Senior progress thread?

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

Postby musical comedy » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:08 pm

I am still riding/training diligently in spite of the heat. You guys know how I think about keeping a horse fit in order to stay sound.

About 4 weeks ago I tripped in the yard and fell. A roll of chicken wire that DH puts around the trees to prevent deer from eating them had blown in the yard and I didn't see it as it was dark out. I went splat, putting my left (dominant) hand down to brace the fall. It hurt like hell, but I assumed it was just sprained. When it didn't get better after 2 weeks, I went for an X-ray. Fracture which thankfully didn't require surgery (yet anyway). I've been wearing a removable cast 22 hours a day. I take it off to ride and shower, that's it. I'm sure I shouldn't be riding without it, but that's how dedicated I am. Tomorrow makes 2 weeks in the cast, and it should be feeling good now, but it isn't. I have to use pitch fork and do farm chores with this cast on my dominant hand. It's difficult. So is cooking and typing one handed.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:08 am

That's a bummer, MC! And yeah, you shouldn't take it off to ride. I'd say "shame on you" if I thought it would do any good. Maybe you should practice one handed riding till the fracture is healed?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Kyra's Mom » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:01 am

Bummer MC. I don't think riders follow instructions very good ( and that includes me) :oops: .

Well, I thought riding would be fine if I stayed at walk. Not so much. I was pretty sore after a 20 min ride...it wasn't the only insult to my butt that day but I have been more sore since then (about 10 days ago). I did have a good yoga session today that seemed to get a good release on some of those aggravated muscles so hopefully things will improve this week. Still Hades hot here. I am really not much interested in riding in this heat. If I could get up early it wouldn't be so bad but I work swing shift and don't get to bed until 1AM. I really like my eight hrs of sleep. If I get up early, invariably, I get tied up at the barn or with elder care and don't get a nap before I go to work. This old lady needs to be awake and alert at work so the horse gets to chill. Today wasn't as bad. There was less humidity and a nice breeze. I did work her highness in the round pen and got some really nice liberty work. With the heat, we worked on transitions instead of endless circles. After some warmup, I was able to get her to halt from trot or canter, back up and canter off. We had one discussion where she wanted to present her butt to me instead of staying square to the rail. That is so so can jet off the other way instead of doing the harder back up. She ended up with some lovely active trot with nice suspension.

Kyra has had very few consecutive rides for a couple years now. My butt just couldn't tolerate it and still can't. For the puttering around I do, she seems fit enough. She is out 24/7. She doesn't have a ton of space but can move at will and I thoroughly believe it makes them much less prone to injury no matter their fitness level (providing they are worked judiciously and sanely).

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby musical comedy » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:31 pm

Kyra's Mom wrote:Kyra has had very few consecutive rides for a couple years now. My butt just couldn't tolerate it and still can't. For the puttering around I do, she seems fit enough. She is out 24/7. She doesn't have a ton of space but can move at will and I thoroughly believe it makes them much less prone to injury no matter their fitness level (providing they are worked judiciously and sanely).Susan
So do I. Of course, ideally, we'd like it if they did a little more exercise than the occasional walking, but I definitely think giving them the ability to move at will keeps them limber. So very many show horses live in a stall 23 hours a day. .

Susan, do you think eventually your butt will be able to handle riding?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Kyra's Mom » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:00 am

MC, I think I will be able to. From everything I have read, it can take up to a year or even longer to determine the final outcome. I'm only 13 weeks. I corresponded with a person on TOB that had the same surgery and she said it was closer to 2 years before she realized that her butt didn't hurt anymore. I have been able to sit longer and thought walking around on the horse shouldn't be that big a stretch but I will back off for a bit and give things some time to calm down.

Yoga is definitely stirring things up. I had a session yesterday and the poses felt good at the time but the butt is definitely not happy today. I think I will have to scale back to some of the simplest poses until things level out a bit. I want to keep up with the yoga to try and get some of my flexibility back. I do a restorative type of yoga called Svaroopa. The class I went to yesterday was Easy Does It yoga but we did some more difficult poses than I have done even in other classes pre-surgery. I just need to explain to the instructor and she will modify for me.

I will give it at least a year. If I am still having trouble next year, the horse will probably be for sale and time to move onto a new chapter.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:25 pm

Susan, I sure would like to see you be able to ride the ballerina again. We have wonderfully made bodies and I think that there is very good reason to believe that you are on the right track in getting your body organized. I hope this last effort of yours shows results in less than a year, but it could take even longer than a year.

I am thinking about my own Emma's issues, too. I believe her behavioral problems were created from physical problems and I've been working on solving the issue for over a year and a half. Slowly, slowly, her body may adjust to the changes in hoof angle and the careful dressage training. Some horses and some people progress rapidly, and others very slowly. It doesn't matter to me, because it's the journey...I try to always keep that in mind.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:28 pm

I had just gotten Rocky going again and was starting on Emma and then the rain came. It looks like it will last for a few more days so progress with horses is at a standstill. I'm going to bring my saddles and bridles into the house to protect them from the enevitible mold and mildew that we get here in this kind of weather.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:50 pm

We are still 5 degrees above normal (109 F downtown not that bad out here but still not pleasant) so I haven't been able to convince myself I want to ride yet. But I did start taking ground work lessons with my neighbor last night. She is a professional dressage trainer who worked with Dominique Barbier in the past so she does a lot of French/Portugese groundwork in her training. I've done a fair amount of reading but rarely had anyone to actually show me how to do these things. So we agreed to start with a set of 6 weekly lessons. We started with the basics last night. I've done basic lounging but she wants me to learn to change within the gait on the lounge, double lounging, long reining etc. Last night I finally understood and practiced jaw flexions and shoulder in from the pillar position. I'm going to start practicing with my mini. :). It'll be good for both of us. He used to be a driving mini before retirement.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:55 am

That sounds really interesting, SrHorselady. I hope you'll keep us posted as you continue to work. I taught Rocky to double lounge, and ground drive a few years ago when I was injured and couldn't ride. With her, the part that took the longest was getting her used to the long rein touching her rump and hind legs. Once she accepted that she picked up stuff quickly. Like backing, doing figure eights, and ground driving out in the pasture. All we did was walk because I couldn't keep her from going behind the vertical when I tried to trot her.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:07 pm

Groundwork lesson 2: boy is my lounging rusty! My "homework time" with one of my horses was limited due to unforeseen circumstances, but I did practise a couple of times. This week the lounging focused on balanced transitions while lounging and lounging from a 20 to a 10 meter circle and back out at trot and canter while keeping the horse balanced and forward. I'm working with one of the trainers experienced horses during these last two lessons. I'm such a klutz with the line and whip! I also practised jaw flexions from the front and each side and then worked on shoulder in both from the pillar position and walking. The quality of the results I was getting were much better this week.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:22 pm

Groundwork Lesson 3: this week we worked with one of my horses instead of the trainers experienced horse. NOT as easy! We decided to start with Cowboy (19 year old buckskin Quarterhorse). I've only had Cowboy 3 years and he was given to me by a friend who desperately needed to find him a home. He started his life as a roping horse and later transitioned to a rather spoiled pleasure trail horse. I started him in dressage since that is what I do. He's NOT crazy about dressage and doesn't have the gaits or the temperament to be wonderful at it. However, physically after 3 years his topline is now very nice and, although he will never over stride, he now has a longer stride and steps under much better. However, he is very stiff and on the forehand so we thought groundwork could really help him. I did not know if he had ever been lounged so the trainer said she would start him. He was tacked up in bridle and sursingle and taken to the round pen. He has obviously been in a round pen and did NOT have happy memories of it. This normally layed back rather lazy gelding frantically raced around with an anxious expression on his face. Luckily this trainer is very good at relaxing anxious horses, because I have never seen him act this way. She got him calmed down and willing to walk and then slow trot both directions on the lounge. She also did some gentle shoulder ins in both directions. He is so stiff that she had to gently assist him especially in one direction. She did not ask for much cross over. He actually has done some shoulder in under saddle altho the quality has never been wonderful. She said he was very tight through the shoulders which I knew. He also had an old shoulder injury and probably old scar tissue in the shoulder muscle on his stiff side from his roping days. (His previous owner had mentioned this injury.). I just watched. This lesson, we kept it short,was for him. The trainer arranged to come back in 2 days to work him again. Two days later she lounged him lightly at a walk, slow trot, and relaxed canter in both directions, changing directions several times, without any frantic racing or anxiety. Then more shoulder in, again not asking for a lot of cross over especially on the stiffer side. Then I lounged him for about 5 minutes. She suggested that we wait before I tried to do ground shoulder in since he needs extra assistance at this point. He and I will do homework lounging, maximum 10 min, and the trainer will work on his ground shoulder in. I will practise ground shoulder in with another horse who will be easier for a beginner. Next week's lesson will be delayed since I have relatives coming from out of state.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:55 am

If you keep this up Srhorselady, we will need pictures!! Thanks for the updates. It sounds like this is a good thing for Cowboy.

I use double longeing on occasion. I take the horse down the long side and only do circles here and there. I don't know how to do lateral work, though, and wish I did because it could be very helpful. I can Change direction through a figure 8, and back up, but just haven't gotten beyond that.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Srhorselady » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:50 am

Thanks Demi. I agree this will be very good for Cowboy.

Like you I learned to long rein many years ago during classes at a Community College Equine Science program. However, I haven't used this knowledge in many years so these refresher lessons are really worth while. I've always been interested in the ground work I've read about in many classical training books. Retired librarian so I do a lot of reading. I'm finding the discussions as I work with this trainer equally interesting. Good luck with your new trainer.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Backyarder » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:58 pm

My goal for this summer was to get my confidence back...I'm almost there..I still have moments when I hesitate as I ask for the transition to canter...but it's so much better. It has not helped Lotties confidence...she worries about canter...so I have to buck up and make things easy and clear for her to understand. I'm really working hard to acheieve relaxation and rythmn...she tends to rush a bit in all gaits. I would really love to ride a competent training level test , just at home with my instructor...before the ground freezes .How are you all doing?

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby demi » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:14 pm

I’m glad you got this thread started again! I love your new horse and think you will do well with her.

I can say from personal experience that it can take time to regain confidence for older riders, even if we have ridden all our lives. My two mares are high energy horses and not the type to instill confidence, but they are basically really good girls so I am just going to take my time and develop a very good relationship. One mare, Rocky, I’ve had since she was 3, and now at 11, we have a strong trust in each other. This helps my riding confidence immensely. The other mare, Emma, I ldidnt get till she was almost 13 yrs old and now at 15, we are just starting to trust each other. Some people can develop the trust thing much faster, especially when working with a trusted trainer.

My canter confidence has improved a lot since I started taking lessons on one of my trainer’s horses. Rocky is on rehab so I cant canter her. I havent yet transferred that confidence to cantering Emma, but I can imagine it in the near future. I jumped the gun with Emma once, but this time around I am really going to wait until I am confident before I ask for canter. She did come with several serious issues, and canter was one of them. Em has been on very light work until recently so she needs some time to build strength. When she is stronger, I plan I taking her to my trainer.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:21 pm

Good idea backyarder, to try to ride some tests at home.

Demi, it also sounds like you have a good plan in mind for you and Rocky and Emma.

I've just been trying to maintain as best I could all summer, but then this fall I met someone who likes to ride in the ring so we started riding together, and that has been working really well.

Up until a couple months ago I strongly preferred to ride by myself so I could work on what I wanted to work on, but then when I started riding with others I found that I really enjoyed it *and* it makes it harder for me to fall into a rut and just keep doing the same old things over and over again.

So my plan for this fall, and hopefully right on through the winter, is to just ride forward (maybe not as straight as I was hoping for, but as straight as possible) and just get on with it. We'll see how it pans out, but that's the plan, anyway.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Backyarder » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:38 pm

I have a lesson booked for Sunday morning, hoping the footing is okay...we are having some heavy rain . I really want to to get some hacks in but it's hartd because my older mare ,25 year old Tb, gets so upset when we leave her. I'm afraid she'll injure herself. If I trailer off property she is fine...smart...knows we're gone and nothing to be done about it, but I have to ask to borrow a trailer and I don't like borrowing! Lottie needs some time on the trail to chill. Me too.

If I ask for canter and she misses the aid and runs, then she gets upset, starts anticipating and curling up and getting tight...I'm working on making that aid better and taking the worry out of it...for both of us. I will be happy when I can do that training level test...because it will mean I can put the aids and transitions all to work smoothly. I'll have to be good because my ring is so small the movement changes come up quickly...fingers crossed!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Backyarder » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:41 pm

and I love sharing photos so here is a cnter pic from our last lesson...the second one is better, I'm not pulling...
Attachments
Canter homework2.JPG
Canter homework2.JPG (33.03 KiB) Viewed 373 times
Canter homework.JPG
Canter homework.JPG (26.71 KiB) Viewed 373 times

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:40 am

Backyarder wrote:I'll have to be good because my ring is so small the movement changes come up quickly...fingers crossed!


My indoor is small too, which I think has been a good thing because it forces us to make a lot of turns, and that has helped us develop better balance. But you're right that it does make it quite a bit more challenging to ride a test.

I just emptied the last hay wagon that had been parked in the indoor, so at least we now have the entire space.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Backyarder » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:23 am

Well, interesting lesson this evening. Started by getting pony listening and reactive( in a good way) by doing in hasnd work..it also was to get me to feel the transitions and keep them soft even when leading. We did walk/trot and halt..it worked well to get her interested in work and sharp ....last ride she was very dull ands lack luster. Then my coach told me to drop my stirrups...I did but then she asked me to cross them over the withers...that freaked me out a bit..I really wanted the safety net of having them near my feet....the first few strides were wobbly...me wobbling in the saddle...but it got easier and easier ...we worked on getting her round and straight and did walk / trot/ walk....on the track and on a 20m ans 10 m circle...toward the end I was tiring and things were starting to deteriorate so I got it right and quit...very proud of myself tonight!!

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Backyarder » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:44 pm

Awesome lesson with pole work this year. Lottie liked the change of routine. She's getting steadier in the bridle . I twas fun .

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Backyarder » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:32 pm

I had another good lesson with pole work yesterday..the poles are great for giving Lottie and I something to focus on, We used them to create a good tempo and help get her hind end engaged...she rushed a bit but it was all on me to post slower and regulate the pace...I am loving it! I was a bit sore after the ride but in a good way, felt like I loosened my hips flexors and really worked! So dreading the freeze up...things are going well.

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby Backyarder » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:27 am

No where near reaching my goal of riding a Training level test this fall...but I had another great lesson...I'm not saying everything was good...just that it was fun and I saw progression and learned. We started some canter work, focusing on transitions..I'm really bad at down transitions
.but alas winter is upon us and I haven't ridden since..

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Re: Senior progress thread?

Postby kande50 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:50 am

Backyarder wrote:We started some canter work, focusing on transitions..I'm really bad at down transitions
.but alas winter is upon us and I haven't ridden since..


I had a brief lesson recently and realized that I need to work on transitions more, too. Not that I don't do any transitions, but for lack of imagination I tend to do the same ones over and over again and don't mix them up often enough.

I"m hoping that my riding partners are going to want to do a few more group lessons this winter, because it's not only motivating, but it helps get me out of some of the ruts I get into.


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