Tucker Under Saddle
Scott came to shoe on Wednesday of last week, the first of a series of horribly hot days. It was up around 100 F, until Friday night when some storms broke out to cool things off again.
Well, not really cool. Saturday was in the 80's and after doing some barn work and other chores, I went for a long swim and called it a day. Sunday was warm, and I had some kind of stomach/intestinal thing so I really didn't do much at all.
But today! Not an auspicious start, however. I was about to go out to feed in the morning around 8 AM when thunder began to rumble and suddenly the skies opened up in a torrential downpour! Rain was so heavy I couldn't really see out of the house windows.
By 9 it was gone and it had cooled off tremendously. I fed the Boys and came back inside to do some computer stuff. I had an acupuncture appointment in the early afternoon and when I got back, I went out to the barn in boots and breeches.
It's amazing how long it actually takes to ride a horse. First is the five minute walk out to the pasture to capture the steed. Then there is the walk back to the barn, fending off the other two horses who have now taken a sudden interest in you because of the treats. Then there is the prep work. I don't groom for hours and since Tucker was already pretty clean, I just gave him a quick brushing. All told, tacking up took about ten minutes. Twenty minutes had now elapsed. I took him out to the arena and mounted up.
Lovely, lovely. Aside from being annoyed by flies--not too bad, but annoying nonetheless--he walked off quietly on a long rein just to warm up a bit. Then we started trotting. He was good off my leg, but
I didn't pick up the contact, but rather let him reach for it when he was ready. We worked in a long, fairly low training level frame doing some changes of direction, figure eights, shoulder-in leg yield and a little half pass. Then I asked for canter. He took the cue without a fuss and we did a twenty meter circle and some on the long side--not much at all--on both leads. He felt great. The canter has been a problem, I suspect because he's had some hock issues, but today he was willing and forward. I didn't do any tight turns, and came back down to a nice trot. Then after another session of walking, I trotted again, this time putting him into a first level frame and asking for a bit more impulsion. Once again, he was really willing to make the effort.
All told, I rode for about fifteen minutes. Five more minutes of walking just to cool off, then into the barn for a sponging, some toweling, and finally putting his flysheet back on. Another fifteen minutes consumed. By now I was nearly an hour in. I did do some stall cleaning and then I fed everyone dinner, so when I came back into the house, hot and sweaty myself, I had been out in the barn for a good hour and a half. All this for, basically, fifteen minutes of saddle time.
It wasn't exactly cool out--82F or so--so I headed over to the pool for a swim. Boy, did that feed good! I swam for a half hour and now, here I am, back at home, thinking of my own dinner.
Bless Tucker's heart. Once again, he proved he really is trained. No need to lunge him or work him down before riding. Just get on and go. Tomorrow, I hope to ride Chance. The heat is supposed to be back on Thursday, so I need to get my rides in before then.