Desert Trail Ride

I didn’t take many pictures, and I try not to post training reviews until we’ve settled in back at home, but I couldn’t wait to say how much fun I had out at Dan Harris’s this week. Cello has come a long way with solidifying his foundation. Sometimes it takes settling into home once more to see the changes, but the trail ride we went on really said a lot. The arena things I can work on, even if it takes me longer than it would take a trainer; when we have issues on the trail, I get nervous if I’m solo.

First, Dan loaded Cello into a slant load trailer in the middle. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that Cello possibly had an incident in a two horse trailer back when he was first started. Justin & Jessica both commented that he reacted in a traumatized way, which was odd for a horse with such limited experiences. We got him over that, but I had never tried loading him into a slant load and closing him in. He’s been in stock trailers mostly. The first time Dan asked him to load in and stand with the divider closed, he did it without hesitation. It was awesome to see. At the end of the ride, it took a little work, since Cello had time to think about it. It wasn’t an argument even, more of a persuasive conversation. It was good to see Dan load him up when he was like that- just a little hesitant, resistant and “dancey.”

On the ride itself, Cello was alert and interested in what we were doing but kept his mind on. He spooked at one rock that caught him by surprise when he wasn’t paying attention, but it was super minor and no big deal when we came back to it. There was one descent he hesitated on but handled with brains, and one time we left the group suddenly (I didn’t give him warning on purpose and just asked him to turn when he wasn’t tuned in.) A minor conversation ensued and that was it- on we went, no problem.

It was really great to spend time talking with Dan and Sophia. When I showed up for lessons the other weeks, it was all about Cello and me and training (which is the whole point!) but this time, we had the opportunity to just hang out some. I think Sophia and I drove Daniel a little crazy with all the chatting, but he handled it fine and made a few smart ass comments. They’ve only been married 5 months so their dynamic is pretty sweet. Sophia has a strong eventing background whereas Daniel has more of a ranching background and I think they balance each other out in an awesome way! If Cello and I spend time schooling or hanging out at shows, depending on how schooling at home goes, Sophia was interested in coming along. She’s taking some time off from training other people’s horses to work on her own mare, which is awesome and exciting.

So that brings me to summer goals, realistic ones!

In regards to schooling at home:

  • When we get home, we need to continue on the desensitizing and introductions of new things.
  • We will continue working on straightness (which is borderline non-existent) and side-passing (which he does GREAT.)
  • Introduce cavaletti work. We trot over poles in many different patterns, but it’s time for them to be raised a bit. I will do another post on this awesome cavaletti clinic in California that gave me some ideas!
  • Lots of trail rides and conditioning rides, solo and with groups.

Leaving the property:

  • Group trail rides in new areas!
  • Heading up to the 4Eagle rodeo to just hang out and be in a hectic (for Cello) environment
  • Saturday July 25th – maybe attend the Derby at Mile High Horse Ranch, again just to hang out and see the commotion!


  • July 31st 25 mile endurance ride with Mountain Mettle
  • Sunday October 4th – ride?!? at the Derby at Mile High Horse Ranch. Completely dependent and the most far-fetched of goals here. Maybe go down with Sophia just to school sometime, if we progress from cavaletti to jumping small rounds. The elementary jumps here are only 18″ to 24″ inches, but there’s a lot of work to do to get to that point at all!

That sounds like a lot, but going up to 4Eagle is local and free, so it’s really only 2 events, one in July and one in October.  And it all totally depends on if we keep progressing or stall out! I think Cello is loosened up enough and we are on the same page enough that we can continue to progress. I might have to call up Anita Williams, once I get him straighter and more round, and take her up on those lessons I have banked from 5 years ago, if she’ll still have me!!!

That’s all for now!


Dani & Cello


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