Fear can can appear anytime. Prey animals live on fear and need to be constantly aware of things that may hurt them. Even sometimes things that they have seen many times before can look different that particular day. So Tucker is a very good prey animal. In the wild he would be constantly alert to predators and things that might harm him and his friends.
It does make it a little more exciting when your horse is constantly on alert. He has improved a lot over the last year and a half and is much more relaxed in his environment. Sometimes though things become scary when things change or are new.
The other day a load of bags of shavings with plastic coverings that moved in the wind was dropped off outside Tuckers pen. He watched them be delivered and sit there. Then I arrived and asked him to walk by them. That was a whole new deal. It took us awhile to get relaxed enough about them to come close and touch them. He did and was able to walk between them and around them after awhile. Good boy. So it is all about confidence. His confidence in himself exploring new things and his confidence in me, knowing that I wont ask him to do something that is going to hurt him.
So Tucker and I are participating the Northwood Farms Challenge this year. We completed a short one in the fall but this one is 3 months and 30 rides 40 hours of Horsemanship . We are doing well on the horsemanship hours but the rides are lagging as I had my gall bladder out last month. I doubt we will complete the 30 rides. We are at 3 now and just starting back. Our horsemanship hours are at 20 so I am sure we will complete that.
It is hard to get that many rides in even when you are healthy and have no horse problems occur. Arwen and I completed the 30 rides a few years ago but it was hard to get them all in . Work and other things take up lots of time .
I do have more than a month so I will see how far we get wit the rides. Our relationship will improve for sure with the course of horsemanship and we will have fun. :)
2020 is here and with it expectations of a great year. Looking forward to it anyway. Uncertain of who I'll be riding and showing as Arwen is still having issues. I am working on getting Riva fitter as she has been off with some problems the last few months. She is Insulin resistant and on medication. Exercise is good for her and her condition but I need to be aware of her limitations as well. She will be turning 20 this year. Time sure flies. It is great to ride her again We spent so much time getting to the level we got to but then soundness problems interfered and I had to stop riding her. So she is good now and sound but has limitations to how much she can do and still be comfortable.
The last year and a half I have been working with Tucker and am hoping we can do some shows this year. He has had some issues but we are progressing and our relationship improving all the time. So maybe he will make his debut in the Western Dressage ring. We will see if he is ready for that.
So we were able to get to 3 shows this past year at the Golden Horseshoe Western Dressage Club. Arwen was a good girl but is still having soundness issues so we were lucky to get to the ones we did.
The last show of the season was the Glanbrook Cadora show at Trinity Trotters. I showed Riva Western Dressage and she was wonderful. We had a great show.
So Arwen and I finished the year out in 4th place at the Golden Horseshoe Shows and in 8th place in Canada. I thought that was great since we only did 3 shows.
Arwen and I attended the second in the series of the Golden Horseshoe Western Dressage Shows at Ancaster 2 weeks ago. We had a good day but it was cold and windy. Glad I had more coats in the truck. :)
I bring both horses to the shows and of course Riva was not happy with loading in the morning. My fault as I didn't practice her before hand. I should have known better but we all make these mistakes. So we were not as early as I had hoped but we arrived and got tacked up without incident. My test started and I found I could not hear my caller because of the wind. Oh no...So I was lost and went off course. The judge kindly allowed us to continue and thing we going better until we got to A and Arwen decided it was time to leave! Oops...that got us eliminated! That was something she has not done before and I was not ready. Again my fault.
We warmed up for the next test, went in and did a nice test. I was pleased. She really seemed to try and even stood still which is not her favourite thing to do. We ended up with a 69% score I was happy with that as our first show of the year!
So I had planned to have Todd Owens to the barn for a two day clinic last month but unfortunately I just didn't get enough participants. So with a reorganization we had a very successful day of lesson for myself and 1 other person and several auditors. Sometimes you have to just adjust to the circumstances and go with what you have.
I had a super morning with Tucker and made some progress. He has turned out to be more challenging that I thought initially but he has progressed so much since the fall. Now summer is here and I hope that we can be more progressive and do more riding. Maybe even a couple of classes in the at home show in the late summer. Those are my goals...lets see if we accomplish them or if we have to reorganize again for another goal.
Looking forward to the fall clinic I am organizing. More information later!
So it’s been awhile since you last rode. You’ve made all the excuses that keep you out of the saddle but now with the nicer weather coming it’s time to make a move and get riding again. So what’s stopping you? Is it the uncertainty or loss of confidence in your abilities since you rode your horse last?
We all question our abilities especially as we get older and have lost that youthful confidence or after a bad fall or experience.
So start small, begin again with time spent with your horse brushing and going for some leading walks around the property. Spend some undemanding time your horse will enjoy. Do some groundwork. Still feel I unconfident? It’s not a contest, take a few lessons on a quiet school horse to rebuild your skills and your confidence. If you feel that your horse may be more than you can handle at this point get one of the better riders or instructors at your barn to ride him a few times. Set it up so you are both happy and ready to start your summer riding. There is no shame in asking for help. Remember that. Just as there is no shame in getting off if you feel that you should . Try to make sure you always have a good and safe ride. Proper clothes and footwear and an approved helmet. Have a great summer.
Pat Parelli says "Zero brace means simply that there is no tension or stiffness in his body from worry or resistance when he responds. This means your horse is not braced mentally, emotionally, or physically. "
I have heard this over and over during my learning but I never really realized what it really meant til just now and I can see the brace my horses have. I see the "I don't want to's in my everyday communication with them. I need to work on this more and eliminate as much brace as I can to achieve better harmony with the girls and Tucker. Tucker showed me his brace starting with his unwillingness to come in from the field with me. Now he shows me how he does not want me to touch his mouth or ask him to put the bit in. All these little things that he tells me we need to work on so we can be in better harmony and work toward zero brace.
So this week has been incredibly icy . Not nice underfoot at all. Last weekend the great snow cover we had started to melt and with the rain much if it became ice again. Poor barn owners were fighting a losing battle to get rid of the ice and make things safe for all. My two stayed out and as they are only steps from the door could come in and use the arena to move around more. Tucker was stuck in his field for the week. I brought him in Sunday but the footing was terrible in the common areas. So not wanting to risk an accident we continued to work on our come to me with food rewards each day. Now I can call him and he eagerly comes to the gate. He also will come for his owners as well so I feel he is gaining more confidence from this. Hopefully today we can work on some things that we have been working on. Updates later.
So planting our feet and taking forever to get to the gate was happening in the fall. He would come relatively quickly though after I made him move about a bit. Over the mud and frozen ground came things got much worse. One day it took me an hour and a half to get him to consent to come in with me. I didn't give up though and I think not giving up made him realize that I was persistent for a human. Most humans tend to give up after awhile so the horse just needs to wait them out in order to win. After that day things were a little better but still not great. It was cold and muddy and frozen. I needed him to want to come with me. So I decided to try food. Well the first time I appeared with a bucket he cantered to me. Obviously he was familiar with the bucket. He ran over and had his treats then walked into the barn with me. Next time we took the bucket out he again came with me. I don't want to have to take a bucket out every time though so I decided to bring him out food as often as I could and just spend time with him . So I have been doing this for awhile and he is coming to the gate or to me. He knows his name and looks for me to come out. I let him eat and hang out for a bit then leave him. Sometimes I bring him in to play. Depends the weather. Today was just to icy to ask him to come to the barn with me so he ate and I left. I keep the other horses away from him. They know me too and back off when I ask. It is all about being a good leader and protecting our herd of 2.