Saturday, February 26, 2011


Something else is wrong. I suspect Izzy's NQR in her left hind. She was ok going to the left, but had an absolute fit about going right and taking her right lead. This is particularly remarkable because She's a right-sided horse. Even loose, she was taking the left lead when going right, though she did pick it up on the lunge. That said, I could barely keep her out on a circle to the right because she kept leaning in like she was trying to keep weight off that outside hind. Oh, and she absolutely couldn't go straight to the right. She isn't off, she's just a little short on the hind, so I'm thinking she tweaked something.


I will call the chiro today and see what we can do.

I'm just feeling discouraged, though. Sometimes I think I should just sell Izzy to someone who could appreciate/use her more and buy something slower and stupider for myself to putz around on. Part of the problem is that I really can't afford lessons right now. I could maybe, but every time I have some money for it, I get to pay some other equine professional to fix the problem pony. I feel a bit adrift and I'm not sure what to do about it.

Part of me wants to explore other options. There is an eventing barn near me with some high-ish level trainers. Maybe I should explore either moving her there or taking some lessons (with imaginary money, at this point). I know a girl who's a really excellent rider and does some training--maybe I should see if she'd come ride Izzy a few times.

We could take more lessons with Cathy, but I feel like her teaching style isn't really the best for me at this point. She knows how to do a lot of things, but she's not always good at conveying the 'why' which is what I need. If I'm going to work on my own most of the time, I need to understand more than just the mechanics. I need to know the theory behind it so I can develop it more on my own.

Objections to my plans so far:
1) Money.
2) RE: the eventing facility. Pretty sure it's expensive. Plus, the trainer is not known for his kind and sympathetic understanding of horses. More like, most of them run like mad at every jump they see because they know they'll get whipped if they don't. Frankly, I like Izzy's jumping style and don't want to screw with it.
3) RE: the rider. I don't know. She's a rider and not really a trainer and she's pretty shy, so I'm not sure she's really what we're looking for. It wouldn't hurt to have someone more experienced ride Izzy for me, but I don't think it would help me all that much, and I'm the basic problem.

A very large part of me just wants to hunt down a full time good-paying job and move Izzy to some magical facility where a pro rides her a few times a week and I can take lessons like a typical well-to-do adult ammy. The problem? I don't think that mythical facility even exists. I don't know where I would send her. Oh, and job hunting right now? Ha. Ha ha ha. It's that bad.

So... any words of wisdom for the floundering adult ammy who feels like she's just screwing up her perfectly nice horse?


  1. I can't imagine you'd feel happy with any other horse. I certainly can't advise on what to do, but here are some things I figured out about our horses:
    - Rogo needs shoes all the time, even when he's only being ridden in a ring.
    - often a few days rest will fix up a NQR without any intervention
    - someone with your riding skills can do a lot on their own re basics, especially if you have a friend to video you, or a set of eyes on the ground
    - on-line dressage training (watching top trainers give lessons) can be purchased on a monthly basis for around $35 and you get lots of good ideas and training tips; much cheaper than lessons
    Also, I don't think you're screwing up your horse. Your training program (2 days dressage, one day jumping, one day western I think?) that you posted about sounds like a good mix of activities.
    Good luck. Don't be discouraged.

  2. Doesn't sound to me like you're screwing her up at all - just go back and read your posts from this time last year and it might give you some perspective on how far you've really come.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't change some things. How about trying to audit a number of clinics in different disciplines - auditing usually doesn't cost that much and you can learn a lot and also see if what goes on in those disciplines suits you. I'd be cautious about taking a sensitive mare to a trainer who doesn't put the horse's interests high on their list or who doesn't listen to the horse - that could ruin her - it almost happened to our Dawn. Your mare seems to have the potential to be an all-around horse, able to do lots of things, and she might like the variety.

    It does sound like the left hind - the chiro should be able to help.

    I've been discouraged at times too but things have a way of coming right.

  3. It's this exact thing that's keeping me from buying a horse right now. It's frustrating. My horse money can either go to board or lessons right now, and I'm choosing lessons for right now, but the temptation is strong to buy. Just need a few more dollars...

  4. Don't worry. Remember -- this is all just part of the journey. You have to be thankful that most injuries and heartaches aren't permanent. Over time, these little battles will just make you and Izzy's bond and confidence stronger. It's the things that make you want to submit in defeat that help you get on your feet to fight the next battle; tough it out. Things will get better. They always do.

  5. You are not alone! (yep I had the Michael Jackson song playing in my head when I wrote that heheheheh) I go through this all the time with Sam. I always feel like I am 'stuffing him up' Like Gabriella sais - this is all part of the journey - it isn't a bed of roses everyday but when things come right again it will be! My friend and I talk about this a lot because we are always feeling like we should send our horses to trainers, but you know what we all do alright and you have come so far with Izzy.
    This is just a phase, try not to get too down (I know it is easy to type that) Things will pick up again.
    Chin up!

  6. OK. I remember some words of wisdom from my first very good trainer. The horse is yours and she doesn't care whether she reaches her full potential or not, so whatever you do with her is just fine. You don't "owe" anyone anything, and even if you do mess up a little, you can fix it all. (Trust me. Been there. Done that.)

    All that being said, Izzy is a challenge. She reminds me a lot of my Tucker and if were trying to train him back when I first started riding, I'd have thrown in the towel long ago.

    I agree that Izzy may need shoes. She also may need some chiropractic and even more likely needs to get fit. Even so, she will still probably be a bit frustrating until you discover exactly what job she really wants to do. You may have to change your own goals a bit to adapt to her attitude and physical abilities.

    Certainly getting another rider to work her a bit for you will give you a better sense of just how she goes and what her temperament is without you in the equation. But as I found with Tucker, it really doesn't cure anything when you get back on unless you can ride with the same determination and "lack of baggage" the other rider has in regard to Izzy's past behavior.

    Unless she has a definite physical limitation on what she can do (Tucker may well have some chronic hock issues.) then time and patience on your part are going to make her into a really good horse. But first you need to eliminate all the physical problems she may have as she is going to keep telling you she just can't work the way you want her to.

    Her ability to communicate to you is a curse and a blessing. Some less sensitive riders would just bam on through and insist she perform no matter what. Whips, spurs, and force can accomplish a lot with a horse to make it overcome aches and pains to please a demanding rider. I've seen it time and time again. But you are not one of those rider/trainers, and Izzy is all the better for it.

    Be patient. You have done well so far. There are solutions somewhere and I am sure you will find them.

  7. Well, it can't be you screwing her up if she has some physical issue. I doubt that your riding is so bad you are creating such things. Sure a horse can get a little stiff or sore because a rider isn't sitting properly but not really enough to cause what you are describing.

    Seems like she must have something physical causing this and if the chiro can't help, maybe it's an abcess. Those things can be very good at hiding and cause exactly what you're talking about.

    I know not being able to figure out what is the root of the problem is frustrating. We've all been there. But don't roll everything up into one bundle and make decisions based on that. I think you have some great comments above and hopefully you will take them to heart and not be discouraged with yourself at this point.

    I wish you luck in this journey and remember to breathe. It helps with all kinds of stress, even this kind.

  8. I agree with the person who advised to go back and look at your posts from a year ago. I started blogging recently for just that reason!

    I go thru emotions just like you are experiencing - I am a re-rider and have been training my now 4 yr old TB x Warmblood mare since she was a yearling. I do get lessons every 2 weeks with a trainer - but there were times I needed her every day!

    This past fall, I did send her to my trainer's for 30 days of training. It helped her attitude and my confidence. I was able to go once a week and see the trainer ride and work with her - then have a lesson. When my mare came back home, we were able to keep moving forward from that point. But we almost had to go back to the beginning to get it.

    Take a breath - go back and see how far you have come - and remember it is the journay that is important!

  9. We had MANY horses come into the vet clinic with their owners complaining of the same thing. " I don't know what's going on but he/she just wasn't acting the same. It usually came down to hocks. When a horses hocks are bothering them they compensate by using their back muscles... Their backs get sore and they just seem to be NQR. Hock injections, Legend, Adequan usually helped the situation, but you should have the vet look at her and take x rays to see if there are any changes.

  10. First I know EXACTLY how you feel right now as you have probably read similar post from me. You will get through it and I am sure you know that. If we could just give up like we feel like sometimes then well we wouldn't have these beasts to begin with. It is a tough lot to deal with all the issues that come our way as passionate horse lovers but it is not something we can just turn off. You love your wondermare and you are just working through your issues like we do in any relationship worth fighting for. So sorry you feel this way but you two will be on top again soon. You are taking all the right steps and trust me she is just happy to be your horse!! She doesn't have any agenda that you are not meeting up to.


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