Monthly Archives: April 2010

It’s okay to step back

Training horse’s owner and I were talking over the weekend and joking that he set the bar high because he had been so great in his first week of riding. I had been telling her that I have had to take a step back and go back to lunging and some ground work which is something that I don’t always do.

I don’t like to spend a lot of time lunging horses if I don’t have to simply because I do think it is hard on their bodies especially horses that may have an old injury. However, when¬†a horse doesn’t respect you on the ground it is going to be that much harder to have their respect when you are on them. My other concern is doing the best job that I can especially when someone is sending me a horse who is getting the first 30 days put on. They want a horse that is w/t/c doing some little x-rails and has been off the farm several times. I want to be able to ride the horse as much as possible not spend all my time lunging. We all know that sometimes things don’t go as quickly or as smoothly as possible so when it happens you just acknowledge it and implement plan B.

For me this has meant be more prepared to get flexible. Bringing out the lunging equipment, make sure I have my stick and spurs and don’t be in a hurry. It if takes 2 hrs to accomplish the goal then so be it and if everything goes perfectly then 20 min might be all I do.

Demand respect and focus the horses attention on you. This has meant that only two of us handle him and make sure that every single experience in clear that we are the boss and he must listen, stay in his own space, move his body when asked and that if an issue arises then we confront it and don’t back down until he understands what we are asking. I went back to lunging him and working on him staying forward on his own and getting a bit quicker to make a correction when he wanted to stop. He would get offended if I flicked the whip at him and rear up and try to pull away but I would stay with him and just keep driving him forward. No making the circle larger than it needs to be and then stopping when I correct him. No spooking at the jumps as he goes by and then running away.

I have to be quicker and think like a horse. Anticipate his actions before they happen so I can be quicker to correct. He had three lunging sessions and he had really figured it out and gave in quickly. When his owner came to see him he lunged perfectly with no issues which was very nice. I was just lunging him to show her what I had been working on and why it was really important to be the boss over him. He has to learn respect.

His ground manners are so drastically improved already! No moving in the cross ties, no headbutting, no kicking while being groomed, stands still to be mounted and when he does have moments he comes back to you much quicker and refocuses.

Smart horses can be that much more challenging because you have to keep them focused but when you are able to gain a respect from them everything comes together and a true partnership is formed.

My next goal is to teach him that even when there are tons of other things going on he must focus on me. Right now it’s OMG my buddy is over there, horses are moving, horses are hollering and I just can’t behave because I must join the other horses. This step takes time and work but I do believe he is smart and will learn. I had to remind myself it has only been 2 WEEKS so be patient and don’t expect to much.

I remember my conn/tb being the exact same way when I got him. He was deemed crazy but he was so far from crazy. Instead, he just had no respect for humans and was so smart he could throw every trick in the book at you. We have a lot of funny stories about him but my funniest memory was the day my mom gave him a whipping with a feed bucket ūüôā She went him to feed him and he swung his butt at her and went to kick her. She whacked him several times on his body until he backed down and we never had that issue again. I ended up with him because my mom wanted nothing to do with that pain in the ass horse! It’s almost like you can’t be their friends at first because you have to be so determined to lay down the law. We ALWAYS said these types of horses made the best racehorse because they had that extra edge to them.

We got a ton of rain last night and some really loud booming thunderstorms. Might be a good time to make a trip to the indoor for some of these greenies who haven’t been there yet.

Riding in the rodeo- when they explode

No, this entry is not about Parker ūüôā I have a horse here for his initial retraining and things have been going absolutely wonderful. He had 2 yrs off after his race career to just be a horse and has gotten daily handling. He is a big 16.2 h chestnut with white and has the cutest face on him but one look at him and you can just tell he is a bit of a brat and I say that kindly. He has permanent mischievous look on his face on the time ūüôā

I think the hardest thing for all horse owners is to lay down the law with our own horses and demand good behavior 100% of the time. My personal horse is a conn/tb and anybody that knows that breed understands how important defining the rules are because you give an inch and they take a mile. This training horse is in the field with my horse and I have taken to calling them bevis and butthead because they are two horses that can push all of your buttons if you let it happen.

Did I mention I have one mare on the farm? Let me just tell you how this makes for absolute chaos. Training horse and my horse have decided that they must fight, scream and act like total idiots over this mare who really could care less about them. I have ended that by separating them so they can no longer touch each other but they still stand and make moon eyes at her all day. I could not handle either one of them when they were that near her as they forgot all their manners. It should not be necessary to use a chain shank to walk 10ft to their stalls!

Needless to say, training horse has been in ground manners boot camp. No lifting legs at me when getting groomed and tacked, chain shank to walk, no moving when being handled, must stand still at the mounting block, must respect personal space and so on. He has buddy issues/barn issues but has been absolutely wonderful to ride in the ring. Soft in the bridle, moves off the leg, balanced, both leads, brave, respectful and just a ton of fun. Took a trip off the farm to ride in another ring in the cold windy weather and he was awesome. Ground manners..well those flew out the window but we kept reminding him that being nervous was not an excuse to be a jerk.

I decided he was ready for a little trail ride down the road and around the fields near the farm with his buddy. Just a casual walk/trot to let him get out and about. Junior (my conn/tb) was being ridden my Tara and her job was to give us a lead and act as a buddy to training horse. He was excellent with the cars coming down the road and the initial walk down to fields. When we got to the fields I could feel him starting to get nervous. He had broken out in a sweat and was not in the mood to walk.

What started to happen was random explosions at the walk that consisted of leaping, rearing, spinning and some bucks. When horse are going to be silly I keep them moving so we immediately went to the trot to let him focus the extra energy forward. He was tight and tense but doing pretty good. He wanted to canter in place a bit so I let him. I am a believer in not fighting and anything forward is good. Soft hands, soft legs, keep my body relaxed, breathe and stay focused on what I am feeling underneath me. I warned Tara that I was having some major issues and he felt like he was going to blow so make SURE to keep her horse absolutely behaved, don’t go past me and don’t get to close to me.

The back had gotten tight and when we made that turn down the field he really started up. He knew where the barn was, knew where we had come into the field from and he was determined to get there. We had airs about ground and I was just doing my best to stay relaxed so I could ride whatever he was going to dish out. It sounds crazy but I am actually pretty relaxed in these situations because I know that is the only way to survive them. You can’t get tense or else you lose the ability to think and ride effectively. He was very balled up in his frame and leaping up and down so I just kept him going forward.

I was¬†a bit in shock that he was having this meltdown since he had been so perfect but I was determined that he would go past the path where we came in because he wasn’t going to win. I told Tara to get in front of me and trot past the path. Oh boy, let’s just say that really pissed him off. We got 1/4 way around the field and I knew we had to turn back but I was going to lose him. He had mentally checked out and we were going to be lucky to make it out of that field on our horses. At one point, he stood all the way up on me and then spun around. I was riding with every ounce of ability.

I looked at Tara and ordered her to get a grip on her horse or else I wasn’t going to be able to stay on. Junior had started to canter in place and feed off the training horse so things were going downhill. I knew I had to trot/canter to path we came in on and then hope I could get him to settle. We had a lot of moments on the way there when I thought I was a goner but I made it. When we got to the path he knew he was going back and we could finally walk. Wow, I needed to take a deep breath¬†at that point. I was sweating and a bit shaky. Got to the road that we needed to walk down to go to the barn which really isn’t a long way but there was a big tanker truck coming so I had to ask him to stand which prompted another moment of him standing up¬†with me and spinning around. I told Tara I hate to trot the road but we needed to trot or else! They were both barefoot so not to bad. We did make it back on our horses which was impressive to say the least!

I was calm but my body was a limp noodle when I hit the ground and I was physically a bit exhausted just from thinking and maintaining vertical order. Tara said she knows I can ride but geez I was quite impressive out there. Um, yeah I can stick a horse but would rather not have to ūüôā She always seems to end up with me when I have to demonstrate my rodeo riding abilities. I grew up riding some really rank horses so I do have a good seat and I think my ability to relax and stay with the motion serves me well. I typically don’t panic and that is always the key with the tb’s. If you can keep thinking, keep them forward and keep them doing something you probably can stay on.

They were all asking me what was I going to tell his owner and I said the absolute truth. Anybody who knows me will know that I am as honest as possible about what is going on with a horse and their training. I would not want anyone else to go out for a relaxing trail ride and have that happen. I had been keeping in touch with her via phone and email and giving video updates of his rides. I told her about the meltdown and that I believe it is caused by barn sour issues/buddy issues. It is important to keep the communication open and honest so that we can talk about how to proceed.

This horse is super in the ring and has a great brain so I believe I have a chance of working it out. Trail riding might not be his cup of tea but I won’t give up yet just make everyone aware of it. I have had Tb’s that didn’t like trail riding and you could make them but it was never fun. My plan with him will be to go backwards and start a bit easier. Instead of going out to the fields walk down the driveway and back and then go a bit further each time to see if I can get him more relaxed about it. Don’t ride the open fields until he is more confident. Some horses can’t handle open spaces so it could have been a barn/buddy issue or it could have been OMG I am in a big field issue.

I have some work ahead of me but I look forward to it. I really enjoy getting instead their heads and figuring out what solution may work to help them past their issues. He is a super cool horse to ride and a fun project. I was quick to remind the people in my barn that many of the horses there started out with similar issues so don’t judge him based on this one outing.

Finding that horse that is both good inside and outside of the ring can be a real challenge. It is the one reason I encourage people to buy horses that have been restarted instead of those on the tracks. When someone buys a horse from me and I say it trail rides then I really mean it has a lot of trail mileage and it is behaved out there. I think most adult ammy’s enjoy a horse that can go out without having a panic attack. It is so hard to predict whether a horse will enjoy the trails and sometimes people end up really disappointed and waste a lot of time and money just to find out the horse would rather be in the ring.

So who else has had this happen and how were you able to train them out of it?

Wait and See

In the past two weeks, Parker has really done a complete attitude change and started to develop some strange behavior undersaddle that made me start to think something is going on. What makes a perfectly sweet horse want to stop working? We had done all the basic tests of saddle fit, chiro, bitting, pads, pain related (bute test), teeth and feet w/o much showing up. It seemed to really start up after the choke incident.

I had the vet out yesterday to pull a lyme test just to make sure but the in house¬†came back negative. When she was out we jogged him, flexed him and lunged him so she could get a good look at him. Not seeing much in a lameness aspect but his body just feels tight. He doesn’t want to be groomed, very sore in his poll and neck and kicks at his belly sometimes standing there and when you touch him. Her thought was ulcers and I went oh yeah duh! It would make sense that if he had ulcers and he choked and we put him on tons of antibiotics¬†he could be feeling pretty darn ulcerly right now causing him to be painful in his muscles and reluctant to work.

He is such a loving horse and would do anything for you. I always feel like you have to keep trying until you figure out the cause of the discomfort. We know this horse doesn’t want to be bad so we have to find the cause. He is going to go on a month of gastroguard and then we will go from there. He has been one expensive horse but hopefully in the long run we will be able to make him happy.

Other than that there is not a lot going on with me in terms of CANTER horses. The meet will be starting at Delaware Park in the beginning of May and we will hope to take a few horses in for donation but horses that can be rehomed nothing with major issues! I hope to get some more volunteers to do track visits so our current volunteers don’t always have to go. If you know anyone who can spare a Saturday morning please have them contact me.

He’s smart

Tonight was 80% better than yesterday. We had short disagreements that resolved much quicker with less frustration on his part. He seems to be most angry about half halts and me using my leg to make him straight. I loved how soft he felt and he was much steadier. We even tried a bit of canter which overall was pretty good.

I really do think a lot of this is just the whole I would rather not work so hard attitude. If you take a walk break and then start up again he makes you think he is going to die. He is quite pissed that you weren’t done and you are starting the discussion about forward and straight all over again. He has to learn that he does have to work. I remember Mogie once telling me that I had to be tougher as we only ask them for an hour out of the day and by gosh they could manage to give us that.

He loves getting brushed and his treats. I adore this horse and am enjoying the process.

Road blocks

I have always made a point to tell the true stories of the CANTER horses that come here in retraining. It frustrates me to no end when you only hear the good because we all know it can’t possibly all be good. Parker has been nothing but good with a few brief arguments but boy have we hit a road block.

Road blocks are a challenge with any horse because you need to get to the root of the issue. Parker has had some issues in the past although I can’t say I know exactly what they were beyond the general didn’t want to work hard type of things. Now the first thing I do when I run into issues is ask what have I missed. Teeth, chiro, saddle fit, farrier or something else? I haven’t had his teeth done but it is on the schedule sometime soon. Saddle fits and we are doing the chiro fairly regularly. He has good feet. No prior soundness issue. No lameness that I see or feel.

Right now the issues seems to be contact and asking him to work. I am not talking about contact in the terms of making him go on the bit or anything of that nature but just the general asking him to move forward and be soft in the bridle.¬†Over the past week it has been a general I WONT and I DARE you to¬†MAKE me.¬†Okay, he was always a bit fussy but we didn’t have¬†feet planting,¬†threats to rear, ears¬†pinned and the general sulky attitude. When¬†I say feet planted I really mean he just wouldn’t move. It was kind of funny but¬†I got the feeling if you picked that fight he might win.

What has changed? Well we have ramped up the work, been in the ring more, added more jumping and just overall asked for a better¬†shape and¬†more correct work. Is¬†something bothering him or¬†is he just saying it’s hard and I don’t want to? I really don’t have the anwer to that.

Our first test is the bute test so we are giving that a try. I have done every other day with 2 g of bute for several days to see if I had an improvement.

When I got on him today he was in a happy mood and we just¬†casually walked around enjoying the beautiful day on a loose rein. I picked up the reins and had barely any pressure when he started fussing and getting turd like. Tap, tap, tap went the dressage whip and oh boy did that piss him off. He stopped and refused to move forward and as I tapped again he jumped up and down in one place but wouldn’t move. I turned him in a circle¬†but¬†and tried moving forward but¬†he wasn’t willing to move forward. I made several small circles until he felt like he would like to walk again. I didn’t release the pressure on the reins (although¬†the pressure was light it was steady).

What I was feeling¬†was that he was just saying this is hard and I don’t want to¬†and trying to threaten me. I spent 1/2¬†hr at the walk just getting the point across that he could walk forward, straight, move off the leg, soften both sides of his neck and accept the contact. We had moments of extreme disagreement and moments of lovely work.

I never punished¬†him or got frustrated just keep the answer¬†the same¬†all the time. If he stopped and wouldn’t move I didn’t give forward¬†instead I¬†stayed steady with the contact as I moved him in a circle so he didn’t think he had gotten away with something by acting out.

When I went to the trot I have to say it¬†was much better than¬†the previous ride where he was violently tossing his head. I made my¬†hands a bit wider so I could catch him quicker as he¬†got unsteady but I insisted he stay¬†forward and soft. Not asking for round just work from back to front.¬†The transitions were the biggest issue. At one point we went trot to stop and he wasn’t moving. I popped him with the whip and we did get a mini rear but he didn’t offer that form of resistance again. I just played with the transitions up and down to encourage him to stay steady and forward.

I¬†wish I would have had this training session on video because I think it was very interesting (or so I was thinking as I was in the middle of it). We all run into these issues and sometimes we don’t know what the right answers are. I¬†found myself thinking well he could be sore and something could be bothering him. Overall, my gut was saying or he could just be¬†a brat who doesn’t want to work hard and has gotten away with giving the finger to many times.¬†I don’t know¬†which will be¬†right but I intend on trying out the options. I am all for investigating every¬†possible issue but I am not feeling or seeing anything that is saying I’m sore. I am feeling a lot of attitude and former training issues rearing their head. My corrections were all very soft but consistent. Nothing but leg to hand and sitting quietly and waiting for him to give the correct response. When he did I softened and praised him. He finished up really nicely with¬†a soft swinging walk and¬†trot. I can¬†not wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Parker is a puzzle worth solving in my opinion and we are going to figure it out. If things don’t get better we will do further diagnostics to look underneath via scan or ultrasound to see if there is something. It could easily just be¬†a case of the I don’t feel like working hard’s.¬†He is a lovely horse with all the right pieces¬†and the best attitude. He is more like a dog than a horse. I adore him and finding him very interesting. When he is misbehaving I¬†swear it is like a kid who has thrown¬†themselves on the floor screaming ūüôā

In other news, Indy’s Chic¬†moved over the¬†Md farm¬†so I could make some room for another horse. She needs a trail or light riding home if you know anyone looking. She is the ultimate trail horse and just¬†the sweetest mare around. I miss her cute face but she is in heaven over there.¬†I drool over the huge grass fields. 3 horses per 20+ acre field of¬†the most gorgeous green grass. Horse heaven!

My new arrival is the horse who has come for training as result of my donation to the CANTER¬†auction. His name is dutch and I have already forgotten his racing name. He hadn’t been ridden in 2 yrs but was excellent for his first ride back. It is really fun bringing them along and he seems like the type that is going to be happy to have a job again.

Another great outing for Parker

He just keeps getting better! On Saturday, Parker went for another x-c school this time at the lovely St. Augustine Pony Club or what used to be the old grounds for the Middletown Horse trials. I had planned on riding two but my horse was a little bit funky in his behavior on friday so maybe he was a bit sore? I decided to play it safe and leave him at home.

Parker just started off more confident this time and happily went out in the huge fields all by himself with no other horses around which was great. I also think he was happier back in the herm sprenger duo bit instead of the eggbutt french link I had been trying out. Last time, I felt like he was slightly worried about leaving the group but I didn’t feel any of that from him at the schooling. We had a really relaxed warmup both going off by ourself and trotting and cantering around where all the other horse were. I always feel like it is good to practice both so when you get to an event they can handle being alone but also being in a crowded warmup.

The funny thing about Parker is that he can be a bit spooky riding around the jumps. He came to a dead stop to stare at some natural colored box on the way out. I spent a lot of time walking him up to jumps and letting him sniff them and get a good look. All of my best horses have been the type that spook at the jumps when you ride past but don’t take a second look when asked to jump them. This seems to be the case with Parker because he doesn’t refuse anything but riding around them is cause for concern ūüôā

We started out over some logs and it was immediately clear that he picked up where we left off at the last schooling. Instead of being wiggly and confused he was locked on and eager to go to the jump. The first one he was a tiny bit sticky but I just waited for him to figure it out and he got the footwork down nicely.

We all laughed a bit at him because he jumps really high with the front end but the back end is not quite sure what to do. No big deal as this is very typical of green horses. It is important to try to stay in the middle and I really do my best not to help them to much. My job is to get them straight and forward and then just stay soft and let them figure out where to put their feet.

I could be back a bit more there but he jumps so hard off the ground I also have to watch that I don’t get left behind because he has quite the kick in the air.

He was really doing a good job reading the questions. We headed over to the bank jump which is a challenging bank for a horse who has only ever done a tiny bank. The step up is high because you are stepping up onto a mound. I just walked him up and he paused and then stepped up very calmly. Good boy!

If you look at the mound you can see it is a bit of a big drop down but the drop is even harder because the ground slopes away and there is nothing but big fields to look at. I have seen some horses really struggle with this particual drop bank. Parker stood there for a minute and then took a very big leap out. It is really hard to ride it when you have to sit and wait for them to go and then they always do that huge leap. I was on a loose rein so he could look down and place his feet but he really stretched his full body out!

We were keeping¬† the fences pretty small not that he isn’t capable of doing bigger but I believe in keeping it small until they fully understand. He still wants to slow down and look so keeping them small allows me to ride up to them and allow him to make a mistake if necessary. A lot of horses are scared of this jump which has weird white boxes under it but he could have cared less.

Then we did some baby chevrons which can also scare some horses but that was his best fence

We hacked down to the water with Parker leading the way. I love that he is super brave and happy to go in the front or back. He then lead everyone right through the water. Good boy!!! He walked back and forth and thought it was all pretty cool.

Overall, it was a great outing and next time I think he is ready for bigger fences and more questions. He seemed really proud of himself which is always the goal. Keep it fun for them and they will come out better next time and keep progressing. I adore Parker and he has the mind we all look for. It has been fun bringing him along and watching his attitude change.

Making me proud

Regardless of how long we have been involved with horses we always are learning lessons or getting a reminder of things we should have known. My horse has really given me a reminder in following my gut and not being in a hurry. I bought him as a 3 yr and he was well started with a bit of w/t/c but seemed to have some fear of contact. I broke my wrist the day after I bought him and was laid up all winter. I decided to send him off to a sales barn to get sold and that didn’t go well. He came back mentally and physically out of sorts with more issues than he left with.

I should have known better because he was an extremely sensitive horse that didn’t do well under intense pressure and I think that is what might have happened. For the past 2 years, I have been slowly bringing him along and showing him that everything can be alright. He is a horse that is sensitive but trust you so much to give him the right ride and do right by him. Don’t even think if hitting him with your stick or giving him a big kick unless you want a dose of humble pie ūüôā I went back to the very basics teaching him to trust the contact, leg won’t kill him, noises aren’t that scary and we can jump scary things the first time without jumping like a deer. I think some people thought I should give up on him because he didn’t show good jumping form and he lacked confidence so eventing would never be his thing. My gut told me he was a good mover, very soft in the bridle, great mouth, super off the leg, scopey (although not the most technically correct jumper) athletic, smart and willing. He simply hadn’t had a shot to develop into a good horse.

I have gotten very good help from Mogie who is excellent at thinking outside the box for unconventional horses. She reassured me he was a nice horse and that I could fix him which is what I needed to hear. I had to prove to him that I would not punish him or ask him to do more than he was capable of doing. He tested my patience and my knowledge along the way simply because he was so different and I wasn’t sure if I was doing things right.

His main issue was that he just wasn’t confident so I worked really hard on introducing concepts slowly until he understood exactly what I wanted. He began to really find trust in me and we were able to expand our boundaries. I added in a bunch of trail riding teaching him to think for himself and also foxhunting which was a huge deal for him. I kept introducing new jumps but keeping it simple and not asking for to much.

With my greenies, the rule is that you keep the jumps low enough that you can pop over from the walk if needed. This teaches them they can jump and no refusing! I am pretty good at making them go even from a stop as long as it is safe to do so. I believe that you teach them they CAN do it and they they start believing. It makes for some really ugly fences though! I know Lucinda Green is all about walking jumping and don’t be afraid to get a bit ugly and let the horse sort it out but geez walk jumping is way harder than it sounds. Looks a bit like this on one that really doesn’t want to go and then jumps sideways and twists in the air ūüôā

When we weren’t jumping from the walk we were doing some sort of canter that resembled a backwards run. He is cantering down going OMG…OMG…OMG and I am sitting back saying you can do can do it kicking him as his brain is thinking. We always made it over but there was a lot of this from him slowing down and then sprawling over at the last minute

The funny thing he was totally confident with water, drops and ditches unlike some other horses I have had so that gave me a lot of hope. No matter what the question was he was always trying to hard to figure it out which is half the battle!
Last season, we had a lot of good outings at local shows and finished up in the top 4 at our last two BN’s going clean both times with good dressage scores. I was so happy at how he was progressing. He had finally turned into a horse that other people could ride with success.¬† I knew we were coming along when I saw the stadium course at his last BN. It was a lovely course but every single jump had something under it and it was an eyeful. You started off with a single, then a one stride down the line to a cow jump (cow decorations with black and white barrels) and then around to some other scary stuff. I took one look at the cow jump and thought if I made it past there we are golden and although he was very backed off he kept going and we had a nice course. Cool cow jump
charlie cow fence

Over the winter, we lost a lot of training time but were still getting out to a lesson here and there, trail rides, some foxhunting and just general easy work. I thought that he would have forgotten everything he knew about jumping because he hadn’t seen many fences since last fall.

The nice thing about a horse that has mileage is that you don’t have to start over after a long break and suprisingly enough sometimes they even get better which has proved to be the case with him. I would show up to a jumping lesson and he had it all figured out. Amazing! Last weekend, I took him x-c and he probably hadn’t jumped in 2-3 months but I knew he was going to be okay.

The last course we had jumped was an event at Carousel at BN and he went clean but still wanted to slow down and look at everything. Imagine my suprise, when we headed to the first fence this weekend and he totally locked on and took me to it. Now wait…Charlie doesn’t take me to fences especially the first fence on course. What the heck??? Apparently, he has really grown up because he proceeded to jump anything I put him at on a soft loopy rein, lovely canter, totally soft in the bridle, sharp off the leg and super confident. He was much better with his jumping form and using his body much better. We did all sorts of jumps that he gave the hairy eyeball to last year and some new questions such as a bigger drop in the water, the training ditch to the ramp, the big drop down, the ugly mushroom jump, the big house and bench and much more.
He was supposed to be for sale last year and this year but I haven’t gotten around to putting the ads up ūüôā I have this little issue called finally having one horse in the barn that isn’t dead green and having so much fun that I don’t feel like selling. I keep promising my husband that I just need to put some more mileage on him and then I will advertise him..sounds good right?

His form over the fences is not stellar but he is plenty scopey and me on that one!¬†The bigger the fence the better he jumps and he can save your bacon which is what really counts. I really enjoy the process of making a horse shine and he has been a fun project. It is just my personal opinion that he won’t only go clean but he is going to be in the top of the ribbons. He is very consistent on the flat and quite a nice picture when things are going right. He has a great canter and a better gallop. He always wants to please which I really appreciate in a horse and he has the best personality. He loves people and I am glad I was able to gain his trust again.

He has been a great reminder to me that some horses just need more time and if you do it the right way it can really pay off in the long run. There is nothing better than sitting on a horse who has totally figured out the questions and is eager to get the job done. I came off our x-c schooling on cloud nice and really excited about my horse. I was proud of him and happy that my position finally looked better in the pictures ūüôā Amazing how easy it is to ride well when they finally start going well.

Can’t wait for x-c schooling on Saturday!!!!

Bad news

Last night, was the chiropractor appt for almost everyone in the barn. Parker was quite jammed up in his neck and she thought that could have been from the choke. He must have felt better afterwards as he was snaking his neck all around and shaking his head like he had some relief. I am a believer in chiropractic especially for horses that are coming off the track and into new jobs. I have seen the difference it can make in helping them stay straight, pick up the correct leads and be willing to use their bodies.

Dee had come with a lump on her right stifle which was kind of soft but quite big. I never really paid much attention to it because it didn’t change shape with work and she wasn’t sore on it. I just thought we should take an x-ray of it before putting a bunch of time into her in case it was something. Worst fears were confirmed because she has fragmentation of the patella. In the x-rays, you could see a chip and some other fragments. Due to our findings, she will now only be a trail horse but should be just fine for that.

It makes me really sad because this is probably an injury that she was racing on and was made worse by racing. She is the sweetest mare with the best attitude. She does love the trails and is super brave and quiet out there but geez finding a trail home for a smaller tb mare is not an easy thing to do. If you know anyone looking please spread the word. She is barefoot with beautiful feet, no vices, best personality, great manners and just adores people. She has a lot of great mileage on her and should be suitable for advanced beginners.