March 09, 2009

Bideford Sports

Headed up to Bideford on Saturday. It's a little bit north of Masterton, so ended up having to get up at 3 and on the road about 4am! Swifty came along, and we were set to meet up with Mum there. We ended up being the first to arrive, but that was good because it had only just got light and meant that I could plait Beau and take him in a ring class. I only did the maiden, and didn't even have a dressage saddle in the truck - so we just went in our jumping gear. I still think he looked very handsome though!
For his first time doing flat classes he was really quite good with all the other horses. It all turned to custard for a bit when another horse rammed into his bum, but I guess these are the things that we need to learn to deal with (and the reason we take green horses in flat classes! the best way to learn their manners for tight showjumping warmup areas!). Sadly Beau didn't even get called in but I was happy with him. I'd also popped an entry in for the "handy hunter" jumping event, but there were 2 lowered barbed wire spars, and a full wire. I wasn't keen on jumping wire (let alone when the top wire is barbed!) so we scratched from that. Beau must have thought this was all rather odd to get tidied up and just do one class then go back to the truck! Mum had a quick potter around on him too and he didn't seem at all phased by having a different rider - so that is good to know.
Mum and Alfie did the rest of the flat classes (certainly can't go in Maiden anymore!). Alfie was going nice enough, but a bit inconsistent in his contact at the walk (one of the flat classes was judged entirely at the walk as well... I think best combination?).
Alfie certainly seems to have grown up a lot. He still likes to have a good look around when you first get on at shows, but he's just so much more relaxed about the whole environment now. Mum ended up with some 3rd placings (open hack - where he did a lovely tidy workout, and something else? maybe p&m).
I'd entered Alfie for an intro ODE on Sunday. We were hoping that Mum would get a chance to lunge him over some small jumps (he's not jumped before at all!) but where she was grazing him is in the middle of changing hands and all the jumps were taken away before she got a chance. She assures me that she'd jumped him over some thistles, but I'm not sure that counts! So we spied a SJ practise fence that nobody was using and I went and got my back protector. The first few attempts (just over a teeny crossrail) were pretty horrid! It certainly took quite a while for him to work out where to put his legs. Interestingly he seemed more comfortable jumping from a canter (but also less precise when we cantered in, and would sometimes veer almost into the jumpstand!). After 5 minutes though he was kindly popping over a little crossrail 'pseudo spread' fence. Decided to leave it at that as he was trying his little heart out and didn't want to spook him.
Neo was doing his first showjumping course since January! I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but he was jumping really nicely. He seemed to be happy taking the longer stride (which is something that had been slowly improving this season) and also seemed just so much more bold than he has before. I was stoked.
We demolished a jump in the TYOL (just came in way way too fast) but he just kept going and didn't let it phase him at all. He's really maturing a lot. I am all enthusiastic about getting him out to more shows again - as he's such a pleasure to ride. I can mostly just sit there which is a nice 'rest' for me after the greenies! So no ribbons for us this time, but stoked with how the horses went.
Prince & Princess weren't doing any classes - but had come along for the trip. They both stood tied to the truck eating their hay all day without fuss. At the end of the day Mum left Alfie with me so I could take them all over to Masterton to stay the night at Solway for the ODE the following day. Got them all unloaded at Solway and into yards and was so tired from the day that I had a nap before feeding them!