October 25, 2008

Violet at the Arena

Violet came to the arena mainly to have a bit of a stretch of her legs, pop over a few bigger fences, and for me to practise getting my eye in for her stride. She was a real sweetheart, and just cantering along on the buckle and listening to me all the time.
We did some work over small fences, just half-barrel and the like. It was good to just practise counting down to myself and picking the spot we both wanted to jump from. Violet was really adjustable today as well, happy to come back to me and jump from my spots even though sometimes they weren't the most perfect. She's so calm about everything too.
I didn't want to jump her too many times, but couldn't resist popping the double up a little and having a play. This fence measured at just over 1.40m, and she made very light work of it:
As Nick was taking photos, Swifty was videoing, so we got some video of us pottering around and popping through the double at the end:

Kody at the Arena

Kody came down to Grays Road today to meet Alicia. I'm going to have Alicia ride him in the pleasure horse classes at Wairarapa A&P show for me, so I wanted to see how they went together and if they 'clicked'. We got there and the weather wasn't looking too flash, a bit cloudy and threatening to rain:

Then I had a quick warmup on Kody to make sure he'd seen anything and wasn't going to have a spook at any of the scary things around the arena:

Then Alicia got on and just had a potter, getting the feel for Kody:

Followed by doing some suppleness work on him and trying to figure out what works for him and what doesn't. They went really nicely together. And Alicia's lovely thin legs look great on little babyhorse Kody:

Swifty also took a short video, which shows some of the canter work:

I also had Violet at the arena, and will upload her photos/video very shortly. I was really pleased with both horses today. I think poor Neo was a bit miffed at having to stay home (I only had a short booking at the arena). I'll have to make it up to him with apples!


The shed is finally finished, and the truck tucked up nice and warm and dry inside it! Fantastic!

October 20, 2008

Waikanae ODT

Sunday it was back in the truck again, not as far this time though (thankfully!). Neo & Violet were both entered in the Training class. We got there nice and early, and nabbed a great spot in the shade under a tree (it was such a hot day).
Dressage went great on both. Violet's test marks were not as good as the test felt, but after reading my sheet and talking to some people who were watching, I think I was not letting her go forward enough. But I was really pleased with how calm and accurate she was throughout the test. Neo's marks were awful as usual, but I'm noticing big changes in him, he didn't rush at all - and a friend who was watching said he was actually starting to look like his trot stride is swinging more these days - yay! Progress is being made. He did great halts again too, so I think that particular nut is cracked.
Showjumping would have been better if I didn't turf off in the warmup! I didn't get Neo warmed up enough and he just sort of stopped in front of a jump and I feel off like a right idiot. He was fine after a few more trot circles to get him a bit better warmed up, poor fella, he probably had no idea what was going on. Collected faults on both of them at the planks, stupid planks! But lovely calm rounds from both, so no complaints from me!
XC was really great. Violet gave me a fantastically easy ride (in her mullen mouth rubber bit!), spooked at the ditch, but then popped over it no worries - and no hesitation at all over the later ditch (palisade). She was great with the corner, water, bank and all those 'crosscountry' type fences. I am really happy with how she went and will aim her for an Open start at the next ODT in a few weeks.
Neo's XC was just supercool. He went clear (timefaults though, but hey, he always gets timefaults). Never even looked at anything the wrong way. I just can't believe this is the same horse that came down to me 11 months ago. I am going to have so much fun on him this season!
Overall Neo came 4th, and Violet 5th! Rosettes for both, yay! And prizemoney, more yay! The ponies with their rosettes at the end of the day, and a pic of me sitting around waiting (this is proof that I need more horses to ride - anyone who has time to sit around doing nothing needs more horses!):

Palmerston North Mini Show

Up at 3am on Saturday to load up Alfie, Neo & Violet and head on up to Feilding. It was a great drive (including the service station attendant giving me heaps of free chocolate, yay) and only took a little while to find the correct entrance to the showgrounds. A few minutes after I'd parked Mum turned up in her truck with Sam. Flat classes were a bit of a non-event, both Sam & Violet went really nicely once worked in, but weren't really in the eye of the judges. Good to get the mileage into them though, and good for me to practise plaiting up, and Mum to practise fitting the false tail! After the flat classes I saddled up Alfie and took him for a wander, he was still quite on edge but overall a far happier horse than when I rode him at Waikanae. At the end of the day Alfie went home with Mum, and he'll have some adult riding club type outings - just really low key stuff - to build his confidence in a show environment.

After all the boring flat classes were out of the way it was time for the fun stuff! Mum had decided that I should take Sam in a jumping class (he hasn't been jumped since Feb!), but I hopped on him and went for a walk around while she headed off to enter me. I popped over a few practise fences and as Mum came back we realised with much horror that the class that was finishing was the one we'd entered! We did a mad rush to learn the course (thanks very much to the people ringside to pointed out the course for me before I headed in), and I went straight in. Sam was a super easy ride and seemed to enjoy a bit of a hoon! We did a clear round then had an instant jumpoff. I hadn't had a chance to try Sam for angles or corners but her performend like a little star. The jumps weren't big, but it was a fantastic effort for a horse who has had a long rest and very little work since then! He ended up coming 2nd place! Me & Sam getting to know each other:

Sam with his pretty blue ribbon in the showjumping, and with Mum before heading into the flat classes (excuse his lack of butt muscle, he has only just come back into work!):

Video of Sam's showjumping round:

Neo & Violet showjumped, and had some really good moments on both of them - but was having one of those days where the horses and I were just consistently seeing different strides which was totally frustrating! On the plus side, they both got me out of some very ugly spots! Neo being a super cute dude, and Violet making light work of the double:
Then there were the truck dramas! Oh man. Mum's truck (the white one) got stuck in the mud at the end of the day, so I had to tow her out with my truck, which took several attempts and broken tow ropes. In the process I got my truck stuck in a different patch of mud... and well... the result.. photos:
and the video too (how shameful!):

Shed update

So the builders have been out a few more times, slowly working away at the shed when the weather behaves. We now pretty much have 3 sides! It's starting to really look like a shed. Thanks to Nick for posing so we could have a shed-size-reference!

October 12, 2008

Western Hills - video

Here is the video of Violet from yesterday in the first jumping class - we're both a little out of practise, but you can see how kind and honest Vi was. It's a 2-phase, so after fence 8 we go straight into the jumpoff (though not much in the way of tight corners due to not having studholes drilled!):

Western Hills Spring Show

Yesterday we headed off to Belmont for the Western Hills show (yay, only a 30 minute drive from my house) but got there and saw some vehicles still parked outside - apparently the locks had been changed? Nobody could get in... we ended up being parked outside (horses still loaded) for 30 minutes and eventually the fire service came out with bolt cutters and opened up the gates for us.. what a drama.
It was my first outing on Violet, and I'd decided to do some flat classes. Please excuse my showjumping helmet while Vi is all 'showhacked up' - my Mum has my show helmet! Thinking she might need some black makeup on her furry little tan muzzle too next time:
Violet and I warmed up, but she was a bit tense. Our first class was rider with perhaps 20 horses, and weaving in between 2 showjumping courses! I think it wasn't the best 'low key' outing - just not the space to think really. So I skipped the next class and just did some more warmup and came back for the Open hack. Vi did a lovely workout including a very nice extension. Piccy of Vi walking, with Sarah & Ned in the background! And Vi's canter in her workout:
The judge placed Violet 3rd in the Open hack, and as Vi got her ribbon she just had to look over and make sure that Neo could see her and be proud of her:
After a break it was time to get underway in the jumping... dressage saddle off and jumping gear on! She warmed up beautifully and even did some very impressive flatwork which people commented on. Swifty took video of our first jumping class, and I'll try and put that on the computer later. It was a 2-phase event in Ring1 and Vi was a real sweetheart. Our jumpoff wasn't super speedy as the ground was very greasy and we didn't have studs in - but we did some angles and she was very honest. Vi came 3rd, out of 20 or 30 starters - I was really stoked:
I also did the circuit class on Violet. We had a rail which was more rider error in striding than anythng else. She seemed happy to pop over everything, didn't look twice at any fill or skinny fences. Had her ears pricked the whole time:
She is a little 'jumping unfit' though, and by the time we left the ring at the end of the circuit round she was feeling a little tired, so I decided to scratch from the last class of the day and go home on a good note before anyone got too tired. Check out the black & white trebble bar - we had a slight arguement over which stride to jump from and I got very left behind!! Vi still hopped over like it was no big deal (I like horses that will put up with a few rider errors and look after us!):
Neo was only showjumping. He also did the Ring1 2-phase class which I will try and get the video of put onto the computer. We also did a small class in Ring2 just to keep his confidence up and have an 'easy' round. He did a nice clear first round and in the jumpoff did some wicked angles and tried to climb over one fence from a halt for me (yeah, we took that rail! But still picked up a pretty lilac ribbon for 5th place). Overall I was really pleased with him. He & Violet both need some mid-week gridwork sessions, but Neo has just become such a brave and obliging horse... so much more confident than last season:
I entered Neo in the circuit too - and he went around very nicely for me. Just cemented for me that I need to practise more 'between the fences' work, and keep his balance. We had a few ugly jumps due to missing lead changes and coming off corners just not quite right (never a good thing on a greasy surface). But mostly he was his usual supercute self:
Judging from the side-on shot here I can tell that I need more jumping fitness/muscle too, in order to get that lower leg secure again:
So that was my day - ribbons for both horses, and it really feels like the season is underway now. Sending cheques off all over the place for entries, and now having some real 'homework' to achieve specific goals on both horses.
Next weekend the plan is a mini show in Palmerston North (if I can find someone to come up with me and share diesel costs), and a one day event in Waikanae. Fingers crossed the weather stays this fantastic.

October 09, 2008

Bloody horses!

I think they read the calendar, you know? And look at what is coming up. Violet sprung a shoe (yes, now... Thursday - with a show on Saturday morning) - so I'll have to head home early, pop her in the truck, and meet her half an hour away where my farrier will be this afternoon.

And Kody tried to whack his leg off last night and came in with a hind leg covered in blood (just after I'd organised his chiro appointment for next week). Luckily he's okay under all that blood which took ages to clean off. And I've put him and Alfie in the fresh grass paddock together so they can chill out.

October 05, 2008

Jumping Violet

I was hoping for good weather today so that I could head down to the arena and do some jumping on Violet. As it turns out I woke up to pouring rain and puddles everywhere, but figured I'd better get off my bum (I guess they're called "all weather" arenas because a little rain isn't meant to be the end of the world!). I was rewarded for my enthusiasm though, as the rain stopped as soon as I got on, and didn't start again till I was driving home - yay!
I took Violet and Neo over to Gray's Rd. They've become fairly attached, and I wanted to see how they would cope travelling together and then not getting to hang out together. I was a bit concerned to begin with as they were calling out to each other non-stop and Vi wasn't listening to me at all. But after about 5 minutes they both settled and we were able to begin a proper warmup:
It was also my first ride on Vi wearing spurs, and I found it made a few things easier (like transitions), but other things harder (like controlling bend, as I think my aids were a bit too strong and I wouldn't always get exactly what I thought I was asking for). But Vi was very patient while we tried out different thing and was certainly attentive at all times.
She's got a lovely easy canter - I can see how she would be a good ride over crosscountry. And she's doesn't pull either, which is nice (as she's only wearing a mullen happymouth and is a big horse!).
After about 15 minutes of warmup I trotted her into a crossbar and she seemed a bit confused! Sort of got right up to it and then realised we meant to go over it (see the pic below!), so then we came back in at a canter and she was on the ball with what was expected. I didn't want to do very much jumping as she's out of practise and I don't want her having sore muscles and deciding that jumping is no fun. So I just popped her through a simple grid two times and left it at that. She has a fab jump in her, absolutely springs over the fences! The red & white in the pic below is the middle element of the grid and is 1.10m and she barely even noticed it. She really seemed to enjoy it too:
So that was it for us for the day. Pics of me with big horse Vi, and her boyfriend Neo:
Now it's time for me to sit down and go through the local schedules and find some jumping shows for Vi! Hopefully we'll get a bit more dry weather too.