August 31, 2009

Final Tielcey Park CT

Yesterday was the final of the 5-part combined training series at Tielcey Park. I was just heading up for the showjumping, no dressage for me this time. I had entered each of the horses for their biggest rounds yet (what better way to start a season?) -and got there to find it was a Chris Chugg designed course, with all lines related and tight! Very much a thinking course, and actually pretty enjoyable to ride because of that. Swifty came up and took some photos, and we somehow managed to stay there till 5pm and not get rained on! Fantastic!
Orin: 80cm & 90cm
Orin was heaps better in the collecting area this time. Previously I've had to walk him otherwise he gets a little fidgety, but this time he stood really nicely. So I was happy with that. His 80cm was a super double clear for 5th place (just couldn't compete with some of the speedier times, but our corners were lovely and tight).
Our 90cm round was not quite as tidy - a bit of drift around some of the corners, which set us up a little wrong for the distances - so came in a bit deep a few times. But he jumped everything really well, just tapped a rail. I was really pleased with that for his first course at that height, and he certainly didn't have a problem with it.
Gem: 90cm & 1m
Gem's jumping is just getting better and better! She loves it too. Last time we did the 90cm and she took a couple rails - just getting too tired. Today she blitzed around the 90 with a lovely double clear and speedy tight jumpoff for 3rd place.
Gem took the first rail in the 1m (which a lot of people were taking as it was right by the gate & had a sharp approach), but did the rest of the course really kindly. It wasn't as tidy as our 90cm - but if she keeps improving at this rate she'll be doing decent tracks in no time! She absolutely has the scope for it.
Xev: 1m & 1.10m
My first class on Xev I didn't even get into the jumpoff - we were arguing with each other a bit (I think I was trying too hard - wanting to put into practise the things I'd been working on with Andrew). I was a bit disappointed and wasn't sure if I should do the 1.10 class - but figured I could retire at any point, so I might as well. And hell - she attacked it!
Xev did a stunner of a double-clear with a great jumpoff time for 2nd place. I was stoked! She was on fire too - jumping everything great (I got left behind a few times (see piccy above!!) and jumped out the tack a few times!) - but I'm just so impressed for her first show of the season.
Neo: 1.05m & 1.15m
Neo was sporting new hardware - a rubber mullen mouth dutch gag on the snaffle ring. He's been a bit of a tart with the spring grass, and I've never bitted him up like this before, but I was at my wits end to get him to listen. And wow - it worked! He was going forward enough to get all the distances perfect, but not arguing with me and tossing his head. We were too slow for a ribbon in the 1.05 though.
The 1.15 he set out great for the first half, and then we kinda fell to bits a little just at the end. I'm not too disheartened - as often this is the case when I move him up a height. He just takes a while to adjust - but he can certainly do the heights and the distances no worries. He still got a 3rd place ribbon, but only because there were 3 of us in it! Next outing for him I will drop him back to 1.10 - but then he should be good to go for a few more 1.15 and perhaps 1.20 tracks during the season. Go Neo!
So each horse came home with a ribbon - they all did great and are my little team of superstars. I did not get rained on, and the gale force winds didn't hit until I'd just literally got in the gate at home. What a fantastic day.

August 29, 2009

Lesson Pics

Nick came out today to take some photos of a lesson I was having on Xev. The trainer was Andrew Scott, who I think does a super job of helping me understand things. Even back when I was on ponies. I didn't have anything specific I wanted to work on, just overall getting a starting point for the season with Xev.
We started trotting a crossrail, then into canter and the single fence was put a bit higher while we got our eyes in (it was a semi-private lesson, so with one other girl). After that it was down the grid. Andrew was really impressed with Xev's technique behind, but wanted her to tighten up in front, and the grid was paced slightly short to help with that.
The second half of today's lesson was a few variations on a short course. The 2 pics below were a related bending line which I think Xev jumped beautifully (she is really good at listening to your cues and focusing on the jump you are guiding her to - rather than just going full steam for what is in front of her).
Some pics over the oxer in the little mock course: (and apologies for the dude's bum hanging out his jeans! lol - I think he was videoing or something? I have no idea really). And apologies to Xev for my leg position in the second one!! It's awful!
We were both a bit puffed after the 30 minutes! But I was pleased with how Xev went today. Mostly I need to focus on not interfering with her canter- I have a tendancy to niggle at her to try and get the right stride, when really it's all about meeting the fence at a quality canter (then it doesn't matter if you're a shade too long or too deep). I know all this stuff in theory, but it's pretty easy to forget when a lot of my jumping time is without eyes on the ground.
Tielcey Park tomorrow! Still haven't decided which classes to enter! I'm hopeless. Still semi-deciding which horses to take...

August 22, 2009


This morning I headed down to the arena to ride a friend's mare. Her usual rider came along too, and I got some shots of her riding. It was a bit frosty, but I really am loving this weather. Took a bit of effort to get her warmed in, but then she was working quite nicely.
Her canter work is becoming a lot more balanced too.
And I popped over a couple of fences, as she is having a jumping lesson tomorrow - so just wanted to give her a quick reminder of what it's all about.
Then Rebecca hopped on, poor Mol was a bit tired by this stage, but they did some good flatwork.
More piccies:
And then popped over a few crossbar fences to call it a day.
Then I came home to ride my mob, and found Xev sitting on the large square baleage.. I guess it's warm? Silly horse. She moved before I could snap a photo, sadly.

August 19, 2009

Bling Bling Alfie

Mum had quite a few good outings on Alfie (Banoffee Pops) last season, including some wides and trophies - but one of the trophies they won was reported as missing. Well, turns out they found it! Mum flicked through this pic of it today - impressive trophy (Zara Phillips apparently won it a few years back too... fancy Alfie).
I'm jealous. Neo needs to win a big flash trophy for me!


Well, Gem is finally starting to feel a bit better. At this stage we are thinking it was most likely a mild colic / tummy ache from me switching their hay from meadow to rich clover. I didn't ride Gem on Monday, and on Tuesday she was ok... but seemed a bit depressed? Standing with her head almost on the ground. Much perkier today, still a little 'off' to ride - but at least on the road to recovery. She's lost a bit of weight through it - so going to get her some more of the meadow baleage that she likes, plus a wormer and keep a good eye on her. Don't want our little Gemmy getting sick! Today I also popped her over a few fences and she seemed comfortable enough doing that (though a little surprised that they weren't crossbars!).
Neo got to have a play in the sunshine too. I did some grids on him - he goes through them so nicely, it really is fun to just sit there while he does all the work.
He was a bit more forward when we started jumping some related lines though. Who has been feeding my horse the speedy-juice? Because Neo does not need any more speed - he has plenty enough thanks. He is jumping really nicely at the moment - hopefully this means I can start to move him up in height this season!
Xev's tail is getting whiter! My scrubbing and washing and more washing and rinsing and scrubbing as not been in vain. A lot more of it to come yet though.
Didn't do anything special on the flat with Xev today - she was feeling a little stiff after yesterday's workout, so I just wanted to get her moving along happily.
We popped over a few crossbars, and then went for a walk to make sure she was cooled down well and gave her muscles a good chance to stretch out. She really enjoyed just unwinding like that from her ride, so I think I will make more of an effort to give her a short hack (perhaps even on the road) after I do arena sessions on her.
Rode Coco at home and she is being so good at the moment! Not sure what her next outing is though - while I'm using Mum's truck I am limited to 4 for shows, so she draws short straw. I took Orin to the arena (and he got quite a workout, with heaps of canter!), but no piccies as someone else was riding him. Pippa is looking like she needs to start back into some serious work soon, but I don't want to rush it, so may just start back with some more groundwork with a view to getting her loading which will be very handy.

August 16, 2009

XC Schooling

Headed out to QEP again today, and has a really average day actually. I must admit the fact that I didn't get rained on at all is fantastic though! Gem was really upset about something, hope it is just a temporary thing due to a diet change - because she was like a different horse (and not in the good way). Did manage to settle her after a while, but she was still unhappy.
Neo hooned around and popped over the bank, ditch & water. He was really forward today and great to ride. No pics though, as poor Swifty was on duty leading Gem around for me so I could swap horses.
Orin was being ridden by someone else today - and they went for a good hack out around the fences and just generally being around the atmosphere. I didn't jump him today.
Xev has just come back into work this month, and yesterday was her first canter this season. She was sweaty after just a circle! Luckily today she lasted more than a circle. She wasn't phased at all by being out and about again and was so well behaved.
I didn't want to jump her - so just did a bit of flatwork mostly.
But I was keen to pop her through the waterjump just as a reminder for her of what it's all about. She was so good - but has big hooves that splash heaps! I got soaked up to my hips just from her cantering through the water. She did a really weird leap out of the water the first time, but then remembered what it's all about.
She had a bit of a jig-jog back to the truck, but did pretty much everything today on a loose rein and I was really pleased with her. So not a total writeoff of a day, just a bit worried about Miss Gem, so hopefully I can get to the root of that over the coming week. Fingers crossed it's something simple.