Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tucker Actually Works

On a Moderately Cool Day

Yesterday, Friday, it cooled down for a change. Rain was in the forecast, but did not start until later in the day.

So before I headed over to the pool for a swim, I saddled up Tucker for a schooling session in the arena.

Not much to report of real interest here. He was generally a good boy. The main issues are his giving to the bit when  ask him to go round in a slightly elevated frame. He will set his jaw and refuse to move forward for a short time before giving in.

And he is having a bit of trouble keeping cadence on a walk pirouette to the left. The right one is pretty good as he keeps marching with his right hind leg, but to the left, the left hind gets stuck in place and the pirouette stalls. This happens even if I make the circle larger. I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong or if he is really having trouble getting the hang of it. Sometimes, if a rider holds back the forward too much in order to get the sideways movements, it can restrict the hind leg. I worked on it for a bit and finally, when he gave me a moving one, I praised him mightily and quit that exercise for the day.

The only other issue is his tendency to break from canter on the right lead. Again, I am not asking him to canter in a frame, collected, and on the bit, so he has to find his own balance and energy. Since he's not really super fit, the lack of impulsion is not a surprise, but he does not lose the canter on the left lead. I'm not planning on competing him, nor doing more than just basic training, so it's not really a big issue, rather just an observation about his way of going at the moment. I did not push that point at all since he's not fit enough to worry about it.

This is "no pressure" riding I'm doing at the moment. We spent most of the ride in walk and trot, varying the intensity by loose rein, long rein (rounded back), and a little toward collection. The half passes are progressing, the shoulder in is good, and essentially, all is well.

One of my goals is to eventually get the flying changes. Tucker really doesn't care which lead he's on, so most of the more common methods don't work too well with him. Right now, I am doing figure eights with a trot change in the middle and I might be able to teach the change from that. If not, I have a few other approaches to try, but nothing to work at until he gets fitter.

After the ride and grooming...all of which took well over an hour....I went for a 45 minute swim and then a 40 minute walk when I got back home. By then it was raining, so I walked with my umbrella.

I finished the walk by cutting home through the woods to the arena gate.

Well, oh my! When I and the umbrella emerged from the trees, Chance must have seen me. Suddenly all three horses erupted from the barn where they'd been sheltering and they took off in a panicked gallop out to the pasture. That umbrella was terrifying!!

I went into the house, changed into a long raincoat instead and went back out to feed.

It took all kinds of coaxing to get the Boys back into the barn to eat dinner. Trauma 101.

This morning, there are roofers working on the garage at my Aunt's house next door. The garage is the building nearest the pasture.

The Boys were out in the far side of the pasture grazing.

Once again, it took all kinds of coaxing to get them in to eat as they had to go within 100 feet or so of the scary roofing guys making noise.

Trauma 102.

Horses have vivid imaginations.


  1. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Both the canter and the pirouette issues sound like they relate to the left hind - if it's not a soundness issue (like hock), could you be blocking the left hind somehow with your leg or seat? This sort of thing happens to me and it can be hard to figure out . . .

    Umbrellas . . . I think they look weird, too.

    1. Tucker does/did have some hock issues. That's one of the reasons I stopped competing. While I could do injections, etc. I hate the idea of trying to medicate just for my own satisfaction.

      I do suspect it's something I'm doing wrong in the pirouette. The canter? No biggie. When he's more on the bit, he's fine.

  2. Sounds like great work with Tucker. You're such an experienced rider I'm sure that eventually you'll get him sorted out. In the meantime it's fun to just ride and have stuff to work towards. At least that's how I feel when I work with mine ;)

    You must be getting so fit with all your exercise!

  3. It's all those scary mysteries they read at night when no one is looking :-)

    Good work! Tucker seems to be doing well right now. I am curious to see if quitting at the moment he is relatively successful will carry over into the next ride.