Anna Banana

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StraightForward
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Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:57 pm

Things are starting to cruise along with the 4 year old appendix QH mare I bought in April. She had what the vet termed a "swing phase right hind lameness" during the PPE, and pointed out that her left haunch was rather undeveloped and she carried that hip low. Obviously I bought her anyway, going with my gut that it was a result of training, and was fixable. That seems to be right so far, and with a few sessions of body work (she was pretty locked up in her S/I and had a tight hamstring and sore ribs) and some in-hand work to get her using her left hind, she is tracking more evenly and the left haunch is filling in. She still carries it a little low, but unless you're looking for it, she looks to be moving out soundly. She also scared us by coming down with strangles-like symptoms and spending a couple days in the hospital last month, but it turned out to be an infected abscess in her jaw, which is nearly resolved now. She was started western and was being ridden in a mullen mouth shanked bit :| so there is a lot to do in teaching her about contact, but she is coming along and there are some nice moments. She is also learning to bend and do a bit of TOH and LY, and has a great, teachable brain. Since she has a long neck and fine throatlatch, she could easily tend towards curling, so I'm favoring allowing her to go above the bit as she needs to and learns to come out and take contact. I want to transition to riding in a CC saddle for the next several months, but I'm waiting on the correct size of girth to be delivered. Hoping to take her out to a show at TL this fall and do some of the x-rails level event derbies and such as well before winter hits.

My dad is visiting and got a quick video today of our first time cantering since I brought her home about ten weeks ago. Please don't mind me, especially in the still; I seem to have transformed into the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but she looks pretty good.
Image
Image

Lunging clip:
https://youtu.be/4_Nt1nDaSKY

Canter under saddle:
https://youtu.be/mb4zdYjhN00
Last edited by StraightForward on Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Ryeissa » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:39 pm

Oh! good job! I like your stable position and Anna seems very well balanced all things considered.
thanks for sharing!

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Kathy Johnson » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:52 am

I admire your ability to stay so quiet and in balance, which really helps the young horse find hers. I don't mind seeing her above the bit until she develops the pushing power she needs to travel straight. You're doing such a nice job!

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby demi » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:18 pm

Thanks for the news on Annabelle! Good job. She looks like she will progress well, and I look forward to what you will do with her in the future. Take it slow and easy.

I was expecting to see something horrible after the hunchback of Notre Dame comment!! but on the contrary, you look like you are doing a good job on a young horse.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Kyra's Mom » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:55 am

That canter looked nice. Good balance into and out for a greenie. I can't wait to see what she looks like in a couple years.

keep up the good work.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:47 pm

Kathy Johnson wrote:I admire your ability to stay so quiet and in balance, which really helps the young horse find hers. I don't mind seeing her above the bit until she develops the pushing power she needs to travel straight. You're doing such a nice job!


Kathy - glad to hear that you concur, since you've done such a great job with your retraining projects. Luckily she was never "backed off the bit" the way many western horses are, so she's exploring the contact and I think she is appreciating the additional support that it provides, and will give a nice connection once she's stronger.

Thanks Susan, Demi and Rye! It's nice to have my own horse to ride and focus on again. I definitely need to work on the shoulder rounding thing though. I think I'm providing a nice release when she finds a good spot, but really I'm dumping forward and dropping her; a smaller give while not collapsing would be more effective for sure!
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby musical comedy » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:17 pm

StraightForward wrote:. I definitely need to work on the shoulder rounding thing though. I think I'm providing a nice release when she finds a good spot, but really I'm dumping forward and dropping her; a smaller give while not collapsing would be more effective for sure!
I don't see anything with your shoulders or position that needs fixing. I have always been taught we don't canter a green horse in a dressage seat, but more of a forward 3-point seat. Why did you choose not to start her on the lunge at in side reins and/or other lunging tack? Yeah, I'm one of those that doesn't canter a youngster until it's pretty much on the bit in trot first.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:29 pm

I'm actually planning to start riding her in a close contact saddle, just waiting to get the right size girth. I definitely tried to get up off her back a bit in the canter, but it's hard to go against the seat the saddle is designed for.

I actually have been working her in Vienna reins, but they are adjusted pretty loosely so they give her a suggestion of bend and keep her from inverting completely. However, my observation is that I have more control over her use of her left hind when I'm in the saddle and I'm able to teach to bend and stay up in the shoulders better, plus I can change between bending and straight lines more readily than on the lunge. As I mentioned, she's a horse that would tend towards curling behind the bit, so I'm very wary of more tightly adusted side reins at this point. Most work is in trot at this point, but I've also observed from watching her on the lunge that the shortness of gait in her left hind dissipates more quickly with a bit of cantering than it does if I just try to work her out of it through the trot. She still gets a short lunge to loosen up before riding, and the left hind stiffness is getting less and shorter every week.
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Sue B » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:08 pm

As the owner of a naturally curling horse, I concur that side reins (especially short ones) do not help. I too thought about trying Vienna reins those early years of Rudy's training, but never got around to buying some. In the end, he simply needed to develop the strength to stay out to the bit instead of curling. While I'm all for a light seat while cantering, I will add that Tio does not like a forward seat at all and I am required to sit very quietly in the middle of his back.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:37 am

Testing out new photo hosting since Photobucket says I've hit my limit - Annabelle April 14th, and today. I was hoping I had a better "before" photo, but she essentially had a dent in her loin above her left hip. Today I was admiring how it is almost filled in. She went on her first field trip to a facility that allows haul-ins when there aren't any events scheduled. She did great with the mirrors in the indoor and we had a nice ride around the huge outdoor and she had intense interest in the mules they raise there, but didn't flip out.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:08 pm

Annabelle update, so I can go back and look at this later. Last update was July 4. For the rest of July, we worked pretty consistently, and were finally able to schedule a lesson at the end of the month in which we worked on going out to the bit, slight stretching, changing the trot, and changing the frame. A good takeaway exercise from that lesson was doing a walking TOF, and then trotting off. Poor A was a bit perplexed by this rapid set of requests, and had trouble untangling her feet, so it went on the list to work on.

The day after that, she fell and went *splat* on the lunge line, and scraped up her stifle and had some sore ribs, so she was off riding for almost two weeks. Vet check and stifle was fine, luckily, she was just a bit stiff and sore. Then with about 5 rides back from that accident, she scraped up her leg and came up with a swollen hock, and was off four weeks. This turned out to maybe be a blessing in disguise, because I was freshly back from a Jillian Kreinbring workshop, and enthusiastic to do lots of ground work, so we worked lateral flexions, TOF, TOH, RB and LY from the ground several times a week, then reintroduced lunging as she got better. I've also been doing a marching walk around the arena with her on about 10' of line when we start each day; with that, she is getting a little livelier in her walk, but is still rather pokey.

She's been back under saddle for a few weeks now and I'm trying to stick with a 3 day US/2 day groundwork schedule for now. With careful lunging, she is getting much better at picking up her right lead, and is even able to stay round and balanced through the transition. We are introducing more LY under saddle as she likes to fall in left, especially. The TOF -> trot exercise has been helpful, and she has improved a lot in giving a forward response instead of getting balky and stuck when she feels me prepare for an up transition.

First little show was today - copy and paste from the 8-week challenge thread:

Hey, we did a thing! Just Intro A and B at a little event derby, which was just the right speed for us. I still managed to flub up Intro A of all things :oops: by doing free walk where it's supposed to be trot across the diagonal to change reins. We got a lot of rain last night, and the only place to warm up was a grass field that was super frosty and wet, so we didn't really get much warmup at all, except for some tentative trotting on the lunge line before I decided I'd better crawl on.

Good info learned for next time:
She gets sticky and rubber-necked in the ring. Make sure she is very IFL before test
Jacket needs to be shortened if I'm going to wear silicone full seats while posting. Tails sticking to butt and getting wedged under the seat is distracting.
Don't practice a test that you "sort of" know beforehand. I think my off-course error was because I'd practiced it that way earlier this week before I had the test fully memorized. Motor memory is a strong force in the universe.
When there's a hard rain and 5 pm, and it's 28F the next morning, allow extra time because your truck will be covered in a sheet of ice.

Image

Posting this one because I like how her neck muscling looks:
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Tsavo » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:59 pm

Wow I think you are a very good Mommy! You show a lot of focus and dedication. She is a lovely mare.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby demi » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:11 am

Glad you updated! And I agree totally with Tsavo, Anna is a lovely mare!! You are taking the time to give her a good foundation and she looks like she will be a fine dressage horse.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:30 pm

New updates - since my last post, Annabelle got very out in her pelvis, but was put right with steady bodywork. Then we discovered that she had ulcers, and went through the Gastrogard treatment. We've now had about six consecutive weeks of steady work (riding 3x per week) and a few lessons. She also got her own saddle, an older Black Country. I had to have it fully reflocked, and have been shimming it because she was almost an inch smaller on her left side than right, but is getting more symmetrical now. I'm also getting her front feet more even after verifying through radiographs that I wasn't going to create problems by lowering the heel on her high foot; it is going to take some time to get a little more heel on her low though, so she still tends to load that shoulder significantly more.

Here are some pics of her change in topline and haunches, September to February.

September:
Image
ImageHaunches Sept 17 by nika lepak, on Flickr

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:31 pm

February 16, 2018
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Sue B » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:03 pm

WOW!!!!!!

Great job! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Moutaineer » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:40 pm

Big improvement!

So satisfying, isn't it?

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby demi » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:05 pm

A-mazing!!!! What a difference.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:14 am

Moutaineer wrote:Big improvement!

So satisfying, isn't it?


Yes, and she is paying me back because suddenly she feels like she has a bit of a motor.

I sent these photos to Jillian Kreinbring today too, since I asked her lots of questions about this horse when I went to her biomechanics workshop last summer. I'm looking forward to reading what she thinks.
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Dresseur » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:54 pm

What an amazing difference! Well done!!

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:23 pm

So smart of you to take photos over time. Great development!

p.s. I thought the canter video you shared was very nice and relaxed---showing good acceptance of aids for her training.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Imperini » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:57 pm

That's really quite a change! Awesome!

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:31 am

Thanks for the compliments, she is getting much stronger. We had a lesson yesterday, and I was again challenged to up the ante, so we are working more on keeping the canter within a 20m circle while maintaining the energy; trying to find the connection in the transitions and getting in front of the leg.

A little video with the SoloShot from the end of today's ride. Lots of bracing, ugly moments in the first half hour, but I'm pretty pleased with how this is looking as compared to some videos from early winter. I think she ought to be able to start cantering over some ground poles now; even a couple weeks ago the canter felt way too haphazard for that, but there have been a lot of positive changes, and she doesn't feel quite so "breakable."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP5sSpg ... e=youtu.be
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby demi » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:39 pm

Looking good, SF! She looks nice and relaxed when she’s trotting. She’s going to be a really pretty dressage horse! I’m glad you got the soloshot!

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:51 am

demi wrote: I’m glad you got the soloshot!


And I'm so glad it worked. Last time it took a bunch of footage of the sky and the fence, punctuated with the occasional horse butt. Yesterday it was finicky with recognizing the tag, but once it started tracking, it just had one small hiccup where it filmed over my head for 2-3 minutes. Now that days are longer, I'm hoping to use it 2x a week. I'm finding that filming the entire ride is helpful, because then I can review it soon after and it helps me think more broadly about whether I should have done anything different in terms of the figures and exercises, how problems were addressed, if I did enough transitions, etc. not just if my position is OK and we look like I think we look.
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:55 am

One year ago, vs. fifth birthday, today:
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Sue B » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:11 pm

Beautiful.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby PaulaO » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:54 pm

She cleans up good! I have a very soft spot for red headed mares :roll:

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:09 pm

January:
January Trot 1.JPG
January Trot 1.JPG (46.15 KiB) Viewed 625 times


Today:
July Trot 2.JPG
July Trot 2.JPG (20.16 KiB) Viewed 625 times

July Canter 3.JPG
July Canter 3.JPG (22.74 KiB) Viewed 625 times
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Chisamba » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:12 pm

So how is she moving? her muscling has improved had her swing phase stride also improved?

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:49 pm

I haven't had a vet look at her, but she does track evenly, or very close to it with both hinds at walk and trot. She still carries the left hip low and I don't think that is going to change, but the amount of muscling is close to equal on her left and right. I need to get new topline photos. She has muscled up more since her birthday photos. She does require regular bodywork. She had five days off while I was out of town recently, and felt awful when I got back. She got adjusted on Monday, lunged in side reins yesterday, and today ridden work was a huge improvement. I can tell when she is "out" because she starts having difficulty with the right lead, though she doesn't deteriorate nearly as much or as badly as she used to (e.g. can't take the right lead or had to buck to get into it).
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Chisamba » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:58 am

So you are in the phase where work improves or helps her and rest does not?

Sometimes we end up being our horses physiotherapists

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby Tsavo » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:14 am

What does "out" mean? Which objective veterinary finding is it correlated with?

The horse I exercise has been bucking when asked to canter. He has been doing this on and off his whole life so the owner thinks it is behavior but I think it is pretty clearly a physical issue... kissing spines, SI issue, etc. The point is there is always going to be an actual diagnosis eventually.

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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:15 pm

Tsavo wrote:What does "out" mean? Which objective veterinary finding is it correlated with?

The horse I exercise has been bucking when asked to canter. He has been doing this on and off his whole life so the owner thinks it is behavior but I think it is pretty clearly a physical issue... kissing spines, SI issue, etc. The point is there is always going to be an actual diagnosis eventually.


I believe this horse has an S/I injury - as I said, she carries one hip lower than the other and has a "hunter's bump". You can see from the photos of her hind end how atrophied her left haunch used to be. Upthread I mention how I talked with Jillian Krienbring about this and she said that proper work to build topline and even the muscles will help a lot. So that is the physical explanation, and to me it makes sense that she would get out of alignment over time and need adjustments. On the most recent visit, she was stuck in her lumbars and neck. I can't tell you the detailed mechanics of it, but I do know that she improves overnight after getting worked on and was able to do the 10m half circles when we practiced centerlines yesterday, whereas last week she was blowing through my outside aids; she was also able to do a better stretchy circle yesterday. When I say she was bucking, I mean a little leap to get into the lead, not reactive repeated bucking/bolting like I think of with KS. The bodyworkers I work with both feel that she is holding the adjustments and in better shape each time they see her.

So I think a horse like this COULD easily develop KS with improper work resulting in a weakened topline. I don't think deterioration to KS or some other terrible outcome is inevitable or even likely with the path I have her on.
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Re: Anna Banana

Postby StraightForward » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:19 pm

Chisamba wrote:So you are in the phase where work improves or helps her and rest does not?

Sometimes we end up being our horses physiotherapists


I am finding that 2 days of riding and then a day off is best. I tried to increase her to 3 days on, but found that she got stiff, so going forward I am going to try riding Sat/Sun/Tue/Thu and lunging and in-hand Monday/Tuesday and see if that is a good compromise.

She was stiffer after having five days off while I was in Wyoming, but I think I made the mistake of working her a little too hard before I left, so she may have been sore and then stiffened up when left to her own devices.
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