Thursday, May 07, 2009


Where Art Thou?

It did stop raining for part of the day, including when I got home. But after I fed the Boys, I sat down and that was that. I am lacking motivation. I supposed I could come up with a hundred excuses, but I won't. I just didn't feel like riding.

When I boarded the horses out, I would go to the barn every day. I rode six days a week. My horse or horses were all super fit. I moved them along in competition levels at a good rate. In the hunters/jumpers it was basically a level a season, more if I qualified for the next level. It used to be that first place ribbons at one jumping height moved you up to the next level. Eventually, my horse was an "open " competitor in the smaller shows and in the rated shows, an amateur owner hunter in the 3'6" division. In eventing, I moved up to Training Level which at that time was the 3'9" division. Once I started serious dressage, I was a level a year, with Russell ending up at 3rd level, while PJ and Toby each finished up at Intermediare I.

Tucker is now 9 years old and he has not competed beyond first level. While I am training him at second--when I ride--with an eye for third level, he is quite behind schedule for my usual plan. Why?

He has not been an "easy train." Attitude and ulcers slowed us down at the start. And, to be frank, he intimidated me. It's not fun getting on a horse quite capable of bucking you off. While he only did dump me twice, I was jarred loose more than I care to count. At shows, in the warm up arena, he was downright scary. I am not as young and "bouncey" as I used to be, so going off is even more worrisome. While he and I have come to a basic understaning about things and he has improved tremendously since the ulcer treatments, his training has not been all roses since.

Tuck is still hard to ride. He does not soften to the rein easily as he does not always stay forward. He does not accept my leg as well as he should and driving him forward with the whip still can produce bucks. I know how to fix it all, but I don't have the nerve to do it as I should but have rather found ways to work around his disobedience instead of confronting it and being done with it. Thus, his training progresses at a much slower rate than I am used to. An example is the flying changes. I know with a little determination, and a willingness to sit through the inevitable buck/kick outs the changes produce--as they will with many horses--I could train them quite easily. But the bucks are there and I don't feel secure about riding through them.

Age? I think so. My two bad knees do not help either. I do not have the confidence in my seat I used to have. My brain knows I CAN do it, but overcoming the other instinct of "WHAT IF" is harder than it used to be.

So, here I am, not riding as much as I can or should. I will get Tucker trained, I'm sure, but I need to stir up my motivation again. Right now, it's too easy not to ride, and I am out of the routine. The long, icy winter put me off and I've just not gotten back into the swing of things.

No excuses. The only blessing is that the Boys are here in the back yard where I can see them every day and take good care of them so I know that lack for nothing--except regular work.

I'm not sure they mind too much.


  1. Anonymous1:46 AM

    I know exactly what you mean about the age thing - I'm a lot more cautious about taking a risk of falling off than I used to be.

    I've been less that organized/consistent about my training than I should be, too - I've been thinking that I need to put together a "plan" - with goals for my working with Maisie - so that instead of just riding I have a more explicit road map of where I'm going and how I'll get there day by day - I know this in my head but having it worked out, perhaps on paper, would give me "assignments" that I perhaps would be more likely to complete. A form of self-management, I guess. I also understand that I'll need to make modifications to the plan as issues arise. Your post has motivated me to get working on this - thanks!

  2. Okay Jean, perhaps it will be the time to think to re-home Tucker. So you can concentrate on Chance.

    You know my story, and you know that for 3 and 1/2 years I battle with Linda. NOW that I have an "easy" horse, I am enjoying riding agin (even if I am badly riding).

    I truly understand your fear. I know you can work it through, but slowly you are losing your enthusiam for riding. Is it fair to you at your age?

    Don't you think you deserve to have fun? You are a caring person, devoted teacher to your students and an good influence in your community. You deserve a horse that will work WITH you, not against you!

    I am sure out-there there is a perfect rider for Tucker, who will earn his respect naturally (just like Marcus with Linda), and sorry but I have to say it somebody who will be fun for him, challenging him and helping him to reach his potential.

    I do not mean to be harsh, but I think it will only be fair to you AND to Tucker and to Chance to find another home for Tucker.
    It can take up to one year!

  3. i know where you are with the age thing... and the aching bones/joints! and the lack of motivation! i think the advantage of being on a yard is that if nothing else there's someone to hack out with or ride with (usually!) and that helps....

    but it doesn't really matter if you don't train him up through the levels at any particular pace

    why don't you get STacie to take him to a party one day and see what happens? he might have calmed down now with the ulcer meds and being older (supposedly wiser!)

  4. I can certainly sympathize with you on the aging and sore joints and also on the issues of not wanting to get injured. At times I lack motivation too. Getting older is tough but like Kate said if we have a plan(on paper) that we can follow and even maybe a check list of things to be accomplished, I think you will find you do more than you think you do. Would it be possible to find a trainer to come to your place and give you a lesson or two once a week? I know you're capable of training the horses yourself, but sometimes a good trainer can give you the motivation and confidence you need. Sort of a little boost to your self doubt.

  5. Hi! Please stop by my blog and pick up your Kreativ Blogger award! :D

    And I feel you on your ambivalence towards riding with Tucker. Rugby has kind of put me in a dark place about riding and I'm hoping the NH trainer can help me through it.

  6. Age? Definitely! Not only are we more fragile as we age, we better understand the consequences of getting seriously hurt. And more and more often I feel that it's not worth the risk or the consequences. Tetley is about as safe as they get.

    Tuck doesn't "need" to reach any level. Nor do you "need" to get him to any certain level. I know that you intend to keep your horses forever but perhaps Muriel is right. Perhaps there is someone out there just ready for a horse like Tucker. The most important thing is that he is well cared for. That is why we are able to do difficult things like authorize euthanasia for our animals - their well being has to come first before our needs (or weaknesses).

    So the horses' well being comes first. What comes next is your well being which includes your health, fun and the satisfaction of a job well done. I don't know how you can school three horses. I can barely do one and I am a bit on the hyperactive side. Maybe two would be so much better, one semi-retired and one coming on.

    You have so much to offer and I hate to see worry/guilt/disappointment about Tucker drag you down.

    My motivation comes from not having done this before coupled with the incredible temperament of Tetley.

  7. Age? Oh YES YES YES.

    I shouldn't think any of your boys care two hoots whether you train them at all Jean, never mind what stage they reach when. They don't know there's another stage to get to, do they :-) ??

    As long as they are loved and cared for what else matters?


  8. Truthfully Jean there's no need for excuses you dont *have* to ride other than when you want to im sure the horses couldnt give a monkeys.
    You've achieved far more in your riding than many people ever will.
    I hope at your age im half as active,three horses and full time work is NOT easy!

    I understand about Tucker,as you know Polo used to buck like stink deliberately to dump me when things got hard and was horrendous when I attempted to take him to shows etc.
    I rode it through during some very difficult lessons with Ryan and it wasnt easy or very enjoyable.I know he will always have that side of his personality too the potential to explode is always there.
    Im a fair bit younger than you and I bought Ali because I knew he wasnt another Polo,much as I love him.
    I personally think you've brought him on a long way as you are a clever,knowledgeable rider who has enough tools and tricks to work around it.
    But obviously if you feel you would both be better parting company then fair enough although I dont believe you thinking this??