August 31, 2006


Thanks so much to Kerry and Pippy for sending up the myler comfort snaffle! I tried it on Silviapples today and it was very interesting. She didn't chew the bit nearly as much, and I noticed her mouth wasn't open as much during my ride (though I think she might do well to have a flash strap on at least occasionally)... but the bit felt quite strong. For about the first 5 mintues I could barely take any contact without Apples halting or even going straight backwards. But she did get accustomed to it pretty quickly and by the end of the ride was taking up a really nice (but still very soft) contact and I did feel she was working a lot better than in the eggbut snaffle.

She did throw a huge tanty today when I tried to take her up the driveway, but a few strong words and a little bit of perserverance and she was trotting happily right to the gate by the road, and happily past the float covered in a flapping tarp.

Also someone had left up 6 trotting poles, with the middle 4 raised quite high (about 30cm), I took Apples through twice. The first time she touched one and cantered the rest, but the second time she stretched down a lot more to look at the poles and did a lovely steady and elevated trot through the poles.

So aside from the wee tanty I am very pleased with today. Will ride her again tomorrow in the myler, but I'm pretty sure I will buy one. Speaking of spending, I've taken the morning off work tomorrow to head up to the Saddlery Warehouse sale and stock up on rugs (shires typhoons for only $90!).


No updates for a few days - so I'm going to do the last 3 days all in one hit (they're not overly interesting anyway).

Monday I did circlework again and I feel like Silvi's bend is getting better - she now seems a lot more even on both reins and when going in a straight line I can bend her around either leg a little. Some really nice canter work too - I did some up in jumping position on a loose rein just to get her a little more consistent (she has a tendancy to get faster and slower during a circle), but she was really good and didn't speed up at all just happily loped around the arena.

Tuesday I gave her a day off, but took her rug off for a few hours so she could roll (which she did, and ended up brown muddy horse) while Swifty and I took the truck to go pick up the new seats I've bought for it. There was a mix-up with the delivery so we drove to Lower Hutt, then Porrirua then back to Ohariu Valley... so it was a good run for the truck and batteries will be happily charged again now. With the new seats I'm hoping to replace the driver's seat with something that I can reach the pedals from - the new ones won't bolt straight in, but we're going to try and make an adapter plate and see what we can come up with MacGyver styles.

Yesterday I rode bareback in the yard with just a halter and lead and she was really good - we just walked, but she didn't mind at all when my weight was shifting around on her back. She's been on Vetpro Muscle Max for 4 days now, can't tell a difference yet (still a skinny horse) but hopefully I'll get out with the camera this weekend to take some pictures and see if she's looking any better.

August 27, 2006


Early Saturday morning there was a heap of rainfall and at about 4am Missy and Silvi had to be evacuated from their paddocks. In the first photo below I've put in a red line to show where the water level was at the worst of it, and the second photo shows the creek still swollen, but in the early morning it was 20m wider. Poor Missy only had a few metres of grass left to stand on, and Silvi was less than half an hour from being stranded on the wrong side of the creek. Wendy and Stu got both horses and popped them into stables. I got out there later in the morning and mucked out stalls and got a few extra items from the local saddlery (feedbuckets - mine was hiding under floodwater!) and warehouse grain (shavings as we're now using both stalls).

The road was flooded (fto only barely made it through), but no big slips or anything between my house & the farm. Went out twice on Saturday to the horses, then again at about midnight - it was still looking quite soggy so I left Silvi in her stall (with what must have been her 5th feed for the day).

Got back early Sunday morning to put her out in her paddock (Missy was already out) and she was quite happy to stretch her legs. Looked like she had lost a bit of condition, I think she may have stressed a little being stabled alone (also hadn't had as much to drink as I would have liked). Then I headed home for a sleep and came back around lunchtime to muck out (I swear Silvi pissed more than she needed to!) and have a ride. The arena had drained perfectly, so I did some circlework (varying the size of the circles and loops, lots of changes of direction) and also a little bit of work at the trot - slowing down and speeding up, just getting her to listen carefully to my aids. She was really good, and also walked in and out of the alternate entrance to the arena (decorated with fake flowers) without spooking at all - very pleased with that.

Had intended to go to QE2 park for the XC training to see what she's like around other horses, but with the weather it just wasn't worth it. Might try for Waikanae next weekend.

August 25, 2006

first oxer

Went out to the farm with Swifty so he could take some pictures, lovely day for it too. Missy was glad to have her rug off and Silviapples was just glad to have visitors I think. We set up some jumps in the arena with the hope of getting her over a few before the weekend and maybe getting her to do a real jump (instead of the sort of 'run' over them like she'd done with the crossbar earlier). The blue upright below was the first one we did - and she never ran or stumbled over it at all, jumped it properly from the first go. Though if you look closely at the second picture I have no idea what she's doing with her legs... I'm sure it felt like a normal jump, sure doesn't look like one though.

The barrels were a bit harder, she was quite spooky around them even on the flat - so I had to trot up to and around them several times and pull them apart so she could canter 'through' them a few times as well. But after she decided they were safe she was quite happy to jump them. I'm quite impressed by this as 2 barrels is quite a skinny fence and she was very honest about it. She didn't seem to notice the placement pole too much, but also never touched it, so it must be doing its job!

Then we lowered an oxer that someone else had set up in the arena. I took her over the little blue upright, then cantered straight into the oxer. The first time she slowed down a lot, but I was wrapped when she still hopped over with a little click from me (that's the first photo below), then we came around to do just the oxer again and she didn't slow down at all and got quite a bit more air than I expected over it (second picture - I didn't mean to get her in the mouth - poor pony!).

So all up it was another very successful ride. I'm really pleased with her flatwork and her transitions. She is still chewing at the bit a lot, so a friend is sending up a Myler comfort snaffle for us to try out, hopefully that will be a bit more comfy as she has a lovely soft mouth. So after her big ride I got off her beside the jumps and gave her lots of pats and cuddles.

Then she got a wash down and a big feed, such a good horsey. I'm absolutely stoked with progress she is making.

August 24, 2006

awesome ride

Yesterday I just went out to brush and feed her. Today I took her for a ride in her paddock first, crossed the creek in a few different spots and walked around the edges of the paddock. Then took her into the arena and did some flatwork - it was really good as there were jumps up and she didn't seem bothered by them at all. She was feeling really supple and soft. Very happy with today's ride.

Also managed to get her winter rug on and pop her in the paddock with a feed, then get myself into the car just before the heavens opened and tried to drown us.

August 22, 2006

creek crossing

Headed straight out to the farm after work and drove the truck forward so we could open her up (I drove!), then went and got Silvi and loaded her up. She was perfect to load on, but did get annoyed standing up there as Missy was getting a bit angsty and I think they were stressing each other out. So we unloaded her and gave her a pick of grass and gave Missy some carrots until they were both settled again. Then I reversed the truck back into it's spot with Swifty giving directions.

Then we rode, which was generally uneventful - quite a few tantrums. Worked her over some trotting poles on an arc, but she didn't seem to respect them too much today and tripped a few times as she just wasn't listening enough to steady up and look where she was going. But she calmed down in the end, and I took her into her paddock to see if I could ride her over the creek. The first pic is our first approach, and the second pic is cantering/jumping back over the creek after a few more crossings. Gave her a pat and a big feed after that.

As always we ended on a good note, it seems the worse her tantrums are at the start of the ride, the better she is by the end of it.

August 20, 2006

first jump

Had a really awesome ride today. The sun was out and there wasn't too much wind. Went to catch Silviapples from the paddock and she's getting really good at coming back over that creek now (almost beat me to it today). Just got to tackle it again on horseback someday soon. She was good with the bridle too, and just the slightest bit nappy going into the arena, but all I had to do was put a bit of leg on and ride her forward.

She warmed up really well today too - soft pretty much right from the start, and her walk-trot-walk transitions are really improving. She used to sort of put her head up and switch her ears around, but now I find I can ride them just like a regular transition, I don't even need to use my voice to assist. So we just did a few circles on both reins, and a little cantner. Then we headed straight for the trotting poles and she was so wonderful! Just trotted straight over them with her ears pricked and not knocking them with her feet at all. In future I might make them wider apart to help get her stretching down, but for today I was just absolutely stoked that she happily trotted over them beautifully in both directions.

Then we headed into the little crossbar, she was a little unsure at first and halted a few strides out, but I was able to encourage her to walk on and then just sort of walk over it. After that she was really good. We didn't quite get a good flow over it today (still slowing into it, then awkwardly trotting/semi-jumping over it) but I was really pleased with how calm she was about everything. We look a bit funny in the pictures, I think she needs something a little bigger to jump before she'll actually notice what is going on. But yeah, totally wrapped with her behaviour and progress, feels like every few days she is improving in leaps and bounds. So she got cuddles and apples (not a canibal!) then went back into her paddock with a nice big feed.

August 19, 2006

still not clipped

Well, clipping the other day didn't go as planned. First Silviapples was a bit naughty, took about 10 minutes to settle (and she settled really well), but then the blades weren't really sharp enough and all the spare blades were even worse, so we had to give up and re-book for Saturday. No worries, I don't mind having a horse with 2 little clipped patches on her shoulders.

Rode on Friday and she was so naughty when I got on, being a right little dick - then about 15 minutes into it all it was like a switch flipped and she was going brilliant, was like riding a schooled horse, I could really push her up into the bridle and her bend on the right rein was improving too. Very stoked with that.

So along comes today - and clipping can't go ahead for a variety of reasons (including wet everything! stupid weather), so we just took the truck for a drive into Johnsonville to put in some diesel and move where it's parked at the farm.

August 17, 2006


Went out at some ungodly hour this morning to pop Silvi in the stable (to ensure she'll be dry and clean when she gets clipped this afternoon). Now lets just hope everything goes to plan today!

August 16, 2006


Ordered feed from Actionfeeds today, and managed to sneak in just before their delivery time. 5% discount due to being referred by a friend too. Awesome.

Was a really sunny day out there too - so I took Missy's rug off and then caught Silviapples. Was a pretty uneventful ride today, but I feel like she's trusting me a fair bit more - like I can be a bit firmer with my requests without her freaking out or getting confused. Also walked her up the driveway a bit just so she had some new scenery. Hoping to ride somewhere different this weekend too, but will need to have someone with me just for safety (as we'll probably have to go on the road). Also need to take the truck for a drive this weekend.

Popped Silviapples in the stable while I was tidying up after the ride too, and she seemed pretty settled, so should be fine in there tomorrow during the day before her clipping! (exciting).

August 15, 2006


I got out there today and she'd finished what was in her haynet, and wasn't back over the other side of the creek, but was sort of paddling in it.

Saddled her up (perfect with the bridle again) and got on her in the yard - she's now standing very still for me as I scramble aboard from the fence. Took her into the arena and did some walk and trot, there were some poles out too (just 4 single trotting poles, on a circle) and she went over those. She seemed better at the trot as she seems to be more focused. She was a bit nappy again, but no tantrums at all today. Very happy with the poles though - she trotted cleanly over them and didn't stumble or anything annoying.

Clipping has been delayed a little, not sure till when exactly though.

August 14, 2006

filthy weather

Such grotty weather today, and a full day training session at work, so Silviapples didn't get ridden today - I just went out to give her a feed, check she was dry, and put up a haynet in her paddock for her to much on. She wasn't keen to come back over the creek as it was high, and again I had to stand in the middle of the creek (within 1cm of the top of my gummies!) to convince her it was okay to walk into it. But once she made it over she was very pleased to have the hay and dinner.

Have also organised to pop her in a stable tomorrow so she will be dry for when she gets clipped. No more fluffy horse.

August 13, 2006

lazy sundy

Went out to give Apples and Missy some apples today - they were both enjoying the sunshine, and Apples had actually headed over the stream to the other side of the paddock all by herself! (first time ever).

first canter

On Saturday I went out to the farm to attempt the first canter, I took Pie with me so I'd have a safety person on the ground if anything went wrong - but it turns out she was really great, absolutely no fuss with the canter at all. I was absolutely stoked.

She's totally good with putting the bridle on now as well, takes the bit as soon as it's offered. However she did have another wee tanty - I think part of it is probably that I'm asking her to do quite a lot while she's still very skinny and weak and she's getting tired (so she's having Sunday off and just getting cuddles) and I'm going to up her feeding again and see if we can get some meat covering those ribs.

I'm really pleased with her progress though, we 'ran' into the first canter, but after that every transition was pretty much instant and she would strikeoff happily on both leads so long as I prepared her correctly. Her canter stride feels quite long, but the (ever growing!) bunch of spectators said she looks nice and compact. So here is the photographic proof of the trot and canter!

And seeing as I'm on a photo binge today, photographic proof that she's a cutie.

August 11, 2006

quick ride

Took Silvi for a quick walk & trot in the arena, she was slightly nappy around the gate but only once. Was also heaps better accepting the bridle today. And Swifty came out and moved the truck (I drove it the first 2m!) to it's new parking spot.

August 10, 2006

ups & downs

I went out to the farm by myself again today - but was so bored with walking that I decided to try for a trot, she was really good too. And she was lots better with the flowers and things around the arena (would get closer to them) but then she got nappy at the entrance.

Also took her for a walk in her paddock, she wouldn't have anything to do with the water though, so in the end (just so I could say I won the arguement!) I led her into the stream and got on her from there, then walked her out.

It seems she can be quite nappy, but as long as she's going forward and thinking about what you're asking then it's all good.

August 09, 2006


Just a short ride today, as I was out there by myself. She was better to put the bridle on today (still unsure of the bit though) and I was able to get on her alone, with the help of a fence, without too much difficulty.

I rode her once around the yard just to make sure she remembered everything from yesterday, and then took her into the roundpen for a bit, then out into the arena for her first time in there - she didn't exactly love the flowers and such around the sides, but she didn't do anything silly, just looked at them a bit. Also rode her around the stables and just showed her a few different places. It was a fairly short ride, and still just at the walk, but I'm pleased that she seems good in the more open spaces.

August 08, 2006

first ride

First ride today! (if you consider a walk to be a ride). Put the jumping saddle on Silvi, which she was fine with and then grabbed a bridle for her - she didn't really want to open her mouth for the bit and once I put the bridle on it did take her a while to mouth the bit and feel comfortable with it. Then led her around and she seemed pretty settled, so I took her into the yard and had Swifty hold her while I lay across her back, she was a bit titchy about it for a few minutes but quickly settled once she realised that the person who was normally standing on the ground had now somehow got on her back. Then I swung my leg over and sat on her for a little and then walked her in both directions around the yard-

She was really good in the yard, but it's quite small, so I wanted to try her in the round pen. I decided the best way to get her there was just to ride her out there. She behaved really well and had good steering.

I was super impressed with her in the round pen. She was close to her paddock friend, Missy, and yet didn't call out to her or get distracted by her at all. She didn't mind the big puddles in the pen either. After a bit more walking around I decided it was probably enough for the day for her and walked her back to the stables - she had to be encouraged to go back onto the concrete but was in general very well behaved and not stressed at all. Very happy with her so gave her a big feed and popped her back in her paddock.

August 07, 2006

saddle up

I started my new working hours today (8am-2pm, then finish my day later at night logged on from home) - it's going to be really good to get out to the farm in daylight hours (as daylight as it gets in this rotten weather anyway). Today I got out and tidied the truck a bit so I could actually find things again, then caught Silvi. I'd been a bit worried that she might overheat in the winter rug, but she was fine and I suspect quite enjoying being dry!

I popped the Isabell dressage saddle on her today, but it didn't really want to sit right - will have to change to a wider gullet and see if that makes any difference. Also need to try my other two saddles on her - might try that tomorrow (ran out of time today). Silvi was good with the saddle getting put on, and I gave her a wee lunge with the stirrups down (which didn't bother her at all), however she got a bit grumpy when I kept her going for more than a few circles, but not too bad all up.

Added oil and molasses to her feed starting today, hopefully I'll have a few days before it kicks in too much to back her easily.

August 06, 2006

trucky truck

Mum drove the truck down from Palmerston North today - so now we have all the gear and covers and hopefully everything Silvi will need for the season... However the bad weather has hit, so not sure when I'll actually get around to popping a saddle on her yet.

August 05, 2006

straight to work

Straight to work, but not on the horse. Wendy's place has a roundpen, but it hasn't really been maintained - so I had a chat to one of the other ladies there and was okayed to do some work on leveling it out. In the end I got most of it done, but certainly ready for a rest! Pics of the roundpen before I got to it, and then during the leveling-

Also a few pics of Silvi in the daylight. She was easy to catch, and then I lead her through the stream a few times, she was a bit tentative, but quite willing to follow so long as I went first!


The ferry got in on time (10.30pm) and the truck rolled up just after 11pm - we met at the corner of a nearby road as the transporter was too big to easily get up the driveway. Silvi unloaded very happily and stood calmly with my not-overly-horsey flatmate while we re-loaded one of the other horses. We used Paul from Elite horse transport, and I was very happy with the condition Silvi arrived in, as well as Paul's manner with the horses and the price was pretty good too.

So then I had to lead Silvi down the road, Swifty following us in the car with the headlights on so we could see. She was a little pushy and interested in what was going on in the surrounding paddocks, but very quiet. Popped her in a yard so she could settle, and offered her a drink (which she wasn't keen on). I can't remember what height she was advertised as, but she looked bigger than I expected, with a wither that doesn't inspire me to do anything bareback on her anytime soon, or at all!

She was pretty laid back about everything, so after some carrots and apples we took her through to the paddock where she could meet Missy over the fence and have a rest, but she really seemed more interested in grass than anything else.

My truck has passed it's CoF and should come down on Sunday, and then I'll have all my gear back and we can start working with Silvi and see what we can make of her.