G'evening all. I would like to give a big shout of congrats to Linda who just got her first 70% at Pinehurst Fall Dressage. She had to show without the Sandbox Club or Karver stable group. I would have loved to have been there to witness the announcement of that score. Those are great moments to share. Linda's other 68% scores are also wonderful! Linda wore the orange vest in warm up to help protect Legacy. Legacy is without her right eye and can be terribly frightened or startled in new surroundings. Other show competitors can cause quite a spook in the mare. So, to provide a little warning to the other competiors, the orange vest is allowed by management and USDF, USEF. Apparently it worked very well. Linda said only one competitor was insensitive. Otherwise, the show went smoothly and gracefully... and very successfully. Congratulations Linda and Legacy!
I know its been a while. So, there are a few topics to address. First, Watson is recovering and doing well. Yeah! Second, I made the front page! The first time in my life! (October, NCDCTA News). And Welle's "power change" is the photo. I will post that flying change picture on the bottom of this blog box. It is different from the one on my gallery page. This one has her flying even more. Additionally, I have gotten some interesting comments lately through this blog. If you would like to read them, click on the blue word: "Comments" in the top right corner. It may say "0 Comments" or "1 Comment" or "2 Comments" etc. Feel free to leave a comment also. A comment from Candace brings up another point that would be great for a future blog. She discusses the difference between a great trot and a great show trot (with more power) and mentions the soft relaxation of the back is the difficult ingredient in that powerful show trot. So true, so true.
And lets chat about natural horsemanship. I will write a blog on the subject later. For now, to inspire some of your thoughts: What exactly is natural horsemanship and does it relate to dressage? It is a marketing term used to reference the Parelli method, as described on their website: " A holistic approach to natural horse training based on developing a natural relationship with your horse through understanding the world from the horse's point of view." Wikipedia defines natural horsemanship as: "the philosophy of working with horses by appealing to their instincts and herd mentality. It involves communication techniques derived from wild horse observation in order to build a partnership that closely resembles the relationship that exists between horses." The USDF website describes dressage: "Dressage is a French term meaning 'training' and its purpose is to develop the horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider." (It is interesting they both use the terms "natural" and "training" in their descriptions. Hmmmm.) The wikipedia description of classical dressage is very long. Here is a small part: "The origins of classical dressage and collection lie in the natural abilities of the horse and its movements in the wild. In fact, most modern definitions of dressage state that the goal is to have the horse perform undersaddle with the degree of athleticism and grace that it naturally shows when free." Here is wikipedia's definition of classical: "General meaning: refers to some past time, works of that era and/or later works influenced by that time. Classical things are often seen as ordered and part of a high culture or golden age, and contrasted to earlier or later things which may be seen as chaotic, elaborate or emotional." ...alrighty then. Chew on those words a bit. I think they will spice up the pot...
And finally, the photo of Welle from the front page of the NCDCTA News, October 2010:
Hi. If you would like to see what Sandi looks like nowadays, I put a photo from the Raleigh show on the gallery page. I also put a photo of Welle from her Championship win. The photo of Welle was taken in the indoor so the quality is disappointing.
Coming soon: thoughts on "Natural Horsemanship" . Any strong opinions out there?
Welle is North Carolina's Prix ST. Georges Champion!! She won both PSG championship classes and took the NC small tour (PSG combined with Intermediare 1) Championship. She felt superb the whole weekend. Additionally, Welle was leading HOY (Horse of the Year) before the championships, and the double HOY points awarded in those classes put Welle in a smokin' lead for PSG Horse of the Year Award. I will post show photos soon.
The highs were high, and the lows were pretty low. The lowest note: Dana's fabulous horse, Watson, became ill on Friday before loading for the show. Dana heard him thrashing in the barn and found him cast. He finally got up, but then proceeded to develop colic symptoms. He was treated by the home vet, then allowed some turn out. He appeared fine. Dana was advised to bring him onward to Raleigh. Vets generally believe that trailer rides are somewhat theraputic for colic as it causes bowel movements. And the show grounds are across the street from the NC State vet hospital, so, Watson would be very close to the best care he could receive if further problems occurred.... And they did. By Friday evening Watson was in pain again. The show vet treated Watson again. At this point, some hard stools in the colon were evident and it was believed that he had gotten mildly dehydrated. Watson was walked late into the evening, as his people rallied for him. Interestingly, three of the six people helping in the Watson situation (including two vets) were competitors in his first level championship classes. So, with humor, we joked about their vicious attempts to eliminate the wonderful Watson to give themselves a better chance, but with real concern in their eyes. Dana stayed Friday night in the aisle outside his stall. By three o'clock Saturday morning, he was colicking again. Before seven, she took him to the State Vet hospital. There, they discovered that a bit of his large colon had "fallen" between his spleen and kidney. Gas was building up in that area. They were confident that surgery could be avoided by medically shrinking the spleen and flushing him with fluids and mild walking. With that, the gut would pop back into place. With folded hands, the rest of us went on our way. As Dana stayed at the hospital, her husband quietly packed up Watson's show gear. Watson was out of the competition. Survival was the only concern. Today is Wednesday following the show, and the vets at State succeeded. Watson came home. Sigh. Whew. I couldn't write this until he was home. He is fabulous.
And another little story: our humorous, baby horse, Sanibelle. We signed Sandi up for one class on Saturday. The rest of the time at the show was schooling time. I put her in the warm up arena on Friday with a small number of horses. She was very, very good. On Saturday morning, her class was my first ride of the day. The warm up was a little crowded but we proceeded into work. Within the first 15 minutes of the ride, Sandi felt her life was threatened and she had to flee in great defense. I almost got left in the dust. Details: An outspoken competitor on an advanced horse was warming up also. It was a move from her horse that nearly killed Sandi and me Saturday morning. I'm sure the move was innocent, but the humor doesn't escape me. In the warm up, her horse's path crossed directly behind Sanibelle as we moved on a diagonal line across the warm up arena. Just when she got behind Sandi she decided to execute a pirouette, turning into Sandi's hind-end. Sandi interpreted that as very aggressive. She bolted forward and sprung into the air. Several times she lept with her front legs swallowing the sky and her hind legs kicking back threats. I had no effective aids left. I used my voice and loudly commanded her to stop. Finally, she did. There, I hung by my thigh. I errected myself, regathered my reins and proceeded with a more submissive warm up, carefull to avoid the "aggressive killer". Then, with her friends, fans, owner, and breeder watching, Sandi went up to the arena by the road on the far side of the stadium for her test. Some rowdy football tail-gaters on the road shouted over the fence at us as we waited "on deck". But Sandi is a star: Sandi won the class with at 73%. Our only big fault: no first halt. Really! I don't blame her. I didn't feel like standin' around either!
There is a fun anticipation to horse shows. Dewy mornings. Slick horses. Everyone is packing up... In separate towns around the region. We are going to meet at the same place and time to compete for a victory. Over the last month(s) the good rides have inspired us to believe that we bring the wining advantage to that point in time. The moments of resistance leave us dwelling in doubt. Over the coming weekend the victor will be sorted out. In the end, one wins. The rest, recoil to home arenas to learn, renew, and restructure the future... and meet again in a future arena to sort out a new victor. And the horses? ...They retain their religious adherence to the laws of nature: the structure of equine-ness that made us fall in love with them in the first place. Perhaps it is one who adheres to the respect of the equine nature that wins in the final arena... as we pack up materials in the fun anticipation of horse shows, dewy mornings, dirty horses.