Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back On Line

And It Was All Their Fault

My DSL is finally back up. Turns out, as I had said from the first, it was an issue with the DSL line my Internet feed was coming from. Three days of calls to tech support, and several hours on the phone, and then the planned wait for a repair technician to show up today and it was all in the line--exactly as I said.

But the good news. Bless me for the amazing friends I have. In desperation about missing the Dressage Freestyle, at 11 PM, I called my friends--my choir director and his wife. They are in a very "computer intensive" household about 5-6 miles away from me. I asked if there was any chance I could go over there in the morning at 7:15 to watch the horses go.

Without hesitation: "Sure come on over." Dawn would already be on her way to work, and Don would be up. At 7:15 I pulled into their driveway and by 7:20 I was happily settled in front of a nice big monitor with an attached stereo sound system. Don watched a few rides, and was quite impressed, but not being a horseperson, didn't quite manage the whole over 2 hours of competition. He did watch the US riders and the top placings go and was very impressed with Courtney--"very smooth and elegant"--and just saw the end of Steffan's ride as he had to leave for a bit to run an errand.

My take on all of it? Well, a judging controversy is in the works apparently. It has to do with Isabel's scores for another badly blown piaffe with a major disobedience. She earned 5's and 6's on piaffe. Now, in the freestyle if a rider performs an exercise more than once, she earns an average score of all the times the exercise is performed so even if she earned a "0" on the first piaffe and "8" on the other, she would have earned a "4." OK, fair enough, but her other piaffes in the test were not exceptional. Then, in the test there is a box for "harmony between rider and horse." This was where the penalty for the disobedience would show up. Her scores? 7.0, 8.0, 8.0, 6.5, 7.0. Huh? One judge saw fit to penalize?

Steffan's ride had one significant error. In the start of the two tempis, Ravel kicked out the "propped" that first change with both hinds hitting the ground together. The rest of the two's were just perfect. His scores? 4.0, 5.0, 5.0. 4.0, 4.0. H-m-m-m-m-m. His harmony scores were 8.0, 8.0. 7.5, 7.5, 7.5, close enough.

The question arose as to why Steffen was penalized more for his error. Apparenly a partial answer was that since Isabel's test had a higher level of difficulty, she lost fewer points. Uhm, since when did dressage take on the miserable scoring system of gymnastics? A "10" piaffe is a "10" piaffe whether an Intermediare horse is doing it, or a Lippizan from the Spanish Riding School is doing it. There is no "level of difficulty" score!

This was not, from what I have read, the only issue of questionable scoring, and rumor has it, the German, Dutch, Danish, and US teams have filed protests with the FEI. While it's not likely anything will be done about the Olympic scores, we can only hope that this kind of "adjust the score according to whose riding on their reputation" will be investigated and changed to level the playing field.

Anky's ride did deserve first place, but, according to FEI rules, it is mandatory for the rider to stop and salute at the end of the test or be elimitated. Salinero did not halt, and Anky never saluted. (Unless you call widening your hands to drop the reins and then waving at the crowd a salute.)

The ulitmate insult was when the US TV station offered its "Coverage" of dressage last night. They showed Courtney's ride, Isabel's ride and then Steffen entered the arena. Five movements into the test, the cut away to a commercial, promising to be back with his score! Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Then, they showed Anky's ride--including the no salute--and that was that. So much for the dressage coverage. Thank goodness for my friends!!!!!

I had physical therapy and an adjustment in the afternoon. Then I went for a swim and that was the day. Hot again and even though it did cool off in the evening, after the adjustment I didn't want to ride.

I did ride late this morning/early afternoon. In fact, I've just come in.

Tucker was terrible. He is stalling out completely, refusing to move forward on contact, and absolutely stuck. When he does this he will not even move in a circle. This is back to how he was before I treated him for the ulcers OR how he was when he hurt his stifle.

Since he is far from fit, it well could be the stifle but I had no particular sympathy for him as this is a total overreaction. It could also be an ulcer issue again as he has had two pretty traumatic issues with lameness with first the abscess and then the stepped on shoe.

So, what to do? After an almost complete failure in the riding department, although I did end up with a one time around the arena in a decent trot, I took him in, put on the surcingle and long lined him on the bit at the trot and canter, insisting he go forward. If it is his stifle, then such exercise is the treatment. If it's an ulcer, he still needs to understand about "go," while I give him medication for it.

After worked him, I gave him a very small mash with the ulcer pills. In a day or so they should take effect. The rest of my plan is to long line him at least once a day reenforcing the "forward" gear at all times. If I do ride, I will have to do the 20 minute trots, but today, I am not sure I could have accomplished that. He did go on the long rein at first, but as the session progressed, he would not go forward at all.

So, back to square one until it is sorted out. When I am on him, I simply cannot bring myself to really use the whip or spurs as I know, for a fact, that he will buck and he is very good at it. I cannot afford to be thrown off if there is another way to deal with the problem. I fixed it before so hopes are high I will fix it again. He is a very opinionated fellow which backs me off getting into a fight with him over it all.

I rode Chance next, completely uneventfully. We did basic walk, trot, canter. As I rode, I was thinking how quickly he learned to respond to the canter aid. I've seen so many people with green horses have trouble with that. I've never had an issue with any of the horses I've owned or trained. Not sure why, but getting the right lead might be a bit of a puzzle--PJ had issues which it turned out were a result of physical problems--but I have always been able to work it out. Chance is a nifty kid, regardless. And, he doesn't stop when he hurts. When he had a foot issue, or that hind end thing, I found out simply because I could feel it when I he was going FORWARD! (Hey, Tuck, can you hear me???)

Toby did not want to get caught, but I gathered him in pretty quickly and just gave him a very short lunging session, a juicy carrot, and a nice fly spray. Maybe next time he will be more willing to accept the halter. *G*

I'll likely go for a swim later.

Might trot Tuck just on the lunge as well. The more trotting that stifle gets the better....

If that's what's wrong with him. *sigh*


  1. Bad Tucker!!! Grrr.

    That subjective scoring is the main reason why I don't like competing at dressage. :-(((


  2. Oh Tucker is a tough cookie with poor work-ethic :-(

    You are right not to let him bullying you!
    You cannot ride him, but he can still work HARD on the lines. Good for you!

    Chance really sounds like a sweetie ^-^

    Perhaps you might think of letting Tucker go to another rider for a while to get a better work-ethic, while you having fun with lovely Chance ....
    Something to think about perhaps.

  3. I am 90% sure it's something physical with Tuck, Muriel. It is exactly how he behaved with the ulcer issue and the stifle soreness. So I am attempting to eliminate both of them. He was going beautifully until all the layoffs because of the heat and the two hoof problems.

    But the last few times I rode him, he was questioning me again, so whatever the problem is it was coming on and I ignored it because we could work through it. Today? No.

    I just don't like his overall attitude when he does quit because he gets nasty about it. Limping if he is sore would be so much more honest. That's what Chance does. But, that's Tuck. Overly opinionated.

  4. i so agree about the scoring. I couldn't tell whether Salinero can't halt, won't halt or wasn't asked to halt (money on the latter) but the rest of us would be marked down for that. We're all told, all the time, that you don't stop riding until, really, you are out of the arena! And I was surprised her entry halt was at C, not further in.....

    and as for Satchmo's piaffe disobedience.... that happened both in the GP & the Kur, once each test. i hadn't checked out the scoring though.

    I can sometimes see that a judge with the best view of the movement will mark differently from a judge with a not so good view, depending on respective angles, but some things should be clear to all...

    Sorry to hear about Tucker, hope you resolve that soon..

  5. Hope you get it sorted and he's not just being naughty and reverting to old behaviour!

    With Polo it was just a case of riding him through it until he gave in took lots of bucks,dropping shoulder and grunting but he never puts a foot wrong in the school now.It did help I had Ryan there to give me courage and I do know I can sit a buck ...:0