Sunday, January 20, 2008


Lots to Learn

Took both older boys to the indoor for lessons with Gabriel.

Interesting how taking either Toby or Tucker alone poses no problem. They each stand quietly in the trailer waiting to be tacked up and ridden. However, take them together and suddenly they become inseparable. When we took Toby out for Stacie to saddle up, Tucker threw a fit. He was so bad, I had to unload him and, fortunately there was an empty stall where he could go and wait while Stacie had her lesson.

I think she had a grand time riding Toby. I missed the best stuff when she did some half pass at the trot and canter which she said was, "Perfect." I did see her flying change across the diagonal which again sent a big grin to her face. The biggest difficultly she had was getting Toby to canter well on the right lead. He apparently has a tendancy to throw his rider's seat a little left and then throw in a flying change to the left lead. I have never had any problem with that myself, but I guess it's one of those things I just ride through without thinking about it. The cool thing is that it reveals the rider's own crookedness pretty quickly. As long as you ride straight, he's fine. So, it was something Stacie had to work on. She was pretty excited about the ride, so I am really pleased that my "schoolmaster" won another bunch of points.

So, on to Tucker who started out like gangbusters. He was really going well for the first 20 minutes or so. We did some nice serpentines, lots of leg yields, and he had some super moments of lovely carriage and work until....well, you guessed it....he stopped. I got him going again, and then he stopped. I gave him a break as I wasn't sure if his hock was bothering him and Gabriel and I talked it over. Then, finally Gabriel asked if he could get on to see if he could sort out the problem.

First, may I say, he is a lovely rider. Second, he is very kind and patient. Third, Tucker did the same thing for him as he did for me, so that was good. We did talk about whether I contribute by being a little intimdated--which I am as I have been on board for some nasty bucks in the past--but it's not all me. It was a little humorous watching Gabriel sit there urging Tucker on and saying, "It's OK, I have all night. We'll just wait until you decide to go." Then, he decided that if Tuck didn't want to go forward, he could back up. It was a solution Gabriel said later he hadn't thought of, but it worked. Soon Tuck was moving off again, not always eagerly, but forward. Gradually, the whole picture got better and better.

One of the things Gabriel also did was displace Tuck's hind end, doing a lot of lateral movments, especially if he felt him resist. He said later if Tuck was bent and his hind end displaced it was very hard for him to stop altogether. Eventually, he was getting some really nice half halts and Tuck was an a really lovely frame. Gabriel kept the trot very slow, as he said he felt he had more control.

Analysis. Gabriel said he definitely felt some "weakness" in Tuck's right hind, but felt he could work through it. I have only given him two of the seven Adequan shots he needs, and he still has a week before Dr. Klayman said we should be feeling a real difference with that hock.

Also, Gabriel said Tucker isn't as much of a "tough guy" as he appears to be from the ground. He had always been reluctant to ride him because he figured he'd have a big fight on his hand and didn't really want to "go there." Actually Tuck accepted his corrections and the taps of the whip well and gave in fairly quickly, considering all.

This is all good because I have found that having my trainer ride Tucker is a real plus for me. It allows me to see just what is going on with him and it certainly adds to his training.

I freely admit that his tantrums still scare me, so Gabriel and I talked about it. The idea is for me to avoid the negative experieces and create positive ones. So, if the pattern of work I've had here at home continues, this is the plan. I get on and ride. If all is well, fine. If he throws one of his stops in and I can get him going again easily, fine. If not, my goal is to somehow get him going, establish a very short session of something good and then quit. If I get a 15 minute ride in, so be it, as long as that 15 minutes is good stuff.

Next lesson, my goal is to kind of "clear my mind," of all the potentially bad things he can to and get on with a fresh perspective that he will work for me as he eventually did for Gabriel.

OK, guys, I am in with the rest of you in the "complusive rider" category. Every one of the horses I have owned has been difficult in one way or another, and my goal is always to conquer that and train them. When I first had my Russell, he scared the heck out of me and dumped me off the first hack I took him on. PJ could be a scary powerhouse, and Toby had me in tears more than once. 90% of the time I am fine with Tucker. Now I just have to get through that last 10% that's blocking our total success.

Ah, well. Been there before.

Wonder what challenges Chance is going to pose down the line.

Sunday Addition: Weather forecast was spot on again. Freezing cold so the ground was hard, the wind was strong, and it was just too miserable to ride. The Boys are now sporting their winter rugs (blankets) for the first time this season. Feeding warm mashes at late night snack.


  1. That sounds really positive Jean. You've come away with solid plans for how to progress. And you sound as though you are enjoying the challenges too, which is good. My pair are the same, which is why I avoid taking them anywhere together. It's a nuisance, isn't it?


  2. Your experiences with Tuck are very similar to mine and Polo.
    Ive always been a confident rider almost reckless but Polo can scare the most hardened rider when he has a wobbler so I'd been subconsciously backing off when I could feel him starting..did take several injuries to get me there!
    A lesson with Ryan was the turning point for me we pushed Polo beyond all of that, he buck for all he was worth but Ryan gave me the courage to keep going,Polo's never objected in the arena since.
    It seemed to wipe away most of my negative memories, almost like i was starting again with him.

    Its really difficult to re-train your mind but if I can do it im sure with all your skills and experience you can too.

  3. it's always easier when teacher is there.

    that's my experience, anyway, and i guess it's yours too. not only for the insight into whatever it is, but also to give the extra courage - is it that we don't want to lose face? despite our better judgement, thus get further?