Thursday, May 03, 2007

Three for Three

But Not the Best of Rides

I schooled Tucker in the ring for about 15 minutes, just concentrating on that slow trot using my balance and seat and on the controlled canter with the same feeling. The right lead was much better and he seemed to be able to keep the correct balance with less difficulty.

Then we headed out to do the hack I'd cut short the other day because of the deer. Well, either the deer memory or not having been out on the trail for a while had definitely affected Tucker's confidence. He was just looking for something to spook at. This time it was a loud, singing bird. Mind you, it was a songbird, probably a little one, but the sudden burst of song sent my 1200+ pound horse into a startle. It was acutually kind of funny. I gave him a reassuring pat on the neck and soon we were warily back on our way. Once we got into the woods themselves, he settled pretty well and the rest of the ride was pretty good.

Chance was up next and it was rather ironic as to what he decided the training problem of the day would be. The bending was fine. It was head tossing today. I had just posted on Caroline's blog about that very issue as her horse, Jazz does it sometimes. I must admit, my suggesting, of planting the elbow at my side--not clamped, just "determined" to be there, and letting the rein play through my lower arm was just the ticket. If Chance tossed his head and tried to yank the bit, my hand was there to stop him and he did not pull me out of position or pull my arm to his mouth. He has never been so insistent about such an evasion before, so I am hoping it wasn't some new invention on his part.

I did a lot of trot circles trying to get him to do at least one steady one on each rein. He goofed around with his head, or tried to arc the circle way out towards the pasture were the other horses were, or sped up as we headed towards the gate....a certain creative menu of attempted evasions. I was able to correct everything, but it was a bit tedious. Then, I finally got the two circles, told him he was a good boy and he stopped dead. I guess he'd worn himself out with all the nonsense.

I figured he needed a trail ride too. Well, that was a debatable idea. Partway out, I heard the dreaded engine of an ATV ripping along the edge of the field. I dismounted quickly because I just don't know what Chance would do faced with an oncoming ATV. As turned out, it was a probably a good idea. Two young girls, neither with a helmet, raced the ATV up along the edge of the woods, spun it around in the field and then headed back the way they had come, completly oblivious to horse and rider. It might not have been a pretty picture if they had suddenly seen us in front of them.

I led Chance into the woods and mounted again from a fallen log. Fifty yards or so on, the head tossing started up as well as his attempts to trot off--tossing his head when I tried to bring him back to a walk. For the rest of the ride we alternated between a nice walk, a jig, and a head toss try to trot off. One more time, I guess I should have put the martingale on. I don't mind the jigging or the try to trot, but add the head toss so that the bit becomes ineffective and that is disturbing.

We made it home in one piece and with carrot, I lured Toby into the barn. Short on time because I had to go to choir practice, I gave him a short lunging session and another carrot. He is such a pretty mover, I love to watch him go on the line. In the late afternoon sun his chestnut coat glowed to a pretty reddish gold and I told him what a beautiful boy he was. Maybe next time I try to catch him he'll think twice about galloping off.

Either way, it's OK. He is 17 now and deserves to just relax if that's what he wants.

Gee, I wish I could. *G*


  1. Poor Tucker he's afraid of such common animals that makes it tough to help him. Maybe your right and he's just still spocked and will adjust back.

  2. those girls will know about it the day they come off..... mad.

    i need to put the martingale back on, thanks for reminding me (and given it was me reminding you a few months back, that's ironic!)

    i'll try that idea of fixing the elbow myself; not sure how effective it'll be bitless, but possibly worht a try...