Sunday, July 01, 2007

Long Lining And Another Wild Gallop

I hope it was the flies. I decided to long line Tucker and Toby today and Tucker was a wild man.

First, it took a bit of convincing to get him going as he much preferred a little dust kicking jog to a real trot. Then, he started to work, but really didn't want to be round.

I finally decided to "vee" the outside rein by running it through the surcingle ring, to the bit and back through the upper surcingle ring to my hand. That gives considerable leverage and makes the rein really steady.In and instant he was nicely on the bit and he began working through his back. The trot was lovely and the canter even better.

But, now and then he gave a little buck or tried to bolt. I managed to control it all nicely on the left rein. Then we swapped to the right. The first problem there always is that he really doesn't push into the left outside rein, so it was hard to keep him straight on the circle instead of bent outside. As well, he was tending to curl up and overbend rather than truly going forward into the rein.

We had that worked out a little when for some reason, he leap, bucked and took off. This time he caught me by surprise and with my bad knees I could not follow him enough, so he broke away.

Off he went in a mad gallop, long reins trailing behind as he careened around and around the ring. Part of it was scaring himself and part of it was sheer deviltry, especially when he charged at me during one pass. I just stood there chirpping at him and saying "whoa," to no avail.

Finally, he decided the far gate was a good escape route and he bolted out, crossed the paddock and ended up with Toby and Chance who were watching from the sidelines. I caught him then, and managed to settle him down.

Lucky boy didn't wrap himself up in the lines or catch them on anything. I took him back into the ring and finished up the session with some easy, but very controlled work.

I don't know for sure what set him off, but I suspect it was a horsefly, as later one of the big ones landed on Toby. These things are at least an inch long and bite like heck. Tucker usually panicks if they attack, so that may well have been what happened.

After Tucker, Toby was a sheer pleasure. Quiet and steady and totally obedient to my commands on the lines, he is still the long lining master. The big fly landed on his tail in the long hairs at the dock, so I guess he didn't feel it and I managed to kill the monster.

Fortunately these big flies usually only show up one at a time so if you get them before they get the horse, it's generally OK.

This just means that I will use the bug armor when I ride from now on. Not only is it difficult to get a good school in on a Thoroughbred being "bugged" by flies, but, as Tucker's hysterical reaction shows, it can also be dangerous.

Later in the afternoon I went to my cousin's son's graduation party and had a lovely rest of the day sharing good food and good company.

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