Monday, December 28, 2009


I was dreading having to ride today. Zoey has been just terrible to ride. She just does not want to go forward, then kicks out or bucks when the leg or a tap of the whip is applied. I knew I had to get her through it one way or another.

I have been figuring that she has ulcers due to her drastic change in attitude. After talking to my vet again he is ordering Cimetidine for me. As soon as I get it Zoey will be put on a round of it. In the meantime I will give Zoey a dousing of Pepto Bismol before I ride. This will coat her stomach long enough to ride. This is what I did tonight before I rode.

She still was not cooperating, to the point she refused to move at all. I did not want this to turn into a huge training issue, so I dismounted and worked her in hand. While standing on one side of her i held the reins so I could have contact with both sides. I then tapped her on her side with the whip. Her immediate reaction was to kick out with her hind leg. Since I was on the ground I had a faster reflex I was able to give her one good smack with the whip. She then leapt forward for which she was greatly praised for. I then was able to trot her in hand while gently giving her a tap with the whip. Zoey did not kick out again and went forward in both directions.

I then remounted to try and ride her again. As soon as I put my leg on she went forward. I gave her a tap and she responded by going forward. I rode her for about 15 minutes like this with no stopping, kicking out or bucking. I even asked for a few strides of canter which she did. I was pleased so I was able to end on a very good note.

Now I don't know whether it was the ground work or the Pepto really started working or a combination of the two. Either way I'm happy tonight.

Tomorrow is supposed to be very cold so I'll see if I will ride.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


An unplanned dismount is never something you want to do. Well it happened to me Monday night in my lesson. It wasn't anything spectacular. Zoey let out a big buck that unseated me after giving her a light tap with my whip. I couldn't get back in the saddle so I slid to the ground.

I did though have to let Zoey know that bucking like that was unacceptable. I jumped up immediately and backed her the width of the arena tapping her front legs with my whip. I then walked her from the ground lightly tapping her on her sides with the whip. She would kick out but I continued with the tapping. This was to get her to respect the whip not to scare her by any means.

She only tried once more when I put my leg on to buck. I was very quick with my reflexes and made her walk in a very small volte while lightly tapping her with the whip. By riding the small volte it is very hard for a horse to buck because they are constantly moving and turning.

For the past couple of weeks she hasn't been that forward and bucking when I put my leg on. I talked too my vet about the possibility of ulcers. He suggested to have a massage done on her to make sure that she doesn't have a sore back. She does become tight in the back at times, but I don't think it is that. I have asked a friend to massage her this weekend to see if she can find anything. In the mean time I'm using the thumper on her and she really enjoys that.

On Sunday she also let out a big buck that only unseated me slightly. I did though crunch my left hand into her neck at the whithers during the buck. I think my pinkie finger is broken. Not too serious as I can move it even though it is swollen and bruised. As it is my left hand I don't have a lot a feeling in it any ways. Not going to have a doctor look at it because there is not much they can do about it anyways.

Hopefully I can find a solution to her bucking soon so her training can continue. It's always something with a horse, never a dull moment.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why not canter?

This one has me boggled at times as to why some riders think that the trot has to be perfect before the can canter the horse. This really seems to be the case with horses that are green. There is no reason that after a horse has had 30 days under saddle that canter can't be done. This is not to say that the horse is to be cantered for the entire ride or for long stretches. It should be added into the workout so that the balance will improve.

My philosophy has been the canter improves the trot. You can trot all you want but it won't improve the quality of the canter. This is why after the horse has had a canter the trot is more forward and rounder.

The canter is more natural to the horse than the trot. When horses are turned out they will mainly walk or canter not trot.

The only way the horse is to become balanced at the canter is to canter. It won't happen over night, but with each ride it will improve. Canter trot canter transitions are great for this. The canter will not magically be perfect without working on it so canter on!


I had such a great ride tonight. It wasn't perfect but Zoey was really working well. The trot was so nice at the end. Balanced and forward with a perfect square halt at the end.

Spiraling in and out went very well. She was carrying herself balanced on the outside rein. She does become opinionated at times but that is OK. I would rather have that than no personality at all.

The lengthening at the trot was the best she has done. no running or throwing her head up. Half pass and shoulder-in on the center line was very good.

It's the canter that is still the big issue. Going to the left is good. It's when I ask for the canter transition on the right is where she gets frustrated. Her small bucks and kicking out does not bother me any more. My seat has improved so much over the last 4 months that I have impressed myself.

With work the canter will get better. At least I don't have to teach the canter like I had to with Curzon. That took a long time. I thought he would never get it.

I have to work more on my core strength. I have to kick my butt and do more yoga. I do love doing the yoga though.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Balance at the Canter

The balance at the canter is Zoey's main problem.

Since I have not been able to work her properly for over a week It is almost like starting over again. It is going to take a lot of work to get her balanced but I know I can do it. Once she stops leaping around lie a frog and puts her mind to the work at hand her canter stride is nice. She just needs to canter more.

My training philosophy is to work on the canter more. Just working on the trot will not improve the canter. Where as work at the canter will improve the trot.

Oh the trials and tribulations of training a young horse. I love it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cooooooooold Day

As the sun went down it got colder. When I got to the barn it was a lot colder than I thought it was. I knew I should have ridden earlier. I let Zoey have a good run in the arena as the turnout has been limited because of the weather. Boy did she need it as she ran around letting out a few good bucks. I knew she was done when she trotted and cantered quietly.

I did get to the barn earlier at 3:30 but received a call to teach a lesson at WES at the last minute. No problem as the barn was less than 5 minutes away. So it as off to teach the lesson then also make arrangements to clip some horses next Friday.

Tomorrow it is off to another barn for a new teaching gig. I hope I get it. I need some more regular lessons to teach. This time of year it is hard to get new clients so I'll take some hours at a riding school.

I have been also looking at putting an ad in a popular magazine. Gotta work on the funds for that.

So much for riding today. I'm also glad the hives are gone that Zoey's has had for a week. Me and the barn manager thought they were from the hay as the last batch had a lot of weeds in it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Poor Zoey has had hives for the last few days. They are mainly on her neck and flank areas. The only area that has me concerned are the ones around her throat. A vet might be coming to the barn tomorrow so I'll buy some drugs to get rid off them.

So because of this I haven't really been able to ride her very much.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Day

Just one of those days.

Trying to keep my cold at bay with Cold FX. It does work. Got a migraine this afternoon. I hate those. Then It was a lesson with Terry. After my lesson I checked my supplement level and I'm out of Simmer Down. Just what I need to do is spend more money than I have.

Zoey is still having issues at the canter. It can be worked out. Now it is to push her more at the canter. I also need to get her to stretch more at the trot and walk. It will come with work. She is so much fun, but not when she is leaping around like a frog. LOL.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I wish I Knew Then What I know Now - #1

It one of those things of what you know now you wish you knew at an earlier time in your riding career.

One of those things is the difference of going forward and a horse running. Going forward and through is something I really got to work on with Colby who became the horse I trained to Prix St George and Intermediare 1.

Going forward is not about speed, but about how the horse moves. A horse that is going forward moves with fluid steps. These steps have suspension and umph. A horse that is running is more than likely on the forehand taking small steps very quickly. A horse that is moving forward and through feels and looks like they are going uphill. The hoof pushes off the ground more causing the legs to move in a higher arc.

It was not until I started to train Colby in 1994 that I really got to feel that forward movement. At the extended trot he had 12 gears. If I had known that feel and how to get that correct forward movement I might have been able to train my first horse Cariba further than Medium 2 (3rd Level).

You can't go back but take what you know and move on and not be afraid to try.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What a Day

It was quite a day today.

First it as hook up my trailer in the pouring rain. Then load up my tack and my horse Zoey. It kept raining the entire time it took me to drive to C.A.R.D. I was having a lesson there with Terry and an advisor from Para Equestrian Canada.

Zoey was a star. It was her third time off property and she never put a foot wrong. We worked on going forward especially at the trot. The canter was much better than I thought it was going to be. She didn't do any of her frog hopping around. After the canter work the trot was even better, she really started coming through her back. With every ride she is getting stronger. The top-line is improving and becoming more muscular.

After her preformance today it really gives me an idea of what she will be like at shows. I'm so looking forward to being able to show her. I'm just so pleased with how she has been and the work she is doing.

After my ride it was pack up the trailer, load up Zoey and drive back to the barn. At least it wasn't raining. I wanted to get back unload and park the trailer before it got dark. As soon As I unloaded the trailer and went to park it the rain started again. By the time I unhooked I was soggy again. At least I brought a change of clothes so I wouldn't be soggy teaching.

I'm very happy after today. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lesson Day

Today was a lesson with my ground person Terry. I have worked with him for many years on different horses.

I warmed up and we chatted and gossiped about people involved in the riding circle. It lighten up what sometimes had started up as a bad day. Today was not one of those days that started up like crap. Zoey warmed up very well.

We started off working on spiral in and out. Zoey likes to bulge out when on the left rein and fall in going to the right. Sometimes it is like riding a worm.

Then we moved on to working on canter transitions by going across the diagonal. Picking up the right lead is harder for Zoey than picking up the left lead. When she losses balance she hops around like a frog instead of going forward.

Her energy level was up so we did some lengthens across the diagonal. She did very well this week with that. She kept the frame and actually lengthened. To finish off it was shoulder-in down the center line. This went better than I thought it would. All in all it was a very good ride.

After my lesson I had a saddle fitter appointment to check the saddle. It just needs a little more stuffing in the back panels. I'm happy about that as I would cringe if I had to buy a different saddle.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great Day

Today was one of those great days, the weather was perfect. Rode outside in the sand ring. The ring was a little muddy, but OK to ride in.

I was rather tired from a late night and then having to get up early to teach a few lessons. I didn't do too long of a workout with Zoey. She was a little whoopee about being outside, but not bad.

After it was a walk down the driveway with a friend and her horse. Both horses walked out OK, but then part way back they both started getting antsy. We couldn't see anything but thought they may be smelling something. There have been numerous sightings of coyotes on the property, so we figured it was that.

Then it was home to crash out on the couch for a nap. Yes a nap. ZZZZZZ

Friday, November 20, 2009

Being a Para Rider

Being disabled is not something you do by choice. It usually happens as the result of an accident or yo are born with it. Mine was the result of a car accident. A car rolled out in front of me with no one in it while I was driving. The result was I ended up with a spinal cord injury called a syrinx or Syringomyelia. I lost a lot of use of my left arm. It has little grip and strength. I also have numbness in both hands and feet. I have to be real careful that my feet don't get too cold. I have to look at what I touch or pick up with my hand because I can't feel anything.

It can be very frustrating as I have had to adapt to doing things differently. Pain is there every day. It never goes away completely. Some days are better than others. Most times I try to ignore it. :(

My riding has changed. I use a loop on the left rein. My balance is different, so I work hard at staying centered. I have been working on my core strength. That is a daily thing.

I keep coming upwith new ideas to improve my riding and the training of my horse Zoey.

Dressage vs Eventing Dressage

There seems to always be an ongoing controversy that Eventing Dressage is different from Dressage. How can it be different. The horse has to do walk, trot, canter and some lateral movements depending on the level of competition. The horse has to go on the bit and be responsive to the aids. The rider has to show that the horse is obedient, responsive and do an accurate test.

The horse has to have correct movement or there is no way it could do a Dressage test let alone do a cross country course and stadium jumping.

I teach many eventers to improve their scores. One rider in particular has gone from being out of the ribbons to being in the top 5 on a regular bases.

The more correct flat work that is done through Dressage training will only improve the horse not hinder it. Doing collection work will not hinder a horse on the cross country course but will improve it because the horse will be able to come back more on the hocks to negotiate technical fences.

Gone are the days of riding by the seat of your pants relying on a clear, fast cross country course and a clear stadium course to be in the ribbons. Unless the Dressage score is good and I do mean GOOD there is no way a competitor will be in the top 5 or even in the ribbons.

Maybe it's just me but it seems the people who are the most outspoken that there is a difference are the ones who just want to jump and do as little flat work as possible. And then wonder why they are not in the standings.

There is no difference between Dressage and Eventing Dressage.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Finding Clients

Trying to find new clients is almost a job in it's self.

My new fliers are designed and it's just printing out more as I need them. I have even designed new business cards that look very sharp. Now it's driving around to stables and tack stores.

I'm trying to decide what magazine I should advertise in. You have to spend money to make money. It's just how much money to spend.

Decisions are just never ending.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Training My Horse Zoey

It has been over a year since I bought my latest horse. I named her Zoey and her show name is Calipzo. She is a 2002, black, 16.1hh, Hanoverian mare. How the time flies.

I'm currently working on transitions espacially from trot to canter. The right side is Zoey's stiffer side, so it takes a little more work to keep her supple. She is now getting to the stage of training where it is becoming fun.

Hopefully I will be able to compete with her for 2010. I was not able to this past year as I didn't have the funds for entry fees.

The Big Decision

I have been unemployed since December of 2008 with no new job in sight. A couple of months ago I made the big decision to coach full time. It has always been my passion to coach and always had it in the back of my mind to some day coach for a living. I thought there is no other good time than now to do it.

I have been advertising like crazy. Posting fliers in local tack stores and stables. It will take some time to build up my clientel, but it is possible. I am also trying to pick up a few hours teaching lessons at some riding schools.

The areas I'm going to teach around are York Region that includes Newmarket, Stouffville, King etc; and the Durham Region that includes Uxbridge, Pickering and Whitby. I will go as far east as Port Perry, north to Sutton and Bradford and to the west to Palgrave, Bolton areas and all places inbetween.

It is a new direction and I'm so looking forward to it.