Friday, December 22, 2006

Better Late Than Never

In the Saddle

Finally, I managed to ride. My neck was OK, but not perfect. I am going to need an adjustment again today, but the riding had nothing to do with it.

Tucker was a good boy. I finally feel as if he is a normal horse as far as the riding goes. I feel confident getting on him even after a layoff and I can count on him to do the basics with no fuss and bother.

Challenging him is another matter and he will always be a bit annoyed with that. Last night it was asking for a proper reinback. He will step back, but not more than two strides before he either stops or tosses his head. I was a bit more insistent this time, but careful as well. Reinbacks can be very dangerous as one of the most common evasions is rearing. The rider needs to be cautious about both rein pressure and insisting the horse keep its head down.

Fortuntate, Tucker is quick to let me know when he is upset or ready to blow up about something so I managed to keep the exercise low key. Besides, he'd already tried some walk pirouettes for me, so perfecting the backing was not an essential success for the ride.

I rode Chance for a bit as well with the goal of getting him to keep his head down and his back a bit round. He picked it up at the walk pretty quickly. The trot was another matter, but quite amusing. He is such a quiet guy that his biggest evasion is to just slow down and eventually stop. So, to say it was a stop and go process is pretty accurate. However, we did get approximately two circles in either direction in a bit of a frame.

They were approximate circles for sure. Chance has a tendancy to fall into his inside shoulder, particularly on the left rein. My mistake is dropping my seat to the outside trying to push him over so that my inside leg gets shorter. While a lot of body English will take him over to the outside that way, it is far more effective long term for me to drop my knee on the inside and push him over from my inside seat bone.

Bless Lockie Richards for teaching me that one. He always had a way of making what seemed like a difficult problem into an easy fix. I probably have hundreds of skills in my training bag of tricks I learned from him. He was a master horseman, trainer, teacher, and above all, a true gentleman.

What is lovely now it that I have three horses I can pop on to ride any time I want to. While Tucker is a bit less reliable on the trails, it's a pleasure to just mount up and know I'll accomplish something during each and every ride--and, if I don't want to accomplish anything except have a wonderful time, I can do that too!


  1. Anonymous3:00 PM

    you rode after all then? or was that last night's?

    you've probably already thought of this for the rein back ... practice from on the ground?

    i drove to london and back with my stock on ( a solid one where the back is very solid and the front velcro's on, provides really good support without being illegal, as a proper neck collar is...)

  2. Oh, I do practice reinback from the ground. But I have found it doesn't always translate to the saddle.

    I rode Thursday night.

    I slept with my neck collar on and now I have a headache. Chiropractor appointment soon, though. *Sigh*