November 28, 2010

Hutt Valley Jumping Day

Out to Belmont yesterday for the Hutt Valley jumping day. Was quite impressed that it only took around 45 minutes to get there. I was the first person there - so grabbed a nice park and had lots of time to potter around getting all 3 horses ready for the day.
Xev had her first outing for a while. We did a warmup round in the morning and she was very spooky, but was in general quite happy - so that was all good. Then she had showhunter later in the day. We'd entered 2 classes and in the first class I was really pleased with her. The jumps were tiny, but she seemed happy and going kindly.
Then when I came back for my next class she was quite upset - she wasn't napping back to the others at the float, but she was just stressed. Not really sure what was going on. Ended up taking Neo in a round as well (2nd pic below) - and um, it certainly wasn't pretty! He was quite calm, by Neo's standards... but certainly not showhunter standards.
Gem did one showhunter round as well. I think she went lovely, but we did add a stride on one of the lines, so no placing for us. But she looked pretty!
Her showjumping was fantastic though! The first SJ for her was an AM5 - and she did a nice clear round, then came back for a good jumpoff. No speed, but as many tight corners as I could get from her. She's not 'nippy', but she does try very hard to get around those turns. Came away with a red ribbon for her efforts.
Then we had a take your own line class. I got most of the course I mapped out in my head, but had to make a few running adjustments when I landed from one jump past the point where I'd intended to turn for another fence! Again, didn't kick her on or let her go fast at all, just tried to get tight turns and good angles. The second pic below is the last 2 fences I did... they don't look like that tough of a line in the photo (damn!) but it was very tight to ride - she did it beautifully though, and came away with another 1st placing.
Neo had a bit of a mixed day. He was jumping quite well, but in the first class we warmed up far too early and he was very unsettled waiting for his turn - I think that made up both a bit tired and grumpy. He pulled, but it was only a 1-round class (TA2) so I still had arms left at the end of it.
He gave me a super ride in the circuit class though. I put him wrong into the double, so we took a rail there - but overall just stoked with him. He was strong, but not pulling and arguing. Much more fun to ride.
As I was finishing Gem's TYOL class, I looked over to ring1 to see there were no horses going - which is typically the end of the class! So I cantered Gem back to the float (luckily I'd suspected there might be a timing clash, and Neo still had his saddle on), popped the bridle on him and went in stone cold.
Had to ask a friend to borrow her course (it was also a TYOL) as I hadn't even had a chance to look at the fences. Ended up missing one of her turns and had to make up the last 3 fences on the fly, but Neo was awesome. Lovely clear round and 3rd place for him.
By the end of all of that I was actually pretty tired. I haven't had such a busy day in quite a while and after driving home and putting the horses to bed I was more than ready for sleep myself! Thanks to Swifty for the photos again.
Next weekend is Feilding I,A&P - but I haven't entered. Not sure exactly what I will do next weekend - doesn't look like there is anything on locally, so might have to consider driving up to Manfeild and doing late entries just for some Saturday classes.

November 22, 2010

Review: Jockey underwear

I saw these knickers while browsing shops the other day, and thought they could be fantastic for riding. They're made by jockey and have little strips of silicon to stop them riding up. So I bought a pair to try out, and promised I would let my horsey friends know if they were any good.

They were a bit of effort to put on- the silicon is quite sticky, so would grab itself or stick to your leg or just not where you wanted it to. As a result, it took about 3 full minutes to get them on and sitting just how I wanted. They felt a bit weird on- but once I out jeans on they weren't even really noticeable.

I did some driving, running up and down hills (horses wanted to play catch!) and general carting things around while I had the jeans on over them without any movement. Then I got changed into jods- I was worried the undies might re-grip in the wrong place while I stuffed myself into the jods, but there were no such problems.

I rode 3 horses, a mix of flatwork and jumping and included some sitting trot. After all that there was not even the slightest hint of a creep up or movement. What I did notice was the synthetic material and silicon strips did make them feel a bit warm. Not sure how pleasant that would be in the middle of summer compared to regular cotton or bamboo knickers.

I was really impressed that they did what they said they would. I think the price is perhaps a bit steep ($25), and I doubt the silicon will stay grippy for long if you machine wash them. But I would certainly recommend them if you like your undies to stay put and not creep up.

November 21, 2010

Lazy Sunday

Out to the arena at Grays road today - after it had been raining all morning it cleared for me to get all 3 horses ridden. It even got warm for a little bit (though not sunny). I was also trying out my new jods - which I think are just the cutest things on the planet.
Gem was feeling very full of bounce, and pulled a little while I was warming her up - but she jumped like a star. She has obviously forgotten her confidence knock the other weekend at the show, so I think today with just some low oxers was really great for her.
She always overwhelms me with her attitude to jumping. She doesn't really tank into anything, but is always keen, and doesn't mind fillers or odd-looking fences. I just need to work on riding her more forward to the base of the fence, as I am still putting her on the short stride. I tried today to ride her more positively, and had mixed results - sometimes we'd hit it perfect, but other times I would end up holding her for an extra stride right at the base of the jump. Good thing she is clever!
Not sure what is next for Gem, but she is at least fit and happy - so leaves the door wide open for whatever suitable events are coming up for her.
Neo is still proving to be a mystery. He was very strong on the flat and I couldn't get him to listen well enough to bend around my leg, however when I put him into a warmup crossbar, and also a grid he would happy trot in and land in a lovely calm canter.
The more jumping I did, the more hot he got. He was not reefing in front of the fences, but was still jumping around in front of them. But I don't think he is sore, as he's moving fine, and also jumping nice enough (when sore he tends to not have a tidy front end at all). He was a dude in between times though... happy to walk around on a loose rein and let me cuddle his face from the saddle.
I think I will just have to keep working on the flatwork, incorporate more trotting poles (I have been doing this almost daily, but not really changing the trotting pole setup, nor raising them or doing anything different). Just keep at it and I'm sure he will give me some clues as to if it is the right thing or not.
Xev has been a bit off lately... she is just ever so slightly sore. She was feeling a bit better today, behaving nicely as well - which is hopeful - as her mood is quite tied to how she feels physically.
I didn't do very much on her though - just wanted to enjoy a short ride and have her enjoy it as well and not get pushed until she did feel uncomfortable. I also popped her over a tiny crossbar a few times and she was lovely and calm into it and away from it. Fingers crossed this means that whatever is making her uncomfy is on it's way to getting sorted. Had the farrier out again, can't see any obvious stonebruise or anything, but it could fit with the very low level discomfort.
The rain came in just as I was packing up, which is really quite fantastic timing! Thanks to Swifty for popping out to take some photos too.

November 18, 2010

Manawatu A&P

Manawatu A&P show up at Manfeild park on the 6th & 7th. Just Neo and Gem with me, as Xev still a bit off. Saturday was the ring class type stuff, and Sunday the jumping for me. Swifty came up on the Saturday and snapped a few pics.
Neo was well-behaved in his in-hand classes (he always is, I think I need to work out how to wake him up!). A ribbon in one of his classes, but only due to light entries. Still - it is really good for him to go out and not just always do jumping.
Then Gem had working hunters, she was super bouncy for the first class but by the open lightweight she had settled down quite nicely. She jumped great and never worried about the fences at all... however the gallop was a bit hairy (also very slippery! which made for some amusing moments while both ponies and hacks were trying to pull up at the other end). Gem picked up a 3rd, and I was really stoked with how she jumped.
Sunday Gem did showhunters, and was super in the 90cm first year registered class - but then I carried on and did the 1m and just did not give her enough of a forward ride and we had a stop at the last fence. That is so very out of character for Gem and I am very disappointed that I overfaced her and let her down like that. She is such a brave girl and really seems to enjoy the jumping. So she is currently having a couple of weeks with no real jumping, just trotting poles and a few crossbars to make sure her confidence doesn't get dented.
Neo was supposed to do the 1.10m class on Sunday, but after looking at the surface in the crusher dust arena I felt it was just too hard (a lot of horses jumped great on saturday and came out sunday not going very well in that ring, I suspect due to the ground). So I just had him in the 1m & 1.05m. I put the stronger bit on him for the small class, and he pulled a bit in the first round, but was ok... then the jumpoff he was not jumping as nicely so pulled a couple rails. I think that is due to being worried about the stronger bit. So for the 1.05 I came back with his mullen mouth leather bit, and couldn't even get him to listen to me at all over the practise fence. I didn't want to put him back in the stronger bit, so I just scratched him and went home.

November 03, 2010

Wairarapa A&P

Wairarapa A&P show last weekend - and though it was forecast to rain, I actually managed to stay dry (if a little cold). Mum had Daniel in the pleasure horses on Sunday, and after arriving and getting him all tidied up to go, a friend came over and mentioned that it was no plaiting and no jackets for the pleasure section! So it was a rushjob of unplaiting!

Can't have been too bad though - as they actually won the turnout! Woohoo! Fairly small entries - maybe 10-12 people max, but some good horses in there with many pleasure championships under their belt. Daniel went really well and picked up ribbons in most of his classes.

He won the best trotting horse too, which was nice. His flatwork is coming along really well and he looked stunning. A few hiccups further into the classes as he was getting tired (and many of the horses were by that stage).

So while they didn't come home with a wide, they had a great time (even got to go for a gallop!). Daniel will be doing the pleasure classes again at Manawatu A&P this coming weekend.

Neo was a huge disappointment. After jumping so well last weekend, I took him in the 1m on Saturday and he was a bit of a toad to warm up, but the warmup jumps were in an area with lots of spooky stuff around - so I figured he might be better in the ring. Well he just didn't listen at all - fighting with me the few times he did realise I was there at all. Leaping and reefing in front of the jumps, then getting over them quite hollow. I even tried coming back to a trot, but it didn't change anything. I don't know if he is sore or stressed? Or just being a piglet? I opted to scratch from my Sunday classes in the interests of safety (and also in case he is sore). He is not working well at home this week either - so maybe there is something owchy, he has his ears back a lot (which is unusual for him), but I can't find anything obvious and it is just so heartbreaking when it gets like that.\

Shante was entered in Saddle Hunters and Colour classes, but they changed the times and they ended up clashing. Mum decided to go for the in-hand stuff, which turned out to be a good choice. Shante didn't put a foot wrong and came home with Reserve Champ adult, as well as a trophy for the colour/markings class.

Mum did hop on afterwards and said that Shante felt a bit grumpy - but they rode around and got some more mileage under her belt. Then we got a chiro to have a look at her, and identified some issues - so hopefully we are on track to sorting that out. Many thanks to Sarah for coming along for the day to groom for the flat classes.

Gem was a dude. She bounced around in the saddle hunters and wasn't really the relaxed type they were looking for, but she didn't really do anything wrong - just a bit full of herself and the spring grass! It also gave me an excuse to use the double bits I bought ages ago for a horse who ended up going far better in a snaffle! Gem does too! But hey, at least I got to use them.. and now I won't feel bad if I sell them, because at least I've had a chance to use them.

Mum led Gem in the mare class and did the district hunter on her, then I grabbed her back for the working hunter. It really is a pleasure to ride Gem. I mean, she put in a wee pigrooty thing after the first fence, and really (really!) enjoyed the gallop! But she is just so fun, and you really can put all of your trust in her.

Xev stayed at home, I'd wanted to do flat classes on her, but have not come any closer to identifying what is making her sore - so thought better of it. I'd hate for her to associate going out with pain. Gutted for her to miss the show though (she was the right colour for the judge too! lots of greys in the lineups).

Thanks again to Sarah for grooming, and Swifty for being cameraman on Saturday. Not really sure what my plans are beyond Manawatu A&P - mostly I need to make sure all horses are feeling 100% happy and healthy! I think I need to register Gem for showjumping too.