December 12, 2010

We trotted!

We trotted today! I had Nick T come down to the arena so there was someone to call the ambulance if anything went wrong, but Zak was 100% fine to get on
It did take us a little bit of effort to find forward-gear, but then he was happy to walk around calmly
He got a bit tired and nappy after a while, but still gave me a couple of little trots (need to find some rocket fuel to get more go!)
What a good Zak! Need to sort out a smoother transition to trot and then a bit more balance before we try a canter. But all on track so far.

December 05, 2010

Makara Gymkhana

Saturday was the Makara PC Gymkhana, held at Battle Hill. Gem lost a shoe the day before, so I only entered her in one class because I know she does get a bit owchy when she's missing a corner. She did great though. It was the 95cm in Ring1 (so lots of fill and some quite difficult lines).
But she really stepped up, and even got me out of trouble a few times when we saw different strides. We had a bit of a cheap rail in the double, but I'm not worried by that at all. She did a super round and was easy and fun to ride. After the show she went back to her owner, and I'm not sure if the plan is to continue jumping or to go back to being a showhack.
Neo was trying out a new shampoo thanks to Wellington Feed & Saddlery. It is Horse Sense White Knight, and it smells absolutely lovely (made me very hungry!). It did a lovely job on his tail, as it is very gentle and left his tail nice and soft and full. It's also a purple shampoo without having the 'blueing' issue that some of them have if you use them too strong or leave in too long. It doesn't repel dirt quite as nicely as the Australian Dressage tea tree shampoo, but I'd say it's about the same in that respect as most of the whitening shampoos I have used. Now if only they could make a shampoo that would stop Neo from pooing on himself, that would be handy.
Neo was an absolute twit for the first two classes (the circuit and the 1.05). He was just too excited and not careful enough. I even tried coming back to a walk halfway through one of my classes to get his mind on task (which only worked for a few fences and then he was back to being distracted by blades of grass and who knows what else).
Luckily he redeemed himself in the 1.10 - but putting in a good clear first round (even if we did have to approach a few fences on an angle just to keep him thinking), and then a stunning jumpoff. I was so proud of him, because he was getting really tight corners and not drifting out at all. I didn't quite push him forward enough into one jump, and we got it a bit wrong and took the rail, which is a shame - but he still came home with a ribbon and paid for most of his entries. Stoked with that.
Thanks to Nick F for stepping in as photographer for the day!

Education continues

About 18 months ago (March 2009) I started backing Zak. He only had a few rides and only at the walk. Since then he has been over in the Wairarapa eating and growing - his handling has been limited to mostly regular drenching, trims & having his rugs changed. So last night when I went to pick him up I wasn't sure what to expect. He loaded pretty well on the float - needed to see the bum ropes but then walked straight on, and travelled really well.
Today I thought I would see how much he remembered. He wanted to have a good sniff of the saddle, and had a little bit of a worry when I did the girth up - but then worked out it wasn't going to kill him so just went back o sleep. He was perfect to put the boots on as well. I decided against the bridle as it was so awfully windy I didn't want to take ages to get things done.
He was good to tighten his girth up, and was very keen to follow me. Had a bit of a panic when a rogue plastic bag came flying towards him (and henceforth was not that keen on that particular corner of the arena). But really he didn't do anything wrong. Very impressed with him.
He also fits the rug I bought for him perfectly (thankfully). So he is in a 4'9" while Neo is in a 4'6" - poor Neo, how shameful!
A good start to things, will do some more groundwork on him over the week, and if all goes well - hopefully hope aboard next weekend if I can get a helper (just in case of any problems).

500th post!

Who is this handsome fellow?