Speedy G after both rides. He looks quite proud of himself!
Short on time, but here's the skinny: No 65% for Intro C. Rats. Instead, we earned a very respectable 63.5%. It's hard to be upset with that score. It's a good score. I'll try for the 65% again in a few weeks.
On the other hand, the 72.5% that we earned at Intro B is pretty awesome! What? Yep. You read that right. Let me say it again in case you missed it - 72.5%. At a three-star event no less. I haven't seen the overall scores for the entire show, but it certainly seems like a stand-out score to me. I said in yesterday's post that I thought we were ready to move up to Training Level 1. This score seems to confirm that. I think we're done with Intro B. Hello, T1. I am looking forward to meeting you!
More tomorrow ...
This is our second-to-the-last show for 2011. I've already sent in my entry for the local MARE show, a one-star event, being held on November 12. I am looking forward to that show because it's on the Saturday of a three-day weekend. Although I know it's not a holiday for everyone, I have Veteran's Day off. Shows are much easier when there is an extra day off to prepare or an extra day to recover.
There is a schooling show up north in December, Toys for Tots, but I've decided that a winter show so far from home isn't fun. I went last year with Taz's mom, and while it was fun, we had to leave the barn before dawn and then battled wet windy, weather the whole day. I think I'll skip it this year.
Today Speedy G and I are heading two and a half hours north to Clovis for a three-star dressage show, Dressage in the Valley III. I am still competing Intro B & C, but I really think this will be our last Intro B class. I think we're ready for Intro C and Training Level 1. If we can just get a buck free canter that is also fairly connected, I'll be thrilled.
Please wish us well. I am really keeping focused on earning that 65%!
This is part of an ongoing series of posts about trailering. If you're an old hand at hauling horses, please chime in!
Here is another safety feature that you might not have thought of to include, or do, when hauling your own horse.
I've already blogged about the Blocker Tie Ring here
, but it's an item worth mentioning again, especially as it has to do with trailering safety.
Each of the three stalls of my trailer has a Blocker Tie Ring hanging in it. Every horse that gets in my trailer gets "tied" this way. In the event that I was to have an accident, or a horse was to panic in the trailer, the tie ring will release the rope, freeing the horse.
With the quick snap attached, it is also very simple to un-loop the rope, unsnap the tie ring, and re-attach it to the trailer's outside tie hooks. Now my horses are as safe inside the trailer as out.
Ted Blocker, the inventor of the Blocker Tie Ring, has a a great website that explains how the Blocker Tie Ring works. Since he's done such a great job explaining how it works, you can read his explanation here
. He also has some great videos that show the tie ring in operation. Catch those here
I really can't say enough about this device. I know there are similar products on the market, but this one truly does what it says. I own four of them and feel that they are the absolute best way to "tie" a horse. Trailering is inherently dangerous for our horses. A lot can go wrong. Anything we can do to make their journey safer seems like an obvious choice.Safety Tip #4: Use a Blocker Tie Ring
I really love it when a blogging friend starts my mental wheels rolling. Val, who writes Memoirs of a Horse Girl
, asked about the California Dressage Society. Val lives in New Jersey. I sort of assumed that each state had its own dressage society. In my little world, it just made sense that there was one national dressage body and a neat little group of 50 state societies. Nope. That's not how it works. Thanks to Val, I was forced to do a little research and now know how the USDF recognizes local affiliates. Now That's a Trot
also chimed in and reported that some of the GMOs (more about that down below) do more than just dressage, like eventing for example. If you belong to a dressage club that does more than dressage, please share!
Let's start with USEF
- the United States Equestrian Federation. USEF, started in 1917, is the national governing body for equestrian sports here in the USA. The USEF trains, selects, and funds our United States Equestrian Team and also licenses equestrian competitions of all levels across the United States each year.
But what does USEF have to do with showing dressage? Competitors who wish to make it into the elite ranks must abide by all of USEF's rules. That means that if you hope to ride in the WEG, Pan-American Games, or the Olympics, you have to participate in events that are recognized by the USEF. Even if you don't plan on making any of these elite teams, others hope to, so even at the most beginner level shows, USEF's rules and expectations can be felt.
So on to the USDF
- United States Dressage Federation, the only US national dressage membership organization. USDF's website states, Dedicated to education, the recognition of achievement and promotion of dressage, USDF is [an] organization with more than 30 different educational programs, 125 affiliate local or regional clubs and more than 2000 annual awards for excellence in competition. The national levels, Training Level through Fourth Level, are governed by the United States Equestrian Federation. The international levels are governed by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).USDF has approximately 125 local affiliates. These affiliate clubs are called Group Member Organizations (GMOs). By joining your local GMO, you automatically become a Group Member of USDF. Find your nearest GMO here. There are four different types of membership: Participating, Education, Group, and Business. Since each membership is slightly different, USDF recommends that you read about each membership carefully before joining.
USDF has ten regions: numbers 1 - 9 are national, and the 10th is international. Since I live in California, I belong to region 7. My GMO is the California Dressage Society (CDS).
There are are least four types of dressage shows in California. The first are simple schooling shows. Any type of judge may be used, even "L Graduates" from the USDF Education Program (not yet USEF licensed judges). Schooling shows can be quite formal and generally look and feel like a rated show. The exception is that riders can wear polos, times may run a bit wonky, and the general atmosphere is usually more relaxed. Many CDS chapters even put on non-rated series of schooling shows that have year end awards and prizes.
The next level of show in California is a CDS rated show. One-star shows, as they are called here, follow all USEF rules, but points are only earned for CDS championships or the Regional Adult Amateur Competition. One-star shows will have a licensed USEF judge, although they are frequently the lower level judges.
The third type of show in California is referred to as a three-star event, recognized by CDS, USDF, and USEF. These show usually have higher level judges and will often times attract more accomplished riders. Points are earned for national level awards as well as state awards.
The final type of show seen in California, or least the only other kind that I am aware of, are the CDI shows: Concours Dressage International, a dressage competition recognized by the FEI. CDI-W have World Cup qualifying or World Cup classes, while CDI-O have Olympic qualifying or Olympic classes. These are way, way, out of my league of course, but it's good to know what they are.
I haven't really cared how the shows are rated. There aren't very many shows close to me so I just go to whatever fits my schedule, whatever the rating. I've done a handful of schooling shows, a bigger number of one-star shows, and a few triple-rated shows. On Sunday I'm competing at a three-star event that is two and half hours north. I am not fazed by the recognition. I just want to show! In two weeks I plan to attend a local show that is another one-star event. Now that I hope to earn a CDS plate, schooling shows have lost their appeal, but this isn't a big deal since the only schooling shows I've found are more than two hours away.
So, still alphabet soup, or are things a little more clear?
Each ribbon has been important!
Tiny edit ... Mary pointed out that the RAAC is actually a competition, not a championship. I've made the change down below.
I don't need an atta-girl
for every little thing I do, but I will admit that I like earning ribbons at shows. And year-end awards, no matter how small, mean something to me. I work pretty hard to improve my riding and a small token acknowledging that is appreciated.
Did you know that a certificate is earned by California Dressage Society
members who achieve scores of 60% or better at Introductory C Level or above in a single show season? Hey! That's me. I think I'm getting a certificate!
I have three scores of 60% or higher for this show season (October 1 - October 1). This season I showed at five rated shows, one schooling show, and the October Ride-a-Test. My Intro C scores for the rated shows were 54.500%, 60.500%
, 57.500%, 62.000%
, and 65.500%.
An engraved plate is awarded the first time a member earns five (5) or more scores of 60% or better at Introductory C Level or above in a single show season. Recipients will continue to receive plates every year thereafter. The plate is engraved with the horse's name, level of competition and number of scores. Can someone explain this though? Once you earn the first plate, do you have to continue earning five scores each year to earn the next plate, or do you just need one score of 60% or better? Either way, the 2012 show season has begun and my goal is to earn a plate. My first opportunity will be at the Clovis show at the end of this month, and I'll have a second chance two weeks later at the show here in Bakersfield over Veteran's Day weekend. Slightly off the subject here ... While I am not 100% sure, I am pretty sure that the above 65.500% is a qualifying score for the 2012
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC). CDS doesn't have the date for when the 2012 qualifying seasons opens, but last year qualifying opened on September 2, 2010. My score was earned on September 25, 2011 so I hope it falls within the qualifying window. If so, I only need one more score to qualify for next fall's RAAC. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get the second score in Clovis or here in Bakersfield.
It's not that a certificate for Introductory C is any big deal, but I am extremely goal oriented. I need something
to work toward. The American Endurance Ride Conference
has a well-established award system. It's not fancy, but it's a way to track your success. The top riders, both of whom I had the pleasure to ride with, have over 60,000 race miles. Yes, I typed that correctly. Over 60,000! My final mileage was 3,585. Not even close, but it didn't matter because AERC awarded me with a token of recognition each time I
reached a new plateau.
For beginning riders, each 250 miles is awarded a chevron patch, much like CDS's certificate for Introductory C. Once a rider reaches 1,000 miles, chevrons are awarded each 1,000 miles thereafter. If you click on the picture, you'll see that there is a space for my 4,000th mile patch. I was short just 415 miles and while they don't seem like much, it turned out to be more difficult to ride them than to write about them. I will always be a bit sad that I never filled the space.
AERC also honored our horses with medals each time they reached a 1,000 mile plateau. Montoya DSA earned 2 medals and was only 250 miles short of her third before passing in 2010.
AERC's chevrons and medals were just small tokens, but for a goal-oriented rider, they provided a validation of the effort that I put in week after week, year after year. If CDS does send me a certificate for this year's mini accomplishment, I will proudly display it on the wall next to my AERC chevrons and Montoya's medals. And if I do earn that plate for 2012? You'll see it hanging on my wall next fall as well!
I hope so anyway ... A few bits of this and that -
- I rode Speedy around the neighborhood on Monday. Other than getting a bit jacked up, which I was actually glad to see, he seemed very healthy. There was no coughing and no snot. I turned him out on Tuesday evening and enjoyed his very entertaining, and cough and booger free, antics.
- Speedy is continuing the 8-day course of antibiotics which has added an extra level of barn work for both RM, who GRACIOUSLY offered to do the morning dose, and me. We dissolve 12 tablets in water to create a paste which is then mixed into a handful of grain with a dollop of molasses added to create some yumminess for the paste. The whole thing is dumped onto a thin layer of rice bran pellets which encourage a licking-up of the last few grains of the whole sticky mess. I am very fortunate that Speedy LOVES food and will eat any medication without the need for syringing.
- Since all went well on Monday's ride, he should get to do today's lesson.
- Show times for Sunday's dressage show in Clovis have been posted. We're riding Intro B & C at Dressage in the Valley III, a triple-rated show (CDS/USDF/USEF). My Intro B class is at 1:06 and has only one other rider in the class, a Junior/Young Rider. I ride the Into C test at 1:47, and I am the only entry. Yeah?! I guess I'll earn a blue ribbon, but what I really want is a 65%. I promise to let you know.
- Sydney has not been forgotten. During his turn out on Tuesday he let loose a powerful buck that clipped the fence and tore out a chunk. Oops. I had to report the mess to RM who was again, very gracious, about the whole thing. She simply asked if I wouldn't mind helping her with the repair job. Well of course I will. If my horse damages the property, I feel it is my obligation to pay for it or at least assist in the repairs. So now we have that job to tackle in the next week. Barn chores are never done, are they?
- The most exciting news ... while riding around the neighborhood on Monday, I met the neighbor across the way from JL's barn. The neighbor, TB, has a dressage court! Plans are in the works. I'll post more when things are finalized.
It's only Wednesday morning, very early morning, and I am already griping about the length of the week. Lots going on at work, but I am determined to suck it up and not let it interfere with tonight's lesson, or this weekend's show.
A joke went around on Facebook a few weeks ago: After Tuesday, even the calendar says W-Th-F! Kind of my sentiments for the morning.
Grrr ... maybe it's better not to ride after a long work week, and an equally long horse week. Dealing with the regular stresses of life and then having Speedy's hospital visit to deal with sort of wore me out. I am not so much physically tired as I am mentally fatigued. Even so, horses must be ridden.
It seemed a good motivator to set up the camera to video my ride on Sunday. We've made so much progress that I wanted to see it for myself. Twenty-four minutes into the ride, I got off and turned the camera off in disgust. I didn't have to see it to know that was ugly footage.
Sydney simply would not maintain a steady rhythm. He would not soften or bend his neck. In fact, he wouldn't do much of anything. I tried every trick I could think of. He was simply heavy and ploddy up front and my aids were completely ineffective. All of this my fault. I know that. I just couldn't seem to get myself together.
With the camera turned off, I regained my motivation and decided to really take hold of Sydney and put his butt to work. I shortened my reins, which I had been trying to do for close to half an hour, but this time, I held onto them. I put my legs firmly against Sydney's sides, and I started using my back and shoulder blades.
Viola - there it was. All of a sudden Sydney was moving forward. He started making those lovely little grunting sounds he makes when he's using his back, and the foam started building in his mouth. All it took was for me to really engage my seat and core. Once I stopped worrying about how we looked on the video, I got a much better connection. What I need to remember is to establish a rhythm, shorten my reins, and use my core and back. It sounds so simple...
A week ago Saturday, RM and I headed out for a walk around the neighborhood. Since these properties are several acres in size, it doesn't really look like your typical neighborhood. We enjoyed an hour of October sunshine under a brilliant blue sky. It's still in the mid-80s here, but at least our mornings have begun to cool.
Bounder and Speedy G enjoyed leaving the arena for a walk "on the buckle". We even stopped at a row of apple trees and picked a snack for everybody. The ponies really seemed to enjoy the unexpected treat. Here's a clip from our first few minutes out. Enjoy!
Woohoo! He made it home on Saturday afternoon as planned. I would like to say, just for the record, that I had a bunch of other blog posts ready for this weekend and I really wish I could have stuck to those topics instead of this one. Speedy's treatment is listed below the photos. Again, thanks for the well wishes!
Speedy G's paddock at Bakersfield Vet Hospital. The light poles in the background belong to the neighbor, the Honda dealership!
The hospital's treatment bay is the tan building on the right.
Speedy G was discharged from the vet hospital at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The diagnosis? Unclear. Best guess? Upper respiratory infection. Since his blood work came back with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, Dr. B just couldn't say if he had a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Even though he was released, she asked me to watch him closely as something may still surface. I am to administer twelve tablets twice daily of the antibiotic SMZ-TMP for the next 8 days.
He has been cleared for a light walking ride on Sunday and if no symptoms return and he remains cough and booger free, he can go to my Wednesday evening lesson and the Clovis show on Sunday. As of Saturday afternoon his nose was clear, there has been no cough since Thursday night, and he is quite the perky fellow.
So here is a detailed list of his treatment:
- Farm Call & Emergency Service
- Physical exam
- IV Medication - Gentocin (antibiotic)
- IV Medication - Banamine (pain relief)
- IM Medication - Penicillin (antibiotic)
- Blood Collection
- CBC-HG-FIB (blood work)
- Chem Panel (blood work)
- Two Night Paddock Board
- Hospital Care/Treatment
- IM Medication - 60 cc Penicillin G Procaine (antibiotic)
- IV Medication - 60 cc Gentocin (antibiotic)
- 2 Bottles SMZ-TMP Tablets (oral antibiotic)
- and just because we were there ... Eggs per Gram Fecal Counts for both boys
- and just because it was a convenient buy ... BVH's own thrush medication
So what does excellent vet care and piece of mind cost these days? $919.25 - not cheap, but Speedy G is well worth it. Let's just say I am not buying any new breeches, saddle pads, bridles, lead ropes, or other cool gizmos for a while.Welcome home, Speedy G!
After a busy workday, I saw Speedy G at Bakersfield Vet Hospital on Friday. Sorry, no photos. When I arrived, Dr. B and I went to his stall and watched him acting like his regular, goofy self. Even though he looked great, Dr. B wanted to continue the injectable antibiotics and even administered another IM dose of Banamine. Her concern is that his "bug" might reappear given the every-other-day nature of his illness. I agreed.
Dr. B reported that when she arrived at the hospital on Friday morning, she was quite surprised to see how perky he was and that he had finished his dinner. She was even more baffled when all of his blood work came back in the normal range. Every parameter was normal: his white blood cell count was dead on with nothing even slightly elevated, his pulse and respiration were back to normal, and his fever was gone. In fact his temperature had dropped below 100, a very good sign. His nose looked really clean and he hadn't coughed. For a horse who had presented such obvious symptoms of disease the night before, he looked as though nothing had been amiss.
So what does he have? She doesn't exactly know. She's calling it an upper respiratory infection for now. Since his blood work was clean, it wasn't clear whether it is/was viral or bacterial. Just to be safe, he'll get another dose of antibiotics injected via IM on Saturday morning. And since he's there, we're going to go ahead and do his fall fecal count. I had wanted to wait until mid-November, but I might as well save myself a trip. I'll bring in a Sydney sample later in the day when I am there.
So the plan is that Speedy G gets to come home on Saturday afternoon. He'll continue with oral antibiotics for 7 - 10 days. I certainly hope he looks good for Dr. B this morning when she sees him. I'll let you know if he makes it home today. Speedy G says thanks for the many well wishes - they must have worked!