December 29, 2008

Kyrewood - Violet

Violet was entered in the hunter ring on Saturday - she warmed up lovely, but got a little tense in the first class with the other horses cantering up past her.. though she quickly remembered that this is all normal and what flat classes are all about.. and settled right back into her usual self. We weren't able to get any pics of the first few classes, as Swifty was helping Alicia with 2 mounts on the other side of the grounds - but their classes wrapped up in time to get over with the camera for some of the jumping workouts.
Violet's jumping workouts were absolutely stunning. She just cantered into the fences like clockwork and mooched around on a loose rein after the last fence. A lot of horses were pulling and fighting, so I was very pleased to be on probably the most laid back jumper in the entire field of 20 or 30 horses!
After some jumping workouts were did some more flat. It made for a really long/tiring day (as we'd do a jumping workout, then flat, then workouts or placings or each class... then repeat all over for the next class! I didn't realise we would be doing so much jumping).
Violet was very consistent, and picked up 2 first placings, as well as 4 other placings in the hunter classes. Even when she was starting to get a bit tired, she was still really attentive and kept her transitions tidy and her ears flicking back and forth listening to a mix of my riding and also whatever I was chatting to her about white trotting and cantering around.
We were called in for the championship for the Working Hunter and Violet did a lovely workout, but we just got pipped by Lydia Fullerton-Smith's lovely gelding. Violet still picked up the Reserve Champion title, which is great as Kyrewood is a HoY qualifier show - so we're halfway qualified now. The judge commented that she found it very difficult to pick between us and she really loved the way Violet jumps (she even said that Violet is exactly the type of horse she'd love to have for herself, which is always a fantastic compliment!). Violet doing her lap of honour, and then posing with her haul of ribbons from the Hunter classes:
Sunday Violet did a showjumping class, but felt a little flat - so I decided just to takeher in the Open RTR, then scratch her from the rest of our classes... Then class clashes saw us miss the RTR class which was an absolute bummer! Still, I think Violet had a very busy weekend with more than enough jumping.
When we unloaded at home on Sunday night Violet was super excited to be home and hooned up the top of the paddock with Neo. I am really pleased with how all the horses did this weekend, and the great results to back it up.
The next scheduled show for us is January 10th I think - just a local showjumping day. So today all the horses just get a walk and a stretch, but then it's back to business as I'd also like to get in a day of jumping schooling before the 10th.

Kyrewood - Dee

Dee had a trot around the grounds on Saturday after I'd ridden Neo- she had a good look at everything and took it all in, but doesn't shy or spook - so we didn't have a long ride, just enough to make sure she was feeling good and no more owchies from the seedy toe she'd had earlier.
On Sunday Dee's classes started a bit later than my other rings, so I had her saddled up and tied to the truck for quite a while - but she stands there really well (though she did keep pulling all the hay out of her haynet, throwing it under the truck, then looking at me as if she was hungry). Our warmup area was crowded at times, and Dee got a little distracted by some of the bucking and whatnot that happens at the practise fences in the baby showjumping rings - but it didn't take long to get her focused on just trotting around calmly:
The course was very nicely presented and I didn't think Dee would have any troubles with it. She popped over the practise fence happily, and did a super double-clear in the first class. We trotted into the first fence, but after that she cantered happily and never worried about any of the various fillers. In the instant jumpoff I asked her to do a few angles and she was happy to do that very calmly.
Our 2nd class was a TA2 (speed event) which Dee also won with some lovely tight turns and angles. As she is so calm I have found her really easy to turn in the air or do tighter rollbacks than I normally would on a young horse. It really helps that she has a lovely established flying change too, so her balance is always set up for the turn.
Our last class of the day Dee pulled out another super round, but in the jumpoff I took one of the fence just a bit too cheaply and my leg clipped the wing and we just took the top rail. I was still over the moon with how honest she was, and she didn't even seem to be getting too physically tired from the work - but starting to get a bit mentally overloaded by this point and falling asleep anytime I stood her still!
The fantastic placings in the first 2 events meant that Dee also picked up the points prize for our ring, completely with a stunning trophy:
Very pleased with how Dee is doing, and that she is such an easy horse to ride and handle. She is quite bum-high at the moment too, which is good, as she must be headed for a growth spurt... and looking at the difference bum to wither I think after a short rest while the ground is hard, then some more shows in the second half of this season - then a good winter break on nice grass... I think she will go 16hh which is really fantastic! She can start to grow into her head!

Kyrewood - Neo

Neo didn't do anything on Saturday - but stayed in the nice shaded yards beside Dee. I took him for a ride around the grounds on Saturday afternoon once all of the classes had finished and he was feeling really good (perhaps a little full of himself? haha) - but he was striding out and just so much happier than at QEP. So I think he's back to his normal self, yay.

Just as I was putting Neo away for the night, Nick turned up after being over in Masterton at the drag racing event over there, and checking on the horses at Mum's place (Gem and Zak can get into quite a bit of trouble when unsupervised!). The unexpected visit was a really nice surprise, and so after packing the horses away with their dinner and drinks, the 4 humans headed over to the BBQ that Kyrewood hosted for competitors, which was great fun.

Unfortunately, after dinner Swifty wasn't feeling too well- so he had to head home. But Nick stayed on overnight and also for the first half of Sunday to take a few photos which was very much appreciated.

Our first showjumping on Sunday was in Ring1. Neo warmed up quite well - but still very full of beans and leaping off the long stride whenever he could get away with it. I tried to not discourage him though, as it's something we've been working on for ages (he used to get in under the jumps quite a bit).

He didn't bat an eyelid about any of the fillers or the wall or anything like that. We took a couple of rails just through not getting our striding correct - but got better & better through the round. And of course he came out of the ring with twice as much energy as he entered with!

We decided to take advantage of this newfound longer stride, and did the Open round the ring. It was a really unusual course, with a mix of knock-down fences, XC fences, and brush fences. Neo had a ball of a time hooning around:

Later in the afternoon I had another showjumping round on Neo, and we were really starting to get it together. I sort of sat there like a dummy for the first few fences, and then as we headed toward the third fence I could see our stride was off, and I sat up to shorten him and he just adjusted straight away and met the fence perfectly. The rest of the round was just absolutely magical - a huge step for Neo & I and it makes me realise that the more work I put into getting all that basic schooling right, the more he rewards me with an easier horse to ride.

Kyrewood - Grace

Friday (Boxing day) we packed up the truck to head up to Kyrewood. 5 horses and 3 humans, and we were on our way up to Kyrewood. We arrived while it was still light and very sunny/warm.. popped the horses into their yards with dinner and attempted to make dinner for ourselves (I do not recommend cooking quiche in a frypan). Saturday morning started off very early, but you could tell the sun was going to come out scorching for the day.
Alicia had come up with her horse, Amy - and I'd had Alicia scheduled in to ride Kody for me in the pleasure hack classes (as I'm not eligible)... seems that Kody had other plans and got a little cut on his back a few days before which put him out of action. So the newest of the clan, Grace, had to step in!
Grace is 10, but hasn't had a lot of outings. The longish journey in the truck, plus staying overnight, then a busy showgrounds with loudspeakers and decorations around the place could easily have been a good excuse for her to misbehave. Instead, Grace really kept her head screwed on. She took the first class to get accustomed to the other horses crowding her but then settled in nicely and got called in for a few classes as well:
Gracey was only entered in a few flat classes (just taking the entries I'd originally done for Kody) -but they weren't one after the other. So she had a lot of standing outside the ring, and rider hopping on and off. Swifty was taking photos for me (as I was on the other side of the grounds doing Hunter classes), so he had to take photos and hold horses - but luckily both Grace and Amy behaved well ringside and mostly just went to sleep. A few more pics of Grace in the ring:
This was Alicia's first ever ride on Grace, and I was pleased with how the combination went. I was also itching to see what Grace was like to ride in the show atmosphere myself, so I hopped on later and had a little trot around... she was a bit stiff/tired by this stage, but still calm and easy.
Because Grace was so good I can't wait to get her down to the arena for a reminder of what jumping is all about, so that I can get her out to some local showjumping and showhunter competitions.
Grace didn't have any classes on Sunday, and spent pretty much the whole of the day in the yards without any company (except for a few haynets!) and didn't call out to other horses or make a fuss. She was quite tired by the time we got home last night though, I think it was a pretty full-on weekend for her, even though she didn't do many actual classes.

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

The horses have all been ridden and fed, the sun is out - and it's looking to be a lovely day for Christmas. Best wishes to you all from us all here at Odenhills.

December 23, 2008

Everyone's here

It feels like everyone is here, or on their way, at the moment! Grace is on the farm, the truck is back, I even think Alfie may come back over the Christmas break to gear up for a few shows in the New Year. Christmas is coming up, and we're hosting the meal here this year - so there will be a bunch of extra humans too! Crazy stuff.
Violet is getting tubby, think she needs more fitness work on the hills! And Neo has been super-good lately, I've been getting stuck into some schooling instead of the mainly hacking & fitness regime that he has. Dee has just gotten over a bit of seedy toe and is working really well under saddle - still building those muscles to use herself, but she is really trying hard which is nice. Kody has got some scratches on his back (I think from standing under a tree and having a nice itch/rub?) but that means he's out till they heal. Pip has been doing some more basic handling work with her legs/feet.
Gave Grace a good workout today, up and down the driveway full of scary new things, through the creek and all sorts. She was very cautious to begin with, but once she got working she was focused and easy. Pics trotting, and also canter on a loose rein:
She still has a filthy tail though... but I am slowly getting it whiter! Should have it done in time for her classes at Kyrewood on Saturday.

December 20, 2008

New Horse! Grace

Grace is a 10yo mare who will be coming to join the team for a short while to be sold on behalf. I'm hoping to get Grace out to a few shows and little 'roadtrips' over the next 2-3 weeks! Here are a few pics I snapped of Grace with her owner when I went to meet them both:
Not much to update for the rest of the team, nothing this weekend for us - so having a bit of a lazy one and getting some housekeeping done (both trucks just passed CoFs and things like that which are always a nightmare to find time to do). Next outing for us is Kyrewood in between Christmas & New Years. Mum will be on holiday, so Alicia will again be coming out to assist!

December 14, 2008

Horowhenua ODT

A bit of a mixed bag today - but good to get out again after a few weeks with no competitions for me! Neo got his highest dressage score ever (60-something percent!), and a few encouraging comments from the judge, which is always nice. His bend was improved over the last few outings, but quite uneven contact (might be time for a visit to the dentist?):
Violet did a nice test, but scores not fantastic. That put us a bit above mid-field, but certainly not her usual top-3 dressage placing, which was a bit of a bummer as I was really pleased with the test! The sheet didn't seem to pinpoint anything specific either, so suspect I will have to keep aiming to improve my arena-craft to pick up those few marks I might be losing for not quite hitting the marker in some of my transitions. Good to have things to work on. Miss Vivi:
Showjumping for Neo was good. His first time being fully studded up (8 studs! gawd if that didn't take me half of forever to do this morning) and I did feel like he was more secure in his footing, not scrambling around the corners quite so much. I was really pleased with his SJ round:
Violet's SJ was after her crosscountry and she was quite tired, but got around - just tapped a couple rails in the process. I'm happy with that - as the day was quite demanding for her, and her level of fitness isn't as high as ideally I would have liked it to have been due to being busy wrapping things up at work etc. One thing I did notice was that her flying changes in the SJ are getting more automatic too, so that is good, I feel like it means she is listening to what I want to do rather than just relying on her own (really good) balance. Vivi showjumping plus bonus pic of me with antlers at lunchtime:
Then it was crosscountry time. Violet was such a good girl! First she let me dress up like a fool on her, then for the XC she didn't have studs in and due to her not being super fit we decided to really baby around the course and she was absolutely perfect! Cantered around on a soft contact the whole way and came back to a walk when I was nervous about some big downhill slopes. SuperVi:
She got me home nice and safe, but due to our babying we did get rather a pocketful of timefaults to put us out of contention of any placings:
Neo's XC started well - his warmup was really cruisy as he always tends to be... but once we came out the start box he just didn't seem right at all and we were chipping into some fences and overjumping others - so I decided to retire him before I even got halfway around. I'm glad I did, as after the trip home he came off the truck looking very unlike himself - no energy and not very alert. Have got a few things I want to do to see if I can sort out what the issue is - hopefully get to the bottom of it quickly as it's no fun when my Neo isn't happy. XCNeoSanta pics:
Kody had come along for the drive today and behaved like a gentleman all day, not getting upset when horses were coming and going, and no worries with the trams passing by where he was tied up.
So yeah, a bit of a mixed bag - but overall I'm happy. I have things to work on and fix, and the horses really seem to be trying their hardest to please which makes everything much more pleasant.