I Rode Tucker Too!
Chris and I went out on an hour and a half trail ride behind her farm today. She rode Nordisk and I rode JJ.
I had no idea there were so many nice trails out that way. I've always stuck to my side of the State Park and not crossed the next road to the north. There is a county park there and tons of trails going every which a way.
For those Google Earth oriented, my park is the Pigeon Swamp State Park and the park behind Chris's barn is Ireland Brook Park. We have struggled long to save the acreage around here and the success is wonderful. The only disappointment is that despite the fact they are banned from both parks, mini bike riders and ATV riders do race around the trails. Local law enforcement has limited ways of stopping them. Because most of the land is unsupervised the riders often camp out in the more remote areas and often leave all kinds of trash around. Then too, of course, is the constant danger to horses and riders from the vehicles.
Most of the time, if I ride in the morning, or on a week day, I am less likely to run into any of the recreational vehicles. Today, we saw no one else on our ride.
JJ was his usual good self for me. I'm convinced he rather thinks he needs to take care of me out there, not at all sure of my competence. I do let him do a lot of the thinking in the tricky terrain, so it's no wonder. He's never really naughty, but he will try to take advantage if I take too casual an approach to things. He's a smart, sweet boy.
Nordisk continues to be a brave young man. He's getting better and better with the hills, learning more and more how to navigate them wisely and carefully. I'm really impressed with his progress since we first started going out.
Once I got back home, I headed for the feed store to stock up on feed for Chance and Tucker and some alfalfa cubes. Then I ate a quick lunch and eventually headed back out to the barn to ride.
It was Tucker's turn. I stayed in the arena again. After my post on "A Year With Horses" about basic obedience, I realized Tucker needs a bit of refresher training nearly every time I get on him. His essential issue is that he does not always go forward when I put my leg on. I can always tune him up in the warmup, but his initial reaction to leg pressure is to stop and threaten. Some of this harkens back to when he had the ulcer issues, I know, but the rest is just his contrary nature. I'd give him a good swat with the dressage whip if I was sure he wouldn't buck, but I have to admit to being a big cowardly about that. I'll just keep working on it with less demanding methods.
As I said, once we get going, he tunes in pretty quickly and generally works off the aids. I did find the buck in him, however, when I decided to ride a pretend dressage test filled with all the exercises we can do. That included, leg yield, half pass, shoulder in, haunches in, lengthenings all at the trot. Reinback, walk pirouettes, extended walk, and then canter. Basic canter work, including changes through the trot and through the walk were fine. The little "whoopsie!" came at the canter lengthening when he put his head down and tried to crow hop as we started to move out. Ah well, guess I have to work on that on a circle until we get some better control.
Now, I did not do all of this in much more than a training level frame, so it was not as physically challenging as it might sound. When we were done, Tucker had some sweat under the saddle and girth and between his hind legs. The rest of him despite his winter coat's growing in, and the nearly 70 F temperature, was dry. He really hadn't worked too hard at all.
Eventually, I will do all those exercises in a more demanding frame with better impulsion. For now, it was more "pretend dressage."
Maybe that's the best kind after all.