Tucker and Chance
I rode Chance first today.
He is not quite as advanced as he was after I had long lined him for a spell, but he was still much better than when I had first started him. The big issue is, as is often the case with green youngsters, steadiness to the bit. His head is all over the place, but when it's right he feels really good. I have the feeling that once he really takes the bit and stretches into it I will be able to develop quite a nice trot. I still am not ready to canter him as his balance, due mostly to the head which is, a consquence of his balance---kind of a Catch 22--is really erratic. I am not bold enough to just "go for it" without having some semblance of control there.
At any rate, I gave him a goo session of trot work with lots of changes of direction. He bends better left than right, but he is getting very "steerable." I really think working him on the long lines again will help a lot. Since he feels sound, I will start alternating the riding and lining. I just need to be on the alert in case whatever the hind end problem was should show up again. Since we don't know exactly what it was, I don't want to stress him until I have built up some more muscle.
I put the fly armor on Tucker so he had no excuses. I did not put on spurs, but I did carry the dressage whip. From the start, he was forward and stayed that way for most of the ride. I had to really push the canter, but he accepted my leg and a little of the whip without any kind of protest. Towards the end of the session, perhaps 20 minutes or so, he was really working through to the bit, and accepting half halt corrections and subsequent driving without any problems.
He is a constant puzzle. Today, my leg on him was fine. I don't know if the spurs would have made any difference, but there was none of the "I won't" from him at all. I was, as a result, able to be very aggressive when he needed to be pushed, and all in all, I had a really good ride.
I lunged Toby again, as I had to go to a Town meeting and didn't really have the time to saddle and bug armor him. I sent him over some trotting poles to break up the session and he was a star! Even when I didn't quite have him aligned correctly to trot the line he did it anyway. What an honest fellow he has become.
Now, mind you, Toby was not an easy train either. Nor was my Russell. PJ was very cooperative, although far too emotional, but Toby was nearly as bad as Tucker is now about going forward off the leg. Chris, my trainer then, took him on for several weeks and convinced him hat forwared was an essential. Ever since, it has been no issue at all.
However....a number of times, when Toby was having hock problems--easily fixed with a dose of Adequan--he would kick out at the leg.
So, I must question whether Tucker's reactions may be motivated by soreness. I already know that Dr. Palmer and NJ Equine said he had some "juvenile spavin," which is very common in young Thoroughbreds. While that was well over 2 years ago, it does give me pause.
We'll just have to see what Tucker tells Jeri about his feelings.