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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
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    2,060

    Cool Piaffing, some background, including Whicker's story

    Piaffing,

    If you are asking in general, read the stories of the riders who have posted plus look at the number of riders who read the thread but lurk. Look at the threads of riders on other forums who asking how to keep riding or coming back from injury or illness.

    If you are asking about me, this is some of my background.

    I am one of those who would love to ride para. I was asked to ride last December by one of the para coaches because of my previous history of riding international levels eventing well. My major injury comes from being hit by a deer while I was doing a conditioning gallop on my big DWB 4 years ago.

    I have a number of compression fractured vertabrae (Think crushed coke cans) some of which are in novel locations. I severely hyper-extended and damaged all of the pelvic ligaments trying to stay on. My back also showed that I had broken it previously 3 times. No one ever thought to xray it, because my reactions were so good and I have a high pain tolerance.

    I had to get back on the horse and ride the 2 miles back home.no cell coverage in our small mountain area. The 3 different doctors didn't think I was hurt much, so none of them x-rayed or did an MRI. Since they thought I was fine, I got back on and foxhunted a bucking greenie for another 2 months. By that point, I was having trouble feeling my legs and there was no way I could keep the training and the farm work done.

    My family and friends found a physical therapist who had extra training in neurology and orthopedics. She quickly realized that I was in much worse shape and sent my to the neurospinal orthopedic surgeon. so 6 months after the accident, I finally was diagnosed. Because of the number of fractures and squished discs, I am a poor surgical candidate. The ligaments have been huge problem because they stabilize my spine and pelvis. When the spinal cord gets squished, I lose the feeling in my legs and it hurts enormously.

    I did intensive p.t. for a number of years and then Feb a year ago, I researched prolotherapy stem cell and platelet rich plasma prolotherapy. It used my own cells to regenerate the connective tissue and heal the ligaments. If you want to learn about it, check www.treatingpain.com .

    Because of the PRP, my condition improved enough that between December 08 and Feb of this year, I improved enough that I no longer fit the criteria for classifying grade 4. I am getting too much feeling back in my legs, and slowly the balance and coordination are getting better.

    I still am a long way from being able bodied and I want to learn as much as I can about para riding so I can keep riding and not fall or hurt so much. If there is a new division that I can qualify for, I'll be game to give it a try.
    In the mean time, I have to create a way to ride and I would like to show to be around friendly people again. It has been very lonely to come back all on my own.



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2003
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    349

    Default

    Whicker thanks for the info. Have gone to be classified? Either way I would try again. I was nationally classified, but when I went to get internationally classified I was told I didn't qualify. So I tried again with a different classifier and got my FEI card. The people that classified me the second time were very through. Much more than the first set. I would try again and tell them everything about what you can and can't do even if you don't think it would make a difference.

    A little info on my disability. I have numbness in both hands and feet. With my left arm I lost the strength and grip in the hand. Caused from a car accident it took the doctors 18 months to figure out I had a Syrinx/spinal cord injury and not tennis elbow.
    Frogs in a Basket. Oh, one jumped out.
    EC Level 1 Coach, ARIA Level 3 Dressage Coach
    www.dressagelife.com
    http://piaffing.blogspot.com/



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellie&Werther View Post
    Thanks for the help Nevertime. I know Lloyd Landkamer fairly well, who is the para USDF board member for my region. The Janet Foy clinic I am doing in October is at Brandywine Farm, which is run by Lloyd and Bill Bill Solyntjes. I have my FEI classification as Grade III, but I just made the move to dressage this year and I am showing Training Level test 3 and 4. I'm grateful for my dispensations, and take full advantage of them From what I understand Grade III is pretty small division, there are only 4 people from the US ranked in the standings that just came out. I've got a great horse, I feel that if I can put in the work this winter I'll be ready for the para FEI next year.
    Good luck, have fun and kick butt! Sounds like you are definitely off to a great start!
    I evented just for the Halibut.



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2002
    Location
    Dungeon of the Ivory Tower
    Posts
    20,394

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rodawn View Post
    Excellent idea. Why not have a networking forum on here?
    From what I understand, I think the mods are listening...!

    But also, as eaw gets Borrowed Freedom up and running, and we expand that and Special Horses, we will try to increase the networking. The more resources made available, the better for everyone.

    The fundraisers are important, and we had to do those to learn how to do them (kind of like riding itself, right!), but that is not all that it is about. We lurch forward in some directions, have to go back and follow other opportunities.

    We know there are funding opportunities out there, we know there are ways to make connections, we just need some time to follow through. And of course, fielding the ideas so that any forum is responsive to the needs of its members.

    For me, it is like closing the circle. On the one hand, I have always had an interest in behavior - how do we get from a stimulus to a response? and the myriad of problems that can interfere with that. On the other hand, I have also always had a deep love for horses. This sort of program/forum brings the two together. I've spent years crafting my skills to apply for federal funding for my research...and these organizations, as well as private foundations, also have programs to support the kinds of things being discussed here. When you do basic research, and you want funding from the National Institutes of Health, or a private foundation, the big push is translational research - how the basic information takes us to better therapeutic agents, better prevention, to cures. My work is very basic, so the translation will take some time. But to come at it from another part of the circle...just makes so much sense.

    And whicker's and pintopiaffe's posts made me realize that the network should include the availability of horses for clinic and showing opportunities - the breeding, the training, the borrowing.
    www.specialhorses.org
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues




  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    109

    Default

    Sounds wonderful DressageGeek, keep us posted!



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Smile Piaffing, thanks for the encouragement

    Piaffing,

    Thank you for the encouragement! I was devastated to flunk the international classifier. I had done reams of backup medical material to support my conditions, Missy was horse hunting for me and my regular instructor was in high gear, too.

    I need a special saddle, and I have been inventing to make mine useable. Because the modifications I created are on top of the seat, it isn't going to pass for normal in competition. I found a saddler who was supposed to deliver a competition saddle last March, and never delivered it. Now I am trying to get the funds back.

    Invite and I joined forces to start the para threads because we felt the CotH community would be willing to network , passing knowledge and caring. I didn't think I could go back and ask the para coaches directly, since I had flunked getting into the program. You and Nevertime are making a huge contribution to all of us. There are over 2,700 hits on the main thread. The mods have noticed and are busy working on an even better way for all of us to help each other.

    Piaffing, you have given me hope again. Thank you! I didn't think that I had other options on the classifier. I thought if I was turned down, that was it. I have been feeling like a ghost. Now it looks like there maybe some life available.



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
    Posts
    8,804

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellie&Werther View Post
    I'm still in the planning stages. I didn't want to be a bother to anybody until I'm closer to riding at first level, which is the equivilent to my grade. I'm showing Training 3 and 4 right now, and I think with a lot of hard work this winter I can be showing Grade III and First next summer. Thanks for you thoughts, this gives me a lot more confidence.
    When you are ready, and if you are ever clinicing in NJ, you are welcome to borrow mine.



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul. 7, 2000
    Posts
    606

    Default

    NeverTime gave a very accurate account of everything I know about the Para Eq program. I think I said on another thread that everyone associated with the Para Eq activities at the USEF are enormously helpful and patient. No one seemed to mind answering my questions long before I was actually Classified.

    Through my discussions with Joann Benjamin, who is a Classifier on the West Coast (I am in Maryland) coordinating with Dr. Chris Meaden in England, the FEI Chief Classifier and "inventor" of the current classification system, I was able to be classified by Chris, herself, in England. Fortunately for me, I have a dear friend who was living in England at the time (see thread on Amateur's Grand Prix debut in Germany ) who I was planning on visiting anyway. MMT was willing to schlep me all around the English countryside, including to Chris Meaden's office, about 30 minutes away by cab.

    Before I was classified, I tortured Joann by asking her to read some of my medical records and recent Physical Therapy notes which documented my muscle function to make sure I wasn't wasting Dr. Meaden's time. I went to Dr. Meaden's office having no idea whether I would be "disabled" enough to be Classified. In fact, I am the most disabled profile in Grade IV. Thanks to a horrific shoulder injury many years ago in an ugly fall of my OTTB, I was almost a Grade III.

    After I was classified I had another slew of questions, including what I needed to do to get a dispensation to ride in open classes. I find that the folks in USDF and USEF are very happy to explain the various programs. I am definitely getting the most out of my many years of AHSA/USEF membership dues now.

    And I would be happy to loan a horse of mine to someone needing a ride!! The FEI mare is a bit boingy but very forgiving. My three year old, just under saddle, has an even more generous nature, just quite green, obviously!
    GoodNess Ridge Farm
    www.goodnessridge.com



  9. #29
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2002
    Posts
    1,312

    Thumbs up This is so heartwarming!

    It is absolutely amazing how generous so many people are with their horses. I never thought dressage riders would be willing to loan their horses to NQR riders of all people. In my experience, even while "normal", most people were afraid of someone messing up their horse or being sued.

    Although she will probably be embarassed, I have to tell everyone that Whicker is loaning me her nicest horse and riding her second nicest horse when we attend a clinic together. Her generosity is beyond belief. The only word I can think of is wow. I am so honored by being given this opportunity.

    I hope people will consider loaning their horses to riders in need. We might be NQR, but we are still equestrians willing to work and travel for opportunities.



  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2002
    Location
    Dungeon of the Ivory Tower
    Posts
    20,394

    Default

    So...how can someone be "NQR" but still make such an amazingly generous offer?

    Whicker is pretty amazing, isn't she?!
    www.specialhorses.org
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues




  11. #31
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Talking Piaffing, Tell us a story

    Piaffing,

    Would you please tell us about your experiences in competing with borrowed horses? How do the horses know the cues of the new riders? Some of the cues mentioned in the thread are quite unusual. For instance, the rider who lifts a piece of mane to ask for a left lead canter. How can you change the horse's cue system so quickly for a competition?
    Last edited by whicker; Aug. 23, 2009 at 10:02 PM. Reason: dyslexia strikes again, sigh



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    109

    Default

    I just got back from a show and I am catching up with this thread. Kind of a rough show, I had a Swedish judge for 3 out of 4 of my tests, he seemed like a very nice man and gave constructive comments, but scored everyone extremely low. I got my lowest scores yet from him, in the mid 50s. My test 4 that was not with him I got straight 6s on the entire test, except for 7 for Werther's gaits. We have been trying to change a lot in my riding, including trying to develop some form of loose legs, so my horse is more sensitive to the aids. After a rough weekend it is so nice to see so many encouraging comments. One thing that I love about Dressage is that people not only want to educate themselves, but a lot of people seem really excited to help other further their education.



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
    Location
    Area VIII, Region 2, Zone 5.
    Posts
    6,793

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellie&Werther View Post
    One thing that I love about Dressage is that people not only want to educate themselves, but a lot of people seem really excited to help other further their education.
    Well, don't tell anyone. We have to protect our snooty DQ reputations!
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



  14. #34
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Question

    Ellie,

    Were you riding para or regular classes?



  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    109

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by whicker View Post
    Ellie,

    Were you riding para or regular classes?
    Regular classes. The tough judge was fair in that he was scoring everyone low. When he did my training test 4 the high score for the AAs was a 61. I actually think he was nice, I had a friend who was riding Training test one, she halted at X and her mare set her neck and trotted right out of the ring at C. She was going to leave and he jumped out of truck and encouraged her to get back in the ring so he could score the rest of test.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2003
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    349

    Default My Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by whicker View Post
    Piaffing,

    Would you please tell us about your experiences in competing with borrowed horses? How do the horses know the cues of the new riders? Some of the cues mentioned in the thread are quite unusual. For instance, the rider who lifts a piece of mane to ask for a left lead canter. How can you change the horse's cue system so quickly for a competition?
    Since I'm a Grade 4 rider my cues are not too far off. I use more of my weight as an aid along with my legs. So far the horses I have borrowed have been wonderful. The last horse I borrowed I only had the night before to try her and still pulled off scores of 58% the next day.

    For the people who are willing to lend out their horses is well beyond their generosity.

    For riders at the grade 1 or 2 they usually have a trainer get on the horse first to work with the new aids. How it is done, is the trainer would ask for the movement with the new aid and then immediately ask with the old aid. It does not take the horse long to respond with the new aid.
    Frogs in a Basket. Oh, one jumped out.
    EC Level 1 Coach, ARIA Level 3 Dressage Coach
    www.dressagelife.com
    http://piaffing.blogspot.com/



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Smile Changing Cues

    I find it totally amazing that a horse could change cues so fast. It takes such a long time to do the original training. I know that the horse has to have been physically muscled and developed, but the quickness of the horse's mind is what blows me away.

    I am teaching one of my greenies to open and close gates with her head, so I don't have to lean over and pull/push and struggle with the weight. Even with voice, praise and sugar it is taking awhile. I haven't done clicker training with her yet. That will be useful for teaching her to retrieve and pick up things from the floor when I drop them.



  18. #38
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,229

    Default

    It is truly wonderful to me to see people with injuries and issues like these able to enjoy dressage like the rest of us. Sure it might be much more difficult, but the dedication is inspiring.

    If I had an appropriate horse, I would have no issues lending it for clinics and such. Unfortunately, one of mine is very sensitive and if not ridden how she wants to be ridden can be a bit dangerous, and the other is only 3 and doesn't even know the proper aid for canter yet. Maybe in a couple years because he has the easy-going personality for that type of rider.



  19. #39
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Exclamation Update: para contact info!

    I asked Mod 1 to move this thread to our forum because it has so much useful info.

    Hope Hand wants to put on clinics for us all over the country. We need to find horses and locations. Please make suggestions!



  20. #40
    Join Date
    Oct. 8, 2009
    Location
    Arroyo Grande,CA
    Posts
    116

    Default

    I have a horse available to borrow in California. Yes he is my FEI level driving horse, but he has also extensivly been ridden dressage, I have a rider rideing him right now. The benefits of a driving horse is you can get him to do everything without useing your legs:-) He also takes leg and seat cues. He is a 15.2 hd Welsh Cob. 13 years old been there done that flashy as anything. The gal riding him recently lost her 18 hd horse and her comment about my guy is that his gaits are huge. And he really climbs up hill into his canter, but then he is used to pulling a carriage:-)

    As for borrowing horses, I competed at 2 world championships with borrowed horses becasue I couldn't afford to ship my horse to Europe. Shipping a custom carriage was expensive enough. Many US drivers borrow horses, the best way to prepare for borrowing a horse is to ride as many horses as possible. It is very beneficial to take a clinic with a borrowed horse, if you want to compete across country the cheapest way is to borrow a horse if you can. Makes you a better rider and driver.



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