Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What a year.
Should I mention that I am taking up riding at the mature age of 58?
I lost my rescue horse Tanka to a tragic end early in the year. I loved the way he would talk to me. I still remember the time we stood looking out over the desert across the neighbor's yard. Tanka turned to me and said, "There's been someone over there." He looked back towards the desert. "I know, that's the neighbor. He's building a fence." Tanka pondered that, turned his face towards me again and said, "I'm very worried about that." "it's okay, buddy, it's his yard." Tanka sighed and we stood there looking out into the desert....content to be with one another.
I found Tucker and then outgrew him in only 6 months.
The having a big horse and the horse riding has been an emotional, satisfying, scary, exhilarating, confusing roller coaster of a ride. A real learning and growing time in my life.
I have bought or used several types of bridle, lots of saddle pads. I bought a saddle. Used four different saddles to ride in. Ridden three different horses [not counting the three or four I rode when buying a horse]. Bought lead ropes and halters. Used a couple of farriers. The experiences are adding up.
Who knew that I would come so far in so few months of riding? Yes, I have a long ways to go but I am doing it.
I am physically stronger. That was one thing I was hoping to get from riding.
My husband's uncle the cowboy so wants me to keep going. He is so impressed. Such a nice man.
I agree that I have done pretty good at the riding. Maybe not quite as good at the horsemanship and maybe not so good at sticking up for myself. I'll have to work on both.
I am going to ride as many horses as I safely can for the time being. Learn what I like and don't like.
I have a lead on a good trainer who has lesson horses. I'll make the call after the first and see what we can arrange.
I now know that I don't like a horse that is klutzy. I want a horse that can trot or lope but, obviously, is really good at a walk.
I want a smoother trot on a horse. Not so choppy.
Probably a shorter horse. I want to be able to get off and on without a mounting block  The desert is so flat here. There are no ditches or logs to use for cheaters.
I want a horse I can go out by myself on. I have miles and miles of riding available to me out here and I love being alone.
Of course, I want to be able to camp and ride with a group, as well. I have a couple of fabulous groups available to ride with.
Looks like my buyers will be getting Tucker just after the first of the year. Tucker is going to a great home with experienced owners and lots of grandkids.
I am moving on.
I have lots of advice on what kind of horse to get in the future and some of it is conflicting. That's okay. I have a feeling the right horse will come along.
It's nice to see that my family thinks I should keep going. I have been unsure but I do love riding and horses. We shall see.
Let's just relax and see what the new year brings!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What did I learn?

Do more groundwork from the start.

Watch how the horse tracks when walking, trotting and loping before buying.

Make sure horse can go out alone.

Make sure horse has a nice [not choppy] trot.

Do not buy a really swayback horse.  So hard to fit for a saddle and I swear that saddle slides backwards.

Try to find a sure footed mount that doesn't have lazy feet.

Try harder to find help from someone who seems to understand what is going on.  For instance, Tucker has turned into a real turd going home.  I mentioned some problems to a person who said stuff like "All horses want to hurry home."  "Your horse did not crow hop."  "This is all your fault, you know."  They aren't there and they are totally discounting what I am telling them. 

Okay but that isn't helping me with my horse.  The horse has been getting worse, not better, and I haven't got anyone to help me who is trying to understand what is going on. Now that we have reached the point of bucking, I am done.

The fact is that I so dislike trotting on this horse due to the choppy gate.  The horse has a real stubborn streak.  And I don't have the inclination nor the skills to handle these shenanigans like hopping and bucking. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tucker is being sold

Team Tucker
I have decided to sell Tucker.
The vet says Tucker is sound and does not have arthritis.
I am not confident riding him. I don't want to be bucked off.
I have a nice sounding family coming over and looking at buying him. They have horse experience and several grand children.
Thus ends Team Tucker.
I think I will take some riding lessons out of town on a lesson horse and go from there.

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.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Two hour ride

Well, a lovely two hour ride.

We got out the gate without a fight.

We rode with my friend and horse for almost 2 hours.

We headed home across the desert trail alone and that is when my challenges started.

Tucker wanted to trot.  There's lots of gopher holes plus I don't want to trot home.

Tucker had a goal and I made it my job to thwart that goal by going different directions than he was planning on.

We did a number of one rein stops.

I worked very hard at staying relaxed, making sure if I pulled with one rein the hand moved up on the other side so I was actually only pulling on one side.

We made it out to the sand road and then I said go north across and into the desert on the other side.

Back onto the sand road for 100' and then south into the desert.

Tucker and I tussled and one rein stopped and tipped the nose and turned and turned.  We circled shrubbery and got on different rabbit trails.  We "whoa'd" and started again.

Tucker got his foot into a gopher tunnel and sank down.  He crow hopped or bucked out of the hole for a couple of bucks.  I had no problem staying on.

We got out to the asphalt road and he was trying to hurry.  I told him to go past the gate.  He slowed down then :)  We went about 300 feet.

We turned and came back and went past the gate again.  At the corner we turned and went towards the gate and passed the gate again.   We turned around.  I insisted that we check the mail box.

We got in the gate a trotted around the circle driveway.  I finally let him walk towards the back but then made him turn to the left instead of the right.  Into the round pen we rode.  I took his bridle off, left his saddle on and left him looking forlorn in the round pen.  After a couple of minutes of gathering myself up, I went out and got him. 

He was very sweaty so after I got the saddle off and brushed him, I rubbed him down with a towel.

The day was great but the last 15 or 20 minutes was sure a challenge.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Winter schedule

Team Tucker is on the winter schedule, I suppose. I worked for a couple of days and it rained and rained for a couple of days so Tucker hasn't been worked in one full week!
It was chilly though not windy today. Too hard to get motivated to do much outside. I did get one thousand loads of laundry done and new sheets on the bed inside the house.
Finally, just before 4pm, I told myself that my relationship with Tucker isn't going to magically improve. It is up to me to make an effort even if it is only groundwork for half an hour.
Here it is 5pm and really getting too dark to see but ... I did spend time working on Tucker being barn sour.
I had Tucker do a few backs and turns and then started having him walk around me on the lead rope. That has actually improved a lot. Had him stop and turn [that has improved some on the turning]. I then walked him out of the pen and had him stand with me in the driveway.
He looked back like "Let's go back to my pen." Great, love to ... and do some circles to the left and now do some circles to the right...all at a walk. Then, I walked him out and stood in the driveway.
I probably did that 6 or 7 times. I threw in some backing and stopping...yep, back, you didn't stop fast enough.
On the last round of circles, I encouraged Tucker into the trot. I let him slow down, then stop and I let him know what a good boy he was. Getting this big easy going horse moving hasn't been easy but then lounging and ground work seem to baffle him at first.
There was definitely some licking and chewing going on so I am on the right track.
I tied him up at the pole when we were done. The pen doesn't mean run over and eat all the time.
Once I had the pen cleaned, new water and the "good" food ready, I released him. But only after he put his head down and kept his head down to get his halter off.
Of course, I fed with the flag for the "good" food and the hay. I am telling you, the feeding with a flag has made a world of difference. The respect for following, stopping and backing has also helped so much.
Should be a little warmer tomorrow and the warm fuzzy feeling I have from doing groundwork should carry over to a ride tomorrow.

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 differently...like 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, tap....now 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.