Tucker Must Really Be Coming Along
When Gabriel started my lesson today he said Tucker looked wonderful. He said when he first saw him he wasn't even sure he was the same horse. He was even more complimentary than Patrice, I think. Tuck and I just soaked it all up.
And we had a brilliant lesson. Tuck only pulled a few of his little quirky protests, mostly, I think because he was working hard for longer than I usually work him at home. This was a full hour lesson and here, I ride him for perhaps 30 minutes most of the time. As a Thoroughbred, he really doesn't need hours and hours of work to build up muscle and strength. (Something I will need to remember with Chance who is NOT a Thoroughbred.) So, short sessions of correct work are apparently very effective in developing him in the right way.
We focused mainly on keeping him correct to the bridle and through from behind so that his trot will start to gain more quality and strength. Lots of half halts with a driving aid to get him to elevate and step under, some lateral work, and suppling circles and serpentines.
At the end of the lesson, I asked Gabriel about the flying change prep. He said the simple changes should be confirmed first. (Canter/walk/canter new lead, no trot strides between.) Tucker has almost mastered that, with the transition to walk the harder part for him, so he is just about ready. By the next time Gabriel comes, we should be set to try the changes. Actually, Gabriel will be set to try the changes, as I will not mind at all if he starts Tucker off on them for me. I will still try on my own, but since Tucker is likely to buck into them--a common reaction--I will be delighted to have Gabriel ride them first. He said that he'd have no reservations at all considering how well Tucker was going today.
Another option is to try the double bridle. I will try it out during the next week or so, and use it on a trail ride, just using the snaffle rein. Once I am sure Tucker is comfortable with both bits in his mouth, I'll test the curb a little to see how he reacts. Sometimes it's an option for a horse that sets his jaw a little against the bit like Tuck will. But, of course there is also the possibility that he will back off the bit entirely and shut down. Usually I can feel that pretty quickly, which is a good thing because it can produce a rear. At any rate, the mere fact that the topic came up proves how radically and dramatically Tucker seems to have progressed over the last few months.
Stacie had a lesson on Toby and, while I didn't see the whole thing, what I did see was super! She had Toby going really well and did some really nice half passes, counter canter, and flying changes when I was in the arena watching. Apparently, the trot work had been great as well, because Gabriel was very pleased.
I am so glad Toby has proven to be such a good horse for Stacie to ride. He will do most of the more advanced exercises easily and correctly, provided his rider gives the right aids and sits correctly. A shift in weight to the wrong seat bone will make him do a flying change or lateral exercise instead of going straight. He does not take a lot of strength to ride, but he does require tact and determination. Until she finds a new horse of her own, he is a great alternative.
I really was proud of my Boys today. Chance was left out and stuck at home, but I hope he wasn't too miserable. When we pulled up with the trailer, he was happy to see us, but not particularly frantic about it.
Might rain tomorrow. We actually do need it too.