Thanks for all the responses. I've been feeling a bit down about this lately, and it's good to get some encouragement.
Originally Posted by alexischristina
Sometimes you have to figure out what makes a horse tick, and just changing up your routine a little bit can bring around a whole new outlook regarding something you've done a thousand times in the past.
I think this really is the crux of the matter. I started jumping him in December and it was amazing the difference in his attitude at first- he'd be more forward for days
after going to a jumping lesson (I trailer out to them with a friend). Unfortunately, this has kind of tapered off, and while he still seems to like jumping at the lessons, he's no longer more forward afterward, and he doesn't seem to enjoy it as much at home. I'm not sure if he's just tired of our arena, likes the group environment of the jumping lesson, or what. I haven't been able to go for the past couple months, as well (since my friend was the one with the trailer and she is crazy busy in the summer) I did, however, JUST get my own truck and trailer; unfortunately the next jumping lesson is on the same day as the dressage clinic and it'll be another month before the next one.
I have been taking him out on trails every week since getting the trailer, but haven't noticed any difference in attitude. He does seem to enjoy the trail rides, but is not any faster on them. If he's in back he walks slowly until he's reached a certain distance from the other horses, then trots to catch up. If he's in front I get lots of complaints from the people behind me
Last weekend I led a ride with 5 people behind me and ended up having to stop and break a switch off a plant (makeshift dressage whip) just to keep him at a respectable walk. When we go out alone, he's still slow, but I don't mind as much since we're not trying to keep anyone else's pace!
Originally Posted by tlkng1
I also wouldn't give up on the clinic..it is possible the clinic instructor can give you ideas on how to re-engage the horse's enthusiasm..for lack of a better term. Never turn down a chance to learn from another instructor as long as the instructor is capable.
Don't worry- I'm still going. I spent way too much money to get into the clinic to just back out the week before
I'm just worried that the clinician will tell me what I fear- that my horse just isn't cut out for dressage.
Originally Posted by churumbeque
Did your vet do a blood test? Usually Selenium is not used unless you know for a fact that the horse is lacking it. It is poisonous.
Have you tried red blood cell? That can give horses lots of energy.
My horse wasn't tested, but another horse at my barn (who eats the same hay) was and her selenium level was nearly zero (implying that our hay has nearly zero). The only feed my horse gets that's supplemented with selenium is Triple Crown 30%, which isn't formulated specifically for selenium-deficient areas like the Pac NW and only provides about 60% of his daily requirement. I did consult with my vet about it and I'll be using the supplement at half strength (1 scoop a day instead of the recommended 2) I've also done a lot of research on my own, and the NRC puts the upper safe limit of selenium at ~20 mg for a 1000 lb horse, and with the addition of the selenium supplement, my horse will be getting 3.5 mg (plus whatever tiny bit is in the hay.)
I've also recently had his teeth done, his saddle fit checked by a professional saddle fitter, chiropractic done, etc. I'm fairly confident that it's not an issue of discomfort or pain. His hooves were not great when I got him a year and a half ago, and they're still not where I want them to be, so that is one possibility. When I switched to my current farrier, he did immediately stride out better, but has not shown any real improvement since then. I'm planning on talking to my farrier about trying barefoot and seeing what he thinks.