Cadence Blows Town Before Hurricane Ike

Off-the-track Thoroughbred, Cold Cash, and his mom Emee Ermel compete in dressage. Click on the image to see more photos of "Cadence" and Emee in competition.

We survived Hurricane Ike. Whew. I was able to get Cadence out of town and farther north before Ike hit. He has been enjoying being out in a pasture with several other horses. They’re grazing, relaxing, and enjoying the vacation – while we’ve been without power and water for a while. I was very fortunate and had my water restored on Sunday and power came back last night. Thankfully, I’ve heard from the barn and no one was injured and the horses that stayed are doing okay. Everyone is still without power, but all in good health.

The devastation is pretty amazing. I’ve heard a lot of reports of horses and livestock being displaced, in addition to all of the homes that have been destroyed. It came unexpectedly and fairly suddenly b/c earlier in the week; it wasn’t even forecasted to hit Houston. I’m just thankful that cooler weather has made its way down here and so it’s making living conditions much easier for people.

Other updates – We’ve qualified for the SWDC Championships (end of October) in Training Level and could have qualified for First Level if I had registered for one more show…oh well. Labor Day weekend we went to our second recognized show.

We competed both days in Training Level Four and First Level Four. We received 60% (3rd place) and 59% (5th place), respectively, on Saturday and improved to 65% (2nd place) and 62% (3rd place) on Sunday. He was tense in the arenas on Saturday, but calm in his stall and trailering. On Sunday, he was familiar with the arenas and had no issues with the judges, stands, people, etc.

We also competed in a schooling show before the recognized one and scored 61% in First Four. This was a major step forward and confirmed to me that we were ready to keep moving up. We are schooling solid Second Level movements, so I am hopeful that we will try out showing at this level after the SWDC Championships. His trot extensions are beautiful and he always scores seven’s and eight’s in the canter. I am very lucky to have found him and for us to have grown as a partnership in the time we’ve had. It’s only this year we started showing and have been very successful.

We’ve had our issues, but it was really bad about two months ago. We were set to go to a schooling show when he decided to rear up in the trailer and pull back just as he walked on. Everything happened so fast; I didn’t have time to react. The lead rope end broke and the chain flew back and hit me in the chin. Cadence took off and I was left bleeding in the trailer. Luckily, I was able to call for help and some friends took me to the hospital. Needless to say, I didn’t go to the show.

I ended up with a few stitches and time to work on the ground with Cadence. We had some serious respect issues that working in the round pen and on the ground has addressed. I definitely see how beneficial the natural horsemanship techniques can be now – for the respect, but also for the bond between you and your horse. The little things like being impatient in the crossties and pushing his head for treats that I had let slip all just added up to one big disobedience issue.

Luckily, though, we’ve had great progress and he’s now loading and unloading by himself – consistently. No more pushiness on the ground. Although, he does sometimes test me, as long as I’m consistent with the behaviors, he doesn’t put up an attitude any more. He’s gone from the rearing incident in the trailer to walking on without stress. And overall, it’s improved our riding sessions as well. He’s more confident at shows and ready to work during schooling. Every once in a while, he would just have a mental day and refuse to do anything except back up or sidestep, but all of that has disappeared. It was a good wake up call for both of us and it has improved our partnership together.

As always, your updates on the website are wonderful.