Adventures with Dauntless - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 1376 Old 12-29-2015, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Adventures with Dauntless

I never really knew about these and I thought it might be fun to make one, just to share in my experiences and adventures with my young horse Dante.

I guess I'll start off by saying I was also a working student for about 2yrs at a dressage barn, so I've worked with a pretty large variety of horses from very nice, modern type warmbloods to ottbs and draft crosses or backyard ponies. I'll ride pretty much anything within reason. I won't say I'll ride anything because I've seen horses I wouldn't ride lol I'm brave but when I see a rider WAY better than me getting ran off with on a horse, I'll pass lol. I've also been a part of raising babies from birth to breaking, so that's been pretty cool. I also got to ride in Germany for a few weeks which was a pretty amazing and eye opening experience. I've ridden a really large variety of horses, ridden a lot of tricky horses, strong horses, I retrained a saddleseat saddlebred for dressage (very tough, they're taught basically opposite of dressage). Retrained horses from "bad" trainers, done ottbs, retrained older horses *shrugs* I loved challenges. I was the rider people would call when they had a quirky, difficult horse no one else wanted to ride because it's what I was good at and for whatever reason got along with. All my horses that have been mine have been pretty quirky, I just like the ones who need special mommies. Most of the horses I've worked with have not been like this but the ones who have a special place in my heart have been *shrugs* all riders have a "type" they're drawn to. I just like being challenged, I don't like it when they're unreasonably difficult or super straight forward/uncomplicated because I like a puzzle I have to figure out because it makes me better but at the same time I want to be able to get somewhere and be productive.

I'm a former active duty Marine, I am proud of that. Being a marine meant a lot to me, it was something I felt I had to do and I honestly miss it. I wanted to make it a career but my body fell apart. I was pushed way too hard following rehab, they didn't let me take my time to get fit, so after 6mos of not running or doing anything strenuous I was running 4mi and doing some pretty intense PT sessions within the first month and I'm stubborn as they come so I didn't go to the hospital until I was turning white and shaking because I was in so much pain and couldn't avoid it anymore lol. I'm pretty pain tolerant and stubborn to the point of stupidity. So now I'm going back to college as a computer science major, before the Marines I was majoring in Business/Administration and International studies.

When I was a teenager I evented, I showed through novice and schooled training. Did 3'3-3'6 courses on my old thoroughbred who was a nut and a half. Unfortunately don't have many pictures from that time, as it was before the cell phone craze and all the photo touch ups. We had a pretty dark arena to ride in lol and my mom didn't like watching me go cross country, my horse was a nut like would take off 2 strides prior to a max height fence and you couldn't just tell him what to do or it'd be worse. I usually strided him like 8 strides out xc and made some REALLY strong corrections and let him take care of it and that seemed to work. He wasn't all there but I learned SO much from him. Super cool eventer. Super careful but game and powerful, really popped his back over larger fences but he was neat.

I switched over to strictly dressage about 8-9yrs ago. I've dabbled over fences and still like it but I don't love it the way I do dressage.

My horse now is Dante who I bought bascically broke, as I didn't have much money. He is a 5yr old arabian x quarter horse. Quarter horse dam, arabian sire. He's 15.3h even, I'm 5'7 and leggy. I was very worried I'd look too big on him but I think I fit him well, even my trainer who is 5'10-5'11 doesn't look that big on him. I'm very proud of him. When I bought him most everyone I know thought I was crazy for buying him (his canter was SO downhill but he had plenty of jump behind). My trainer back home (I wasn't out of the Marines when I bought him) thought he'd max out at 3rd level but I disagreed and as he's progressed, we think he could do FEI. I can also be pretty belligerent when I want something and see potential, I wanted this horse, I thought he had what it took so I bought him. I fell in love with him. He made me buy him, I was NOT going to buy an arab and I wanted something over 16.1h that could also event but he followed me in the arena and stuck his head in my arms and it was all over. He's hard to ride, even if he wasn't quirky, he's hard to organize, regulate his rhythm and he can contort his body in ways that are very annoying lol he's just awkward. I've never ridden a horse that could contort their body in the ways this one can, so that's been a challenge lol. My friend (who is a nice rider) rode him and she was like you wouldn't think that looking at him. She then sat his trot and was like OMG how do you sit this? I laughed, he's very up and down but not jarring. I think he's so bouncy because he has such a short back, is close behind and is so up and down in his his movement. Canter isn't bad, it just has a lot of movement. I don't know how to describe him other than he doesn't make you look good lol. He's awkward. I can't talk when I'm riding him, I have to be totally focused but he's made me a MUCH better rider, he's so sensitive and so dramatic. He had a pad an 1/8 of an inch thick on his back and threw a huge fit and refused to steer until it was removed. It was hysterical lol I was in tears, I was laughing so hard because he was SO dramatic about it. He's funny and frustrating but he is very capable and I don't have a ton of money, so I don't mind having a capable horse who takes more to ride, plus I don't have any national/international aspirations but I would LOVE to get my bronze and silver USDF medals on him. That's the dream lol. I want to eventually school him GP, I don't know if we'll show it but I'd LOVE to school him one day even if it's 10yrs from now. I really think we can do it. I'm also lucky to have a really great coach. We have fun but she's in Florida for winter :/ so we'll hopefully start taking lessons this Wednesday with the trainer who is taking over for her while she's gone.
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post #2 of 1376 Old 12-30-2015, 01:52 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Dante is gorgeous! I'd say his Arab half has come out way more than his QH in his looks.

I'm looking forward to reading more about your experiences; you always post great advice on dressage and general English riding, very useful.
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post #3 of 1376 Old 12-30-2015, 02:19 AM
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me too. I enjoy your detailed posts.

I am wondering what the crossed reins looking thing is in this photo:

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post #4 of 1376 Old 12-30-2015, 10:35 AM
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Crossed reins?
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post #5 of 1376 Old 12-30-2015, 12:17 PM
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the straps on the front of the neck. like a loose martingale?
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post #6 of 1376 Old 12-30-2015, 12:22 PM
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Looks like a breast plate to me ...
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post #7 of 1376 Old 12-30-2015, 12:55 PM
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It is an training martingale. Pretty common in Arab, sb and Morgan barns. Some versions have 10 rings going down the strap to set how low you want the pressure to come at the horse.
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post #8 of 1376 Old 12-30-2015, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you I try to share what I've learned and try to break it down but I'm not always good at it but I keep trying anyway lol. Only way to get better.

I'm not 100% sure but I think Dehda01 is right. It's what they rode Dante in when I tried him but I didn't use it. That photo is from the day I tried him.

And yes he's pretty arab-y, when you ride him I can definitely tell some of the qh because he's kinda down when you ride him and can be an unreasonable jerk sometimes. I've ridden a few full arabs and yes they can be silly, spooky or hot but they're almost always willing and try. Most qh's I've ridden I've really enjoyed but they can definitely have an F-you button and be jerks. The trainer I'm working with says Dante has the qh belligerence and the arabian flightiness. He's a good horse, I don't mean to make him sound naughty, he definitely can be but he can also be incredible to ride because he's so willing, so sensitive and figures things out very quickly.

Dante's kind of going through his teenager phase. Rode him today and that was interesting. I always warm him up in two point and do quite a bit of nice rolling figures of 8 to let him loosen up and get going. But today he was not about being told to go forward. And had a temper tantrum, bucked pretty hard a few times and I was like enough. I'm not asking for anything unreasonable just trot forward. I'm pretty patient and usually will give a horse the benefit of the doubt but I was like no I can put my leg on and you will not kick out at me, I can ask you to move over or be forward and not have you buck. He put in some mean ones. I didn't work him long, just until I could go from walk to trot with him forward, not bucking or kicking out and not kicking out when I'd leg yield or make an upward transition. It was a ride for obedience, didn't ask for much. I know he's sore but he's not that sore. After he worked his back wasn't even a little sore. He had some knots in his shoulders and his right hind interior around his tail area was sore but he had a few days off and if you're sore it's better to do a little something than nothing. It can be frustrating sometimes but you don't always get the rides you want, they're not machines but I felt like we took a step in the right direction and that's all that matters.

He's been like this lately. I think it's an obedience and testing boundaries, young horse thing. Not all young horses are like this but a lot of them are fabulous as 3-4yr olds and then as 5-6-7yr olds when they kinda know the drill and know enough, they go through what I call a "teenager" phase where they just don't want to and test the waters. Then once your work through it, they get over it. It's just getting through it. He does have some stifle issues related to being a young horse and possibly still growing. The vet said his supportive structures and tissue around the stifles aren't fully developed but to keep him working and lots of canter work.

I also rode a young horse who is turning 5 and isn't broke yet. He's taking a long time to break, he's a little special and you can't push babies but I'm hoping after he's broke and has some training he'll be easy. Goal is to have him off the lunge line and with a rider by the end of the month. We'll see. We should have 3 babies going but 2 are lame

Some pictures. I'm very baby faced but then I used to tell people my age and I'd be called Grandma lol. And some of his baby pictures. His Mama is a perlino qh mare and he's not changed much, he's generally up to no good. If you tie him to a stall, he unties himself, if you let him he will knock everything off the walls and re-organize things. He took an empty bucket and hit me with it a few times. He has to put everything in his mouth, I call his lead line his binky because he sucks on it.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 12-30-2015 at 04:12 PM.
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post #9 of 1376 Old 12-31-2015, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Today was kind of upsetting. His attitude hasn't improved. He's been really tricky and it kinda makes me want to cry lol. I rode him in a lesson and we did some ground polls and cavaletti. The trainer agreed I wasn't doing anything wrong or disagreeable but we're trying to figure out what's going on with him. It's not like him to be so ornery or unreasonable. He's always been tricky but we could usually work through it. I think I'm going to have him see the chiropractor again lol I'm starting to feel broke. And that muscle in his right butt cheek is SUPER sore, like I touched it and he tried to kick me. He kicked me on Christmas (it was dirty like I was petting him and telling him Merry Christmas and he spun around and kicked me), so I'm being pretty cautious around him. I'm going to keep massaging him and give him a few days off. Maybe hand walk him for a few days for it to heal and hopefully that will do the trick.

I've had his teeth done, chiropractor followed by muscle injections. Massage every time after a ride which I am pretty good at. I've watched classes, worked with therapists to learn different techniques and been doing it awhile but I'm not certified. Debbie Witty fitted his saddle to him (we have a trilogy Debbie McDonald). Debbie is amazing and super nice/knowledgeable and professional. He isn't in a stressful work program, I don't stress him out and my trainers have done a lot of quirky youngsters. I'm pretty tactful. We don't pressure him too much, we push the envelope some but it's more like an invite. He is tricky to ride, he's always been temperamental but if I was tactful enough I could negotiate through it pretty well. Now it's like he doesn't want to do it anymore and I don't know what went wrong. I feel like I keep throwing money at it and it works for a little while but isn't holding. I've spent a good chunk of change. We're starting him on steroids at some point to help build up his stifles (vet's suggestion). Someone said to put him out to pasture but that's not the issue and isn't going to solve the problem. The trainer that replaced my trainer agreed with the vet about keeping him in work. Vet said he has to stay in work to fix the stifles. He needs to get stronger.

The trainer and I talked about options and we're just going to ride him to be happy. If we can get him happy and willing to work without the kicking out, etc I think it will pretty much be easy but it's getting him happy again. He's been this way since the Devon Kane (international GP rider) clinic and we had a good lesson but I don't know. I just don't get it :/ I'm trying but it's frustrating.

Also here are some videos since I hadn't posted any.

I also get REALLY irritated with people who don't know hardly anything about developing a horse or things trying to tell me what to do with him and I don't mind people having input or giving advice. Anyone can teach you something or give you a different perspective or have some really good insight but when they're rude and talk down to me like I don't know anything, I can get pretty abrasive. I HATE being patronized, I absolutely hate it. I think because of my Marine background, respect is really big to me. Like if you met me, I'm pretty pleasant to be around. I don't belittle anyone or talk down to anyone, I'm pretty encouraging towards others and I'm pretty easy going but it really rubs me the wrong way when I have a certain level experience as a handler, groom, rider, etc and get talked down to by someone who doesn't have half my experience or knowledge. Sorry for rant and don't meant to sound snobby.

I'm still weaning off the Marine kick. It's hard to detox from that kind of environment. I don't think I'll ever really detox. I'm also from a German family (all 4 grandparents), so I'm pretty head strong. I definitely listen and I'm receptive and willing to learn but I stand my ground when I know something or believe something. I don't sway in the wind. I used to be a door mat, was so respectful, polite, and obedient but as I've gotten older and had to be responsible for and in charge of others, I've become pretty belligerent when I need to be.

This was my 1st ride on him when I tried him last year 24th of December. He's gotten SO much better about contact and actually rides up to the contact like a normal horse now. Most of our rides or program we're in is about training the right reactions and putting in a good foundation or basics. His movement has improved a lot since then and still a LONG road ahead.

July 24th


November (we rode bareback for about 5-6wks)

I thought his stretch was pretty cute and I finally got to try my new polka dot polo wraps I love them. They're cute and playful without being too much.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 12-31-2015 at 03:18 PM.
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post #10 of 1376 Old 12-31-2015, 04:55 PM
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I think you have to ask yourself why someone commenting on your horse would rile you. Yes, a constructive critique is always welcome, but when you get those know-it-alls, it's possible that they are jealous. You have an great horse, and you ride very well.
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