Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Follywoods Weather Report

Weather Stinks

You know what they say, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." When you go outside, it's almost hard to breathe, the air is so thick. Even the water at the pool is warm, although it did feel good.

Woke up with a neck issue as a consequence of the back thing from yesterday, so I was back at the chiropractor. It took the bulk of the day to get over it all completely, but I wouldn't have done much anyhow considering the weather.

I was thinking today that Tucker is the slowest horse I have ever trained. He is now nine years old and still not working at third level. Of course, the bugaboo is the flying change at that level, but even so, we have just not made the kind of progress I am used to.

So why? Much of it is my lack of determined enthusiasm, which is just fine. I have been riding and training horses for well over 45 years, so I am entitled to slow down if I want to. And my body doesn't quite have the youthful stamina it used to have, most particularly in my knees.

But I do keep thinking if Tucker were a more cooperative fellow we would be much further along. He has a difficult temperament, as most of you who have read my blog know. Patrice Edwards even suggested he was a bit "riggy" in his attitude. I presume he is a full gelding, mostly because of his herd behavior, but then again, Toby is such an alpha horse, one might never know for sure how Tuck would be as a herd boss.

All that aside, his physical issues make him a difficult train. For one, he is short backed. Good in the sense that collection will not be hard for him, but difficult in that he is not as laterally nor horizontally supple as I would like. Going forward with a soft back is not exactly and easy, natural concept for him. Then, we have had other physical issues. The ulcers probably interfered with all his early training, including his first under saddle work and every show/lesson we attended. Then, at some point, he injured his stifle and that set us back. The last issue was a sore hock and I am not 100% sure he feels OK on it now.

Tucker was born with a serious club foot on the left front. When I adopted him, I found out his former owner had spent the time, money, and effort to give him the ligament surgery to correct it. He looks good now, but the foot conformation and his short back make him a chronic shoe puller. So keeping him shod and in work has always put a crimp in my plans. When he was barefoot as a three year old, he had at least two hoof abscesses, one of which essentially laid him up for months. (A bit like Riley, but luckily without the need for foot surgery...although we at first thought he did have a bruised coffin bone.)

I would say, using my usual training scale, Tucker is about two years behind my other horses at his age. Then again, so is Chance.

But, it's all OK with me. I did not show last season and never missed it at all. I have not shown this season and have not missed it at all. Right now, my training is for me and my own satisfaction. I don't think my horses care. *G*

My first good trainer once commented to that effect when I told her it was too bad my Russell R. didn't have a better rider as he had so much talent as a jumper I simply wasn't using. She said, "Do you really think he cares?" Horses don't have ambitions....at least not like ours.

As long as my Boys are happy, so am I. Which means...when it's too hot, I'm not riding!!


  1. Sorry your back is giving you trouble. So hard to work horses with back or neck issues. I am dealing with a stiff neck right now. I dropped the lunge line the other day and didn't know how I was going to pick it up:-) Hope you are feeling better soon.

  2. Anonymous7:23 AM

    Horses really don't care - they just want to be taken care of and be comfortable (hey, sounds a little like me!) Do what you want to at the pace you want to do it. Maisie hasn't progressed as much as I'd like in the 7 years I've had her (ligament injury, back problems, my ignorance, etc. etc.) but I'm happy we are progressing and as long as we don't go backwards (much - we do tend to go backwards a bit over the winter when I can't ride all the time) I'm happy.

    Hope the back feels better soon - I'm sending some of our better weather your way.

  3. Back,neck and knee issues, isn't getting older fun? I can relate. Hope you feel better soon.

    I haven't shown in years and don't miss it a bit, like you say, I'm doing this for me and it's a lot more fun without any pressure.

    I used to get a lot of flack that my one horse(Erik) had so much talent and these great bloodlines and I should be doing more with him and pushing him harder because it wasn't fair to him. Mind you he was the laziest horse on earth, and really didn't like to work anyway. My answer was "well he can't read his papers so he doesn't know who is daddy or grandaddy were, I guess he doesn't mind not being out there every week showing".
    Horses couldn't care less about showing and progress so we just have fun with our training and someday if I feel like it I may get up at 4 or 5 in the morning to hit the road to a show, but that scenario is not looking good right now.

  4. Every horse has his own pace. Tucker will get there, eventually.
    My schoolmaster has excellent bloodlines and loads of talent, and because of that he was pushed too far, too fast. Now he's homicidally ring-sour. He's absolutely perfect outside the ring, but as soon as you enter at A the fight is on. If you can even manage to get him into the ring, that is. He might have been a great horse if somebody hadn't decided to impose their idea of the "right" schedule on him.
    I can't really complain though, I got a free FEI horse out of it!