Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jumping Again

I had a conversation with another boarder at my barn the other night. She just turned 50 and got back into riding fairly recently. She jumps and wants to compete at the mini-prix level. It’s hard coming back into a sport after years off and as an older person. You feel like you’ve missed the boat when you see all the really young and really good riders out there. And we’re in the same situation when it comes to money…we don’t have any.

I was grumping about my lame horse, my lack of ability to get another horse if he’s not going to be able to jump, my serious lack of show experience. I realized I really don’t know what my goals are. I don’t really want to rider jumpers. I like hunters and equitation. I love the smooth elegant lines, the sharp clothes, the graceful jumps. I love the look of a big round hunt horse. I think I want to be good enough at what I do to teach beginners and intermediate riders. I’d like to be able to train a horse to compete at the B and C level shows. I don’t have any dreams of being a big name trainer. That makes me wonder how far I need to go with my showing. I don’t want to feel like a joke. I want to be good enough that other people will respect my experience. At any rate much more work is ahead of me and jumping still freaks me out a little. I probably need to get up to at least 4 feet to meet my goals. And I feel a little old to be starting all this now, which I’m sure irritates the woman I was talking to since I’m 15 years younger.

Jil was telling me that I just needed to get on a horse, a good horse and jump. Get used to it and go higher to desensitize myself. She’s right. That very night I got Miss December out. She’s ready to start some fences. Her canter is consistent and smooth. Her fitness level is increasing rapidly. Her lead changes have improved dramatically in the last week.

We started with a crossrail…just one. We trotted over it in circles 2-3 times each direction. Next we cantered. I raised the fence to a vertical. We did it again. I raised the vertical….we worked up to about 2’9. Jil was right. Bigger jumps are easier than small ones. December’s canter stayed smooth and consistent. Her distances were perfect and she’s pretty easy to keep straight in her lines.

I’m going to start taking her out to my trainer’s for some lessons. Guess it’s a good thing she’s back. I have something to show this year after all.

I've been playing around with Tax a bit.  He doesn't seem to be in pain and moves better in a straight line then on the lunge line.  Going to the left in a circle his back left leg seems to be sticking in the stifle and when I think back he's always been a bit stumbly back there so 99% sure I'm dealing with a stifle issue.  The good news is that's probably fixable.  I'll know more Saturday after Dr. Cutie comes out.  ( embarrassed do you think he would be if he knew I called him that?)  Anyone out there have any experiences with stifle issues or injections? 

Charlie came back home yesterday.  He had been at the trainer's and she was trying to sell him for me.  I've decided to focus on H/J and due to a series of unfortunate personal events can't afford to show APHA so it doesn't make any sense to keep him.  The trainer's show season starts this weekend and she won't be home to show him to clients.  The market here is pretty bad and we're having trouble finding a serious buyer.  He looks amazing.  That woman can sure turn out a show horse.  Now I'm on my own for selling him at least for the summer.  She's going to advertise him at the shows but I'm going to have to be the one to do most of the work.  I'm a bit nervous about this but I really can't do three horses right now.


Shanster said...

You're a better woman than me! I am a big chix and don't jump at all! Sounds like you are on the right track and you have good goals!

Promise said...

Yes. I definitely have some experience with stifle issues and injections, LOL.

I can't recall the name of the steroid my vet injected Promise's right stifle with, but I got 2 months of soundness out of it the first time. This is FAR below the average (4-6 months), according to my vet. Also, I'm pretty sure she undid any of the good effects of it the second time, when she got herself cast by that leg 2 days after the injection. It's certainly worth a shot (haha) but is not worth the money if, like Promise, he only get 2 months of relief from it.

I think the best thing I have done for Promise (who is 17) since all of these stifle issues began plaguing us, is finding a GREAT senior joint supplement:

Within a week of being on this supplement (with no loading dose, I might add), she was about 75-80% sound at the trot, on a circle. 2 weeks, about 85-90% sound at the trot on a circle. 3 weeks, 95-98% sound at the trot on a circle, 100% on a straight line, and willing to canter on both leads. She was 100% (on a circle) for a week or so, but it seems to have been a bit of a fluke.

She IS sound enough to ride, and doesn't feel off at all once she's warmed up (the right hind "sticks" a little going to the left until she's gone around a few times). She's also not showing any signs of back soreness.

I don't know if this helps any, or makes your choices harder, lol. For my horse, the injections were not worth it, the next step according to the vet would be to try Adequan (which I just cannot afford, even on a trial basis) or "get a new horse," which I also cannot afford.

The joint supplement was a 90-day trial for me, to see if it did ANYthing for her. It has been great, and she'll stay on it.

Fyyahchild said...

Thanks Promise. I've been reading your blog but not every post so thanks for the summary.

He's pretty young, only 7 so I'm hoping that since this isn't an age related issue at this point we can get a good result. I actually think my trainer was talking about the iodine "blister" injections but I will need to clarify. She said she has had 100% success with any horse she's had to have injected and not to mess with the Adequan. She said it took about 3 weeks to rehab and lots of work on straight lines and hills before going back to circles. I talked to her in more detail after I posted. I'm hopeful now that he'll be back to work and showing before the end of summer. I can't try adding a joint supplement too though. Its not like it would hurt him.

Shanster...took me a while to get here and a horse I trust to take care of me over the fence! You're brave in your own way. I'm thinking about doing some really low level 3 day eventing and the dressage scares me more than the cross country.