Cloud's Honor Racing

Cloud's Honor Racing
www.GoodHorse.org

Cloud's Honor Riding

Cloud's Honor Riding
www.LeightonFarm.com

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Everything Costs $$

I talked in length with Dr. Carol about Graycie yesterday and she suggested a plan of attack, although she said the money I could throw at this is endless. Anyway, she told me to start with simple flexion. She wasn't crazy about the EPM theory, especially in light of the nature of her disobedience. Meaning, Graycie's attacks are awfully coordinated in nature. Coupled with the fact that EPM tends to be a farm problem and I have no other cases here. Not that it couldn't be the problem, just not the most likely one.


So I did the flexions yesterday and at least where her joints are concerned, Graycie is the soundest horse to ever walk this earth. Perfect rhythm and movement. Poetry in motion, a pleasure to watch. I should have felt better, and I do in a way, but what is it that is bothering her?


I already had the saddle fitter out to check her saddle. Her back still could bother her, but unlikely as well. Now I'm on to the Lymes disease theory. Neurological, but not necessarily causing lameness. There's a test and I'm going to have it done. More money....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Goal

Yesterday, I reached my goal of posting without stirrups for thirty minutes. I actually felt I could have done it the day I achieved twenty minutes, but was afraid I wouldn't be able to walk the next day. Conditioning oneself is interesting. For two months I wondered if I would make it to ten minutes and then it was literally like one day I could go as long as I please. Of course, I don't think I need to do past thirty minutes, unless Jimmy tells me otherwise. I really hope he doesn't.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Happened To Graycie?

I haven't been talking about Graycie lately because I just couldn't. Her love of dressage and being ridden, progressively turned into hatred. It started about two months ago and I still don't have the answer, but I feel I'm getting close. I am sure something is bothering her a lot. The problem with diagnosing this mare is she is as tough as they come. Even though she is a b**ch, she has always done everything I asked of her. She's done it to the best of her ablility, but not without making her opinions clear to me.
It started out as resistance and turned into exercises to improve my seat. Put another way, the fact that I could stay on her while she had the tantrums was a miracle. My seat is definitely better now. I should inject that I can ride any movement in an exercise saddle, but in a dressage saddle I feel defenseless. What was she doing? Well, she was running off for a while. Not far, but it got me good. She was tough as a race horse, but never ran off. I figured she was getting bored so I started doing some cross country hacks which weren't the most fun I've ever had, but they seemed in the beginning to help.
She was good in her lessons with Elizabeth when the problem first started, but I did tell Elizabeth about the running off. Finally, one lesson about a month ago she did it when I asked for the canter. I have to inject, running off doesn't make me that upset. I've galloped race horses for 20+ years. Being run off with is far from the worst thing that can happen. They always stop. It's the fact that Graycie was telling me something important and I was missing it. By now she and I were both frustrated. By the way, when Graycie ran off with me in the lesson, Elizabeth looked me square in the eye and asked me what I thought I did to cause her to do that. I thought to myself, "I left my exercise saddle at home". She is right though, my canter transitions need a ton of work and Graycie knows it.
Running off wasn't getting the results Graycie wanted. I was getting great at dealing with it so naturally she came up with another way to communicate her concerns to me. Something she had done as a race horse, but now, with all that gymnast type muscle she's developed as a dressage horse, she was much more athletic about it. I should mention here that Graycie does warn me before she lets me have it. She makes a eee, eee, eee noise and about five to ten minutes later she lets me have it. The new behavior? Straight up in the air, come down peg leg, move right, then maybe back in the air, come down peg leg, move left. She is quite an amazing athlete because she can do this five or six times. In the beginning it got me loose, but I can't tell you how much it has improved my seat. I can only think if she really wanted me off, I'd have come off, but I didn't even when I wished I would.
What was I doing all this time? I had her teeth checked, she did have a couple sharp ones so I was hoping that was the problem. Got on her after a week off and no luck. So I thought, she doesn't trust the bit anymore, I got a Nathe. No luck. My vets suggested I give her Regumate and bute for a week and see what happens. I got on her yesterday and no luck. I am certain though that the problem is to right side. In a way it's getting worse with time off. I'm starting to consider neurological issues. EPM?? I have great vets and we're going to have a pow wow about this today. I had planned to give Graycie off the winter regardless, but I need to get a handle on this problem first. She is so tough, that's why this is so difficult to diagnose, but she's my girl and we'll figure this out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twenty Minutes!!

One great thing about posting without stirrups for twenty minutes is it makes ten minutes seem easy. Today I finally graduated to twenty minutes and my form is good. That's two thirds of the way to my goal of thirty minutes. Of course, Bear deserves a medal. While I have my third arm out patting myself on the back I should give Bear his fair share of accolades. He is trotting around the farm for fifty minutes with a five minute break between two point and posting without stirrups. What a good horse. I couldn't do it without him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Been A While Since I Checked In

I am up to 30 minutes per day of unsupported two point going cross country on my farm. Poor Bear, he hates it and to make things interesting he does the disappearing head trick. The great news is I can stay in two point and get his head up. My position has changed a lot. I feel stable, but I've also realized how uneven I am, both in the weight I have in each stirrup and the way I use each leg. This exercise is extremely valuable in propagating equal use of my body.
I'm still at 10 minutes of posting without stirrups, but the quality of my position is drastically improving, making it a much more demanding 10 minutes. I plan to expand to 15 when my left leg is doing half the work. As it stands my right leg is stronger than my left.
I've been the luckiest person in the world. I've gotten two lessons with Jimmy since the clinic and I'm becoming much more aware of the finesse my Bird requires of me. I feel great about the improvement I'm making and I'm motivated to keep on. It makes all the torture worth it. In fact, I can't wait to ride every day. I am so excited about what I'll learn today. It's like being handed a gift you get to open every day.
I've been going to Sharon White's for the lessons and it is striking how light and supple she is while riding. Horses are so comfortable with her. I feel like I ride like I'm driving a Mack truck. This is good to know because now I'm very aware of every move I make and how I make it. This will be good for Birdie, actually it will be good for all my horses.