The Mare

Name: Cadence
DOB: May 2005
Height: 16.1
Colour: Bay
Breeding: TB x Holsteiner
Dam: Tabby (Out of A Fine Romance)
Sire: Camiros

I remember back in the fall of 2010, my coach came out to the barn all excited about this little mare she'd just free jumped.  She could 'jump a house' according to her, and my coach was totally smitten.  Another one of her students had looked at this horse, and but wasn't sure if she could handle this mare's jump.  Cadence wasn't officially for sale, but her owner was working on her PhD, and was having a hard time balancing work, school, and training an energetic 5 y/o.  Plus, her grandma had decided to sell the family farm. Anyhow, my coach said that if this other student of hers brought the mare down for a trial, I'd have to come out and ride her.  I didn't think much of it, aside from being honoured by my coach's confidence in me.  In the end, the other student decided that she wasn't the horse for her, so the mare never came down and I never rode her.  However, at my coach's Christmas party, I ended up being introduced to Cadence's owner/breeder.  Kaitlyn showed me a couple pictures and videos, and I'll admit, she was really cute... and could she ever jump!
Fast forward a bit, & we brought Cadence down the second week of January (2011) so that I could ride her. I first met (and rode) her on Saturday Jan 8th, 2011. My immediate impression was that she was forward and sensitive, but sensible.  Oh, and she had a bit of a temper, a strong will, and a desire to express this by throwing her head ;)  She was also really unbalanced.  We trotted across the diagonal to change from left to right, and it honestly felt like she was going from trotting to pacing.  Yeulch!  Aside from that, her only real fault was that she had NO ground manners.  Not a hard fix, but a bit of a pain.  The next time I went out to ride, I jumped her.  She handled it phenomenally!  The barn didn't have any standards, so we dragged two barrels out, and improvised.  She barely gave them a second thought.
Over the next few weeks, we continued working on getting her more even and balanced, as well as getting her to accept my contact, and go in a more relaxed frame.  In addition, we started introducing half halts, gymnastics, and stretching.  Within three rides, she'd lost the pacey feeling to her trot on the right rein, and within five her constant left bend was gone.  Her jumping continued to improve as well.  The third time I jumped her, we introduced gymnastics.  For us, that meant two jumps situated between a set of stools, and a set of barrels.  She handled everything like a pro, not even giving the scary standards a second thought.  By the start of February, she'd started muscling up, and was almost completely even.  On Feb. 8th, 2011 we had the vet out for her vet check.  The vet check showed some very mild navicular issues startign to develop, a small spur, and an old well rounded bone chip.  Despite the small chip and spur, the joints themselves were clean, and the vet said they'd most likely never be an issue.  The navicular was to be expected, and deemed a low risk due to her breeding.  The only thing the vet was worried about was the bone alignment of her coffin bone and pasterns.  She believed that this would be fixed with some proper trimming, as her feet were in a terrible state of disarray.  The angle of her hoof wall wasn't remotely close to matching, & the thought was that once her feet were straightened out, the bone angles would fix themselves.
On February 14th 2011, Cadence was purchased and given to me as a birthday present by my long suffering and unbeleivably amazing parents.  One hell of a birthday!  The odd part?  Cadence's mum was given to Kaitlin (Cadence's old owner/breeder) as a present for her same birthday.  Even weirder?  She was purchased on the same day we purchased Cadence.

On May 24 2011, Cadence went off property for the first time.  We were supposed to go school some XC, but thanks to a record amount of rain, the course was flooded.  Instead, a friend very kindly offered to not only let us use her arena, but to pick us up and drive us home as well.  Talk about good friends!  Anyhow, Cadence was fantastic, and we used their jumps to go around our first course as well!  Cadence was wonderful, &  I couldn't have asked for a more amazing horse.  She had her first XC school on June 9th, her first show on May 29th, and a not so great first CT show on the 6 of July.  All in all, her progression has been wonderful and she really has prooved to all of us what a superstar she is.  We also participated in her first horse trial (another non-success) on the 24th of July 2011.  We successfully completed both the dressage (2nd place!) and stadium sections, but were stumped by a scary bench out xc.  You can't jump something that you can't get near...

The fall of 2011 was quite successful.  Cadence had a few good x-country schools, one with me and one with Kaitlin while I was away.  We also had the pleasure of participating in a dressage clinic with Belinda Trussell in November.  The clinic was a huge success, and Cadence was going as well as ever.   Her jumping had improved beyond recognition, and she was now jumping calmly and confidently.  However, bad luck got in the way and threw a wrench in our plans.
On December 9 2011 Cadence came into the barn with a puncture-like wound on her RH leg just below her hock.  Within an hour, she was lying on the ground thrashing in pain.  The vet was called, and the decision was made to trailer her to Milton Equine Hospital.  They x-rayed and ultrasounded her leg, and aside from a large pocket of fluid, everything looked good. She had a drain put in her leg to help drain the fluid pocket, and  a few days later she was sent home.  Two weeks after the injury (25th) her leg was still looking pretty bad, so we made another appointment with Dr. C at Milton and trailered her back up on the 27th.  After some more ultrasounds & x-rays and a major (full general anesthetic) surgery, a 7cm (2.75 in) piece of hoof wall was extracted from her leg, along with  some other debris and some hair.  From this point on, the leg healed well.  I left the country for under 36 hours to spend new years with my family, and when I returned... Cadence was back at Milton.  Apparently she had appeared colicky and was feverish, and when the vet came out she reccommended she head back up to Milton.  For a 3rd time.  It turns out she had antibiotic induced colitis, and after 2 more days there, she was cleared to go back home.
piece of hoof wall extracted (after being cleaned)
2 weeks post-surgery
The road to recovery wasn't exactly an easy one.  While she began to recover physically immediately following her operation, our attempts to get back into our old routine and work schedule were thwarted again and again.  We had a series of back issues (saddle fit issues and some due to loss of muscling) that were followed by some attitude issues due to her long holiday.  The attitude culminated in a disastrous xc school, and then a dressage ride in which I had to put up with the same thing.  Our dressage ride was so bad I actually called someone into the arena to stand there and call 911 when I died.  I didn't die, and fought tooth and nail for a simple lap of trot around the ring, which I did eventually get.  After that, I sent Cadence to boot camp... a.k.a I gave her to my BO to lunge a few times, then had my coach and I split a ride/lesson.  She improved dramatically after that, but it wasn't until early June that I truly had my mare back and we were able to pick up from where we left off in early December.
Cadence completing her first HT
In July 2012, Cadence completed her first real XC course, placing second in a Pre-Entry level XC trial.  Then, in August, she shocked us all by not only completing, but winning her first HT!  After that, we moved her up to Entry (BN in the US) and she (well, I guess we) won again! She then placed 6th at Cedar Run, and since she'd had two clear xc runs and TWO top 8 finishes, she qualified for the OHTA Championships.
 Cedar Run SJ
 I think this is one of my favourite pictures...
 Could the scenery get any more gorgeous?

Champs were a wonderful learning experience.  Cadence had a brilliant dressage test, scoring a 38 from both judges for the highest  score out of the entire day!  XC went brilliantly.  She jumped her first drop and ditch in competition, and we were on top of the world.  Then the scores went up, and I went to see if we'd gotten any time penalties.  We were near perfect on our time, but the score sheet said we'd had 20 jumping faults.  I went to the secretary, thinking that the error should probably be brought to her attention sooner rather than later.  They called the TD, who informed me that the jump judge at the drop had given us 20pp... What?  Turns out that before she hopped off the bank, she stepped to the side... okay, but that's not a refusal... and then put one hoof back. I was crushed not because we dropped 13 places in the standings, but because my awesome machine of a horse had been given a 'refusal' for putting one hoof out of place ;) Get it?  Anyway, we show jumped the next day earning one of the few clear rounds of the day and moving up into a neat and tidy 10th to finish with a ribbon :)  Oh, and we did the 36 foot two stride... in one! Oops.

 Neatly putting one stride in 36 feet...
 First fence at champs
champs xc
 Pre-Training/Novice Stadium (3'2) fall 2012
 Look at the leaves!
 Cadence showing off her mad jumping skills
 Pre-Training SJ fall 2012