September 24, 2006

oh my gosh, toes

Swifty drove the truck to Upper Hutt for me on Saturday morning (well, I drove the first few kms, but I'm not really sure that counts in the scheme of things). The drive went really well - our first 'long'er journey with Silviapples. She kicked around before we got moving as her and Missy were having a whinnying contest and complaining about being taken away from each other. But she was fine once the truck was in motion.

Found where we needed to be and wandered down a lane at Totara Park to find Lynne from the board who was going to do Silvi's barefoot trim. We were there quite early so I went back to get the truck (we weren't sure if there was going to be turning room down the gravel road at first) - so I got to navigate out of our parking spot and through a gate and down the gravel road all alone, very exciting. Anyway, by the time I got there they'd already got through her front hooves (with poor Swifty holding her!). Apparently Miss Silvi had been a bit naughty, but she didn't really act up while I was there. Her toes were a little tender after - so good thing we had the truck closer (the gravel road was about 2km!). Loaded her up and took her home. She was quite sweaty when we unloaded - no idea why. Poor horsey. The drive went fine, so maybe she was just hot as I did leave her travel rug on.

Popped her in her paddock with a feed and went on our way (the rest of the day and evening was to be dedicated to "car stuff").

Today I went out to ride and her toes were still sensitive, I walked her around the arena once, but wasn't keen to do any more than that. Hooves look great though.

September 22, 2006

bounce bounce

Yesterday was awesome. I set up a combination for Silviapples of crossbar (bounce) upright (bounce) crossbar. I put traffic cones under the upright too. I warmed her up then cantered her into it and she just popped right through perfectly.
I then put the middle element up higher (just 80cm) and took her through again, she knocked the rail (but sorted herself in time for the last element) then the next time she snapped her knees right up to her face. Very pleased with how everything is coming along with her.

Feel like her coat is starting to look and feel healthier too.

Tonight I just fed her, and tomorrow she has an appointment with the barefoot trimming person - exciting!

September 20, 2006

no grandkids

Well it's a good thing that I hate kids, because my mother is certainly never getting any grandchildren after I decided to ride bareback on Monday. I went down to the road, did some trot work in the arena, and went around the paddock and through the creek (which silly large withered skinny horse decided to jump!). Owch. But she was so good - didn't put a foot wrong. And then when I'd finished my ride I sat on her bum and wiggled around all over the top of her, she really didn't seem to mind at all what I was doing up there, though she did look at me funny a few times.

Yesterday I headed out to Warehouse Grain and picked up some feed supplies - while I was out there the rain started, so I didn't ride (so lazy), but did put Silvi in her stable for the night with a huge feed. When I got out there this morning she was looking quite settled, had eaten her dinner, and had a little bit to drink... had also managed to pee twice! and hide all of her poo underneath clean shavings (odd). So I put her out naked in the front paddock with Missy - hopefully they won't be too muddy tonight!

September 17, 2006


No ride on Saturday, just a feed - then today I went out early and gave her a big brushing and rode in the arena for a little bit, but then decided the arena was boring and took her out on the road. I went from the farm down to Boomrock road and a little ways down there, then turned around and came back. On the way back 3 cars passed us and Silviapples never even batted an eyelid! So awesome. Took her back and did a bit of trot work in the arena then gave her another brush and some dinner.

September 15, 2006


Silvi was a very exciteable little girl today when I got on her, I think flying insects were getting at her because there was a lot of tail (stump?) swishing. And when we first got into the arena she seemed to think that absolutely everything was the most interesting thing she'd ever seen.

She settled really quickly and I did some canter in a 2-point or jumping position. Then later popped my stirrups up a hole as they were feeling a bit too long.

The grid we set up for her was 3 crossrails, with a placement pole between each element to help her fit that good one stride in, as well as (hopefully) encourage her to look down a little more and at what was coming up. I love the second photo below, she just looks so happy! I also think it shows that she was starting to look more at what was coming up.

I put 2 elements up to half-barrel height and by that stage she was getting her striding bang on, and looking where she was going, but still not really stretching down - so I thought I'd try a bit more of a spread where she might have to stretch. It seems she knows better than me and she just popped over it like it wasn't there.

So while I'm really impressed with her learning, I still need to look at a few more ways to get her head and neck stretched down over the fences. I think more poles in her flatwork might be good for this and possibly some unevenly spaced poles - will see what I can come up with over the weekend.

more road

Didn't ride on Wednesday, but yesterday I had Swifty come out to help me on the road. I took Silvi out at a walk and had Swifty drive past (first slowly and giving us a lot of space, then later a bit faster and closer) to get her accustomed to traffic. She was really good and didn't fuss at all, even got to trotting along the roadside while the car was passing.

Then went into the arena and did some canter work - she did beautiful, balanced flying changes and didn't miss a single one of them.

September 12, 2006


Feeling all fluey or head coldy or something like that so I wasn't much in the mood for riding, so I just took Silvi for a walk down the road (not very far, and no cars came) but she was very well behaved.

September 11, 2006


Just fed the horse today - no riding (but she was waiting by the gate for her dinner when I got there!). But I did also win the auction for a Myler bit on trademe, and also agreed to purchase a Wintec Isabel dressage saddle from a friend. So while I'm feeling poor, I'm also hoping Silvi will appreciate the purchases!

onslow pony club

On Sunday the local pony club was having a rally, so I made contact with them to see if I could take Silvi down to socialise her and see what she was like off the property and in a busy situation with cars and floats and little kids and everything that comes with pony club. In return for some help setting up and some biscuits we struck a deal. Swifty came out too, which was a big help in terms of setting up jumps and things for them, and gave me a bit more time to play with Silvi.

She loaded on the truck well in the morning, and I drove her to the grounds (but I let Swifty put the truck through the gateway because it's a nasty slim and badly surfaced one). She had eyes on stalks when I first unloaded her, but calmed down very quickly and ate her breakfast while watching everything that was going on. She didn't panic when a float pulled up beside her, or when their horses got saddled and left.

She was good, if a little more perky than usual, to ride. I rode her alone for a bit and then took her through the creek. She refused to go through when we first approached, but after I circled her around she was fine. Then we practised standing still and watching others. Her tolerance for standing is getting better - but still not great.

After standing around for a bit I went and did some flatwork closer to some of the senior rides. Silvi didn't even seem to notice the other horses.

I'm very pleased with her behaviour in such a different environment and I'm now looking for a show to take her to where I can do a few dressage tests or some showhunter practise rounds on her.

The truck also had an exciting weekend - going all the way to Makara (over the dodgy back roads and then skinny bridge to the house) and then into town to help a friend move house.

September 08, 2006

double trouble

rode 2 horses today (feeling sore now too! so unfit!) and drove the truck too! using trucky truck this weekend to help Nick move house, so we had to go fill up with diesel... I started the drive and went all the way from the farm to the local hall (about 3km I think). the road got a bit busy after that with traffic, so I handed driving duties over to Swifty so that we wouldn't die.

when we got back it was still lovely and sunny, so we set up some jumps for Silviapples. she was so incredibly well behaved today - didn't put a foot wrong. must be wrong in my theory of her tantrums being related to how much food she's getting... it seems like she is just (slowly) growing out of them.

her flatwork was really nice right from the start of the ride. I'm so pleased with how relaxed she is. the chewing is still there but not nearly as much these days, pretty sure it's at the point now where a judge wouldn't penalise her for it.

no disunited canters today either - and her transitions are becoming a lot smoother. she's not putting her head up into the canter, but she's also not as immediate in her transition - think that is most likely a fault of mine for not preparing her well enough into the transition. she has some really good natural balance though, doesn't get on the forehand. still a little inconsistent in speed and tempo however.

warmed up over a crossbar and very quickly decided I was going to have to swap gumboots (awesome gumboots!) for proper riding boots and re-do her saddle as it'd slipped a bit. she's still getting in a bit close to fences and slows into them more than I'd like. But I also had a double set up and after a couple of goes through that she was really coming along. It was just a 1 stride (crossrail to oxer) but I think it made her take a bit more notice of the spaces she had to work with.

we still got in close a few times - but as you can see by the pictures below - once she is moving forward and keeping that forward momentum she can meet the jump quite nicelenty. she's not really using her neck, and I'm also hanging onto her mouth over the fences - hoping this will come right as she gets a bit more rythmic and consistent in her approach. she seems absolutely happy jumping though, and never gets stressed at all.

probably the best thing to see today was at the end of the ride she started to stretch down - stoked with that. After riding Silvi I had a wee ride on Missy (while Silvi looked on) which went really well too.

very successful day - and lovely to make the most of the sunshine.

early morning

Up at 5.45 this morning to get to Silviapples and give her a morning feed. She'd been in the front paddock with Missy last night on good grass - and they were a bit upset to be taken away from each other, but Apples settled down quite quickly once I put her back in her usual paddock with food.

Yesterday she was naughty to begin with - I think it's directly related to how much I'm feeding her. The last few days I'd run out of coolfeed and and she was a little angel... but then I got a full order of feed from Action Feeds and now I have upped her feed again. But her naughty spats are getting shorter even on the big feeds - it's like she's beginning to work out that I'm in charge and she just needs 5-10 minutes to get things out of her system. After a warmup she started to work quite nicely, but a little bit of that disunited canter was back, so I did heaps of canter work and transitions to and from canter. By the end of it we were both very sweaty and tired, but she was going great and the canter work was very steady and quite supple. So I gave her a huge feed and brused her while she ate it all (as she was going out with Missy so had to finish her dinner before going out). She and Missy were fine their first time being paddocked together too - no squeals or anything.

September 06, 2006

cruising along

It's been a good week, nothing too exciting but all is going well. Monday was a day off and just gave her a feed. Tuesday I had a ride in the arena and she was really good again with no tantrums. Today I rode in the paddock first and then in the arena - perfectly behaved and even walked calmly down the driveway.

Also spent about an hour today tidying up the truck inside - feeling very organised.

September 03, 2006

one month!

I've had Silviapples for a month now, well - 4 weeks this weekend. The time has gone so fast, but I'm chuffed with how she's going. Big update today, so I've put it in 3 parts; Truck, Riding, and Jumping...

Swifty drove the truck all the way out to Whitby so that he and his dad could spend some of father's day working on installing the new driver's seat, because that's what you do on father's day. It should be easy to work out which is which, but for those of you who are having trouble - the old seat is the cruddy blue and poo coloured one and the new seat is the pretty grey one (an fto seat, just like the ones in the um... fto). Much measuring was done and ideas thrown around, then some shopping for parts and a little bit of cutting and then Swifty and I went home while his dad decided to keep pottering along on the project.

Then we got a call later in the day to say that the truck was ready and we should come out and try out the seat to see if the placement was right. The seat was a bit too high, so the project is going to resume on another day - but till then we get to have a comfy seat in the truck (even if Swifty's head does almost touch the roof). Swifty drove almost all the way back to the farm, but we stopped at Boomrock road and switched drivers.

So I had my very first ever drive on the road. Swifty stood beside me while I got going (where we'd parked required a slight hillstart) - and after a few false starts I was on my way and Swifty jumped into the fto to follow. I only got into 2nd gear, but I was on the actual public road where another car might leap out at me any moment! I also managed to locate the indicators and get back down to 1st gear to get into the driveway... then I turned into the drive and went down the hill towards the stables (kinda scary, as the height of the seat made using the brake difficult), then down to the bottom and reversing into the truck's park (with some help from Swifty on the ground directing me). But all up I think it was a very successful day for the truck - new seat installed and only going to make the truck easier to drive once we make a few more mods to it's placement in the cab, plus the truck ran really well on the motorway keeping happily between 80 & 90km, and my first road drive all without incident!

Another perfect ride today on the pony. She bridled up really well, and I'm sure she is slowly putting on the weight. No tantrums at all today, and it was also my first ride without the back protector. Pie came out and acted as safety person on the ground as well as photographer, so there are lots of riding pics today.

Loving her trot work at the moment - she's such a pretty girl.

Canter work, slightly above the bit - but she was going forward really nicely today.

Her walk, trot and canter work was all really good. And I tried to get her moving away from my leg a bit at the walk but she just got confused, so I'm going to save that for another day and have someone on the ground guiding her as well so she can hopefully get a better understanding of what I'm asking. I feel like Silvi's trot work is getting a lot more rhythmic, but her canter work is sometimes getting a little disunited - she doesn't get on the forehand (which is great) but I think when she's lacking balance she tends to get that little bit disunited or 'run'. She comes back to me well though and I can see that her balance will improve as her strength and muscle does too.

In addition to some really nice flatwork, I also popped her over some jumps. So poor Pie was not only photographer and safety person, but also pole picker and stand carter - which was much appreciated. The first pic below was the first jump we did today, she does such a huge cute leap over the jumps sometimes and I really don't expect it, but I'm starting to get a bit more secure in my seat on her so that I can leave her mouth alone more. She was very good with landing on the correct lead - so long as I was looking towards my next fence. I also think she was starting to get a better rhythm between fences, but if I got lazy then she would get in far too close, so I just need to think about constantly giving her that support and assistance until she can be put on more of an 'autopilot'.

I also set up a tyre jump for her, as she can be a bit spooky with new things - but after having a sniff she was perfectly happy to jump it. She is certainly a lot more trusting of me than she was perhaps 2 weeks ago - now she is far more likely to accept that if I say something is a good idea and safe, that it probably is (even if it doesn't look that way to her at first).

Very happy with her jumping style still. Her knees aren't as even as the last session we did, but she's still keeping them up and is probably ready to begin some simple grids instead of just the single fences now. I also jumped her up and down some banks in her paddock and she was perfectly happy with that (even on some of the deeper or slippery ground).

So yeah, successful weekend! Successful first month really.

September 02, 2006


Went to the Saddlery Warehouse yesterday and got some things (winter rug etc) in their sale. Including some wormers - so Silviapples got dewormed today, and she was very well behaved for that.

And today was absolutely tantrum-free, she was really good. So I only rode her for a really short time and gave her hugs and put her out for the day.

Not sure that you can really tell from the photos, but I'm happy with how she is accepting the myler bit. Still must get on to trying her in a noseband of some description just to see how it goes - but the constant grinding against the bit has stopped, so that's a great start.


Friday afternoon I went out for a ride and had another mixed ride. Silviapples had probably her longest tantrum yet (all in the arena), but then once she got over it (20 or so minutes later) she was working really nicely. I took her through the raised trotting poles some more too, which she did nicely - and then also trotted down the driveway and she was very well behaved.