January 31, 2009

Pauatahanui Show

Today we headed just down the road to Battle Hill for Pauatahanui Show. Quite a late start, with my rings not starting till 11am! Neo was first to compete, and he was really off-form and arguing with me quite a bit. After the first class I took his martingale off and he seemed a lot happier, but still not 100% so I retired him during his 2nd class and will perhaps do an arena session on him during the week and see if I can pick up what's up with my boy - I don't like seeing the horses unhappy like that! Hopefully it was just a bad day, seeing as he's been going so fantastic lately.
Dee was next up - over in Ring2 (which was on the other side of the grounds! couldn't even see what was going on which made timing things pretty difficult). Dee, as always, did a beautiful round but we didn't place. She is just so easy to jump. I wish all young horses were this easy!
Grace was the last of the bunch (she and Dee only did one class - as I'm taking them out again tomorrow and didn't want to overdo it). She was listening to me so much more, and just seemed a lot more focused on what I was asking her to do rather than the things outside of the jumping ring. She did a super clear round, but we tapped a rail in the jumpoff. I was still really pleased with how she is improving, and also getting towards being able to stand beside the arena and fall asleep (always nice!).
Tomorrow it's a girly outing - with Dee, Grace & Vi doing some XC schooling at Battle Hill... Princess will hopefully come along to watch! I suspect Neo will come and stay tied to the truck - purely because he'd cause a riot if I left him at home and took all his girls out of the paddock!

Meet the new girl

On Friday morning I went and picked up the latest addition to the crew. 'Princess' is a 5yo TB, around 15.2 I would say, maybe a little bigger. She's staying here for a month to get some basic mileage and manners sorted out. She's had her first ride and seen a heap of new things already (2 bridge crossings, a creek, and a noisy road). I'm hoping to take her to Battle Hill this weekend so she can go somewhere else and see lots of other horses around the place. She travelled well alone, and I expect she'll be just as good with the others. So here is Princess:
So Ithought it might be time for a bit of an update for just who we have in the team at the moment!
  1. Violet - Queen of Odenhills, who will keep on doing A&Ps (ring classes and dressage) as well as hopefully a few more eventing starts while she is for sale
  2. Neo - King of Odenhills (by his own appointment!), who is mainly doing showjumping these days
  3. Dee - my little 4yo showjumping superstar will be going up for sale within the next week
  4. Grace - is continuing to get more outings and competition experience under her belt whilst on the market
  5. Kody - lazing about on the hills while some scratches on his back heal (though he will be dragged in to get made beautiful for some in-hand classes at an A&P that's coming up)
  6. Pippa - hmm, supposed to be a plan for this lady! But never seems to happen quite the way we expect.. I expect she'll just stay sitting in the paddock growing bigger/taller by the day
  7. Alfie - over with Mum and getting out to shows to do flat classes most weekends, Alfie will begin jumping within the next month too
  8. Gem - in the paddock recovering from a knock to the leg, and occasionally coming out for in-hand classes to keep her mind busy, as she doesn't like to get bored
  9. Zak - currently being mouthed! we intend to back him before winter, but just a few sits as he's still only a bubs
  10. Princess - beginning her transformation into a useful member of equine society!
  11. Penny - a welshy that Mum often borrows off a friend for in-hand shows
  12. Inky - the 'matched pair' to Penny :)
So that is the team at the moment.. a few who aren't in work, and a bunch who are! Keeping us out of trouble, I guess! With a few of the mares on the market I am keeping an eye out for another couple to join us, Neo tells me he needs his harem fully stocked!

January 25, 2009


Yes, it's that time of year it seems. We did a few truckloads (116 bales) of hay behind the baler today (with the help of some friends) to get us through to the end of the fairly dry summer down here. Now it must be time to start hunting some good baleage for winter

Langdale Sports

Mum had a show on Saturday too - up Masterton way somewhere. It was Alfie's first time out in the showring! He was an absolute honey! Behaved himself, and came home with ribbons! He was doing the showhacks ring and got 3rd in the maiden (which Mum was thrilled with), but then he got called in for the open - and picked up another 3rd! How great. The judge commented on how well-balanced Alfie was (how is this even the same horse that I remember? he's come so far). Pics with his ribbons, and tied to the truck after being washed down:
Lots of people commented on what a pretty boy he is (Alfie likes to hear it!). Mum said his canter is still a little green... but it really sounds like he's on the right track! He will do showhacks again at Masterton A&P and then might start a little bit of jumping (very exciting! I want him to do showhunters).

Upper Valley Equestrian Day

On Saturday I took four down to Trentham for the Upper Valley Equestrian Day. I was by myself, so it was a comparitively early start (leaving my place at 6.15, for a show that's really just down the road!). I had Violet entered in a few flat classes, and Grace entered in one. Of course, the one between! So I had to do a switcheroo of horses in speedytime.

Violet went lovely in the showhacks ring, and came 2nd in both of her classes. Grace stepped up to the mark really well too - coming 3rd in her class (maiden showhack). A good start to the day for us.

Jumping was fairly busy, with all 4 going. Grace did one class in Ring2 showjumping - it was an AM5 and she did a clear first round, then an awesome jumpoff with great turns and angles. She came away from that with a blue ribbon and second place and lots of nice comments from people on the sidelines about how well she did. I had her entered in more showjumping classes, but decided to leave it at that as I was really pleased with her and didn't want to overdo it.

Dee came out for one of the bigger Ring2 showjumping classes and did a super clear first round - which was spoiled only by the silly rider on top taking a raised oxer in the jumpoff a little too cheaply and taking the back rail. Still over the moon with both how kindly she goes, but how mature she is about everything. She got a little unsettled ringside this time, so I just kept her walking which she was happy to do on a loose rein... then as soon as she gets into the ring she is just such the little professional. My 4yo superstar I reckon!

Neo was doing showhunters, as a confidence building run after the bigger showjumping he's been doing lately. The first round was fairly ugly (bad distances and the like) but I must say I was really surprised with just how kindly and calmly he was going with no noseband and no martingale... also no bellboots! and he didn't overreach once! It's almost as if that schooling is paying off! The second round was much better - just a little short striding through the final double. But I got what I wanted from it, and can't wait to take him out showjumping again.

Violet had to do showhunter too (because I didn't think I could keep up with 4 horses and 3 rings all at once!) - our first round was a little like Neo's. Just a little uncoordinated on both our parts! The judge also mentioned that I held her back a bit too much, and I needed to let go and just trust her and let her move along at a better pace. So in the next round I focused on that and we did a much much nicer round! I muffed up the striding at that same double, which the judge commented was a shame because otherwise she would have won (and it was the championship class! argh, so angry at myself!). But I think it was a good learning experience for me, and I want to do a bit more showhunter on her now, I think it'll improve our showjumping and let me focus on getting a more free canter and not jamming her up so much. There is another local show with heaps of SH classes next weekend - so I'll enter a few of them!

All up it was a really great day, with all of the horses going great! Bring on the next show!

January 23, 2009

Anti-rub vest

So I am still trying to work out this sewing thing, what can I make that's useful? Then how on earth do I go about making it? So over the past few days I started making an anti-rub vest. I think it's actually turned out pretty well - so I am trialling it on Neo (he doesn't get shoulder rubs, so if he starts to, I'll know I've done something wrong!). If it works, I should be able to make a few - and perhaps even try a full-body liner at some point for the ones doing flat classes. Wish me luck!

January 18, 2009

Waikanae Sports & Welsh Show

I couldn't go! I missed Waikanae Sports as I lost my eftpos cards and driver's license while trying to buy more distance license for my truck. How gutting. But better to stay home than get caught with no licence, not enough KMs on the truck, and no money to pay entries! haha
At least Mum managed to go somewhere. She borrowed a couple of welshies from her landlord (thanks Nicola!) and took them down to a local breed show! Yes, Mum is going stir-crazy without Sam. Both ponies went well, with Penny winning her class and Inky coming second - though the judge did comment that Inky was very true to the old style welshies and some judges would have given a red ribbon instead.
I think Mum is enjoying this in-hand stuff... so I am thinking that Kody might have to go up to Masterton A&P for the pinto in-hand classes!

January 17, 2009

Levin A&P

Sam was entered for the Saddle Hunter classes at Levin, but due to him selling and heading off to his new home we weren't able to take him. So instead of wasting those entry fees I decided to take Violet up there and do his classes. It was such a sunny day, and surprisingly relaxing (even if the parking area was tiny!).

Violet scrubbed up nicely and took home a ribbon in the turnout, and another in the open saddlehunter. Nothing in the working hunter though, which was a bit sad - but that's showing, isn't it. Violet was a lot more focused on me even in her warmup, which was good to see. I no longer have her paddocked with her boyfriend (Neo) and I think that is making the world of difference.

We were finished before lunchtime! With only one horse in those few classes it was a very lazy day for me. I also got to meet Helena (Gem's old owner) which was fab - and her horse is a stunner! Such a lovely built fella for a baby (he's only 5). I can't wait to get Gem up & running again so Helena can see how miss Gem does in her new life as a part-time saddle hunter and part-time eventer!

Sam sold

Well Sam has been sold to a wonderful new home in the south island. He headed off late in the week and has arrived with his new mommy & daddy safe and sound. He will be missed, but at the same time we are excited to get updates on his new life.

January 15, 2009

Arenatime for Grace

Today I took Grace down to the arena to get some more jumping mileage into her before Waikanae on Sunday, and also to get some photos in preparation for her sale advert. I didn't take any of the other horses, but she wasn't fussed by that and loads & travels just as well alone or with the team. Her flatwork is really coming along, I think her muscles are starting to build up and she's using herself better.
She was really relaxed about being somewhere different and focused on her work. I notice too that her ears aren't back as much these days - she must be starting to enjoy the routine & the work! Or perhaps just enjoying the big feed after it all?
No refusals or runouts or anything silly while jumping. She had a wee look at the first jump we came into (it had roadcones under it), but leg on and she just popped it happily. She's actually a lot more honest and brave than I had originally thought. I took her over as many different fills and 'scary' things as I could piece together in the arena and there were no troubles at all. Her technique isn't as tidy as I'd really like, however this is only her second time jumping in the past 2 years - so I think as her bum muscles improve it will be easier for her to really push off her quarters and snap her front end up. In the meantime she tries to make up for it with a little extra air, which is cute.
I'm having a ball with her flying changes, you can either ride them or sit there and wait for her to do them automatically after the bend of your corner has changed. What also surprised me today was how adjustable she is - I could place her really easily into the fences, and near the end of the session I put up a few a little bigger and she was listening the whole way in and changing her striding by my seat aids only. I think she will be fab for some showhunter classes - might have to enter some at Waikanae.
Her tail is starting to get cleaner too!! The others just had rides at home today - earlier in the week I schooled them all bareback (I never want to canter Violet bareback again! She doesn't have the wither for it!) - it was really interesting because I could feel so much more.. it's been a while since I've properly schooled Neo bareback and his muscles have developed heaps, he's coming in under himself and striding out now.

January 11, 2009

Western Show

On Friday Alfie continued his education... at a Western show! Mum was heading there with a friend, so decided to take Alfie along. He went for a trip on Mum's truck, then on Elizabeth's truck - and he saw the farrier for a shoe he'd tossed off... and even had a western saddle on and pretended to be a quarter horse!
He was an angel the whole time and is starting to be extremely settled in new places and show situations. He's in work at the moment and will have his first flat classes this month! He's rather bum-high at the moment, so we will see how he muscles before deciding to start him over fences or not.

January 10, 2009

Hutt Valley Jumping Day

Went down to Belmont today for a jumping day. Turned out to be a fairly laid back day, as the 2 grey girls only did practise rounds. Mum had thought about bringing Sam & Alfie for me to ride as well, but didn't - so I was quite lucky with not much to do at all (even got home pretty early too!).
Started with Grace (her owner Kerry came to watch too). She's always really good with the showday stuff (travelling & standing at the truck), and she warmed up fine too. So we started with a practise round in the little SJ ring. It was awful! Poor Grace, it's been 2 years since she has jumped! It took a while to get into the swing of things, but by the second half of the round things were beginning to flow. Pics of mounting from the truck (cause I'm short!) and Grace's first fence in the arena (so messy!):
Then we headed to the showhunter ring to do a practise in there, and by this stage Grace was remembering what this jumping stuff was about and starting to get tidier with her legs and quite brave with the fillers and weird looking jumps that the SH rings always seem to have. We took her back into the SJ ring again and did pretty much a perfect round. I was really pleased with that! She does lovely flying changes too, and has a nice rythmic stride, so I think she'll do nicely in the showhunter ring at competitions.
So that was Grace for the day, and time to saddle up the next grey girl. Dee has had a week off with a cut on her leg, so I didn't want to overdo it. We only did one showhunter practise, and she didn't put a foot wrong. She is such a honey! I can't believe she's only 4 - she's so honest and sensible!
Just as I was getting Violet & Neo ready for their Ring1 classes Mum turned up to watch and help me get the horses warmed up. Violet did a nice first class (TA2) though we didn't really try for the corners/speed as I just wanted a nice tidy round.
We also did the circuit, but lost a bit of oomph - Mum has suggested that maybe Vi is lacking a bit of energy, so have upped her feed to see if that just puts the final polish on things. She has such an awesome jump and makes things feel effortless, so I really want to be able to make the most of that and start to put her over a few bigger tracks too.
Neo was a superstar today.. listening perfectly like he'd started to do at Kyrewood - and he was like that for every round today. I was over the moon. He was 1 second off the time in the first class due to a wide corner I'd taken into an oxer. He's really starting to feel so much more confident with the Ring1 heights now. He got into the jumpoff in the circuit too! But I retired him in the jumpff as the fences were just feeling a bit too big for him and because he's so sensitive I don't want to hurt his confidence. We still came 6th in the circuit! So pleased with him! I think that is his first ever Ring1 ribbon!
Couple more pics of cute Mr Neo:
Neo with his pretty rosette... and Nick who volunteered to run the sausage sizzle for the day! As well as fitting in taking pics for me! Yay.
Loaded up and came home shortly before the rain started. A pretty good day all-up, I think! Heading off to a car trackday tomorrow to support Nick - and next outing for the horses will probably be a midweek arena visit, so I'll hopefully have another update then!

January 06, 2009

Post Xmas Update

Well Christmas and the New Year have come and gone, and so I figured it was about time for an update on the farm-related stuff that's happened over the holidays. Firstly Mum & her truck got a Christmas present of a stereo (her truck had none at all!). I got to pick the headunit and speakers, while Nick got to work on wiring things up & fabricating boxes/holders and Swifty helped with the in-cab electrical stuff.
There were a few stumbling blocks, but we got it all together just in time for Mum to head back to Masterton, listening to trackside (instead of the usual silence). We also finally got the farm name on the side of the truck which looks rather swanky!
The house did well this year for presents! It got some new tools, and also (belated gift) a ladder! We've been needing a ladder for absolutely ages. Brad has been hard at work improving the garden - and so far he's been the only person brave enough to test the ladder. I'm trying to think of an excuse though, it's one of the multi-position ladders... surely I need to use it as some sort of scaffolding for something? Perhaps a makeshift mounting block?
I got a sewing machine from Mum for Christmas. I've never had a sewing machine... so I had to wait till yesterday night to even get someone to show me how to thread it! All a very new experience for me. But I managed to thread it again when I got home, so I am learning! And I finished stitching up a tailbag I was hand-sewing (much quicker with a machine!), and tonight I did a proof-of-concept for some things I'm hoping to make. I made a pillowcase with ribbons (yes, I used 4ths in case I fuffed it up! lol). I think it came out ok for my first sewing experience!
Well that's about it - hopefully I'll have a horse-related update soon! And I'm off to view one tomorrow who might be coming for some schooling, fingers crossed it's a fun one! It's a mare, so I'm bound to like it.