November 30, 2009

Saddle Up Show

Yesterday I headed up to Feilding for the Saddle Up riding club show. I hadn't mentioned to anyone that I was going, as I wanted to surprise Mum by taking Shante up there (as Mum was hoping to come see Shante on Saturday and help me with some lunging and stuff with her, but I was busy in Foxton). So I figured if I was taking the truck I might as well load up Tilly and Neo too.

I arrived just as classes were about to start on the flat, so was able to get heaps of pics of Mum and Alfie doing their thing.

I think Alfie got placed in each class (mostly yellow ribbons).

It still takes him a while to settle at the shows - he doesn't do anything wrong, but does like to call out to Gem for as long as he can get away with it.

But he is going very kindly on the flat, and now that his second wolf tooth is through his head carriage is far more steady.

After the flat classes there was quite a big lunchbreak before the jumping. I entered Tilly in a few Ring2 showjumping classes - I have been doing a lot of work on her form at home and I want to give her a few more runs over the low jumps to really get her confidence 100%. In her first class she was still a bit green over the fences (but won the class, which was nice) but the second class was worlds better! She was really moving forward and jumping so nicely - I was absolutely stoked.. and even better - she won that class as well! 2 for 2! By fluke of chance, a friend of Tilly's owner was there and snapped some pics:

Mum was also doing Ring2 on Gem. The first round was a bit disjointed (not helped by rider losing her way!), but they got better as the day went on. Picked up a few placings in their classes, and when they didn't they were only off by a few tenths of a second.

I took Neo in Ring1 showjumping (no photos) and was having a go with no noseband and no martingale which is something I do every so often with him. He did argue a little bit when I'd got him hotted up for his jumpoffs, but he was pretty good and got me out of a few missed stridings! Neo came 3rd in his first class, then won the next class! Go Neo.
Meanwhile Shante spent the whole day tied to the truck and behaved perfectly! Even with cars and bikes going past and horses she didn't know tied near her. When the day was almost finished I quickly saddled her up and had Mum lead us for a short walk in a new environment. Shante had her eyes wide open the whole time, but was pretty good. More exposure to the shows will be a good thing for her (and so much easier now that I know she'll stand at the truck nicely).

So it ended up being a pretty busy weekend, but a good one.

November 28, 2009

Central Districts 2*SJ

Early start this morning, but just with one horse! Quite a luxury to just have the one to get ready. I took Xev up to Foxton for the Central Districts ESNZ show today - for a few showjumping and some showhunter classes. Events started at 8am, so I was all done and dusted and all the way back home and inside by lunch! Amazing. I even managed to stay dry while riding, can't ask for more than that.

Xev was really good - quite a bit more focused without me running around looking after the other horses too. The grounds at Foxton are fantastic, so we had great footing. She did some nice clear rounds in the showjumping (and would have come home with a ribbon if silly rider didn't put an extra fence into the jumpoff course!). Our showhunter wasn't as consistent as she can be, but we got some very tidy auto lead changes which was great. So quite a good day really, and very pleased to have not been rained on.

November 25, 2009


The weather has been just fantastic the past few days. Horses are in light cotton sheets and loving it. So nice to come home and be able to enjoy being out with the horses and not getting battered by the wind and rain (though I have had to invest in insect repellant!).

Have been doing some lunging exercises with Tilly to work on her technique over fences. Starting to achieve some visible improvements and looking forward to adding some more complex grids for her to see if I can really get her to stretch out a bit more and hopefully (if all goes to plan) set her up to do a small showhunter class somewhere. She's got such a lovely consistent canter.

Pippa and Coco and enjoying some time off on good grass at the neighbours (and hiding up in the forest when it rains or gets too sunny for them - very cute).

Have even been enthusiastic enough to put some time into Neo's flatwork too - though I noticed when I switched him back to the french link that he wasn't all that impressed. I've been riding him in a rubber (happymouth) mouthpiece lately, which he likes. So I might have to get a regular mullen happymouth snaffle for him - as I can't use the dutch gag for dressage (and don't really want or need to use it for the jumping now that we're not doing indoor venues anymore - so no scary echos to run away from!).

Xev is entered in dressage classes at Feilding A&P, so that should be something a bit different - haven't done registered dressage for a good few months now. She is fit as anything too - doing heaps of canter sets on the hills and barely getting a sweat on her. I'd previously been doing her hillwork as mainly trot sets, but the canter work has just made a huge difference to her fitness.

Shante is coming along just great. She even took a carrot from me tonight. I lunged her out in a big paddock and she was laid back - even did a trot and canter (though the canter was pretty motorbike and unbalanced). Then I hopped on her and walked her from the paddock back to her yard all without drama and mostly just needed to use my voice a little to encourage her to move forward. She certainly tries hard to please.

I hope the good weather hangs around for a bit!

November 24, 2009

Shante update

Yesterday I just spent some time brushing Shante and letting her get to know me. I still can't get her to accept treats or eat hardfeed (she's not all that trusting of new people just yet). But she has been great to handle. Today I put the saddle on her and no wee bronc effort this time, and "lunged" her at walk and trot just in a very small circle in the yard. Then I put a bridle on and repeated the exercise. She was seeming really laid back, so I leaned over her and put some weight on her back (you can see my awesome pink lunging whip in the pic below):
I slid off a few times and moved around on the saddle and she seemed pretty happy, so I sat astride and there were no dramas. The yellow pigtail in the foreground of the pic below is from when I had hot tape around the top of the yards when Pippa first arrived. Perhaps I should have had the hot tapes up for Shante, because she got a fright yesterday and jumped out (oops - at least we know she can jump though). Also note me grinning like an idiot while sitting on her, I was very stoked!!
And we went for a little walk. Shante didn't really understand a whole lot, would walk a couple steps and then stop. But basic aids are there - we had steering and brakes. Even got brave enough to put my feet in the stirrups!
Mum will be horrified, as she said I wasn't allowed to try and get on till she was around - for safety. But Shante seems pretty laid back. Still, I will leave the first trot till Mum is down!

November 22, 2009

More Shante pics

And some pics off Mum's camera.. Me unloading her from the Majestic truck she arrived in, and standing beside her. I think she should measure a good 16.1, maybe 16.2? She is about the same height as Xev at the wither (but doesn't look as big as she has a bit of a ponyface!).
And loading onto my truck to head home. With her new nose-shade on (which she hates, but will hopefully get accustomed to as it's much easier than stuffing around with sunscreen).

Shante arrives

Today is Mum's birthday - and right on time her birthday present arrived! 'Shante' came over on the ferry this morning, after leaving her home in the South Island on Friday. We met the transporter down at the arena on Grays road as sometimes the big trucks have trouble getting in our driveway at home. Mum made the drive down from Masterton to meet Shante too. She walked off the transporter calmly, and we popped her in a yard while we had a quick ride in the arena on Xev, Tilly & Neo.
Shante (San Mateo La Picante) has been a broodmare the past few years, and was last ridden about 4 years ago. Of course curiosity got the better of us and we popped a saddle on her in a small yard, which was received with a bit of suspiscion but mostly all good.. until she got a little fright and the bronc act started. Not to worry, I just headed back to the truck and got my back protector! Then we spent about another 30 minutes just working with her and laying over her back. I can get on and slide off from either side of her nicely, but we didn't yet try even leading her around with me on board. Figured we'd quit while we were ahead. Piccies of Mum with Shante (you can see how impressed Shante is by all of this!).
She loaded onto my truck really nicely - just took a bit of convincing to get her to turn around once she got in there. She travelled nicely, but got a little sweat (I think from Xev making mare faces at her). Once we got home I tied her up and she ties up really well, even when Tilly and Neo went out into the paddock and galloped off like fools.
Popped a rug on her (which she was good for) and settled her into a yard for the night. Put Xev in the yard next to her so she's got someone to talk to and gave them both some hay to munch on.
Mum has some more photos on her camera, so I will try to get those from her at some point. Hopefully will get some time next weekend to have another go at sitting on her and maybe get led around this time. She has been broken in, but not sure to what level or if there were any issues in the process - so just taking things as they come.

November 21, 2009

Hutt Valley Jumping Day

So, the high point of today would have to be Neo being an absolute dude and just feeling really good to ride. Then the low point would have to be finding a dead mouse in my gumboots that I'd been wearing for about 3 hours!! So gross!!
Tilly was doing ring2 again, and I decided to skip the first smaller class as it was an optimum time (which always feels a bit pointless) and was also going to clash with Xev and Neo's first run. In hindsight perhaps I should have done the first class, as it just felt like Tilly was a little overfaced in the 90cm, especially while she is still jumping in quite a green form. She is a real sweetheart though, and had her ears pricked the whole way around and gave it her best shot.
Xev was full of life today and did an awesome round in ring1 - though we overjumped the tripplebar and missed the turn so had to do a bit of a tiki tour to get to our next fence clocking up our time quite a lot! I didn't do any other jumping classes on her after that, but did give her another ride around later and her flatwork is going really lovely at the moment - nice and soft, but also very active. Must find a dressage show to head to.
Neo was awesome today. Rails down, so needs some grids (haven't done any on him in ages), but he was just jumping really nicely - and being very trusting after I really let him down last weekend with my terrible riding while I was sick.
Late entered Neo in a few extra classes as I was having such a fun time riding him. He did an awesome take your own line course too, but the rail meant we were out as they decided to judge it under A2 rather than TableC - damn. Oh well, I am honestly just so stoked with him today.
Thanks to Swifty for braving the rain to come out and take photos. It was a really good day out at Belmont, just a real shame about quite low entries. I'm loving having my truck back too.. so much room! Very happy day today!

November 20, 2009

Mum's Birthday Gift

Mum has gone and got herself a present for her birthday! A nice big broodmare called 'Shante', who should arrive at my place sometime in the next few weeks (coming up from the South Island). Hasn't been ridden for about 4 years or so, but the plan is to see if we can get her going under saddle and have a bit of fun with her.

November 17, 2009

Masterton Young Farmers Show

Sunday Mum took Alfie to the Masterton Young Farmers Show. I was tucked up in bed ALL day recovering/sleeping (much needed!). So Mum had nobody to help her or take photos. But she did come home with some more ribbons in the flat classes - Alfie got placed in the Novice and in the Open, but no wides this time.

November 16, 2009

Western Hills Spring Show

Had been sick almost all week leading up to this show, so decided to skip the flat classes - and to be honest, probably shouldn't have gone out at all. But I wanted the horses to have an outing due to how many starts we missed at the beginning of the season when everything was cancelled. I only entered one class on each horse, and even that was too much (only completed 2 and a half of them!). Tilly was a dude and came 3rd in her class, doing a wicked jumpoff with very tight turns and good angles, just rather slow over the ground! I had to retire Neo as I just wasn't able to see a stride at all, which was disappointing - but I'd rather do that than give him a big fright. Tilly & Neo:
Gem hopped around happily, but no placings for her. Mum had come over from Masterton and took Alfie for a ride around (not competing, just giving him some exercise on dry flat ground)... and she helped me realise that with how badly I was riding and my complete lack of balance it would have been silly to jump Xev. So I took Xev for a ride around, but no jumping. Gem-gem:
All a bit of a let-down, I guess. But can't stay sick forever - this stupid cold has to go away at some point (can't wait!). Swifty drove home behind me to ensure I got back safely, as I was a bit light-headed, but got all horses and truck home safe and the horses were very happy to be let out into the driveway to have some good grass.

November 07, 2009

Solway HT - Tilly

Tilly did a super dressage test, very calm and accurate. A nice free-walk too! She got lots of nice comments from the judge about how consistent she was.
Showjumping was my first time jumping Tilly in public! She overjumped a few fences, but did a very steady round and certainly wasn't spooky or fast or anything like that. I was really pleased with how easy she was.
I thought the XC might be a bit of a different story, especially as there were a few jumps that are just plain ugly. But once on-task Tilly is very mature, didn't spook or worry about any of the fences. Again there were a couple of bigger leaps when we didn't get the striding quite right. But she flew around easily.
More Tilly:
Another double clear for our team! And Tilly came home with 2nd overall! Very happy with that.. and will be doing up an advert on behalf of her owner shortly to hopefully find her a super new home! So couple that with the sunshine, and Swifty popped over to take photos (even though it was his birthday... who wants sunburn for their birthday?) - it was a real good weekend. And my truck is back in the shed - so that is just awesome.