Nov 28 / What Happened To Graycie?

Friday, November 28, 2008

I haven’t been talking about Graycie lately because I just couldn’t. Her love of dressage and being ridden, progressively turned into hatred. It started about two months ago and I still don’t have the answer, but I feel I’m getting close. I am sure something is bothering her a lot. The problem with diagnosing this mare is she is as tough as they come. Even though she is a b**ch, she has always done everything I asked of her. She’s done it to the best of her ablility, but not without making her opinions clear to me.
It started out as resistance and turned into exercises to improve my seat. Put another way, the fact that I could stay on her while she had the tantrums was a miracle. My seat is definitely better now. I should inject that I can ride any movement in an exercise saddle, but in a dressage saddle I feel defenseless. What was she doing? Well, she was running off for a while. Not far, but it got me good. She was tough as a race horse, but never ran off. I figured she was getting bored so I started doing some cross country hacks which weren’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but they seemed in the beginning to help.

She was good in her lessons with Elizabeth when the problem first started, but I did tell Elizabeth about the running off. Finally, one lesson about a month ago she did it when I asked for the canter. I have to inject, running off doesn’t make me that upset. I’ve galloped race horses for 20+ years. Being run off with is far from the worst thing that can happen. They always stop. It’s the fact that Graycie was telling me something important and I was missing it. By now she and I were both frustrated. By the way, when Graycie ran off with me in the lesson, Elizabeth looked me square in the eye and asked me what I thought I did to cause her to do that. I thought to myself, “I left my exercise saddle at home”. She is right though, my canter transitions need a ton of work and Graycie knows it.

Running off wasn’t getting the results Graycie wanted. I was getting great at dealing with it so naturally she came up with another way to communicate her concerns to me. Something she had done as a race horse, but now, with all that gymnast type muscle she’s developed as a dressage horse, she was much more athletic about it. I should mention here that Graycie does warn me before she lets me have it. She makes a eee, eee, eee noise and about five to ten minutes later she lets me have it. The new behavior? Straight up in the air, come down peg leg, move right, then maybe back in the air, come down peg leg, move left. She is quite an amazing athlete because she can do this five or six times. In the beginning it got me loose, but I can’t tell you how much it has improved my seat. I can only think if she really wanted me off, I’d have come off, but I didn’t even when I wished I would.
What was I doing all this time? I had her teeth checked, she did have a couple sharp ones so I was hoping that was the problem. Got on her after a week off and no luck. So I thought, she doesn’t trust the bit anymore, I got a Nathe. No luck. My vets suggested I give her Regumate and bute for a week and see what happens. I got on her yesterday and no luck. I am certain though that the problem is to right side. In a way it’s getting worse with time off. I’m starting to consider neurological issues. EPM?? I have great vets and we’re going to have a pow wow about this today. I had planned to give Graycie off the winter regardless, but I need to get a handle on this problem first. She is so tough, that’s why this is so difficult to diagnose, but she’s my girl and we’ll figure this out.