May 31, 2009


What a day! Pouring overnight, and then when it finally stopped I got out of bed and brought the horses in. Only to have it start hailing on us all as soon as I'd taken all their rugs off. Put a rug back on each of them and loaded up Gem, Dix, Xev, Coco & Neo to head down to the arena.
Coco loaded very nicely, just walked up the ramp slowly and calmly. Unloaded well at the other end - though her eyes were on stalks a bit! I put her in a small yard and tied her up in there, instead of having her tied to the truck (the arena has open gates right on to a busy road and I didn't want her to take fright at something and pull back, then end up loose on the roads of Wellington!). She was very relaxed, though timid, as I saddled her. And not too fussed when I led her around the arena.
So I decided to hop on and have my second ever ride on her. She backed up a little as soon as I got on her, but calmed down quickly and was happy to walk around.
Almost as soon as I started riding her around we got hit by a massive hailstorm! Coco did very well to not fuss about the crazy amounts of noise and also the cutting hail that was getting us both in the face!
Finally the sun came out again and I tried a little canter on each rein. She still doesn't seem to 'get' the canter... but doesn't put up any fuss - just takes a bit of effort to sustain the canter. She was sweaty after that so I hopped off her and put her away. Very pleased with how she is going!
Gem, after being such a tart to pick up yesterday from Masterton was quite a doll today. She has had about 6 weeks off and you can really tell! She was full of beans. But she behaved and I think she enjoyed being out and about.
Got to do some work on getting her to move forward - at the moment she is so excited to be in work that she's wasting energy with little steps. I have the farrier booked in, and getting some front shoes back on her should help heaps too.
Xev had a ride today with someone else, so no piccies - but she went lovely and calm. Had a few funny moments through the combinations till they worked out what each other was after. But I was really impressed with how nicely the young lady rode her.
By this stage I'd been hailed on about five times and just wanted to get packed up and home before I got hit again, and I think Swifty's fingers were too frozen to use the camera much more. So I gave Neo a pat and told him he could have the day off, then threw a bridle on Dix and rode him bareback.
He was pretty relaxed and happy to mooch around bareback and we got a decent amount of work in before the clouds rolled in again. Managed to get off him and his rug on just before another lot of hail hit!
Loaded them all up and headed home, fed and rugged everyone while we had another massive hailstorm that looked like snow almost. Put Coco out in the paddock for the first time... hope I can catch her later! Kody and Pippa at home were quite happy to get their dinner without having to do any work for it too - slackers!

May 30, 2009

More horses

More horses today. Not new ones though. Headed up in the truck this morning (empty truck over the Rimutakas... makes for a much quicker time!) and met up with Mum. Did some errands around town, gave a lesson, and then headed out to Mum's place to pick up horses!

I've got Gem, who is coming back into work. The plan is that I will have her for 2 weeks just to get some solid work into her as Mum has been super busy lately. Then I will return her to Mum for Solway dressage in a few weeks.

And also picked up Kody who is coming back into work and will hopefully have a nice full winter season of outings.

They both travelled beautifully and were even well-behaved while I rugged them up and put them out (same can't be said for when we were trying to take their rugs off to load them up! crazy excited horses for a little while there). Managed to pop into RD1 a few mintes after they closed, but they were nice enough to let me in so I could grab some additional fencing stuff which will give me some work to do tomorrow (laying underground cables for electric fencing).

May 29, 2009

Dani goes home

Dani has really improved not just in his way of going, but also his self confidence in the time he's been here. So today he has gone back home to continue his education there, and will stay in work and for sale. He will actually be paddockmates with another horse who used to be in the Odenhills team, "Scuba"! Such a small world.

And I didn't have the patience to wait any longer with Coco! I gave her a hose and a brush which she was very well behaved for, then tacked her up (just to see if any of my gear would fit, honest!). And because she'd been so laid back for that, I couldn't help but lay over her back. You know where this is heading, yeah? So I hopped on and took her for a walk around the sheds and things, then down the driveway and over a few brides.. through the stream. And then we did some circle work. The only thing she really did 'wrong' was being quite tricky into canter, she is running into the transition at the moment. But not bad for the first ride! Certainly not complaining. She wouldn't eat the apple I gave her as a treat after her ride... but Dix didn't mind as it meant he got 2!

May 28, 2009

Coco arrives!

Coco arrived at about 7.30 this morning on the transporter. Apparently she travelled very well to the depot, and not as well today (by herself) - but seemed quite relaxed as she came up the road to our place, no banging around or kicking. I'm told she didn't drink much last night so have marked how full her waterbucket is in the yard and will monitor that. She certainly tucked into her hay pretty quickly! Led her around and showed her the place, then popped off her earnet & plugs, put a rug on her and have left her in the cattleyard beside Dix.
Dix, of course, is super happy to have someone to talk to... and Coco is just ignoring him! Poor Dix. Lucky Kody's old rug fits perfectly, as it had completely slipped my mind to get pony sized rugs! I also have some underrugs that will fit, so that's fantastic.
Have a few things on today, so not going to gear up or ride her yet. Will spend some time just getting her trust up. She seems very cute so far, and should be fun.

May 27, 2009

Coco in transit

The new pony has been picked up today and should arrive in Wellington tomorrow! Very exciting.

May 25, 2009

Tielcey Park CT

Yesterday we headed up to Teicley Park for their winter combined training (dressage & showjumping... so sort of like eventing - but there is no cross country, this is my kinda event!). The weather looked like it was going to be absolutely horrid, but turned out pretty good. A few showers here and there, and a bit murky (so the camera didn't cope too well and therefore not many pics, sorry). But overall the weather was about the best you could ask for with how cold and rainy it's been lately.
I'd entered the 2 geldings in the Training level, and Xev in PreNovice. A mixup in the entries meant they put Xev in the Training too - and I decided to leave her there as I suffered an injury to my hand on the farm during to week. I still couldn't hold the reins very well (and driving was a bit interesting!) but the horses all looked after me very well considering I certainly wasn't giving them a straight quality ride!
Dix was fantastic. He warmed up without any fuss and did a nice enough dressage. It was probably the weakest dressage we've done together, but I was just stoked that he was behaving 100%. His owner is looking to take him back next weekend and see if she has the time to keep him in work herself for winter - so I am really pleased that he finally seems to be back to his old self for her.
Poor Xev didn't get much warmup as I'd knocked my hand while fluffing around in the truck and reopened the wound, so I wanted to get things over and done with as quick as possible. But, as always, Xev didn't mind. She did a nice dressage and the judge commented on her lovely transitions.
Dani was sporting his fancy new halfclip! We got half up the neck before he decided this really wasn't something he was keen on. So will have to do a few more session this week to try and make him presentable. His dressage was a bit uneven (sprung a shoe), but I am pleased that he is now moving off the leg and going forward properly. A little bit of bend work to be put in, but that should be easy with the basics all working well now. I am very pleased with how he has come along.
We had a really long wait before the jumping. There were straight showjumping classes that we could have entered, but I wanted to save my hand for the 3 rounds I needed to do, then do any extras after that. Dani (first pic below) did a super clear round - didn't back off any fill and did some very tidy flying changes.. he seemed really happy out there. Dix (blue & white jump pic) was super too... another neat clear round, and he was listening really well and coming back to me quite well with just my seat.
Xev did a beautiful clear round - getting me out of trouble several times! I actually went back to enter her in a larger class later, only to find out they'd closed off entries without announcing it. Such a bummer. Oh well, we'll know for next time. Xev 2nd overall, and the geldings 5th &6th! Really stoked with them all. Got home in the pitch black. Swifty helped me unload & rug up, then Pie came down and helped me close up the truck. Then I spent the rest of the night in front of the fire!
I will absolutely be back for the next combined training day, and may have also picked up the ride for that event on a friends horse to keep me busy.

Pippa Session 2

Last week Pippa and I had our second session with Alan. It's really good having someone else around when introducing new things to her. I can work between the sessions quite comfortably and introduce very small new things, but I think it is great for everyone's safety if there is someone else around as we make real leaps forward.

I can now pick up all 4 feet - she's still not great with the back ones and may pull away occasionally, but she is absolutely getting better and seems to trust me very well. She's leading up at my shoulder again too (she had started hanging back and being a little nappy when we first started on a couple of the new training methods - but now that she understands what I am asking she seems confident to 'remember' what we had taught her previously). It's a long slow road, but hopefully it's all worth it in the end. Going to try and get her hooves trimmed this week! Then we can really start doing a bit more variety of work.

May 19, 2009

Wellington Eventing & Updates

Last night I plucked up the courage to attend the Wellington Eventing meet and greet night (which was combined with their AGM). I wasn't sure about going as I'm not much of a serious eventer, but they were all quite welcoming. There was (I felt) a really disappointing number of people there... even with the promise of free food and drinks. I'd absolutely recommend heading along to the next WE event for anyone who has an interest in the sport or the facilities used (QEPark) - and also any excuse for a catchup (boozeup?) with friends is good too. I hear a rumor that the next event - possaibly bowling at Lanes in the city? - will be purely social, so no meetings for those of you who don't like that side of it. Hopefully it will be a good night out.
Bella Rosa
Now I've been meaning to post these pics for ages but keep forgetting. Debbie has kindly sent some photos of Bella Rosa that she purchased from us. Bella is looking stunning! And she and Debbie are currently competing Novice dressage... and looks like they might even do some eventing this coming season! Yay Belle!
Northern Star
Toni has been doing a fantastic job getting Dee out and about before the end of the season. They had a few registered horse trials starts, and I got to watch them do a lovely cross country round over the tough PreTraining track at Himatangi/Central Districts a few weeks back.. and then come home with a lovely rosette for 7th place. Dee is currently having a well deserved rest and will come back into work for next season.
Rata Mill Lisbon
Kayleigh still has Bonnie, and I see this year they attended Pony Club eventing champs and came home with a double clear jumping! Kayleigh and Bons have really been a wonderful combination and it's great to see someone really taking advantage of all that little schoolmistress can give.
Touch of Spice
We've seen Spice and Kate out at a few local events this season, powering around the cross country courses. I have snapped a few photos of them, but will have to remember to ask Kate if I can post them up online for you all to see.
Sadly Devon is on rest at the moment after a shoulder injury. What a bummer, as he and Ang were going great guns together. We're sending healing vibes to Rotorua for Dev to get better soon so that he and Ang can get out there next season and kick butt.
Rochelle has bought a horsefloat for Grace and will be heading out to a number of the winter dressage competitions. We're looking forward to catching up with them at one of the Ohariu Valley dressage days.
Spies tell us that Silvi and Kate were spotted at Taupo for the young talent event that was held up that way. I'll have to keep my eye on the results this coming season!

May 17, 2009

Videos instead of Dressage

Okay so I was all set to go to the Horowhenua dressage group's winter training day and do a few Level2 tests. There was a huge storm overnight and I wasn't sure if it would still be on.. so I called the secretary listed on the programme only to find she was gone to Auckland and the people at her house had no idea if it'd be on. So I tried some other HDG members and everyone's phones were going straight to answerphone. I decided not to risk the 2.5 hours drive for a possibly cancelled event and I went back to bed!

Of course the weather was better by lunchtime, so we probably would have been okay. But instead I got to spend an hour clearing the driveway of fallen trees and parts of fences! It was certainly windy!

So today, instead of pictures from the dressage day, you can see some of the vids of the horses. Xev and Dix were taken this weekend, and the short snippet of Dani was from a few weeks back at the QEP training day.

Xev over some jumps. She is such a kind horse, and gets rider out of trouble when I stuff up strides occasionally! Also a few cute little angles over the last few fences.

Xev warming up for jumping... reminds me that I need to be more effective on the flat and ask more of her. She does lovely dressage, I just need to push a bit to get a little more sparkle out of her.

Mr DickyDick doing some jumps! We're still working on having me waiting for my fences so that he doesn't get too excited about it all. But he does get better as he warms up. The first few times I jumped him he was quite flat over the fences, but now he's starting to get some better form back.

And finally a little snippet (about 10 seconds!) of Dani through one of the combinations at QEP. It was his first time doing it, and though he had a little look at the ditch he still jumped it - he's a very honest jumper when it comes to things like that.

So... no competitions this weekend which is a real shame. I'm going to have to get out during the week in company as all the horses need a good outing amongst others. Hopefully the weather will play nice.

Some more pics

Got these from last weekend - Event Photography. I think I will order the one of Xev over the corner as I think that is pretty cute:
And Dickson, then Dani over the little logs. What is all that mud up the front of Dani's front legs? I've no idea! I know he didn't fall over anywhere.. it must have just been that damned wet and muddy (also not my change of tops to something waterproof after getting totally soaked on Xev):
Seriously these photos don't go halfway towards showing how wet and miserable we all were though! Gotta hate that winter weather.

May 13, 2009

Manawatu ODE

Well - the weather could have been worse last Sunday for the ODE at Aokautere.. but it certainly wasn't too flash either! I was up at 3.30 to get the horses ready and give them some breakfast, then Pie came home from a night out with friends just before 4.30 so he helped me load up. It was a great drive up, so nice when the roads are quiet - especially with that big bright moon we've had lately. Mostly it was mild and dry, a bit of rain as we got closer to Palmerston North and very wet roads so there must have been a heap of rainfall overnight. Apparently not enough rain to cancel though, and I must say, the grounds at Wairakau, Aokautere were far better than I've seen them in a long time. I got Dani ready for his dressage while Kim (Dickson's owner) had come along to help out and have a little ride on him. Studs in for the horses with studholes and we were set.
Dani's flatwork is improving all the time. I am really pleased to say that he is honestly going forward now and his transitions are quite clean. I think his dressage score was about 64% and had some nice comments too. Dani was slipping a fair bit, but luckily we were the 2nd combination in so the arena wasn't cut up.
Dickson was a little nappy in his warmup, but not too bad. Poor fella got caught in a hailstorm (yes, I was on board - so I got caught in the hailstorm too!) and he had hailstones caught up in his ear fluff! No wonder he wasn't too keen! But his mind was on the job as soon as he entered the arena and he did a nice test with just one untidy canter transition. I was really pleased with his efforts and his score was a few marks above Dani's (though we were competing H/C as Kim rode him earlier).
Xev was really feeling the ground and sinking right in, so she wasn't confident to move forward. Wish I had studholes in her shoes, but we have to make do with what we've got. She did a nice calm accurate test anyway and her scores put her in the top handful.
Dani and Dickson had their showjumping straight after Xev's dressage. PreTraining was the first class to go into the showjumping arena, but even so the ground was quite cut up and poor Dani slid around a bit. Thankfully the fences were small enough that it was easy to regain enough balance to get over them safely. Both did nice clear rounds. Piccies of Xev's final halt, and Dani SJing (thanks to Kim for braving the awful weather to stand around with her camera!):
And Dickson showjumping:
I quickly ran around the crosscountry (walking half of the PreTraining and half of the Training course as I didn't have time to get both done - they were starting the XC at 11! And only 3 starters in the Open which didn't leave me much time to get Xev ready). The weather turned really filthy when I got on Xev, and while I was waiting to go into the start box I managed to get caught in a downpour and absolutely soaked to the bone. Not fun. The flat areas of the course were okay, but the hills were so wet and we were sinking right in. Xev wasn't confident in her footing and was looking to take the conservative short strides rather than the nice bowling long strides on the XC. I don't blame her either - as I pushed her into a few long strides and she slipped on takeoff and it was rather scary! She did jump straight into the waterjump though, so that is awesome. However once I got through the finish flags I went and withdrew her as there was no way I wanted to showjump and knock her confidence in conditions that weren't good. Will stick to some nice all-weather surfaces the next few times she goes out to build her confidence back up, and will ensure we drill studholes if she's going to be competing on grass again through winter.
Dani's XC course didn't go up into the hills as much, so the footing wasn't so bad. He skated around a little bit, but I pulled him back to a trot for all of the fences on hills and that seemed to work well. He did a lovely clear round and still came home inside the time even with all of the trotting!
Dickson is still horrified by fence judges and managed to spook at them even over the very last fence on the XC! But he did hop straight into the water and got into a far better rhythm (after the first half dozen fences) than he had at Waikanae, so I think he's more comfortable with the solid fences now.
Dani came 4th overall - so he's well and truly ready to head up to Training level now. And I'm pleased with the improvements in both Xev and Dickson. We loaded up in the truck, got towed out by the big tractor then managed to get home, rugged & fed all just before it got too dark to be able to see. Quite well timed! Dressage this coming weekend, and then Tielcey Park combined training the following weekend look like our next few outings. In the meantime I am going to look into those Arista waterproof show jackets!

May 06, 2009

Tracking Pippa

Had a friend come out on Monday to show me some groundwork exercises I can do with Pippa (with a view to getting her comfortable picking up her feet so we can get them trimmed). It went really well, especially with Pip having to accept a new person around her. I now have a whole heap of things to play at with her, and another session booked for Thursday to see how we're going.

Yesterday I worked mostly with the ropes and did some legwork. She was showing a bit of dominance, which I am working hard to recognise in it's smallest forms so I can address it before it becomes an issue.

Today was really fantastic - did some leading work and something similar to lunging but not quite (just really getting her to respond to my requests based on a number of cues). Then I did a little more legwork and she was fantastic. Never even put an eyelash out of place. Even had her dinner in the shed too (she was still a bit nervous about being in there - especially with the thunder and lightening), but she never pulled back or made a fuss.. just got a bit wide eyed!

May 02, 2009

A Jumpin' We Go

I had booked the arena this morning so that Dicky's owner could come and have a ride on him somewhere different, so I thought I'd make the most of it and take the rest of the horses out too. I got there pretty early to get the horses cleaned up and the jumps set up how I wanted them - and Swifty came along in time to help me cart poles around too which was handy.
So Dicky's Mum (Kim) came and had a ride on him. He was quite well behaved, with just a few little moments where he got uptight. Kim handled it really well and got him back on board and listening to her and they got some lovely work on the flat, as well as some calm approaches to a crossrail after finishing up on the flat. When Kim was done I nabbed him for some jumping - he was quite unsettled at first having a change of rider but settled within a few minutes and happily flew over all the fences that were set up.
Dani's canter is improving, yay! I still need to work on keeping him out on the circle and not letting him fall in, but it's all becoming so much easier now that he has the impulsion and desire to work for me. He was really sweet in his jumping too - no rushing, just popping over whatever was in front of him.
We still got in a bit close to a few fences (first pic below), but I was able to ride more aggressively for the striding and get him to stand off a bit more (second pic below). I don't mind the occasional chip, and think it's great if we can get himself out of that kind of spot as it's really useful from the point of view of riding. I do want him to be adjustable into a fence though, so his rider can pick the stride if they are confident to do so.
I took him over various fillers and he was good with them. Also put a few of the jumps a bit bigger than what I have been schooling him over and he was happy with that. He's good with his gridwork too now - we've been doing a fair bit with a short 1-stride followed by a long 1-stride to make him really work for that third element. A few weeks ago he'd just run out of steam totally, and now he is coping quite nicely. Always good to see progress. I think the cross-country outings have been fantastic for him in getting his confidence and impulsion up.
Xev has been going really nicely - still really soft and easy in her flatwork. We're doing more transitions in our work at home to help keep her bum engaged instead of just trotting around in a 'pretty frame' so much. Today we did some cantering around with loops in our reins and she just kept at the same pace until I gathered my reins again and asked something different of her -she's very cool like that.
Put her over a variety of fences and what I really noticed today was that her balance is greatly improved. Previously when I'd try and do a rollback style turn she just couldn't do it -she wasn't engaged enough and being a big horse it wasn't easy to manhandle her into doing it. The flatwork must be doing something though, as now when I sit up she not only comes back beautifully but will do a good balanced turn just based on my seat. It's still not a nippy jumpoff turn to rival ponies - but give it time!
She seemed to be having a great time out in the sun doing the jumps as well. She overjumped a few and I got left behind massively in one (purple jump pic just below) where I literally threw the reins at her while I tried to get my centre of balance back in the right place.
I haven't really done any larger fences of any sort on her, so we popped a couple up - not huge, but about 1.30m and she ate it up like it was nothing (rather a non-event, actually). After that I figured she'd done enough and as you can see from the pic of us standing behind the oxer - she was looking a bit sleepy :) After that she walked herself back to the truck while Swifty, Kim & I were chatting.
Next outing for this lot is Manawatu ODE this coming weekend at Aokautere. I miss showjumping already! But at least Tielcey Park has a winter series which should stop me from going insane over winter.