November 29, 2008

Lazy Weekend

Took the team down to the arena, with Brad coming along as photographer for the session. It was stinking hot by the time we started at 10am (not complaining though!). Rode Dee first up, she's been starting to work in a nicer outline, and accept the contact a lot better - but still isn't quite seeking the contact. Certainly improving though!
I'm really pleased with how active and forward she is in her work, even today when she was a little tender (as I have whipped her front shoes off to try and trim them into a bit better shape before popping shoes back on):
We did just a couple of jumps, and she was good - but I wasn't keen to do too much while she was a little ouchy on her toes (and I notice in the photos her knees aren't up as nicely as they usually are - so I may be putting shoes back on a little earlier than I'd first thought - will monitor over the coming week and make a decision). She is such a willing horse to ride, I really enjoy her, and of course it helps that she's so pretty!:
Finished with Dee and took her back to the truck where the others were waiting (Violet was just along for the ride, no schooling for her today - just hacking out this weekend... but I thought she'd like to come for the drive). Kody-pants was next up:
I am thrilled with how Kody is looking. He's been getting visits from Fenella of and while there were no big issues, he has really filled out heaps since the first treatment from Fenella with a few adjustments and exercises she has given us to do at home to complement the chiro work she does:
Kody looking cute:
After some flatwork I took Kody over a crossrail and he overjumped it by a lot, so I took him over a pole on the ground which he kept leaping over and we did that until he was settled and just walking & trotting over it. He's a really lovely jumper, but I do worry that the overjumping will give him a fright - so I'm trying to build his confidence with the tiny fences and just let him work out that it's no big deal:
I haven't jumped Neo (aside from at shows) for quite a while, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to have a cruise around and just hop over a few things and give us both a reminder for our striding through the grids. Neo warming up:
Over the corner and the fake liverpool:
Taking Neo through the related lines he was striding everything perfectly (a far cry from Mr Choppy Strides when I got him), but through the grid I found he was standing off the last a bit and flattening a little? I will try and do some work at home between poles and adjusting his striding, then hopefully head out to the arena again in the coming week to do some more gridwork. I'd really like to take him a little higher than the 1.10m he's currently competing to, but I want to make sure that he is going to meet the fences right, as I'm not too keen on heading him around 1.15 or 1.20 and getting to the last of a trebble on a half stride. I do love how tidy he is over his fences though. Such a cute man:
Packed up and headed home (Kody now self-loading on the truck, and Dee slowly getting more confident with loading). Was thinking about going to the arena again tomorrow, but I think I have a list of 'homework' stuff to do before I head out there again - so will busy myself with that!

November 27, 2008


As Mum has several horses up and going at the moment, we have made the decision to put Pippa on the market. So I gave her a hose, detangled her tail (the tail alone took about 30 minutes!), gave her a quick haircut and took her up to the house for some photos:

November 22, 2008

Saddle Up Show

No shows for me this weekend (supporting Nick having his first shot drag racing his car). We were in Masterton, and Nick's RX-7 ran a 13.89 seconds which I think is a pretty good time and put him in the top half of his class overall. Lining up for a run & me being an idiot:
Meanwhile Mum was over in Feilding at the Saddle Up 40th anniversary show. It's Mum's birthday today and she certainly knows how to celebrate in style! Coming home with a bunch of ribbons including first place in the rider class, champion of her division on Sam, and first place in her baby-size showjumping! (she hasn't ever jumped Sam before, not even at home). So that was a fantastic result! We stuck around in Masterton to say Happy Birthday to Mum after, and both she and Sam were super tired, but pleased with the day. Sam's stack of ribbons, and me having a cuddle with Zakky:
A great day all-around I think! And I also got to meet Kaz from the horsetalk board! Yay.

November 18, 2008


Went to the arena on Sunday to watch my friend Alicia ride a couple of her horses, and she even let me have a ride on her wee arab pony, Taani. So much fun! Check out lil Taani (and those fantastic knees!):
Now... where can I get me a pony of my own?

November 16, 2008

Solway HT

Friday afternoon I packed up at work, got a pickup from Swifty and headed home to get the horses ready for the weekend. When Nick & Brad got home I was able to finish topping up the oil on the truck (not really a one-person job as I confirmed!). Loaded up Sam, Violet & Neo and headed off to Masterton (yes, again!).
Once I got to Masterton Mum arrived with hay and helped get the horses settled in for the night. Once waters and feeds were done and everyone's legs were wrapped for the night it was 10.30 and I was just too tired to even consider walking my crosscountry courses!
Up at 5am Saturday (when sleeping in the truck, and too lazy to close the curtains, you can't help but wake up when the sun does!).. I gave the horses a hand-pick of some fresh grass and then set off to walk the xc courses. Training looked quite nice, and Violet's OpenNovice course had a lot of combinations and some technical parts, but aside from being scary - everything did look jumpable. So I headed back to the truck and started tacking up.
Mum turned up just as I was getting on Sam ('her' horse). He was easier to ride in the dressage saddle - but I still think I'm not really tough enough on him! I don't really force him to work, and some of the test sheet comments echoed that. He goes nice and kind, but there is room for a bit more 'flash' there:
Neo was next up.. his flatwork was still very unsettled like last weekend. I'm not sure exactly what to focus on, as he was really softening and going great at the start of the season. I might need to do a bit more schooling and a bit less fitness work on him (he's certainly not lacking fitness!). But he still gets points for being a total cutie:
Violet warmed up superb for her test, though I was a bit intimidated as her class (Open Novice) was full of Intermediate eventers! We were in the sand arena too, which I hate. Violet put in some really lovely work and got lots of nice comments from the judge and picked up 3rd place in the dressage which was certainly not bad against such good company:
Showjumping for the boys was very uneventful - just nice clear rounds from both of them over a lovely inviting course. Violet's SJ was in the main ring and the surface was very slick - we had studs in (but only a few) and she was virtually skating around. She slipped once, and felt unsure of her footing for the rest of the round, so after we finished that I decided to withdraw her before the crosscountry. Just not worth the risk with such a lovely kind mare. There was a farrier on the grounds and I could have tried to get some additional studholes drilled, but it all would have been a last minute panic, and not really what we needed right before facing the XC. So, quite a bummer to go all that way and not complete - but Violet didn't look too fussed at all as she stood around eating grass for the rest of the day!
The boys both did fantastic in the XC. Sam was out first and is still coming to grips with these odd solid fences I keep cantering him towards - but it was great to get him out there and show him another bunch of new things... He was far more confident than last weekend too - tackled the water and banks happily and kept his footing really well the whole time.
Neo I was a bit nervous about, as last time I did this course on him I was doing a lower class, but one of the jumps is shared - it's a combination wall/staircase - and last time we had a nosediving rotational fall (not fun). So I rode him really backwards into it and we just sort of came to a halt in front of it, but once I pulled my socks up and let him canter into it he hopped up the full size straight through option like a real professional... then blasted around the rest of the course like a piece of cake. Really pleased with how much self-confidence Neo has picked up too.
My dressage scores kept me out of the money, but I'm wrapt with how the boys went and I managed to get home on Saturday evening before dark (yay!). Also Sam went home with Mum, so that she can take him out to a few shows over the next few weekends and maybe have a go at jumping him too! So Sam loaded up at the end of the day with Alfie (who Mum had brought out for a look-see, and he behaved like an angel all day).
Quick vid of Sam & Neo at the water jump:

November 12, 2008


After raining all day it finally fined up enough in the evening to take the horses for a nice big hill ride. I started with Neo (riding) and Violet (led) - they were both feeling a bit lazy which is unusual for them... maybe muscles still a bit sore from eventing at the weekend? I know mine are! But they perked up pretty quickly and had a great trot around - we even saw a bunch of deer, at which point Neo about had a heart attack!
I got back to the yards and gave Neo & Vi their dinner, then decided to take Sam (riding) and Dee (led) out together. I hadn't pony'd them together before, so wasn't sure how that would go - but they were great! Dee trotted along to keep up with Sam's huge strides, and on the downhills Sam was really slow to Dee had a chance to get her breath back. Those two were full of beans for the entire ride. No deer sightings with them though - just a few lambs.
L to R: Violet, Neo, Dee, Sam:
I didn't take Kody up on the hills last night, but I am considering taking him for a short walk in the paddock with Pippa on the lead, see if that improves her confidence with new things. Kody was supposed to have his chiropractor type lady out again this week, but I can't get the time off work to be at home for it - so I guess we'll have to wait till she's down next week.

November 10, 2008

Battle Hill ODT

I had entered four horses for the One Day Event at Battle Hill on Sunday, so decided to make a bit of a day of it (and con some people into helping at the same time). Mum came down from Masterton to groom, Nick & Brad came along to support, and Rachel even came to support Violet! We had the couch out beside the truck in the sunshine, a few cases of beer... ...and then by the end of the day I had 4 very tired, but very special horses - one ribbon each!
I've had Dee a week now, and haven't had a chance to jump her - but I had seen her out and about with her previous owner Karina and knew she would be fine to compete. She was a bit of a snot to load, but got on the truck eventually and travelled well. She warmed up for the dressage really calmly and seemed happy as larry to trot into the arena:
A fair amount of her work was above the bit, but occasionally she would settle and work in a really nice outline and she's got a lovely active trot. Her dressage test sheet was full of nice comments too, which is always great to get.
She was perfect for the showjumping. I popped her over a crossrail and she cleared it by a mile, and we slowly worked out each other a little better. She does a lovely flying change and the intro jumps were hardly even registering on her radar.
More cute photos of little Dee:
She was a bit less sure of herself in the cross country, just a little wobbly - but she popped over everything for a lovely clear round under the time... which made for a double clear finishing on her dressage score and picking up 4th place in the Intro section.
Neo did an unsettled dressage, but is really coming into his own on the cross country and did a clear round with no time faults! His stride is really starting to open out too. I'm so pleased with him.
Neo's showjumping was good, we tapped a light rail that at least half of the class took. He did the striding in the double perfectly too. I can't believe how much he has changed and grown up! Neo came home with a yellow ribbon for 3rd place in the Training division.
I had my first dressage test with Sam. It was a nice enough test, but lacked the 'polish' that I know he has. I need to ride him a lot stronger with my legs and really get him working under himself and bending properly! He is accustomed to far longer legs, so I am going to have to perhaps try riding him in the dressage saddle to get a longer leg against him. He was nice and easy though, so that was nice - and he came 2nd in the dressage.
His cross country was good. I had to remember that he hasn't seen a solid fence for a few years! He had a good look at the water, and also had some trouble with the downhills (slipped after a fence) - I need to put studs all around! He only had back ones in and I think with his huge hooves he really needs front studs as well. He went around the XC in a snaffle with a cavesson noseband and was easy to control even for the skinny fences, so that was great! Showjumping was nice and easy for him (though I got left behind into the double and he had to get me out of trouble). Sam came 4th in Training.
We didn't get any photos of Violet, as she was first up for everything, and the photographers weren't quite ready. She did a lovely dressage test loaded with nice comments (as she usually does), then cantered happily around the XC - we stumbled in the bog around one of the chevrons and had to reapproach at a trot to get over it nicely, but Violet gave me a really nice run around the Open track. I don't enjoy riding XC - but Violet certainly makes it easy and I cantered on the buckle for a few of the long stretches. Violet came home with a blue ribbon for 2nd in the Open. I was really pleased with that - she has picked up a ribbon in both our eventing starts together, and now we're all geared up to give Novice a try this coming weekend.
I got a little bit of video of each of the horses on the XC too: