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Dressage Chit Chat #28

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Emily, its going to be tender to chew on and even bite down on for a couple of weeks, maybe longer depending on the infection. Darvocet is basically tylenol. I obviously dont know your allergies and what other meds you are taking, but if you can take Advil or Aleve, those will be the best things to take to help the inflamation. Did he give you an antiobiotic? That will help clear up the infection in the bone as well and make you more comfortable. You can also take a wet wash cloth and stick it in the microwave and place it against your jaw and it will help. Sorry you had to go through that. Never fun.

Cant believe you guys are warmer than we are. Do you have the bugs though? UGH. Stupid gnat and mosquitos are already out!

Randys softball team won. YAY. Great game. 11-1. They had no errors and played fantastically. Two games ago, Randy made the comment that he missed Chaz, a player who was out that game, and his spirit. Oh boy! That got us all rolling on the jokes. One of the guys wrote a poem about Randy and The Chaz and the essence spirit he has! Of course, talking in a totally homo way (not meant to be derogitory just funny). When the guys would get up to bat, we would yell "Channel the Softball Sinsey!" (however you spell it). It was a BLAST.

Went to Chilis and now Im home. Time for bed!

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OK, so apparently I bite down super hard on my teeth in my sleep, because the pain from biting on my molars actually woke me up. It's almost bringing tears to my eyes it's so bad. And I took a darvocet maybe 3 hours ago.

Shantel, thanks for the tips. I did get a script for an antibiotic, and as far as pain pills all I can take is darvocet and naproxen. I've been taking both, but it only helps about halfway. The dentist said that my mouth would probably hurt for a good couple more days because of the bruising to the tooth/bone and the irritation to the nerve, in addition to the infection. And to think that I thought the root canal would take care of the pain! It still hurt while they were doing the procedure, despite being numbed up almost too well. Apparently the root on that tooth was over an inch long.

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CSA ? Why are you not taking lessons right now? Personally, when my horse is being bad, that is when I increase my lessons. With the way I am struggling with Lieto right now, and how he is acting up, I am taking 3 lessons a week ? I don?t even get on him unless my trainer is there. When things are going well, then I will venture into some unsupervised ride times. These are the times when lessons can be the most help to you and Cheese. I know you want to progress and learn and really impress the trainer, but sometimes you just need to call the trainer out and show them the ugly side to really make that big breakthrough.

Shantel ? I could NOT deal with Florida weather. The heat alone would kill me. With my migraines, I can not tolerate heat and humidity. Add in the bugs, snakes and other creepy crawlies you have, and NO THANK YOU!!! We may have bad winters up here, but at least they don?t make me sick. I can deal with the snow and ice. Our summers are mild and pleasant, and we don?t have any poisonous snakes. *shudder*

KTS ? YIKES!!! That is supremely frightening. Keep an eye on your ponies. Perhaps some bran mash just to make sure you keep liquid going through them. We have been having some pretty significant temperature fluctuations here as well, but nothing quite like what you are experiencing.

Shiloh ? Speaking of sunscreen, that reminds me that I need to buy Lieto a new full ears and nose fly mask for this summer as someone at my barn STOLE his right at the end of last season. GRRRR!!! I know who did it, but I can?t prove it. Ticks me off as it was brand new, too!!! OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!! You poor thing. There is absolutely nothing worse in this world than tooth pain. Hope you manage to keep some pain meds down and start feeling better.

Beckham ? Have a BLAST at your clinic today and tomorrow!!!

Boocoo ? Everything okay in your world?? How is your dh?s job search going?? And the house sales?? Hope everything is falling into place for you and lessons and baby training are going well.

The vet came and saw Lieto yesterday. He has been remedicated. She said he is relapsing sort of, but not badly. There is still Lyme there, but not so bad as it was. He is MUCH improved from what he was back in November. She has put him back on a half dose of Doxy for 90 days. He will have a couple of days off to let the meds get into his system, and then back to work for him. BNT will ride him on Saturday, and I will have a lesson on him again on Tuesday.

~Shelly~

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With the winter we had I didn't ride to much. I hate the cold. Below 35 degrees and I just want to curl up in a ball and try to get warm. Than we got nailed with a bunch of rain. So now I have a energetic horse. Not entirely a bad thing in my book. Most trainers would drill the walk. I end up with a horse sour on work. I prefer to say ok you want to trot. Well lets leg yeild at the trot. As long as she walks when I want I am ok with a speed walk. In a week or two Cheese should settle . Than I will schedule lessons again. Otherwise I feel like I am paying to hear the same thing and not get anything done. Not really caring about impressing the trainer. More of not frustrating her with Cheese's lets go additude that will be done in a bout a week. Although if Cheese didn't get this bit a spunk in spring I would probably be worried. It happens every year .

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OK, so I had THE BEST clinic ride this morning. My drugs conspired to keep my jaw from throbbing for about two hours. I learned a ton, Lucy started off being a snot but improved by 100%. He said that she looks like a different horse than last he saw her, and that the dental work and shoes have made a ton of difference. We worked on minor changes to my position and theory of riding. Basically, that the leg shouldn't squeeze to give an aid, but it should tap with the rhythm of the gait. So for a LY, it just taps each time your leg would come closer to the horse on that side. You just allow the tapping, rather that moving your leg back and trying to squeeze or aid with the heel. That allows you to use your knees as an anchor point, so you can sit up straighter than you would if you were bringing your leg back to use your heel. He also had me work her deeper, then bring her back up, then deeper again. Transitions while she was deep (not stretched, as the hose isn't poked way out, but not so much behind the vertical either). He did say that he liked the shoeing job, and that he would not recommend hind shoes for her. He likes the height boost and the better breakover of the fronts, and her hinds are shaped such that she doesn't need shoes unless she were to be working at FEI or at shows with gravel to cross where she could bruise her sole.

He also had me work her in counter flexion some, especially to the left. He did say that I should put the draw reins back on for one ride, which I had been considering, because she has a lovely habit of tossing her head in the air at transitions. He said that with the dental work completed, and that she is so sound and consistent otherwise, and I am not yanking on her face, that she's really just doing it for kicks. Which I always knew, because she's just opinionated and expressive at times.

So anyway, it was wonderful, and I have finally found someone to ride with that I think can really help me and Lucy to progress. He has a wonderful way of explaining the little things so that the add up and make a huge difference to your riding.

Shantel, you should look into riding with him. I think he's not far from you. Prairie Pines Sporthorses in Wellborn. He's a jumper rider, but he uses a lot of classical dressage to get his horses strong and fit. He's also shown FEI dressage, so not just someone who hops on a horse who can jump high.

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So happy you had a great clinic. I know a few times you were ready to hang it up with her but Im glad you stuck to it! What is his name? Is your tooth any better?

So Layla got her heart bars put on yesterday. Her LF is a 5 1/4 which is like a 1.5 US size. And her RF is a 5 which is like a 1 US size. Considering she was in 00 a few years ago, Im just SO happy about that.

Anyways, because her LF was so low and sunk a little with all the wet, he put a very tiny rim pad under the shoe (1/8th inch thick) to help give some height to the foot. She was sound in the NB shoes up front and after he put the heart bars on, she was very happy to fully load and stand on that foot as well.

Now what I am so excited about is that since the shoe supports the foot so much more, he was able to take the heel down on the clubby foot a little more than normal. Ill tell ya, her RF looks like a "normal" foot now. I mean its amazing. AND her knees are LEVEL. Yes folks, for years her right knee was always higher than her left. They are EVEN. Werd!

So I rode her today over at Jills. Just around the sports field, doing lots of straight lines and long trot sets. I want to give her muscles, esp in the shoulder/neck, a chance to adjust to the new angles before asking her to do tight circles, etc.

But she felt AMAZING. I mean, so free up front. Jill said she was much more free and moving out below the knee and not to blocked. We also have maybe 10 seconds of tilting to the left and that wasnt all at one time either. Just at the end when she got tired she would start to tilt but was easily corrected. So yay.

She is in a RAGING heat right now and my new neighbor behind me put her gelding and a new boarders gelding in her back field last night which directly adjoins my back paddock which is right now my sacrafice paddock while the grass is coming in and very lush. Well Laylas legs and vulva were just covered in goo and dried yellow urine. It was SO gross. And one of the neighbors geldings knocked down the top board of her fence. Thank goodness I have no climb and a hot horseguard tape on the top or who knows what would have happened. Im kind of at a loss as what to do because I cant turn them out for an extended period of time on the grass and I have to keep them outside in my back paddock at night due to this. I didnt get a chance to talk to her today... Ill have to call her tomorrow. So yeh... who knows.

Randy and I went over to his really good friends parents house this afternoon for an Easter lunch and egg hunt. Such great people. There were like about 30 of us there and thats not including the kids. Then we all hid about 300 plastic eggs total (they have like 10 acres so yeh, it was fun) and then watched the kids go crazy. It was nice except the gnats started coming out. Ugh.

About to head to Wally world.. few things we need to grab...Happy Easter to everyone!

Edited by KrazyTBMare

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Shantel, his name is Andras Szieberth (I could have the spelling of the last mane incorrect). He has a website. Just google Prairie Pines, or his stallion Lotus T. Not sure how far it would be for you, but it is worth the trip. He is very kind, and he has a wealth of information, and excellent intuition with horses. He seems to be great at identifying physical issues that are holding you or the horse back. You know, that gift that you either have or you don't, he has it.

And no, my tooth does not feel any better at all. It got so bad last night that I was dizzy from the pain. A heating pad helps somewhat, but only so long as it's held to my face, which is a tad inconvenient. I'm wondering if maybe the infection that has started is worse than it looked on the x-ray. The dentist did say that it was barely visible on the first film, but that when they did films during the procedure it started to show up more. And the root on that tooth is VERY long, so it's almost off the end of the film. I will call back tomorrow if it's not any better and see what they suggest. I mean I expected soreness, but not for the pain to get WORSE than it had been. It hurts to talk, so I've been pointing and grunting as much as I can.

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At work so this will be short

Saw that a pigeon egg hatched yesterday - from my unmated female that I THOUGHT was a male until last month!

Randy checked her this AM and the OTHER egg hatched and now my single mommy pigeon has 2 babies! Have to get pigeon formula as I dont think she will be able to feed both herself since there is no dad to help.

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Most trainers would drill the walk.

Really?? Now I find that sad and non-productive. If that is what you face in lessons when Cheese is fighting spring fever, no wonder you avoid lessons. I would, too. My trainer would work on lots of trot with serpentines and 20 m circles and changes of directions across the diagonal thrown in to try to help the horse settle and chill, and when the horse could handle it, transitions, lots and lots of transitions. Lessons would be all about helping you find the most productive/effective way of dealing with Cheese when she is being her most difficult so that it is the least frustrating for both of you.

Shiloh ? That sounds like you had a great clinic!! So glad that you found someone you can ride with that can help you out with Lucy! Really nice to get such positive feedback on everything you have been doing with her. OUCH!! That tooth does not sound good. Perhaps you need to have it rechecked. I didn?t think a tooth was supposed to keep hurting that much that long after a root canal.

Shantel ? That?s fantastic news that Layla is sound again. Glad it was just a bruise that time and new shoes took care of. Sounds like Layla really likes her new shoes. Hope you get your pasture situation sorted out before one of the horses goes through a fence. Good luck taking care of your new baby pigeons. That sounds like a lot of work.

I got to watch the BNT work Lieto on Saturday. His first ride back after being restarted on the Doxy. He had 3 days back on the Doxy at that point, and it was like a whole new horse. So happy, relaxed and willing to work. He really looked great. Nice to see him so willing and forward again. The BNT will work with him again today. She is going to start him over trot poles today!! Then I will have a lesson on Tuesday.

~Shelly~

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My trainer would work on lots of trot with serpentines and 20 m circles and changes of directions across the diagonal thrown in to try to help the horse settle and chill, and when the horse could handle it, transitions, lots and lots of transitions. Lessons would be all about helping you find the most productive/effective way of dealing with Cheese when she is being her most difficult so that it is the least frustrating for both of you.

Ditto!

There would be some days when the seasons changed, particularly from winter to spring, in which The Pony would a wind up his butt! And the trainer would smile and be like "Excellent! If he wants to go, let him go! If he wants to trot, lets trot! If he wants to work, all the better!"

Keep him thinking, keep him moving forward, transitions, etc. You want to channel that energy, not punish it.

It is also a great chance to learn how to a ride "a different horse" besides the usual Cheese, if she is naturally a horse that needs a lot of leg and driving, if that makes sense. This type of lesson will definitely improve your riding!

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Drilling the walk is the worst thing to do!! The walk is so easy to screw up. I agree, not a good idea.

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Thanks guys. At least I know I am thinking right. Unfortunately the trainer who would agree with me retired or moved away. There are a few day where frilling the trot would be good. That is to say the days Cheese would refuse to walk and be a jigging machine. However those days are gone, I hope.

I do believe I will be making a call to the trainer to schedule a lesson after yesterdays ride. It was awful.Cheese was in season. However she isn't usually this bad. She also found a boyfriend inthe pasture. There is a paint gelding who was stuck to her like glue and would not be happy if another gelding came near Cheese. Of course Cheese did not want to be caught.Just a very frustrating day at the barn.

KTM-Glad to hear Layla is doing better with the new shoes. Congrats on the babies.I know you have probably mentioned this before but do you race them?

shiloh-Sounds like a really good clinic. I hope the tooth is feeling netter.

Shelly-I am kin of jealous you can get a BNT to ride Lieto. I am kind of thinking od sending Cheese away for a month in winter for training.I want to see how summer progresses first. Enjoy your lesson.

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Keep him thinking, keep him moving forward, transitions, etc. You want to channel that energy, not punish it.

EXACTLY!! And if I have asked for a nice forward trot, and Lieto answers by giving me a canter, I'll take it. It was forward, so I won't punish that. I'll just ride it out for a several strides until I can quietly ask for the trot without disrupting him, or perhaps just use a gentle spiral in to re-establish the trot from the canter if he is being super fussy about down transitions that day.

CSA - You need to find a trainer who can help you deal with Cheese's spring attitude in a tactful manner so that you end up with a nice toolbox for coping with her mood swings rather than getting frustrated. When Cheese gets a burr up her butt, you can't hang on her face, and you can't force her to walk. You need to push her forward and channel her energy through patterns. Constantly riding changing patterns will make her focus and regulate her tempo without you having to get in her face. You just have to ride it out, and that's where a good trainer should be able to help you out.

You have to remember that I am in Massachusetts. It is a dressage rich area. I have access to Kathy Connolly, Jane Hannigan and Jane Karol all in extreme close proximity ? one actually in my barn, and the other two within 5-10 miles of my barn. When you look at the New England area in general, there is a wealth of BNT?s available to choose from ? such as Jane Savoie, Lendon Gray, Tom Noone, Liz and Madeline Austin, and quite a few more that you may or may not have heard of, but are really, really fabulous trainers. There are really so many to choose from here. Where I board, I would estimate that there are about 15 other dressage barns within a 10-20 mile radius. We have a large, very active GMO with lots of shows and clinics.

So getting a BNT to work with your horse in this area is pretty run of the mill. It is more a matter of who you get, rather than getting someone simply because access to trainers is so easy. I am fortunate in that I actually board at a barn that has a BNT in residence at the barn, so I don?t have to bring a trainer in, or truck out. We actually have 5 different trainers working out of the barn I board at, so I have several different options when it comes to selecting someone to work with Lieto. Almost every single horse in my barn is ridden regularly by at least one of the trainers, and the vast majority of dressage horses in this area are ridden at least occasionally (if not regularly) by one BNT or another. It is a very common practice in this area ? again simply due to the availability of the trainers. You make use of what you have available to you. They are here, they are available, this is how they make their living!!

I would actually like to have my trainer riding him, but, for medical reasons, she doesn?t ride youngsters, and I respect that ? so together, we selected the BNT in the barn as the best option to work with Lieto. It has been a joint effort between myself, my trainer, the BNT and the vet to bring Lieto along, and so far it is going very well. What I have discovered is that it isn?t so much WHO you have riding your horse, as much as whether their methods will blend will with yours, and whether your horses LIKES the trainer you have selected. The first trainer I selected for Lieto was very good, but personality-wise, rather clashed with Lieto ? and that could have just been because he was sick with Lyme at the time, but the two of them never seemed to really hit if off the way Lieto and the BNT that is working with him now have really hit it off. Lieto LOVES her.

~Shelly~

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CSA- You are more than welcome to come and watch a lesson w/ my trainer at home. When I can't go to Mr. Trainer I use her. She is quite good and is very very good at explaining things. Very patient. She also rides Scotch 1x a week and has a wonderful job with him.

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Sorry I have been an absentee poster. I can't post at work anymore and things are just crazy right now. DH was here over spring break and again over easter weekend. My son and I are going up there on Fri. and coming home on Monday since we have a 4 day weekend. Horses are good. Been riding some, Beau is really coming into 2nd level now. Bobby is growing like a week and 11 months old now.

Gotta run, will catch up with everyone later.

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Rexxxxx! He's looking more like Riley everyday!!

Update for me, quickly:

Riley: just his ringbone bothering him again, so with Irapp, he'll be good to go. The Irapper vet went on vacation and took the machine with him (ummm, wth?!?!) and won't be back til next week, so R's on a very low dose of bute and is sound, so I'm bringing him back into work with the month off, and he is being superb. My trainer has ridden him twice so I can have new ideas to bring him back that are more effective than him slacking off and not using himself, and last week when she rode him, she thought he'd be ready to show 3rd in July. Today, we've moved to june! He's coming back fast.

So, any one wanting to show at Lexington, VA, the big A show in july? I aiming for him and Bennigan. And some NC or SC show in June for them both (williamston, tryon?)

Bennigan: ALMOST sound from the abscess-- just a little off in tight turns at the trot one direction- hoping he'll be 100% when the shoe is back on. It's been a month. It sucks.

Amore: no joint lameness-- either nerve damage over her back and hip, or EPM. They are sending off the pretty inconclusive blood test to State to test for EPM.

So, not good news there. Ugh.

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Just popping in to say hi! School is busy and getting the ponies ridden. Beckham had a great clinic last weekend; definitely ready for second level this year.

KTS-Come up here and show in Ohio with me!!

Boocoo-Hi!! I know you are busy!

CSA-Have you gotten a lesson scheduled?

KTM-Nice pictures!!

Shiloh-Have you decided on a new bit? All of my horses go in Herm Sprenger bits.

Must head out to the barn and get to work. Have the vet coming for spring shots in the morning then a test at school.

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Shantel, he doesn't look like a baby anymore! He's going to be so much fun to work with :)

I ordered a copper mullen eggbutt for Lucy, and it should be here tomorrow. I decided against the GS because I thought it might be too big since it was only available in 5.25". Plus it was a loose ring, and I know she does appreciate some stability. I have a schooling show with her this weekend, so we will see how she likes the new bit! I need to get out and ride her today, but the several days of no sleep and living on pudding due to my tooth has worn me out. Maybe I will just make myself do it anyway.

Plus I have to go give a dog a bath because he sat in poop. Wonderful.

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Oh Emily, my dog just loves to roll in cat poop... And at this time there's a lot of it with our barn cat herd. For some reason they don't dig a hole, which I find rather odd. Oh, Champ stinks up the entire house when he rolls in it. I'm glad to read that your tooth is finally feeling a little better.

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Shantel-Rec is looking good. No matter how grown up he gets I think he will always be baby horse to me.

Beckham-Did one better and watched a DCD of a clinic I went to last year.

Sylvesa-Do you want to hunt me down a treeless saddle*english or western)?

Boocoo-Hi there. Glad to seee you are alive and doing well.

KTS-Glad to here some of your gurs are on the mens. Fingers crossed for Amore.

I had a fantastic ride.I watched the DVD from the clinic last year. I got reminded how ell Cheese did with working with the training scale. You get her relaxed a little during warm up. Than work on her rhytm. Which is usually slow down. With the rythmwork she relaxes more.Than you can start adding leg for impulsion. However you can not skip the ffirst two. A lot of trainers are get the head down and leg or just leg. They just tyhrow out the bottom part of the scale. I worked on transitions. Cheese did a beautiful canter-trot transition and streched into the contact. Than remembered she "wasn't suppose to do that."Of course her head came up and the trot went to heck. However this is from the horse two years ago who would totally invert and do a extended speed trot. It was awful to ride. There is a clinic in May with the same gentleman. I have to see if I can find someone tow or at least go audit.

Edited to add:3Day-Yes please let me know when you have a lesson scheduled.

Edited by c.s.a.

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Emily, when is the show? This weekend is the rated show, Dressage on the First Coast, that our GMO sponsors. Too much money for me personally! Though I know we would score well, I just dont see spending the money to register me and Layla with the USDF and whoever else, and then pay the money for the classes and stall, etc etc. Maybe once Rex is up and going seeing as hes already registered for life with the USEF and I think the USDF? not sure

Well my single female pigeon, who I thought was a male until she laid eggs, hatched her two eggs on Sunday/Monday! Interesting because she doesnt have a mate so Tito or Mr Boo stepped out on their women!

Anyways, the 2nd one wasnt looking too good... and since the mom usually has the help of the dad to raise the two babies, it wasnt looking bright. Unfortunately, on Wednesday morning, the 2nd one died. I feel bad but I guess that is Mother Nature. The remaining baby looks great though and LW is being as good as a mom that she can be.

Just got back from riding at Jills. UGH. I am so not ready for summer. At least the little rain we got this AM brought in slightly cooler temps - low 70s the rest of the week! YAY. No more 80s!

Layla was really good. The last 2 rides I have been having to ride her slightly deep to keep her straight and between my aids. But she gets really through her back and pushing behind - super nice. We worked a little more on the canter today and a little but more sitting trot. Really nice canter transitions, except the canter to trot left, she fell into it and almost walked because I didnt prep and push her into it. The canter to trot to the right though was really nice - I set her up well and I really felt her SIT and push into the trot.

Its the beginning of April and I already have a farmers tan. Joy. So when Im riding I have to make sure Im at least wearing a sleeveless top to get my deltoids!

Ahh... looking out the window to see Layla finding a nice pile of dirt/sand and rolling in it... of course I just hosed her off. Oh well - natural fly sheet I suppose.

Boss left this AM for a vaca so I am off until the 19th. No paid vacation but at least I have a job so Im going to enjoy the time off and not stress about money. Plus, the home loan (we canceled the refi b/c BOA sucks majorly) will be started this coming Monday and shouldnt take long to get finalized. Then 80% of my bills will be paid off (except 2 student loans which are no biggie) and money will not be a stressor!

Well Ive got to go find some lunch. Hope everyone is having a good Friday!

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The show is tomorrow, and it's just a little schooling show. Since I volunteer, I get to ride my two classes for $35. Cheap! Lucy is going this time, and maybe next time I will take Mir. We will see.

Mir got his teeth done today. They were AWFUL. My vet is very conservative on teeth, but his really needed to be done. So I trailed him to a great performance horse dentist. Found out he has no wolf teeth, so I lucked out on that one. Keeping my fingers crossed that Annie doesn't have any either.

Shantel, hopefully your other little birdie makes it. I know how rough it is to lose them so young. Thankfully all 3 of my ducklings are still going strong. I need to upload a pic of them snuggled under my "wing" last night. They are so adorable!

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Shantel, you should look into oppurtunity classes. Some shows have them, where you at least don't have to pay registration fees. I'm planning on doing them with Bennigan at the Lex show, b/c he's not registered.

Speaking of which, I'm off to ride him for the first time in a month with a bootie instead of a shoe, so we'll see how it goes. He's sound on the lunge.

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Opportunity classes?? Never heard of them. I will have to research that. Thanks.

Emily, whats awesome is that I went onto a pigeon forum asking for help because I did NOT think the eggs would hatch and this one person is like being all mellow dramatic and saying it was my "choice that has caused an innocent bird to die and hopefully not the other one" and trying to shame me like I did this on purpose. A lot of those people on that board dont seem very.... savvy with how to communicate with others online (their posts dont make sense, etc) and man I just went off on her. I really chose for LW to hatch eggs alone and for a baby to die. Right.

Alyse, so exciting for you! I hope Bennigan stays sound! How is Riley doing? Any word with Amore?

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Riley is doing GREAT. So happy with him. God I love that horse.

Bennigan was sound for my ride, even minus the shoe still (but LOTS of duct tape). I love having a young TB that I ride for the first time in 6 weeks, on a cool day, at twilight, and I bemoan that I didn't pack a whip ;). Haha. He felt like he had two days off, not 6 weeks, so I was REALLY happy with that. Hopefully he'll be good tomorrow and we'll put the shoe on.

The word on Amore is not good, not good at all. At this point, EPM looks like the BEST option for a rideable recovery. I won't get into now, I don't know enough details yet, I'm still hoping she'll roll one day and it'll be like *poof* away as fast as it came on. It might be time to start browsing stallions though, at least keep my mind off it.

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Geez that really stinks about Amore. I hope it ends up clearing itself up. But yay about Riley and Bennigan! Thats why I love TBs - give them time off, weeks, months, doesnt matter, and they come out and just pick up where they left off. Everyone at the dressage barn I used to work at would look at me like I was crazy if I just got on my horse, without lungeing, on a cold snap, with 20mph winds, etc.

Layla was being a little snot to Rex this AM. I went to check on the pigeons and when I was walking back, I heard squeeling and banging. Look over and she has Rex pinned by the water trough, double barrel kicking. He scrambles to get out of the way and she connects both hinds on the water trough. Luckily its one of those 100g Rubbermaid troughs and it just lifted it off the ground, no cracks. But go check, and he has a crescent shaped cut on his right hindquarter. Didnt see anything else. Go ride. Come back, now on the inside of his left hind, theres a tiny knick but the area is as swollen as a large plum! I swear, its like as soon as one wound heals, he gets more. Please tell me in time this will end! Luckily all minor things - no lameness or major injuries. But geezus! Poor baby horse.

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Are most of Rex's issues from Layla beating him up? I know with Annie, hers are just bad luck it seems. Aside from the occasional bite anyway. But if his are from Layla kicking the crap out of him, then no it's probably not going to get any better. Mir is the bottom of the pecking order here, and he has just had to learn to get out of the way, and fast. Luckily he figured that one out very quickly, so he rarely gets hurt.

So Lucy was a bit of a butt today. She was vibrating again this morning (she must hate mornings as much as I do). She got over that, warmed up decently after a bit of calling, and I finally had to smack her on the chest a couple times (only thing that works for her when she's being retarded, go figure). Go in to ride our first level test, and figured out very quickly that the morons who put up the arena put the letters in the wrong spots, both in distance AND in order, and they made the arena the wrong size at one end. These people MAKE dressage arenas and sell them. And they cannot lay one out. They switched S and V. So needless to say, I got a bit lost. My caller kept saying V, and I was wondering if she meant B or E, because I couldn't find V. It was behind me every time I needed it, because IT WAS IN THE WRONG PLACE.

Go in for my second level test, and she had warmed up beautifully. Cross into the arena, she starts cantering, and canters her whole medium trot, and into the first SI, then through part of one travers. My scores were literally all over the place on that one, and not just because my mare was all over the place. I would get a 7 for something, with a comment about the circle being "fairly nice", and then a 5 on the mirror image movement, with a comment that my circle was well placed and with good energy. It made no sense. The judge kept calling my downhill QH mare with 6 gaits a "lovely horse" while saying I basically need to have better seat, hands, AND leg to ride her. Ummm, WTH?? Yeah, I know I don't use my leg enough with Lucy, but I didn't think my seat was so bad that I was ruining my insane mare's chances at success. Especially since I have always been told I have a lovely seat and hands, and I just don't use my leg. By instructors who have never failed to point out everything I am doing wrong.

The other comment I got on my second level test was that there was "not enough collection" and Lucy was "not uphill enough". Which just bugs me to no end, considering she is a QH, not a fancy WB that's built uphill, and she felt like a million bucks today aside from the cantering in the wrong places. Heck just last week in my clinic, I was told that she was moving so nice and light in front. I feel her lifting in front of me, and her hind hooves hitting under my butt. The whole score sheet was just weird. Don't think I will ride in front of this judge again.

So basically my tests felt a ton better than last time, and my score was the same, with some very weird comments. It really makes me want to throw in the towel with all this dressage stuff. I get that my mare is not a $50k WB. But it just kills me that she's supposed to move the same as one. She's never going to look 12" higher in the front than behind. She's not built to move like that. I guess I got into dressage thinking it was about bettering your horse, and that the training mattered, but it really just doesn't seem to. I mean, I saw nice tests getting 70%, and then crappy tests getting 70%. There were kids who couldn't ride their way out of a paper bag scoring low to mid 60's, hands bouncing everywhere.

I guess I'm just frustrated these days. I'm praying Annie can jump, because I really think I might switch over to jumpers. I'm already planning to do MR hunters with Mir (Arab circuit). If I could drive, I would probably get into endurance, but I can't trailer out enough to get any of them fit enough.

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