I actually have a wi-fi connection so I thought I'd do a quick update. We made it to Santa Barbara safely - whew! After getting Speedy G situated, I found my parking spot, ate my mac-n-cheese and then walked back down to check on him.
Sunset at the beach ...
I love junk food at a show - it's the only time I eat mac-n-cheese! And gotta have the wine.
Speedy G has a HORRIBLE neighbor, a stallion, behind him. Every time Speedy moves, the neighbor horse rears and tries to reach over the top of the partition. He also kicks the wall violently and basically scares the living crap out of my poor boy.
Speedy saw me coming down the barn aisle and just about burst out of his skin. I took him down to the lovely warm up and just let him trot and canter around me. Then we played tons of chase games, all still on the line, to burn off at least a part of his nervous energy. I put him back in his stall, which earned another uproar from nervous neighbor, and hung out for the better part of an hour.
Speedy did calm down, but I don't think he got much sleep. Here are a couple of quick photos.
Speedy looks very tense - poor guy.
He really enjoyed the run around time though.
Goofy photo, I know, but there weren't any photographers around this late!
The dressage court under the lights.
I leave this afternoon for our first two-day show. I have to admit, I am pretty excited about it. I've mentioned before how much I love horse camping. This won't be quite the same thing, but it's close. I know I'll be parked a little ways from Speedy, and I am pretty sure I won't be able to see his stall from my parking spot, but he'll be within easy walking distance.
I have everything loaded that I think I'll need: my saddle and bridle were stowed last night; shows clothes and boots are loaded; and my clothes and groceries are ready to be tossed into the living quarters. I am ready to go.
Did I mention that Hilda Gurney
is the judge for this show? She's kind of a big deal here in California, and probably elsewhere as well. It's a good thing I am not in the "know" about these things, or I might be intimidated by her success. She has three Olympic medals, including an individual gold! I watch a lot of RFDTV, and the USDF Symposiums are a regular feature. She's one of the regular clinicians that appears on the show so my impression of her has been formed by watching how she treats riders at the clinics. She's always kind, but she definitely has high expectations. I'm looking forward to reading her feedback.
My tests are memorized, as usual, and my goals are firm. I want to have fun which is always my number one goal. I want Speedy to enjoy himself. He's a pretty laid back dude and seems to like outings so I am not too worried about that. I would really like to get my second qualifying score for Intro C, a 65%. I have one already, but I need two scores of 65% to qualify for RAAC. I'll get two chances to earn it over the weekend. I would also like to get a 60% at Training One, which would also be a qualifying score. And even though I get two opportunities, the scores have to be earned under two different judges which means even if I get 60% on both days, only one of the scores would count. But that's okay. I'll take two 60% scores at T1 any day - qualifying or not!
Pray to the weather gods that blue skies prevail and that traffic heading into Los Angeles is light. I'll catch up with you on Monday. Have a great weekend!Click photos for larger views and captions ...
They're back! Well, sort of anyway. JL won't be around for next week because it's our Easter Break, and she has some vacation plans. So do we! No biggie though as we'll aim for the following Monday which is still part of our vacation week. After that, we're back on the schedule.
Speedy G and I had a great time at last night's lesson. I know Speedy did because JL kept commenting on "content" he looked. I think it was meant as a compliment!
Overall, JL was very pleased with how much we've accomplished in the last month. She really liked my new hand position (thumbs pointing to the bit), and she really liked our improved contact. Our transitions to canter were much better, and our downward transition to the trot was also improved. In fact, everything was in such great shape that we all needed to do was finesse some of those transitions in preparation for this weekend's show.
It was a confidence builder to be back in her arena without all of the scary antics that we had last time I was there. Speedy is a different horse of course, but success is success and I don't really care where the confidence building comes from. I'll take what I can get.
Yesterday morning I chucked my show clothes and dressage boots into my car with the intention of stowing them in the trailer on Tuesday afternoon. You might remember that a a few months ago I went to an event and left all of my riding attire in my car instead of loading it into the truck and trailer.
I also wanted to add my muck bucket, rolling saddle cart, shampoo bucket, and a few other odds and ends. I wish I could just remember everything that I need at one time, but alas, that's not how it works.
Show clothes and helmets stay here. Jacket, shirts, and boots get added right before the show.
I reached into my car's cubby compartment for my always present trailer keys. I reached a bit further, and then further still. Crap. No trailer keys. And equally bad, no truck keys either. I am the world's best non-panicker. If you're in a crisis, you really want to be with me. I don't panic, and I don't get hysterical. Instead, I get eerily calm. It's a little creepy actually. Someone's arm could be dangling by a thread and I'd be all, that can't be good. Is there a doctor nearby? And I would say it in a totally Stepford Wife kind of way. After the crisis is over, I usually sob and bawl and fall totally apart. During? I am your gal.
So rather than freaking out, (have I mentioned that I have a a big show this weekend and need to hit the road on Friday after work which means there's not a lot of time for screw ups?), I stood in the middle of the driveway and slowly circled around. My brain was working in overdrive - where were my keys?
Slowly, very slowly, I started to picture my keys in the bottom of a horse bucket. It was a blue bucket. A blue horse bucket in the locked tack room of my horse trailer. Bingo! As though I was Superman himself, my laser vision pierced the tack room door and clearly saw those keys inside the tack room in the bottom of the bucket. Well now, isn't that special?
My brain quickly did a rundown of all trailer entrances: tack room door, pad-locked; horse compartment door; pad-locked, camper door, locked; pass through door from the camper, locked; truck, locked. Hmm ... this kind of sucked. Still not panicking, I reasoned that my spare keys were at home, and I'd just have to load everything the next day. But no. That wasn't good enough. What if I didn't have another padlock key at home? And frankly, I couldn't even remember where the spare padlock key was, or if there even was one.
I grabbed RM's bathroom key which would get me into the house where my spare truck keys hang. Maybe the padlock key was on that ring. Half-way to her door, I stopped and realized that there was a padlock key on my car's key ring which was in my hand. I looked down. Was it the right padlock key? I had no idea. I walked over to the trailer and slid the key into the lock. Doh! What an idiot ...
Whew, that was a close one.
I bought the fourth edition.
Calm, Forward, Straight
recommended Erik Herbermann's book, Dressage Formula
, and I bought it. I don't purchase every
little thing that's suggested, especially books. There are just too many of them, and I already have a small collection, but I am really glad I bought this one. If you're interested, you can find it here
I am over half way through the book, and want to read straight through to the end, but I keep making myself stop to think about what I've read, and more importantly, go ride and practice what I've read. Chapter one focused on the rider's mental attitude: having respect for the horse and not anthropomorphizing him. Chapter two was all about seat and position. This was good to read, but nothing new jumped out at me.
Chapter three dealt with the aids. The biggest thing I got out of that chapter was an excellent description of the heavy, stiff, or 'resistant' side. Herbermann says that if the horse is heavy to the left, it is the right hind that is the horse's less preferred. In order to help the horse use both hind legs evenly he suggests several things. When riding on the difficult-to-bend side, the rider should send the horse forward with the inside leg, keep a steady and gentle contact with the outside rein, and feather the inside rein by releasing and then slowly closing the fingers back on the rein. He suggests saying twenty-one as you do so. When tracking the other direction, send the horse forward and keep the outside rein steady and the neck absolutely straight. Don't fiddle with the outside rein, but do maintain a passive contact on the inside rein.
The other tidbit I really enjoyed from that chapter was to give the aid, get a response, and then stop giving the aid
. Bingo! Herbermann is big on letting the horse do his job. We shouldn't go around carrying the horse by doing his job for him. I have a tendency to nag. No more!
And then I got to Chapter 4. If you zip on over to your local Barns & Noble
to have a peek at this book and you start reading some of it but you don't plan to actually buy it, READ CHAPTER 4! I wish I could just scan the chapter and let you read it. The chapter is called, "Working the Horse." It's basically a color by numbers explanation of exactly how to ride correctly. And for a lower level rider like myself, the advice has been perfectly expressed!
The first part that hit home was his description of the three principles of riding: calm, forward, and straight. The forward part really made sense. He says that when a horse is forward, the horse uses more energy than what is needed to get from one point to the next. Through the rider's influences, this excess energy is converted into rhythm. Rushing on the other hand is unbalanced and indicates fear or tension. Lazy movement indicates that the horse is on the forehand and isn't active behind.
The next part that gave me a total AHA! was the section on framing the horse. I've heard that term so many times, and it always sounds like a front to back description: Squeeze the horse forward, establish a wall in front with the bit, send the energy back through the rein.
In Herbermann's world, the "frame" is on both sides
of the horse! The left seat bone, leg, and rein contain the left side of the horse, and the right seat bone, leg, and rein contain the right side of the horse like two riverbanks through which the horse is allowed to flow forward. When the horse is forward and the riverbanks (the seat bone, leg, and rein) waterproof, the energy will be prevented from leaking out laterally. This "frames" the horse!
I've been working Sydney (and Speedy, too) with these images in mind. We're definitely making progress. Sydney goes back for lessons next week. We have returned to the pre-rearing and pre-bolting stage which is a good thing
. We're now calm and relaxed, but we need to get softer and work better over the top line. I'll keep you posted!
My barn is just beyond those trees ...
I did make it out to the barn yesterday afternoon, but not to ride. I waited all morning for the rain to pass, but unlike most of this year's weather, the rain held steady all day. By evening, it was coming down in buckets. We had over a quarter of an inch. It was very welcome.
When I arrived at the barn, all of the horses were standing inside munching hay. I cleaned stalls, added more pine pellets, threw a bit more hay, and fed both of my boys their beet pulp/rice bran yummies. I ride almost seven days a week, so frankly, a day away from the barn was a welcome break. I did gather one or two more items that I'll need for this coming weekend's show and set them aside to load in the trailer. I am sure the pile will grow through the week.
Hubby checked the weekend weather forecast for the Santa Barbara area, and it looks perfect - mid 60s with sunshine. I actually have a dentist appointment on Monday so the boys will have to do without my fussing for one more day. But Tuesday, it's back to the regular routine!
Bakersfield's season total stands at 3.00 inches. Yes, you read that correctly. We've had only three inches of rain this winter. And the odd thing is that nearly two of those inches came during October and November and the final inch came last weekend on the day before the official start of spring. I don't think it rained any measurable amount during the actual official winter months. It's raining today. It's just a drizzle right now, but more is predicted.
Rainy days are great for busy boarders because they give you (me) time to clean tack, groom without feeling rushed, and then still have time to take care of your other life. The life where laundry needs folding, groceries need to be purchased, and other errands accomplished. I have a lesson at 1:00 today, the first one in nearly a month
, but I am fine with having a rainy day instead. Since rain was predicted, yesterday I packed nearly everything I might need for next weekend's show. I have a few things yet to gather, (braiding materials, people food, and chains and hooks) but I am pretty ready to head out of town. And as a bonus, ride times have been tentatively posted. I feel lucky since my Saturday times are after lunch. Now I don't have to figure out how to bathe and braid at 6:00 a.m. I'll be able to get Speedy G cleaned up and braided without having to rush. I might even get to eat a meal or two before showing instead of starving like I usually do. Sunday's times are also a bit late which means that I'll get home later than planned, but it's okay since I have the whole next week off!
Packing up for the show ... Click photos for captions and larger views.
Or less if you're a fast feeder! I really needed to write about something less serious
. Lately, it seems as though that's all
I write about. I mean, really, weeks
of fear and the dentist? Sheesh. Get a life, eh? Although it is funny how those two things do go together.
If you scroll down, way down
, you can check out this blog's "Live Traffic Feed." If you click on the Real-time view at the bottom of the chart, it will take you to a page that shows where some of the blog traffic comes from. Even though I've found that it's not 100% accurate, it is still interesting. I check it everyday to see where readers come from. I get no end of enjoyment from discovering where readers live. I frequently yell out to Hubby, who could really give a rat's behind as he isn't a regular reader of the blog which is a completely new topic, Guess what? Someone from
insert city, state, country read my blog!
This fantastic news is usually met with silence since he might have already left the room, or it might warrant a grunt if he is still in the room watching insert whichever sporting event
. Not to say that he doesn't love me enormously, he just can't see the attraction to reading
about riding. Riding is boring enough. Why would anyone want to read about it?
We all know that anything horse related is extremely interesting, even when done by a wanna be writer!
Even though I get no response to my amazing announcement, I continue on cheerfully as though he has been wowed by the news. Can you believe it? We were just there!
Even it was 20 years ago, which is what I love the most about those who stumble on my little literary endeavor. I might
have met you before! So, I would like to give a shout out to all the folks who come from places I know.
If you live in Kern County
, and especially Bakersfield
, thanks for visiting since I probably do
know you and you've likely heard all of this before and yet you read anyway, thanks! And if I don't already know you, I'd love to meet you.
To all the Humboldt County
readers: My step mom probably shared some little bit with you and then maybe you came back for more - thank you!
To all the Chico
readers: both Hubby and I graduated from CSUC in 1993 - we LOVED Chico!
To all the readers in Great Britain
: Hubby and I visited this past summer and adored your island. I even squeezed in a ride near Inverness, Scotland.
To all the readers in Ireland
: I spent a week riding near Galway and had the time of my life. You have a beautiful country!
To all the readers in Washington
: a few summers ago, Hubby and I drove the western states (including Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada). We loved Washington and put it on our list of states that we might like to move to.
We also loved Oregon
which is where my mom lives. If you found this blog because my mom made you read it, thank you, too!
Hubby's parents live in Idaho
, but if you're reading from that beautiful state, I know you found me some other way as they're not internet regulars. Maybe we'll run into each other someday. Utah
? Very interesting places to visit, especially the Great Salt Lake and Hoover Dam, but I probably didn't meet you while we were there. You guys have a lot of empty space!
To those readers in New Zealand
: Sydney's homeland is on our short list of places to visit. We're coming and thanks to Kelly
, we've already seen how beautiful your island is!
I write this blog because I like to write about riding and horses, and if no one read, I would still write. But since you do take the time to read, I'd like to know more about you. Knowing where you live, and not in a creepy stalker sort of way, is interesting. I've "met" many of you through your own blogs and Facebook and genuinely enjoy reading about you and your own horses. So, if you have a second, share a bit about your horses.
Along with his colleague, Laura Blanton, DVM, and their sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim, John Tolley, DVM presented the following text at the Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital Client Seminar held on March 15, 2012. Each year, BVH hosts a seminar to focus on an aspect of equine health care. This year’s topics were “Routine Dental Care is Essential to Your Horse’s Health” and "Care and Feeding of the Older Horse.” Part 1 Part 2 FLOATING & PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
An oral examination should be an essential part of an annual physical examination by a veterinarian. Every dental exam provides the opportunity to perform routine preventative dental maintenance. The end result is a healthier, more comfortable horse.
Routine maintenance of a horse's teeth has been historically referred to as "floating." Floating removes the sharp enamel points. Occlusal equilibration is the term now used to describe smoothing enamel points, correcting malocclusion, balancing the dental arcades and correcting other dental problems listed under "Common Dental Problems." A complete oral examination should precede any dental procedures.
When turned out on pasture, horses graze almost continuously, picking up dirt and grit in the process. This, plus the silicate in grass, wears down the teeth. Stabled horses, however, may not give their teeth the same workout. Feedings are more apt to be scheduled, not continuous, and include processed grains and hays. Softer feeds require less chewing. This may allow the horse's teeth to become excessively long or to wear unevenly. Adult teeth erupt throughout life and are worn down by chewing.
Because the horse's lower rows of cheek teeth are closer together than the upper rows of cheek teeth and the horse chews with a sideways motion, sharp points form along the edges of the cheek teeth. Points form on the outside (cheek side) of the upper teeth and tongue side of the lower teeth. These points should be smoothed to prevent damage and ulceration of the cheeks and tongue.
Routine examination and correction is especially important in horses that are missing teeth or whose teeth are not wearing properly because of misalignment. For example, if the front or last cheek teeth are out of alignment, hooks can form. Untreated, these hooks can become long or sharp enough to damage soft tissue. Short hooks or other malocclusions may be corrected with hand instruments. Tall malocclusions may be corrected with motorized instruments. Motorized instruments have replaced molar cutters and chisels because there is less chance of tooth damage. Tall malocclusions may require several treatments spread over 12 to 18 months.Click photos for larger views and captions.
THE AGE FACTOR
The age of a horse affects the degree of attention and frequency of dental care required. Consider these points:
DEVELOPING GREATER AWARENESS
- Foals should be examined shortly after birth and periodically during the first year to diagnose and correct congenital dental abnormalities (existing from birth).
- Yearlings have been found to have enamel points sharp enough to damage cheek and tongue tissue. Floating will make them more comfortable.
- Horses going into training for the first time, especially 2- and 3-year-olds, need a comprehensive dental check-up. Teeth should be floated to remove any sharp points and checked for retained caps. Caps should be removed if they have not been shed. This should be done before training begins to prevent training problems related to sharp teeth.
- Horses aged 2 to 5 years may require more frequent dental exams than older horses. Deciduous teeth tend to be softer than permanent teeth and may develop sharp enamel points more quickly Also, there is an extraordinary amount of dental maturation during this period. Twenty-four teeth will be shed and replaced by 36 to 40 adult teeth. To prevent maleruption problems, twice-a-year examinations are appropriate for young horses from birth to 5 years of age.
- Mature horses should get a thorough dental examination at least annually to maintain correct dental alignment and to diagnose dental problems as early as possible.
- Senior horses (17 years old or older) are at increased risk for developing periodontal disease. This painful disease must be diagnosed early for a successful treatment. Also, it is important to maintain a correct bite plane during a horse's teens in order to ensure a functional grinding surface beyond 20 years of age. Beyond the age of 20, the tooth surfaces may be worn excessively and/or unevenly, and dental alignment correction may be impossible.
- Horses over 20 years of age should receive a dental evaluation and nutritional counseling at least annually to maintain their conditioning and quality of life. With routine dental care, many horses will maintain a functional dentition into their third and fourth decades of life.
- If a horse starts behaving abnormally, dental problems should be considered as a potential cause.
- Abnormalities should be corrected and teeth should be floated and maintained as indicated.
- Wolf teeth are routinely extracted from performance horses to prevent interference with the bit and its associated pain.
- Sedatives, local anesthetics, and analgesics can relax the horse and keep it more comfortable during floating and other dental procedures. Such drugs should be administered only by a veterinarian.
- Most equine dental procedures, including basic floating, irreversibly change the horse's teeth and therefore are most appropriately performed by a veterinarian.
- If your equine practitioner finds a loose tooth, he or she may extract it. This may reduce the chance of infection or other problems.
- Canine teeth, usually present in mature geldings and stallions, may be rounded and smoothed. This procedure is performed to prevent interference with the bit and to reduce the possibility of injury to the horse, the handler and other horses pastured or stabled with the horse.
- Depending upon the condition of your horse's teeth, more than one visit from your equine practitioner may be required to get the mouth in prime working order.
- It is important to catch dental problems early. Waiting too long may increase the difficulty of correcting certain conditions or may even make correction impossible.
For more information, visit the American Association of Equine Practitioners
. This is a great website for all things concerning equine health.
Along with his colleague, Laura Blanton, DVM, and their sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim, John Tolley, DVM presented the following text at the Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital Client Seminar held on March 15, 2012. Each year, BVH hosts a seminar to focus on an aspect of equine health care. This year’s topics were “Routine Dental Care is Essential to Your Horse’s Health” and "Care and Feeding of the Older Horse.” Part 1 COMMON DENTAL PROBLEMS
Horses may suffer from many dental problems. The most common include:
RECOGNIZING DENTAL PROBLEMS
- Sharp enamel points forming on cheek teeth, causing lacerations of cheeks and tongue
- Retained caps (deciduous teeth that are not shed)
- Discomfort caused by bit contact with the wolf teeth
- Hooks forming on the upper and lower cheek teeth
- Long and/or sharp canine (bridle) teeth interfering with the insertion or removal of the bit
- Lost and/or broken teeth
- Abnormal or uneven bite planes
- Excessively worn teeth
- Abnormally long teeth
- Infected teeth and/or gums
- Misalignment/poor apposition (can be due to congenital defects or injury)
- Periodontal (gum) disease
Horses with dental problems may show obvious signs, such as pain or irritation, or they may show no noticeable signs at all. That is due to the fact that some horses simply adapt to their discomfort. For this reason, periodic dental examinations are essential. Indicators of dental problems include:
- Loss of feed from mouth while eating, difficulty with chewing, or excessive salivation
- Loss of body condition
- Large or undigested feed particles (long stems or whole grain) in manure
- Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit, or resisting bridling
- Poor performance, such as lugging on the bridle, failing to turn or stop, even bucking
- Foul odor from mouth or nostrils, or traces of blood from the mouth
- Nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw, or mouth tissues
Oral exams should be an essential part of an annual physical examination by a veterinarian. Every dental exam provides the opportunity to perform routine preventative dental maintenance. The end result is a healthier, more comfortable horse. MORE SERIOUS DENTAL AILMENTS
Serious dental conditions can develop, such as infections of the teeth and gums, extremely long hooks or overgrowths on the cheek teeth, and lost or fractured teeth. These conditions may require advanced dental care and/or extraction by a qualified veterinarian. Your equine practitioner can recommend the best treatment or refer your horse to a dental specialist if indicated.Click photos for larger views and caption.