Monday, November 13, 2017

More about my solo day

So, the day was great yesterday. Team Tucker did really good. Of course he is Tucker so I had no doubt.
I did have just a bit of trouble loading Tucker in the morning. It took three tries.
I managed to drive very smoothly.
When we first got out of the trailer, Tucker was rather high headed. I walked him around and let him take in the sights. He did settle down nicely.
He looked around like "What kind of event is this? Where's the cows?" Made me laugh.
For awhile a bunch of the horses were squealing and calling to each other.
A number of people wanted the horses to touch noses. I quickly decided I didn't really like that when Tucker stomped his foot at one of the minis while nose sniffing. He doesn't really need to be making friends with other horses.
It is easy to feel awkward when teenagers look better than you in the saddle 
There are a lot of really nice horse people out there.
One gal I have known for awhile was very encouraging. She told me that I am doing great having had Tucker for only 4-5 months especially. She knows where I started  She encouraged me to keep on doing groundwork. Made me feel good.
Several people kindly showed me how to get Tucker to do certain maneuvers. I appreciated their kindly attitude.
I talk to Tucker and a lot of people do not talk to their horses. "Good job, buddy." "That's right, we got this." "Move your hind end." "Riding is supposed to be fun, Tucker." Maybe it is a bad habit?
I was gratified to see that Tucker had one ear on me a lot of the time. [Even when I wasn't talking to him.] It is a great feeling to have your horses attention.
I remembered to 'wake him up" before asking him to do something after just standing around.
The side pull bridle is making communication a little different than the snaffle.
I made a rookie mistake when I loaded by myself at the end of the day. I tied the rope inside the trailer instead of outside the trailer. I then had to get into the trailer to untie at home. Tucker wanted to back out and was crowding me. "Don't get on top of me!"
I had the door only half open since I didn't want him to try to back out until I was ready. I then had to tell him to hold still while I carefully reached over to push open the door the rest of the way. He then turned himself around in the trailer and came out head first.
It's Tucker so we did fine but there is definitely a learning curve. This is the first time I loaded and unloaded by myself with no one to close the door for me.
Next time, I will quickly thread the rope out the bars, get out fast to close the door and go around the outside to grab the rope and tie it.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Team Tucker goes it solo!

Team Tucker goes it solo!

Up early to feed and then ready to roll by 7:20.

Took three tries to get him in the trailer but the third try worked like a charm.

A gal offered to let me follow her and I had no backing when we arrived at the venue.  I don't back with a trailer :)

I got Tucker settled in with a hay bag for the road and then the hay bag when we got there while he stood tied to the trailer.

I swear he got off the trailer and said "What kind of event is this?  No cows....mmm".

I didn't forget any gear!

The in hand obstacles went okay.  Tucker is just learning how to do ground work so he is not that thrilled nor proficient at in hand but he tried his best.  I quit when I had done each obstacle a few to several times.

We did in hand side pass to a gate [utter failure because Tucker doesn't know what that is].  Back in an el.  Trot around poles on the ground in a circle.  Tucker thought it meant walk around the poles on the ground :)

Tucker was a pro at   getting the mail, as always.  He did okay at turn the forequarters [we are just getting the concept at home].  Also, Tucker was fabulous at crossing the wooden bridge.

After lunch, we saddled up.  Tucker is in his element now.

We all warmed up and there were like 15 people all trotting and walking and turning and loping and Tucker did great!  We jogged some.  I looked completely uncoordinated half the time, as usual but I swear I will learn how to trot properly!

The first obstacle was trotting from a stop.  We did pretty good.

Rode up to the mail box no problem.

The crowd helped us do a sidepass over the top of a pole.  So nice of them.  I finally realized what I was doing differently from usual and once I got the reins proper, he did a few side steps in both directions.

We rode over the bridge.  Trotted over the poles on the ground.  Marginally did the rope gate.  Someone had dropped the rope and I had to pick it up and then go through and put it on the post.

We entered the box and did a circle moving the hind end.  Trotted the cones.  Finished up backing in an el [which Tucker did great!]

I didn't push us too hard in the ring although I don't think I babied us either.  It was a big day just trailering and being around so many people.  The people were very nice.  I have been invited to join a trail riding group which I will do since trail riding is my real favorite thing to do.

Friday, November 10, 2017


Someone mentioned that I hadn't posted iabout Team Tucker in awhile We are alive and well.
I did some nice groundwork on Wednesday. I have been working and dismantling the greenhouse, so, my ground work has been pretty much limited to feeding with a flag for the last two days.
I will say the "Yes, maam" attitude is still there. I am very pleased. I have to work again tomorrow and then make sure I have everything ready to load up for our solo trip of about 40 miles on Sunday.
The photos are real. Sunrise yesterday.  Progressing from lavender to gold. Love looking out back and seeing my critters from my back porch.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Team Tucker
I'll keep it short and sweet today.
I did maybe thirty minutes of ground work this morning...max. Groundwork is paying off. Tucker has decided I am worth listening to.
This afternoon I got a lesson with Brownie the Wonderhorse and his owner. We kept it a reasonable length of one hour.
I relearned the bending the horse part of pole bending.
I did successful side passes.
Gotta tilt the head away from the direction of motion and then lift the shoulder using the rein on the side you want to move. Leg off on the movement side. Heel in the ribs and leave it there until some action occurs. Don't nag with a kick.kick, kick.
Worked on standing the trot. Honestly, I did better the other day but maybe having someone here was causing me to have split focus. It's okay. I get to keep trying.
Did head down in the new side pull bridle. That one really did seem different to Tucker than with his snaffle bit but today was a success. Got him to back while collected.
Tucker is standing at the patience pole hollering for his dinner. Guess I will wait a little longer before going back out.
The sweet smell of victory with ground work this morning and the lesson this evening.
Tucker is still barn sour so when Brownie isn't here, we will work on that. I'm going to work him on the ground in the pen tomorrow and then walk him out to relax. We are going to do that until he settles down outside the pen !
Thank you everyone for your encouragement. You guys are right. Tucker and I are doing pretty good. We will keep working at this thing called riding and horsemanship and learning from one another.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Team TUcker
Wow, frustrating day in many ways but I do feel like I persevered. The barn sour thing kind of sucks.
I took Tucker up front to mount and then I walked him through the desert behind the garage to the back area. I tried hard to keep his attention and release when he did what I wanted. We ended up trotting way too often.
I did that thing where we circled until he stopped a bunch of times.
I tried to keep his attention by directing his feet. One right, one back, one left, one hind. Turn fore, turn hind. He was pretty obsessed with getting his way but I kept going around the back area...through the shrubbery, over the logs, around the barrels...through the poles.
I finally decided to get him back to the home pen and work his butt off. We trotted and trotted and trotted. Turning and trotting and trotting. Especially trotting near the food bowl.
The dogs somehow were let out and they were running all over the pen. They come around the corner growling at each other and Tucker humped up. Tucker pulled it back together quickly but, geez, someone could get hurt here.
I tried to get Hubby to help me since someone needs to open the gate for Tucker and I to work in the pen and then walk out to relax. Then he needed to close the gate while I had Tucker work inside the home pen and then open the gate when I was ready to walk out. It sounds simple but apparently it is not.
I finally said we are done Hubby and just trotted Tucker around the pen some more. Then I asked for a sidepass. Some turns on the fore and hind. And a perfect dismount and I quit. I did leave Tucker tied up with his saddle on so he couldn't run over and start eating the moment I got off him.
The good news is I feel like I am staying on the horse through the circling and trotting and the little hump and side jigging. I rode for over an hour.
I might go out with my neighbor tomorrow. Not sure yet.
Believe it or not, I signed up for a trail trial clinic on Sunday. Usually Tucker is better once we trailer somewhere.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Team Tucker had a much more "YES MA'AM" kind of a day today.
Did groundwork. Had some licking and chewing going on.
Kept Tucker's attention much better even with Hubby making a lot of noise doing projects.
When I went in with hay this afternoon, Tucker backed away from the feeder without being asked. He stood politely until I said okay and walked away.
Progress, yay.
Reaching my goal of working with Tucker every day possible.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Groundwork is improving

Team Tucker
Tucker is giving me his "Yes, ma'am" look. I ask him to move it. Then I tell him to move it. Then I mean it. Finally I really mean it. I haven't had to really mean it for several days. It only took getting a firm smack with the flag twice in a couple of days to get him to think of me he might want to listen to what I am saying. Instead of completely tuning me out.
I started the day by feeding with a flag. First the good food. I asked him to back. I did not accept the lazy back he gave me and told him to back. I then waved the flag and said "BACK". He did. I gave him the eye when he tried to creep forward. He stopped.
Then the hay. I said "Move it" tap, tap, tap. "MOVE IT" TAP, TAP,TAP. Grabbed the closest thing which was a halter "MOVE IT" Tap, tap, he is realizing that if I go to the next level he is getting smacked firmly with what is in my hand. He decided his better option was to move over like I asked. I then had him move out of my space to throw the hay.
Today, after his breakfast, I didn't have a lot of time so I did ground work in his home pen. I asked him to walk around me on the lead line. Back. Turn fore, turn hind. I mixed it up some.
I also picked up his feet and cleaned them. He held still and said "Yes, ma'am" for that as well.
His scratches are really improving still and I hope they will be completely gone soon.
I was strict on when I say move it....MOVE IT.
I am making sure I ask, tell, mean it, really mean it.
Before I left to go to town, I asked him to move it away from the food and he backed out of the way and said "Yes, ma'am."
I'll be feeding with a flag again tonight and I will expect my space to be sacrosanct.
I am remembering that sometimes you have to give the horse a reason to listen...within the boundaries of fairness and remembering those releases. Like Carson says...there is a real responsibility to be working at the horses level of training.
Three more days of vacation left. My goal is to work with Tucker every day that I possibly can.

Friday, November 3, 2017

crow hop

Team Tucker was challenged today.
Tucker went on high alert when Hubby started the chainsaw. I took the bridle off and left Tucker in the pen with his saddle on while I went to see what Hubby was up to.
I got the bitless bridle back on him but he was being a handful and wouldn't stand for the mounting block in the back area I walked him out front to the mounting block in the circular driveway. I got mounted.
He was saying he wanted to go back to his friends so I tightly circled him and I kept tightly circling him every time he tried to turn to his friends.
I drove him forwards when we were headed the way I wanted to go.
We did that for awhile. He would trot when he thought we were headed towards the pen so I circled him. I walked him when we were headed away from the driveway back to the pen.
I tried very hard not to be heavy handed but it was tough when he was being a turd.
I took him through the desert behind the garage and he sped up when he thought we might be headed to his home pen. I turned him away and I had him circle tightly a number of times when he was getting out of hand.
We got into the back area. He was being a bit of a handful but we were succeeding. He stepped in a gopher hole in the sand. Here's where it gets interesting!
Tucker crow hopped! I remembered to press down on the horn and not panic!
I did not come off.
I got him moving forwards again.
On the way back towards the home pen I had him stop, back, step, stop, back, step, for about 100 feet.
Was today a success? I am not sure but we did overcome some obstacles and I did do good at not panicking and I did persevere. I guess that counts for something.

Owning a riding horse has had its challenges

Owning a riding horse has had its challenges.

Finding a better saddle took several months.

The girth issue had to be resolved but only after the saddle pad issue had to be resolved. 

I now have four saddle pads and blankets but I only use one...the last one I bought seems to be working.

Tucker seems to be doing better with his fleece girth.

Now a broken tooth and a different bridle that is bitless. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Team Tucker is back to riding.
Tucker's antibiotics seem to be doing him a lot of good.
I did some more groundwork while he was healing up this week. I think it is helping the respect portion of our relationship.
I am trying the bitless bridle since apparently his tooth will take months to grow out.
The picture is the side pull bridle on Tucker. I ended up using parts of his old bridle to make it work a little better for him. I tried it out and it is working pretty good.
He was very unhappy to try it a couple of days ago so I did some baby steps. I had him touch it and gave him some apple. Then I got him to let me start to put it on and and when he held still I gave him some apple. Then I got it on him and gave him some apple.
I wrapped the rope noseband with vet wrap since he seems to be a thin skinned guy 
Day 2 I actually got it on him several times but had to do a lot of taking it off and adjusting it. I finally used some of my parts to make it fit him a little better. I tested it from the ground and he backed and yielded his head to me from each side.
Today, I saddled and bridled him and rode him briefly in the home pen. I think it is working fine.
I did have to hold his nose a bit to keep him from bobbing his head up and down. Once he figured out there really is no bit to hurt him, he did better.
Unfortunately, we had so much to do and so much stuff left to pick up from what we had to do on projects that I couldn't get him out of the pen.
I did manage to walk and turn by neck reining. Turn hind and fore by two reining. I also convinced him to sidepass. Pretty proud of that  Head down was not very good so I will have to work on that. I did whoa with my weight shift and voice so I didn't use the bridle for that.
Tomorrow is really windy according to the weather but I will update on how he is doing when I am able to ride him again.
I threw in an action shot of me getting on Tucker  I am more athletic than I used to be  This horse riding is getting me into better shape.