Triumph with Wormer
I'll start this by recounting past events:
Previously, when I've gone out to worm Tucker, a long and arduous battle has ensued involving extensive head tossing from her, and continuous frustrated attempts from me to hold her still enough to cram the stupid wormer tube into her mouth. This usually resulted in Tucker's face and most of my arm being smeared with wormer, and very little actually being administered properly down her throat.
On to recent events:
I went out last weekend to give the horses their periodic worming, and I decided to start with Tucker to get the expected battle out of the way. I went into her pen, and intially she wouldn't even let me get ahold of her halter. It took some coaxing to calm her enough for me to grab ahold of it, but she immediately started throwing her head (as I expected) when I attempted to put the wormer in her mouth. This time, however, I decided to try a new tack. I always had figured she was reacting to the smell of it, and parking it next to her muzzle wouldn't help, but just for kicks I rested the wormer tube against the side of her face and talked to her calmly and scratched her face. Then I attempted to give it to her. She threw her head too much. We repeated this exercise several times over the course of a few minutes, but each time I noted that she was fighting my slightly less when I tried to put the tube in her mouth. Finally, she held still enough that I was able to put it in her mouth and push the plunger. Unfortunately, this is when I discovered that I had forgotten to move the stop so it didn't prevent the plunger from moving. I remedied that and had to repeat the muzzle resting trick a couple more times, then I put it in her mouth and dispensed the wormer, completely problem free. She had VERY little on her face, I had NONE on my arm, and she didn't spit any out. I was SO STOKED about this because getting her to calmly allow me to give her wormer was a huge step in the training process! I threw my arms around her neck and gave her lots of scratching, then I gave her her dinner and it was all done. Talk about a giddy victory!
Ok, I KNOW I wrote a huge post the other day, yet now all it says is "null"; I have no clear recollection of what I wrote, though it involved the story of Tucker bucking me off and causing me to separate my shoulder... very strange, and kinda frustratng...
Ok, Angelfire is DEFINITELY messing with me... this just got posted the wrong blog. grrr...
Been a while
I know I've ridden Tucker since that last post, but I know it's been quite a while since I've gotten to ride her at all. I've spent a large amount of time helping Caro on her house, as well as working on motorcycles to prepare for Tanacross. I've also started working on the Bug to try to get it running sometime within the current eon.
Anyway, back to Tucker stories. One in particular that I remember is from one of the rides Will and I took together. We could count on one hand the number of times he's ever ridden a horse, but Timmie is generally fairly forgiving of his inexperience, so we've gotten to go on a couple of short rides together. On one of them, he and I rode up the driveway a little ways, and in the process of turning to come home, Tucker started fussing a bit. I pulled her into another lateral flexion, partially just for practice, and partially to try to soften her neck so she didn't fight so much. Unfortunately, in letting the reins back around to straighten her head, she got loose rein just for a second and pulled a quick buck. This would not have been a big deal if she hadn't swung her back end onto a patch of very slick ice, causing her to almost fall when she attempted to buck. She caught herself, but in the course of my reflexive reaction, I pulled a muscle in my lower back that proceeded to punish me. After that I figured I should give it a little time before I rode again, and then I've gotten preoccupied with the above-mentioned activities, so I've not ridden in probably a month or more. Need to get back to it...
Ok, so here is a new blog for all you interested people not to read. I suppose it is more for me to keep track of various occurrences and amusing stories that I would otherwise forget.
Anyway, so far I've ridden Tucker 3 times (4, if you count the test ride I took in April of 2006), and she is definitely an awesome horse. That said, she's also going to require plenty of work, which is really not too surprising, considering that she's only 5, with fairly minimal training, and she's definitely spunky. The first ride was taken with Timmie as a chaperone, as ridden by Ree, and that was a very fun ride. Tucker, when accompanied by Timmie, is very calm and mellow. Because of this observation and my suspicion that this did not really represent her typical behavior, I chose to take Tucker out on her own on Sunday, which allowed me to view the slightly fiestier, more tricksy Tucker. Don't get me wrong, she's still very very fun for me to ride, but it gave me a better impression of what I really needed to focus on in my training. The first time I took her out alone, she managed to get in a little buck, which unseated me slightly, but did not manage to eject me from the saddle. When I rode her yesterday, she fought a fair amount, and her main trick was to dance into snowbanks while throwing her head. I'm unsure what this was meant to accomplish, since she became more bogged down by the snow, and thus less able to buck or run, which is what I believe she was trying to do. I got to the point where I could tell when she was going to head for the snowbank, so I could take preventative measures through strong leg signals and assertive redirection with the reins. She seemed frustrated with me, but we got home in the end. I have been working with her on lateral flexion and am so far pleased with the results - she fights at first a bit and circles quickly, but once she figures out what I want her to do, she relaxes and bends her neck around like I'm trying to do. She's really a very smart, generally cooperative horse. She's just also prone to mischief. For example, yesterday I was just in the process of mounting - had about swung my leg over, in fact - and she suddenly shied and bucked away from me, forcing me to half jump, half fall off of her as she turned and ran the other way. I landed on my hands and knees with minimal injury, and looked up to observe her running into the woods with the reins down under her front legs. How they got there, I have NO idea, since they were over her head when I was attempting to get on. I ran into the house and got some grain in a bucket that I could shake enticingly at her. This was successful as she came up to me eagerly wanting to eat the food I offered. It was at this time that I observed, with some chagrin, that she had managed to break the bit in her process of stepping on the reins. I got her to stand and pick up her front feet for me so I could get the reins back around where they were supposed to be, and then I took her back to the pen to be tethered while I stole the bit off of Timmie's bridle. I switched bits, but before getting on and riding, I put her on the longe line and made her run around me for a while, hoping to mellow her a teense. I then was able to successfully mount up and have the ride described above. Exciting times!