Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday is a fresh start


The photo is showing Tucker waiting for his "good" food with two eyes and two good ears and standing still and away from me.  That is the picture I wanted to see this evening. 

#1

7:00am....Went out and fed with a flag.  Didn't really use the flag much but good to have.  Tucker had his nose in the feed bin.  I told him in a pleasant voice "Move over".  He did.  I asked again and he did move sideways again.  I then asked him to back up and turn the fore.  After too much backing, he turned the fore and I immediately released the pressure.  I threw the feed and turned to make sure no one was crowding me and I had two eyes and two ears.  "Good job, buddy."  And I walked away.

#2

8:00am....Watched Respect course: Getting Attention: Case Study #3  I can do this.  Yes, I have watched it before but I need to refresh and regroup.

#3

1:00pm....I got home from shopping and went to say hi to Tucker who was hollering for me.  I asked him to step back from the gate, made him stop trying to bump me with his head and rubbed his face and neck a bit.  Walked away, brought some hay in, asked him to step to the side with his fore.  He did that.  Asked him again.  He did that.  Asked him to back away from me and the food.  He did that.  He licked his lips and stood there sweetly waiting for the okay to go get his food.

#4

5:00pm....Took Tucker out to the big pen.  Had him do respect exercises on the way out there.  Had him spend some time alone while I did some chores.  Came back.  Asked him to move out off lead.  He did some galloping and then decided a trot would be fine.  I managed to turn him properly most of the time.  When I decided he had enough, I invited him over.  He came to me.  I asked for a few basic exercises...turn fore...turn hind....worked with off side which is a weak point for him I have decided.   Had him come up along the barrel from both sides so his off side got worked there, too.  Was able to send at a walk in both directions.  Included some gentle back, step up, back step up.

We did respect exercises all the way back home. 

#5

Feeding with a flag for the "good" food and for the hay.  Asked for him to stay back.  Looked for two eyes and two good ears. 

Hope I remembered plenty of releases and hope my timing was good.  Tucker is improving and he did do some lip licking today. I know some people don't think I should be doing groundwork and I should just be riding but I think the groundwork is doing us a world of good.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tucker tries me

Team Tucker is finally starting up again. This cold knocked me on my butt plus the whole month of October has been being sick or being way too busy with working.
Today I finally felt a bit better.
Earlier today I asked him to move over. He kept eating. I got a stick and asked him to move over with a light tap,tap, tap. He totally ignored me and kept eating. Then a medium tap, tap, tap..get over. Kept eating. Then a loud "Get over" and a smack on the hip. He stepped over!
I went out this evening to talk to Tucker who acted like I am going to bite you. I smacked him on the shoulder and shouted.
Then I walked him out to the round pen for some ground work!
The round pen is a bit small for him but I needed to get some action going here where I could reach out and touch someone if I needed to.
This horse really does not think he has to pay attention to me!
I got him going in the round pen. He insisted on running so fine...run, baby, run. He is a bit of a tangle foot and he kept running anyway.
I had to work on the stop and turn portion. Eventually he decided that a trot was a better speed. We worked on stop and turn off the lead. When he got feisty towards me, I feistied right back at him with the flag.
After awhile, the ya yas worked out some, I put a lead on him and worked on walk a bit, whoa, turn. Well, he decided he didn't want to whoa. So, I decided to lean on that lead until I got a stop with two eyes facing me! We did that in both directions a number of times.
I got on him for crowding me when he turned and walked in the other direction. "Get off me"
I think the respect aspect of our relationship absolutely needs work. I did have his attention much better at the end of our day than at the beginning of our day. He is standing at the hitching post wondering if I am ever going to feed him.
I will feed him but he will have to stay back until I allow him to get his food!
Somehow, Tucker and I are getting off track but I know I can get this choo choo back on the tracks. Having a horse isn't all rainbows and lollipops.
I looked it up. The last real work I have done with Tucker is 13 days ago. Sometimes life gets in the way, darn it.
PS - Yep, I went to untie him from the hitching post to wrap up feeding and put everyone to bed. I said "get over" and he did! I had him do a send to the left at a gentle prod he did a gentle walk. A turn and send to the right at a gentle walk and he did it. I did head down and he didn't want to  But then he did do it and I let him off the halter even though it was an impatient head down

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rough patch



Team Tucker is hitting a bit of a rough patch.
I feel badly about Tucker's scratches trying to come back. I have had the 10 days of work and work and work and wasn't paying enough attention.
Looks like Tucker has the scratches returning on his near hind. The skin was cracked open and it is bothering him a bit. I tried putting zinc oxide cream on it but he didn't like me touching it so I switched to vetricyn which I can spray on. He doesn't seem to be actually lame and I don't feel any heat at his joints.
I am using a little toothbrush for dogs to try to get the scales off his hind feet.
On top of that, I feel like Tucker has a bit of rain rot. I know, it is a desert and my friend doesn't think so but he is loosing a little hair, he was getting really bug bit this summer and he has some small spots of missing hair. He also doesn't look super shiny. I decided to brush him and spray 50% listerine on him for a week and see what happens. I may see if I can get a small bottle of MTG to try on him at Tractor Supply.
This may curtail my camping trip this weekend since Tucker isn't really able to be ridden with his foot.
In addition, I believe that Tucker does not view me as a strong leader. I am working on being firm without yanking. Today, I took him out to the big pen and when he bent to get some grass I made sure I let him run into pressure and not yank on his face.
I used a flag today to walk him out. I am using a flag every feeding now to emphasize that he is not to crowd me when I have food. I could just throw the food over the fence but that isn't teaching him anything.
I did a small amount of groundwork going to his big pen in the back. He crowded me so I stopped and used the flag to get him off me.
Also, once I got him into the pen I had him turn and walk, turn and walk on the lead. That went smoothly. I don't want to create a pinball horse but I do want him to pay attention ! I've been making sure he maintains his space using the respect exercises on the lead. I stop, he stops. He doesn't stop, back. He doesn't back when asked, he gets told, then the flag starts really waving after that. Release at the step back 
I want to make sure he is healthy. I want to make sure the respect for each other is being felt.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Okay, Team Tucker did the trail trial.  We went in the schooling class as a novice in the 50 - 64 year old division.

I was up at 5am to make sure Tucker got his breakfast

Tucker did great.  I am exhausted.  We spent 4 1/2 hours in the saddle.  We spent part of that time waiting for others to complete their obstacle.  We waited quite awhile at the end to dismount.

One of my take aways was when you have a chance to get off where you can get back on using a tree stump, do it!   I didn't and I had to get off without a mounting block and then lead the horse into a ditch to get back on.  Also, I should have checked my cinch while I was on the ground. I did successfully mount without a mounting block and I am proud of that.

The first obstacle was a small bridge.  We got a 9 out of 10.
Second obstacle was the branding station where Tucker saw that pink rendition of a cow with boa feathers between its horns and said "Nope, not doing it."  We managed a 5 because he did let me pick up the pole with the chalk dauber on it and we did manage to return it to its bucket.  I told the people we were done after I tried to get Tucker near the pink monster several times.

Then   we did the steer drag.  The drag was really tough to pull but I didn't have to try to rope anything so that was good.  We got a 7.  We lost 3 points because I did check the cinch first :)

We tossed boots at a tic tac toe on the ground.  Tucker got an 8.5.

We opened a mail box and put in a pamphlet.  We got a 10 on that one.

We did a circle at a walk over several fat logs and then turned and did it the other way.  Tucker got a 10.

We did a tee-pee challenge where you walked up the path, stopped while someone asked you a trivia question and then we backed out straight.  10 for that.

We had to go cross country to get to the watering hole.  Tucker was in his element on the cross country portion.  We were going up and down hills and along ponds and through brush.  Tucker loved that!  At first he took me by surprise to trot up the hill but I asked him to walk after the first couple of times and he did!

We reached the water obstacle and Tucker went right into the lake and we did great. 9.5 for that.

Back across country a different route and through some mud and back onto the dirt road.

Once Tucker and I went across country and we were standing at the next obstacle, I swear Tucker looked back at me and said "You are doing great!"  His head dropped and he looked more relaxed and less lookey loo.

We did pole bending with a stop at the end and a back for 5 steps.  9.5

Finally, dismount and shoot an arrow at a target.  9.5  My friend said check your cinch.  I said I already did and it is way loose but I think I can still get off.  She came over and tightened for me.   There was no mounting block so the dismount was extra difficult.

Total 88 points out of 100.

The weather was beautiful and the people were nice.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Too much

I almost feel like crying. I got in the saddle at 10:07 am and it is now 2:47 pm. Do the math. We did get out of the saddle some but it was too long of a day. I bet that was 3 hours in the saddle. A few weeks ago that had me too tired to move and too sore.
I tried to go home earlier but she was like "No, we aren't done yet."
I am going to the trail trial tomorrow and I hope I am not too exhausted to want to try. I am only doing schooling and my friends told me it would be fun and I could skip anything I wasn't comfortable with and it felt so low pressure.
I need to learn how to throw a big fit or something. I need a watch I can wear on my wrist so I can be like " Oh, noon, gotta go." I gotta come up with something.
I thought we had done more than enough even though I did not know what time it was until I got in the house Getting home this late is incredibly frustrating.
We practiced way too many things. We went over too many points of interest like how to hold the lead rope and how to blah, blah, blah.
And trotting, and standing and trotting. My personal plan was if we had to trot, I would just have the horse jog but no, we practiced trotting which I kind of suck at. It still takes a lot out of me.
Fortunately, I am not too stove up right now although I am afraid it will all catch up to me shortly. I haven't even had lunch yet.
I was just going to go have fun with my friends and do my best and Tucker is a very good horse and now I feel like I am a reflection on my trainer instead just a reflection on me and my beginner status 
I know she just wants me to grow as a rider but I have a limit.
— feeling sad.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TeamTucker rides alone



Team Tucker had a gorgeous morning to go out for a ride....alone. No other peeps.
I shined up my saddle and turned the stirrups while it was windy yesterday. I'll keep turning them with a broom handle. I do think it helped.
We started out by going through our home obstacle course. Kind of a warm up. The wind was gusting a bit. The computer is saying about 10 mph.
Tucker is good in the wind but once we went down the driveway and got on the road, he acted very alert.
I decided to go to the right instead of the left today. Tucker was on making sure he was keeping an eye out for us. Not ridiculous but definitely watching for trouble. He wanted to turn for home at the end of our fence line but I kept him turning until we were facing leaving once again.
We got to the dog corner and no dogs on the right but a new dog barking on the left. I had to encourage Tucker to continue forwards. I told him the dog was safely behind the fence!
Tucker was pretty hesitant all along there and when we got to the next corner, I could see two dogs running loose in the desert. I let Tucker rest and watch them. They didn't seem like a threat but I decided to circle the mailboxes and then turn us around to go back the way we came. I wanted it to be my idea that we were turning around.
At the dog corner I said "Surprise, we are not going home. Make a left and go east young man." He did that nicely. He was still being a lookey loo. I asked him to jog and walk and jog and walk for that half mile. We actually got to trotting a bit and I think I was posting the trot for 200 feet or so. Woot! I did NOT start bouncing like a rag doll at any point!
We made a right turn and walked and jogged to our sandy road home. Surprise again, Tucker. We are taking the big loop trail through the desert and then back to our sandy road. He did quite well at listening.
I think we were riding for about an hour and a half. I think Tucker is still not sure he can trust me to be a good leader when we are doing a new route alone. We had been on that road before but from the other direction and with Brownie the Wonder Horse. I think the way to overcome that is to make sure we keep going out by ourselves.
Here is is standing at the patience pole at the end of our ride.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

We opened the big gate



Team Tucker has another first!
It wasn't smooth, it wasn't great but it was an accomplishment.
We opened a big 14' gate at the neighbor's house. I did start rushing which was not good but.....we undid the latch, stepped back to the first third of the gate, pulled the gate open, got turned and got around the end of the gate [almost caught my foot], got side passing to pull the gate closed, backed and closed the latch. That was a real accomplishment.
It was a lovely ride to my neighbor's house with a bit of a breeze and 80 degrees out.
Up the sandy road and a bit of jogging which felt pretty comfortable today.
We went the back way through the desert. I didn't pick up the trail right away so I had to turn back on the road. Tucker thought "hey, we are headed home." No we are not!
I managed to find the trail. We turned on to the trail and I rode the trail with very little reins just using my body and legs to guide the horse until we got to the tricky part where there were squirrel and rabbit holes on the sides of the trail.
When we got to the neighbor's house, I told Tucker to go through the obstacles. He said he didn't want to. I patiently made my position clear and he did go through the dry pond area, over the bridge, around the trail and then we headed to the back.
Brownie the Wonderhorse was tied up waiting. We measured Tucker and he needs an 82 inch blanket. He is one long horse.
The horses stood tied for quite awhile until we were done chit chatting and then off we the four of went, through a couple of more obstacles including the real pond which we splashed through all by ourselves with no help from Brownie who was no where near us. Then over to the gate where we were a success!
Took the long way home through the desert, down the sandy road to my house. I asked Tucker to make a left and do a couple of obstacles before heading to the home pen. Of course, he started to object but decided to go along with the program.
I maneuvered us through the home pen gate and we closed it like a couple of pros. He side stepped to get me over to the gate. He is such a good boy.
I jogged him around the home pen once and called it good. I told him to line it up at the mounting block where he stood like a rock for me to get off.
I felt so relaxed and peaceful finishing up, brushing, checking feet and feeding and watering all the critters. What a lovely time we had as the sun was heading due west and getting lower and lower in the sky.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tucker and his new saddle pad


Team Tucker hasn't been in the saddle for about a week!
Tucker got his new saddle pad delivered last night. I went with the Reinsman, sway back, contour pad with the tackytoo backing in the 30"x30" size.
It has the approval of Tucker  I like that I have only one saddle pad instead of two saddle pads or a saddle pad/blanket combo. Much easier to deal with when removing the saddle.
I also got 1/2 way notches for my stirrups and as I suspected, halfway is just right for my knees, my hips and my sense of balance.
I did take Tucker out to the big pen and have him do some running in a big circle to get him wanting some air before working with him. After all it had been a week off. I also asked, told, demanded on the turning the fore and turning the hind and stopping when I stop on the lead. I think I was doing pretty good after reviewing one of the Carson James respect videos earlier in the day.
Later, I got a lesson on Tucker from the neighbor after working on my set up with the saddle and stirrups.. Tucker wanted to follow her and/or go to the gate so I had some challenges today both in the round pen and the big pen.
Tucker and I did jog in the big pen and even though we were jogging kind of sideways when we were near the gate because that little booger wanted to get to that gate!, there was no sign that anything was pinching him.
I got a stick to wave on the side towards his butt and he could see it and decided to keep going when near the gate or the neighbor.
I have to teach myself not to be so high headed [that's just natural for me] bring my chin down and watch where the horse is going.
One idea the trainer had was get out of the saddle and walk Tucker out the gate. I am limber enough to do that without a mounting block now 
Tucker looked really content by the time we wrapped it up. He came and stood near me on the fence. I remembered I had some watermelon for him so he got a treat. The weather is cooler and I am looking forward to my fall season.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bareback?

Tucker Time....filed under Don't try this at home.
I lined Tucker up at the mounting block.
I got on Tucker bareback...sort of...I was laying on top of him clinging to his neck....he decided that he needed to go backward while I said "Whoa, I mean that ..whoa! ... whoa .... whoa...!"
He finally did stop but then I had to figure out how to get off him without dying. I grabbed some mane and slithered my off side foot over his rump and managed to get off.
Tucker looked relieved  I pretended like it was all good and took him out to the big pen for the day.
All's well that ends well.
Thank goodness my new saddle pad arrives tonight. Tomorrow I will try this again..with a saddle on the horse.
— feeling amused.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bath Time






What do you do when your client cancels? You go to yard sales and buy a metal cabinet for your tack area. Only $5.  I'll need to get the tacky tape off and repaint it some time before the end of October when it turns cold.
What do you do when she cancels again? You organize the tack area....bathe Tucker...and bathe the cutest little mini, Wiseguy. The tack area is so organized now.
Usually I would ride Tucker but I am waiting for the new swayback saddle pad to come in the mail. So, baths was my next best idea.
Tucker was a good boy. He was a bit like "knock it off already." He did mostly cooperate but I got after him for moving around a couple of times. He tried to push me with his head. I think he appreciated looking good at the end. He got the full spa treatment including shampoo, conditioner and comb out.
Wiseguy got the spa treatment, as well. His mane was a complete mess including some dreadlocks. He got a couple of carrot treats for being reasonably patient about the whole brushing the mane out from below and above and being parted and brushed in the middle. He has more mane than Tucker and he is 1/6 the size 
I went to get the scissors to cut Wiseguy's overly long tail and give him a nice bridle path. That is when I noticed that Tucker was untied and getting a snack. I decided to put his fly sheet on and his fly mask. By the time I got back to Wiseguy, Wiseguy had gotten untied from the rail and managed to roll in the dirt even though he was still wet. He had to have some more brushing.
It was a nice day and I laughed when it became a bit of a three ring circus. The warm days are to be enjoyed now that fall is approaching.

Bonus photo of Obie the Giant goat who is probably about 11 years old now.