Sunday, August 20, 2017

Team Tucker: New feet and new saddle



Team Tucker tries out the new feet and the new saddle.
Out by 9 and home about noon.
Met up with my friend. Rode to another gal's house. Did obstacles. 
rode home. Rinsed Tucker off with a hose.
Weaved through cones at a jog. Did some jogging around the place. We are doing better. A few times we had that beautiful floaty jog.
Went up on the gravel filled tires tires and back down again.
Over the metal ramp.
Tucker doesn't think he can do tight spaces and I found a couple of obstacles that challenged his feeling that the path is too narrow! Nope, you got this Tucker.
Backed really good in the zig zag once. No bueno after that  My friend said I was leaning forward and impeding his shoulders. Leaning forward seems to be my go to when things get rough. I am trying to break myself of that habit.
Stepped over poles and logs. Tucker is doing better with his new shoes. He lifted his feet over without touching the logs much more often.
My friend Karen observed that Tucker is very attuned to me. That is a compliment in my book.
My neighbor Kay said I was riding so much better.
That was at least 2 1/2 hours in the saddle. Wow! My butt is happy but my knees and hips are complaining a bit. That's why they invented aspirin, right?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

New rider worries

Half of Team Tucker has beginner rider worries!
I bought some rommel reins which I will try out this evening. Ever since my trainer turned my reins into split reins instead of having them tied together, it has caused me problems!
I feel like I am constantly playing with those split reins to make sure they are even. She keeps saying "Are your reins even?" I don't know! I have no land mark. Then I am playing with the reins to move my hand up to turn. If I do one hand reining I have to check and see if the reins are even a lot.
On top of that, if you lead the horse by the lead rope, the split reins want to come off of the horse so you are having to watch. If you sit your horse to relax for a few minutes in the shade you have to make sure one rein isn't trying to get away from you.
My bridge is slithering around everywhere. Then, I am told I play with the reins too much...which I do, I am sure but they are constantly needing adjusting.
I am letting my nerves get to me today. I try hard but have a difficult time with a number of things.
I have the new saddle but I didn't have the new stirrups on yet so my toes weren't in very far in the stirrups since they were a bit small. Then, when I was trying to jog, I got to bouncing around like a rag doll. I would then not be steering the horse worth a darn. So, I would whoa the horse.
So, I start bouncing around like a rag doll while the horse is going wherever he wants and I am worried so I say "whoa". Then, the trainer says, "You aren't jogging" as she looks back from her horse. We do that about 5 times. It was honestly comical so I started laughing and I am afraid she thinks I am not taking this seriously enough 
With the rommel reins, there is a clear delineation of evenness due to the popper right in the middle. And they are a continuous loop so they can't get away!
Wish me luck, I am trying them out this evening. I am also going to experiment with shortening the stirrups just a little more. Once I get the better gear set up and a little practice, I should be able to do better at riding. The new saddle is much nicer to ride in but it is a change and change is hard.
Tonight, new saddle, new reins and Tucker has new feet. Maybe we will do great and if we don't, we are on our own, so we can just critique ourselves.

Update:   Thunderstorm was coming in so no riding.  I decided to shelve the rommel reins for now and buy a rope loop rein.  It's coming in the mail.  I will still be able to try the rommel reins or the split reins in the future.  

Friday, August 18, 2017


Team Tucker
Tucker got new shoes today.
The new farrier had a very professional set up and attitude.
The new farrier went with aluminum shoes, rounded his toe and gave him a slight wedge shoe. All seemingly appropriate for his funny front feet according to what my horse friend has been saying all along.
The farrier says that Tucker will be fine as a pleasure horse for many years to come even with his slightly funny front feet. He will work on changing the shape of his feet a bit as we go along but because of Tucker's slightly rotated coffin bone he will need shoes all his life.
Tucker can never be a performance horse but should do great with the riding I am doing which is trail riding and pleasure riding. Suggested I get some bute from the vet in case he looks stiff or sore from being ridden due to his age and shoulders he could have arthritis. I'll talk to my vet about that.
Tucker might be able to go barefoot for the winter or maybe just on his hind feet. We will decide that when the time comes.
Pony is extremely cow hocked and Wiseguy looked pretty good. We will not be doing them until next time.
Seven weeks from now we will be doing the feet again.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New saddle






I got out there at 8:30 and didn't finish up until 12:30.
I got the cinch changed on the new saddle and I found a set of stirrups that have been decorating the freezer shed for a couple of years that are bigger than my old stirrups. Yay.
Tucker looks really good in his new saddle and I think he likes it.
I rode to the friend's house. I had just a bit of trouble getting him out of the gate and past the neighbor's house. Once we got by those two landmarks we were good to go and even jogged a bit.
Went on the desert trail to my friend's house. We fussed with the saddle once I got there. I got it off and checked the sweat pattern. We brushed his mane and tail and prettied him up.
Got his saddle back on him and rode some obstacles. Did some jogging.
Came home on the road. Checked the mailbox on the way in the gate. Had Tucker jog around the driveway circle. Also had him jog in the home pen once we closed the gate like pros:) Getting home shouldn't be too fun!
My butt feels so much better than with that other saddle. I am so happy.


Monday, August 14, 2017

2 hours in the saddle

Team Tucker
Wow, 3 or so hours working with the horse.
Two solid hours of riding mostly on the streets but a bit of trail riding.
But first, we had to do some groundwork today. Tucker was moving around a lot when I was brushing him and putting his blanket on him. So off we went to the big arena pen.
I got him moving and boy can that horse run! We did that for several rounds. After he had blown off some steam, I put his halter back on him and worked on backing on the lead and respecting my space and paying attention to me.
Back into the home pen where Tucker was a real gentleman about getting saddled and bridled. I got on with only a couple of reminders to hold still. Rode out to the front, went around the circular driveway getting his attention by having him give me his head and turn.
Decided to check the saddle and made a few adjustments. Yes, I had to get off without a mounting block but I did arrange the mounting block to get back on again. Got off again and rechecked and got back on again. Tucker stood like a champ.
We rode out the gate with nary a problem and down the sandy road. Yes, he started to give me a tiny bit of trouble but I nipped that in the bud before it could get out of hand!
Decided to keep his attention by wiggling one rein until he straightened his head out. Pretty soon he wasn't looking around nearly as much.
Met Brownie and Karen on the road and went over 4 miles today.
I am sure that was my longest ride yet and my butt hurt bad. Plus, the muscles on my sides were starting to fuss at me towards the end. I am still looking for a better saddle. I think we will go to Reno to look later this week.
We went a mile or two then turned around, wove through the roads and then we got on my sandy road home.
Then we decided to turn back away from home and go the "long" way on the trail through the desert. Tucker did not want to turn back but I convinced him that I knew what I wanted and he should get with the program. "Give me your head."
About halfway, we separated with Brownie and Karen heading south and Tucker and I heading north. Tucker and I finished riding through the desert trail, back onto the sandy road, a photo between the ears and headed home again.
He was a little bit like you can't make me but I got him turned so that I could watch the automatic gate close, also got him to turn to close the home pen gate. Yep, he stood like a rock for the dismount. I clung to the saddle trying to get my legs to work, told him he had to help me down the steps [which he held like a rock for me]. We finished up and I went in for lunch and aspirin 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My birthday ride




Team Tucker celebrated my birthday today with a trip to the lake Technically my birthday was yesterday. Karen gave me a nice photo of Tucker and I standing next to each other. By the way, I am now 59 years old and riding my first riding horse 
I managed to get nervous about taking Tucker somewhere new with a different trailer and Brownie the horse was already in the trailer but Tucker is a trooper. He loaded no problem and I learned how to load the horse. Tucker backed out no problem either.
There's lots of obstacles at the lake. We did the platform, the mailbox, the zigzag, the barrels, the poles in buckets. Oh yeah, and the pool noodles across the interior of a plywood box.
We got a lesson today and that included backing up in a zig zag. Also, bending around poles and barrels.
We jogged and we do look better at the jog and there was a good 200 feet that we just floated together.
Trotting is still my nemesis  We jogged and trotted in the round pen. We did transitions walk, jog, trot, walk, whoa. Karen said I did mange to look better at the trot  I can't really post but I am trying.
I can't believe how much better I am at turning hind and fore. Woot!
To finish up we did a nice walk out onto the dirt road and down by the overflowing lake. We haven't had water in this lake like this in years.
Tucker is still a lookey loo but I am able to get his attention back better.
Horse time equaled about 4 hours and at least 2 1/2 hours in the saddle.

I forgot to mention something important that happened yesterday. During my ride with Tucker, he started acting funny, odd, strange. Non cooperative.

I told Tucker "What is going on here? You aren't usually like this!"

I was turning to comment on that when my trainer said "What is wrong with the girth?" I hadn't done the girth properly, I guess, because it was working loose.

I was so glad I was trying to listen to my horse. That was a catastrophe avoided.

Karen said, "That horse is trying to take care of you!"

The other thing I forgot to mention was, when we were done with our ride and waiting our turn to tie up at the trailer, I hugged Tucker's muzzle to me and stroked the far side of his face. He sighed and said "I am so happy." Tucker has a sweet side.

It is nice to know that Tucker and I are learning each other's nuances.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Tucker and I work alone





Tucker is getting a nice meal but only after he worked for me 
I saddled up and had a relaxing good time with Tucker. We were all by ourselves today and we took it all at a pace that I was happy with.
I took him through the new obstacle course with the big logs spread out a horse length apart. He did pretty good. around through the brush trail, through the weave poles, through the cowboy curtain that was not hanging down. It was windy yesterday.
Through the zigzags and over to the barrels.
Did drop your head. Yep, we had some problems with backing but less today. Same with give me your head flex to the side.
I tried hard to do good rein management.
We went into the arena. He wasn't too happy but I gave him a carrot piece at the blue barrel...twice. Later, I had him flex his head towards me and gave him a carrot piece that way from each side. I did have him jog in the arena but at least he got a couple of treats while he was in there.
Out of the arena and back on the obstacle trail. I even had him jog just a bit between obstacles this time.
Took Tucker out front and decided what the heck, let's go down the sand road.  We had a small argument when we got to the street. I was patient put made him give me his head. After a few tries we got straightened out and got moving in the right direction.
We had an argument when we got to the neighbor's house. He said, 'We are going home. I said, "We are not going home, flex and give me your head. Do not back, flex and give me your head." Using some firmness and appropriate releases of pressure, I got him pointed the right way.
I said "We are going to walk, now" off we went with a few taps on the sides with my feet. We made the whole way [1/2 a mile or so] crossed the street so we could say we went somewhere new [about 100 feet] turned around and headed home the way we came.
He did get a little like 'I want to jog'. I told him we don't jog home.
When we got home, I dropped the gate opener so I had to dismount without a block. I had him facing the gate so he couldn't move forwards. I got off safely!
Since I was already off I decided we could bring the big rolling trash can in with us So horses on the right, trash cans on the left and in we went.
So that coming home wouldn't be a good time, I walked on the lead into the round pen and had him do some groundwork like back and turn the hind. I tied him up, loosened the saddle, took off his bridle and left him standing there for a good 20 minutes.
I hosed him off and slicked him down and cleaned his feet.
Then, he got that reward he so wanted, "Lunch is served."
That was at least an hour and a half in the saddle! I was out there about 3 hours total.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Team Tucker is all tuckered out


Team Tucker is all tuckered out.
Long day started about 9am and got all done about 1pm.
I tried on the breast collar for Tucker. I also added his leather strap for his saddle to replace the nylon strap. Groomed and saddled and mounting went pretty smooth.
Headed over to my friend's house and she met me and we went the long way around the block to get to her place.
We tried to go straight on a piece of conveyor belt.
We went through the ponds and over the bridge and around the tires and something totally new: The pool noodle gateway.
We successfully negotiated the pool noodle gateway in both directions.
I thought he was getting kind of bunched up at the big pond and I was worried he was going to jump. He didn't.
We did really badly at the multiple logs in a row. Honestly, I just don't think he has done that before and he gets to rushing and it turns into a mess. He got totally tripped up and it was a little scary.
I am going to work at home by spacing some logs way apart and we can do one at a time.
We played with the big ball. Brownie the Wonderhorse did it first and then Tucker pushed it. Getting him to kick it was a bigger challenge.
We did a bit of jogging.
We went up to the ice chest where a bell was hanging that I was supposed to ring. Tucker reached up and dinged it himself!
I got a few tips and tricks to work with.
Coming home was a bit of a challenge. He wanted to walk fast and we were on the back trail home.
He stopped to look back at where Brownie might be and then he did a jiggy sideways little jump thing. I stayed cool and calm even though it was not expected. I don't know if a fly bit him or if he was upset about leaving his friend.
He started to jog but I slowed him down. We got on the sand road and he wanted to trot but I slowed him down.
We got in the gate and he started trotting to the back and I was like "hold it. No, no, no." Got him slowed down 
Closing the gate and dismount went pretty good.
Beautiful day with less smoke and less heat! I enjoyed this but my butt is sore. Yes, there were some challenges but I am happy overall.
I saw a saddle at the saddle shop I want but it is a fair amount of money so I told the guy I would think about it. The cantle is the right height. It has a new wade tree still under warranty. Padded seat. Turned stirrup leathers that are soft as butter. He'll let me try it out if I don't like it I can bring it back. If I wasn't getting a new roof, I would not be hesitating to try that sucker.





Friday, August 4, 2017

Tucker Update


Team Tucker - a couple of not training related questions and a bit of an update.
The smoke is horrendous yesterday and today. It is a brown, smelly, irritating mess. On top of that it is around 100 degrees for the last few days. No riding, darn it.
This is my first time saddling Tucker on 6/16. Note the look of concentration. I still concentrate but I am able to tack up in a lot less time now 
Tucker is starting to be more of a love bug. He is very good about me touching his feet to work on them and put the donut on. I usually do that while he is eating. I nicknamed him Secretariat because of his long neck and his propensity for eating. Fortunately, he isn't actually a race horse.
When I feed him his good food, he stopped rushing me after I used the flag a couple of times. Now he stands by the rail and looks away until I slide the food bowl in. It is very cute.
Since he is new to me, it took me a couple of weeks to figure out what is best to feed him. He dropped a little weight but now he is getting plenty of orchard grass with a SMALL amount of alfalfa and 2 quarts of Total Equine a day. His butt looks fabulous.
As for Tucker's scratches. Looking a lot better. I tried the veterycyn but boy was it expensive. It did help but not very quickly. After a week, I switched to desinex/fungal cream/triple antibiotic. Last couple of days I am using Nitrofurazone. Both sets of goopier stuff have helped. The scabs are coming off a little at a time and healthy tissue is forming. I do have to make sure I brush off his ankles a couple of times a day since the goopier stuff attracts sand.
His donut for his right fore foot does seem to be helping with his shoe boil. Looks less irritated although it is still puffy. I am putting it on him in the evening and taking it off in the morning since I rarely see him laying down in the day time.
Tucker has what I am pretty sure are big insect bite bumps on his neck and his back.
I am thinking I need a fly sheet which I have never used before. Not sure what to get. The flies are terrible this year. Also a fly mask. Again, never done that before with my little guys but Tucker seems to be affected more than the little guys. Maybe it's his color? We have giant horseflies this year, too, never had them before.
To do those things I will have to measure him.
Any suggestions on the fly mask, fly sheet? Things to know? It is so hot here I hate to put anything on him but the bumps aren't nice.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tucker and I practice what we learned in our lesson on Monday

Well, it is incredibly hot out there but....the day started cloudy so about 9am I said "Hey, no excuses, get out there and ride that horse." So I did.
Once again the results were a bit mixed but, over all, it was an improvement. Getting a riding lesson did help.
Mounting block was no problem.
I got the gate open like a pro [almost].
From the saddle I worked on flexing his head without backing up. Sometimes he did back up but I made sure I didn't release the pressure until he stopped backing..
Flexing the head turned into some pretty good turns.
I worked on head down. That helped me work on jogging which I do think I sat the jog a little better today. I also managed to sustain the jog better.
We started out by going through the trail obstacle course. He thought I was turning him to go into the arena so he turned into a pill. We got straightened out and went right by the arena gate because I was just trying to go to the log fan!
I took him out front, got off at the mounting block, checked the cinch and then had trouble getting him to stand still for the remount. I had him walk in a couple of circles around me, rinse and repeat about 4 times and he decided to stand at the mounting block.
He wanted to go back to his pen so we had a couple of patient discussions where I asked him to flex his head towards me. Yes, a couple of times it turned into backing but I won the day and we got on track for a little more jogging and some casual walking.
Once I decided we were done, then we walked to the back. I asked him to stop at the gate and I managed to start closing it. "Step" got it closed a little more, step, a little more. Then, I got him into the pen.
He says "We are going to the dismount."
I said "Nope, we gotta finish closing the gate." We got turned around and I maneuvered him carefully using the reins. Then I used a hind end move over. Reached to the gate and I even got the chain latched today.
I am thinking about an hour and a half of riding.
I finished off by brushing, cleaning the feet and hosing him off. He did good. I slicked sort of dry and threw him some hay.
My friend came over and I got that cute photo of Tucker and I.