Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Weather Or Not

Reining in the Rain

Well, not actually. I lunged Tucker before school for a short session, anticipating the predicted rain in the evening. It was nice and cool and I wished I had more time because it would have been a good time to ride.

Spent the day at school the usual way. I am showing films of the three Shakespeare plays so it gives me time to catch up on my paper grading. And I took my car to the auto shop to have the computer reset once we installed a new gas cap. We may not have solved the "check engine" light problem, but I can always take the car to the garage and pay to have it fixed. With school so close to being done for the year, the shop students will not have time to do a thorough trouble shooting. Now it's just wait to see what happens when my car's computer cycles through its processes again to see if the problem was a bad gas cap.

When school let out it was raining, just as predicted. Considering how wet it was out there, I can only guess it had rained quite a bit during the day--can't tell from the ceiling level windows in my classroom. I stopped at the market to get some carrots for the Boys and salad for me and headed home in the rain. Fed theBoys, fed the kitties, fed me and.....the sun came out.

OK, it was soggy out there and humid. I hate that kind of weather, but after a bit I headed out to ride Tucker. If he is going to the lesson, he definitely needs some under saddle work. He was quite a good boy. I do not think he is yet back into his peak dressage form, but he is trying hard. He accepted my half halts and gave some nice shoulder in and half pass at the trot with no problems at all. The biggest flaw is his lazy canter depart. He tends to lag behind my cues quite a bit. When I make a few transitions, I can get much more prompt departs, so that's good, but I'm not too keen about the sluggish response at the outset. Were we farther along in his fitness, I would make more of an issue about it, but for now, I just used repeated transistions to sharpen him up.

Getting a sharp and forward canter depart will help develop the flying changes, but I think he has to be fitter and stronger to give me the work I need. On the plus side, he did not offer any resistances or nasty reactions to my cues, so I am pretty well convinced the ulcer medication was a good idea. He was a pretty cooperative, agreeable fellow to ride.

I was really worn out after riding him, though, so I opted for another lunging session with Chance. He is so funny. As I've said before, canter, seems to be his preferred gait and he was delighted when I actually asked him to canter. He tossed his head and gave a little bounce--never a buck from Chance!-- and bounded into his pretty little canter on both leads with, I'd swear, a big smile on his face. What a fun boy.

To clear things up about my trainer--he is Gabriel Meyer out of New York State. Gabriel Armando is an FEI judge and trainer here in New Jersey. I have never ridden with him. My Gabriel is a USDF silver medal holder and a really good teacher. I like him because he has worked with difficult Thoroughbreds and has all kinds of good ideas for psyching Tucker out when he gets hard to ride. To me, aside from having good teaching skills, a trainer needs to have a good "bag of tricks" for handling training problems instead of just one approach. While there are certainly classical methods that do tend to work, there are often moments and horses that repsond much better to unique techniques. Lockie Richards was a master of dealing with each horse as an individual and tailoring the training tactics to that particular horse. Gabriel is very much like that.

Just what I and the unique Tucker need.


  1. Jean - I expect the answer to this is yes, but do you time your canter departure cues with the feet so the correct hind foot is just leaving the ground as you cue so the foot is then landing with the cue already in place? Maybe Tuck is just having trouble knowing where his feet are when you cue and it takes him a moment to figure it out. Can you "pre-cue" so he can get organized?

  2. jean. if something goes odd...

    i was busy readig your blog and then my screen told me that i had reported your blog as having objectionable content, when of course i had done no such thing! i wouldn't even know how! so who knows...

    no idea about canter transitions, haven't done one for three years now (mmmmm maybe i shoudl find another horse to ride on occasion?) but glad you got some horse work in....