Joan Fry

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About Joan Fry

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  • Location
    high desert of Southern California
  • Interests
    horses, writing books, reading books, the Maya of Belize
  1. Bucks During The Warm Up

    I agree with mouche too. I have a horse I thought was simply lazy. He didn't buck, he just ignored me. Two people, both of them trainers, suggested Prince of Whales spurs, the shortest, bluntest spurs you can buy (I ride English). I really didn't want to--I've been riding for years and had gotten along just fine without spurs. But each horse is different, and the smart, cagey ones WILL test you--especially when they're sour. The first time I wore my spurs, my lazy horse stopped ignoring my cues (voice cues, clucks, a tap of my dressage whip against his haunches) and stepped right out into the trot, and from the trot to the canter! Amazing--I had a new horse! And I did not consciously "spur" him. As usual, I tightened my legs on him and could tell from how he responded when the "natural aid" leg pressure turned into "artificial aid" pressure. And the best part is, I now just START to tighten my legs and off he goes.
  2. Teeth Floating... Costs? Sedation Required?

    Correction: the American Veterinary Medical Association. Thank you Google.
  3. Teeth Floating... Costs? Sedation Required?

    Blondyy, What might be common sense to you might be the opposite to somebody else. Yes, most feeders are placed too high and most horses yank the hay out and eat it at ground level, the same way the wild ones do. (Mine included.) But it isn't where the feed IS that's important, it's the texture. I've seen wild horses in the desert, where the feed is mainly dry grass and Joshua trees. Even though the nearest riverbed is dry, they drift down there every night and paw until they find water. (Another way to wear a hoof down as Mother Nature intended it to be worn down.) I'd take the opinion of a vet with years of experience in equine dentistry behind him before I'd take somebody's idea of "common sense." And this vet was using a Power Point presentation sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Practitioners (need to look that up to see if that's the exact name), so for them to endorse those same opinions tells me the studies have been done.
  4. When Your Favorite Horse Ages

    I think everybody who answered said more or less the same thing--when you sign the check, you own them, and they're yours until they die. My 25-year-old ASB is my Heart Horse. I bought her when she was three. Even though I've owned and enjoyed several other horses during my life (I'm now 71), no other horse will ever replace her in my heart, probably because she's such a handful. When we were both young I was brave and had bones made out of rubber. Because she is so reactive by nature, I had to learn about her and what she was trying to tell me or I wouldn't have stayed on long enough to get to know her. She taught me most of what I know about horses and riding, but I haven't been on her back for two years now. She has dropped fetlocks. But she's also the reason I took in a rescue horse three years ago--before her suspensories went-- and now I'm learning a whole new set of skills on Gunsmoke. I know the day I have to put Prim down will break my heart, but that's the way it goes. Everything dies. As an earlier poster remarked, she also has dogs and mourns every time one of them passes away. To me, just the experience of being around my two dogs and learning who they are is the reason I invite them into my life. As somebody said, I want to be the person my dogs--and my horses--think I am.
  5. Need A Way Of Slowing Her Trot Down

    A second quick tip, especially if you don't trust her not to run into the fence! I hope you are riding her in figure eights--which will also teach her to move away from leg pressure. There are two ways to ride a figure eight. One way is to picture the eight as having a small x in the middle of it, where you change direction. I suggest the second way: picture the 8 as having a small straight line in the center. As you approach that straight line, ride her straight for a stride or two (depending on the size of your ring) and then either complete the figure eight, or pick up the circle again. It's very simple and you don't have to worry about doing everything perfectly. All you have to think about is slowing her down by using your legs and your hands to either ride her in a circle, or ride her straight forward. But the logic is the same as in the first "tip" I posted. Since your mare won't know what you want her to do next, she will slow down.
  6. Standardbred Gaits

    Long feet and heavy shoes (although not always heavy--depends on the horse) also tend to increase knee and hock action. In the show ring, judges want to see that kind of showy animation in ASBs, racking horses, TW, Morgans, Arabians, and Friesians, although I'm probably forgetting a few breeds.
  7. Need A Way Of Slowing Her Trot Down

    Quick tip. After teaching her the basics of groundwork--especially to move away from pressure--ride her in a straight line directly into the fence. At the very last minute turn her one way or the other. Since she doesn't know which way you want her to turn--and that you do want her to turn, not stop--she will slow down by herself because she anticipates the turn. She will probably also collect herself at the same time so she can move off her haunches to make the turn. Endless circles are not the only way to go, unless you do so many of them you bore the poor thing to death and she trots more slowly because she's exhausted. But do give riding her into the fence a try. And mix it up--every once in a while ask her to stop instead of turn. Then she'll really pay attention!
  8. Teeth Floating... Costs? Sedation Required?

    One thing to remember is that most horses, even those kept outside, do not eat anything even close to what horses eat in the wild. That grass is tougher and has less water than the average pasture grass. A mustang, who wears his teeth and his hooves down naturally, just because he is wild, will need his teeth floated about a year after he's been adopted and domesticated. My source: my vet, a UC Davis grad who put himself through vet school by shoeing horses, and who is the only one of three large animal vets in a clinic that also treats other animals who floats teeth. And my vet's source was the American Association of Veterinary Practitioners--at least I think that's the name of the professional association most vets belong to. The information comes from a presentation he gave on teeth through our local library. (Other vets have discussed feed, emergency measures before the vet arrives, local toxic plants, and colic.) My vet uses power tools because they're smaller than a rasp, and he's able to do what he wants to do without sanding my horses' gums or tongue, or gouging the inside of their cheeks. Yes, he sedates them because it would be foolhardy to use the head clamp and jaw rest without putting them into la-la land first. I can't give you a cost because I'm on a pre-paid plan, and if I looked up how much I paid for the procedure before going on the plan, the info would be out of date.
  9. Kentucky State Fair World?S Championship Horse Show

    The "cool air" of Freedom Hall? Last time I went to Louisville I had to buy a sweater and a jacket--and wore them both! I think the management wants to refrigerate us. And never mind how Louisville is spelled. If you're a real Saddle Horse person--even one from California--it's pronounced LOO-uh-vul. I agree. It's a fabulous show and I love everything about it--how revved up everybody gets towards the end, when the excitement builds for stake night. I love everything about it except the air conditioning!
  10. Standardbred Gaits

    In the show ring, a pacy 5-gaited ASB often stands out not because of how the horse is moving, but by the side to side sway of the rider trying to get a true, four-beat rack out of him. Interesting that shoeing alters the stride that dramatically. I could get a pretty good running walk out of my old Saddlebred mare if we were going home and I kept her at the walk--and she's barefoot.
  11. Finally On The Hunt!

    Kitten-kat, what a beautiful boy! Sounds as though you have found the perfect horse for you! If I hadn't rescued Gunsmoke, my QH (he was so skinny when I "bought" him I never would have suspected he was a registered anything), I'd want one of those--and I just found out what they were today, when I read your post! Megan, I have a form of dystonia that makes my head turn without my conscious consent. Also without my conscious consent, other muscles in my neck and back keep trying to straighten it. My neurologist told me absolutely no riding. I pretended not to hear him. A couple of months later, in one of the support group newsletters I get, one woman actually took up riding to distract her from her from her dystonia--with her doctor's blessing! It definitely works for me. So does a therapeutic massage twice a month. You are a worker bee, girl. Keep up the great work!
  12. Comparing Gaited Breeds.

    Thank you Kitten-Kat! I would have been way wrong if I had guessed! Just as individual conformation, personality, and gaits can dictate comfort level, so can the saddle. I can't ride Western anymore (for one thing, I can't pick up the saddle) because most of the newer ones have a low, sloping cantle that kills my back. It doesn't matter which horse I ride--and these days I'm riding my QH rescue horse whose gaits are almost as smooth as my ASB mare's--it's the saddle, not the horse. So I trail ride using my old dressage saddle. While my personal preference is for ASBs, I agree with Trinity that each individual horse is different no matter what the breed. But I would also recommend taking your saddle with you when you test-ride any horse.
  13. Standardbred Gaits

    The main difference between a pace and a rack is that in a pace, the two left legs leave the ground at the same time that the two right legs hit the ground. In the rack--and this is according to the US Equestrian Federation rulebook, available online--the horse has only one leg on the ground at any given time. The slow gait is a slower, much more collected rack. For that reason both gaits are sometimes called the single-foot.
  14. Gaited Quarter Horse?

    My husband is a retired American Saddlebred trainer (when Imperator was in California, if any of you ASB fans are old enough to remember that!), and he is a real pain to watch Westerns with. There will be a scene of a bunch of cowboys riding along and he'll say, "Look at that bay--he's racking!" And sure enough--the bay is racking. Rent or buy Shane and you can see for yourself. (I think he was riding a chestnut, but it's been a while since I've seen it.) When my old ASB mare was young and I had her at a boarding stable, a girl owned a registered TB mare. When that mare got excited, she'd rack. According to my husband, you can teach nearly any horse to rack. I enjoyed Guilherme's comments about the original Ibearian horses because when the English colonists arrived in this country with livestock, many of their horses ambled (a single-foot, or rack) instead of trotted, because not everybody liked to ride and many people couldn't ride very well. The preferred riding horses were amblers. Not surprising that so many gaited breeds evolved in this country--they all had pretty much the same ancestry: Arabian, amblers, Iberians, and English TB. As another expample of what Guilherme was saying, when I first started corresponding with Florida Cracker horse enthusiasts years ago, the horses were natural gaited. That trait was apparently seen as undesireable, because from what I've read since, all they do is walk, trot, and canter.
  15. Comparing Gaited Breeds.

    Absolutely there's a lot of difference within the same breed as to the quality of the gait. But based on my limited experience as an owner, my two Saddlebreds came from completely different bloodlines. Neither had been gaited, and neither had been trained for the show ring. Both had gaits so smooth I didn't even have to post to the trot unless they went into road horse mode. Their personalities were very similar too--they were both curious, affectionate, and eager to please. Like Saddlebred Rider, they are my favorite breed too, and if I hadn't rescued my "new" horse (a five-year-old QH stud when I got him), I would be looking for a 5-gaited ASB on the Saddlebred Rescue site of the American Saddlebred Horse Association because I've never technically had a gaited horse. Kitten-kat, what is a Telluvian? I could guess, but I'd probably be wrong and I'd rather you tell me! Guilherme, the Marchadors are truly beautiful horses.