October 28, 2010

Wairarapa SJ&SH Champs

Last weekend we went up to Masterton (again!), but only for Sunday - so just the one day out of the 3 day show for me. The weather was on fine form, but I remembered my sunscreen so all is good. Mum even brought Dan and Shante along just to have a ride. Shante was looking a bit stiff at the canter, but has since had some massage work done and Mum tells me that it's all looking good to go for the A&P show this coming weekend.
It was a really mixed show for me, but the highlight was Neo's 1.10m class in Ring2. He warmed up quite nicely, a little goey but nothing silly. And I did get quite left behind over fence 1 (pic below!):
But after that he really settled in and was jumping so nicely. He was still a bouncy boy, but he was actually using himself over the fences and just gave me a really great ride. I was absolutely thrilled with him.
We had a plank down - possibly just came in a bit too hot/flat. But I totally didn't care, I was super stoked with him, and so he got lots of cuddles for that.
Then later in the afternoon we did the 1m class and it was just terrible. He was jumping through the fences (first photo below) and I actually felt he was going to hurt himself so I retired. Such a bummer to have to end on that note, as we'd had such an awesome morning. Xev was really off-form in the morning and I am still going through the options to sort out why - feet & teeth first on the list, then back... but she was so different to last weekend (look at the second pic below of her overjumping in the 1.10m and just not being her usual tidy self).
I took her in the showhunters and she was incredibly spooky and not focused on the fences at all, but I just put it down to spring grass (as there were a few horses behaving that way, and I certainly didn't think it was out of the question). But then the 1.10m was even worse and we didn't even make it over fence2. I had no idea what was wrong, and didn't want to even try our afternoon class, but a friend suggested I do it anyway as it was only 1m.
So I put her in a very soft bit and cantered around the 1m - which she went around, but was still very distracted and head high between fences. She got her tongue over the bit too. So while I'm really glad I did the class, as it meant we could finish on a better note, I am gutted that she must be sore somewhere... and the only way to find out where is through a process of elimination.
So the farrier came out today, and Xev is still feeling a bit hollow through the back and fussy in her mouth - so I really need to get the dentist out. I will still do flat classes this weekend, but not sure on the jumping as I don't want to hurt her at all. Gem is being a superstar at home, and Neo spent today falling over trotting poles (not a good start!). Oh well, horses keep me on my toes! Thanks to Swifty for the pics on this blog entry, and also to Louise for taking some extras too.

October 17, 2010

Carterton Carnival

Carterton / South Wairarapa Spring Carnival yesterday for me. Left Neo at home, and just took the mares along (which didn't prove to be the best move ever, as he launched himself over/through a cattleyard while the grazing owner was trying to move him... oops). Anyway, Gem was great! We did the 80cm class which was an A1 - and did a nice clear round for a pretty purple ribbon.

Gem also did a lovely double clear in the 90cm, but just not fast enough to pick up a placing. Very happy with her though - didn't do any crazy turns, but kept tight and did some nice angles. I did get left behind a bit at one fence that we jumped a bit weird and got smacked in the chest by her wither! I have been making a real effort to get forward over the fences on her, and it seems to be working - but my lower leg is really loose on her (more so than on other horses)... need to sort it out!

We also did the 1m which Gem rocked around happily, a couple rails - but not fussed about that. Happy that she is such a willing horse. I need to stop pussying around with the low classes and move her up the heights a bit I think. No shows for Gem next weekend, but the following weekend she will come up to Wairarapa A&P for saddle hunteres and working hunters.

Xev started off with the 90cm class and a nice double-clear, but over the first few jumps she was distracted by the mini horses on the other side of the fence, not a huge thing - just meant I couldn't get her 100% focused. Again the time wasn't good enough for a placing (there were some fast rounds!).

our 1m start was a bit of a stuff-up! A bunch of walkers in fluro vests (fundraising or awareness raising I guess?) walked past and set the minis into "swarm mode" as we were a few strides out from jump1 - poor Xev was terrified and got over the first fence then made a beeline for anywhere that was not near minis. So we retired from that round and I walked her over to introduce her to the minis (she still wasn't keen on them, but doesn't seem to mind them when they stand still!). Wasn't sure what this was going to mean for my 1.10 class, but it was fine.

She had a good spook at the minis when we came around to that same corner, but she jumped really nicely and reminds me what a pleasure she is to ride. No ribbon for us in the 1.10, but really happy with her and feel it's a great warmup event for the ESNZ showjumping next weekend where she is entered in showhunters and 1.10m showjumping.

Thanks to Swifty for coming over the hill to take photos. And thanks to the Wairarapa for turning on some awesome weather. I did come prepared with sunscreen this time, but am still burnt - it would appear that you need to apply the sunscreen for it to have any effect.

Saddle Up at Foxton

Mum took Shante over to Foxton on Saturday for the Saddle-up show. There is in-hand in the morning, followed by ridden classes afterwards. Shante travelled really well, and behaved herself beautifully in the in-hand classes, picked up a ribbon in the mare class as well.
When it came time to tack-up for the ridden things were not as easy! Shante was a bit upset and needed to be lunged first, and not as settled as her last few "go along to watch" outings, but she got there eventually. Different saddlepad and different girth sleeve to usual as well, so possibly a lot to take in.
So they did ring classes, Shante's first ever time being ridden amongst other horses like that - in a circle with others trotting around (though they did do their canters alone, but did them nicely and on both reins).
So they came home with a neckful of ribbons, though it took some effort to get them on (and Shante would not have a bar of the judge trying to do it). 1st trotting horse, 2nd mare in-hand, 2nd p&m?, 3rd rider, 4th turnout. Not a bad haul!
Then today they headed out to Solway dressage (though I think that was just to watch again). Busy weekends for Shante! Not sure where she is headed next weekend - but there are lots of things on at this time of year, so I'm sure she will be out and about seeing all sorts of new things.

October 09, 2010

Belmont Showjumping

Western Hills show today, at Belmont. The ground was insane (wet/boggy) and there were stacks of people there (35 in my first ring1 class - which is heaps for a local show) - but they sure turned on the weather for us! I think I even got sunburnt again - I really should start putting sunscreen on in the morning again - bliss!!
Gem did a couple classes in ring2 and was awesome. She even picked up 2nd place in the TableC. I tried her in the myler, as she was pulling a bit last weekend, but I think the myler was too strong (because when I came to do my second class she wasn't too keen to go forward - more just cantering on the spot). But very pleased with her.
I do need to sort out getting forward on her. For some reason I feel really unbalanced when I give her a good crest release and sit forward over the fences, so I tend to slip my reins instead. I think I will try her in a more padded jumping saddle, perhaps my hard flat seated ones just don't work well for us a combination? She is really easy to jump, so I want to be able to do better by her. Oh, and bonus cuteness - we picked up our ribbon in-hand as I was already untacked to go home, and she cantered her lap of honour with me huffing and puffing and running beside her, she thought it was super fun!
Neo had an awesome day! Though it didn't start off so great. Because last weekend I got him in the mouth a few times during that bareback round, I thought I would jump his first round in the leather bit (mullen mouth loosering snaffle, but leather mouthpiece) just to give him a bit more confidence. Well, I almost changed my mind pretty quickly as he took off, pigrooted, reefed and was generally a real toad warming up. Then I got in the ring and he was really very good.
I managed to miss a fence in the jumpoff though! So that is twice this season I have got my course wrong (and I am a person who typically never gets their course wrong - so I have no idea what is going on there... I even walked it this time! Must be old age catching up on me). But yes, so pleased with how Neo went in that bit that I came back and did the circuit in it. I was a bit unsure if he was still going to be controllable, or if he'd be a bit more full of himself. Well, he warmed up like a riding club pony just trotting along happily, then did a super round and didn't really pull at all (didn't always wait for me either! but a massive improvement on what we've had lately). I chased him into the double to get the stride and ended up getting too close to the second and clipping the rail - but it was still good enough to get him a placing.
He even went and got his ribbon with a halter instead of a bridle and cantered around with the other horses nicely in the lap of honour! So happy with him. I have tried softer bits on him before with not much luck, so I am absolutely amazed that this bit seems to be doing the trick (especially because at home he totally ignores it). I had entered the final class in ring1 but decided to end on a good note.
Managed to get home and unloaded just before it started pouring down too. Xev had a lazy day today - she is on fitness training at the moment, and will be coming out next weekend for the start of 3 weekends in a row in the Wairarapa! Oh, and thanks to Swifty for taking photos today - as he took some for me, plus a few friends too - so was out getting sunburn all day.

October 03, 2010

Sunshine! Oh Joy!

Wow - it's sunny again - this is fantastic! Mum took her mob out to Solway dressage day to look around (Shante not as good as yesterday, but still no problems) and my lot just had quiet canters up the back paddocks and then had dinner in the sun. Bonus pics of Shante waiting at the truck, and Gem eating dinner:
This weather had better stay around, because I am absolutely loving it.

Solway - Jumping

Last update for the Solway Gymkhana is for the jumping! The jumping was actually held in the morning (before flat classes), but quite nice - it meant that I was finished all of my riding well before lunchtime. Sadley Xev sprung a shoe the night before, so I didn't want to jump her over bigger fences - and got Mum to do the 65 & 80cm classes just so she'd have a bit of an outing. Was all going well, but Mum lost a bit of balance and plopped off the side while turning a corner. Xev is going awesome though - so the farrier will be out hopefully tomorrow to come and sort out that shoe - because Xev has quite a few outings planned over the next month! She is in fab condition too, and her summer coat is coming through really nicely. I am thinking I want to ride her in the sidesaddle classes at Manawatu A&P (but have still not been brave enough to try the canter again! what a wimp I am).
Next up for the jumping was Gem in the 80cm. She hasn't had much work just lately, so was very full of herself! Not being naughty at all - but rather keen, and the french link just wasn't quite enough brakes. About halfway through the round she started listening nicely though and did a lovely double-clear. I got left behind a few times though (first pic below haha). Gem will probably do some showhunter classes next weekend at Belmont/Western Hills.
I was running late for my first class on Neo (90cm), and the judges were certainly in no mood to wait, which was a little unfortunate. But I didn't want to miss out on doing the class as a nice warmup for him, so I ended up heading in bareback. Because I hadn't had a chance to warmup (not even one practise fence) I was a bit mean with my hands - not letting my arms go to his mouth. We did go clear though, which is pretty neat. The next class we came back with our saddle and my arms much better! He was a bit tanky though. Today I rode him in a friend's leather bit, nice and soft, as an apology for my hard hands yesterday and he seemed to really appreciate that.
Thanks to Swifty for coming and taking photos. Oh, and yesterday was also my first time having 3 in the float - and over the Makara, Haywards & Rimutaka hills the patrol was sweet as to tow the 3 hacks, so that is good to know.