Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Dressage, Yogi and celery

IT has been a while since I updated this blog, and it has mainly because up until this week nothing much has occurred.  

We did attend EEFDG evening dressage on the 27 July 2011 and was surprised and over the moon to get a very positive test sheet with a score of 61%.  Very encouraging, and obviously looked way better than it felt as it felt terrible, She felt sluggish and against my hand.  Looking at the photos from the day I am not convinced she is comfortable in her mouth, so dentist has been booked.

Well, D day, or should I say Y day has also  been and gone.  The Yogi clinic, as always was a valuable learning day, and Ru as usual, did her superstar and baggage performance in one act!.  

We started on x pole grids, and Ru in her in evitable style chose to jump to the left of the cross.  Typical!  That won us a chastising.  As more and more jumps went in  she did get the hang of it, and after a cheeky duck out at the first (que more telling off)  she barrelled down them.  Yogi had us do it a number of times, and the last two times seemed to come together for us and we got a much coveted “well done, excellent”

By now the day had heated up further and the  indoor school at Brook Farm  was becoming more and more like a sauna,  the horses and riders were drenched.  At this point we started to work individually, as this gave the horses time to recover.  My friends horse, however, was really suffering, and eventually she had to sit it out.  I was amazed at Ru, as despite the heat she was not labouring, wet yes, but her recovery times were very good.  

The individual sessions involved two uprights and two spreads.  We managed the uprights fine, the tight turn was difficult, but the fact I am riding shorter and sitting up sooner, ( a big problem) meant that although we ground to a halt we could do the turn and get into canter for the next turn to the upright.  Then it was on to the spread… our nemesis.  Despite riding positively, or so I thought, and feeling like we had a good stride ( well she was locked on to the jump anyway) Ru did one of her dirty stops.  Oh lord the berating we got.  It was one of those that makes you feel like a sheepish school child .  When we represented Ru was not given an option of refusing as she ended up with a bit of lunge whip encouragement.  Over and over we went on these spreads until Ru stopped messing and popped them without batting an eyelid.  We then went over the full course and did them all clear, I was delighted and got the coveted well done and a round of applause from the spectators.  Apparently she had looked hard work!

Home, and she didn’t travel too well, so has bashed her hock again. A quick hose down and then it was time for those blasted front shoes to come off.

I have been considering barefoot for sometime, and after what I felt was not the best shoeing last time around was pushed into action.  After much research I had decided that the best way to go about this transition this was the via the Rockley farm “celery” approach, since Ru was so sore after the last trim.  Perhaps not the best way but she walked away, over stones sound.   

Whoopee.  How long this will last is unknown as she still has to go through the hardening off/ transition period.  Her heels and frogs still need to get used to being out of shoes.  So I guess watch this space.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Has it really been 8 weeks

Looked at the calendar today, and realised that it is now about 8 weeks since Ru initially went barefoot at the back.  Of course we couldn't do the transition pain free we had to have complications such as standing on the clips on the one foot she removed the shoe from (sound on the one that I removed to balance her up) and then going hopping from the farrier 2 weeks later!
Of course it never occured to me that going barefoot would be frought with agro.... I thought it would be as simple as pull the shoes and off we go.  Um nope.

Ru's hinds were as flat as pancakes, with the heals showing signs of collapsing... this I knew about, but both the farrier and  I had never expected the horror of an apparently totally crippled horse and her extream reaction.  I was horror struck and set about some reasearch to try and convince myself that this lameness was only a temporary set back.

Lordie..... there is so much information out there..... shame that there is quite a lot contridictory, but one thing came through..... magnesium good, sugar is not good...... oops. ah... we needed to reassess the diet.

Well I had magnesium..... but it was in the wrong form.... oh well epsom salts had to do as a short term measure..Any port in a storm so to speak, but I ran out of that about a fortnight ago, so have ordered some magnesium oxide as a more permanent feature of her diet.

Well I was stunned.  once the bruising had subsided, and boy were her heals a beautiful purple, I started to see a change in the conformation of her feet. Initially I saw heel growth... I was overjoyed.  then came the curving of the sole..... WOW.... my flat footed TB was heading towards the text book feet that I had seen in my reasearch.

I wouldn't say we are anywhere near "rock crunching", but I am sure that we are heading the right way as I could hear her back hooves on the tarmac last night as we were hacking out and the wierd stumbling that she did with her backend has stopped since the shoes came off.  Both myself and the farrier are pleased with the changes we are seeing.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Not quite text book...... yet

It is now 2 1/2 weeks on since we had our lesson that i described earlier.  Following the arguments in the lesson that led to such pain and suffering for us both, I dug the harbridge out as I thought it would be better for her to battle herself rather than me.  Well, we only needed that for two schooling sessions as she got the concept very quickly.
So we have spent the last two weeks working hard (around the torrential rain) on getting the roundness that seems to be a requirement at prelim (!) rather than the hollow llama impressions. 
I knew that the canter was going to be an issue, as Ru can't seem to get her balance in the shorter frame, but I was very pleased with how the walk trot work was coming.
So, it was D day yesterday, and I was over the moon with how she went, she felt like she went like all those other horses that I have so admired, we had some moments when she came against me, but she didn't feel at all llama like. until the canter work and even then it was only very slight in comparason to how it used to be.  I knew that this pace would be "interesting" as she is stuggling with her balance in the shorter frame, however, I didn't expect her to throw her teddies out the pram and basically go F*** you ( and it was, it wasn't anything milder!) for the canter -trot -canter transition.  She didn't want to go back to trot and when she did, it was very messy, which ment that she ran into the upwards transition, followed by a bounce over the boards with her backend as we went past the entrance, meaning that now she was on the wrong leg, and refusing to go back to trot, fortunatly she broke just before B and I was able to get her back for the 20m circle but it wasn't pretty.
here are the judges comments for you

Just for a comparason, here is the last test we did..... fortunatly the same test, so you can get some sort of comparason on how we have got on

We have an improvement on Aprils percentage of 52.8% coll 42, with 53.6% coll 44.

sadly there isn't any video, as the camera managed to get swiched on in my mates bag, so the battery ran out and I didn't think to bring a spare.
I have to admit being disapointed with the score, but it was obviously one of those tests that rode better than it looked. However, my friends that were there, and have seen the "old" Ru said that it was by far the better test they have seen us perform, and that Ru looked like a "proper" horse for about 2/3's of the test.  I cannot ask for more! 
Dispite the disapointment, I am pleased that we have managed to achieve something in 2 1/2 weeks and am convinced that we now have a better basis to move forward from.
There are photos, and I will post the link from Susan Young photography when they are all available

Thursday, 16 June 2011

and once again she makes a mockery of me

Well they say never work with animals or children, and boy they are right. 

Ok How??

Ru is good to hack both in company and alone, so when the opportunity came to ride out with some aquaintences from another yard I didn't hesitate, well it makes a change having company.  We were ok on the forest tracks, infact we were mooching along on the buckle end, merrily saying that she is a good girl.  when one of the ladies decided that a little bit of "off roading" was called for.  Hum..... now we were on our toes, as grass and company means mad hooly doesn't it mum......  Not flipping likely!

The bounciness was not helped by one of our companions who had exactly the same idea, so we now had two thoroughbreds bouncing around while we threaded our way through trees..... hum, queue tight reins.  Madam was livid and tried a number of times to smear me off using a tree or two, and over taking the leader and generally being obnoxious.

I was mortified..... understandably when we came to a spot that ment I could make my excuses guess what I did.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Why can't she read the text books......

and be text book like...... oh no, she has to be different, and according to our last instructor, too difficult to teach.!

Well after all she is a chestnut mare with 4 white socks and a mind of her own....... now remind me again why oh why I encouraged her to have a personality, and a mind of her own??

oh and now she isn't talking to me!!!!!!!

So I hear you ask why this rather odd mini rant moment.

Well..... I managed to sell a bit of tack the other day, and thus made some money for a lesson. Que new instructor.
Now our main problem is that Ru likes, no that is wrong, insists that she is a llama

She is not a stuuning Chestnut TB mare, oh no she is a llama..... bah. So whats all this about the text books I hear you ask!... well they say, get the horse working from behind and the head will come down.... yes........ NO
Ru will go around with her head in the air (like the formentioned llama) with the back end somewhere in the next county and leaving me sitting in a hammock! It would appear that we have to approach the problem from another angle than the books say, and that is, it would appear, head on!

So the lesson today (5/6/11), rearranged me, shortened my reins (way more that I thought was decent) and proceeded to work on the issue.... well how many temper tantrums can be fitted into a 45 minute lesson.... er ONE.... one major one. I was knackered and has inspected those ears and top of her head intently.... but we had 3 moments of brilliance before it went wrong, and in that she concertinered..... her head came down, and her backend arrived quickly from the next county and her back went up. HURRAY..... shame we couldn't hold it for more than a stride.

So we have our homework...... oh god, I am going to suffer!.

So Why isn't she talking to me? well apparently I am a wonderful sympathetic rider.... too sympatheic, as I have allowed her to get away with murder for the last few years, and today I was told it has to stop! :o :shock: :?
eek.... que the temper tantrums. * sigh* I have to work her through this... till she accepts that this is normal.... *oh dear lord I am going to die* :shock:

And to add further insult to injury, Ru was out in the field and it Rained. Yes she got wet. Apparently chestnut TB's shrink in the rain! :lol:

So I guess watch this space, and put up with the daily OMG. The test is whether or not we can manage a dressage test on the 22nd in this new "improved" style :lol: