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post #311 of 335 Old 08-10-2019, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Gonna try to do a short update. Haven't really had the focus to sit and keep up, been fixated on studying, reading and listening to talks on youtube about autism, different mental health issues, behavioral science, education, philosophy, psychology to various ideas. I know Im not better or more worth while than anyone else. Im a very passionate person with a variety of interests who tends to fixate on things I find interesting. Doesnt make me any better than anyone or elitist or anything worse. It's just my passion and makes me curious.

I am clinically diagnosed with aspergers which is now no longer diagnosed and is considered a part of the autistic spectrum. Had an incorrect diagnosis of depression/anxiety which turned out to be bipolar disorder and ADHD. And I think being on the spectrum people really dont understand how it makes someone different. I think people usually cannot tell that I have it because I have learned how to integrate and behave in the way people are expected to. It doesnít mean Im ďcuredĒ. In Denmark, at least in Jutland I feel people are curious about people who are different and are open to listening or hearing another personís account and accepting it without ridicule. I find in the US people have an agenda or it feels like when they're listening they're not actually hearing or understanding you. It feels like they're dismissing what you say because what you're saying is different from what they've been told their whole life and your experience or research doesnt matter. And a lot of times people dont really want the details and I dont think they really want to think or listen to understand but listen to put themselves over you in some way. And I hate that. I like to see everyone grow. Not all people are dismissive but I think that routes back to an egocentric and competitive culture in the US with a strong dose of anti intellectualism. What I mean by that is if you have a conversation with someone and you disagree, people actually take it as a personal attack! They wont discuss with you, they will call you names and back talk you, rather than have a conversation and ask questions. I also think when people misinterpret, they assume they know what someone meant but dont ask. You can say the same sentence and it be read by 10 different people and mean something entirely different to each.

Iíve been made fun of, ridiculed and mocked much of my life for being different and quirky and eccentric. That Im finding as an adult is exactly what people like me for. I used to have Professors who called me brilliant and Id shy away because I felt like me expressing my passion made people think more of me than I deserved to be thought of. My life is defined by high highs and low lows. I can hate everything about myself and live in a world of thoughts similar to a worst enemy living in my head to completely low and apathetic and cant get out out of bed to other stuff I wont mention. To the life of the party. Regardless of where I am I like to entertain, I love to be something of a comedian and make people laugh so hard they're in tears. Granted the material I often talk about is very adult and I swear A LOT. Or I'll see the person at a party crying and I'll come sit with them, give them hugs, pep talk and be there. Or I'll be the person dancing on the table or giving a lecture. One time I gave one about the protestant reformation and how it changed the way people think about stuff.

I REALLY REALLY like Temple Grandin. I remember when I first heard about her 15yrs ago and I didnt understand. I was just told she was an autistic woman who re-designed slaughter houses to be more humane. And she does have autism, not aspergers. She had speech delay until she was 4. I really relate to the detail based thinking and noticing things other people dont see.

With horses sometimes I feel people think horse training is like algebra or there Is a linear process and sometimes there is and there is certainly a system to the education but you cant use the same formula for every horse because different horses have different minds, conformations and life experiences. I think it takes a fairly large sample size and a lot of experience to really get the idea that horses are individuals and not all the same. And Im very glad I've gotten to work with 100s of horses. Im glad I usually ended up with the trouble cookies. I like them.

I think a part of what I like about Wonder is he is different. He does not think like other horses. I think he is one someone would have to meet and have their hands on and experience to understand what I mean. With him when you reach his point of discomfort where he acts out or he does something violent, you have to keep at that point. If you back off and say I donít want to pressure then you have a comfort zone that will constrict to where he is taking over more and more vs if you push you gradually open up his comfort zone and trust in a rider to LET the rider in. That is what I have been working towards most with Wonder is getting him to LET ME IN to let me ride him and not just take over and that is how he has pulled my back out and torn my core muscles is I set a frame with my body and say I am here, you dont get to bully me and take over. And sometimes he just over rides that but then you're quick to say no this is the line and you show him an exercise and it's exhausting. Itís why things like half pass, half steps and collection are important with a horse like Wonder. He needs to learn how to let a rider in and accept them without taking over. I think that is his defense mechanism whenever he is outside his comfort zone or sometimes he just flat out doesnt want to be told what to do and says I know what you're asking and I say no. And it is a different playing field when you start asking something from a horse vs when you ask nothing. I can by expanding Wonder's boundaries, now when I do basic things he is a LOT LOT more ridable and consistent. We've been doing low, round and deep serpentines, circles, cavaletti, playing with different trot paces. He still takes a lot and he still tries to take over but he BACKS off when I half halt in my core, back and seat. Not always but he is responding better better than a year ago.

It's like when I used to ride horses who were lesson horses or from abuse type situation their mind goes from engaged to they have a point of shutting the rider out. Same undersaddle as it is on the ground, it is convincing them to let you in and to communicate. When I worked for natural horsemanship and driving trainer she said, we're always having to convince them that we're different from other people that we can hear them. And engage them mentally and emotionally. I remember trying to teach someone on a mare who listened only to emotion or energy. I had no problem with her but most dressage riders could not ride her because they didnt know how to do that. So sometimes trying to explain a sensory thing to someone was very hard. I tried to explain it's like your radiating a beam of energy from your chest and the horse reads that. I know it sounds crazy but it works.

Im also quite used to having to really use my position and keep my body where it is because Im used to a horse who will pull me in every direction. Wonder needs a STRONG but empathetic rider and also one who can push him out of his comfort zone but not force him but not let him control the situation and make him toe the line too. He is one where if you always back off when he acts up and dont push, his tantrums become worse and then he steadily takes more and more control vs becoming more and more ridable/agreeable. You have to know what you're doing with him and even then his responses are not guaranteed. And it depends on the day. Sometimes he is more agreeable than other days.

Sometimes horses surprise me, Ranja rides quite different with a different rider. She is a bit of a snake or wiggle worm to ride but is getting better every ride. She is one who if someone doesnt have a controlled, independent canter seat will run away with a rider. She also needs a confident, secure rider or she can act up, threaten to rear, buck, bolt etc. She has never offered with me. She has voiced her opinion or said that's hard or given me some attitude but never been naughty. Always very lovely and lady like, so it surprises me when I see her threatening. I helped her mom with her and that seemed to make a big difference, so they ended both happy with each other. Her mom said afterwards omg I love this horse. This is my dream horse and that made me smile. Ranja is a lovely horse. I like her a lot!

I do not hold horses and if you actually rode a horse after me, I think people are surprised by how light and responsive they are. Wonder is quite responsive but you have to know what you're doing or he will push into pressure then bully and intimidate the rider.

Ranja's mom's goal is to really ride Wonder. She has walked on him and done some spanish walk with him. Wonder loves to spanish walk. She loves Wonder. And I understand why. I love him too.

When I post things I DO NOT claim to be perfect, I have never claimed that but I do make an effort to learn

This is from Wednesday? She really enjoys this. I can feel it when

Just to compare this was Ranja my first ride on her. She was quite green to dressage

First ride on Ranja

Wonder and Ranja

Also Wonder. This is NOT all the time but as an example of what he can be. He turns from happy, cuddly to this in a split second. Generally when Im around he does not. And for grooming, he tolerates it but when the chiropractor was out and she did something that made him uncomfortable. Yes. He doesnt threaten to kick out or kick out as much as he used to. But it's something deep inside. Can fix the symptom but the cause I am unsure of. I definitely think there is something that happened to him because he can be so sweet and gentle. Then he flips a switch and he has never bitten me or anyone here. He has once and that wasnt nice but we dealt with that pretty quick 2yrs ago after or before I bought him. I cant remember.

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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 08-10-2019 at 03:32 PM.
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post #312 of 335 Old 08-11-2019, 03:17 AM
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I feel like people with mental health issues or conditions are among the last groups that are still discriminated against. We always hear about how we need to be sensitive and inclusive of all races, inclinations, body types and etc., but still people seem to feel it is fine to show bias against people with mental health issues. I think that needs to change.

You are doing very well with Ranja. I can see definite improvement in her rhythm and straightness in the latest video. Your shoulder-in at around 2 minutes was quite good and I could see the three distinct tracks.

That is a beautiful field and the horses look like they love being out there.
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post #313 of 335 Old 08-16-2019, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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gottatrot- I think you are VERY VERY right about that. There is a HUGE amount of stigma and discrimination made against people who are mentally different. I really think it is because people dont understand and they cant see the effects of mental illness or something like autism. Not everybody is high functioning or strong. I think one of the hardest lessons I've learned is that there are a lot of broken people who are weak and they will not get better or change because of that. It takes a lot of resilience, a lot of fight, a lot of work to basically function. I think it also effects relationships quite a bit. And there is such a spectrum with every illness. It really depends on the individual. Some people like to fetishize their sickness and actually enjoy it! They like the pity and attention and that disgusts me. Cant sit around feeling sorry for yourself or begging for attention, have to stand up and figure out how to be a productive, functioning member of society that isnt a drain on all the people around but a plus. Where people want you around because you add value and arent a drain.

I think people cant see it, so they cant understand it. I have heard SO SO many times that my mental illness is self induced and my fault. I agree it is my responsibility and I need to make efforts to manage myself and my illness but it is anything but imaginary. Same with being on the autistic spectrum, I didnt make myself like that I was born that way. The diagnosis for me had value in understanding myself better. And there is a HUGE range in functionality and abilities on the autistic spectrum. Same as there is a spectrum of severity with other mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline, etc. Usually it's locked by what is a normal amount because most people will have some anxiety without having anxiety or some depressive feelings that are not clinical or changes of mood that are also not clinical or prolonged periods of time.

I talk about it because there is a stigma and truthfully I dont expect people to really understand or care, if they even read anything Ive written at all. But I talk about it because I dont know maybe it'll help someone accept themselves or help someone understand what someone they know is going through.

But thank you! I am really proud of Ranja, she's a wonderful horse and her Mom is having success on her too. I teach her and help her. I like seeing them succeed together. She's quite tall 6'1 but very capable.

And yes they do. It really is beautiful here! The horses are very happy

Short update on Wonder's vet visit. I've been up since 0500, I am exhausted and didnt sleep last night. So no injection, no treatment because his joints and ligaments are fine and the problem is scarring from when he was castrated. He has spermatic cord adhesion. I cant find a whole lot on it besides an article from Germany associating hind leg lameness with spermadic cord adhesion. I need permission to access and want to.

I am VERY happy to have an answer but I am wondering why has NO ONE ever mentioned this to me before. I have had a lot of diagnostic work done on this horse (x rays from poll to feet and all clean, ultrasound, treatment for ulcers, SI injection, PRP in both stifles, etc) and no one has EVER talked to me about him possibly having complications and scar tissue from castration and that causing problems in his hind end.

The vet said given he has clean x rays (he looked) and the ultrasound showed no reason for their to be problems and with how even and symmetrical his muscle tone is from left to right. It being a stifle problem doesnt make sense. And given all the things we have treated him for he said I think we need to look at the possibility of him having a complication due to castration. So he did some tests and palpated Wonder, Wonder had a huge fit. He didnt attack him but he sure let him know. He also said he can tell because when he looks at the scar it indents inward and that's a bad sign.

I talked to the vet quite a bit looking for answers about different behavior with Wonder and explained he does better with more demanding work. If I just do walk, trot, canter and do like serpentines and do not ask much from him he gets more and more tense and more and more like a steam engine vs if I ask him to do more demanding tasks that ask him to focus on a rider and listen he becomes calmer and more relaxed. Sometimes he acts out, asks questions, etc when learning but when he knows, he calms and relaxes but then sometimes tests. I talked about the tension, the irregular really hard to ride/manage rhythm and how hot and steam engine like he becomes and why sometimes he just takes over altogether like well I was good, now Ive decided I want to gallop. Have a nice life (he has ran away at some point with every rider whose ridden him). He said that doesnt surprise him at all given Wonder's temperament. He's quite an intense horse. He loves to work, he's not something that would be happy thrown in a pasture or as a hobby horse. And the vet said no a horse like that isnt a hobby horse, he needs an active job that demands something of him or he will act up and create his own stimulation. Said the surgery wont change his personality but likely will make him easier to ride and make development easier, as well as make Wonder happier.

So we are working on booking a surgery. Hopefully in two weeks. He said keep him in work. And Im very curious how this will make a difference, I hope it helps Wonder and makes the difference. It is expensive but worth it, I think. I really hope it makes him easier to ride and have a more regular rhythm and overall more ridable. Because he is so f8cking hard to ride. It gets exhausting, taught me an awful lot but if this makes him easier but keep his fire. That'd be awesome. I like sitting on a horse who feels like a ball of fire. I like fire hot and in an ideal world I wish Wonder were sensitive like Ranja but he is not that sensitive. I mean if I put someone on him and they put an aid on, he'd push into the pressure and not away from. Because you have to influence his mind, it isnt about the aid it's about the influence and knowing how to influence him. He's the kind of horse who if someone puts an aid on and he doesnt respect the person, he's just like nah not gonna. And if the rider insists then he fights back. He is the type that would rear and flip on someone.

When we did this video we thought the issue was the stifle, so trying to stay on straightish lines, not too much lateral work or circles. But needed to keep him in work and fit because part of keeping a stifle healthy is the muscular conditioning. Riding his trot is very very hard. It isnt that it's just very bouncy (it is SO bouncy and rough) it's that you have to sit against him and ask him to keep with your seat and body so hard. You use so much core and back. As well as had when he pushes past your core and seat. It also takes a lot of leg not for forward. In dressage leg doesnt mean forward, it's more like bring your body into me and pick your shoulder up. Because that trot is so hard to ride and manage. Even here which mostly what I was doing was asking him to push off on the length and come back on the short, then sometimes pushing him through the corner and allowing the corner to help regulate that rhythm and for him to step large and keep rhythm.

But sorta excited to have the okay to do lateral work again. Today we did shoulder in trot down the long side, half 10m circle half pass to the wall straight and shoulder in, 10m circle half pass to the wall. That really improved the quality of his bend and half pass and it made Wonder CHILL. Even in walk he was like WE ARE ON A MISSION, we go, every aids means go. We hacked out as well.

May introduce the canter again on Sunday. We hadnt been canter or doing laterals since seeing the vet the last time because we thought the issues was stifle. So we worked a workout plan with her on what to do.

Little bit of Magnus

Bit of Ranja from last week

More Ranja because the exercises are important. When I use bridle it is to keep her straight through the shoulder, I also guide with my position and leg. One big issue and I see it with every rider on her is she falls out the right shoulder and can use her body like a snake to curve into an S. I show this too because the exercises are so important. Leg yield, walk half pass, rein back, counter canter. And another thing when she does come behind, I do not lengthen my rein. I sit her back and use my leg to bring her shoulder and neck up. But my priority is keeping the straightness through her shoulders and her truly meeting contact. Counter canter really helps improve the canter. Big fan. As well as shoulder in. On a horse like this, she knows haunches in but because she is so flexible in her body. I school more shoulder in to improve straightness, acceptance of the aids, and get her better at accepting and following my position. I want her to ride more like one straight line in her body. It is not perfect every step but in training it is important to do exercises and progress. You dont just do walk, trot, canter all the time and go oh boy I hope this next trot will be it.

Difference between experienced suggestion vs inexperienced. When she ducks behind, experienced rider says sit her croup down and lift her shoulder, add leg. Inexperienced says lengthen the reins.

I am a little upset, another girl rode her in a jumping lesson and picked a fight with her (her owners were not happy about this either). Ranja is very sensitive, very emotional. She cannot be rough handled. Everything has to be an ask and conversation with encouragement. She doesnt handle strong aids well. Have to be a very tactful, soft rider. I am upset because she basically said Ranja wasnt a smart horse and badly trained was why she couldnt ride her very well. I was so mad. Ranja is a good horse who is easy to ride, if you know how to work with her.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 08-16-2019 at 02:36 PM.
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post #314 of 335 Old 08-16-2019, 08:05 PM
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Wonder looking so good with his saddle and low-key work.

Sensitive horses are so hard if you don't know them amd their habits personally, they are yes sometimes bad, but 90% of the time it's just them being overwhelmed and escalating anything doesn't help. Poor Ranja. She seems like a sweet mare though and could possibly soldier on if provided enough cookies.

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post #315 of 335 Old 08-17-2019, 11:21 AM
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Hello, @DanteDressageNerd ! Had some time to catch up with your photos, clips and thoughtful reflections. Best of luck with Wonder's surgery. Magnus is so cute and I am very happy that you have him. And... brains are like exotic animals. They're very high-maintenance and need lots of TLC and looking after, especially if they are extra exotic! A big for your brain, and for you!

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post #316 of 335 Old 08-23-2019, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! He's coming around. I think this surgery is going to be a game changer and I hope open up and free his stride. I really hope it makes the difference because Wonder loves what he does and he tries so hard. He's a wonderful horse!

I agree completely. I think the problem is the girl is young and is a very good rider for her age and is used to being able to muscle or manipulate them into doing what she wants. Her main pony is half arabian mare and typical half arab personality, not easy, quite spicy. Sensitive but not Ranja sensitive. Ranja for example would never be a good kids horse or for a nervous AA. She needs someone who is confident but also very sensitive because if someone who doesnt know how to handle her rides her in a row she becomes this spooky, nervous basket of anxiety. And she'll go from there with you to leaping side ways 5m because you lost her focus for a second, then you get her mind engaged with you and she's amazing! Like for me or Nicolai, she stops the spooky behavior and because she trusts us stops worrying and relaxes. And then there isnt an issue and she's right there.

I think the girl doesnt know how to engage the horse's mind. She isnt a bad rider at all. Ranja needs to be engaged mentally and know you're there for her. Inspire confidence in her, not every rider has that skill. Nicolai has that and his brother is an international GP jumper but he cant inspire confidence like Nicolai can. I was also teaching her mom how to use breathing control and energy to influence Ranja and how to project mental pictures. Makes a difference.

I could go on all day about how amazing Ranja is and how nice she is to work with I love that horse. She isnt as talented as Wonder but she has an amazing mind and work ethic. She is so smart and she doesnt use her mind against you like Wonder, she doesnt bully you. She is an absolute pleasure to work with. She is so smart and tries so hard. When she threatens it's because she is asking questions or is scared, it isnt like Wonder where Wonder is like well should I respect you? Why should I respect you? **** you! But Wonder's gotten a lot better, I think he is a lot more agreeable and willing now.

SueC- Thank you! Thoughts and prayers for the surgery to go well, and for him to come out of anesthesia well. Im nervous about it. I know it is what he needs but it still makes me nervous.

Aww thank you, Magnus is a sweetheart. He's VERY curious and very mischievous but he is a good kitten. Sleep curled next to me every night

But I agree entirely!! The extra exotic brain is not fun in terms of ownership and quality of life. I also think it makes finding a "life partner" very difficult, if and when I should decide to search.

Been struggling a lot with depression and all that non sense. My thoughts basically go on about how Im a horrible person, I hate myself, assuming everyone hates me and everything I do is wrong. I cant get anything right. Im useless, ugly, stupid. Nothing I ever do is enough and I feel like anything bad is my fault. I know consciously it is not but my mind says otherwise. I start seeing paranoid scenarios and delusions.

Just gotta ride it out. Fighting it doesnt work.



Had a lesson on Wonder today, that went quite well. Unfortunately no video because I didnt have anyone to video us today. Maybe next time!

Wonder was quite good. Mads didnt understand why I rode defensively on Wonder, so I stopped riding defensively and he was a ferrari. He said I need to ride at least 20 transitions around the school of the arena. And Wonder is NOT allowed to make any decisions on his own. He said there is no coasting with this horse, if you coast he takes over. He cannot be allowed to take over, I need to ride more transitions! And anytime he even thinks about tanking, I am meant to halt and pet him. I need to bend him a lot more to the right and get him to accept the right rein better. I need to enforce it more. Also said I need to ride him with more leg, he said it's like Im scared to use too much. He said MORE. Half halt from the legs!

He said he really liked Wonder and thought he was a very high quality horse who could go very far in dressage. He liked Wonder a lot more than Ranja. I agree but I asked him why, he said because this is a better horse. Wonder has a better walk, trot, and canter. Better conformation. He's built to do this and overall a very quality horse. He said he'd have thought Wonder was a dutch or danish warmblood, not a thoroughbred.

One thing I'll say I find very different about how Danes look at a horse vs Americans. Americans like floaty, open, swooping movers that can't collect. they dont look at mechanics or what will make a high level horse. I've heard US trainers and judges say a horse could do the GP because it moves so pretty and Id look at it or my US trainer and be like that wont collect enough to move past medium (approx 3rd). Danes (at least trainers or high level riders) look at mechanics. Like I've basically had American amateurs tell me Wonder is a piece of sh!t Im wasting my time with. But trainers said no Wonder is the superior horse (to my other horse at the time), just going to take more time to show it. I think because when someone like Mads looks at a horse, he is looking at what will make a GP horse and not what will do great at low-medium level. Totally different type of horse, the difference is in the mechanics of HOW that horse moves. For an upper level horse, the ability to collect is more important than the ability to extend. A horse needs to do both but the horse's skilled for collection often take more time to develop. I think my eye has changed a lot because of being here, as well as because of Wonder. That horse has taught me an awful lot. I also talk to professionals and people who have competed internationally and I ask them questions, their opinions, what they see and think. So I can learn.

Said Wonder collects great, I showed him Wonder's piaffe (was cute Wonder was like look what I can do!). He said that's great he can piaffe, he can do the tricks but he needs to extend better. He needs more submission, more obedience. Wonder really struggles with extension. Said Wonder can collect all day but the extension is what he needs. And I said I agree, this is what I've done with him to get what I have from him. What can I do to make this better? Lots of transitions, more leg half halts.

I also think part of why his trot is SO SO hard to ride, organize and manage is because of the spermatic cord adhesion. Wonder isnt like riding a normal horse. If you ride a warmblood, a thoroughbred, an arabian, a qh, a morgan or most horses if you ride for a bigger trot you get a bigger trot without any issues. As long as you (the rider) know how to use seat, timing and half halts. On Wonder you ride for a bigger trot and dont help him organize with half halts he takes weird off or lame steps or his legs go in every direction like a scramble. It's better than it was but it's taken polls, cavaletti, hill work, and a lot of things to help him figure out how to extend his legs and there is still irregularity when he strides. Im really hoping the surgery makes it easier for him. We thought he was like a portuguese horse where it's just hard for them to extend and takes more work and a different process to get there. But I think it is something to do with the spermatic cord adhesion.

But Im super proud of Wonder, he really tried for me. He was mentally present, no f*ck you attitude, just hey Im here what do you want? He's really become a gentle soul. It's night and day from what he was a few months ago. He still tests, he'll still tank off and you really need to be spot on with half halts but it's a lot better. I think Mads can help us a lot.

Also found a saddle fitting service I trust to do a good job and not ruin it. They do the saddles for the top dressage riders in Denmark, so they know what they're doing and will do a good job. Again not cheap, so Im basically broke after everything.

Depression cycle is pretty bad this go around. Not as bad as I've had but at least it's not a mixed episode. I dont want to get out of bed in the mornings. I dont want to do anything. I keep joking depression is the best diet because then you dont want to eat. It just sucks out your motivation. But when Im around people or talk to others, I can put on the face I need to. I dont like sucking people into the dark hole I live in sometimes. I want people to be happy and better off for knowing me, try to help and make people laugh and smile. Friends dealing with some rough stuff, trying to help them through it. Sometimes I just listen to music, dance and get lost in it.

Trying to stay productive and do the things I need to too.

Other sort of dark joke at least Im poor, so cant afford an alcohol or drug habit But Wonder is obsessed with cigarettes (I dont smoke). Anytime someone has cigarettes, he tries to take them from them. I keep telling him Wonder I cant afford you and your smoking habit, just have to go without. It was funny, we were asking Wonder if he wanted a cigarette and he'd nod his head we joke he was a smoker in a former life.

Class starts Monday.

Ranja bareback. I think she goes MUCH better in a saddle. Also note her hind shoes had been taken off by her farrier and are now back on (the owners paid for shoes and the farrier didnt put them on). I find it hard to keep my leg on bareback because Im focused more on staying on it's surprising Wonder is MUCH MUCH bouncier than Ranja but I find Ranja harder to sit on bareback. And I agree with Mads that Wonder has better trot mechanics. I think the professional would say Wonder has a better trot and the amateur would say Ranja has a better trot.

Here she is learning how to collect the trot and then I let her out. I stopped abruptly so another girl could have space. You can create a lot of different trots based on training and how a person rides. A lot of this is in the timing of the core seat half halt and leg half halt and hand and the timing between. Collection tends to create more suspension and that comes from between the timing of the leg and core half halts.

Canter needs a lot more work, she needs a lot more strength and to improve the mechanics. I was asked if I might show her because the owner's would like to breed her and dressage scores help her.

Short canter duration, she isnt so strong

Example of a horse that Americans, low level riders and judges would love to see but would never do the higher level because she cant collect. I absolutely LOVE this mare, she is sensitive, hard working and just wonderful.

Talked to a rider whose shown in Denmark her whole life, has competed high level, father is a big name etc, etc and we were talking about young horse competition and what she thought of the winners and horse's in the young horse classes and the differences in judging potential for a GP vs top young horse. She said the young horse championships will most likely be the highlight and end of their careers. Most of these young horses are pushed so hard for that competition and have to move so big and so elaborate they break down or cant collect enough to be successful at the GP. The top 5 hardly ever make it onto something else. Usually they sell for a lot of money and cant be kept sound or disappear. The horse's that might have competed in young horse championship classes might go on to an international career but it is usually not the horses in the top 5. It's the horses that needed more time to develop. Obviously there are exceptions but in general the top young horses dont become top international GP horses.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 08-23-2019 at 06:29 AM.
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post #317 of 335 Old 08-27-2019, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Well Wonder had his surgery, he's doing well. He definitely needed the surgery. The spermatic cords were restricting his range of motion in the hind end. The right one is shorter than the left one. I think this may be the source of some of the naughty, unpredictable behavior that made him very difficult. So I am quite curious how he'll change when we start working again. He has 5 days off and the vet would like as much detailed analysis of the changes I notice following the procedure.

I'm back in university for Cognitive Science, so that's exciting. It seems a very nice group of people, all awkward and geeky so they're my kind of people! Im not so awkward as I once was but I could feel a lot of the autistic traits start to surface as time wore on. We are mostly socializing and getting to know one another this week. But anyways 10hrs of socialization really wore me out but the group of people is really nice. One of the girls was saying she was really nervous to go because she's used to girls being so petty and bullying each other and I said I understand. That is often how I feel when I enter and it's a room of women, are they going to be friends or petty, nasty and two faced? So far it seems fairly international and very small. I had no idea it was such a big deal to be accepted. I guess 460+ applicants and only 65 were accepted. But I will say this is the first time I've started a major and felt like this is it. Im quite excited to work on projects and in labs! First time Ive ever done a major because it actually interested me and made me curious. It's also nice because every one I've met seems very down to earth, highly intelligent, inquisitive and thoughtful. It's really nice, I think we'll all help each grow quite a lot! But I am the oldest. Most are around 22 but they're very level headed.

I feel SO old, we were playing games and I did most of them but for some I was like. Im just letting you know I cant carry an extra body of weight because my right knee is very bad (I know I need surgery on it but Wonder had surgery, so I cant afford my own). I also have chronic tendenitis in my left hip flexor, a degenerative disk in my lower back, collapsed arches, etc, etc. Thank you Marine Corps. And yes I was very fit when I went it. I went to the gym 6x per week, ran around 20-30miles per week. I could split leg squat with 90lbs and lunges with like 110? I could throw guys weighing 180lbs like rag dolls once then came injury number 1, 2, 3, 4. I over trained and pushed myself too hard. I took pain is just weakness leaving the body a little too close to heart we're all young and dumb sometimes. Also funny they were saying they didnt get hang overs and I said just wait! I didnt until like 25-26, so dont take it for granted! I know Im not old but I feel old. Im old and and Im tired.

Pictures are from a hack Wonder and I did a few days ago, we galloped AND he DID NOT run off!! I was so impressed. His behavior has honestly improved SO much since last year. He's still Wonder but I can reach him now and he doesnt just shut me out when he feels like it. He's not a "normal" horse, I dont think he'll ever be that but I think he's going to be the horse he wants to be and the horse Im fighting for him to be.

Ranja is doing really well. She jumped a 1.20 with Nicolai. She jumps so beautifully when he rides her, pure harmony! I asked Nicolai if he wanted to gallop Wonder for a real gallop and he was like oh yeah! Then I said the other part about the breaks being questionable and he was like no I want to live and I said yeah me too but Wonder would be so happy! Rule with Wonder we can trot, if he can stop. If he can trot and stop, we can canter. If he can canter and stop then we can gallop. But NEVER towards the stable or open fields. Open fields tend to trigger him. I also dont like galloping in the double

And Wonder is quite big he is 17h but he's built like a body builder. He's lean but I think you'd have to see him to life so see how muscular and toned he is. He's a beast.

Saddle fitters also come tomorrow. I am very excited. I told them I was nervous and they were like well we fit some of the greatest riders in the world. We do good work and I said that's why I contacted you! I want to be confident in the knowledge of people I trust to take care of me and my horse.

Then new shoes on Thursday. My brain is horrible at organizing information anyway. It's like pure chaos in there all the time! I get a lot of pictures and like walking through what happened, so it takes me a bit to translate. But I tend to remember what people say verbatim. Hard to explain. My brain is a wild animal.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 08-27-2019 at 03:09 PM.
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post #318 of 335 Old 08-27-2019, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: north
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You and I started classes the same day! I'm glad it's interesting it really helps, have you ever taken something like a strengthsfinder exam? They are kinda neat to look at and see if you can get some intuition about yourself, I took one recent and laughed outright because it nailed my major mental drivers.

If it helps any, a good proportion of my class is 30+, and a fair amount of those are 45+ who decided to go back to school. Since you are not in either of those categories I'd say you're still a young college kid, and when the classes are hard, it doesn't take a fresh out of highschool beer pong champion, it's those that have the grit and who are willing to hurt for their dreams that make it through.

But in the spirit of college fun:

I was talking with a friend of mine, and we were talking about clever damaged horses, I told her it had honestly taken me 3 years to get Nick sorted out, and she said that with her mare it was similar, four years of work before the horse settled and wanted to work with her. I think Wonder is super smart and has his attitude, but he also probably didn't get consist kind work until he came to you, Nick I don't think was beat up more than is usual in Western horse starting tradition, but he carried the resentment and the fear for awhile because it was too much for his sensitivity. I think about your gallop and him deciding to come back, and not overpowering you even though he could, and it reminds why the partnership is probably the most important part of training/developing a horse, that and being able to meet the horse where they are at mentally and emotionally. I think a lot of horses that get passed around would have turned out broke and good if the riders and trainers had had some patience to ride through what the horse dealt out while it was trying to process.
If I'm honest- I'm waiting on pins and needles to see what happens with you and Wonder in the next few months.
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post #319 of 335 Old 08-30-2019, 02:02 AM
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I love learning new things about horses, and this surgery Wonder has had was such a new thing for me to hear about. I'll be interested to see how he does afterward. It's great having yet another thing to consider physically with horses that are having resistance.
Originally Posted by lostastirrup View Post
I was talking with a friend of mine, and we were talking about clever damaged horses, I told her it had honestly taken me 3 years to get Nick sorted out, and she said that with her mare it was similar, four years of work before the horse settled and wanted to work with her. I think Wonder is super smart and has his attitude, but he also probably didn't get consist kind work until he came to you, Nick I don't think was beat up more than is usual in Western horse starting tradition, but he carried the resentment and the fear for awhile because it was too much for his sensitivity. I think about your gallop and him deciding to come back, and not overpowering you even though he could, and it reminds why the partnership is probably the most important part of training/developing a horse, that and being able to meet the horse where they are at mentally and emotionally. I think a lot of horses that get passed around would have turned out broke and good if the riders and trainers had had some patience to ride through what the horse dealt out while it was trying to process.
This is so true and so interesting. I'm making a lot of progress with Hero now too, and there are so many pieces to it all.

You can't truly "restart" a horse. That's something I've been thinking about. I was watching some trainers starting horses, and I was realizing you can only give a horse new knowledge, you can't take old knowledge away.

The horse that knows he can run through a bit and take off will never unlearn that. You can give him new information to build on, such as that he can trust you and you won't scare him, so eventually he won't feel the need to do that anymore. Or maybe you will give him the belief that a certain bit can hold him back. But you can't just take him into the arena and "start over" with the basics and have that old information disappear out of his head. He'll never be the same as a horse that had no bad start, no poor treatment, and no bad memories.

But I almost feel like it's the opposite of what people say. They talk about horses that have missed steps, or holes in their training. So they say you should restart the horse. To me it's not like you're starting over from the beginning and filling in the gaps, it's more like you're unbuilding the horse. Before you give him new information such as trust and calmness, you have to get rid of the fear, the anger, the reactions to pain or poor handling.

The horse will already have the information he's been given. You can't start from scratch, because he's already got building blocks in place. He'll keep all the blocks he already has, but what you have to do is take them down and rearrange them so they make a nicer structure.
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post #320 of 335 Old 08-30-2019, 11:03 AM
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That is an interesting thought @gottatrot . I guess I agree with you, although I never thought about it before. I might go work on some basic things I think a horse doesnít know, or needs to revisit, but Iíve never thought of restarting a horse. I agree that they will always know what they know.

Some of those things seem to be battles you must overcome. Keno, for example, had as many negative tools to use against me as I had knowledge to respond too. I overcame all of his tricks except trying to bolt into objects. I tried all of my tools and I knew he had me beat my next ride. Each day he came out with a new twist, an idea to overcome my last training. He was a genius and an athlete and I couldnít ride him anymore.

The guy who took him talked to me about him the other day. I think they finally overcame the issue. He put him straight to work and worked him very hard. I was always too afraid to take him to work. That guy is half crazy so he just did it. The horse worked miles and miles, day after day, and eventually he just decided to stop trying to kill people and work with them. I am glad because a part of him I really liked.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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