DiDi - Whither goeth SHe? - Page 14 - The Horse Forum
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post #131 of 371 Old 08-18-2011, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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We've picked up that The Countess, even though she is very self confident and capable does transmit her mood, maybe her concern, to DiDi. There is a tone in her voice to me which betrays her mood. The more she does well, the greater the pressure to do well. That's what I don't like about competition involving animals.

It is not that DiDi's scores fall which matters per se but it is an indication that she has reached her optimum level in dressage. Today it is perhaps whether she should stay at Novice or move to Elementary.

However undoubtedly whatever that decision there is an element of hormonal behaviour in DiDi's naughtiness. I am hoping that it will not be necessary to keep her on Regumate.
In all these things, my prime concern is DiDi's well being.

My Rottie has just been labelled with Cushings, my ageing terrier is bent and bowed like the old woman she is. And we ageing humans have our own health issues. Maybe my mind is distorted by what lies unknown down the road.
A good point.
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post #132 of 371 Old 08-21-2011, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Never a dull moment when DiDI is around.

Well she went and did it today. There she was cantering around the arena with the first ten competitors and suddenly she does a spook sideways by about a yard. All because of a fluttering rosette.

Of course she is in season again. Whilst waiting in the warm up arena she had been a really naughty girl flashing her butt about especially to those 17 hand fancy warmblood geldings.

But there again maybe she had something to say. Out of 21 horses, at Open Novice level in the Petplan competition my girlie scored 71.17% - which wasn't quite good enough to win, because another very expensive horse scored 71.37%. So instead of coming first, for the sake of 0.2% - say 1 mark, DiDi came second.
But my Girlie will have her revenge next April at the Finals.

PS I didn't like to rub it home to the other competitors that DiDi has only been playing this game since last October.

As a result of today's result, we are going to skip Novice level and now move up to Elem level. There's another competition at Elem level which she needs one score sheet for - so that is where we are going to dance next.
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post #133 of 371 Old 08-21-2011, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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I’ve been looking at the photies from the day. There isn’t one ideal photo of The Countess and DiDi. There’s not one to put into a photo frame and we shall have to buy one from the professional.

Through out the reel, DiDi is showing her displeasure. Her ears are up, her posture is aggressive. She’s playing up. She’s miffed. She reckons she is ready, is her rider?

She started off the day with a strop - I wasn’t there but I am told she absolutely refused to trot. At the comp centre we did not leave her for long in the warm up arena. We now know better than to let her get bored.
Eventually she strutted her stuff in the arena and the Countess said she never put a foot wrong. Just as well. According to one judge, who whispered in our ears, that DiDi had deserved to win.

In the line up after the competition she sticks out like a sore thumb She is the only dapple grey and the only small horse with a big butt. There is nothing warm about this mare’s blood.

Unfortunately I didn’t catch on film the monster shie she threw when a rosette dropped to the ground. The Countess was indeed lucky to sit it and not hit the ground. She would have been mortified with embarrassment.

When looking at the images in the computer, I suddenly realised that my photos were indeed a true record of DiDi and her day. She had pulled her weight for sure, but she wasn’t happy. I still wonder why. DiDi can be obnoxious, obstreperous, awkward, wayward, difficult but she does the job when she is asked to. I suppose we shall all have to get used to that fact.

Maybe I should put one of today’s photos up on the wall, just so as we all remember what a bitch she can be when she wants to be.

But bless her, she came second. And next time she might win. What can I say?
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post #134 of 371 Old 08-21-2011, 10:12 PM
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"What can I say?"

Well, when I can't decide if I should hug or choke my temperamental mare, I usually conclude, "At at least she isn't a bore..."
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post #135 of 371 Old 09-06-2011, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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A decision has been made

A decision has been made
A major decision was made today: we shall start to look actively for a new home for DiDi.

The euphoria following the Festival results eventually died down and we started to look forward and make plans. Slowly a certain awareness came over me and my wife. Yes, DiDi and The Countess have qualified for the finals of the Petplan Festival next year but the competition is not to be held until April which is eight months away. We had even planned for DiDi to enter further Petplan events at Elementary Level because DiDi might do even better at Elementary than at Novice level, but does it matter. Long term, the key issue has always been to find the horse a loving, caring, knowledgeable family. DiDi is a complex horse and she calls for a special understanding. If she is to progress in the dressage world for which she obviously has the ability, then she will need a knowledgeable and fully committed young owner/rider.

The issues which have brought the matter to the fore is an awareness of both my and my wife’s ailments. We are well into retirement age and we both have recently developed unresolved health issues which are unlikely to disappear. Neither of us are riding as often as once we did and the stables are eighteen miles away across an expensive toll bridge. Whereas I used to go up to Joe twice a day - I rarely trip across to DiDi more than twice a week. The pills I must take daily interfere with my balance. In reality she is not my horse anymore, she belongs to The Countess - who in truth has made her into the dressage Diva she now is. I have morphed in ‘An Owner’.

The fact is that DiDi is in peak condition. She is muscled up and ready to perform. She is also 11. Next April she will be 12. The clock ticks. Tempus Fugit.

The emotion which was aroused in making this decision cannot be understated. Whilst the horse has been a disappointment to me for my riding purposes, she is a lovable, beautiful creature. She’ll stand alongside me, head to head, taking part in any conversation I care to have, which involves her. OK, some of the time she is hankering after the biscuit which she knows to be in my pocket but it is not all cupboard love. She’ll tolerate my grooming her and my hands running all over her. She expresses affection to me for being one of those humans whom she trusts. She’s been with me now for three and a half years. I know her inside and out.

Her temperament is undoubtedly modfied by her seasonal hormones but the additives help as does a little understanding of her condition.

Sorting out the realistic price for her has to be resolved. The advert must be composed.. We have an idea of the sort of person who is likely to be interested in such a horse. We shall have to sift out the dealers, the ignorant, the incompetent and the day dreamers. Selling a horse is not a process I fell comfortable with. The very thought of passing control and ownership of the animal, my animal, tears at my soul. And when finally DiDi has moved on to pastures new, there will be a hole in my life which will never completely disappear. But I must be realistic. The fact is that the horse can easily live longer than either I or my wife. Whilst putting economic issues to one side, it is an undeniable fact that DiDi needs to belong to a younger, active, riding family.

When I announced my decision to The Countess, slowly but surely the tone of her voice changed. I think she is a little more caring towards my Girlie than she will admit. She will however have full participation in the re-homing process including a positive veto as and when called for. But the facts of the matter are staring us in the face: we should offer DiDi to another family, preferably before she reaches her peak - which is undeniably now.

Let us see what happens.
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post #136 of 371 Old 09-06-2011, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Since making the previous post, I looked back to the first post on this thread.

I suppose I ought to say that things have pretty much turned out as I expected they might. The more expertise DiDi acquired in The Countess's world of dressage, the further she drifted away from me. It has taken just on a year -Sep 2010 to Sep 2011, to now reach the stage where I earnestly believe DiDi would be better off over the longer term with a younger horsey family.

Undoubtedly she has the ability to progress further in the dressage world.
I suspect also that she can jump, although personally I would not ask her to.

What keeps coming into my mind is the expression "Be careful what you wish for - it may come true".

If a sale does go through, all I shall have left is some photos pinned up on the wall and a lot of memories.

But what shall I do with my day?
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post #137 of 371 Old 01-19-2012, 06:01 AM Thread Starter
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DiDi takes a Test
There is little doubt that if DiDi is to be sold on to a new owner, then it is important to work out how we can present her during an inspection demonstration in the best light. Writing an advert is an art in itself. We have no wish to overstate her talents but we know that she is capable of winning dressage competitions at Novice level and we see no reason why in good hands she can not move up to the next level. So we asked a friend who has taken her mare to Grand Prix level to ride her and to comment. We knew the woman to be a gentle but firm and competent rider so we asked her to run a typical dressage test at Novice level. A date was set for the trial.

Came the day and we prepared DiDi for her test and by the time the rider arrived there she was clean, groomed, tacked up and ready to trot. All the rider had to do was to mount up via the block in the arena. The first few circuits proved to be slow and at the walk so that DiDi had time to warm up. When watching from the edge of the arena DiDi appeared to be a little puzzled.
“Who is this?” “What is she doing on my back?” I could read DiDi’s mind.
I watched my Girl. She was shaking her head. She was re adjusting herself but there was nothing seriously untoward.

About ten minutes into the ride DiDi produced a little startle for that is what she is good at. By her standards it was not a full blooded leap off all four feet to the side, it was merely a small jump. Even so the inspecting rider’s boot came out of the stirrup iron and she tilted forwards. She nearly came off and for sure was no way for DiDi to win friends and influence people for the good.

Nevertheless the rider continued and appeared to be enjoying herself. Certainly she was putting DiDi to the test. However there was not the fluidity that there was when DiDi’s regular rider, The Countess was in the saddle and surprisingly she had no doubt that the visiting rider was more competent and experienced then her. Personally I was not convinced that she was. Eventually I asked how our visitor rated my Girl. She immediately replied that she liked DiDi a lot. She said quite positively that DiDi was certainly a sensitive forward going horse who undoubtedly in the right hands had the ability to do well. She also said that she herself did not know of any local rider who could manage DiDi.

A few days later DiDi was registered to re-do Test 42 at Elementary level. It so happened that on the same day the hunt was to meet in the village. After meeting at the local pub they would pass by the entrance to our stables en masse, followers, hounds, huntsmen & horn.. Of course once the single followers started to pass by on the way to the village our horses started to freak out in their respective paddocks. I had been given DiDi to lunge and thereby let off steam. I managed to make her sweat but in no way did I work off her excitement. Later when the hunt passed by en masse, I was barely managing to hang on to a whirling dervish.

Eventually we managed to tie DiDi up in the horse box ready for the drive to the competition centre which is just a few miles up the road. DiDi, whilst tied to a restraining hook pranced all the way. We had timed the departure so that she had time to make a few circuits in the warm up arena but as it happened she was to be the first horse to perform. There were some fancy horses on parade which we later discovered were three day eventers ridden by professionals.

Then the judge was late. We stood waiting by the entrance to the arena for ten minutes

Eventually it was time for DiDi to perform. She was, so The Countess said, strung out on a high. By no means could anyone complain of a lack of impulsion. During the test she refused to halt on a couple of occasions and she looked around, presumably for the hunt, on several occasions. But to my under qualified eye, she looked magnificent when strutting her stuff. We all knew she would be marked down for the disobediences.

As it happened she scored four points more than the 175 she had back last summer for the same test. She had came fourth with a relatively lowly score of 62.17%, Amazing in the circumstances. If she had been calm, maybe she might have won - the winner scored only 66%

When we arrived back home I washed the sweat residues off. I tacked her up with her winter coats. I gave her a couple of pears and a carrot and then led her out to graze the long grass around the edges of the arena. Then I led her into her paddock to cool down for an hour or so before I put her to bed for the night. What a horse! What a day! There is never a dull moment with DiDi.
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post #138 of 371 Old 01-19-2012, 07:53 AM
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New to subbing to this thread, and I've enjoyed the reading.

Admittedly I scanned most parts about the flash band, however I use one, and feel that if its used correctly, amongst other equipments, there should be no problem. A horse may open its mouth, to avoid the contact to come round, but then we could say a horse is avoiding the entire bridle, so we should just ride the horse as naked as can be (I'm talking tack, wise, not rider clothing!)

DiDi certainly sounds like quite the character, and somewhat similair to my dad's mare, Josie.
When ridden by a weaker rider, she will test. She has become very, very good at spinning, sliding stops, and leaps to the side. She has never done this with a pure beginner, or an experienced rider who tells her exactly what to do. She has been on every different hormonal powder you could imagine, the vet has checked her, the chiro has checked her, trainer after trainer- its just one of her quirks, and possibly why she didn't make a good carriage horse!

Looking forward to reading more.
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post #139 of 371 Old 01-20-2012, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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The Day After

Overnight following the competition, DiDi worked herself into a terrible state. She had shown her upset once already in that she fretted badly whilst travelling back from the competition centre to the stable yard. When eventually she walked down the ramp she was lathered up to an extreme. For a horse which normally travels well this was odd behaviour to say the least. That night she trashed her stable; she refused to eat her hay and she did not even touch her pail of hard food.
The question was why and with DiDi the answer can only ever be: ‘Who knows?’

The Countess worried all of the following day and in the evening there was a long telephone call to describe and discuss the events of the day. Together we tried to work out what was to be done. DiDi was simply not interested in food. When she did venture out into her paddock the following day, mostly what she did was to pace up and down the fence line. What could be the problem? Well, we shall never know. She was beginning to look tucked up. Perhaps it was the events of the last few days with the combination of a strange rider; the passing by of the Hunt; the first competition for some time and Herself - a complex, sensitive and highly intuitive mare.

I went up to see her the following day. As I walked down to her paddock she made her way to meet me which was unusual behaviour because normally she made me walk right up to her. We followed the usual routine. I cleaned her legs, I washed her face and I ran my hands over her body to check for abrasions. She was fine. We then went out into the arena for the regular lunge exercising during which she behaved impeccably. It has reached the stage now where just a light pressure on the lunge line, which is clipped to the snaffle bit, serves to instruct her. She’ll slow to a trot, to a walk or to a halt and stand - all without a word spoken. On my part it is just a matter of body posture and a gentle touch on the rein. I kept the session down to a half an hour, after all she had done enough in the days previous to keep her exercised for a week, I wiped her down. I fitted her day rugs and I led her back to her paddock. Of course, she regularly stopped on the way to nibble at the grass which surprisingly for this time of the year is already growing.

Finally we reached her paddock where I gave her the remnants of the pears which are her favourite fruits. I unclipped her head collar and turned her loose. She turned about and slowly walked away to graze. We had done together exactly what she had expected to do. She was calm.

What had the fuss been all about? I shall never know but the odds of my finding another sympathetic owner for this sensitive horse are getting longer by the day. Just where could I find someone to understand this creature? She is so bold, yet at the same time so fragile. Sometimes I fear for her.
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post #140 of 371 Old 01-20-2012, 07:29 PM
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Welcome to my world. My mare gets it into her head she doesn't like something about a particular stable or location and paces, paces, and paces.
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