Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gorgeous Boy in Action

On Sunday I trailered Tucker over to Alicia's for a jumping lesson and he was such a good boy.  I had a discussion with a friend recently about cross-training or doing different things with your horse, and we agreed that while you can't have a top level show horse who also trail horse and also a dressage horse, you can do lots of different types of riding and activities and end up with an all-around awesome horse who is fun to ride no matter what you're doing.

It seems like we have Tucker in a great place right now.  He has proven himself to be a completely unflappable trail horse, who will confidently lead or follow, cross water, climb up and down hills, jump whatever I point him at, walk on the buckle through the woods or gallop across a field.  We have had three really successful dressage lessons in a row now, and I measure success by the fact that we accomplished what we set out to work on, Tucker tried really hard and didn't throw any tantrums, and I was able to go back and work on it again in my rides during the week and get similar, if not exactly the same, results.

He has also been so much fun to jump lately, which I feel is sort of a barometer for how he's feeling physically and mentally.  He is stronger from the dressage so his canter is more balanced and consistent, and he is relaxed, I think from all the riding out.  I am also more confident, especially about sending him forward (which I think is both from the hunter paces and the dressage - we are working on a real honest-to-goodness medium canter).

Anyway, we had a great lesson.  He warmed up really well and then we worked on our nine-rail to cross-rail exercise (from this post), and focused on my position, leg at the girth, weight in the heel, flat back.  Then we moved on to a gymnastic, which we gradually built up.

Here he is at 3':

And here he is at 3'6":

I just love him!  I grabbed a couple of stills from the videos above and I realize their blurry as anything, but I can tell that he's jumping really well, swinging through his shoulder and pretty level with his front end.

I still need to get my hands farther up his neck in my release as the jump gets a little bigger but overall my position isn't bad. Next time I want to put a braid in his mane where my hands have to go to train myself to release to there. I think I've gotten into a bad habit of not releasing from jumping lots of little fences maybe? Always a work in progress as we all know.

After working only on the gymnastic I then kept my canter and jumped the gray and red vertical and the black and white oxer that you can see in the videos, on the diagonals.  They looked a little larger than life when Alicia was setting them up, but after she put the gymnastic up they magically returned to their actual size and I was able to actually think about riding my horse rather than ponder my own mortality as I approached them.  (I like Alicia's psychology there - I swear, good trainers could also have PhD's in psychology with all the tricks they have to use to get us weenie Adult Ammie's to get out of our own heads.)

After the lesson was over and Tucker was happily snoozing on crossties in his ice boots, I had the pleasure of riding my favorite pony, Little Man:

And playing with my favorite colt, Bazil:

All in all, Sunday was just a great day from start to finish.


  1. Tucker looks so fancy and confident!

  2. Tucker looks lovely as always! Even if a bit blurry ;)


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