December 31, 2009

New Year, New Horse

Well we're out the other side of Christmas and I feel like I've been doing nothing but eating for the past week! Horses have all had a week off as well - I like to give them all a few breaks mid-season, especially if the ground gets hard. But as of tomorrow we're right back into it.
Pip & Alfie are on the market at the moment, and Mum will be spending the rest of the season jumping Gem. Zak is up in Masterton near Mum's place, but he won't be coming into work until after summer when the ground is nice and forgiving.
I will be getting Neo & Xev back to business, and Coco is due to come back in from her holiday as well. Shante will join Coco on the 'baby horse' training - hopefully I'll get both of them out to something by late January.
Tilly has gone off to her new home in Taupo, so that has left me with some time. Princess (who I schooled for a month last season) is coming back for a refresher, and a new horse, "Flip" will be joining us for some schooling & showing before going on the market. Here are some pics from when I tried out Flip:
And his first time jumping in about 3 years:
Then I have a cute filly booked to come mid-January, and she will just come along in the truck to see what the shows are all about, and perhaps get some led-work around the hills just to give her some exposure to different things. So it's looking like 2010 will start out busy!

December 20, 2009

Coco & Pippa

Just a couple pictures of Coco and Pippa hanging out at the neighbours (both turned out at the moment):
I am going to do up another advert for Pippa and put her on the market super cheap and see if we can just find a home who will utilise her. I don't get along with her, and Mum now has an over-abundance of riding horses, so poor Pips just ends up getting left out.

December 19, 2009

Carterton Carnival

Carterton Spring Carnival had been postponed ages ago, and I found out a few days ago that it was on today. My intention was to take Neo for a showjumping class or two - but then I thought that might be a bit of a waste taking the truck over just for one horse. So I hopped in the car this morning with my riding gear & saddle and met Mum up there.
Mum was doing just one flat class on Gem (Open Hunter), so didn't plait or anything like that. I stood around and took pics of them warming up while waiting for things to happen:
The class itself was interesting - no workouts, but they did have a big group gallop which turned a bit amusing as a few horses got full of themselves. Gem came 3rd, and I thought she went really kindly. The pics below are the 'forward canter' to halt transition (which Gem did awesome).
Then I threw my saddle on and had a go at the 80cm (I was the last person to go and almost missed out as the flat classes took so long!). Gem did a super jumpoff - not speedy at all, but good turns and listening to me really well. Ended up winning the class, and we were about 10 seconds ahead of the 2nd placegetter.
Then did the 90cm, but she was starting to feel a bit tired/flat. We had a rail at the last fence in the jumpoff, but can't complain as she was trying really hard and got me out of a couple of spots earlier where I'd misjudged the distance horribly.
Managed to get all done & dusted before the weather got bad too. I will be away next week, so the next show for us won't be until Jan 2010!

December 15, 2009

D-cert here I come

Have not been having the easiest time with Shante just lately - we did expect it wouldn't be easy, but I'm not that keen on getting hurt straight before the holidays start either! So I purchased some toe cages (I have picked up a crazy fear of being dragged), and yesterday I decided I was going to win this damned battle if it was the last thing I did. So I loaded up with safety gear and had a ride and got Shante through a lot of panic attacks / small bucks (didn't even progress to the corkscrews she has done a few times). I was stoked! So today I got Nick to come down while I rode and take some photos.
First we have my hilariously overdone safety / panic gear. Notice I have:
  • back protector in case of um, 'ground collision'!
  • hair inside helmet to not get stood on
  • martingale to keep reins safe if they come over her head
  • left hand side grab-strap
  • right hand side grab-strap (yeah, perhaps overkill!)
  • toe cages on stirrups
  • soft lunging rein in case I fall so she doesn't get away
  • whip in case of bucking haha
Well - today she was almost a perfect angel. A few little steps with her back up from time to time, but I am able to push her through them mostly with my voice and legs. She didn't even try a small buck today - a couple times she felt like she might when I was practising flopping around in the saddle, but as soon as I gave her a good growling she settled right back down.
She wasn't too keen about Neo coming over to hassle her, so Nick took Neo over to the grass so he could stuff his face some more and we went for a trot! The trot is coming along so much better, now that I trust her enough to push her forward more aggressively, I am able to get a better trot under saddle and sustain it. I don't really have a good space to rider her in at home, so we're doing a 15m circle on sloping ground.
By this stage the trot was going really well and her transitions were coming as soon as I asked. She still feels a bit unsure sometimes of what I am asking - but as long as I ride very assertive and be very clear with my aids then she seems to be happy. I figured I'd pop her over a tiny xrail... we shambled up at a walk/trot and she hopped over really nicely. Pretty terrible form, but you can't expect too much from a walk!
Really stoked with the past 2 days of rides on her, but I also understand that it's highly likely we will have a few more tough days ahead of us - but it's great to finally be getting some progress and working out her 'buttons'. I must almost be at the stage now where I could sit pony club D certificate on her!

December 13, 2009

Feilding A&P

Headed up on Saturday to Feilding A&P in absolutely awful weather. I was considering taking Shante for the led sporthorse classes, but with mud, rain and wind I found my enthusiasm all just ran away at the last minute! So I packed up Neo and Tilly (& Nick as photographer for the day) and headed to Feilding. Mum was bringing Alfie from Masterton too.
Neo had, of course, gotten entirely filthy overnight even though I had him locked up. I was very unimpressed about trying to wash him - he just wasn't getting any cleaner! Such a mudrat. So I did the best he could, and then after a few practise jumps he was covered in mud again anyway! I only entered one class on him, the 1m Table C (he's still not ESNZ registered for the bigger stuff) - but he absolutely blitzed around like a fireball and won it. What a good boy.
Alfie was having his first shot at the new 'riding horse' classes. I think they suit him a bit better than the pure showhack classes - but to be honest, there was a real variety of horses in there (and a very similar lineup to the pleasure classes).
Alfie was only in 2 classes - but picked up ribbons, and amazingly didn't get rained on very much at all! Lucky Alfie. He had no shoes on (needed to be done & farrier couldn't make it out in time, so Mum took them all off) and he was a bit wimpy on his toes, but other than that he went nicely.
Mum also had to ride Tilly for me while I ran around making late entries (as Neo wasn't entered beforehand). She was going to ride Tils in the first class for me, but I ended up making it back just in time, so Mum hopped off and went back to the truck to clean Alfie for his classes.
And I managed to have the worst weather of the day while riding Tilly in the pleasure ring. She went nicely (well, as nicely as they can go in those conditions - while trying to tuck their heads away from the driving rain and wind). She placed in all of her classes too, which was nice.
More rain - honestly, it was so awful! Eventually it dried up, and then the wind strengthened and I think I got blown dry.
Mum headed back to Masterton, while Nick & I stayed to watch Kit & Boyd (used to ride both of them) in some showjumping classes. After that (and some A&P show junkfood) Nick got a lift to Palmerston North to pick up his car which was having some work done, and I headed back home. I must have been really tired from the weather - as I only made it to Waikanae before I had to pull over and have a 10 minute nap in the sleeper cab before continuing on!

Mum's new grazing

Mum has recently moved house, and at the same time got new grazing that will allow her to have 2 horses in work with some facilities. It looks really nice, and Alfie & Gem have settled in very well!
More pics:
They have stables too - which will be very handy before the shows for keeping all those white legs of Alfie's nice and clean!

December 05, 2009

Makara Gymkhana

Went down the road today to the Makara show (being held at Battle Hill) - very handy for me, as only 2km from home. Meant I had a nice sleep-in too, which was great after doing midnight sober pickup for Nick after his work Christmas party. My classes didn't start till about midday, but I got there earlier to get a good park and also to watch some of the earlier events which made for a nice relaxing day.
Only one class for Tilly today in Ring2. She started out really lovely, but then slipped back into the overjumping. It's improving all the time, and she is really starting to go more forward into her fences now and not be so lazy! Poor Tilly was at the truck from 9am till 5pm today just for one class! Other good news is she now drinks really well when at shows (she had earlier been a little reluctant to drink until she was very very thirsty, now she takes a drink when offered to her).
Xev had a couple of classes in Ring1. In the first class she took exception to a bumblebee vinyl material fence, but we got that sorted nicely in the next event.
After taking Xev to Foxton by herself last weekend I noticed that today she wasn't bothered at all when I took her friends away from her at the truck - so I think it will be good for her to have the occasional outing where it's just one horse and she gets all my attention as it really seems to be good for her.
Neo had another busy day with 3 classes. No ribbons for us, but after a messy first event (a bit of resistance) he jumped beautifully in the last 2 classes and I was so happy with him. He got me out of a few tight spots too when I'd gone for the wrong stride.
I'm really enjoying jumping Neo at the moment.. tempted to take him off the market, but I guess if the right person comes along he will sell to them - and until then I can keep having fun.
You can't even tell in the photos, but I spent ages washing his tail for today and it was sparkling white when we arrived (it didn't take him long to get it dirty again, of course). But yeah, so pleased with him and how easy he is being this season. Might have to finally give in and ESNZ register him. My poor wallet.
After finishing my classes, there were still a couple more horses to go in Ring1 - so I took Shante to go watch. She was really interested at first, but didn't take long to get bored with the whole idea and get back to eating grass.
Because she seemed fairly laid-back about things I decided to hop on and give her a short ride. The first time I got on she was a bit sluggish, and got her back up when someone started slamming their float locker doors, so I got off and gave her a minute to just get her head back in the right space then hopped on again.
She was heaps better the second time, walking a lot more forward. I was even able to walk a 20m circle while someone else was lunging right beside us (Shante was not at all bothered by the other horse). I did a couple of very short trots (3-8 strides) but she didn't feel 100% settled, so I decided to quit while I was ahead. Pleased with her though, this is all new to her and she is taking it very well.
Thanks to Swifty for photos (& emergency saddlery shop drive for me to get hoof oil), and Nick for coming out in the afternoon to watch. It was a really sunny day, stunning conditions - and I put sunscreen on, but have probably managed to get sunburnt anyway! Tomorrow there is a show over in Masterton that Mum is heading to with Alfie & Gem, and I'm going to sit the day out and give the horses a day off.