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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

More data

Earlier this month, Rick attended an advanced neck and back ISELP seminar. What he learned there prompted him to take a look at Lance's neck. So tonight he watched Lance move on the lead-line, lunge line, and under saddle, then he ultrasounded both sides of his neck. Diagnosis: synovitis encapsulitis – arthritis, basically. This is probably what has caused Lance's stumbles and falls; he's not just lazy!

Rick plans to x-ray Lance's neck as well, just to get as much information as possible, then inject the problem areas (C6/7 on both sides, C5 and C7/T1 on the right) with steroid. Depending on the results, Rick may follow that up with IRAP therapy. (Yes, I am very thankful to be married to an equine vet!)

I went through this with Russell; Rick gave him repeated neck injections with diminishing returns so we ended up retiring him. Maybe it will work better for my Lancelot; we'll see.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


This evening, exactly three weeks after she arrived, Dinah rode off into the sunset. Kate plans to ride her at home until she's sold; Dinah would make someone a flashy little dressage mount or eventer. I really enjoyed working with her and she made great progress in three weeks; all she needs now is "polishing."

I will miss having a horse in training; it is what I love to do. Lance, big red goober that he is, can only do what he is doing; with his physical limitations there is no more working up the levels so we just exercise for the good of both of us. Who knows; maybe the future holds another training project!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A second, temporary, dance partner

Eeek – looks like I skipped out on posting here at all in April. Thought about it, but obviously didn't act on it. May Day, May Day; better talk about the second partner on my dance card before she leaves!

My friend who came off her horse on New Year's Day with disastrous results is almost back to normal. She has officially finished physical therapy, her repaired clavicle has gotten two thumbs up from her UCSF orthopedic surgeon, and she's ready to ride again. In anticipation of this, last month she asked if she could bring her mare over for a week for me to "take her temperature." I was happy to oblige, so I cleaned out and cleaned up our empty stall and Dinah arrived on April 16.
The boys were very interested. Lance and Dinah are old friends and seem to remember each other; Oliver has been ridden with her once but doesn't know how to behave in polite company. He used to act quite 'studdy' when Breezy was in heat, and thinks he has what it takes to impress Dinah, too. 🤔🙄😖😆

Anyway, Dinah is still here, getting schooled six days a week. (Someone was lunging her for Kate three days a week, so she was fit enough to go back to work.) Kate is open to selling her and looking for something less energetic, so one person has come to try her out and I've sent photos and videos to a trainer friend to show to her clients. And as of this week, Kate is getting back in the saddle, too.
Mare ears and LOTS of mane!

I think Kate could handle Dinah just fine with regular riding and attention to building core strength, but Kate's husband is understandably worried about her riding at all. Why she came off on New Year's Day is a mystery; she doesn't remember Dinah acting up so there's a possibility Kate blacked out momentarily. Needless to say, her future on horseback is still uncertain, as is Dinah's departure date.

This means I'm getting LOTS of saddle time. Even though I was riding Lance pretty consistently, he's now getting 5-6 days a week, as it just makes sense to ride both horses if I'm going to 'suit up' and go to the barn. Even though the length and intensity of our rides hasn't changed, the slight increase in frequency has made a noticeable difference in Lance's fitness. Yesterday we went for a ride through the woods, and he marched up the short-but-steep hills coming home like he hasn't for a long time; yay!

The other quiet excitements of our ride yesterday:
The only native dogwood I've ever seen on our hill.
Zoomed in. Just downhill from the NE corner of our lot!
Be still my heart; we found a clump of wild iris. 😍

I think this is my favorite flower; exquisite!

Here are some April photos of Lance that I shared on Instagram.

The horses are now getting a little time each day to graze on that green grass – not just gaze at it – since it's heading out and the days are warm and dry. We have such a short window of good pasture time between when it's shooting up and loaded with fructans and when it's overly mature and infested with pokey foxtail awns. Ah well; everyone enjoys it while they can!