Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story - After Nationals

After my trip to the US National Championships, I worked hard on getting my Arabian horse as rounded up in the bridle as I thought he needed to be. By that following spring I really thought I was making headway.

My horse looked soft and round although he really couldn't or wouldn't support himself in that curb bit. I could ride him with only the very lightest of contact and the horse looked like I could just pitch those reins but if I let that little bit of pressure go, the horse just "fell out of it."

Even so we started off the show season doing ok. Dandy and I were always in the ribbons in hunter, western and trail. But it was the western classes particularly that I was interested in. I knew that class was about the most collection and was the most illusive to train. For me that was the challenge and I wanted to be a winner there.

In western at the Bare Bones Show in Region 4 we were 2 in a class of 10 and 5 in a class of 17. At Heritage in Region 5 we were 2 out of 12 and 3 out of 14. Then back to Region 4 to the Summer Show and we were 3 out of 10 and then reserve champion in a class of 8.

It sounded good, but we were always on the fringe, never the winner, just close. By the time we'd get to regionals, the horse wouldn't make the cut. It was frustrating even though I understood why we weren't making top fives. I knew if my horse couldn't win consistently at the A shows there was little hope that we would do anything at the regional level, let alone the national one.

I really believed that my horse wasn't really going just right. Even though he looked great at the start of that first season after Bonanza, the degree of collection I had achieved gradually began to dissipate. It was like I hadn't really ever achieved it at all. The most frustrating part was I couldn't figure out "why" my horse wasn't performing the way he should be.

I had lots of people telling me what they thought the problem might be. I didn't know enough. I wasn't capable of getting the job done. There were those who said it was my horse that he had a bad attitude or that I'd ruined him with my inexperience. Then there were those that said I was just too easy on my horse, if I would just use hock hobbles, or.......... and so on.

I wasn't willing to buy any of this. I wasn't willing to spur and jerk my horse to "get him" to conform so I continued to struggle. I was trying to do right by my horse and still reach my goal. It seemed like years and we just weren't getting it.

To be perfectly honest all this time I believed there was something wrong with my horse. I had raised this horse from a foal and I knew him well enough to know he would never cheat on me or take the easy way out. This horse had a heart of gold and he'd give me every ounce of it if I asked.

So I began annoying my vet wanting him to find some solution for me. I began working with chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists, anything and everything to help my horse reach his potential. All of these professionals told me there was nothing seriously wrong with my horse. Yes, he had little problems here and there but he was fine.

To be continued.............

After Nationals Part 2

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. I like the way you said, "I began annoying my vet." This is my job in life and I'm darn good at it. I hope it pays off for you too.
    I'd like to invite you to the Guest Blogger Contest over at Enlightened Horsemanship Through Touch. Come on over and check it out. I'd love to have you.

  2. Good for you believing in your boy and not going for the "beat it into him" solution.

  3. I'm interested to see where this is going and how you worked through Dandy's issues. It's a little scary starting a horse for the first time. That's basically what I'm doing with Ace, and I'm always worried I'm going to screw him up. He's a lot like Dandy though. Full of natural talent, willing, smart, and will do whatever you ask as long as he understands. I'm all about being patient and taking the time to teach him the right way instead of taking the quick and easy way out and forcing him.

  4. I agree with Molly. Way to stick to your guns and I too am curious to see where this is going. I know some of the problems you've had as you've posted with the more recent ones, but now I'm hooked, once again!

  5. You've left us on the edge of our seats again! The master of suspence!!

  6. The way you know your horses ... I sure want to see what happens next! Speaking of annoying my vet, he is auto dial #1 on my phone.

  7. I love bays with white socks...he looks just beauitful and round in that photo.