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About smithereens_86

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  1. New Dressage Prospect.

    What a lovely young mare. I think you got a great trade no matter what the breeding is on her. She is really cute and very well put together. You fit each other very nicely. A couple of things I wanted to suggest. You mentioned she was only 7yo and had been sitting around in a field for 2 years, soooo that means she was started then tossed out in a field as a 5yo, probably fairly green unless she was started pretty young. My experience though with 5yos is that they are still figuring things out and sorting out where each foot goes, etc. Given that, I would be working with her not just as an out of shape 7yo, but also think of her more as a green bean youngster despite the fact that physically she is now 7yo. When you say that her impulsion has rocket engine force behind it, think in terms of young greenie ? they don?t have any idea of impulsion yet. You want to establish rhythm, tempo, balance, straight, forward, consistency ? as much as you can. When they are unsure of themselves, lack balance and/or confidence, they tend to rush forward. This is probably what you are feeling. Keep striving for the correct rhythm and tempo. Do lots of transitions. Don?t make your circles too small. Keep track of the things that cause her lose her balance or confidence, and work up to them in pieces. As for your right shoulder, do you carry your purse or backpack on your right shoulder? I know I do, and that causes me to carry my right shoulder higher and more forward than my left shoulder. It got significantly worse when I went to law school and my backpack got a lot heavier!! If you can pinpoint it to this, then try swapping your bag to the left shoulder. I tried that, and for the life of me, couldn?t do it. I just try to be aware and compensate for it when I ride. In the video, you say that when you were asking for the stretchy trot, that was where you want her all the time. Your video was a little far off so I couldn?t really assess you so much while watching it, but I?m going to throw this out there for you to ponder and answer on your own. Often, especially with horses that have a tendency to go BTV, riders get in the habit of sitting and doing next to nothing or very little while riding for fear of causing the horse to go BTV. Then when they want the horse to do something like stretchy trot, they actually have to ask the horse to reach for the bit. The rider starts to ask the horse to reach for the bit, and low and behold, the horse does. Whatever you were doing to ask the horse to reach for the bit in stretchy trot, THAT is what you need to be doing the ENTIRE time you are riding. She wasn?t in any danger of going BTV because you were riding her very nicely from back to front. Then when you want her to stretch down long and low for a stretchy trot, you ask a tiny bit more, then let her pull the reins out of your hands. Good luck with your new horse. Looks like a lovely match for you. ~Shelly~
  2. Videos Of Me Riding-Need Some Feedback Please!

    Looks like you are doing fine and are well prepared for the Intro A & B tests. You should do fine. I agree with what Nick said about the stiffness in your upper body. One thing I would add to give you something additional to think about is that a soft contact does not come from putting your hands forward towards the mouth. Rather, a soft contact comes from a nicely bent, elastic elbow. When your arm is straight out in front of you, you have no way to communicate effectively with your horse. Try to keep your elbows bent and back beside your body. Remember to breath, and try to relax your whole upper body keeping just your core solid. Good luck at your show, and have fun! ~Shelly~
  3. Latest Cheese Video

    Yes, my horse is highly sensitive, and even the merest thought of force would land my butt in the dirt provided I'm ever fortunate enough to ride him again. When you have a horse like Cheese that tends to rush way over tempo and race around, there are a few different things you can do to help steady the rhythm. Force is not one of them. Pulling on the reins will only give her something to pull against and most likely cause her to rush even faster. Instead, the use of repetitive patterns, thoughtful transitions when possible, changes of direction, etc. The other thing is that when she races off faster and faster, do not speed your posting to match. It only encourages the horse to continue speeding up. Instead, try to maintain your posting rhythm. Don't pull the horse back to you, but rather, continue what you are doing. Keep posting in your steady rhythm and working the horse through the pattern. Allow the horse to find her way back to your rhythm. It won't be instanteous or even fast. It may seem to take forever, but it will work much better than getting in her face and trying to yank her back to you. Patience, loads and loads of patience are required. Now, whether CSA has the fitness to post at the "desired trot rhythm" regardless of what rhythm Cheese picks, that is a different matter altogether and why it is a good idea for CSA to seek off horse fitness. It does take a bit of core strength to maintain your own posting rhythm while waiting for the horse to find its own rhythm. Right now, I'm not sure I could manage much of anything on a horse I haven't ridden in so long. If I'm not being as coherent as I usually am, I apologize. I've been a bit distracted recently, and I probably shouldn't be trying to post even to offer assistance. ~Shelly~
  4. Latest Cheese Video

    ???? Sorry, Nick, but you lost me totally with that post. Where did anyone suggest it should be a wrestling match or done through force?? I'm not sure what you are reading, but it certainly isn't the same responses that have been posted on this thread. We have both been suggesting exercise off the horse for fitness, so again, ???? Why the attack?? No, Nick, I did not learn from my "lovely half andalusian". Nice of you to make assumptions about me though. If you would like to know about me, my riding level, where I learned dressage and about my horse, ASK!!! Don't make assumptions. If you must know, I haven't been on the back of my "lovely half andalusian" in over 3 months because he has been sick, in the hospital and on the verge of death. I will be lucky to pull him through this, and if I don't, I probably will never have the money to ever ride again, so THAT is where I'm at right now, but thanks for making assumptions about my riding and my "lovely half andalusian". See where making personal attacks and assumptions gets you??? ~Shelly~
  5. Latest Cheese Video

    Get your posting as rhythmic as you can, and she will match you. Don't post to match her. Post at the tempo and rhythm that you want her to trot, and she will trot to match you. It might take a bit, but she will match you. The more consistent you are, the more settled and relaxed and consistent she will become. I tried yoga at the gym. It gave me a great introduction, but I soon found that it moved too slowly for me. I prefer to do it at home at my own pace on my own schedule. You don't need any special equipment other than a yoga mat. The dvds you can get from the library, and you are good to go. Cheapest form of great exercise. ~Shelly~
  6. Latest Cheese Video

    Heck yes the cold affects arthritis negatively. It can make her stiff and achey. That absolutely could be what is making her look and feel the way she did during that ride. With an older horse you have to take cold weather into account. As for the hands, I have to agree to NO on dropping the reins. Makes a horse feel like they have been abandoned. They like the contact and knowing you are there. Hold the reins and either put your hands on her withers or on the pommel of your saddle so that you know they are steady. OR, do you have a bucking strap on the front of your saddle? If so, hook your pinky fingers through that. It will keep your hands steady and in just about the perfect spot. Definite YES to both pilates and yoga. You can get DVDs from your local library. That's what I do. That way I get lots of variety without the expense. ~Shelly~
  7. Latest Cheese Video

    CSA, I have to agree with Nick on this one, Cheese does not look comfortable in this video. Whether it is saddle fit, or something else entirely, she is acting like something is bothering her. She is moving soundly, but she is holding her body and lashing out with her head and tail like she is hurting. Definitely have someone check your saddle fit. I would also check her teeth and possible assess the bit you are using. That said, you spent a LONG time doing nothing but trotting on a 20m circle. If nothing else, you bored her into stretching by the end. You need to get off the 20m circle. You have about a million patterns and variations that you can use, put them to work for you. Start on the rail, use the entire arena, do a circle, do a leg yield, change directions, do a t/w/t transition, do another circle, do a figure eight, do a 3 loop serpentine, change directions, do a broken line, ask for a couple of steps of lengthening, etc. DO NOT get stuck on a 20m circle going round and round. Use the change of patterns and directions and transitions (between and within the gaits) to help supple Cheese and get her to soften laterally and longitudinally. If you get stuck on a 20m circle to the right, all you are asking for is bend right, bend right, bend right. If you constantly change directions left/right, then you can start suppling her left/right/left/right and get her supple laterally. Once you achieve that, then you can start asking her to stretch over her top line and reach down into the bit to get the longitudinal suppleness. She is so stiff laterally, that she can't stretch longitudinally. You need to continually ask her to bend in each direction until she is able to be soft in loose in both directions. As for your position, I again have to agree with Nick that your hands are moving around way too much to achieve a solid connection. When you post, you are hitting Cheese in the mouth. You need to quiet your hands and be very still with them. When you post, keep your hands in one spot and allow your elbow joint to open and close. When you want to half halt or use your hand, make smaller aids - use just your ring finger, not your whole hand or arm. I like the tempo and rhythm of your trot and canter. I think that is a lot better than it has been in previous videos that I have seen of you and Cheese. It looks very appropriate for her - nice and forward, but not running off her feet. That was very nice for her. Had you been able to get her to soften and relax, you would have had a really lovely trot/canter from her. TBSteal - When posting the trot, it is correct to rise with the outside shoulder. This frees up the inside hind leg to step up and under the horse more fully. ~Shelly~
  8. What Is The Usdf Required Whip Lengths?

    The rule book is online. Here, now you have it: Here is the rule pertaining to whip length: DR 120 6. One whip no longer than 47.2 inches (120 cm), including lash may be carried in all classes except USEF/USDF Championships, USEF National Dressage Championships, USEF High Performance Championships, USEF High Performance qualifying and selection trials, and observation classes. (Exception: Competitors riding sidesaddle may carry a whip no longer than 47.2 inches (120 cm), including lash, in USEF/USDF Championships.) One whip no longer than 47.2 inches (120 cm), including lash may be carried in all qualifying classes (including NAYRC and NAJC) unless such use is otherwise prohibited by FEI or Federation rules or selection procedures for the classes. An adjustable-length whip may not be carried by a mounted rider. Dover is correct. Your new whip is show legal. Your trainer is mistaken. ~Shelly~
  9. Dressage Chit Chat #30

    OUCH, Shantel, that is an awful reaction to phenergan!! Make sure you remember to list an allergy to that whenever you fill out medical info forms. That sounds terrible. When I was going to the ER several times a year for migraines (thankfully it has been 6-7 years since I have needed to do that), the drug of choice to counteract the nausea was visterol. ACK!! Hated that stuff. The day they gave it to me, no problem. Dealt with the nausea and worked like a charm. The next day, however, it left me feeling jittery and like I was having one, long, perpetual anxiety attack. Worst feeling in the world. I used to specifically request the phenergan as it worked much better for me with no nasty anxiety side effects the next day. So sorry to hear that you had such a negative reaction to it. That is certainly a drug you want to avoid in the future. CSA - There was NOTHING to envy about the body clipping this weekend. It used to take me about 2 hours to do a full clip on Raz. He had such fine hair. Lieto's hair is super thick and nasty to clip, and there is just a lot of horse to clip. It usually takes me 3 hours or so to finish the job. I got to the barn around 10am on Saturday morning. About an hour into the job, I realized that something was really wrong with the clippers. I tried to fix them, change the blades, anything, but they just kept getting worse and worse no matter what I did. It was awful. We were both getting super frustrated. I even resorted to trying to use my cordless face/leg clippers which are a pretty decent size, but just not up to the job of body clipping a horse with hair like Lieto. Unfortunately I broke the blade on those clippers as well. I finally hit the point at 5pm that I had to pack it in and drive to Dover to get new clippers. A sales clerk there took pity on me and sold me a pair of nearly $300 super nice heavy duty body clippers that had been returned unused and even threw in an extra set of blades for free - my price $100!! I must have been in really rough shape!! HA These are the clippers that I got: They finished up the job in grand style, and I finally left the barn around 8:30pm. Ugh!! Lieto still looks like he got attacked by a set of clippers though. Definitely my worst ever clip job. He needs to stay covered by blankets and hidden behind the barn for several weeks. What an embarrassment!! We had the same snow storm you did weekend before last. The weight of the snow was insane. Trees were down everywhere and many people were without power. We took this picture Saturday around midnight of the tree in our side yard: And then this picture of the same tree the next morning: Crazy weather!! We are actually in the midst of making a trainer change with Lieto right now, so no idea how successful the chiro appointment was. Have to wait and see. I still take lessons with the same person, but since she doesn't ride, we have to find someone else to ride him when the need arises. Unfortunately, the person we normally use has gotten really busy lately, so we have decided to switch Lieto over to someone else. We are also going to get a full workup with a brand new vet just to get a second opinion and make sure he is good to go. Trying to get that scheduled. So that's where we stand. Hope you are feeling better and back to work soon, Shantel. ~Shelly~
  10. Dressage Chit Chat #30

    Shiloh ? Lieto had 5 weeks off, I had to go back and check my ride journal to get the precise count, and it was exactly 5 with 2 of those weeks being 2 straight weeks of stall rest where he never left his stall except for short hand walking as the vet didn?t want him moving. He was a solid 1st level starting on some 2nd level work prior to the lay off, and coming back it was like starting out with an unbroken horse. He lost so much that he was literally wobbly. He was also out (chiro wise) in several places, worst of which was his sacrum which was causing shooting pain to run down his right hind leg which in turn caused him to compensate with his left front leg. That made him suck back and threaten to buck every time you put your leg on to ask him to go forward. He has been such a joy to ride lately. *sigh* Chiro/acupuncture was yesterday. Hopefully the princess has been sorted out now. He has a week to show significant improvement in behavior and attitude or an all new vet will be called in for a second opinion. On an up note, 2 vets have now both said that the split on the right front looks FANTASTIC and is totally healed and no longer a problem. Now I am just dealing with the backlash from the healing process and getting him back on track. I really HATE sensitive horses. Krazy ? Sooo glad to hear that your surgery went well. Now get some rest and heal up. Lay low and call in sick if you need to on Monday. Pushing yourself too hard too fast will only cause you to extend your recovery time. An extra day or two in bed will get you healed and on your feet much, much faster. I?ve been on most of the meds (for my migraines) you are currently taking, and the combination is a good one to deal with the pain, nausea and nasty side effects of the meds. As much as you may hate taking pills, if you cut one out, you won?t be feeling as good!! Why they can?t make ONE pill that does everything is beyond me, but when I get a migraine, I end up doing the same thing you are doing now ? 1 pill for the pain, another for the nausea, another to keep the insides moving, etc. Total pain!!! I?ve gotten really good at taking pills though. I can now take a whole handful at a time. What a great story about your friend at the show. Very sweet, and a show she will never forget for soooo many reasons. Loved the pic of you leading Rex!! He is growing into a very big boy. At least you can still just barely be seen from the opposite side of him. Me not so much. Lieto just towers over me by several inches. I?m so freaking short compared to him. Layla is looking fantastic. CSA ? How was the clinic with Ulf?? We went to California two weeks ago for a wedding. Very nice. Long flight, but well worth it. Met a bunch of Jack?s family that I had never met before. Now we are frantically scrambling to try to get the boats winterized and set before the real cold sets in here. I need to get Lieto clipped this weekend as he is rapidly turning into a hairy yak which is making it hard for the trainer to work with him. So those are my weekend plans ? lunging, clipping and winterizing 2 boats and a dinghy!! ~Shelly~
  11. Dressage Chit Chat #30

    Shiloh - yes, he will eat his food soaked with oil or molasses, but as I said, I would rather not have to dump that much oil or molasses into his food just to get him to eat a supplement. Not sure if he would eat his food if they soaked it with water. He is incredibly picky. I've seen him turn down a handful of sweet feed with nothing in it simply because it has had bute in it previously. However, I can just toss doxy whole into his feed, and he will eat those no problem. Strange animal. Shantel - I feel Layla's pain!!! My neck is still killing me from one of Lieto's temper tantrums when he started rearing on me a week and a half ago. He really did a number on my neck. So the vet was out yesterday. I thought she was just going to ultrasound the splint so I didn't bother getting the day off work. I just asked Jack to go hold him for the vet. Turned into a much more detailed visit than that of course. She wanted to see him lunged, then progressively blocked the right foreleg and also did flexions on both right legs. He is sound to the right like I said, and mostly sound to the left with the weird intermittent funky step that is funky enough that it includes a head bob which is just what I was seeing. The problem is that the horse is goofy enough that it is really hard to tell if he is just farting around, or if he is truly off. He had no reaction to the flexions, and the blocking made no difference, so the vet doesn't think the splint is an issue at all. She feels that the problem is that I gave him too much time off, and we are back to square one on his locking right stifle issue which means I need to get his butt back to work ASAP. My trainer disagrees. She thinks the vet is missing something. My trainer hasn't seen him go in over a month though, so she is basing her judgement off of what I have described to her. The BNT who helped the vet with the workup yesterday said she isn't sure whether he is sound or not - too hard to tell with him. So the plan is for the BNT to put him back into work starting tomorrow with my help. I'll only ride when she is there to observe. At the end of next week, we'll have my trainer come out to assess. We'll make the decision then whether to continue with work or get a 2nd opinion. So that's the plan for now. On the upside, the vet and the BNT both said that I have done a fantastic job taking care of the splint. That it is much smaller than it was when they saw it in September and has made great progress calcifying. The vet said I didn't need to ice and wrap it anymore as it was well on it's way to healed. That was good to hear as, honestly, I can't see a single bit of difference in it at all. ??? ~Shelly~
  12. Dressage Chit Chat #30

    I would never be able to get him to eat a 1/4 cup of Epsom Salts. Not in a million years. I would literally have to drown his feed in oil or molasses, and I'm not really willing to do that just to get the Mg into him. He will only eat pellets. He is a super fussy eater and will just leave anything that is in non-pelleted form at the bottom of his bucket. Drives me insane. They lose muscle tone incredibly fast. 4 months is definitely enough time for Lucy to lose all of her muscle. Lieto lost absolutely everything when he had 4 months off. Give her some time and see if she doesn't start coming back into shape. ~Shelly~
  13. Dressage Chit Chat #30

    I think it is the sheer size of it that is frustrating the snot out of me and making me lean towards the surgery. When it first appeared, it was golf ball sized and considered large. Now it is at least double that size, so HUGE. At least three inches long and an inch wide. This was what it looked like in July when it first happened: This is what it looks like now after he hit it a second time in turnout: The cost of the surgery isn't really a factor for me since he is fully insured. Markel will cover nearly the entire cost. I will have to pay my deductible, but that's about it. Honestly, I think I have actually already paid that with the two vet visits for xrays and ultrasound, but . . . !!! I would probably end up getting money back from Markel if I did the surgery. If it were non-weight bearing and he wasn't taking funky steps, I wouldn't even consider the surgery, but he is just acting so unhappy that I really think it needs to just come out of there. So far, I've just been climbing up on his back and dealing with him. As long as the weather is good, he has been a pretty good boy, and I haven't had much of an issue with him. Bad weather, no turnout, and . . . ACK!! Bad horse!! Generally I can handle what he dishes out at me. I just don't WANT to anymore. That's the key. I could just lunge him before riding if I was in doubt, but I would rather not if I could avoid it. He is such a big horse that lunging is really hard on him. If I can have the trainer just get on and ride the stupidness out of him, that would be the best thing. I really think sensitive Drama Queen type horses should come with a warning label stamped dead center on their foreheads!! HAHAHAHA!! ~Shelly~
  14. Dressage Chit Chat #30

    I'm kind of torn on what news I want on this ultrasound. I actually am thinking I just want to have them say it needs to be removed and be done with it. A splint can just be so intermittently intrusive with low grade lameness issues that I think I would rather have them just remove it and be done with it. If they had done that in the first place, we would already be done with the recovery LONG AGO and be back to work, but instead, we are still messing around with stall rest, icing and wrapping. None of which is making one bit of difference. Yeah, that's what Lieto looks like in turn out as well - perfectly 100% sound and happy. It is only once you put him in the arena under saddle in contact or in side reins on a circle to the left that you see a funky step every once in a while but not consistently - and he is acting super pissy which tells me that something is bugging him as well. It is the attitude more than the stride that is telling me he is NQR. To the right he has never felt so amazing. I'm really being super picky and careful about soundness on this one because if he isn't fully sound, it is a soft tissue problem, and I want him healed 100% before I put him back in work rather than risk doing some sort of permanent damage. I suppose it is possible that the vet will come back tomorrow after the ultrasound and tell me that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with him, and he is just being a pissy princess. That wouldn't totally surprise me. He can be a Drama Queen, just not usually this much of a Drama Queen. If that truly is the dx tomorrow, I think I'm turning him over to the trainer to get restarted into work. I've honestly had enough of his pissy attitude. Love the thunder and lightning video. Very cool! ~Shelly~
  15. Dressage Chit Chat #30

    Shantel ? That?s fantastic that you got the surgeries scheduled for the same time. So much better than having to go under two separate times. Glad to hear that the gallbladder removal really won?t have a huge effect on your daily lifestyle. Certainly makes the decision of removal an easy one for you. ACK!! I hear you on trying to keep a youngster quiet on stall rest. Vets can preach stall rest all they want, but if the horse is going to turn into a raving lunatic that climbs the walls and does back flips in a 12x12 space, well then, turnout by far seems the better option. As best we can figure, Lieto hit his leg on something while fooling around in turnout. I don?t boot him for turnout. Not sure what he hit it on, possibly one of his own feet as he is rather goofy, but he caused the splint to pop the first time, then got himself into a snit in turnout again, and hit it for sure a second time really aggravating it. We?ve xray?d it. Definitely not broken, but perhaps big enough to be pressing on the suspensory. Vet is coming back on Thursday to ultrasound it one more time. He never had any heat or lameness until the second turnout incident. Then one day of heat and slight offness. Now he is sound to the right, and sound to the left on straight aways, but will take an occasional funky step on turns/circles. The splint is on the inside of the right foreleg just below the knee. I did three weeks of icing him for a half hour, then put on Surpass and standing wraps over night. Now I just doing the icing and standing wraps. I have managed to get him to wear turnout boots. No idea how long that will last. I tried to get him to wear them when he first popped the splint, but he just looked on them as a toy to be utterly destroyed. I?m bored to death with the daily ice/wrap routine as it literally takes me 2 hours a day to drive to the barn, ice, wrap and drive home again. My wrapping skills have improved by leaps and bounds though!! That?s for darn sure. I had Lieto on Quiessence when he was sick with Lyme, but haven?t had him on it since then as I never noticed a bit of difference on or off it to tell you the truth. Also, he won?t eat any supplement that comes in a powder form ? only pellets. He is super fussy, so that makes my choice of supplements rather limited for him. So far I haven?t had to drug him. I have the drugs on hand if I need them, but thankfully, not yet though there was one day when I was on him that I probably either shouldn?t have been on him or should have drugged him first ? would have been SUPER nice to know before I got on him that the horses hadn?t been turned out that day though ? what a nightmare he was to ride that day. I will say that was the closest I have ever come to thinking it was time to ship him off to Europe to be a sandwich. Shiloh ? Trainers who can?t be bothered to work with a student just because they think the student isn?t as important or good or rich or talented or whatever as their other students aren?t worth being paid for their time. CSA ? I thought that was what you meant by a dalek - just cannot see how to make that into a costume for Cheese!! Good luck with that. ~Shelly~