Senior progress thread?

Topic for older horses and older riders
demi
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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:04 pm

Yesterday ended better than it started. I got my energy back in the afternoon. Emma seemed content munching hay when I turned the fans off at 7:30, so I went ahead and worked her. Just our lunge routine in the arena, not out on the hills. She walked calmly for 20 minutes and I thought I would just have a look at the trot on a 20m circle. I only asked for a couple circles each way with a break in between change of direction. The trot was big and active and best of all, not rushed. Sooooo, I tried canter. Two strides and then bucking. :( . The good news is I could see in her face that she was unhappy for those first two canter strides, and the bucks were not just playful exuberance. I stopped her after a couple of bucks and went back to walking the full arena. She relaxed again right away and I felt that I could have asked for trot and she would have complied willingly. I didn't ask, though.

I should have known better than to ask for canter again so soon, but I wanted to see if the Previcox was making any difference. My conclusion is twofold. 1.) If the Previcox is working, the canter issue is definitely psychological. She may be afraid of canter like she's afraid of the whip because she associates it with pain, or 2.) the Previcox isn't working and she still feels pain (and fear because of pain) in canter....

So I will continue the slow hill work every other day with an occasional day of the walking lunge routine in the arena, with a little trot but NO canter. Whether pain or psychological, I need to NOT worry her with canter for a long time. I wish I knew how long, if ever.
I really don't have the gumption anymore to keep two horses going but for as long as Emma is still an experiment, I will keep working Rocky. It's gonna be a long hot summer.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:37 pm

Demi, this is just so strange about Emma and the canter. I would think that if a horse was that painful at the canter, it would resist even trying to canter. Also, I find it odd that she looked so good at the trot, and then showed discomfort at the canter. All this with nobody on her back. All I can think is it's some kind of nerve jab that she gets when she moves a certain way. If I recall from my biomechanics readings (which is fuzzy) there is more torque on the back during trot. I guess I still be thinking about some kind of stifle catch or possibly an S/I issue. It's got to be so frustrating and discouraging for you. BTDT many times. It's bad enough when you know what's wrong, but even worse when you don't know what you're dealing with. Didn't you say you had a follow up appointment with your vet?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Sue B » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:12 pm

So here, it was only 90 yesterday, and I am proud to say that, I rode Rudy, my 2nd level horse. The heat doesn't bother Rudy at all; he sun bathes in his sand pile when it's one hundred degrees. :o We only worked 30 min but I was drenched in sweat anyways, and even Rudy was getting a little sweaty. I think I am finally coming out of my lazy, wimpy funk--perhaps it's the forced morning walks that are re-energizing me. I acquired a new pound hound who is a ball of energy (and still less than a year old) so I have to walk her and the other dogs every morning in order to keep her from going nuts. Hence the "forced" morning walks. Honestly, I would prefer to sleep in until 7 or even 7:30, but by 6:30 they are all anxious to get moving. :lol: Anyways, after my quick ride I had to rush off and teach dog 4H, so more fun in the sun. The kids were whining about the heat so I had to be extra energetic in order to get them moving and focused. I think being a 4H volunteer is great for keeping one young and active.

About the horses now. I am super pleased with the youngster, Tio, and his progress. The other day I "surprised" him by riding him to a low jump when he wasn't expecting it. Naturally, he slammed on the brakes to get a look at it, but then he calmly hopped over with only a nudge from me and zero attempt to turn away. This bodes really well for my intention to take him to event derbies in the future. He is also canters BOTH directions now without verbal cue--another big step for my goofball. I plan on taking him out in the hay field if I have time after work today, and letting him trot and canter out there. That is a challenge for me, because he is still quite green, very strong, and has a tendency to buck and bolt. Otoh, he acts much more mature this year, so it will probably be a non-event. Rudy is always a joy to ride, whether in the arena or out and about, he is always ready to do as asked and careful to keep me in the saddle even if something has spooked him. Yesterday, a dust devil suddenly appeared in the hay field next door and lifted some loose hay high into the air just as we medium cantered by. Mid-stride, Rudy slammed on the breaks, hopped his front end to the side, then hopped back on track and carried on cantering as though nothing had happened. Except i could feel his little heart pounding in his chest for a few more strides. :lol: His spooks have become so balanced and he is so "on the aids" that they barely disturb my own balance or seat. Love it. My plan is to secure the flying changes so I can show 3rd level next year.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:28 pm

It would be easier if it was a physical/medical issue then it would be more cut and dried. You treat it and it either gets better or it doesn't and you deal with it. I hate these NQR no diagnosis issues. Emma's fear of whip plus the behavior at canter with nothing medical (although I still wouldn't totally rule that out) showing up makes me think mental. That is a lot harder to heal and keeps your hope alive. One recommendation, I'm a senior citizen AND a chicken rider, if you decide to work on thecanter as a mental issue, get some help and get the right kind of help. Don't try to do it on your own. Mental is not the same as behavioral although they can look similar. The mental horse is a lot more fragile and more dangerous since they can totally lose it even with people they like and trust. It tends to be a very long and slow process. The good thing is it sounds like you can still work Emma at the trot and there is a lot that can be done there and with lateral work. In the long run that could eventually help with the canter at some point.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:38 pm

Sue B that is sounding so good! You have my admiration for working in the heat. It sounds like your guys are both going beautifully.

92 degrees here at 6:30am and 100 by 8am and I'm in a semi rural area not the heat island. Today is expected to break a record and might break the highest temperature ever (122 degrees). I'm planning to do as little as possible.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:25 pm

Srhorselady wrote:. One recommendation, I'm a senior citizen AND a chicken rider, if you decide to work on thecanter as a mental issue, get some help and get the right kind of help. Don't try to do it on your own. Mental is not the same as behavioral although they can look similar. The mental horse is a lot more fragile and more dangerous since they can totally lose it even with people they like and trust.
A horse's personality is what it is and can't really be changed imo. (I'm sure somebody here will dispute that. :D ) Here's a thought about 'trust' that quite a few people on the forum have mentioned (not just about Emma but others too). How's come a confident competent pro can get on a difficult horse for the first time and be able to get through to it? How's come the horse trusts the new rider? For that reason, I don't put a whole lot of stock in trust making horses improve. Horses have this uncanny ability to know if a rider is afraid and if the rider will back down. Emma has learned now that bucking on the lunge will result in you stopping .

Here's another thought about Emma that hasn't been brought up. A lot of times when a horse is NQR because the symptoms are too mild, a vet will recommend working the horse a little hard so that the problem will be made worse and then addressed. What about putting a good pro on Emma and just insisting she canter and ride out the bucks. I think if it really starts hurting she will stop bucking and stop cantering.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:55 pm

musical comedy wrote:
Srhorselady wrote:. One recommendation, I'm a senior citizen AND a chicken rider, if you decide to work on thecanter as a mental issue, get some help and get the right kind of help. Don't try to do it on your own. Mental is not the same as behavioral although they can look similar. The mental horse is a lot more fragile and more dangerous since they can totally lose it even with people they like and trust.
A horse's personality is what it is and can't really be changed imo. (I'm sure somebody here will dispute that. :D ) Here's a thought about 'trust' that quite a few people on the forum have mentioned (not just about Emma but others too). How's come a confident competent pro can get on a difficult horse for the first time and be able to get through to it? How's come the horse trusts the new rider? For that reason, I don't put a whole lot of stock in trust making horses improve. Horses have this uncanny ability to know if a rider is afraid and if the rider will back down. Emma has learned now that bucking on the lunge will result in you stopping .

Here's another thought about Emma that hasn't been brought up. A lot of times when a horse is NQR because the symptoms are too mild, a vet will recommend working the horse a little hard so that the problem will be made worse and then addressed. What about putting a good pro on Emma and just insisting she canter and ride out the bucks. I think if it really starts hurting she will stop bucking and stop cantering.


Emma had a good pro for a trainer when I bought her. The trainer didn't think Emma was worth the effort, and I certainly understand why a pro wouldn't waste their time on her. She is not a high quality horse, with her crooked hind legs and weak hind quarters. Even though she proved that she could do the upper level work, she couldn't sustain it as it was being asked of her.

I have let her buck till she quits on the longe more than once and came to the conclusion that "letting her get it out of her system" was not the answer. Also, she has not learned that bucking on the lunge will result in me stopping. Unfortunately, the problem is not that simple. I also don't think she is mental. She doesn't just flip out like a mental case, or show any of the neurotic behavior associated with mental problems. Even when she bucked me off, it wasn't like rodeo bucking. I KNOW what that kind of bucking is like. I wouldn't keep working with her if she was that kind of horse.

I talked to the vet yesterday. I don't want to go through extensive veterinary measures to get to the bottom of this situation, but I am willing to keep going with my current program. Em is not unhappy. We have good communication and I still see hope. I will be very careful not to get myself hurt, and I will not get Em hurt, either.

I did hill work with her this morning, and I rode Rocky yesterday. I am lucky to have another horse to ride and while I complain about stuff! I am not frustrated. It helps to talk this stuff out, though. :)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:20 pm

I probably should add that I know there are pros that could easily stay on Emma till she quits bucking. In her case, though, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to subject her to that. It would be akin to "sacking her out" in my opinion. If someone did that to her I think it would do irreparable damage to her psyche. She is half Arabian and she has a lot of the Arab temperament. I love a good Arabian and have had several pure and part breds in my life. They have been some of my very best horses and I can say from experience that getting their trust can make a big difference in what kind of citizen they become.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:49 pm

demi wrote:I probably should add that I know there are pros that could easily stay on Emma till she quits bucking. In her case, though, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to subject her to that. It would be akin to "sacking her out" in my opinion. If someone did that to her I think it would do irreparable damage to her psyche. She is half Arabian and she has a lot of the Arab temperament. I love a good Arabian and have had several pure and part breds in my life. They have been some of my very best horses and I can say from experience that getting their trust can make a big difference in what kind of citizen they become.


I'm dealing with the same type of horse (Trakehner with considerable TB and Arab in him) and the decision I made was to first see if I could make him into a calm, trusting horse, and if I ran out of patience for that I could always become "firmer" and try to insist that he just get with the program.

And every once in awhile I did run out of patience and insist, but soon realized exactly why I hadn't wanted to do it that way in the first place (because I could get "more" faster, but then the quality sucked).

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:45 pm

kande50 wrote:
demi wrote:I probably should add that I know there are pros that could easily stay on Emma till she quits bucking. In her case, though, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to subject her to that. It would be akin to "sacking her out" in my opinion. If someone did that to her I think it would do irreparable damage to her psyche. She is half Arabian and she has a lot of the Arab temperament. I love a good Arabian and have had several pure and part breds in my life. They have been some of my very best horses and I can say from experience that getting their trust can make a big difference in what kind of citizen they become.


I'm dealing with the same type of horse (Trakehner with considerable TB and Arab in him) and the decision I made was to first see if I could make him into a calm, trusting horse, and if I ran out of patience for that I could always become "firmer" and try to insist that he just get with the program.

And every once in awhile I did run out of patience and insist, but soon realized exactly why I hadn't wanted to do it that way in the first place (because I could get "more" faster, but then the quality sucked).


I really appreciate that you've developed your patience with horses. I have to work on it all the time, but thankfully I am learning. The good news is we still have time to reap the benefits!
Last edited by demi on Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:03 pm

Hill work again with Emma on Tuesday but my shins are too sore to do it again today. I am concluding that if MY shins are sore, Emma could very possibly be feeling the effects of the hill work, too. Maybe that's why she bucked on the lunge line on Sunday. One of the things I had read about hill work for specifically building the quads, is that people often make the same two mistakes. 1.) too much too soon, and 2.) giving up too soon. So I am guessing I just did too much too soon. Not the first time I've done too much too soon!

So, I am going to reduce the number of times from every other day, to every 3 to 4 days, with my old "routine" on in between days.

I've ridden Rocky three times this week. This morning was the best ride yet with a little cantering added. My ribs still hurt if I make a sudden movement so I am still a little guarded. I have ridden either before 9am, or after 7:45pm to avoid the heat. The humidity has been high but the heat hasn't gone over 100 yet...

It's been quiet on our Sr board for a couple of days. I know Josette is feeling badly for her chihuahua mix. I had a chi/JRT for 13 years and lost him this spring. Fleabert, aka Bertie. Those little buggers are the cutest things and will break your heart when they leave...

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:15 am

demi wrote:I really appreciate that you've developed your patience with horses. I have to work on it all the time, but thankfully I am learning. The good news is we still have time to reap the benefits!


I'm most definitely reaping the benefits now, because the way I ride is exactly how I always wanted to be able to ride, but couldn't find the patience to take the time that it takes to figure out how to ride this way.

So when I was younger I was always driven to try to get more faster, while now it's much more about getting more when my horses are ready to give more.

I also think that sensitive, reactive horses who can't get with the program the way most horses can are a blessing in disguise, because if we're game they're the ones who will show us what the rewards will be like if we can develop enough patience to figure out what works for them.

And the rewards, IMO, are worth every tiny little incremental step that it takes to get them.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:53 am

kande50 wrote:
.....I'm most definitely reaping the benefits now, because the way I ride is exactly how I always wanted to be able to ride, but couldn't find the patience to take the time that it takes to figure out how to ride this way. ...



....And the rewards, IMO, are worth every tiny little incremental step that it takes to get them.


I think I understand what you are saying. When I was a kid and up until my late 20's, before I had any preconceived notions about dressage, I never had a "bad" ride. I had an unaffected attitude about riding. Now, FINALLY, after all these years, I just want to get back to that frame of mind.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:55 am

I rode Rocky last night and it was far from what my mind thought it should be. I was a little depressed afterwards, although I didn't let Rocky in on my disappointment. As far as she was concerned, we had a lovely time together ;)

This morning, however, I realize we DID have a lovely time together and I'm looking forward to riding her again this morning. We've had a break in the weather and the high yesterday was only 78!! Similar temps are forecasted for the next several days.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:26 pm

demi wrote: When I was a kid and up until my late 20's, before I had any preconceived notions about dressage, I never had a "bad" ride. I had an unaffected attitude about riding. Now, FINALLY, after all these years, I just want to get back to that frame of mind.
Ditto, although even when I was clueless about dressage, I still had some rides I felt were bad. It's been said before that one doesn't know what one doesn't know. The more dressage educated one becomes and the more they are able to feel the quality of the ride and the correctness (or not), the more one risks getting depresssed or disappointed.

I too long for the feelings I had way back in the day when I was excited just to go ride a school horse in a group lesson. Now, like yesterday for example, I watched just a bit of the Rotterdam rides and got depressed. I look at the way a good dressage horse moves and realize there is never going to be a day I'll be able to feel that. Whether one is riding an old maxed out horse like I have or riding some lesser ability young horse, getting the quality of gait you need to feel good movements is not going to happen.

The first couple weeks being back in the saddle were pleasant for me. Now I'm right back to the same driven rider trying to achieve what never will happen. For brief periods, I think why not spend the cash and get a new expensive horse before I die. That desire vanishes quickly, because I really do not want it badly enough. I have always been a high achiever never been satisfied. It's miserable.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:02 pm

demi wrote:
This morning, however, I realize we DID have a lovely time together and I'm looking forward to riding her again this morning. We've had a break in the weather and the high yesterday was only 78!! Similar temps are forecasted for the next several days.


I've realized for a long time that my perception of what happened is usually much more dependent upon my state of mind than on reality. So if I'm tired I'm much more likely to focus on what was wrong with the ride, but if I'm not I'll be excited by any little improvement whether real or imagined.

When I first started dressage I was in my early 40's and still ambitious enough that no matter how good my scores were I always wanted more/better, but now it's more like, "Not bad. I'll just keep working on it and probably do a little better next time".

And then if we don't do better, no problem, because it takes the time that it takes. :-)

We just got back from a great trail ride. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but I went out a couple days ago and my mule wasn't as calm so we did a lot more walking. But today he was much calmer, and the new horse, who has been a real idiot at home is a real prince out on trail, so we're really starting to appreciate him. And of course, it never hurts when the weather is perfect.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:23 pm

Kande, I am happy to hear your new horse is working out. I think it is great that you are still trail riding. It is such a good balance for arena work, even if you ride two different horses (or mule!).

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby westisbest » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:59 pm

A bit of an update from another senior pair :).. Winter was rugged here, I had a bad fall last September on my hardwood stairs whacked my temple hard on a piece of furniture before I hit the floor. So had months of some low level post concussion to deal with. My coach did more of the riding thru the winter so the past few months have been rebuilding my a) confidence.b) skills and stamina. I felt deeply unsettled by the fall in the house almost worse than a horse unloading. What kind of feeble old person falls on the stairs I kept thinking.. well apparently it's very common especially if you're wearing flip flops and it's dark.. Ha! So at 69 in June, still at it. Skill sets are returning fairly quickly. I couldn't even hold a trot for more than a few minutes in early May, now we can do ground poles easily both post and sit. Have started some canter transitions and some canter. Horse at 24 still strong fit and sassy. He had a front pastern/fetlock lameness in March that was easily fixed with some injections and daily Previcox. I find that the only way to do this older rider thing is getting on almost daily, even if its brief. Otherwise, I lose confidence and drive. Pushing myself to get to the gym is necessary ugh.. Some days it just doesn't happen. Walking almost daily in this nice weather. My goal at present is just to stay viable as long as my horse is.. Not a big goal but at this age, realistic. Any improvements or adventures,, ie jumping low x rails would be a huge bonus.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:12 pm

demi wrote:Kande, I am happy to hear your new horse is working out. I think it is great that you are still trail riding. It is such a good balance for arena work, even if you ride two different horses (or mule!).


I trail ride Sting too, but just in much more sheltered environments than the mule. If something happened to the mule and I couldn't ride him anymore then Sting would have to take over, but as long as the mule is already okay with traffic, culverts, dogs, bears, bicycles, etc., I have little motivation to take Sting.

It works out well because Sting is a lot more fun to ride in the ring so he takes care of almost all of that.

The new horse is fine with traffic, but didn't like guardrails or culverts or horses running up to the fence, which of course is not a good combination because he goes out in the road to get away from what's on the side of the road. :-(. But he's older and has done enough trail riding that he adjusted quickly, which was a relief because we didn't want another training project.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:03 pm

westisbest wrote:A bit of an update from another senior pair :).. Winter was rugged here, I had a bad fall last September on my hardwood stairs whacked my temple hard on a piece of furniture before I hit the floor. So had months of some low level post concussion to deal with. My coach did more of the riding thru the winter so the past few months have been rebuilding my a) confidence.b) skills and stamina. I felt deeply unsettled by the fall in the house almost worse than a horse unloading. What kind of feeble old person falls on the stairs I kept thinking.. well apparently it's very common especially if you're wearing flip flops and it's dark.. Ha! So at 69 in June, still at it. Skill sets are returning fairly quickly. I couldn't even hold a trot for more than a few minutes in early May, now we can do ground poles easily both post and sit. Have started some canter transitions and some canter. Horse at 24 still strong fit and sassy. He had a front pastern/fetlock lameness in March that was easily fixed with some injections and daily Previcox. I find that the only way to do this older rider thing is getting on almost daily, even if its brief. Otherwise, I lose confidence and drive. Pushing myself to get to the gym is necessary ugh.. Some days it just doesn't happen. Walking almost daily in this nice weather. My goal at present is just to stay viable as long as my horse is.. Not a big goal but at this age, realistic. Any improvements or adventures,, ie jumping low x rails would be a huge bonus.


I was just recently wondering about you! So sorry to hear about your fall but am glad your recovering. I hear you about "getting on almost daily in order to do the older rider thing". Personally, I am finding that getting on almost daily, even for just a walk, is rewarding...AS LONG AS I keep in mind that I'm lucky to just be riding.

Anyway, nice to hear from you again! And it's a good reminder for us seniors to be careful. And personally, I am realizing more each day, how lucky I am just to still be riding!!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:21 pm

I rode Rocky again today and it was very nice. My attitude is changing for the better. I had given up on doing dressage with her right before I got Emma because I thought I was having to work way too hard to keep her (Rocky) balanced and off her downhill forehand. Now that she is helping me get my confidence back after getting bucked off Emma, I am much more appreciative of her qualities. She stays beautifully balanced as long as I don't push her too hard. Funny how that works.

So, I wish I had a vid of the ride today. I am just working on myself right now and that's probably why she was going well. I SO want to have some goals with her, but I know that would be a mistake. I just need to keep riding for the fun of it and be happy.this is my new focus: ride for fun.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby westisbest » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:59 pm

demi wrote:
westisbest wrote:A bit of an update from another senior pair :).. Winter was rugged here, I had a bad fall last September on my hardwood stairs whacked my temple hard on a piece of furniture before I hit the floor. So had months of some low level post concussion to deal with. My coach did more of the riding thru the winter so the past few months have been rebuilding my a) confidence.b) skills and stamina. I felt deeply unsettled by the fall in the house almost worse than a horse unloading. What kind of feeble old person falls on the stairs I kept thinking.. well apparently it's very common especially if you're wearing flip flops and it's dark.. Ha! So at 69 in June, still at it. Skill sets are returning fairly quickly. I couldn't even hold a trot for more than a few minutes in early May, now we can do ground poles easily both post and sit. Have started some canter transitions and some canter. Horse at 24 still strong fit and sassy. He had a front pastern/fetlock lameness in March that was easily fixed with some injections and daily Previcox. I find that the only way to do this older rider thing is getting on almost daily, even if its brief. Otherwise, I lose confidence and drive. Pushing myself to get to the gym is necessary ugh.. Some days it just doesn't happen. Walking almost daily in this nice weather. My goal at present is just to stay viable as long as my horse is.. Not a big goal but at this age, realistic. Any improvements or adventures,, ie jumping low x rails would be a huge bonus.


I was just recently wondering about you! So sorry to hear about your fall but am glad your recovering. I hear you about "getting on almost daily in order to do the older rider thing". Personally, I am finding that getting on almost daily, even for just a walk, is rewarding...AS LONG AS I keep in mind that I'm lucky to just be riding.

Anyway, nice to hear from you again! And it's a good reminder for us seniors to be careful. And personally, I am realizing more each day, how lucky I am just to still be riding!!


We have a very strong and capable young woman (western rider) who has very effectively backed a young PRE mare we have in training. She will hack out my big boy starting in two weeks. Our horse home has some great hacking areas but I want him re-purposed lol.He's been indoor arena bound as have I for a year. We have ridden in the outdoor but it needs re-footing unfortunately. . Being an eventer he loves to hack and is pretty darn bombproof but again this senior protective brain doesn't want to take unnecessary risks. And since we have moved here, one year and a bit he hasn't been hacked more than down the long drive to the outdoor. We are close to the foothills in this new horse home and there are herds of elk and in the fall many moose. So after the young woman test drives him, I plan to hack weekly.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:14 pm

musical comedy wrote:
demi wrote: When I was a kid and up until my late 20's, before I had any preconceived notions about dressage, I never had a "bad" ride. I had an unaffected attitude about riding. Now, FINALLY, after all these years, I just want to get back to that frame of mind.
Ditto, although even when I was clueless about dressage, I still had some rides I felt were bad. It's been said before that one doesn't know what one doesn't know. The more dressage educated one becomes and the more they are able to feel the quality of the ride and the correctness (or not), the more one risks getting depresssed or disappointed.

I too long for the feelings I had way back in the day when I was excited just to go ride a school horse in a group lesson. Now, like yesterday for example, I watched just a bit of the Rotterdam rides and got depressed. I look at the way a good dressage horse moves and realize there is never going to be a day I'll be able to feel that. Whether one is riding an old maxed out horse like I have or riding some lesser ability young horse, getting the quality of gait you need to feel good movements is not going to happen.

The first couple weeks being back in the saddle were pleasant for me. Now I'm right back to the same driven rider trying to achieve what never will happen. For brief periods, I think why not spend the cash and get a new expensive horse before I die. That desire vanishes quickly, because I really do not want it badly enough. I have always been a high achiever never been satisfied. It's miserable.


I feel for you, MC. I relate to a lot of what you said in the above post. We are getting old. Reality is hard to face in a world where we have fantasies just a click away. But facing the facts goes a long way to to dusting oneself off, and getting on with it. And we still have a lot of good stuff to get on with!

I hope you can find enjoyment with your big beautiful FEI horse. I certainly enjoy hearing that you're still riding him and keeping him sound. That's an accomplishment to be proud of. I also like your comments on this board about training, riding, vet care, etc. Your experience is valuable and it's so nice that you take the time to include articles, diagrams and good personal explanations in your posts.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:24 pm

So all the talk from me about safety first, and last night I was in a hurry and wore my Crocs to bring the horses in. Stupid stupid stupid. Rocky stepped on my right foot as she leaned over to see what Emma was eating. I will probably lose one or two toenails and will be out of any kind of horse training for a few weeks. Oh well, July is a good month to take off because if the heat. Unfortunately, I have a trip next week to visit family in Michigan. I fly through O'Hare which is a miserably large airport to have to limp my way around :cry:

Today I get to go buy new Crocs because that's all I can wear. Maybe I'll get turquoise ones this time!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:08 pm

I have had two accidents as a result of clumsiness and improper shoes. One was me running to the barn because a horse was cast and I twisted my ankle and broke it. The other was me wearing improper shoes and getting out the the car to get the mail. Tripped and fell on a rocky driveway and broke my knee. Out for 6 weeks on that. I still wear improper shoes. I have high arches and my foot tends to rotate over. I trip a lot and has nothing to do with age. So...don't fret Westi and Demi.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:11 am

demi wrote:Today I get to go buy new Crocs because that's all I can wear. Maybe I'll get turquoise ones this time!


I'm wearing lime green ones this summer, and try very, very hard *not* to wear them around the horses. I don't always succeed, but am aware of my feet when I am wearing them and there are horse hooves nearby.

Course the thin rubber boots I usually wear when it's wet aren't going to provide much protection either, even though they give the illusion that they'd help more than the Crocs.

And in the clumsy falls department, I tripped when I caught my toe on the bottom of my pant leg. I thought I'd saved myself when I managed to fall on the bed, only to whack my forehead on the wooden ball on top of the bed post. At first I thought it was just a bump, until blood started dripping off the end of my nose. No permanent damage, but I've tripped the same way several times since, so apparently, need to stop wearing wide legged pants.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:36 pm

It's 98 with a heat index of 104 today. I think yesterday was the same. The horses are in the barn under fans. The routine now is out to pasture in the morning at 7 and then back into the barn at noon. Each stall has a 24x24 paddock. The paddocks are in partial shade so they go out briefly to stretch and then go right back in under the fans. In the past, I have ridden early in the morning but I am thinking I won't ride this summer. I think the horses will appreciate not getting worked for a couple of months. Of course, I come in at night (and a large part of the day, most days) and sleep in air conditioning but the horses never really cool down for much of July and August. I think they get a little irritable as the summer gets into full swing, and I understand. I was going to ride this morning but changed my mind at 8 am when I was already sweating down to my undies. oh well...

How are you holding up SrHorselady? I haven't checked your temps but I've heard people talking about how hot AZ has been.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:35 am

Az broke another temp record today. I haven't ridden since before our Inferno Week (10 days straight over 110). That was over two weeks ago. Tomorrow down to 106 and then a week below 105. Unfortunately my barn help is out of town for the next 10 days so even though it will be cooler the odds of me getting up the energy to ride are not good. I'll be focussing on getting all the chores done. However, I'm looking forward to going on vacation when my barn help/house sitter is back in town. A friend and I have a time share week on Cape Cod plus four days in Boston booked for the end of July. Riding will take a back seat until I return. This board has been hard lately with everyone losing four footed family members. A close friend and my brother also lost dogs in the last two weeks. My dog and cat, as well as the horses, are all seniors so it is hitting a little close home. Kande and Musical Comedy haven't posted recently. Is all well with them? I don't think your horses will mind a vacation at all. I have a cooler on my mare who is rehabbing. The other four have mostly 24 hour access to their stalls plus a good sized turnout so they are doing okay. So far so good.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:31 am

The weather: I don't know how people in those hot states can bear it. Apparently some do continue to ride. Aren't there shows still
going on in Texas, Arizona, etc.?

Our weather has been odd this year. Lots of rain, but usually not all day. We had a couple days of 90 but usually it is in the 80's. Still, my
horse does not do well in heat. He sweats, but he just doesn't like it. My indoor is quite hot, but at least there is no sun or bugs in there.

The age thing and pets (and people) dying is so depressing and even more so when one gets to the age where it is more likely.
I pm'd Josette a good while back and she never picked it up yet, so I feel very bad for her situaiton.

I am not enjoying my riding at all. My horse used to have totally reliable changes. Now I can't get them. I never schooled changes
much even in the past, as they were confirmed and why overdo. Now, I don't know whether it's a physical reason for him, or it's my
incompetence. Either way, it causes depression.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:35 pm

SrHL, your plan to go to Cape Cod sounds lovely. I just spent 4 days in SW Michigan visiting family and the change in weather was refreshing.

I understand about the board being difficult because of all the pets dying :( We've lost several in the last two years, dogs, horses, and a cat. Worse, in the last two months, we've had my sister, my SIL, and DH's bro all diagnosed with cancer. So we do what we can to support them and try to stay positive. I have been a bible reader for 30 years, and in the last 10, I've gained an understanding of what the good news really means. It is quite amazing and it makes it possible to endure the sadness going on all over the world. Not to say it is easy to endure, but the hope is real (not floating around on a cloud playing the harp!) and real hope is wonderful medicine.

MC, yes, people are still showing here in Texas :shock: I did it at one time, but in retrospect, I can say it wasn't worth the effort. It was harder on the poor horses than it was on me. I think I must have done it out of sheer cussedness. It has taken decades, but I have finally matured to the point of giving my horses the summer completely off. It has been an attitude adjustment. I wish I would have adjusted my attitude about riding years ago.

I love that I can still get on a horse!I don't even care if all I can do is walk/trot. I am now happy to wait out the hot weather. I am thinking about working out through the summer so that when the weather breaks it will be easier to start riding again. DH is faithfully working out with a personal trainer three times a week but I am not that ambitious. I am thinking about doing some of the easier Jane Fonda routines in the comfort of home. Maybe three or four days a week...maybe three...

I get uplifted reading the dressage training forum. Sort of a vicarious pleasure, I guess. Maybe in the fall I'll be able to join the progress thread again with either Emma or Rocky.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:38 pm

I hope we hear from Kande, Josette, Westisbest, and others soon...

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby westisbest » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:39 pm

I'm here! I've been riding steadily 4-5 days a week.Trot stamina is coming well, done some TC trans and some steps of bounding canter, then I lose balance. So that's my new months goal. He has a super easy WC transition from years as a jumper and is totally seat responsive so it's just putting aids on, sit up confidence and go. Ha! Head and body are getting better each week.. ie less anxiety. It's hot here too about 34C some days but our new and well built indoor is cool and airy with big doors open. I'm so lucky to be in our probably last horse home, close to my home, quiet and peaceful. I look after my guy mostly myself, cleaned his paddock today he's on full time turn out thru summer in a big paddock with some grass. I am losing that awful fear that was haunting me thru the winter, we are both OLD, time is running out.. well we are both still darn viable and all anyone has is today, I'm making my goals, write them on a 3x5 card for the month, read daily. visualize what I want to achieve.. and mostly just enjoy the pure sweetness and closeness that I've developed with this big majestic boy of mine. In other news, I'm picking up a 21 yr old gal from Zurich tomorrow at the airport who is staying for 6 weeks, I'm in a Homestay program for international students who come here to study downtown at a school that teaches short term ESL courses. Monetizing my spare room to pay for horse expenses and hopefully meet some interesting young people.. :))

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:17 am

West how fun! I always enjoy meeting people from other country's and cultures.

MC hang in there. Enjoy your time with your guy. We are all getting older and can't do everything we used to, but we can still enjoy being together. All the people losing their animals just makes me cherish my time with my own.

Demi you and your family have my hopes and prayers. This will be a tough time, but it CAN be defeated. Keep on reading!

Arizona does have some shows in the summer, but most of them are in the Fall, Spring, and Winter. That is our major show season. Summer shows are in the mountains (Flagstaff) and Tucson has a couple of smaller indoor shows. Here in the desert those who ride, ride either early in the morning or at night.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:32 pm

Nice update, Westi! Thanks. I am encouraged by your efforts. Your situation sounds good and after all the trials and tribulations you've gone through, it must be especially sweet to be where you are today. Glad you're enjoying it.

July inches forward. I didn't do the Jane Fonda routine yesterday :| and my excuse is that I need time to adjust to the summer routine. I did chores in the morning and then read all afternoon. I move slowly in this heat so chores take a lot longer. I groom carefully in the heat because the horses seem to appreciate being clean. I think the bugs and flies are less bothersome if the horses are clean. Anyway', it takes all morning and by noon I am soaked through and ready to go inside. July inches forward...

SrHL, some of the Texans I know ride in the early morning and I used to do that, too. I thought about riding this morning at 6 when I fed, but by the time I fed horses, dogs, cat, DH and me, it was too late. now, at 8:15, the sun is higher and it's uncomfortable out there. I may try to ride a few times this summer just to remind my muscles, but it will be basically just sitting on a horse, not really riding. I'm just looking forward to fall.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:27 pm

In my area, while the morning and evening is cooler from a temperature standpoint, the humdity is highest then. I'd rather ride in high heat than high humidity.

The thing about taking lots of time off is that the horses never get/stay fit enough to do the harder work. If that doesn't matter, than no problem. For me just getting back in work again, I cannot take lots of days off. Especially true with an older horse. Thankfully, I can time my rides for the best temperature.

My horse does not like to be clean. Right after a bath, he rolls in the sand. What a mess. Yesterday I started with the mane pulling but only got 1/3 done. I HATE long manes with a passion. During my down time, I was just cutting it so that it would look neat. Now that I am in full work, I am getting him looking spiffy. At some point, pics will be coming.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:03 pm

I've got some horses that like to be clean and fussed over and others just the opposite. Unfortunately none of them are getting much right now, I'm currently starting horse chores at 6am. It's not too bad then. I also don't move as fast in the heat. I'm usually done around 10:30 or 11am, unless I take a break. I've been known to finish weighing the days hay after feeding lunch, especially if the humidity is up. :D . Don't laugh MC and Demi, but that is anything over 15%. MC I hate pulling manes, but like the neat look. I've found that using a good pair of thinning scissors gives as good a look without the sore fingers and irritated horse. Also it's a lot faster. This morning it almost felt cool enough to ride since it was in the low 90s. However, by the time I fed and mucked five horses it didn't feel that nice any more. More like sticky underware :D . I'm hoping to get my house semi back together today as well as lots of laundry. I had some remodeling/wall maintenance done and my house has been "under construction" for the last month. It is finally finished. It is dusty here anyway, but add sanding plaster and wall board... It has been BAD! Today I plan to put the big area rug back down and finish moving furniture. MC I do agree about keeping the senior horses in work. That is the real reason I still have my trainer coming regularly. We didn't work during Inferno Week when it was 110 degrees plus and last week he had minor surgery, but my crew will be back in work this next week. In the summer he works them between 7:30 and 9:30am lightly depending on their age and inclination each twice a week. I usually work some of them, but not as much in summer. I just don't have the energy I used to and I never could keep all of them in the work they need.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:01 pm

I know that taking time off can be a problem and I wish I didn't have to. I was just getting Rocky going again and had averaged 4 rides a week with her in June. Her problem with time off though, is more psychological than physical and I have to ease back into work slowly or she wants to run the show. Physically, being a little horse, 14.2, and being only 10 yrs old, plus having half Arabian blood, she comes back like the energizer bunny after time off.

I think the geldings don't appreciate being clean quite like the mares! It seems like I was always scraping mud off the geldings any time it would rain. I don't remember any of my mares ever getting themselves covered from head to toe in mud and dirt like the geldings.

Well, it cooled off yesterday afternoon. We had some showers and the temp went from upper 90's to 74 in 30-40 minutes. It then got back up to 77 and it's still 77 at the moment. I fed at 6:30 and I think I'll go ride a rocky. I am going to watch one of the Karen Rolf vids first, to get in her frame of mind. 8-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:05 pm

Don't cringe, MC, but I roach Emma's mane. She rubs it out so badly in the summer that Roaching is all I can do with it.
I bet your boy is really looking spiffy and I look forward to some pics!!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:37 pm

demi wrote:Don't cringe, MC, but I roach Emma's mane. She rubs it out so badly in the summer that Roaching is all I can do with it.
I bet your boy is really looking spiffy and I look forward to some pics!!

No cringing because I love a roached mane. I've done it to two of my mares, both that had really nice necks but horrendous thick manes. I actually
thought about roaching my guy's mane. I still may. He gets dirt all cakes in that as well.

I have a friend whose horses live in sheets 365/24/7. My guy doesn't like blankets, so I only use them in winter when he has been clipped.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:50 pm

demi wrote: Physically, being a little horse, 14.2, and being only 10 yrs old, plus having half Arabian blood, she comes back like the energizer bunny after time off.
Definitely plusses there for sure. Same goes with the TB. A couple of my TB's never even needed hosed off after a cross-country run at competition. 10 is so young. Do you all remember when 10 was considered old for a horse? Not any more. If I were to buy again (and I admit I've been window shopping), I look at 15 year olds. I'm not afraid of age at all.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:23 pm

demi wrote:Don't cringe, MC, but I roach Emma's mane. She rubs it out so badly in the summer that Roaching is all I can do with it.
I bet your boy is really looking spiffy and I look forward to some pics!!


Sting rubbed his mane half out one summer so I decided to start over again and roached it that the fall. I loved his roached mane, and if it wasn't for the bugs in the summer I would have kept it that way. What I liked about it is that I could see both sides of his neck, both from the saddle and on video.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:33 pm

musical comedy wrote:If I were to buy again (and I admit I've been window shopping), I look at 15 year olds. I'm not afraid of age at all.


Me either, nor do I buy horses now with the idea that I'm going to keep them forever, because we're too old to take on any more permanent horses unless they're already old enough that we'll likely be able to care for them through their retirement.

That, and we're no longer up for much drama, so want horses who are already through the worst of it.

The trail horse we bought a couple months ago was sold as 18 and could be older, but he seems to be sound and healthy enough. He has plenty of energy and endurance for us (and causes lots of drama at home) but he's a good guy out on trail. The one we had before was 11 and came close to working out, but her reactions were just a little bit too dramatic for us so she went off to a new home with a younger couple.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:49 pm

musical comedy wrote:... If I were to buy again (and I admit I've been window shopping),...

:D

and, I agree about the age thing. 10 seems so young to me these days, and when I was looking I was only interested in horses 10 or older. When I bought Emma, her age (12 at the time) was a big selling point.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:15 am

I rode Rocky yesterday after the brief break in the weather. I hadn't ridden her for exactly 2 weeks. I hopped (figuritively!) right on, no lunging necessary, thanks to her maturity! She was wonderful. Just walk and trot, but she was light, attentive, and cooperative. She had quite a bit of energy and I didn't want to get her revved up, so I played it safe by not cantering. She felt like she wanted to go to trot without much walk warm up so I let her. The upward transitions were so nice. We did the lots of circles, big and small, plus trot-halt-back, some LY and then walk on a long rein. I really enjoyed what she gave me and just worked on myself and our partnership.

I was so happy after riding that I though I just might work her through the summer after all...then the temps went back up to 99 today and I came to my senses. We did have low humidity today, but that sun is just brutal when the temp is so high.

Emma gets access to her pasture from 7pm till 10 am, then she comes into a smaller shaded paddock with stall/fan access during the hottest part of the day. She has allergies to bugs and flies and the heat/sun just makes it worse. I've had the vet out several times but nothing has given her much relief. I am giving her a cup a day of rice bran oil for her skin, plus extra grooming, flyspray, flymask with ears, etc. I think, considering her other issues, that to try and work her right now, even just a little, would be counter productive.

one more thing. I finally joined the Karen Rohlf video library and I love it. It was only $12 for the first month, and then $24 a month afterward. The vids I've already watched were worth the 12 bucks alone.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:11 am

All sounds good Demi. I'm so glad you are enjoying pretty girl Rocky. My favorite horse to ride of all I've owned was the least expensive and the least talented. But oh such a willing and comfortable mare. I have hardly no pics of my earlier horses. I have lots of old cassette video tape of them, but they are probably ruined by now else I'd try to convert some.

Also, I can't figure out how to scan pics in with this stupid big Mac I use. I have a HP printer and I used to be able to scan, but now it tells me I'm missing software or something. DH won't help me. I'm so out of date technically and that used to be my field when I worked.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:44 am

MC the Costco in my area has been doing a special where they will transfer old videos to dvd very reasonably. You might want to consider...

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:14 pm

I got a 7 day free pass to try out a gym. I had worked with a personal trainer for over a year, but he pushed me too hard. Too heavy weights, not enough warm up, and no strecthing at the end. When I quit with him I tried to go back to my own routine which was Jane Fonda weight workout combined with treadmill. I found that the treadmill was hurting my sacroilliac. Even after adjusting the way that I worked on the treadmill, I still kept hurting my back.
So I am trying the elliptical trainer at the gym.Yesterday I did 20 minutes varying the pace and worked up a sweat. My back is fine today. If it is still fine on Monday, I'll go back to the gym and do it again. I went with a friend and it was motivating to go with someone else. She wanted someone to go with so I said I'd try it out. If it works with out injury I think it will be a good way to stay in shape during the heat of the summer.

I used to run and even ran hard on the treadmill. Now I cant even walk on it :cry: Getting old is a pain in the a$$ but I am trying not to let it get the best of me...

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Kyra's Mom » Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:41 am

Demi, glad you enjoy Karen's classroom. Definitely a way to get lots of exercises and philosophy without the big $$$.

I am suffering from the heat like you all...we don't have the horrid humidity but dammit, 100 degrees is hot. I hate sweating and ending up with sunscreen in my eyes. I think I have only worked Kyra a couple times in the last 2 weeks. When it is this hot, something has to give and unfortunately it is working the horse. It is supposed to cool off into the mid-nineties next week with lower overnight temps so that will be welcome. I want to start an under saddle walking program. I think my butt can take that. Trotting and cantering...no but I think we can get some mileage walking.

I need to work on me too. I have had 4 surgeries in 5 years and it has taken a toll...maybe not the surgery as much as all the infirmities that led to the surgeries. I bought a rowing machine last fall and I love it. I am hoping I can tolerate sitting on it soon. I have started back to my Svaroopa yoga but with elder care issues, I am having trouble getting to class consistently but will certainly keep trying. I really have lost flexibility...and I didn't ever have much to begin with :P .

Hoping it cools down for all of us soon.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:53 pm

I am still enjoying Karen Rohlf's video library. One of my problems with dressage is impatience. It is a slow process to advance in training for a lot of us AA's and our amateur type horses. My mare Rocky is really a nice mover for a non-warmblood but she has strong cowpony tendancies that I have to train around. I was letting this frustrate me, and as a result, Rocky and I were no longer good partners. Karen's vids are reminding me to be happy with what my horse is offering me at the moment and go from there, always keeping a happy horse. I naturally think Rocky is just an adorable dressage pony and that helps my attitude, plus after just trail riding her for the last year and a half, we are sort of starting with a clean slate in the arena. Now, with Karen's help, I will hopefully keep in mind how much Rocky is giving me, and stop myself at the first hint of frustration. I started the vids at "Foundation", and am systematically watching all of them. I don't know how long it will take to get through them, but for now, it's a great way to get thru the summer heat. When the summer weather starts to break, I think I will be in a much better frame of mind to work both Rocky and Emma.

Susan, I hope you are able to use your rowing machine soon. I am also losing flexibility (and strength) as I age. As much as I'd like to think differently, an off the horse exercise program makes a big difference in staying fit to ride as I age...

demi
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Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:02 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:07 pm

I guess its been a couple of weeks since I've been on a horse. I joined the gym after trying it for free for a week. I am able to use the elliptical trainer every other day with no ill effects on my back or knees. I joined for three months hoping it will fill in till the weather is rideable again. Actually, the weather is usually rideable here by September but it cost less to join the gym for three months than just one.

I really think it is best to ride everyday at my age but I have to accept that sometimes it just isn't possible. Both my mares are getting through the summer much better without having to deal with my riding them. I have my western saddle in the living room on a heavy duty stand. Maybe I'll just go sit on it for a while :? :lol: :oops:


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