June 21, 2012

Dressage Saddle

So... there comes a time when you just can't avoid it any longer, and you have to get a dressage saddle. I'd really only just sold my old one (having no use for it) - and yet somehow the universe puts me back into the world of needing a dressage saddle. Seems to fit Mijla nicely (and even popped it on Zak and it seems ok - didn't girth it up on him though, so not 100% sure). I am very out of practice though! First few pics are with my stirrups shorter...

And these two pics are with the stirrups a bit longer. I think they mostly look better longer, but I felt like I was reaching for them. I'm going to have to do a fair few hours in the dressage saddle to get into the swing of things again!

I thought I'd found a bridle to match, but alas it was not meant to be... so still on the hunt for a brown bridle to go with the saddle in case I ever get enough weight on the mare to put her in some saddle hunter classes.

June 19, 2012


Dentist for all 3 horses! Loaded them up in the float and took them to Otaki. Zak loaded very well (he does much better when he is between 2 others - seems to make him calm).

Neo was pretty good - just has a front tooth that needs to come out next time we're up there. Possibly not causing any issues, but better to be safe than sorry.

Zak has big wolf teeth that may need to come out - just have to play it by ear with him. I have changed his bridle to ensure there is no pressure on that area and I'll see if I can spot any discomfort. 

Mijla had quite a few sharpies and had those seen to, but nothing more exciting than that.

June 17, 2012

Tielcey Combined Training

Entered Neo in the PreNovice, and Mijla in the PreTraining. Neo actually did a very good dressage for him, but shocking jumping - wouldn't jump off a long stride and I have no idea why. Very disappointed. So he ended up last, which was also 3rd. I didn't do any straight showjumping on him as I felt there was no point if he's not jumping well.

Mijla did a kind enough dressage - we both made some mistakes, and still need a heck of a lot more rocket fuel in her. She came 3rd in the dressage and 7th overall after a rail in the SJ. I also did the 80cm straight showjumping for a double clear! About 5 seconds off the pace, but very pleased with her. 

I'll update this post later if any photos crop up - no photoslave for me this weekend.

June 12, 2012


All ponies were overdue for their toes, so thankfully the weather sort of played ball for the farrier and I. It pissed down a few times, but only for a couple of seconds then the sun came out again. Very odd, actually. 

Neo's feet were good, as usual. The farrier likes him too, as he just stands like a rock for having his toes done (about the ONLY time Neo stands still for anything). 

Zak was really good news - being in work has done him a world of good, and the shape of his hooves was the best that we've ever seen them. Still got a way to go yet, but it's looking like we won't need to put on corrective shoes - just keep chipping away with the trimming and see how it progresses. Zak's behaviour was still naughty, but it's getting slowly better every time. He's so different to any other horse I've worked with - I really hope there is a superstar in him waiting to come out, god knows I put enough time and energy into him for it! 

Mijla had front shoes on, and back feet with huge cracks. It was all a bit of a mess. So it was hot shoes all around, and a custom one on the off hind with extra clips to hold the crack together. Looks like the cracks are from old injuries - so we'll just have to keep on top of things with the shoes and then by next season they will be looking a lot healthier. 

Dentist in a week for the lot of them! I am spending all of my money before becoming an unemployed person at the end of this contract!

June 10, 2012

More Manfeild

June's Manfeild event crept up on me - like really crept up on me! On Saturday night Karina mentioned it on Facebook, and I ended up rearranging a few things and deciding to head on up very much on a whim.

Mijla was coming up mostly just to see what she'd do. How would she travel, would she stand nicely at the float alone, would she behave? She travelled really well (after accidentally boofing me in the face and putting a tooth through my lip).

She was a bit unsure when we first headed out - a little spooky at a few things and had a little hop around at one point, but nothing that would get you worried. And she calmed down heaps after 5 minutes riding. I even took her into a few warmup areas that had other horses cantering past us and towards us... again, she wasn't overly confident, but got better with time. 

At the truck by herself she called out lots, but didn't appear to actually try and go for a wander anywhere - so that is nice to know. I could have done a bit more with her - but she's still very unfit and skinny and I just didn't want her to associate going to shows with not having fun. I want her to associate it with food and good times (much like I do!).

It was going to be ages till any class for Neo, and the rain was moving in, so I figured I'd just take him for a ride. He is starting to be really good in the warmup areas these days - no reefing or being a total idiot. Because I do most of my work on him bareback, I know that he will be a bit different to ride on the days where I put a saddle on... but if I can work out a way to keep his brain between his ears then I might be looking forward to a fun season on him.

Did a few little practice fences on him, not the tidiest haha! And then headed to the hose down to wash off half of the arena surface that he seemed to have got over his legs and belly.

Thanks again to Swifty for pics and also opening gates in the rain!

June 03, 2012

Queens BDay - Mijla

Mijla is a new arrival. She's a 7yo TB mare (by Traditionally) who has done a couple of low level shows, but hasn't been in work for around 18 months. Majestic dropped her off to me on Friday, so I had a bareback ride on her Friday & Saturday while waiting for some rainscald to clear up. Today was our first day with the saddle! She doesn't actually look very thrilled at the prospect:

But she behaved really well - she hasn't been spooky or uptight at any point - even with other horses coming to use the arena, which Neo gets quite excited about.

Mijla is very kind and I think once I get some heating food into her and some more meat on her bones she will actually have quite a nice trot - she seems to remember the basics of her schooling and doesn't fizz when we get our signals mixed up.

Finding the canter button took me a while - and because she's quite unfit I didn't want to sit on her and have her trying to balance both of us, but once we got into canter she sorted herself out nicely.

And the next few canter transitions were fine too. We only did about 10 minutes of riding, didn't want to make her too sore and tired.

Don't currently have a dressage saddle, but have bought a square pad for under my jumping saddle, just in case we decide to pop along to some winter dressage (I guess there must be some coming up).

Queens BDay - Zak

Zak has had a few weeks off, and yesterday when I got on him he was really well-behaved, I was super happy with him. Of course that meant today, when I had Swifty and the camera around we had a few occurrences of naughty Zak:

But for much of the time he was quite soft and moving forward and freely.

More boring walking pics:

Attempted some trots, most hilarious! Not sure if I have trotted him bareback before? He certainly got his back up a few times but didn't actually buck - so that is a good start!

And cutie-pie Zak:

He is still having little tantrums when he thinks he's done enough work. I'm just trying to work through them, make him work just 5 minutes longer once he's had a tantrum, and hopefully they will become less & less. I think we're getting there. Will also pop the saddle back on him either tomorrow or next weekend and see if any of the saddles I have here are fitting him properly at the moment.

Queens BDay - Neo

Long weekend! And getting lots of work into the horses... it's been really great. Have been trying to get lots and lots of canter work into Neo. I'm sure his canter is improving (at least it feels a little softer, certainly doesn't look any better).

He's in really good condition coming into winter too - and not too much of a fluffy yak.

His trot is still really terrible and jammed up, even with loops in the reins. To be honest, at the moment I can't be bothered trying to fix it... I'm just going to work on doing one thing at a time, and at the moment I'm focused on the canter... so the trot is just going to have to wait for another time!

As usual, I don't know what the next outing for him is. Probably another of the Manfeild SJ series up in Feilding. I wouldn't mind taking him out to do some dressage so he gets some non-jumping outings, but his flatwork at the moment isn't worth offending the judges.

May 13, 2012

Foxton SJ

Decided that Neo needed another outing, and Manfeild were running another of their winter series just up the road at Foxton. Worked out pretty well, as not quite as far to travel. Ended up being a very quick day (loaded around 7am and back in the paddock before midday.. ok, only 10 minutes before midday, but still pretty good going!). I didn't end up doing any classes, just took him in the practise round at 95cm and made up our own course - trying to just keep him calm. He actually went really well - I didn't do every fence, just a selection of uprights and oxers. Didn't want to push my luck and have him get all hot and excitable.

Then I took him back to the float and whipped his saddle off and did some bareback schooling around the other horses - again, he was pretty chilled out. Good news, really. Thanks to Leia for the piccy too :) In our styling practise round gear!

May 12, 2012

Zak making progress

Today Zak was really good! Still just walking, as I want to get him behaving and doing as I ask at the walk before doing more. But today was really good, he was striding out properly, and even when a visitor to the arena had their horse being hosed he didn't seem to mind at all. Very impressed with my little boy. Also, his bum looks less like a tee-pee from behind now, and rather more like a picnic table! Growing up and getting to be the shape of a real horse, perhaps?

Neo was his Neo-self, not too jammed up and seemed pretty happy. Might take him to Foxton tomorrow for showjumping, but won't bother with continuing up to Aokautere for XC. Now just to see what the weather is like in the morning (as it seems I have turned into a fair-weather rider!).

May 06, 2012

Battle Hill

Well, I decided against going over to Wairarapa for cross country, but did want to take Neo out somewhere... so just loaded him in the float and went down to Battle Hill. I was hoping for just a quiet wander around, but there was a pony club rally going on - which probably worked out even better - gave him something to get a bit "eyeballs on stalks" about, without having to actually do anything himself. We just did a walk around, and a little trot, but mostly just keeping it all chilled out and relaxed as possible. He got a bit excited on the way back to the float, but nothing too bad.

April 30, 2012

What to do?

So, there is a cross country practise day this coming weekend over the hill in the Wairarapa. I'd quite like to go, not because I like XC (it's a pretty well documented fact that I hate it!) more just because I want to be out and doing things and catch up with friends. However, Neo has been unsettled since going to Manfeild. I have tried hacking him out bareback at a walk, I've tried picking up where we left off with our arena schooling, I've even tried drilling his transitions to see if I can let boredom overtake his apparent anxiety. He doesn't seem sore, and is happy to be saddled up.. he is the same in a bridle or halter. He just seems jammed up and I'm not sure if he's excited or uncomfortable. It's always been hard to tell with him.
Do I take him, and give him a nice canter around the XC, popping through the water and over a few ditches? Or do I take him and do a mini-course? Or do I stay at home and try and fix whatever it is I've broken?

April 27, 2012

Oh look, new boots

Yummy treat for winter

After Effects

While Neo was really more well-behaved over the weekend than I was expecting, I've noticed he's been quite fizzy at home since. A bit full of beans when it comes to handling him, and very jammed-up when riding. He's not the easiest horse to get a long stride out of at the best of times, but this week it's been very hard. I've spent a bit of time just hacking out at the walk in case his muscles got a bit of a shock over the weekend

He settles into his work eventually though, and I guess that is all I can ask right now. No showjumping this weekend for us, so perhaps I should head down to battle hill and just give him a big walk around the paddocks - I guess I'll see how the weather is looking. Maybe he can just stay cuddled up in his nice warm rug in his paddock eating!

Zak has been very good this week! Still taking it very slowly (literally! not out of a walk yet), but the desire to rear or be a twat seems to be fading. I'm just trying to ensure he gets consistent work, but easy work - if he starts to get upset, I just get off, lead him around, get back on. It's very time-consuming and boring, but hopefully once we're on the other side of it it'll all be gravy.

I can hear it raining outside right now too - it's been a fantastic season for the grass in the area I live. I've got an entire paddock that's been locked up for the boys so they will have some grass heading into winter too.

April 23, 2012


So, yesterday was the first of the Manfeild winter showjumping series. A lot of things have changed since I was last competing, one of them seems to be that Manfeild is now closer than I remember? Or my grazing is closer? Either way, it only took 2 hours to get there - so I had lots of time to stuff around and think about which classes I was going to enter.

Neo was well-behaved for loading and travelling, stood tied to the float nicely while I wandered around to look at the course and stuff like that. He even stood still while I tried to yank out some of his very overgrown mane.

But once we came to our first jumping... the 70cm practise outdoors, he got a bit tanky and did his usual bounce around in front of the jump and don't look where we're going. You'd think that 70cm really shouldn't be that exciting, but Neo begs to differ. I only got really left behind once though, and I'm sure the poor pony suffered a jab in the mouth for it. 

After the practise I took him back to the float and unsaddled, gave him some more food to occupy him, and wandered to fill out my actual entry form. I think it took me close to an hour to decide what to actually enter. I don't normally do many classes on Neo, but at least I've typically known what I want to do. Yesterday I just really had no idea what either of us should be aiming for. At home we've been jumping about 60cm? Neither of us very fit or balanced. I finally decided on the 80cm outdoors, and the 90cm indoors (but I wasn't very sure about the 90cm... Neo is notoriously bad indoors, and I wasn't feeling like it was going to be much of a success).

Our 80cm went ok. We had a lazy rail, but there was not quite as much tanking off. He did get strong, but seemed to at least meet his fences in better spots rather than getting in super deep like he was in the practise. We headed to the indoor, and I wandered Neo around outside. He was pretty skittish after his previous round... but I figured I could go in, and if he was being impossible I could just retire. You get to go in about 3 riders before you, so you can do a practise fence inside. I was really surprised that Neo wasn't stressing about the noise. Even when I went up to the judge (took Bruce a few seconds to jog his memory banks and recognise us) Neo didn't really spook at anything. He rushed a bit, and took a couple rails, but overall he actually acted like a grown-up horse. Pretty happy with that. 

So the next show for us? Not really sure, the next of the series is mid-May in Foxton - so it will probably be that unless something else pops up. Thanks to Michael Thomson for the first 4 pics, and Swifty for the rest of them. I got home and was too tired to face riding Zak, which actually worked out pretty well - because when I got on him today I managed to pre-empt his rearing and get off him beforehand, so the entire ride was positive stuff and no arguements. But there was a lot of getting off and getting back on again.