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

Friday, April 19, 2013

Looking back and looking forward

My Oregon Dressage Society awards came in the mail this week. Rather than sticking them on a shelf with at least two other years' worth, I decided to pull out my plaque and get them all mounted.

Wow, that represents a whole lot of my horse history! The only dressage horses not included are Silver Ciera, a Paint we owned when I was first introduced to the sport, and Lance. In a year I will be adding a plate for Lancelot Dun Dino with at least the results of the two shows we already have under our belt/girth. Three years from now I hope to need another plaque!

My back is feeling enough better that I hope to ride a little bit on Sunday. Lunging is not a very effective method of conditioning or schooling Lance. I've been calling him lazy, but it has occurred to me that a lazy horse would not be so quick to engage with me at every opportunity. I mean, if he's turned out in the arena and I call, he trots up to me. A lazy horse wouldn't bother, or at best would take his sweet time. No, I think Lance just doesn't see the point in going around in circles, at the end of a lunge line OR under saddle. I may have to bite the bullet – or, more accurately, take a bite out of my bank account – and have shoes put on him the next time the farrier is here. That way we can ride out and about on the hill's gravel lanes. Years ago when I was training Axel (Rogue Hills Galaxy on the plaque), we did most of our schooling on roads and in fields; I had to haul somewhere to use an arena. I always said that our accomplishments (USDF All-Breed Awards from First Level through Prix St. George) would seem even more impressive if people knew the unconventional path we took to reach them! (Unfortunately, most of the fields, orchards and logging roads I had access to then are no longer available.)

11 comments:

Marissa Rose said...

If lance doesn't need shoes (he's not foot sore on harsh grounds) and only needs them to avoid chipping, I would suggest getting a pair of boots to put on for trail rides, personally I like to keep horses barefoot if possible! (Plus, while it would initially be an expense, it would pay for itself after not having to pay for shoes!

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

I agree; I'd prefer to leave Lance barefoot. But the rock and slag used on some of the lanes near here are REALLY hard on feet, and I don't want to end up with an abcessing stone bruise. I have a pair of EasyBoots that fit Russell and may fit Lance, but frankly, I haven't experienced or heard of anyone with consistently good results with boots of any brand. Eventually they all cause rubs somewhere. Plus, many of them are heavier than iron shoes! Added weight (both shoes and boots) changes the way the foot strikes the ground and can predispose to soft tissue injuries, one good reason to leave a horse barefoot if possible.

cheyenne jones said...

I often wonder at this barefoot movement. I have friends whose horses are barefoot. However as you have mentioned, if we decide to go out and about, it then becomes an issue, as to where to go, due to the very nature of track surfaces etc. So, I have kept my two shod. Purely for usage. I have never had any tissue injury either, I understand the different disciplines. But, horses for courses, etc. Lance strikes me as a laid back horse, sounds ok. But good luck with this seasons competitions.

Theresa said...

You know I've had decent results through the years with Old Macs brand, BUT mine are quite old (10 years) and I have not used them in probably 5-6 years. Dandy has never had shoes, Cooper two pairs when he first moved up here 11 years ago and we ride in some pretty tough stuff. Lots of volcanic gravel scrum and such around, but we do take our time and I am aware of their feet and the need to toughen up and dry up in spring and early summer. You might look into some of the newer boots, technology is constantly changing and I can't help but think Lance's mustang heritage might serve him well in this respect. But if he needs them to do what you need him to do, it is what it is!

Mary said...

Congratulations on the ODS award! I agree with the idea of using trails and roads for training and conditioning. I mean, really, it is a measure of intelligence to conserve energy when all one is doing is circling etc. Once a horse "gets" dressage, then schooling in an arena becomes easier, I believe. Michelle, maybe look on the endurance sites for some tips on the boots as those riders use them often. I was one of few competitors who had a shod horse (Woodrow had awful feet and overgrown shoes when I got him).

Marissa Rose said...

Do you follow this blog?

Rlittlebitofcash.blogspot.com

I have never personally used boots, but her mare has thin soles and shoes wrecked her feet. She is now barefoot and uses boots for all of her rides, whether they are in the arena or not. She might be able to tell you a little bit about the boots she uses, she really loves them.

I can definitely see what you mean about the boots causing their own problems though! Not something I had thought of!

Michelle said...

The link was broken, unfortunately.

Michelle said...

Some argue that horses don't NEED shoes because feral horses are barefoot. It seems many forget that some feral horses get foot issues and end up as coyote food....

Michelle said...

I like that, Mary! Lance isn't lazy; he's INTELLIGENT (and he really is).

Marissa Rose said...

Oops, my bad. It's

Rlilbitofcash.blogspot.com

I said little instead of lil