Thursday, July 26, 2007

Naughty Boy

But a Good Lesson, Nonetheless

Hurried over to the indoor arena barn after school to have my lesson. (By the by, the workshop really went well.)

Tucker was very annoyed. He wanted OUT of that stall and, I think, OUT of the barn altogether.

I saddled him up, despite his cranky mood, and mounted up. Gabriel was there from square one, so he was in on the "attitude."

We talked for a while as I walked around, and then we started the lesson.

The good news is that Tucker never offered to buck.

The bad news is that he was a naughty boy in the paying attention department. He was totally distracted. He was looking for something to spook at, and when other horses came in the ring, he was trying to get over to them instead of turning. He also pulled his stop, balk, and no turn thing a number of times and was just overall a miserable ride.

Gabriel is very patient and offers good suggestions to all kinds of behavior issues, so we worked through the temperamental ride. I told him of Tucker's resentment if I stop him too abruptly and how he will offer to rear instead of going forward again after walking or halting.

Gabriel had me do all my downward transisitons with a lateral move such as a shoulder in or bit of a leg yield. The theory is that the horse cannot rear with his hind end displaced to the side and, any movement, even if it is sideways, is better than none at all.

That worked about 90% of the time, but the naughty boy still challenged me a few times. I wanted to turn left and he wouldn't, so instead I turned right. The idea was not to confront him about the disobedience when he was in that mood as it would evoke a fight. The problem with that is, that unless I was ready, willing and able to battle it out to the end with victory, there was no sense in pushing it that far.

We both agreed, it may come to a fight at some point, and if so, I am fully prepared to have a far better rider than I am deal with it. For now, though, if the alternative approaches work, they are effective training aids that just might cure the problem.

I don't think Tucker is at all mean. He is emotional, smart, arrogant, independent, likes to please but doesn't really feel he HAS to, and when he doesn't quite understand something, he gets frustrated and often acts it out in negative ways.

Does he sound like a teenage boy to you?


  1. Yes and so much personality he's pretty head strong.

  2. Stroppy teenager then ? Maybe he was a bit distraught to have to be stalled. Do you give him a calmer or something to help him to settle down in a new environment.
    He sounds that he can be a quite challenging horse. What do you mean by other training aids to overcome his 'tude?

    Horses are tricky. Unless you know very well their personality, it is better to avoid a fight. Very different from my trainer belief. He will NEVER pick a fight, however if the horse does, he will make sure he wins it ... but he is 'balls on legs".

    So I am interested in your others mean of training ;-)

  3. as muriel said - not being used to being stalled, he'll have had a strop on anyway. and he's a TB isn't he? Shame it wasn't as good a lesson as you would have wished

  4. oh, and....

    whilst i was away i read One True Thing by Anna Quindlen, who I hadn't heard of before; and googling her tonight find she went to your school....

  5. Ms. Quindlen graduated from my old high school some three years after I did. I wonder if I knew her at all? The name does not sound familiar, but....that was 37 years ago!!

    Thanks for finding that out.