March 26, 2008

Solway ODE

On Sunday afternoon Mum and I headed up to Masterton. Took Ruby and Neo who were competing on Monday, Tom (a friend's pony, also competing Monday), and Scuba (who was heading back to Mandy's for winter). Overnighted at Mandy's and headed down to Solway in the morning for the ODE.
Ruby's dressage is improving with each outing, and I was pleased with her effort this time. I just need to keep my legs on stronger. Neo warmed up nicely, but it all went to pieces a bit in the arena - still happy with so much progress from him in the short 4 months that I've had him. I also downgraded him to PreTraining so he could have a nice confidence-building run.
Neo did his showjumping right after dressage. The jumps were low even for PT, so of course he flew around them. But what I was most impressed with is that he got all the correct striding through the double & related fence. Normally we have a bit of trouble stretching him out just to make a double properly, but 3 in a row and to get it all perfect I was stoked:
Ruby did a neat clear showjumping too. Nothing in there that was at all an ask or anything new for her, so it was a nice cruisy round for both of us:
Neo had a fab XC, he jumped clear. Though pecked on landing up a staircase and landed on his knees and silly rider tumbled off the side (honestly, you think I'd quit doing things to let him down). But he was a happy lad and continued with me remounted (he even stood nice and still so I could clamber back on):
Ruby was doing Training - which had a few nice little questions, but she just zoomed around like an old pro. So it was a double clear jumping day for her as well. The 2nd pic below was taken by the 'a1 action shotz' crew who were on site for the event:
Due to Neo's bumped knees I have decided to turn him out early - let his body and mind have a good long rest. Ruby, however, has another ODE this coming weekend at Queen Elizabeth park!

Winter grazing

Zak went out for his winter grazing in Pahiatua just before horse of the year:
And Neo will be heading up to join him within the next few weeks. They can have a good rest and chomp through as much green grass as they can find together.

March 19, 2008

Battle Hill ODE

Last Sunday I took 3 horses down to Battle Hill for their ODE & area trials. It was a crazy day - with some dressage judges seemingly just forgotten to be booked - so everything was running very late, and the judges who were there ended up judging twice as many as they'd expected! So all a bit busy and crazy.

Ruby and Neo were doing Training, and Scuba was having his first eventing start at PreTraining. Ruby was up first and did a more relaxed dressage test than Aokautere - but I think a bit more lazy. We've been working at home towards getting a nice middleground:

Neo was next up, and sadly his dressage was nowhere near as relaxed as his last time out. He wasn't overly uptight, just not totally listening. Still playing around with bits to suit him, but starting to wonder if he must be due to see mister dentist!

Scuba actually ended up doing his dressage after the entire Training class finished their showjumping (crazy). But it did mean we warmed up twice, which was probably good as the atmosphere had him pretty uptight at first. He settled really nicely and then had his first time in a dressage arena! He coped extremely well. Had some parts of the test a bit distracted/looking around, but some really nice work too. And he's such a pretty man.

Showjumping went super on all the horses! Rode Neo first - and he was a dude. Even got through the double in the right amount of strides! He must be getting more confident in himself, which is great. And Ruby just breezed around like it was nothing.

Scuba was really brave too! He was probably a bit overfaced with the course (including the whole show scene), but he was great! Tried heaps. We stuffed a couple of distances, but he gave everything a really good shot. He doesn't particularly want to take rails either!

I hate crosscountry. But I'd walked most of both courses the night before to give myself time to prepare (panic?). The Training course was a very tough one (4 elements at the water, something like 27 jumping efforts over the entire course, an evil chevron corner and all sorts of things that help me to continue disliking crosscountry). Ruby just absolutely flew around like an old pro. I was so over the moon - only her 2nd ever XC and she was already carting me around and looking for the next fence. She gave me a fantastic ride, and was one of very few clear rounds.
Neo's steering issue from Aokautere was pretty much instantly resolved by me putting the correct bridle on him this time (what a blonde). He popped around happily like a wee ponyclub schoolmaster, but we had trouble at the chevron corner... just couldn't quite get my angle/approach right for him (enough for him to understand exactly what I wanted). But he's come along in leaps and bounds, and I think it was a great XC performance from Neo - especially at the water complex where I put him wrong into the first element, landed on his face, and he just tipped me back into the saddle and kept plodding on.
Scuba was not interested in the crosscountry idea at all. So we ended up just going for a trot around the course and him having a looksee at all the fascinating and scary things. I had to head home straight after riding to catch a flight for work, but heard later that Ruby came 4th - so that was wicked news! 2 eventing starts for 2 placings :)

March 05, 2008

The new truck

As promised, photos of the new truck!

The outside, complete with new personalised plates and farm logo (I really recommend anyone putting on a vinyl decal not try to do it alone, in the wind, balancing on a 44 gallon drum on uneven ground!):

And the inside. First pic is looking in, you can see the chest bins and cover racks and saddle racks and some of the accommodation (has a fridge, shower, oven and fullsize luton etc). Then from the inside looking out:

And as of Monday evening I am now a fully licensed class2 driver - so I can even drive it alone, legally! How fancy.

Aokautere ODE

Last Friday I drove up to Palmy (yucky weather for an overnight stay, great weather for the grounds though! footing was fantastic). Ruby was doing her first ever ODE, and Neo doing his first at Training level. Ruby was up first on Saturday at 8.30 and did a nice dressage test, a few movements rushed perhaps, but a good mark for her paces and I was overall pleased:
Neo's dressage (no pics, sorry!) I was just over the moon with! Has paces are a little ponyish so his overall marks not fantastic... but I was just so pleased with how far he's come. The whole test was calm, nothing was rushed, and no choppy strides - he just let it all come to him and it was an absolute pleasure of a test to ride on him. I was absolutely chuffed with that.
XC on both was good, though I put the wrong bridle on Neo and had steering issues (like, past an entire jump! oops). But they blasted through and didn't spook at spooky things and did some of the more complex lines. Both has a wee hesitation at the top of the bank into the water, but then hopped off happily and trotted out the other side.
Showjumping everyone was tired as anything. All a bit under-fit I think! But they both really tried and again I was just really pleased. I was also glad when it was all over and we could all have a rest back at the truck! Remind me again why I do eventing?
Ruby did fantastic for her first ODE - coming home with 3rd place!
And Neo had to come home without a ribbon, but I am really pleased with how he's going. I'll give him another run at Training level at Battle Hill and then see if he feels like doing more, or if he's ready for a big winter turnout.