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!