Sunday, April 5, 2020

Do Something Eventing, Part 4, Inquest Reports

Let's take a look at the process of Coronial Inquests that takes place in Australia.

Here is the Coroners Act of 2009, it establishes the rules for the inquests:

Two of inquests have taken place recently regarding the deaths of Caitlyn Fischer and Olivia Inglis.  They are two eventers that died within weeks of each other, on cross country, at recognized events in Australia, in 2016. 

The links to the entire reports are below, and if you have not read them, READ THEM.  They are mostly written in layman's terms and are easy to follow for a reason, in addition to being available for anyone to read.  The reports list evidence that will remain unpublished beyond the inquest due to sensitive nature.  This includes video of the accident, photos of the scene, etc... so you know what you won't see in them.  Again READ THEM.  Please.

These reports go over the entire incident in detail.  They are not to the standard of an Safety Investigation Board or Accident Investigation Board in the U.S., but they are a damn good start, and a LONG way ahead of anything U.S. Eventing is doing.

Their purpose:  "Inquests have a forward-thinking, preventative focus. At the end of many inquests Coroners often exercise a power, provided for by section 82 of the Act, to make recommendations. These recommendations are made, usually, to government and non-government organisations, in order to seek to address systemic issues that are highlighted and examined during the course of an inquest. Recommendations in relation to any matter connected with a person’s death may be made if a Coroner considers them to be necessary or desirable."

I'm going to discuss them in detail, but before I do that, I really want you guys to read them.  Please.  ESPECIALLY if you are still eventing.  Read what is, and is not, happening at these events.  If you think these shenanigans are just that...keep in mind these were both RECOGNIZED events.

Olivia Inglis Inquest Report:

Caitlyn Fisher Inquest Report:

The next post will discuss them in detail.  On second thought, to keep things more organized, I might actually split them up and discuss them each in detail in their own posts. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Do Something, Eventing, Part 3, Multiple Issues

Initially, I wanted to provide more data than I am going to.  There are a few problems though, schooling horse trials scores can be difficult to find as they are removed from websites after a certain amount of time, if they are even posted at all.  Some of the riders that have died in schooling accidents, the name of the horse they were riding is not always posted or mentioned in articles.  This means, even if you can find show records, there is no way to know if any of the horses listed on the records are the horses in schooling accidents.  This isn't ideal for accuracy.  

In an effort to locate additional information for these fatal incidents I have spent hours reading through forum posts, news articles, and press releases, trying to find the missing pieces I was looking for.  Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not.  That is why it took me so long to get this posted.  So to show what I'm getting at, I narrowed it down to a few accidents.

First, let me put a disclaimer that this is in no way, shape, or form an attempt to smear, criticize, or victim blame.  I would never claim to have even an inkling of education on how to ride an upper level course.  The information below are mostly objective findings.

Philippa Humphreys, Jersey Fresh 2016

The horse she was riding that day was Rich N Famous.  A horse that only had ONE double clear xc run on his record.  Every single other xc at that level had rails in showjumping and/or time on xc.  This makes me wonder immediately if this horse was fit for the level?  It could never make the time on xc.  Was fatigue setting in that day?  This was a pretty big Warmblood.  After the accident, Megan O'Donoghue evented Rich N Famous seven times after Philippa's death, at multiple levels and guess what?  The horse NEVER made the cross country time.  Not at Prelim, not at Intermediate, not at the 2* level, not at the 3* level and not even at Training level the one time she took him Training.  He then went to a different rider that evented him at Novice, and guess what?  He still was getting XC time penalties.  The fact that another upper level rider took this horse out at multiple levels and the horse still wasn't making XC time, EVER should say something loud and clear.

Dr. Melanie Tallent, Schooling Cross Country, 2019

Melanie Tallent, was schooling with her trainer present.  She had two horses and I could not find any information about which horse she was riding the day of her accident, though from what I have found, it appears to be Dunlin, the one in the video and photo links below.  I have found nothing but wonderful things posted about Melanie Tallent.  She sounds like a very kind person, who was very dedicated to her horses.  On a very sad note, there is a post out there on a forum where a family member of hers is looking for answers and having a rough time coming to terms (as anyone would) with what happened.

There is not much in the way of a USEA record for her.  There is a post in the forums saying that she had recently competed at HTs and was 1st and 2nd in her division, it was a schooling horse trials because her last recognized USEA event was at the Horse Park of NJ in June 2019.  So what I was able to pull is very limited in scope as far as information.

In the posts on the forum the family member says they wished there was video of the accident to help understand what happened.  Another poster says if there was a video they hope no one would watch it because it wouldn't change things.  No, it wouldn't, but it could educate.  And I would hope that people WOULD watch it to understand.  You can find HOURS and HOURS of cockpit voice recordings of aircraft accidents as well as video of the impact, in some of those videos you are witnessing HUNDREDS of people die at once and most people have no problem watching those.

Melanie's short record is telling, there are two horses on it.  Despite that fact, there are many photos and some video of Melanie and Dunlin missing distances and hanging a knee here and there.  There is no disputing the fact that this is a recipe for disaster in front of solid fences.  In the video below, they are on a BN course having to trot a lot of the last part of the course, she stops him and turns him around after one jump as well.

Here are two photo galleries from shows:

Radnor recognized HT:

Plantation Field jumper show:

There are many photos and some video of Melanie and Dunlin missing distances and hanging a knee here and there.  There is no disputing the fact that this is a recipe for disaster in front of solid fences.  In the video above, they are on a BN course having to trot a lot of the last part of the course, she stops him and turns him around after one jump as well.

Two things come to mind with this type of stuff, once I was taking a lesson with a Jeffray Ryding at her farm in Santa Fe, NM.  A friend was there with me with her Trakehner mare.  Jeffray made a comment that the mare needed to seriously fix her habit of let her legs kind of dangle in the air over fences.  The mare just did not have tight knees.  Jeffray recommended gymnastics to help her snap her knees up.  The reason for this, Jeffray said, is that a horse that jumps like that is dangerous because those dangling legs are opening her up for hanging a knee and causing a serious accident.

Another time I was at Doug Payne's barn and he was saying that one of the horses he had in for training didn't seem to really care where his feet went and that he would really like him to be more aware of where his feet where or care more where his feet went.

A family member made a statement that Melanie had won her last horse trial before her death.  I believe it was about two weeks before her death.  It was a schooling horse trial, I don't know which one.  However, her family and friends stated she was an expert rider who was very successful.  This information translates into online posts and articles where they are interviewed.  But, we all know, schooling horse trials are not recognized horse trials.  There are less jumps, there are a significant number of jumps that are not maxed out, slower time requirements, shorter cross country courses, shorter stadium courses, sometimes cross country is completely untimed at schooling horse trials.  Sometimes, the judges don't eliminate people for things they would be instantly eliminated for at a recognized horse trial.  Sometimes there are only a few people in the division, it could only be three and one of them could get eliminated for coming off on cross country, and the other may have had some rails or time.  Someone can easily leave these details out to friends and family.

Again, this is NOT to criticize, this is just an attempt to provide another view, and promote a different line of thinking.

Ashley Stout, Schooling Cross Country, 2019

We do know Ashley was riding Avant Garde when her accident happened.  Both she and her horse were killed.  Ashley has a pretty outstanding record, and we know her horse was trained by Holly Payne-Caravella, so he had a great education.

Both Avant Garde and Ashley had a stellar record.  In 15 recognized horse trials they had one cross country run with a small amount of time penalties (5.20) and no jumping penalties.  Out of those stadium rounds, four had rails.  Three of those rounds had one rail, and one of them had two rails.  This may actually be your freak accident that everyone wants to believe all these accident are.  But not every horse and rider are Ashley Stout and Avant Garde.  I can't find any mention of what type of fence Ashley was schooling when they had the rotational fall.  Was it a table?

Katharine Morel, Rocking Horse Recognized HT, 2020

The video below has caused some uproar as Katherine Morel was the latest eventing fatality at a recognized Rocking Horse HT this past February.  Watch from 1:15 to 1:40.  No penalty of any kind was applied for that.  And yes, I get it, you can have a crappy ride.  Kerry On didn't do this everytime out on cross country.  The point is, a penalty of some kind (some are saying a yellow card should have been issued) would have sent some kind of message.  Now, will the rider always get that message?  No, but it's worth a try.  You can YouTube some of her other rides, and you WILL see a common trend with this horse as well that most likely created some issues.

Jennifer Chapin, GMHA Recognized HT, 2019

13 Stadium rounds on her recognized record with Joinem, the horse she was riding the day of the fatal accident, all with at least a rail, one with as many as 6 rails.  The horse's last three events prior to the fatal accident were at Preliminary.  The fatal accident was at Preliminary as well.  The three events prior were one with 6 rails, the next one with 3 rails, and the next one Jeffie came off on cross country.  The following event was the fatal accident that occurred at a fence in the warm up.

Joinem has since went to a new owner in Pennsylvania.  He has been evented once at a recognized event since the fatal accident, about a month and a half after it happened.  His next event was at Training level, where he had 2 rails.

Out of the incidents I've summarized here, I think we have a few problems present.  The main theme being, just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  Should coaches look harder at the horses their students are on?  Should the riders, be more honest with themselves about their level of comfort and not doing something because their friends are and their coach is telling to stop being such a wuss?  It's a slippery slope for coaches/trainers because in today's participation trophy culture, the minute you're honest with someone you may very well lose their business, which means lost income.  I know for sure there are coaches/trainers out there that are going to keep telling their students they're the greatest thing ever because they need to pay their bills.

One scary trend I see, that I am not a fan of, is people that say they take Xanax or other prescription drugs to be able to calm their nerves while riding whether they are schooling at home or at a show.  It seems to be pretty acceptable now and (insert unpopular opinion here) I think it's completely unacceptable.  If you have to medicate yourself to participate in a voluntary hobby, is it really the hobby for you?  Is it fair to your horse?  Your family?  Yourself?  It almost seems cool to say how you have to medicate yourself, like it's normal.  It shouldn't be normal, it's not normal.  It's not cool.

On that note I am NOT talking about being low level nervous.  I think everyone has some level of nerves, if you don't, that may be a red flag for a different issue.  I'm talking about nerves to the point where you have to medicate yourself prior to riding no matter if it is schooling or showing or trail riding or whatever.  There is a difference, and if you say there isn't, time to be honest with yourself.

What is the problem?  Is it you, is it your particular horse?  Know when to say when.  It's ok to know when maybe you don't have the right horse, for whatever reason.  It could be personality conflict, the horse doesn't seem interested in what you want to do as far as discipline, too much horse, not enough horse, there could be a lot of potential reasons that it's not a good match.

This was not to take a jab at anyone that legitimately needs medication for mental health reasons.  I am talking SPECIFICALLY about people that are so nervous to ride, or afraid of their horse, that they SPECIFICALLY take their medication to be able to get on the horse and go school, show, etc...

The other issues are things I have already covered in previous posts.  I do think frangible technology needs to be employed on a lot more cross country fences.  However, again, these are not freak accidents when they keep occurring.  Death in eventing is a trend that needs to decline.  The powers that be need to do something.  Safety needs to improve at events, think back to the story I told you in a previous post about the footing request being denied.  THOROUGH accident investigations need to take place, and findings need to be publicly presented so that trends can be identified and preventative measures developed from actual investigative facts.

But, can the riders mitigate the risks as well?  Yes, 1,000 times yes, instead of just being like "Well, my chances are higher that I die in a wreck hauling to the event."  Take some personal accountability and while you're at it, get pissed off that your fellow riders are dying.  Everyone says they care, offer empty comments about thoughts and prayers, and then blindly go off like it never happened thinking it could NEVER happen to them.  You are participating in a sport where death is a trend, if that doesn't make you care more, well, good luck to you.

Complacency kills.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Do Something, Eventing, Part 2, Investigation

"We're all going to die someday," that's another ignorant blanket statement to make.  But, if there was something that you could do to prevent an early death doing something you participate in regularly, wouldn't you want to know?

One thing I repeatedly see in forums and in the comments section on various social media posts is "well, riding is dangerous," or "everyone knows the risk when they get on a horse," or "riding carries an inherent risk."  Stop.  That's an insulting, ignorant statement to make when talking about this particular scenario, riders dying on cross country.  Riding is inherently dangerous?  No shit.

Everyone knows horses can easily kill us in about a million different ways, any day of the week.  But, does that make it ok to have that attitude?  Does that make it acceptable that people are losing their lives on cross country?  Absolutely not.  It's a dismissive comment/attitude to an actual PROBLEM.  Complacency kills.  Remember that.  Also, why would you not insist on some type of investigation in an attempt to figure out what happened? 

There is another very tired saying people seem to use a lot on this subject as well, "you have a higher chance getting in a wreck and dying hauling to an event."  So?  And you know what?  Law enforcement would be out there investigating and documenting IMMEDIATELY, even though it was "just another fatal traffic accident, thousands happen everyday."  They try to learn from these things, they try to figure out what went wrong, who's at fault, and if it could have been prevented. 

The same goes for the world of aviation.  Statistically, the same can be said about dying in an aircraft crash when it comes to the whole "you have a higher chance of getting killed doing xyz" statement.  In this case, just driving to the airport.  Does the FAA and the NTSB take the same cavalier stance and say "well, your chances are higher of dying while driving to the airport, this was a freak thing, it's not like planes fall out of the sky every day."  No, they don't.  A MASSIVE investigation is launched IMMEDIATELY.  The eventing community SHOULD want the same.

As far as investigations go, I am trained to be on the Accident Investigation Board for the Air Force, and I have been on one, just last July actually.  There are two investigations that take place. the first is a Safety Investigation Board, which happens immediately, the second is the Accident Investigation Board.  We reviewed flight data, we reviewed the weather conditions at the time of the mishap, we put instructor pilots in the simulator with it configured the same as the aircraft that went down and have them see if they could have recovered it.  We interviewed witnesses, we interviewed supervisors, co-workers, etc...  We reviewed training records of the crew, we reviewed the curriculum of the training courses the crew attended, we reviewed their logged flight hours, we reviewed the Heads Up Display video footage from the aircraft, we listened to the cockpit voice recordings, we reviewed the crew's medical records, we reviewed the "mechanical autopsy" that the manufacturer conducted once the wreckage was recovered and sent to them.  It was then shipped to the location where we were conducting the investigation and we personally inspected it.

We appointed subject matter experts to help interpret the information we received as well.  For example, we appointed a highly experienced crew chief for that particular type of aircraft and had him read through the mechanical autopsy and asked him if certain things were normal, common problems, etc...  We appointed instructor pilots for that particular aircraft as well to help us decipher the crew's actions and if that was standard procedure that was taught in training.

At the conclusion of our investigation, we compiled a large report that is publicly releasable and states what our findings were, as well as everything we did during our investigation.  Different tabs are attached to the report and they contain witness statements, training records, etc...  Certain information is redacted, and pseudonyms are used to protect privacy where appropriate.  An example, we used a pseudonym for our subject matter experts so that they were comfortable pointing out any issues with maintenance or crew procedures if they existed.  That way the subject matter experts would not be identified by their friends and looked at as if they tattled on their own people if they did identify crew or maintenance error.  They felt they could speak candidly knowing their names would never be revealed in the report.  We had to have brutal honesty, and that is one way to ensure it.  All interviews are recorded, transcribed and included in the final report with pseudonyms applied and sensitive information redacted (things like deployed locations and call signs are redacted).

There are also programs that will make a computer generated re-enactment.  Here is one as an example with a 747 going off a runway in Maui:

Here is a longer video that has a narrative of what is going on with the jet and what the pilots are saying:

These programs can re-create everything, to include a horse and rider fall.  I know people say "I don't want to see that."  Do you, or do you not want to learn from accidents?  Do you want to keep dismissing these incidents as freak accidents and refusing to WANT to learn what went wrong?  Why would you not want to know if something went wrong? 

These videos are not a smear campaign on the pilots or any of the crew.  These videos are simply illustrations of factual events based on video or data pulled from the aircraft's computer systems.  Yes, in some of them the accident IS a result of a crew error.  Again, it's not a jab at the crew, it's facts.  People make mistakes.  Wouldn't you rather know if these accidents in eventing were a mistake in the design of a jump or the error of a person for sure?  With actual in-depth investigations we have a much better chance of deciphering that instead of just saying "well, shit happens. Riding is inherently risky" and shrug it off until the next one happens.

Why isn't there a push for something like this?  Why don't they want to be transparent?  Why don't you care more?  Why do you still support something that dismisses your safety, as well as your horse's safety?  I think I know, because it's fun and it's easy to just say "shit happens."  I'll tell you again, complacency kills.

Then next post will have some data in it from these fatal rides.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Do Something, Eventing, Part 1

For those of you that have wondered why I haven't been out eventing in quite a while, well it's because I'm not eventing anymore.  It took a while to let go, with the catalyst being a recognized event I was a jump judge at the summer before we left New Jersey.  I watched a blatant disregard for horse and rider safety at a RECOGNIZED event, at a very popular venue that resulted in serious rider injury.  I was absolutely at a loss for words and it affected me so much that still to this day, I remember it crystal clear and still, to this day, fail to comprehend it.  Accidents happen, of course they do.  This was not an accident.  This was a situation (apologies to those I have already told this story to) where after a significant amount of rain the week leading up to the even there were very soggy spots on the xc course.  The TD had told us all that if we saw any issues just get on the radio and let them know because there was a front end loader full of stone dust ready to respond.

The Training division was running and I could see this particular jump from the jump I was jump judging.  I heard the jump judge at the problem jump come on the radio and say that horses were slipping on the landing side of that Training level table.  I started watching, sure enough, horses were slipping on landing and struggling to catch themselves and keep all four feet under them.  The jump judge requested stone dust SEVERAL times on the radio due to horses CONTINUALLY slipping.  She was trying her hardest to ask for help to prevent an accident.  One of the managers of the event came on the radio and said "Well, there's only a couple more horses to go in this division anyway, we're just going to let them go."  The NEXT person left in an ambulance.

This, after a rash of rider deaths as well.  This, in a time where safety is such a hot topic.  It made me realize just how much we play Russian Roulette on course.  If organizers at a well known, recognized venue, that has several recognized events a year, along with year round schooling doesn't care, who does?  You won't know until you find out the hard way, or witness something horrible.

I'm not a timid rider, I never left the box scared.  To this day I have no qualms about jumping anything.  Triple bars, corners, jumps with tarps, and balloons on them, crazy looking gymnastic line, whatever, I'll jump it.  If Klein could jump five foot courses, we'd do it.  Will Super B get to that point?  I plan to find out.  I'm the rider that 100% believe that probably 80% of problems people have or think they have are all made up in their head.  For example, those that come in from a windy day of riding and say "well, I didn't die."  I'll ask, "does he/she usually do anything to make you question your safety on a windy day?"  More often than not, the reply is "no" which prompts me to ask "Then why would you expect it today?"  If you expect problems, you get problems most times.  I'm the rider that never lunges their horses before they get on, no matter how much time they've had off, or what the weather conditions are.

I loved eventing.  I loved the test of the whole thing overall, the different types of conditioning it requires, the fact that you an show up with a horse like Klein and people would be nice and never wonder what she was doing there, etc...  Cross country was always my favorite too.

My departure started with not wanting to support an organization that seems to not learn from its mistakes, then it traveled a bit further with the support of Bloody Mary aka Marilyn Little and the absolute inaction against her, then it went even further after personally witnessing the incident in New Jersey I spoke about above.  Sprinkle some rider and horse deaths in between all of that and, I'm done.

I'm tired of the excuse that social media is to blame because these rider/horse deaths are just more publicized now.  Eventing in north america just hit FIVE deaths in the past EIGHT months, there were at least two horse deaths in that group as well.  There is no excuse for that, you can't blame social media.  Is there really any acceptable excuse or reason?  Trick question, there isn't.

I'm tired of the "it was a freak accident" excuse too.  You know what's a freak accident?  Getting kicked in the head in a field by a horse, a horse spooking from an animal that came running out of the bushes and the rider falling and getting hurt or killed, a horse tripping at a canter and falling on its rider.  You know what a freak accident isn't?  A rider and/or horse dying every few months in a similar manner on a cross country course attempting to jump a solid fence.  This has become a predictable pattern, a trend.

Now we have the "frangible technology is too expensive to employ on every xc fence" statement.  While that may be true, where are all the big time supporters that are paying tens of thousands in sponsorship money, syndication money, prize money, etc...  What about the Essex HTs where the Prelim winner gets $10,000?  Can we not take that prize money for a year or two and say instead of giving this as prize money, it's going toward frangible fences?  There is a particular multi-billionaire ($29.4 Billion according to Forbes) that funds a lot of upper level horses and riders as well as sponsors events that could probably pay for every last fence in the country to be frangible.  Where's the support for safety at that level?  I'll wait...

I also expect the "people die in dressage and jumpers" crowd to come out too.  They're not wrong, people DO die in dressage and jumpers, every once in a long while.  Eventing still has everyone beat in that category.  Eight in five months?  I looked for a quite a while tonight to see what I could find about rider deaths in dressage and jumpers.  I am not talking about Hickstead, or an accident in the barn, or a horse suffering a cardiac event in general while in competition, or anything similar to Teddy O'Connor's demise, I'm talking about riders and/or horses dying as a result of meeting an obstacle incorrectly.  Here is what I found: media is everywhere now so we should have so much more as far as dressage and jumpers deaths, right?  Yeah, if they existed.

You can't even Google "dressage competition deaths" without Google suggesting eventing deaths.

Or dressage deaths...

Or showjumping deaths...

Or showjumping rider deaths...

The majority of eventing deaths are taking place at recognized events, aka places FILLED with professionals and medical staff on standby to assist.  These are not all people out alone where no one knew anything happened until it was too late.

This has been in the media for over 12 years now.  Here's an article from 2008:

Read it.  Notice a familiar theme?  Why is this still happening 12 years later?

I have been taking some time to pull records, review videos, and run stats over the past week.  I'm going to post the information in the next post.  I think this problem is a multi-pronged issue with several hard truths that need to be addressed.  Just looking at scores and reviewing some video makes it pretty clear there are multiple issues going on.  Where do we start to address it?  I think some of it IS starting to be addressed and has been by committed USEA members like Doug Payne and John Holling.  But, we have a long way to go and some of it has to do with recognizing when something isn't right, and speaking up, or taking a real look at yourself and your horse and knowing your limits whether they are mental, or physical, before it's too late.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Colic Surgery Recovery: It's OVER! Happy 90 Days Super B!

Yesterday was the 90 day mark for Super B since her surgery!  All restrictions are officially lifted!  The only remaining limitation was that she was still not on 24/7 turn out, or allowed to really run around and go wild with Klein, we couldn't quite go out and gallop like the end of the world is coming yet either, or jump. 

She is now back out with Klein and as far as under saddle, we will continue to build her strength back up so we can start jumping again and galloping.  This week I'm going to take her out to one of our favorite trail riding spots for some slow canters and very light hill walking.  She doesn't feel or look weak by any means, but I sill do not believe in skipping ahead in conditioning increments no matter how good she feels/looks.

She is so happy to be back out with Klein.  This morning I watched them nap in the sun together.  Klein has also not been the fun police with her and they ate from the same hay net all afternoon yesterday.  It was pretty adorable. 

It's all behind us now, officially.  She did it, she gave colic the biggest F U she could and you would never guess she even had a major surgery like that.  The very epitome of a War Horse.

Super Mares.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Colic Surgery Recovery - W/T/CANTER!!

Enjoying a beautiful afternoon.

Super B has continued to power through her recovery like the surgery never happened.  She did great with her walks under saddle and never had another explosive day like that second day back to work when I tacked her up.  Our day came to trot so we started with little stints of trot work here and there.  We worked up to trotting serpentines and various size circles, along with some spirals in and out.  Same as we have been doing at the walk with contact, a little here and there, and a lot of loose contact, stretchy trot.

Walking cavaletti. 

This girl sure does have a walk on her aka that Super Model strut.


I just could not love her any more.  It is unreal how special she is.

A month of this and it was time for another follow-up physical exam.  I was really excited for everyone to see Super B again at that appointment.  Klein and B had dentals scheduled for that day too, so they both went in.  Klein is a fan favorite at the vet too, and they are always happy to see her.

B is now up to 1,304lbs and is starting to put her topline back on.  Our vet could not be happier with where she is.  She palpated her incision and said it felt perfect and gave us the green light to start adding canter work back in.

Current pic of her incision.

"Um, excuse me, I'm done."  Waiting for Klein to get her teeth done.  B went first.

This Friday is three months.  This Friday is when all restrictions are lifted.  She can be turned out 24/7 and go as wild as she wants with Klein.  I can't wait for that!  I have kept her in her extra large stall and turn her out when I'm at the barn in addition to riding her.

Her canter felt great!  Same Super B.  I check her out every day after our rides.  I look at her incision watch her overall demeanor.  She has never indicated any discomfort AT ALL with anything we have done under saddle this past month.  Same with cantering.  I trotted her on the lunge line the next day and looked her over to make sure nothing seemed to bother her, and she looked great!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Recent Schooling

Klein has been jumping courses again and rising to every challenge like usual.  We have been doing a lot of ground rails on the flat too.  The other day I left the jumps really low and did some crazy bending lines and jumped everything on an angle.  She nailed every single thing I asked her to do.

Scroll through for a video.

Recently I've had her work on auto changes as well.  I have never put any time into teaching her to just change.  9 times out of 10 she'll land on the correct lead and we don't think much about it.  I have also had instructors tell me to be careful with teaching them changes because you may open up a door you're not ready to have open yet.  Meaning it just confuses them and if you're not at Third Level to leave well enough alone.  Klein is smart enough to listen and realize when we're out on course and she needs to just do a lead change, or if we are working on counter canter and she doesn't need to do a change.

I did teach her flying changes, and that's another reason I'm not concerned.  She doesn't just throw out the changes all over the place, I have to ask.  About a week and a half ago I spent some time teaching her automatic flying changes.  With Super B, I'm lucky that she just does them, and it was the way I ride with Super B to get them that made me think to give it a try with Klein.

Klein got it right away.  While she was late behind a little, if we do them regularly and she gets stronger at them, they'll be no issue and she won't be late behind.  All it means now is that she understands what to do and she's doing it.  Then the ride after that, we were on the landing side of a jump and she landed on the wrong lead.  She fixed herself immediately.  She never used to do that, but since I spent that ONE ride working on it, she totally gets it.  My girls are ridiculously smart.

We have also been enjoying walks through the neighborhood.  The weather has been beautiful so we take full advantage of it on the weekends.

Just a random goat, doing goat things.