April 22, 2009

QEP XC Practise

Just got home from a mid-week cross country practise out at QEP. It was really great to have an opportunity to get some mileage into all the horses, especially before Waikanae ODE coming up this weekend. Swifty and his neice came along to take photos and help out - which was much appreciated with an eventual 5 mounts to get through.
I have changed Dani's feeding regime and he's certainly feeling a lot better under me. A bit more perky in his flatwork and also not getting on the forehand into jumps. He was a lot more fun to ride today and seemed to have sorted out what is wanted of him.
He was great with the ditch combination and did the bank as well. He was a very sweaty boy by the time we finished going around - but he just seemed to be enjoying being out there and doing things which was really great. I hope this newfound energy stays with him! We did some specific practise over skinny fences and worked out that he needs a fairly short/bouncy canter to jump them nicely.. but aside from that one niggle he's a pretty easy dude.
Farrago Bellringer
After Xev's introduction to cross country at an event last weekend I thought it was only fair that she do a practise day and see all sorts of fences in a really laid back situation. I really wanted to school her in the waterjump too - but it was empty of water! We still went through it though, and she seems to understand drops and banks very well now - which I think was part of the confidence problem with dropping into water (as she's cool with creek crossings). Well today she blew me away - cantered straight off the drops without even the slightest falter to her stride!
Sweet with ditches too - I didn't even bother to start with the Training ditch - just went straight for the Novice one and she pricked her ears and popped over. She's such an angel. We did some practise over the corners and a few oxers but I didn't want her to do heaps and heaps - she seems to have it all worked out anyway.
Dick was awesome to warm up amongst the other horses cantering around and didn't seem at all bothered by being somewhere new and different. He was a bit horrified when I cantered him into a cross country fence and almost left all his legs behind the first attempt! But after a couple of fences he soon remembered what this is about.
He did the bank and ditches and a pretty good variety of things, but I mostly kept them pretty low. He wasn't sure about the downhill fences to begin with and got a bit stressed, but his confidence built the whole way around and by the time we got to the last few fences he was feeling like an old hand.
Awatea Sherbet Twist
Neo probably didn't really need an XC practise outing, seeing as I'm not intending on eventing him this season - but I thought it was a good opportunity for him to practise the bank (that is our weak point on the cross country course). He went straight up the bounce no worries (I think he likes that the second element is really just an upright). And we did the larger bank a few times - slightly messy - but he's really getting his landing gear down in time which was the root of our problems.. so I am stoked to see that improvement in him.
I popped him over a few other fences just because we could and he hooned around everything - he was having a blast. Maybe I do need to enter him in just a little ODE somewhere for him to have a low key fun outing?
By the time I'd finished my 4, I'd somehow picked up an extra ride on the lovely Kip. He has a really nice jump in him, and just needs a bit of confidence. I had a wicked time on him.
We did a few basic fences as a warmup, then headed over to the back paddock and did the bank and the ditch complex - he was awesome with the ditch (I wasn't expecting him to just fly straight over it!). I look forward to seeing him with his owner this weekend at Waikanae ODE too.
So a very busy day for me (managed to spend 6 hours at a 2 hour practise day!) - but got stacks acheived and feeling good about how all of the horses are going. Didn't even get too sunburnt. Awesome.