From Endurance to Dressage
Bored yet? If you are just joining me, the Fluphenazine story has created somewhat of a stir. Not that I want to over-exaggerate the response. Somewhat might be too strong of a word! To read the first two posts, scroll down to find the By Topic area and click on the word Fluphenazine. That should get you caught up.
So how are things going? Well, I rode on Saturday morning with no Acepromazine and just two day's worth of the Fluphenazine. I am not sure it's completely active or not.
You know, maybe you need some more information first. I am not sure I've been really clear about how and when Sydney is anxious. Here's when he's NOT ever anxious: in his stall, in any barn-like area, at the vet hospital, in the cross ties being groomed, being saddled, having syringes put in his mouth, hand walking on the property, loading in the trailer, attempting to walk into the tack room because the cookie container lid was left open, standing in the wash rack, being tied to Speedy's stall while Speedy tries to bite his ears. Getting the picture? This is not a nervous horse. Sydney is very friendly and he's personable. He recently learned how to gently tug my jacket/vest zipper down. He loves to nibble my palms and sleeves - it's how he begs for treats.
Okaaaaay ... so when is he nervous? Where's the anxiety issue? Sydney gets anxious when he's alone and away from other horses. I have ridden around the neighborhood a few times. Sometimes he is really good, other times he gets very agitated. Most of the time he is well behaved during lessons at JL's, but other times he gets very agitated. In our home arena, he gets very agitated when I ride in the corner farthest from the barn. He's definitely agitated if I am nervous. There's no mystery there! In each of these instances, the melt downs will happen in places that he's been before, but he finds something upsetting. Sometimes it's the sprinklers, a loud car, a banging sound, or even nothing obvious to me, unless it is me.
So what does Sydney do that shows he's anxious, nervous or agitated? The first thing he does is stiffen his neck, but that's common in all tense horses. After that, he squeals, wrings his neck, and bolts sideways. If those maneuvers don't solve his problem, he pops up slightly, hops, and bolts again.
When I rode on Saturday morning, he tried a new trick which actually seemed to be calculated: he balked, big time. He flat out refused to move forward. I didn't like the tactic, but it was preferable to the sideways bolting.
If you've got a few minutes, here's a video of Sunday's ride:
So was the Fluphenazine working? I don't know, but this is the first time the naughty behavior had any calculated thought. In the last few months, the behavior wasn't as isolated to one spot like it seems to be now. He just bolted. What I liked about this ride was that he was thinking while he was nervous. I could tell that he was thinking, I don't want to be out here, and if I make that turn, I am going to be farther from the barn than I like. I'll just stop before we get to the turn. Eventually, it felt as though I had out-thought him. I could see it on his face. Rats, that didn't work! By the way, all of the banging and electric tool noise was coming from our barn - the direction he wanted to go toward!
Is this all over? No. My elephant, named Fear, is getting smaller each day. I'm not sure he was even in the arena at all on Sunday. Being relaxed myself will go a long way toward helping Sydney feel relaxed. Will the Fluphenazine help? I hope so. It certainly isn't making anything worse.
Note: I wrote this several days ago. There's more to the story. It should be in tomorrow's post. It's not bad, and there's no unwelcome news, just lots of deep thinking on my part and maybe a small admission.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: