Thursday, December 7, 2017

arthritis? and Tucker

Team Tucker talked to the farrier today.
He said he wouldn't lope on Tucker either. Don't get hurt.
He said Tucker definitely has arthritis in his knees. He said you can spend hundreds of dollars at the vet and they can do lots of tests and they will still say he has arthritis in his knees which might be causing him to trip.
It is the arthritis that is causing him to trip.
The saddle may have caused some problems but it has nothing to do with Tucker tripping so often and so badly. Definitely worth changing saddles since he has seen saddles cause problems with the withers and bucking but realize that Tucker will still trip a lot.
Ride Tucker at a walk and trail ride him and consider that Tucker may need an early retirement. And don't get hurt.
He's going to call me if he comes across a nice trail riding horse for a decent price.
And don't get hurt. It's not worth getting hurt because of the horse.
He also said that a lot of people blame themselves for the way the horse is but Tucker really does have arthritis and you didn't make the horse what he is today.
We shall see where we go next. I'm not ruling out seeing a vet. I do think I will get the new saddle on Tucker again tomorrow. We will see if we can do okay with that but I will need to work him at a lope without me on him to see if he will be calmer and willing to just go at a walk. But trotting and loping on this horse is not recommended. Which is what I have been thinking myself.
This is just this guy's opinion but I think he is right.
And that really limits me to a great degree.
I think lessons on another horse is my best option to improve my horsemanship skills and to learn to post and lope at least for the time being

Sunday, December 3, 2017


I'm starting to wonder about Tucker and his tripping. He even manages to trip when cantering by himself in the big pen. I have the farrier coming out Monday.
I realize that I feel comfortable walking with Tucker but trotting and tripping is scarier and I certainly don't want to canter on him.
He's been klutzy since I got him. There is so much to like about Tucker that I have been hopeful that the farrier work would help but I don't think it really is. I am going to talk to the farrier about this on Monday.
The neighbor wants me to trot him but I am at the point where I certainly don't want to trot him on uneven ground. That is when he tripped and bucked last time. Still, the first time he bucked, he stepped on his own foot [I saw the scrape on his hoof] and it is smooth in the driveway. I have been trotting him in the driveway or carefully on the sandy road.
I think I am riding him okay and, again, he does trip even when cantering in the big pen without me on him. I may talk to a vet in the future.
I'm feeling kind of worried.
My husband is being very nice about this since I have spent a lot of time and effort and some money getting Tucker. He says if Tucker has issues that can't be fixed, we will just have to get another horse. That made me feel good about our relationship 

Friday, December 1, 2017


Team Tucker is at peace tonight. I thought what a beautiful afternoon. I need to just relax and hang out with my critters.
I took Tucker an apple slice.
I took a book and read it outside Tucker's pen. He wandered over and tried to nibble my pants. I shoo'd him away.
I cleaned his pen and took my time. A friend called and I sat on the mounting block to talk. When Tucker came in too crowd me, I asked him to move away. And he did.
I rubbed his withers and he enjoyed it. He let his lip droop and curled his neck and head up like do that some more! That tells me a lot. The other saddle I had does NOT fit him right. He has not enjoyed those kind of rubs in a while.
He willingly backed up and stood to get his hay today.
I made sure I remembered those releases when he did as asked.
Joseph Pote was thinking what I was kind of thinking today and I enjoyed his post. It pertained to Tucker and I. I need a few baby steps to get back my confidence in Tucker.
I think Tucker and I will go out to the big pen tomorrow and I will ask him to blow off some steam and then do some ground work. I bet it goes very nicely tomorrow.
Tucker is very patient with Cash who likes to share his food.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tucker bucks again

eam Tucker is trying it again.
Tried out the new used saddle and saddle pad today.
Neighbor came by.
I felt tired and nervous. Just not having my best day. I tacked up with the neighbor's help.
Tucker and I walked around the pen.on the ground while we took turns watching how he seemed to feel about the new saddle. Tucker seemed like he likes the new saddle. The pad seems to sit in the right place. He looked relaxed. There seems to be more room between his withers and the pommel.
I am pretty sure I wasn't very relaxed. I mounted and we walked around the pen and then jogged a little.
We went out to the obstacle course and Tucker walked over the logs with no problems so his shoulders are moving well in this saddle.
She said trot him over by the vertical poles. He stepped in a small hole with his hind foot and then he started bucking. I turned him with one rein while he bucked and he stopped. She said, "You just take him back through there. There was no excuse for that."
So I turned him and went back through there and turned him and went back through there several times.
The good news is I did not loose a stirrup and I did turn him to get him out of bucking mode.
I also felt good jogging in this saddle. It's not as hard on my butt as I thought it would be.
She says, "Did you take him out to the big pen today?" Well, no I didn't.
She took him out there and had him circle and lope. Of course, in both directions. One note here is that Tucker is feeling better. His scratches are almost gone and he got antibiotics for his tooth. He is a good weight. The weather is cooler.
He is feeling his oats a bit. One day, I was looking out the window, Tucker thought I wasn't fast enough with the food and he was trotting and shaking his head and he threw in a couple of bucks all on his own.
I am not capable yet of cantering. So, the next best thing is to let him lope in the big pen without me on him. I am corking him up. I will have to work on that aspect. Fiddle with the reins less and have him walk out on a looser rein. Rewatch rein management on the CJ site.
I also think the side pull maybe isn't the right bridle for him. It is pulling up towards his eye sometimes if you use one rein on the ground so might be doing that when riding. Since I have to be bitless due to his tooth, the neighbor wants me to try a mechanical hackamore. I'll have to read up on that.
My game plan for the next week or two, I think, is that I will tack up and take Tucker out to the big pen where we will lope during ground work. I will make sure he gets to blow off some steam. I will also do more ground work and I will be firmer in some areas. Expect more of him. Which I am doing already and it is helping our relationship.
I will get on him if I think I am ready to do that. If Tucker isn't ready on the ground, then he isn't ready for riding. I'll know.
I think more ground work is in our future  I think if I would have been doing ground work since the beginning, we would be further ahead as a team but that is water under the bridge. No time like the present.
Hopefully on Saturday, when I work with him again, I'll have my energy level up some  Ill try to get some photos of the new pad and saddle.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


When do you start trusting your own skills as a horseman? I think I need to start now 
My Uncle Cal was here and he is a good horseman. He is 73 years old and riding all his life. We have talked on the phone. He understands all about pressure and release.
Now, several other people have told me that I am doing great. Sometimes telling me I need to trust my instincts with my horse.
Yet, it is hard to be a beginner. I am the type of person that knows she doesn't know.
Back to Uncle Cal. He was so impressed by where I am at. He said from talking to me on the phone, he thought I was a total beginner but from watching me work with Tucker and ride Tucker , I am way ahead of what he thought I would be.
I tacked up Tucker and got him to ground tie. He threw in a pointer here and there as I was brushing, tacking up and cleaning feet. I enjoyed that.
I walked up to the mounting block and Tucker lined right up and took one step when asked. Uncle Cal was impressed and I said, "I taught him that," with a big smile on my face. I am proud of that.
"Do you want me to open the gate?" he says. "No, Tucker and I can do that." We side passed to open the gate. "Wow, I'm impressed."
Uncle Cal watched me ride Tucker at a walk in the circular drive and he thought I was doing a great job. Maybe a little stiff in the shoulders. But way ahead of where he thought I would be in only 5 months.
Tucker and I trotted a bit and Uncle Cal thought we did fine at that. Then, Tucker and I were coming around, Tucker tripped pretty badly forwards and then Tucker did a couple of bucks headed towards where Uncle Cal was sitting.
"Well, you did really good with that and just following where the horse went. You got a little stiff at the end."
I bet I did since I lost my right stirrup and my thigh was up on the horn. I did not jerk on the reins. I did not look panicked. I sat on my horse and we talked calmly about what just happened.
He was very impressed that I didn't look panicked or wasn't screaming or crying  "How did it feel." "It was a little scary, Uncle Cal, but I stayed on." I gave him a big grin.
"It was like he got stung by a bee but it is winter and there are no bees." I told him I think it is the saddle. I have had little problems and I have bought 4 saddle pads and a blanket trying to make this saddle work out. I am done with this saddle."
I walked Tucker around the driveway, into the home pen, dismounted and took his saddle off.
Here is what Uncle Cal told me. "I think you should have confidence in yourself. You are doing fantastic. Don't listen to other people, listen to yourself. Yes, learn from other people but do what you think is right for you and your horse because you are doing just fine."
I do have to thank Carson James Rhodenizer for teaching me so much.
And some of the people in this group have helped me so much. Their encouragement has meant the world to me.
That saddle is never going on Tucker again and I will be purchasing another saddle.
Tucker is a good horse. I have been saying for awhile the saddle is pinching him. I have bought pad after pad because people were saying that the saddle wasn't pinching him but I knew something was wrong.
It is time for me to spread my wings and have more confidence in myself.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Bob's saddle

eam Tucker
Well, I don't care what other people might think....I think my old saddle was not working. I am trying out this new used saddle.
I got in it yesterday briefly but today I just put it on Tucker and let him get used to the idea that it doesn't feel [hurt?] like the other saddle did.
I walked him out back and let him eat some hay in the big pen. The saddle definitely seems a little higher in the gullet. Since I haven't really ridden in it yet, I can't tell much more.
My brief ride in it yesterday tells me the seat is hard as a rock!
Honestly, there is only so much you can tell from a few photos on the internet but this is a candidate. It is a handmade [professionally] saddle that was used on a ranch in Petaluma, CA area and here in Nevada for a number of years but Bob doesn't really ride anymore so if I want to buy it, it may be up for sale.
I actually prefer a rough out seat so that is points against this saddle and my goodness does it weigh a lot.
I think I moved up a tad more after this photo. Took a lot of effort 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Team Tucker survived a couple of bucks.
I am convinced it is the saddle not fitting him right at the withers.
Uncle Cal the cowboy is in town and he is such a nice guy. He gave me a few tips and tricks as I saddled up Tucker today.
I took Tucker out to the front while Uncle Cal sat in a chair on the stoop. We talked about horse philosophy  Using the body more than the reins. Nice talk.
I walked Tucker around the circular drive. Uncle Cal is so sweet. He kept saying I think you are doing great. Maybe loosen up a little in your shoulders.
Well, Tucker wanted to trot so I let him. We went around one direction. Then we came back the other way. Tucker kind of tripped forwards. Then, Tucker threw in a couple of bucks.
I sure horses have gone higher and further but this was my first buck. He did it right in front of Uncle Cal .
So Uncle Cal said, "You did real good. You got a little stiff at the end." I'll bet I did since my leg went up onto the horn and I was starting to get worried.
I did not yank on Tucker's face so that was good.
Uncle Cal said it was almost like a bee stung him.
Bottom line is, that saddle has been a problem IMHO I am trying yet another saddle pad that is coming in the mail. It's not the padding. It's the saddle not fitting him in the withers area.
I am borrowing a saddle to try. We shall see if Tucker feels a little better in that tomorrow.
I also think a little bute won't hurt.
Anyway, Uncle Cal is impressed and, honestly, so am I. I handled a buck!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Working up a sweat

Team Tucker worked up a sweat today.
We warmed up with a few groundwork exercises. Just a few.
I got on and we warmed up with a walk on a totally loose rein for a few minutes.
Then, in the home pen still, we jogged, trotted, walked, jogged, trotted, walked and turned at the fence, trotted while turning, jogged while turning.
Keep your hands low, Liz.
I got off and we took a little break. Then we walked together out to the big pen. No hassle to ride him in that way and a change from how we have done it before.
100'x100' of work room. I remounted on the nice log round I put in there this morning.
We walked on a loose rein but then trotted when we got to the gate area. Loose rein, trot or jog or walk away.
We then jogged and trotted around the shrubbery but really went to work near the gate with some tighter circles and figure 8's.
Jog all the way around the arena. Walk, trot all the way around the arena, walk.
Went for the straight line from the bin to the barrel at a trot. Whoa'd him when he did it really good the first time and told him he is a good boy. Took a little break.
Want to be on the fence line looking for your buddies or go to the gate? Great, let's trot and circle and trot and circle.
He decided to trot to the gate so I really, really asked him to trot and trot and trot near the gate but then I turned away and asked him to walk.
I did a lot of trotting near the gate and relaxing away from the gate.
I dismounted in the pen and just walked around with him. Then we went out to the obstacle course just to walk around and cool him down a bit.
On the way back I tried to have him stop at the mounting block [heavy duty chaise lounge made out of real metal , very stable to stand on]. He took a couple of tries. He did get stepped up properly and surprise....I loosened his saddle.
Walked to his home pen with Tucker behind me. I froze, he had to back. I froze, he froze. I froze, he had to back. I froze, he froze. I froze, he froze. When he got it right, I told him what a good boy he was.
While I am sure the barn sour/buddy sour issue has not gone totally away, I feel real progress has been made.
I quit after an hour. It is mentally and physically tiring for me to be on top of the reins and the standing for this and sitting for that and turning me to turn him and all the rigamarole it takes to ride this horse 
I think you can see in the photo the leather string hanging down. I only had to use it a couple of times. No, nagging. When I said trot or jog, I meant it and he knew it. It's small string, I am not doing anything that would actually hurt that horse.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tucker and Pony together for the first time

Team Tucker
Right after breakfast I put Pony Baloney and Tucker in the big pen together. Their first time. It was interesting to watch Pony trying to get Tucker's goat and then Tucker squealing and grunting like "don't do it!" Tucker threatened some kicks but didn't try to land them. He also stomped at the Pony. They did okay. They did not gallop around which I would have liked  Maybe next time.
My cowboy uncle and my trainer both think Tucker is yanking my chain and I have to agree with them.
Today, my trainer came over and we worked on Liz stepping up the game. I ask, I tell. Also, more sustained jogs and trots.
We worked in the home pen for quite awhile. Lots of sitting the jog, standing to trot, sitting the jog, standing to trot. More body, less reins which is something I want.
I got a long thin piece of leather and when Tucker decided he didn't want to go faster, he got a little smack on the butt. That actually takes some confidence on my part that I can handle the speedier reactions of the horse 
Then, we went out to the 100'x100' pen.
He didn't want to trot in a straight line, go around the bin and then trot in a straight line and go around the barrel.
Trainer says "He is in control here." I said, "That is for sure true."
He was more unmanageable in the big pen but we over came that by trotting through the shrubbery like it was cones.
Turn, left, turn right, turn left, keep jogging and turning and jogging and turning. No, Tucker did not want to do that but we did it anyway. I am doing better at the jog and the trot. And at being firmer.
I think my trainer took the fact that Tucker spaces off into the distance more to heart today because she noticed him not paying attention. She said "Get him moving and turning and listening to you. He isn't paying attention."
Tucker gave a big holler to his friends and I said "Get to trotting buddy. There's no time to be buddy sour".
In the end, all we had wanted was for Tucker to trot in a straight line, turn around the orange bin and trot in a straight line back. He did it and we were done for the day.
That was a good 1 hour and 15 minutes of pure lesson and learning. Of course, we did take a short break here and there.
When we left the pen, I had Tucker do a little bending around the poles in the obstacle course. Then, I got off him and walked him back to his pen on the ground. I'm changing up how and where we get off and on. Getting his mind to be a little more flexible.
I so want to up my game on the riding and today, I did better at riding faster and still doing turns. I am very happy.
I know I am upping my game and I know that will help Tucker pay attention. He is seeing I am not a pushover. I'm not mean but I am getting the skills I need.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Naking /Tucker happy

Team Tucker is having a tough time with the barn sour issue.
So, someone says on my timeline, "What would make Tucker happy?"
I'm thinking being in his pen eating.
Today, I decided to try very hard to do something that would make Tucker happy.
I let him push the gate open. "Push it." He likes doing that.
We wandered around the yard eating dried up clumps of rice grass for awhile.
Then, I put some hay in the round pen and sat in a chair near him while he ate.
I also handed out a few carrots slices here and there.
Finally, I did ask for a few gentle yields and backs and turn fore and turn hind. I gave out plenty of love in between each ask. I made sure to work on his off side some.
I let him push the round pen gate open when we were leaving. He likes that job.
I stopped and had us both back a couple of times...keeping it light and fun.
The weather was an amazing 68 degrees. The afternoon was relaxing for both of us. Probably just what we needed.