Monday, 24 January 2011

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

I'm feeling much better after a fairly quiet weekend. I must tell you, though, that Mr O's grasp of what a lay-in means is baffling. He wakes up at 6.50am and immediately starts talking to me. This goes on until 7.30, when he declares that I've had a lay-in and now it's time to get up! I really don't understand it. If anyone asks me what I'd like for my birthday, I'll say, 'A lay-in.'
I have to confess that 'Er Indoors has been coming up to bed with us since before Christmas, as it was far too cold in the kitchen when it was snowing, to let her sleep down there on her own. She doesn't sleep on the bed, she sleeps on the floor at my side. This is fine unless she wakes up in the middle of the night and insists that I stroke her. I just put my arm out of the bed and leave her to get on with it.
The only thing is that she sleeps between me and the bathroom door. This means if I need to use said room in the middle of the night, I have to put my feet out of bed and try to find her with my toes, so I don't tread on her. Last night I made it safely to the door, when she decided to lick me on the back of the leg. I jumped several feet and nearly crashed into the basin. Well done, dear.
Then I come back and do a sort of karate roll to get back into bed without treading on her again. Sometimes my lack of stealth wakes Mr O up and he asks what on earth I'm doing. By the time I've finished explaining he's usually fallen back to sleep.
I have lunged Barnaby on Friday and rode him yesterday and today, but I have come to an important conclusion. Basically, for some reason I don't quite understand, Barnaby can't do dressage. To be fair, Mr O did tell me this when I took him on, but I decided to find out for myself. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I even got an instructor in to school him, and even she didn't really make any difference. I don't know how to explain why he can't do it, because sometimes he even comes on the bit, but he walks or trots round with his head facing the outside and I cannot get him to bring it in. It is bizaare. He doesn't do that going up and down the road. He can look from side to side, but doesn't go along with his head strained to the left, but that's what he does in the school.
This puts me off jumping him, because it makes him feel very unbalanced. If he's bad in trot he's going to be worse in canter, but if I can get him to stop rushing I'll be satisfied. I think he could jump well in a field, because it's a big space, but he's not very good in an arena. We'll see. Either way, we were supposed to do some dressage next Sunday, but I'm going to withdraw. I really don't see the point of travelling all the way there for a judge to tell me something I know already. I am still going to school him as I'd like to do some showing this year, but I need to put the work in. Watch this space.


  1. Sounds like you have a good horse!...I shall ilucidate! Horses were never meant to do dressage. Let alone be ridden, therefore when you apply instructions to a horse for various leg and body movements, they are foreign to it.
    The so called art of dressage, is a man made concept of perfection, to the destruction of the horses body.
    The strain required to perform the tasks associated with the fine movements of dressage,tend to seriously damage the joint, ligaments, and the skeletal structure.
    The failure rate for dressage horses, is remarkably high. In the younger horse, these movements will be easier as the horse has not yet matured and the joints etc are still forming. Thats when the injuries occur, and show later on, when the animal will develop joint weakness, ligament injuries, and as in one horse that came to me at 7 years old, a deformed back! Its a sad indictment, that this goes on. Your horse is a good horse, if he was mine, I wouldnt ask him to do something he wasnt happy with. My own horse is best when she does what horses do, she lets me ride her, she has agreed to let me, and thats a pleasure. Any human, or animal would object to something that wasnt good for them. But its up to you, I think your decision to stop, was a good one, as he would end up unhappy, and uncooperative.
    Sorry to be a kill joy.

  2. Well, that's an interesting perspective. On the opposite side, my vet repeatedly commented on what wonderful physical condition my old horse was in and attributed it totally to his intense dressage training.

    Have to wonder if perhaps Barnaby has some kind of chiropractic issue that might make arena work hard for him. Even if you don't accomplish the basics of dressage, you still want to jump and for that, you do need some good steering and balance--neither of which you have.

    Any saddle fitting issues? Sometimes a saddle tree can dig into the horse on turns and make it difficult for him to use his back well.

    When training goes awry, I always first try to eliminate every physical cause. Going in a nice training level--basic dressage--frame should be good for nearly every horse--Barnaby included.

  3. Oh My Jane it does look as if youve got to really see where Barnaby is coming from, and I agree with the first person who says maybe hes trying to tell you hes not happy with what you are asking of him, hes obviously willing to try and maybe hes not happy with it. Hope you manage to sort it out.
    And as for the dog, well I used to have a lassie dog whod lie at the bottom on the stairs, and in the dark you couldnt see her, but if you trod on her you soon found out, as shed try and nip your legs. With love and hugs Shirleyxxxxxx


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