Monday, May 31, 2010

The Hazards of Goals with an Old Horse

Bogart is lame. Well, not three-legged lame, but uncomfortable in work at the trot. It is not anything that is injury-related; just old-horse related. Typically, when we start a work session, he is a little uneven, but works out of it within a few trot circles. Not so the other day. He started out a bit more stiff than usual, and even though he was working very well, he got a bit more uncomfortable after a few trot circles, so I got off and fussed over him for a while to make him feel special and then turned him back out.

Since he is 25 years old, I guess I should not be as disappointed as I am, but nevertheless, I am. He has been so sound for his age that I can't help it.

Fortunately, I have not sent off my entries for the June 19-20 Silver Sands Dressage Show yet, and I still have time to make a decision if he gets to feeling better. He is due for his monthly Adequan shot (it is an injectable joint supplement), so I may give him a loading-series over the course of four days and see what happens. The closing date is not until June 7, so we do have time.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In Pursuit of USDF Dressage Awards

I have let this blog sit idle for a while. I have been very busy with lessons, horse-buying, consulting with people in setting up horse businesses of their own, helping with riding programs, and generally more hands on work lately.
I posted last September that I wanted to work towards getting USDF rider awards for myself. I have never pursued this before, because my focus was always the horses. You can read more about that here if you want.

I found out that USDF has added more awards to their programs! There are performance certificates for Training Level through Second Level, and of course the USDF Medal Program (Bronze-2 scores above 60% at each of First, Second and Third Levels; Silver-2 scores above 60% at Fourth and Prix St. George; and Gold-two scores at each of Intermediarre and Grand Prix).

I began the pursuit last September with successful scores in each level (Training and First Level), and got half the scores I need for the performance certificates at both levels. The First Level scores also gave me the scores I need for the First Level requirements for the Bronze Medal) I have a show scheduled for June at New Smyrna Beach, and if Bogart and I are successful, we will have achieved all the scores we need for the performance certificates at Training and First Level! Even at 25 years old, I know he can do it! He is such a good boy.

I don't know, however, if he will be able to do Second Level competitively. He can (and does) do all the elements of second level in training sessions, but asking for 100% all the way through a test is another story. We will see, and I will make an evaluation before the next show in September. If he can do Second Level, I will have two-thirds of the required scores for the Bronze Medal.

Then, I will have to see about a horse who can do third level, or train one of the horses I am now riding up to that level--I have a 3 year old who is just starting his dressage training, an 8 year old, who is at first level now, and a 12 year old who is confirmed first level, doing well at the second level movements, and working some of the third level movements, but I don't know if he is strong enough for good, clean flying changes. We will see.