To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Well, shucks

The weather is getting nicer but my horse is getting heav-ier, as breathing harder. Lance's respiration rate isn't nearly as fast as when Rick diagnosed him with Inflammatory Airway Disease (because he's on twice daily prednisolone), but it's definitely more labored, and exercise has become much harder for him. I suspect Lance got triggered by our period of cold, dry air combined with the micro-particulates from wood smoke; I cringe when I see ours or the neighbor's drifting towards the barn. Rick and I have talked about doing a dex suppression round and then treating him with a new formulation through the inhaler, but haven't acted on that yet. Since the last time-intensive inhaler treatments didn't do a whole lot of good, I can't get excited about trying it....

Still, we do our limited work in the arena, or get out and about (especially when I can smell wood smoke in the barn/arena area). Lance needs the exercise for his metabolic syndrome, and I need the time on my horse. But until his breathing eases, I won't be considering any more shows.

Monday, February 25, 2019

We did it!

Yesterday my mustang man and I rode down the center line for the first time in three years, in our first attempt at Second Level. It was a big effort for Lance (which means a lot of work on my part!), but he didn't stumble and he didn't fall out of trot or canter, so I was very happy with him. We didn't break 60%, but our score of 58.049% wasn't an embarrassment, and the test had some nice moments. I am particularly pleased with our soft connection. He may not be brilliant, but he's happy; I wouldn't trade that for all the brilliance in the world. I had a friend use my iPhone to video our ride, and took the following screenshots from that.
The judge said our entry halt was abrupt, but it couldn't have been any more square!



Here is the video in all its sluggish glory. ;-) You can see how much he's puffing if you watch for his breath!


A funny thing happened on the way to the show arena....
I mounted at the trailer and rode to the warm-up arena. Since we were the last pair of the show, no one else was riding. There was a boarding horse in a pen at the end of the warm-up arena, and horses occasionally in view elsewhere on the grounds, which only served to make Lance wary. He immediately got on his toes and minced around on high alert, attempting a little explosive buck two different times. I think that used up a goodly portion of his available energy, but at least he settled down and went to work by the time we entered at A.

Rick showed up just before we entered the ring and took a lot of photos with his 'big boy' camera. As soon as we can get his camera to talk to my laptop, I will probably have more photos to share.

**************************
Those aren't asterisks; they're snowflakes! We awoke to quite the winter wonderland this morning, just as forecast.





After getting bundled up to do chores, I got a wild hair. I fed and watered everyone, then put Lance's bitless bridle on and went for a bareback ride in the snow. I can't remember the last time I did that; it may have been when we lived in Minnesota almost 30 years ago! A good ride and old memories made for a heartwarming interlude.



It was a great weekend!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Doing what we can

I've looked over Second Level Test 2 and like I said, everything is within our current skill set. Whether or not we can do it all, one thing after another, without taking breaks to stretch or cough or catch our breath, remains to be seen, but we'll give it our best shot.
I KNOW you can do it, Lance!

In the meantime, I'm working towards making Lance look the part. I shaved his bridle path and the tufts of hair that stuck out of his ears, then I spent some time on his mane. The rubbed off lower section has finally grown back but is thin and unruly, probably from being under his high-necked turnout sheet. The upper section was long and thick and I've left it that way to give his neck more coverage against mosquitoes. Time to make him look more like a dressage mount than a neglected nag!
I'm not done yet, but it's definitely looking better. I also need to wash and trim his tail and legs/fetlocks. But that can wait for one of the rainy days forecast this week; today is for riding!

Friday, February 15, 2019

"You did what?"



Yes, Lance; I entered us in a show! But don't worry; we're just doing ONE class. It'll take longer to clean you up to show than it will to warm you up and ride the test.

Our chapter's Bears Above the Ground ODS League show is light on entries, so I decided at our meeting last night to "Just Do It." If we don't fall down or break gait, I'll be happy. If we break 60 in our first Second Level attempt (and our first outing in three years!), I'll be thrilled. Now to print off and memorize a new test – while continuing to just work on short stretches of 'quality' during our rides.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Monthly check-in

In case anyone else still checks in here!




Lance and I are still a couple, comfortable with each other and our routine, like old married people – ha! His weight is good; he's coughing a bit more probably because of the smoke from our wood-burner and others. We're still exercising, schooling, taking in sunsets (above); although this weekend the weather has us mothballed. We've had some snow and rain and snow and freezing, so although I have cold-weather riding gear, the ground is now too slick and hard. I just went down to saddle up, and found it isn't even safe to try and lead Lance out of the barn.



But we have had some nice weather for riding, although it is too dry for winter here.



I haven't yet entered our ODS chapter's League show. It's coming up on the last weekend of this month; I have until the 15th to decide. I did look up the new dressage tests, and think that the Second Level tests are well within our skill set, if I can manage Lance's energy effectively. Still waffling....

Late last month I was thinking about my client with the handsome dapple gray OTTB, so I emailed her. I was stunned when she emailed me back that she had to have him euthanized on Christmas Eve due to surgery complications. Since then, she has purchased another OTTB; I look forward to meeting him someday.

My New Year's Day riding buddy is still recovering from her accident. Her clavicle isn't healing so she'll need surgery for that, but she also has pneumothorax that must resolve itself first.

You just never know what life is going to throw at you; all we can do is make the most of each day!