October 12, 2008

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.