June 08, 2008

Solway Winter Dressage

Up at 4 this morning, loading the horses at 5, Caltex at 6am ($217 to fill up the truck! and we still had almost half a tank in there! eek), 7.30am at Solway showgrounds just as the sun came out. Such a cold morning... and I was sure I was going to get a call when I was partway there to let me know the show had been cancelled (thunder & lightening, wind gusts and heaps of rain last night)... but the weather turned out to be quite sunny (still cold as anything though).
Took Billie in two prelim tests. Such a huge difference from her Waikanae tests, she was much more forward moving, and transitions a lot tidier. In the first test we still got a bit of counterbend, but by the second test I was really impressed with her work down the long sides, especially at the canter. Billie's owner came over from Palmerston North to watch and help out as well. Billie's marks were consistent, and we were pleased with her performance. I think most of the gains now will be in getting her transitions even smoother (now she is keeping a great consistent frame through them, and keeping accepting the bit). Billie pics:
Also took Gem over in the truck for Mum to ride, but she was quite uptight in her warmup - and was uneven on the sand arena, so retired from her first test and scratched from the second one. Gem is booked to see the farrier this coming week to replace the lost shoe, then also has a new saddle coming which may make her more comfy. Gemmy pics:
Alfie didn't come along, as I want his mudfever to clear up a bit more before asking him to do any hard work. But that left me with a bit of spare time to fill! I ended up with a catchride on a friend's 3yo stallion, "Life O Reilly" from Talisman Farm (owned by my friend Lou). Reilly was entered in the green horse classes - and in the first test he was good, though still getting accustomed to me and the surroundings. His marks were good, and comments encouraging. He ended up winning that class with a mark in the high 60's. Reilly pics from the green horse test:
Lou and I decided to give Reilly a go in a prelim test (1.4) for the additional experience in an arena. Well... what can we say? He was a total star! He was focused on me for the entire test, and very supple. We have a few things to work on before picking up a ribbon... but it was just such a fantastic test - and he did absolutely nothing wrong. Prelim pics (and heaps more on the Talisman Farm website):
After that test Reilly was scratched from the final green horse class so as to end on a good note and not 'overdo' it (nor pot-hunt or tire him out). It will be great to watch from the sidelines for the rest of the winter series and see how Reilly develops under saddle.
I managed to get back to Wellington in daylight, and Gem stayed in Masterton at her new grazing with Mum. So all-up I think it was a successful day for sure.