And A Fairly Good Grade
Had my lesson with Jaime this morning. Tucker's trot work was excellent.
Jaime had us work on shoulder in to haunches in to half pass. Working trot to collected trot to working trot. Lots of transitions within the gait both laterally and longitudinally. Much of what I normally do at home but much more intense.
Then we tried canter. Well now. Crabby Tucker tried to buck and kick out and stop and simply refuse to cooperate. But, I persisted and soon got...and up and down stuck canter on the left lead. It was all I could do to keep it going. Don't quite know what that was all about as his canter has been fine at home. Gabriel says the footing at the indoor is hard, so maybe that had something to do with it?? Or memory of being unhappy there weeks before??? Or just more Tuckertude??? Anyhow, I kept at it and gradually things improved until we had some normal, correct departs and some nice canter.
Again, we did some haunches in and shoulder in on the left lead, and a bunch of canter/trot/canter transitions until things smoothed out nicely. Then we changed rein. Remarkably, he was much less crabby taking the right lead, the one he'd "lost" during the sore hock crisis. We did realize rather quickly, however, that he was naturally cantering with his haunches in, so in order to straighten that, Jaime had me try a shoulder in. I soon realized that was not the ideal correction as he was still pressing out with his shoulder to the left even in the shoulder-in position, so I switched to a counter bend with a bit of haunches out, and sure enough, that was the solution.
With several walk breaks in between, Tucker worked his buns off and really got going quite well. We didn't ride the full hour, which is just fine with me as we accomplished a lot of good stuff in making him work correctly and well.
The thing I like least right now it how much effort it is taking to get a canter depart. Again, I am not sure if it was just the circumstances or if he was achy (it is still very damp and ended up raining quite hard) but I need to use both my seat and leg to push the depart right now. I don't like my horses to be that sluggish off the aids. It makes it extremely difficult when you start flying changes if the horse is not light to the leg. I was working on that before Tucker was laid off with the abscess/shoeing debaucle/sore hocks so I was aware there was a problem. Today it just seemed a little more obvious than before.
Anyhow, all in all I was pleased with the ultimate results. Now if it will oblige by not raining every time I turn around, I might get some good work in during the next few weeks.
Muriel, just a note. My property is on high ground and very well drained. Mud is not usually an issue, except when, like this, the lower soils are not draining well. In this case, we had not had a lot of rain this summer, so the lower layers were too dry (first a clay layer, then sand) and had to gradully soak in the water before it started percolating down. My riding arena is perfectly safe to ride in, just very wet. That makes it very sloppy out there and the horses, tack, and me get pretty dirty. Also, there is a clay sublayer out there too and in the winter, when the ground freeze several inches or more down that layer can get slippery. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I try not to ride in the arena so I don't dig up that sublayer. And, that's when I get some very slippery surface mud in other places because the water can't drain down below the frozen layers.
Normally, my ground drains very well. I am on an aquifer, which means that the soil here naturally absorbs water and takes it down to the water table/natural ground water storage areas below. I never stay soggy for long.