Senior progress thread?

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

Postby musical comedy » Tue May 30, 2017 11:41 am

kande50 wrote:I think it's because their horses aren't actually collected, because a collected horse (even one that isn't as flexible and fluid as he could be) is very easy to sit. In fact, on the rare occasions when I've sat on horses who could collect, I just naturally chose to sit because the balance just seemed all wrong for posting.
No, I disagree that a horse needs to be collected in order to sit. They just need to be on the bit, over the back, and supple. When I first started eventing circa 1990, the dressage test for Novice eventing was Training Level test 3. That test required sitting trot. That was even the case in straight dressage. Therefore, one had to learn to sit if they intended to be competitive in eventing.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue May 30, 2017 1:32 pm

kande50 wrote:....I think that the ability to wtc on a loose rein is a good test of whether or not the horse is calm enough, and as long as we're able to do that then it doesn't much matter if we want to ride with a shorter or longer rein.

But if a horse is less than calm, I don't think trying to contain him using the aids works all that well, and can backfire by allowing us to suppress his reactions enough to take him much further out of his comfort zone. And then, if we misjudge how far we can push him, we may get exactly the reactions we were hoping to suppress, but they'll just be ten times bigger than they would have been if we'd listened to him when he first started saying, "this isn't working for me"....


I like this, especially the part about "if we'd listened to him when he first started to say 'this isn't working for me...'"

So important to keep in mind in this age of information. We have so much information coming at us, so fast, that it's easy to just charge on ahead, trying to keep up. I have to remember my little horse is the reason I love dressage and his/her opinions are of utmost importance.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue May 30, 2017 1:38 pm

kande50 wrote:The way I look at riding now is that life is way too good to mess it up by taking foolish risks with horses, so it's way more important to listen when they try to tell me they're not having a good time...


I have come to see it this way, too. For younger ones, taking a risk doesn't end up hurting them too badly. You just get up, brush yourself off, figure out what went wrong, and then try again. But for older ones with age related osteo problems, it's too easy to break something.

DH and I are finally in a position to do some traveling together and I want to be in good enough physical shape to enjoy it.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue May 30, 2017 1:40 pm

musical comedy wrote:
demi wrote:One of my problems with her is that I can't just be happy when she give me 15 minutes of good, uphill(uphill for a lower level horse, that is) work and I end up nagging her.
That's a fault of mine as well, but I'm trying hard to correct it. I've said so many times before that ignorance is bliss. My most happy riding days were when I was unaware of faults. .


it doesnt surpise me that we have this in common!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue May 30, 2017 1:46 pm

musical comedy wrote: And don't laugh...I would consider Western Dressage.

:lol: :lol: sorry, I couldnt help it!

I got Rocky for two reasons. One was to have something to ride while Demi was recovering, and the other was to have a good trail horse to ride with my old buddy on her huge Texas ranch. Old buddy, unfortunately gave up riding last year. She's 70 and is having lots of health issues. I still ride trails a little but for me it's not as enjoyable all by myself, plus not as safe.

DH used to trail ride with me but he's 72 now and doesnt have a suitable horse.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue May 30, 2017 1:59 pm

I longed Rocky yesterday and played around with keeping her focused on me. I enjoyed it and I think she did, too. She is a hot pony. Her dam sire is a well known QH around here, Colonel Freckles. He is known for producing hot horses with speed and that's what Rocky's breeder is all about. Rocky's breeder is an athletic guy, very experienced in riding, training, and breeding. But in addition to wanting horses that are good athletes, he wants a horse that will "do anything for it's person". And that is how he described Rocky's dam and sire, both of whom he broke and trained to championships.

okay, so that's the long way of saying that for my own safety, i need to be careful with Rocky, too. I have a track record of pushing past my own abilities to the point of getting hurt. I need to never ever forget that. Being on a forum with other older riders helps. Thanks all for continuing to share your experiences. Keep it coming!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Tue May 30, 2017 5:31 pm

demi wrote:I longed Rocky yesterday and played around with keeping her focused on me. I enjoyed it and I think she did, too. She is a hot pony. Her dam sire is a well known QH around here, Colonel Freckles. He is known for producing hot horses with speed and that's what Rocky's breeder is all about. Rocky's breeder is an athletic guy, very experienced in riding, training, and breeding. But in addition to wanting horses that are good athletes, he wants a horse that will "do anything for it's person". And that is how he described Rocky's dam and sire, both of whom he broke and trained to championships.

okay, so that's the long way of saying that for my own safety, i need to be careful with Rocky, too. I have a track record of pushing past my own abilities to the point of getting hurt. I need to never ever forget that. Being on a forum with other older riders helps. Thanks all for continuing to share your experiences. Keep it coming!
Rocky's a good girl though even if she is hot, right? I liked her looks. Dressage can be so frustrating for people that have goals or have perfection. Some people that ride only for pleasure seem to be having so much fun. Here I am, with no real need to be pushing the envelope, yet each ride I am starting to again get frustrated when things aren't just the way I want. For example, If I ask for a rein back, and it is the slightest bit sticky, I'm unhappy. If I ask for a transition, and it takes a split second longer than I like, I'm unhappy. Stuff like that.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Tue May 30, 2017 8:19 pm

musical comedy wrote:Dressage can be so frustrating for people that have goals or have perfection. Some people that ride only for pleasure seem to be having so much fun. Here I am, with no real need to be pushing the envelope, yet each ride I am starting to again get frustrated when things aren't just the way I want. For example, If I ask for a rein back, and it is the slightest bit sticky, I'm unhappy. If I ask for a transition, and it takes a split second longer than I like, I'm unhappy. Stuff like that.


When I went all touchy feelie granola with clicker training my perfectionism went away, too.

I think that was because the rule of thumb when it comes to positive reinforcement training is that we only need to get to 80% proficiency before increasing the criteria, which was exactly what I needed to understand before I could let go of the idea that each attempt needed to be perfect every single time.

I don't know if the same is true of negative reinforcement training (pressure and release), but I choose to believe that it is because it helps me overcome my perfectionist tendencies. :-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

MC, I'm glad you like Rocky's looks! I do, too. I would say that she is a good girl. In seven years she has never unloaded me but I have the greatest respect for her athletic ability! and given my age when I first started riding her, I have been very, very careful. I've taken dressage lessons on her and taken a few overnight dressage clinics. I've taken her through a week long "trail introduction" course where she got exposed to lots of scary things, like blowing tarps, bison, windmills and blowy things, walking through tractor tires,etc. She grew up in a 50 acre pasture with other horses and cattle and I can ride her through cattle. She can work a gate like a ranch horse.

She is, however, a little mareish. Her dam was an alpha mare and Rocky shows that tendency. In my smaller pastures, 2-10 acres, the only horse out of 4 that I've been able to turn her out with is Emma. All others, including Demi, Rocky would herd relentlessly, even the geldings. Emma is the most submissive horse I've had in a long time and Rocky doesn't seem to have the need to push her.

Because she is hot, she gets worked up easily in arena work if pushed too hard. The trainer I lessoned with understood her and never made me push her to her limit, although things got a little dicey sometimes. Early in her training if she didnt understand something she would get frustrated and would kick out or act like she might buck. I know her well enough now (I hope) to choose my "battles".

She doesn't do well with a lot of arena work. When I was working her regularly, I could get away with two maybe three days in a row in the arena and then had to trail ride for a couple of days.

I have to still be very careful not to drill her and not to demand a lot. My nature is to drill myself and I do best with horses that can handle it. Demi was a saint in that respect. I can't badger Rocky about her natural downhill way of going, and that used to frustrate me. Maybe after a year and a half with Emma, I've matured enough to be happy with what ever Rocky gives me :oops: I hope so.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Wed May 31, 2017 9:13 am

demi wrote:I have to still be very careful not to drill her and not to demand a lot. My nature is to drill myself and I do best with horses that can handle it. Demi was a saint in that respect. I can't badger Rocky about her natural downhill way of going, and that used to frustrate me. Maybe after a year and a half with Emma, I've matured enough to be happy with what ever Rocky gives me :oops: I hope so.


This, IMO, is the best kind of horse for some of us, and the reason I ride the horses that I do. I have less sensitive horses who will take the badgering (bullying?), but that's not the way I want to ride so I've chosen to ride the ones who won't (can't) take it.

And now that I understand the tradeoffs (re: horses who will take the badgering vs ones who won't) I'm even more convinced of how important it was for me to learn how to ride the ones who wouldn't.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:49 am

So, "badgering" was probably not the right word to use. I just think of how my parents use to tell us as kids to STOP BADGERING. I always thought of it as not bullying, but asking for something over and over and over...in that way, it isn't such a bad thing, just an annoying habit, and not something I want to be taking into my riding.
I like the more sensitive horses, too. But now, I am questioning myself as to whether I can still ride them. I simply must tell myself over and over and over to BE CAREFUL. I need to badger myself :lol:

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:58 am

I did the long rein longe routine with Emma for 20 minutes yesterday and she sure looked good. I barely suggested a canter toward the end of the session, and she took it nicely. Two 20m circles both directions. To the right first, her less balanced direction. A little fast, but she looked so strong and sound, and she didn't even attempt to buck. I was prepared to let her buck if she wanted which I haven't been doing in the past. She had just a couple of strides going to the left where it looked like she thought about bucking, but otherwise it looked good.

I am preparing my emotions to make her a vet appointment for next week.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:18 am

demi wrote:So, "badgering" was probably not the right word to use. I just think of how my parents use to tell us as kids to STOP BADGERING. I always thought of it as not bullying, but asking for something over and over and over...in that way, it isn't such a bad thing, just an annoying habit, and not something I want to be taking into my riding.
I like the more sensitive horses, too. But now, I am questioning myself as to whether I can still ride them. I simply must tell myself over and over and over to BE CAREFUL. I need to badger myself :lol:
Nagging is a better choice for me than badgering. I started out riding TB's in hunters. The kind where you dare not put your leg on too much. Of course, now I know that a horse should accept your leg. Also, I rode the canter in a light seat. It's been a long time since I've ridden a truly sensitive horse. All mine have been rather push rides. Maybe I caused that. I imagine that if I were to get on a horse like Sting he would send me to the moon.

Demi, I'm really glad to hear you had a good ride on Emma. With all horses, you know there will be good and bad days. I have found with all horses that if they have a certain negative behavior (bolt, buck, rear, balk, etc.), it never really goes completely away. It's just waiting for the right moment to occur.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:06 pm

musical comedy wrote:It's been a long time since I've ridden a truly sensitive horse. All mine have been rather push rides. Maybe I caused that. I imagine that if I were to get on a horse like Sting he would send me to the moon.


Maybe in the past when he was an unschooled, hyper-reactive kid, but he's settled enough now that I doubt you'd have any trouble riding him now. People who can ride catch on to what each horse needs pretty quickly, and you'd know how to adjust the way you ride to accommodate what he knows.

I think anyone who can ride could get on him now and get some good work out of him without having to do much retraining, because he's at a place where he's ready to progress. If I was more ambitious I'd do it myself, but as of right now I can't really see any sustained, high energy training in my future. :-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:35 pm

demi wrote:I like the more sensitive horses, too. But now, I am questioning myself as to whether I can still ride them. I simply must tell myself over and over and over to BE CAREFUL. I need to badger myself :lol:


I think the timeline is different for everyone, but most of us do eventually become more receptive to the idea that if we want to be able to ride we're going to have to be more cautious, because having to take time off the horse to heal is counterproductive!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Sue B » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:46 pm

My Rudy is SUPER sensitive, an uber light ride but the ultra short back coupled with a very powerful engine, make him challenging to trot (especially when he was young and green.) I plan on getting my Silver on him, although I have yet to even get a Bronze. :lol: At any rate, when I bought the new horse, I purposely looked for one without spectacular gaits. Tio's trot is meh, his walk adequate and his canter pretty nice, and while he is a pretty horse, he will not turn heads at competitions. On the other hand, he has the gaits that anyone can sit and a temperament that is far less reactive than my beloved TB, making him ideal for enjoying later in life. Tio is only 6, I am 56, and so we should have a good 20 years together, the Lord willing. Not sure what I will do after that! Hopefully I will have another partner in the pipeline.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:22 pm

kande50 wrote:
demi wrote:I like the more sensitive horses, too. But now, I am questioning myself as to whether I can still ride them. I simply must tell myself over and over and over to BE CAREFUL. I need to badger myself :lol:


I think the timeline is different for everyone, but most of us do eventually become more receptive to the idea that if we want to be able to ride we're going to have to be more cautious, because having to take time off the horse to heal is counterproductive!


While I KNOW that I need to be more careful, and am more than receptive to the idea, it's easier said than done. For me, at least. When the horse is going really nicely, I can so easily get caught up in the wonderful feeling that I start asking for more...and you know what that can mean on a sensitive horse. Plus, when I read what everyone over in the training forum is doing, plus I see all the neat pictures, I want to do it, too. It's like a chocoholic in a chocolate factory!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:57 pm

Great to hear what all of you are doing. Also reassuring to realize that what I considered my "chicken" attitude is just being safety conscious due to my age :D You are all great motivators and I got myself moving early this morning and on a horse. I plan to do the same again tomorrow. My trainer is out of town for a week so I would also feel guilty if I didn't get everyone out. Also these are the last two days the temperature is supposed to be under 100F. :o I DO want a Soloshot. I'd like to know whether what I felt this morning looked like what it felt. I was riding Cowboy, my buckskin quarter horse. He has only been in dressage training a little over 2 years and I don't ride him often since his former owner rides him regularly and he doesn't need the exercise as much as the others. The trainer had warned me that he had been feeling a little spicy lately so we stuck with the arena. He definitely told me he'd rather be out on the conditioning trail. He also told me that my hands and seat are not as steady as the trainers. As if I didn't know that! However, we stayed in the arena, I survived the humping rearend, and I regulated our rhythm and speed at the trot. We got some good shoulder fore and reasonably good shoulder in, I think. (I want a Soloshot). We quit after about 35 minutes since I KNOW his stamina and conditioning are better than mine. :D I also focussed on my position and the length of my reins. Overall I'm pleased. Tomorrow I'll get on Freckles.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:09 pm

kande50 wrote:Maybe your horse was trained in such a way that the contact became part of the aid for go? It is perfectly possible to train horses that way, so that part of, or even the entire aid for go requires picking up the contact. I've ridden horses that are trained that way and I found that I could put all kinds of seat and leg on them, but unless I picked up a contact first they had no idea what I wanted them to do. :-)

Kande wrote the above quote earlier. Kande, thinking about this has helped me...I think. Tuesday and today I tried to canter with minimal contact. I didn't have long reins or a loop (yet), but I definitely was not giving him support up front. I held his back up with my seat and thighs (something I've figured out how to do) and he stayed pretty balanced. My horse is a fast learner. I've learned to always ask for things the same way and after a while he 'gets it'. For example, he knows he's supposed to square up at the halt. He is learning that when I pick up the reins, it means he should expect to move off. He was dull to the leg when I bought him. I rode him with big spurs and dulled him to them and the whip early on. I just did not know how to ride this type of horse. I am still learning. I haven't worn spurs in years.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:14 pm

Srhorselady wrote:..... Also reassuring to realize that what I considered my "chicken" attitude is just being safety conscious due to my age :D


When I was a kid I remember a saying "I'd rather be a chicken than a dead duck". I finally get it!!

I am glad you are sharing your experiences with us, and I too, find this board a great motivator. When the temps get up to 100 F here in Texas, we can commiserate with each other! In the last several years its been easier for me to keep just one horse in work because of the heat. I can manage getting one worked before the sun gets too high for comfort (like 8 am!). This summer it looks like I'll have two in work so I am thinking I'll end up working them on alternate days.

I want the soloshot TOO!!!
Last edited by demi on Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:23 pm

musical comedy wrote:..... Tuesday and today I tried to canter with minimal contact. I didn't have long reins or a loop (yet), but I definitely was not giving him support up front. I held his back up with my seat and thighs (something I've figured out how to do) and he stayed pretty balanced. My horse is a fast learner. I've learned to always ask for things the same way and after a while he 'gets it'. For example, he knows he's supposed to square up at the halt. He is learning that when I pick up the reins, it means he should expect to move off. .....


This is interesting!! keep us posted on the progress.

I copied this from Dreussers' post in the rein/contact thread:


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/73 ... 86cc59.jpg

Its an SRS photo of I think Podhajski. He has a loop in the curb and the snaffle is on the buckle. I get a lot of inspiration from photos like this and so I am reposting it for you.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:34 pm

I worked both Emma and Rocky yesterday. I have started the Parelli program with both of them. I did it with a horse years ago and it was very helpful. I just went through the level 1 program. I think they must have updated the program since I bought it but the version I have is just fine for my current purpose.

I spent a half hour with each horse even though they figured out the first two games, the "friendly game" and the Porcupine game" in 10 minutes. Basically, it involves using a thing like a stiff whip with a lash, and rubbing it all over the horse for the friendly game and teaching them to yeild from pressure in the porcupine game.

I plan to take them thru the level 1. After the initial work, this can be done by spending just 10-15 minutes a day working on it.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:35 pm

musical comedy wrote:He was dull to the leg when I bought him. I rode him with big spurs and dulled him to them and the whip early on. I just did not know how to ride this type of horse. I am still learning. I haven't worn spurs in years.


I think that unless we luck out and get an instructor who has a good enough eye to be able to see when we're pushing too hard, it's very easy to get into pushing harder because we feel like our instructors are telling us to do that. And until we catch on to the idea that less is more (which I had to figure out on my own) instructors can't always help us figure that out.

I've heard at least one instructor, who might be considered a bnt, say that he doesn't feel that anyone should wear spurs until they're truly 3rd level. I know that plenty of riders like to "dress up" as if they're 3rd level, which is sometimes their idea and sometimes their trainers' idea, but unless someone is truly competent at 3rd I think they'd probably be a lot better off if they held off on the spurs and double bridles until they were.

But, if we knew then what we know now we'd have all our medals and be headed to the Olympics! :-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:44 pm

demi wrote:
I plan to take them thru the level 1. After the initial work, this can be done by spending just 10-15 minutes a day working on it.


I just started the dh's new trail horse, who is 18, on a similar program with clicker training.

His first lesson was to let me touch him with the whip, which he eventually got, but then the next lesson needed to be about moving away from the whip because he'd learned his first lesson so well.

After that we started on stepping forward to get up beside the mounting block. He got the stepping forward part, but then had to learn about the "foot in stirrup means stand still" part.

He's a very cute horse, and is *very* eager to learn about how the treat machine works. :-)

Sounds like we might be working on basically the same things?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:00 pm

Sue B wrote:My Rudy is SUPER sensitive, an uber light ride but the ultra short back coupled with a very powerful engine, make him challenging to trot (especially when he was young and green.) I plan on getting my Silver on him, although I have yet to even get a Bronze. :lol:


It's always good to have ambitions, because that's what motivates us to get out and ride when we don't really feel like it!

And I can't tell you what a relief it was to have older horses to fall back on as we started becoming more risk aversive as we aged. I wish now that we had a couple more of them waiting in the wings, because buying new horses is such a pain because it disrupts the whole herd. And then if the new one doesn't work out we have to start all over again with another new one. :-(

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:39 pm

I worked both Emma and Rocky on the Parelli program again today. Plus I longed Rocky. My ribs are still too sore to ride.

Emma was sore from getting trimmed yesterday so I didn't do our longe routine. I actually tacked her all up and started, but she let me know as soon as she started that she was sore. This happens sometime right after a trim. She walked fine out to pasture this morning and seemed ok when I did the parelli work, but when I tacked up and took her to the arena, she walked distinctly carefully and slowly. I'm glad this happened today as it reminded me that she is really a good girl and that the bucking is just not who she is. She was willing to try our longeing routine even though her feet were tender.

I'll be taking her to the vet 9:00am Monday for the kissing spine exam...

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:15 pm

Demi, definitely nice to know I won't be the only one "feeling the heat". If I'm not in the saddle before 8am it isn't happening. I rode 2 horses a day occasionally in the past and tried three once and now at 66 that isn't happening any more either! You all who do multiple horses have my admiration. All my horses are now "seniors" and I'm with Kande that they are the best. Since they are all on 20 plus hours of turnout as well as being seniors I feel that being ridden every other day is just fine. One of the reasons I still have my trainer coming to my place (only one horse is really in training any more) is to make sure everyone gets ridden every other day. I think it is so important for senior horses to stay active. I'm very lucky that my trainer lives close and hasn't upped his prices (for me) in 15 years so I can continue with this.

Please keep us all posted on the cantering with no contact experiment. I suspect that I have actually done this for years with some of my horses. (However, I need that video camera to confirm!).

Today I rode Freckles who is an OTT and retired high level jumper who started dressage at 19. He got to about 3rd level before we let him start telling us how much he wants to work. At the start of a ride he is usually a giraffe and tense in the back. Totday was no different. So after going around the arena a few times I and a neighbor, who was working her first level Lusitano, went out onto the trail and then into neighborhood. I HATE Freckle's saddle, it doesn't fit me at all and it is quite uncomfortable, and that affects how I ride him. However, it is one of the few saddles that doesn't harm him so I use it. Then it was back to the arena and Freckles gave me some beautiful relaxed, back up trotting stretchy circles. (I know this without the video since my neighbor told me so :D ). I didn't try for more since the saddle was starting to hurt. So we called it quits on that good note. I'll probably skip tomorrow and ride Mariano on Sunday with friends on a trail ride. If I'm lucky my friend Alice will come over and ride Cowboy. It's going to be 107 degrees this weekend.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:52 pm

demi wrote:I worked both Emma and Rocky on the Parelli program again today. Plus I longed Rocky. My ribs are still too sore to ride.
Gee whiz, you must have cracked a rib. Do try wrapping yourself with elastic bandage. Ride Rocky, and don't take a chance on Emma until you are healed.
Emma was sore from getting trimmed yesterday so I didn't do our longe routine. I actually tacked her all up and started, but she let me know as soon as she started that she was sore. This happens sometime right after a trim. She walked fine out to pasture this morning and seemed ok when I did the parelli work, but when I tacked up and took her to the arena, she walked distinctly carefully and slowly. I'm glad this happened today as it reminded me that she is really a good girl and that the bucking is just not who she is. She was willing to try our longeing routine even though her feet were tender.
I don't ride on farrier day. My horse doesn't get sore that I've noticed, but I just play it safe. Do you think your farrier takes too much off, so that the interval can lengthen?
I'll be taking her to the vet 9:00am Monday for the kissing spine exam...
Good. While you are there, if there is anything else you want the vet to see, ask.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:45 am

demi wrote:
Emma was sore from getting trimmed yesterday so I didn't do our longe routine. I actually tacked her all up and started, but she let me know as soon as she started that she was sore. This happens sometime right after a trim.


Sounds to me like you need a new farrier, because a horse should never come into a farrier appointment sound and walk out sore. The problem could be a farrier who shoes and has one standard trim, which removes too much sole for a barefoot horse. If the farrier is carving out sole then you need a new farrier/trimmer. Unless of course, you can convince your current farrier not to touch the sole, but most farriers are not in any way receptive to being told how to do their job so it's usually more productive to just get another one who knows how to do a barefoot trim.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:15 pm

MC, I tried wrapping myself with a very wide, long ace bandage. It gave instant relief, but in 10 minutes it hurt worse. I can tell I'm healing though.

The vet that will be seeing Emma is new to the clinic. In fact, he bought it. He has a reputation for being very thorough and also very caring. I don't have any other questions for the him but will think about it. Any thoughts? The clinic is now associated with two other clinics each with its own specialists, so there are options

Kande, I will tell my farrier that Emma was sore this time. Other than that, I trust him to do a good job. He was recommended by my vet and many people in the area feel he is the best around. He was the farrier for the army horses and mules at Fort Hood for 6 years. I ask him questions but I don't try to tell him how to do his job. I have had a lot of farriers over the years, including barefoot Trimmer's and the guy I have now is the best I've found. I think I'll give him another chance :D

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:55 pm

demi wrote:Kande, I will tell my farrier that Emma was sore this time. Other than that, I trust him to do a good job. He was recommended by my vet and many people in the area feel he is the best around. He was the farrier for the army horses and mules at Fort Hood for 6 years. I ask him questions but I don't try to tell him how to do his job. I have had a lot of farriers over the years, including barefoot Trimmer's and the guy I have now is the best I've found. I think I'll give him another chance :D


Definitely tell him that she was sore, although if he's on the ball he should have known that he was taking too much off.

OTOH, I do think farriers space out sometimes and fail to check to see if the horse's soles are still thick enough to be able to tolerate more trimming, or they have one standard trim that's more appropriate for a reset than for a horse who is going to be barefoot. I've seen some in fact, who have very good reps as farriers, and who are IMO, very good farriers, but know little to nothing about barefoot and aren't interested in learning. But, if you mention to him that she was sore last time, and mention it just before he puts nippers to hoof, chances are good that he'll be a little more conservative about how much he takes off. :-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:53 pm

demi wrote:The vet that will be seeing Emma is new to the clinic. In fact, he bought it. He has a reputation for being very thorough and also very caring. I don't have any other questions for the him but will think about it. Any thoughts? The clinic is now associated with two other clinics each with its own specialists, so there are options
It's really difficult when one is dealing with a new vet. I would want to him to assess Emma on the lunge and do flexions on her. Surely he will do that without asking. You might get his opinion on that hind limb that sort of turned outward if that is still existing. Just make sure he understands that the bucking isn't related to exhuberance or bad riding. It only takes a view xrays to see if the spinal processes are close together or overlapping. Often when early in the case of kissing spine, the bone scan lights up before evidence is show on X-ray. There are several therapies/injections that can help. If Emma doesn't have that, then we are going to be back at the drawing board needing to know why she bucks.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:43 pm

Even though this is a new vet, it's the same clinic and he will have access to Emma's records. Plus, her vet is still with the clinic so the two can confer.

I'm trying not to think too far ahead but I really hope it isn't kissing spine. When I have overweight friends and relatives that have back, hip, or knee problems, the first thing I want to tell them is to lose weight. of course, I don't tell them, but their doctors DO! Carrying around extra weight is hard on healthy joints and bones, but it's even worse on arthritic joints and bones. Even if injections could help Emma, I wouldn't ask her to carry me around. Any extra weight would make the problem worse.

I still have a gut feeling that this is behavioral. I think she is afraid of collecting and cantering. Maybe because she lacks/lacked the strength and bone. She is very light boned. Maybe she could do the work easily because of a talent in the beginning (show records tell us she was doing higher levels at a young age) but she couldn't sustain it because she doesn't have the bone, or structure for it. Maybe she was made to do it against her will. She is a submissive little personality. But then it started to become much too painful and she had to say no. And got sold. And then got sold again.

I have put in A LOT of effort to show her I won't hurt her. She has stopped tensing up when I cinch her. She now longes calmly and freely on a long rein at walk and trot, but she couldn't do that when I got her. She got much better about letting me carry a whip on her (although I had quit for the time being, thinking it wasn't helping to gain trust). So much could be going on. I wonder if she thought when I was just asking for a lengthening the other day, that I was going to ask for advanced work that would hurt her?

No matter what, she is home for good now. She won't get sold again.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:07 pm

I'm still thinking about this and she may have though I was asking for canter when I asked for the trot lengthening. I probably instinctively shortened my reins and even though I don't think I cued for canter she may have still misunderstood.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:23 pm

She essentially started out showing at 4th level at 8 yrs old. That's a lot of work for a light boned, long, crooked legged horse. Plus if she wasn't allowed to get used to the whole show scene, that could be very scary to a sensitive horse that was already feeling uncomfortable with the work.
Then, in only a year, and with only a couple more shows under her belt, she was doing PSG.

I'm really hoping nothing physical shows up at the vet. I can give her lots of time to build up her confidence and her strength if that's what she needs.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:21 pm

demi wrote:I still have a gut feeling that this is behavioral. I think she is afraid of collecting and cantering. Maybe because she lacks/lacked the strength and bone.


It wouldn't surprise me if it was mostly behavioral, for the same reason that Adelinde Cornelissen couldn't lighten up on Parzival once she'd punished him into submission.

I don't think it's uncommon, even when it happens at a much milder level than what Parzival likely suffered.

I know that it's traditional to push horses to do things they don't want to do, but when the horse's entire job becomes a struggle to survive (which is what it must seem like to some horses), then IMO, the training has gone very, very wrong.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:35 pm

Wishing Emma a clean bill of health tomorrow.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:07 am

Thanks for the good wishes! The appointment is a 9 am. I will update as soon as I know anything....

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Josette » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:32 am

We just got back from a trip to VT Burlington area. So green and beautiful - lovely town with views Lake Champlain. Great foodie experience with emphasis on organic - plus awesome cheeses and dark chocolate!

However, I think I missed out on a great week for riding at home weather wise. Now more rain coming our way. Maybe I can get a ride in today before it start to hit 80s+ next week. Yuk - I so much prefer cooler weather. I get frustrated when I get a nice ride then miss more rides for weather or whatever.

Demi - wishing Emma a clear exam today without issue. Re-training mental baggage is hard but then you will know for sure what you are dealing with. Sending best wishes your way!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:35 pm

The spine is fine! She does have a structural abnormality in the sacrum on the left which doesn't palpate painfully. She shows soreness on the left to a hind leg backward flexion test. Could be stifle, but stifles look ok otherwise. Sometimes she gets a bump on the left of her lumbar spine (sacrum area)which is never painful to palpating. Vet says he could feel it even tho it isn't visible atm, and that is the structural abnormality.

i am leaning towards continuing the program as before, carefully, with the hope that she just needs to trust that I won't push her to the point of pain. Giving her the time to build strength and confidence.This could take a long time.

I think I'll also put Rocky back in more regular work.

Josette, I'm glad you had a nice vacation. Cheese and dark chocolate, YUM!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:01 pm

Whew! Good news on the spine. Did he xray the stifle?
Did you ask him about how you should proceed with work for her and what the prognosis was for improvement?

If you had done the PPE and this stuff was found, would you still have proceeded with the sale?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:37 pm

Great news Demi!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:40 pm

Josette wrote:We just got back from a trip to VT Burlington area.


Burlington's about 4 hours north of us, and we get the same weather here. And yes, last week was perfect for riding, or actually, for just about anything except swimming. It was even a little too cool for the blackflies most days, so I ditched the ring work and got some short but sweet trail rides in. The new trail horse is still a screaming idiot, but seems to be level headed in spite of his screaming problem. :-)

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:37 pm

Vet did give me some ideas but I have to think about it.

I have to get off line now and won't be back till Thursday. Computer network problems. DH will be mad if I use up all our data by using cellphone as a hotspot. I've already used up half.

Unless I go to Starbucks or something I'm signing off till Thursday.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby calvin » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:15 pm

Hi there,

Demi is silenced for a bit due to computer network issues, so I shall jump in to join this thread. Just to re-introduce, I am a senior gal (60's) with a senior horse (22) - and we have a goal: to show this month. There is a little show at the farm where I board. No trailering, no fuss and muss - it's just a nice opportunity to set a goal, get in there, and get some feedback. I ride alone most of the time (a common refrain); I have a dressage ring to work in, so I am hoping that I can commit to accuracy, if nothing else! I am going to show my horse 2-1 and 3-1; and a different horse at T-1. I'll let you know how it all works out. It's nice to set goals - the training level horse had some good training in the past and has shown (and done well) at level 1. He has had some physical challenges, so, like Demi, I have taken lots of time just to build a relationship with him. Once he gets warmed up a bit, he absolutely loves to work. That is a huge plus. He can be reactive by times, and had a bout of "ulcer issues" in the past: overall, he is a trier and if the stars align, I think he will really enjoy strutting his stuff. My horse is a good guy - while he prefers being a hunter (with another rider), he will do what he is asked. Throughness, bend, suppleness, consistency, straightness and downward transitions will all be challenges. Another goal this summer is to go on a beach ride again - such fun! The other "horse" outlet for me is to watch the progress of two yearlings I bought when Garner Creek Farms was ceasing operations. They have just turned 6, are competing, and doing very well with their now owners. It is a pleasure to watch capable people with a great coach develop horses which were bred for the job and love their work. The youngsters have exceeded my expectations.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Kyra's Mom » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:59 pm

Demi, if you are interested, you might look into Karen Rolhf's Dressage Naturally. I find it more conducive to real dressage training than Parelli. The basic groundwork is the same. Karen left dressage and went full bore into Parelli (as in up and moved to Colorado). She didn't like the way horses were going (looking so flat and robotic) so after a year or two, she came home and developed her own program geared toward dressage. I have been working with some of her programs for the last couple years and have made big improvements in my riding mentality and what is fair and possible for the horse. Kyra can be spooky and reactive and I was getting angry at her which does no one any favors. I had to change my outlook. I am really enjoying the programs. I haven't been able to take 'regular' lessons for quite some time so this works well for me.

I have been doing some ground work with Kyra. I long reined her for the first time in a long time and was quite happy with how she went. She normally gets more tension with long reining. She doesn't seem to like the separation from me but she did great. She gets more tense, I think because she is farther away and isn't always sure what I am asking. That worries her, poor thing. Starting some in-hand work also. At the end of each session, I have been doing a little half-pass each way. The key is controlling her shoulders so her hind end can keep up. She is getting some nice crossing (of course, at the walk).

I am still not near riding although dying to do so. I go back to the doctor for my 6 week check next week (at 7 weeks :roll: ) and will ask him. Probably he will say, quit riding. That is the usual but I am more concerned with when the scar tissue will be totally "set" and not likely to have issues. You know I am going to try at some point ;) .

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:45 am

I'm back online. DH fixed the problem so we didn't have to wait for the Geek Squad.

Kyra's Mom, I did look into Karen Rohlf when you had mentioned her another time. She sounds really interesting and more my style than Parelli, but since I had the Parelli course from several years ago I thought I'd just go ahead and use it rather than spend more money. I will check into it again, however. BTW, I am glad you're getting the ground work in with her and I feel your anticipation about finally being able to get back on!

Calvin, nice to see you back in the group. Your work sounds really good for you and your guy. Showing can be very stressful so it is great that you have the low key show situation right there. It will be much less stressful for him than if he had to trailer out, maybe even having to spend the night in a strange stall. Even younger horses can be stressed by that, let alone a senior citizen.

The vet said I could put Emma on Previcox for her sore stifles. He also said injecting the stifle was an option. I feel that that would just be masking the symptom though, and I am uncomfortable doing that. How would I know that I wasn't making the problem worse? So after thinking about it, I will talk to the vet about building her quadriceps with hill work. We have a nice gradual incline that should work well. I will "drive" her at a walk up the hill starting with 5 times every other day, if the vet thinks this might be a good idea. I can gradually increase the number of times up the hill, and eventually do it under saddle. As I have mentioned, Emma is light boned, and because of that, she doesn't have a lot of muscle. From what I've read, weak quads can contribute to sore stifles, and can also make canter difficult. She doesn't have loose or locking stifles, just sore. Maybe the soreness came from the vigorous bucking when she bucked me off, and then the bucking she did on the lunge afterward. I have done so little canter on the lunge with her, and I normally DO NOT let her buck on the lunge, so I don't think my normal routine with her would make her stifles sore in itself...

MC, that hind leg that turns out is just the way she stands sometimes. Both legs do it. I think of it like a "double jointed" person. It just makes me think that she needs to build supportive muscle even more than the average horse. Again, maybe the hill work will be an answer here.

I am still sore myself, and am guessing another week before I ride. I am planning on riding Rocky so I can stay in riding shape until (if and when) Emma is ready to ride again. I have started Rocky ground driving again as well as the Parelli stuff, and some longeing. I have some healthy apprehension about getting on but nothing serious. I really think it will be better for Emma not to ride for quite some time. Long enough to build strength without the added weight of a rider. If after 3-6 months the vet is able to see more muscling, and no sore stifles, I'll then think about getting back on.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:01 am

demi wrote:The vet said I could put Emma on Previcox for her sore stifles. He also said injecting the stifle was an option. I feel that that would just be masking the symptom though, and I am uncomfortable doing that. How would I know that I wasn't making the problem worse? So after thinking about it, I will talk to the vet about building her quadriceps with hill work. We have a nice gradual incline that should work well. I will "drive" her at a walk up the hill starting with 5 times every other day, if the vet thinks this might be a good idea. I can gradually increase the number of times up the hill, and eventually do it under saddle. As I have mentioned, Emma is light boned, and because of that, she doesn't have a lot of muscle. From what I've read, weak quads can contribute to sore stifles, and can also make canter difficult. She doesn't have loose or locking stifles, just sore. Maybe the soreness came from the vigorous bucking when she bucked me off, and then the bucking she did on the lunge afterward. I have done so little canter on the lunge with her, and I normally DO NOT let her buck on the lunge, so I don't think my normal routine with her would make her stifles sore in itself...

When you inject a joint, it depends on what you are injecting it with. Steroids relieve pain and inflammation, but can cause other problems are not good for using on a high motion joint like the stifle. Injecting with IRAP or PCP does not mask anything. IRAP stimulates cartilage cells which means that it has a disease modifying component as well as an anti-inflammatory component. The serum also contains cytokines that act to reduce inflammation within the joint.

There can be several things wrong with a stifle. It can be weak, slipping or locking, in which case slow work helps. It can have some OCD or arthritis in the joint. It can have a bone cyst (which my horse has). It can have a soft tissue strain or tear. Ultrasound and xray is needed to determine this.

The big reason for getting diagnostics done is to determine how to proceed with work, because working a horse without bringing down inflammation is only going to make the inflammation worse and working a horse with a soft tissue problem is defintely going to not end well.

In dunno Demi...I'm not going to belabor this issue and be a pita, but it doesn't seem to me that you have a diagnosis.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:06 pm

musical comedy wrote:.
The big reason for getting diagnostics done is to determine how to proceed with work, because working a horse without bringing down inflammation is only going to make the inflammation worse and working a horse with a soft tissue problem is defintely going to not end well.

In dunno Demi...I'm not going to belabor this issue and be a pita, but it doesn't seem to me that you have a diagnosis.


I dunno either :( I agree that I don't have a diagnosis yet. But I do know that the stifle soreness is "mild". It was so mild that I couldn't really see it when she trotted off after the flexion. What I did see, looked like nothing more than an older horse responding to having it's leg pulled back and held for a short time and then trotting off on concrete. The vet said that he saw mild soreness in the left, but not the right.

In addition, there was also mild lumbar back soreness. To which I thought...gee, I'm still sore from the bucking episode and it was her back that was getting bounced on, not mine.

The vet did say he could try to isolate the stifle soreness with nerve blocks, and from there, I would guess more radiographs. He also said he could ultrasound the back to look at the lower portion of the discs (the articulating surfaces, I forgot what they are called).

But this seems like more than necessary for mild soreness, especially the nerve block/flexion/concrete part.

I will take your opinion on working and inflamed horse and talk to the vet BEFORE I start the hill work. Maybe the Previcox is a good way to go. Maybe even more rest, in addition to Previcox. At this point my main concern is Emma's comfort and long term health. I do not want to continue working her if she is uncomfortable, or if it will wear her down prematurely. If I continue working her, I will have to get better at watching for and recognizing discomfort. Also, I will need to distinguish between minor discomfort due to muscles and joints getting stronger, and discomfort due to pushing her too hard. Keep in mind, I always err on the side of not pushing too hard. I tend to baby my horses, sometimes, too much.

I really appreciate your insight and thoughts on this. It helps to have someone to talk about this with.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:08 pm

Talked to the vet. This is the plan now: Put her on Previcox. 3/4 tab today then 1/4 daily thereafter. Ground drive her on the hill every other day and vet recheck in 30 days.

I wondered if I should give her time off before starting the hill work and the vet said no.


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