Tucker's sort of horrified about all the men besides him that have been gracing his blog as of late... so I figured I better do a post about him for a change.
Since moving to the new farm, he's been basically just short of perfect. During the week we work on our flat work, and on the weekends we jump. Tuesdays are always a long-and-low hack to get stretched out and get ready for the week. Best of all, there is a very talented young hunter rider at my new place who is always happy for extra rides, which means Tucker doesn't have to have days off when I can't get there. I hadn't realized what a blessing this was going to be until I got here! She loves Tucker (though really, what's not to love), and from what I hear he is quite happy with her as well. Fabulous.
On the flat Tucker has been soft, supple, and forward. I LOVE having mirrors in the indoor again, it helps so much with straightness and helps me keep tabs on all my awful equitation habits. Tucker seems really happy to be back in a more regular program (in case you couldn't tell, I wasn't exactly keeping to a religious exercise regime over the winter). His neck is even looking a little bigger to me this week. My friend Kathleen, who hasn't seen him in a while, keeps telling me he looks absolutely great. He feels great too, like a horse enjoying his job.
Last weekend we set up a gymnastic and we had a blast. We started off with just a trot rail to a little 2' vertical, then added another vertical with a 12' bounce in between. Once that went smoothly we put another rail on the ground 18' away, but that proved way too short for Tucker. It's been a while since he's done gymnastics (and a month since we've jumped!) so we cut him some slack and rolled it out to about 21' which was much better. Then we made that a vertical, putting it up to around 2'9" once he was comfortable. Lastly, we added an oxer at the end, and once again started at 21' and ended up setting it at more like 24 or 25'. Once the oxer was up to 3', Tucker pulled out his usual trick of drifting to one side to give himself more room, so I went through it about three more times until I could keep him straight and steady, which I did by picking a spot on the wall and riding right to it, keeping my weight in both stirrups, and keeping my shoulders square. The last time through he jumped the oxer really, really well and landed softly cantering around the corner, so we quit on a great note.
Unfortunately the Tuck and Tucker... turnout bliss was short-lived. Tuck hasn't had many turnout buddies in his life, and was a little, um, overeager to make friends. Tucker liked Tuck initially, but apparently got really sick of being hen pecked all day and (cringing as I write this) kicked Tuck in the neck. I was horrified, but Tuck seems to be fine, though it was swollen and awful looking for a few days. So Tucker and Tuck are now turned out next to each other, rather than with each other, and that's going much better. Dare I say it, I think this means my boy is growing up!
Tomorrow I am taking a much needed personal day from work, and Kathleen and I are headed to a horse show in PA with Tuck. Tucker's staying home this time, but I think next time I may try to bring him along. The next outing for Tucker and me will be another Jeff Cook clinic at the end of this month. Can't wait!