE. It was fun. At this point we were finally at the 7 mile point and had turned to head to home. We did a bit more trotting and cantering as it was getting dark and we had been out for a fair amount of time. 

It was so much fun because it was starting to get dark so it was a neat feeling cantering through the woods in the dusk. :) I was hoping Dan was going to be tired but he came prancing home just as energized as he was in the beginning. Although he was much more cooperative about trotting near the end and his antics just about disappeared. 

So yep... super fun ride and super educational. For both of us. :) 

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