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

Sunrise






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

Lesson

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

Better

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.

Friday, October 20, 2017

4 months of riding

I have been riding almost exactly 4 months now. I have learned a lot in 4 months but looking back I am amazed at what I have accomplished.
One of the accomplishments is learning to do some things my way. No matter how much experience some of your friends and acquaintances have, horse handling has to be working for you 
Groundwork really is an important aspect of horse riding  it establishes a baseline for your relationship for one thing. Hey, who's making who move their feet? The horse also learns to learn.
I have learned to saddle. I have some idea what I want when I go to buy equipment like saddles and girths and bridles.
I have figured out what rein management is even if I am not always getting it right. I'll keep working on it. I am starting to understand seat and legs and reins and putting it all together. I am getting lighter in my touch.
Tucker and I have been to a group ride, can ride out alone and even done a trail trial.
I can jog on the horse and even trot some. Posting is still a challenge.
I personally taught Tucker new things like standing at a mounting block. I'm pretty sure he has never done trail trials obstacles before. How cool is that? I taught an experienced horse something new! We are stretching to do new obstacles like the teeter totter.
I have learned, at least some, when and how to firm up and how to let off and release.
I am learning to slow down. Relax between obstacles. Stand for a bit after doing something with him like backing or getting the turn I asked for. Breathe a little before moving on to the next thing.
I am getting a sense of being in the saddle. What it feels like to move on top of a horse. I still occasionally feel like "Where is the seat belt?" This is a high and dangerous perch  My comfort level of being in the saddle is going up and up. It is starting to feel natural.
I have learned that Tucker likes to go cross country and I think we will do more of that. I have lots of wide open spaces out here.
I have developed confidence in Tucker. He really is sane and stable and isn't going to try to kill me somehow! Also, I have confidence that if I get my part right, Tucker will do his part. Yes, he was getting pushy but by taking the time to ask and then tell, he has backed off and decided I am a good leader. In fact, I am becoming the leader he needs and it shows.
I am thrilled that I took up riding even though I am an out of shape, 58 year old woman who has to control her fear sometimes.
I am very fortunate to own Tucker. We have a ways to go on some levels but it has been quite the ride so far.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Went to the lake

Team Tucker did so good today.
We went to the lake with Karen and Brownie the Wonderhorse. And there were some other people I met before as well.
We sidepassed!
We worked on being clumsy  He needs to walk faster so we worked on that. Walking faster definitely helped with the clumsiness.
I felt I had Tucker's attention most of the time.
We went over two very new obstacles. The tarp bridge that was waving in the wind and the teeter totter!
We went across country and Tucker loves that the best.
Tucker handled himself well and people were very impressed by him.
Most important, Tucker paid attention to me. Feeding with a flag and a little groundwork has paid off big time.
The day was beautiful. The wind really came up towards the last hour. Tucker was really calm in the wind and calm around strange dogs and calm in a group of horses.
I am over the moon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Groundwork

Team Tucker is making progress. I thought the weather is great, I should ride when I get home but I realized I am tired from my job today and my time is limited so....I did some more groundwork instead.
I did use the flag.
This time I had times when I felt we were on the same page! Tucker was doing a fair amount of licking and chewing. I tried to let him enjoy his moments when he was "getting it". No rushing but firm up a bit as necessary in some cases. Back does mean back.
He reached for some grass and I backed him up. He backed right into a pole. I kind of laughed. That is what happens when you don't pay attention buddy.
I did good at anticipating when he was thinking grass and having him do something else instead..
We did some pretty good sending although he is managing to crowd me on his off side. I actually tried to do a lot from his off side since he is a bit lacking on that side. I tried to remember how to use my energy or feel to get him to go out away from me more and that did work.
Lots of lead, stop, back, lead, stop.
Tucker is not great at moving the fore but much improved today.
I managed to have Tucker's attention most of the time!
I did not feed him yet. Going to the home pen doesn't mean eating every time.
I hope the weather holds out so I can ride tomorrow.

The pink stuff seems to be working.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Pink Stuff

Trying the pink stuff starting at 2:30pm today.  I did a test spot yesterday and he looks fine.  Let's hope it works as well as people are saying for his scratches.

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.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Horsefly Trap



Michael made me a horsefly trap. Horseflies seem to be invincible but these traps claim to do the job. The commercial versions are well over $100 and $200. Ours cost $10 for enough net cloth to do like 20 of them. The hula hoop was laying around here and probably cost $1 at the dollar store. The ball was the jolly ball the horses don't play with any way. I found some black spray paint in the garage. The canning jar was from the kitchen.
The horsefly is attracted to the motion, color and, apparently most importantly, the heat of the ball. The fly then flies upwards to leave when he figures out there's no meal available. Then, into the jar where it is trapped.
I'll update if we actually get any of those horrid horseflies!!!!!