June 27, 2010

Some answers

Well - Neo trotted up lame yesterday. Not obviously, but just a little "off" - so I wonder if the other weekend at Tielcey was a combination of whatever soreness was coming through being increased by jumping (well, landing, really!). So I'm actually feeling a lot better about that.

Today Neo & Xev also had their shoes off and got trimmed with the intention of Neo going shoe-less next season and Xev just getting her hooves really well-balanced.

It's been rain, rain and more rain down here. I was supposed to pick up Gem this weekend, but have decided to stay warm and be lazy! Mum has some time off at the end of the week, so she may even deliver her for me which would be awesome. Gem's old owner found her dressage bridle tags too, and has popped them in the mail - so there will be no excuse for us not to be dressage queens for a few months at least.

June 24, 2010

That annoying question

All of you other horse-owners and riders have all had it, I'm sure. That horrible time when you are trying to work out - is my horse sore? or is she/he being a twit? Obviously there is always some reason if things aren't going as you expect, but tracking down exactly what that reason is can really be an exercise in getting frustrated and disheartened.

It's no secret that Neo is my "doesn't get schooled" horse. But every now and then I have things I want to work on (and the time to do it) - so this past month or so I have been working quite hard at getting him more settled. The past few shows before that he's gotten a bit tanky and wasn't listening - so I knew it was time for me to pull up my socks and do some real work. And, as always, it paid off. He's always been pretty casual around home, but we're now at the point where we can canter figure-8's over jumps on the buckle and his downward transitions are quick and clean.

So when I trundled up to Tielcey Park on Sunday I was looking forward to seeing how much difference this would make to him in a show situation. I put 2 reins on his bit anyway (as last time I didn't, and he took advantage of that fact!). So I had my brakes, and he'd had his schooling - and we were ready to roll. Warmup was better than normal as well - possibly because we didn't spend much time in the indoor.

Then we had a terrible round. He was sticking his head up and not lifting his front end. Just absolutely not listening. So the next round out I made sure he listened - and I'll be honest, I was very hard with my hands to ensure he was coming back to me. It worked, in that he wasn't tanking off - but he also felt just awful. So I retired before completing the course as I really felt I was just hurting his confidence (he has a soft mouth, and though his myler-combination bit works mostly on his nose - I still don't want him turning into a horse that backs off his fences and lands in the middle of oxers!). Swifty took a few photos for me, and when I got home and had a chance to look at them - Neo's knees were barely coming up to even half the height of some of the fences and bashing out the top rails/s with his front legs! This, from a horse who frequently has a lovely tidy front end.

So I'm now left to wonder - is he sore? I can't find any reason he would be. And he hasn't given me any hints at home that he is. Although I only jump maybe 80cm max at home, and obviously at shows we jump higher. If he's not sore - is he stressed by competition? And if so, what has started that? So I need to take him back to doing some 70cm rounds? Or will that just encourage him to speed around and not listen to me and be able to get away with it?

He's getting his shoes taken off this weekend - so maybe we'll find something niggly there. Or maybe not. I haven't had his back on track gear on him this winter - but at the same time he is looking well and healthy - no puffy legs or anything like that. So do I go down the route of blood tests and thermal imaging to try and work out if there is something not right? Or is it a failing of my schooling that has made him 'freak out' at the shows while being an absolute doll at home?

Coco leased out

Well - after a lot of work going into Coco and trying different things, it had become obvious to us that although she goes nicely when she is focused, she just doesn't want to be a sporthorse. It makes her uncomfortable to always be going to new places and she was getting more worried each time we went out.

So we have found a lovely farm home for Coco where she will be on a lifetime lease. She will do some on-site trekking and also may be put into a breeding programme for sportponies. Very exciting for her! She is already much more settled - I think she just knows she is going to be happier little pony now. While I'm a bit sad that we didn't get to see her reach any great potential competing, I am very very happy that we found a place for her to be happy and useful.

June 15, 2010

Something Different

With winter in full-swing the blog has been a bit quiet. I'm not heading out to many shows, and most of my riding is being done under lights in the arena at night (so not really much in the way of photo opportunities). So I thought I'd do an update on what I got up to last weekend - something a bit different! I went and did some car racing for the first time!

The event was an 'autocross', which is really a lot like showjumping. There is a course that you have to learn (with penalties for knocking or displacing any course elements like cones or tyres) and the whole lot is timed. Unlike showjumping you get a lot of turns (I did the course 4 times) and you put your best time forward for placings. I ended up second-to-last! And something like 18 seconds behind the leader... certainly not what I'm accustomed to in speed classes.

Overall it was pretty enjoyable. I really liked watching how lines taken and risks all made similar impacts to what they do in jumpoffs (at least for the people - not me - who were going fast). I will be back at the next one at the end of July. Gotta keep myself busy between shows at Tielcey somehow!

Speaking of - next outing for my lot is the Tielcey Park combined training day this coming Sunday. No eventing starts for me as Xev is staying home - but Coco and Neo will both be jumping (but I'll have my saddle on this time).

June 07, 2010

On the Move

Well it's been very busy times for the Odenhills team. Last weekend I moved myself and the horses that were based in Pauatahanui (Xev, Neo & Coco) to Makara. The other horses are still with Mum up in Masterton. Then this weekend I did the final cleanup and collection of rugs and jumps and whatnot from the Pauatahanui property. Lots of changes - and more ahead too, no doubt.

For the moment I'm grazing at Horse Park in Makara - and I must say it's been nice to have an arena with lights on site. These winter nights aren't getting any lighter for riding anytime soon... so I expect the lights will get a lot of use.

As for competing.. well I tried to get some dressage in this weekend, but it wasn't meant to be - suspect Xev has another absess or something? Got to have a dig around and see if I can sort it asap.