June 29, 2009

June Tielcey Park CT

An extremely long day on Sunday. Caught the horses at 3.15am and got them ready to head up to Tielcey Park for another of their combined training (dressage & showjumping) days. The drive wasn't too bad as the predicted awful weather hadn't hit just yet.

Kody was the first to go. I'd put him in the introductory class for the CT. I spent his warmup encouraging him to stretch a little and not appear to 'jammed up' as he can sometimes do if worried. But really he went quite nicely. The equilibrium blue seems to have just taken that edge off him and he's much more fun to ride out and about when he is not scared of his own shadow! I still need to work on getting him straight - his circles and bend have improved in leaps and bounds, but I still feel that when we are heading up the centre line or across the arena then we don't quite go forward enough to get a nice straight line.

Kody's jumping was super! He warmed up inside and didn't worry about the noise or the mirrors. In the arena he had a spook at the first fence but then was on his way. I was so proud, even in the really wet surface conditions. We also did a small straight showjumping round where we got into the jumpoff but clipped a pole. He had a fab time though - faster than most of the ponies!

Neo needed a dressage test, and while he was very outclassed in the PreNovice, it was probably one of his better tests for staying calm and mostly holding correct bend especially in the corners. No jumping pics of him as it was 4.30pm and dark by the time he got to do his first round. He took poles at 1m and 1.05m - I think just being a bit lazy and a bit fizzy. All up I can't complain for his first jumping outing in absolutely ages.

I also rode 'Kraka' for a friend. It was a bit of a nightmare morning for her, resulting in them arriving at about the same time she was due to do her dressage test. So she quickly saddled him and I hopped on to do the test and get to know him a bit (my first time riding him). He was rather unsettled though. Annoyingly as soon as I took him inside to warm up for the jumping he did some beautiful flatwork! I think he just needed a bigger warmup.

Kraka started out jumping rather unconfident - inverted and coming down with his back legs very quickly.. but it didn't take too long for him to start to trust me - and by the time we finished our 60cm round he was quite happy (but so puffed!). We came back and did the 70cm which went great! He was jumping properly and even picked up a placing - go Kraka (& Tabitha for saddling him and running around after me)!

Gem is really starting to be a lot more settled in her flatwork. There were still some points where she got distracted, but she didn't pull or bounce and she was going forward. I'm really happy with that! She is so much happier not just getting regular work, but jumping! Going in circles as a showhack just made her a bit too bored I think! Now that I have her calm and happy I do need to get her working again, but it's one step at a time.

Sunday was also Gem's first ever showjumping competition! It was 90cm and Swifty took video of it. She coped really well. Coming disunited/trotting into the 5th fence sort of got us both a bit rattled and we chipped most of the fences after that. But I am just over the moon with that as her jumping debut - she also came 5th overall for the PreNovice combined training class.

The bad weather hit on the way home and the wind was insane! By the time I unloaded and put rugs and the horses I got them into their paddock at 8.45pm. I bet they slept really well! A big day for them all. No competitions for us for a month now. Just some practise days and the likes.

June 26, 2009

Small steps

It's been a good week so far! The weather has held out till today (though I think now we're supposed to get about 5 solid days of rain?), and the horses are all making progress in their own ways.

Coco has come up to me in the paddock the past 3 days in a row to be caught! This is a huge thing for her (& me). Previously I'd had to either put her into a corner or walk very very slowly up to her to catch her... and to have her now walking from the other side of the paddock and stand in front of me to be caught is fantastic. Yesterday she also had her first outing away from home where she was tied up to the truck rather than put in a yard. She never pulled back, and was quite good as I walked up and down the ramp and even unloaded and loaded horses with her standing there (she was in the spot right by the ramp so she would be exposed to more).

Alan came out on Wednesday and we did another session with Pippa. She dropped some weight last week and so got a bit of wither rub which was bugging her a bit. But I've since added another rug and she is putting the pounds back on, and the wither rub isn't a bad one so should be all healed by next week easily. Popped a stock saddle on Pippa and did some stretching exercises. Her muscles are very tight - and we are looking to spend time on massage before I get back on her. She's standing really well to have her hooves rasped now - even in the 'farrier grip' between the knees - and standing patiently while I get to work as I am certainly not very quick with the rasp.

Neo, Gem and Kody did a mock showjumping course yesterday in preparation for Tielcey Park this weekend. They were all really good and tried hard for me. I think that the 1m class might be a bit of an ask for Gem at this stage, but it will depend a lot on how the course is set on the day (technicality-wise). Neo was a dude - though I notice he's got a bit fat.. I might need to up his workload to help him keep a bit more fitness too. Kody was spooky to start with, but once he got going he certainly wasn't worried by any fillers, it's just a case of getting him focused on the task to begin with. I think I will try and get in a practise round on him this weekend just to give him that opportunity to see the arena and settle properly.

Xev is not loving being turned out. She is at the gate every day trying to sneak through while I catch others. I still bring her in each day to be fed - so perhaps she's just trying to get an extra dinner out of the deal? She's looking quite well though. I am aiming to bring her back into work in August for the 09-10 eventing season.

Zak and Alfie are up in Masterton both doing nothing but growing. It will be really interesting to get Alfie re-measured and see how much he has grown. He's certainly started to fill out, but we're pretty sure he's added at least a good inch since his last height certificate.

June 22, 2009

Prince William

Nope, not the royal - the pony! On the weekend I was looking at William to help the owners price him and put together an advert. What a cute pony! He is only 13.2 and his rider is well and truely too tall for him, but he is a real sweetie and I'm sure will have no trouble finding a new home to adore him. This is him with his owner:
And I snuck on for a ride too - excuse the fact that I am squishing him! But how cute is he!
Looks like I might have another horse coming up to compete, no details yet - but hope to have some info this week if all goes to plan :) Always exciting to add another to the Odenhills team!

June 18, 2009

Back on task

Only a little over a week till the combined training at Tielcey Park - and I finally have my own horses back in work to take. Awesome! I'll also be picking up the ride on a friend's horse in some of the low showjumping classes which I am looking forward to.
Gem was really chilled out today - no pull and no argue. It was lots of fun. I popped her over a few crossbars first to remind her what is going on (since I jumped her when we first bought her, she hasn't been jumped again apart from an intro ODE with Mum). She seemed to remember what it's all about.
Her knees aren't quite as even as I would like - but she was so honest with everything asked of her. We even came in on a few tricky spots and she was happy to jump. I will put up a grid with crossrails at home to help even up those knees - but aside from that, she isn't nearly as green as you'd expect a showhack to be at jumping!
Kody is still really spooky (I need to start feeding him something for that, but keep forgetting! grr). But after the initial fright where he thought perhaps the pole was going to come to life and chase him around the arena... once he warmed up he was a real dude.
He's got a neat wee canter too. I think it might be worthwhile to do some showhunter on him - he doesn't rush or get excited at all so holds a nice consistant canter. I will spend some time putting him over low square oxers to try and encourage his head to come down (at the moment he is jumping in quite a tight frame, which is fine while the fences are low, but not something I really want to encourage).
Neo had almost forgotten how to jump - practically fell over a few crossrails! And being that he is only just picking up his fitness again he was not as athletic as I am accustomed to him being. The plus side of that was that he's super calm and unfussed by anything.
After taking him over a few fences around the arena I got Swifty to put up one of the oxers just to pop him over something a bit bigger. He was actually jumping it pretty well and we were meeting our strides nicely. He is such a cutie.
Coco came along for the drive but didn't do anything in the arena today. I just wanted her to get some more exposure to things. I am back out at the arena tomorrow to take some pics of a pony that is for sale - so may take Coco to go watch that too.

June 14, 2009

Solway Dressage

Saturday I headed up to Masterton - picking up a wee pony to drop off to a friend, then backtracked a little bit and picked up wee Zakky who has been off grazing with another friend but is now ready to go back with Mum and be spoilt some more. Lots of driving around, and by the time I unloaded at Solway most of the horses had been in the truck for 4 hours! They were very pleased to get out and stretch their legs and have some grass. I gave them all a short ride around just before dark too - only about 10 minutes each as I wanted to get each of them ridden before it was too dark to continue. It was a lovely night too - I stayed in the truck and it was really quite nice and warm, pretty unusual for the weather we've been having lately, but I'm not complaining! Up at 5am today to start getting all 4 horses ready for their dressage tests (no sleep-in even when staying on the grounds, how unfair!).
I really wasn't sure what to expect with Coco. She was good on Saturday night for her ride around - a little nappy, but no issues. Sunday with all of the trucks and horses and everything 'busy' happening was just a bit too much for her. She looked really worried, and actually ran off 3 times while I was leading her (she would run back to her yard and 'hide' in it). I knew that sort of behaviour was a possibility, so we just took it really slowly and I had Mum help me while I got on and we used Xev as 'nanna horse' to babysit Coco for a while. She was still very tense, but I managed to stay topside and after some circles in a quiet area I headed over to the arena. She was spooky and reluctant to go forward at times, but when she did she got some lovely comments from the judge. I was so pleased to get into the arena, complete the test, and stay on! Mission accomplished. After the test I got off immediately and led her back to the truck, then she took off again when someone walked past on foot. So there is still a lot of work to do - but I feel that mostly it's exposure. So for the next wee while Coco will be tagging along to every outing, even if it's just to stand tied to the truck. it'll be good for her! Overall I was very pleased with how she coped, seeing as she was very worried/nervous. Looking forward to her next outing already - just not sure what it'll be.
Kody was spooking at everything! I wonder if the grass is growing again? They were all a bit 'looky' today. After an initial phase of looking at everything he actually warmed up pretty well. He is really starting to listen to my leg a lot more, making it so much easier to push him out on his circles and correct his bend when needed. His flatwork is improving every day at the moment - I think he is mentally & physically ready to have a bit more asked of him than he was last year, so hopefully we'll start to see his scores improving heaps. Excuse the blur on the second pic - Mum was trying to take pics while sitting on Gem, and I suspect Gem was not standing still!
Gem is still acting very fresh, and putting more energy into jig jogging around than actually moving forward. I hope that starting her jumping will give her an outlet for all that extra energy and also stop her from getting too bored (seems an idle mind causes nothing but trouble). As always, she did some lovely work - but there needs to be a lot more of it. Mum rode her in the afternoon and started to get a bit more submission - but she was still full of beans when it came time to head home. In a couple of weeks Gem will have her first showjumping start at Tielcey Park - I hope she enjoys it! At least I know she won't run out of steam!
Xev has got her transitions back, yay! It wasn't our best scoring test today (we did 2.2), but I was happy with how it went. Mostly I wanted to just have her listening to me, which she was doing really nicely. After her dressage test we popped down to a friend's arena and did some jumping which went quite well and has given me some ideas for new exercises to incorporate into my routine (always good to have new tools in the toolbox!).
The horses really enjoyed the covered yards overnight.. I need to get onto completing mine so they can have the same comforts at home! I think they will appreciate it (and the paddocks will probably appreciate it over winter too). Mum ran around taking photos of the horses looking silly - I think the one below of Xev is just hilarious.
After a very busy weekend I loaded up Gem, Xev, Kody & Coco and headed home. There was a crazy amount of traffic on the roads (not sure why), and we had a very near miss just a few km from home when someone coming the other way had picked a blind corner to overtake 7 cars - he missed us by what I am sure was only inches... It gave me a huge fright and I actually had to pull over and 'recover' before I could drive the rest of the way home! But when I got home Neo & Pippa were extremely happy to see me (or the hay I was carrying). No driving for me tomorrow! Going to be a stay-at-home day for sure.

June 07, 2009

Tielcey Winter Dressage

Didn't have my first class till 1.30pm today! How fantastic is that? Meant I got to have a little sleep in and still get there with plenty of time to catch up with people and have a bit of a rest after the drive (I have the flu and I am seriously bad company at the moment - all sniffly and grouchy). Swifty came along with to ensure I didn't overdose on flu medicine or get too tired to lift the ramp at the end of the day!
As I'd nabbed Gem from Mum last weekend with the intention of just putting some work into her for Mum, I'd entered her in a couple of tests today. Turns out Gem is going to stay with me and learn to be a jumper/eventer as well as a poncy show pony! Great fun. Gem was a real tart at the beginning of her warmup and was ignoring me well and truly - she's not had much work and it was really showing! But I kept at it and got some really nice soft work from her.
In our tests she was still a bit wound up, but I am really pleased with some of the work I got out of her. Makes me motivated for next weekend on her, and also really excited about eventing her - as from the very little jumping she's done, I know she is brave and honest. So a good dressage score to start the day is always a bonus. Gem's marks and comments reflected her lack of work, but I also picked up a few new things to work on which is good.
Little Kody came out today too! He has been quite spooky, as you can see from the pic below (not sure if it was his shadow, or the ditch he was worried about as we warmed up in the arena). After an initial ride around he was pretty good about all of the surroundings and other horses though. It was certainly a worthwhile outing just to get him back into that frame of mind of being at shows and how busy things are.
Kody only did the prelim test - which was a bit much for him (but I'd entered so I only had to learn a minimal number of different tests). We're still a bit overbent and counterbent, but I'm pleased with how kindly he went - and now I have a list of things to get onto with him over winter so he can come out all cylinders firing next season! He is such a cutie.
Xev was a little stronger than usual today - I have upped her feed to include quite a bit of crushed barley (taking her off the sporthorse mixes and starting to wean onto more basic winter feeds) - it seems the barley is giving her a bit of energy! She did some neat work, but our transitions were pretty poor today, which is gutting as they are normally our "mark earning" feature! She does super transitions. Not all her, of course! Rider needs to prepare more! But I will put some extra schooling sessions into her through the week before the next dressage outing at Solway - then she can be turned out for a month or two and have a rest from it all.
It wasn't all bad though - she did some neat work and even came home with a 3rd in her 2.4 test which I was really pleased with (and it was in the indoor arena too - luckily she had been in there before so already knew not to spook at the mirrors on the walls).
No pictures of either Gem or Xev indoors - we tried, but the lighting was just too difficult in there and the poor camera wasn't having a bar of it!
Happy with the day though, and looking forward to next weekend to see the improvements I can make based on the judges comments from today. Plus next weekend will also be Coco's first time out in public! How exciting!