Saturday, March 19, 2011

Questions and Thanks Yous

I have two pressing issues at hand that I would love opinions on.

1)What level I should start with this show season
2) WTH is wrong with my horse and what do I do about it??

So let us begin with A.

I have 2 months till our first event. I must decide wether to be super extra excessively careful and go Novice first time out or go ahead and do Training. The course looks super easy and I am not worried about XC. It is the stadium that always gets me worried (without me knowing I am worried then right in the middle of the course I am like, “OH SHIIIIIT. Shit. SHIT!” and then we knock some fences over, miss some distances and generally fail all around) and why after 3 T’s last year I moved down to N midseason then back up to T.

Last summer I stupidly decided to run Training first time out after 7 months of not riding and myself coming back from a horrific injury that left me on crutches for about 6 months and an extra 20 lbs for my horse to lug around. Yankee had been leased out but not ridden hard or schooled for eventing. We crashed and burned hard and it shook our confidence on stadium real bad. I was dumb, no need to tell me that.

This year though, he has been in work since September. We jump once a week. School dressage every week (2-3 times a week), condition once a week mostly and do lunging sessions to stay supple. To me, I feel confidant running training first time out since we will do SEVERAL Dressage shows and Jumper shows before May 14. I feel it is a waste of $$ to run Novice, and we all know I am poor. I really want to get 4 NQR’s this year so I can qualify for Prelim AND T3D.
I just can’t justify a $500 show at a level we both fall asleep doing. Novice was forever ago and we should have already moved up to Prelim. 3 years ago I broke my arm mid season, 2 years ago I didn’t have enough money/he was afraid of spectators XC and spooked so bad that we missed fences completely and OBV got penalized refusals (thus not receiving enough NQR’s), last year I was fat and not strong enough and Yankee was not schooled enough consistently… but this year…we ARE ready.

What do you think?

I have to decide by Mar 31 since I am mailing the show entry then (spots fill fast).

As for B….well it puzzles me big time. Tuesday I took Yankee out for a dressage school in the indoor.

Let me just say he is more confidant and loose in the outdoor and in the indoor he is choppy, hyped up and stiff to the left. It puzzles me.

Anyways, he was…HORRENDOUS. I have never ever in my 6 years owning him had him be this bad…he was tossing his head every like, 15 seconds, bucking super hard at EVERY transition and in the canter, SUPER hella stiff to the left (like he would not bend or even stay on the wall…) and dead to my left leg. Mostly the issues were to the left..

I tried just walking and doing suppling excercising, bending away from leg, giving at the poll, etc but he would not have it. He either tossed his head, lost impulsion or tried to bite me….WHILE I WAS MOUNTED!? WTF!?

Where did this evil ponyface from hell come from?????

I have a few theories but I am super confused since he was an angel Monday morning…
a) Still sore in the mouth from vet
b) Saddle sore
c) Blanket rubbing him
d) Ulcers

These have all been cause for issues in the past, but the tooth soreness I am ruling out since I worked him in sidereins Monday and he was perfecto. So…not an issue?

Saddles…I checked, rechecked and triple checked his fit. It is still perfect. Nothing in the saddle pad, girth fine, not ouchy anywhere on his back when I palpate. He does pin his ears something fierce when I saddle him though but I always attributed that to the leaser who had him over the winter used a bad girth (gave him galls), too small a saddle and cinched him up too fast (since he started doing that right after I got him back from her). But I have a different (super expensive really nice for just that reason) girth, use my own saddle fit for him and I cinch super slow…so not an issue? Or do I need to start searching for a new saddle?

I lunged/rode him today bareback and he was better (still stiff but responsive-no spurs either), minimal head tossing, so that leads me to believe it is the saddle but I dont know how..

Blanket. He has weird shoulders. No blanket fits him perfectly and I am too mega poor to even contemplate contacting someone to make him a custom. I have 5 different turnout blankets for him (EBAY!) and rotate them. In the past he has rubbed his shoulders raw and the blanket has pulled too much on his booty, so I got new, bigger sizes and rotate them. He used to pin his ears when I went to put the old ones on, but with the new system he is fine, and no hair rubbing of any sort…so not an issue?

Ulcers. The only other thing I can think of. He had Ulcers from the track and suffered with them for 2 years before I diagnosed them. April-September he is on UlcerGuard but I take him off in winter because I feel it is unnecessary since we don’t travel or show at all from Sept- April. However, classic signs, pinning ears when girth, ouchy on the sides and just all around grompy. So, I ordered Ulcerguard and put it on expedited shipping and he will begin tomorrow. I hope it helps clear up his grompy-ponyness because I am seriously baffled by his random ass mood swings. He swings harder than my bi-polar friend and it is SO WEIRD.

What do you guys think? Am I ignoring blatant signs and brushing them off or do any of you think there might be a problem?

I just don’t understand how one day he can be brilliant and the next just awful. It happens. EVERY. WEEK. SO inconsistent!! It’s getting severely discouraging and frustrating.

And for your entertainment, here is a photo of possibly the worst face I have ever made while riding dressage. My jumping pictures are way worse and usually involve my tongue sticking out, haha!

And thank you to those who gave me advice on the posting...I have no idea why it is so psycho sometimes but your advice worked!


  1. No idea for B, but as for Problem A:

    Send in your entry for Training. Go to your jumper shows and make sure you jump Training size courses. (Some schooling fudge the heights, making them smaller than recognized.) If you're fine at the jumper shows, stay at Training. If you have issues, call up the organizers and tell them you don't feel comfortable showing Training and can you please do Novice instead. They are more likely to be willing to move you down a level last minute than up a level because no one wants to see someone trying to a compete at a level they don't feel comfortable at.

    Good luck!

  2. I second the above. Stick with Training and if you feel weird about it, come back down a level.

    I vote for having a chiro out for Yankee. That is usually what it is when my horse performs the same way. Good luck!

  3. You said it yourself, you feel confident about Training. Go with Training!

    I vote ulcers. That was the first thought that came to mind even before I got to your list of suspicions. And since he's had them before...

    One of Klein's TB neighbors gets them and they can be set off by something as simple has a bad windstorm. His owner is super alert about any little behavior change and treats him right away if she sees a sign and that keeps them under control really well.

  4. Going to go with ulcers. Yay expensiveness! Depending on his personality, staying home with minimal turnout may actually be more stressful than traveling and getting out. Just a thought.

    Hm... I vote training. You guys rock.

  5. I had a similar issue deciding what level to enter for our opening show. We unsuccessfully moved up to Training in '09 but I really feel like we are ready now. For us, XC was the issue so I decided to do an XC school before finalizing the decision. As usual, my gut reaction was right, Gatsby was wonderful even with crummy weather and not-so-great footing so Training it is! I think you should go with Training and, if stadium is where your problems come up, do some jumper shows before. If all goes well, you're set. If it doesn't, you can always move back to Novice. I have a feeling you'll be just fine though:)

  6. Unfortunately I have no advice on either subject. No experience with either and no new ideas. I hope you figure it out and he feels better. Good luck with the upcoming show season. :D


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