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.

April 22, 2012

Friday riding in the sun

Some photos from Friday - as you can see, Zak is still not too keen on, well, anything:

More tantrums

But despite his naughty bits, he was actually a little more forward-going, so I was happy with that. Can't have everything at once all the time.

Neo did some work with both a saddle and bridle, to prepare for showjumping this weekend.

He actually went very calm and kindly, I was impressed!

Showjumping was today at Manfeild in Feilding... pics to come later!

April 18, 2012

Keeping on top

Keeping on top of things. That's the idea, right? So I've managed to ride every day this week (yeah, it's only Wednesday - but sometimes you have to celebrate the small things). Today I got Swifty to come out and take some more photos as I started to think about taking Neo out this weekend

We haven't done much jumping, and my balance isn't all that good after a long break from it. So today I just did some jumping in a halter to make sure I didn't jab him in the face. He was actually pretty well behaved.

However after he'd done a few fences he did start to reef a little bit and caught me by surprise once or twice (the 2nd pic below, the look on my face hahaha). We're both a bit uncoordinated, but I think we'll remember what it's all about soon enough. No point rushing anything now that the season is pretty much wrapped up anyway.

After Zak was naughty yesterday I was keen to get on him again with someone on the ground to give me a hand if anything went wrong. While nothing specifically went too badly, I'm not actually sure what his issue is. He just seems to be in a filthy mood about the whole thing.

There were no big rears or bucks today - but lots of just 'childish' naughty things. It's very annoying, and doesn't help my motivation all that much. But Zak is currently getting worked every single day, and being made to stand beside the fence while I climb on and off about a million times.

There is a jumping day at Manfeild on Sunday... So I am considering going to that - and just doing the tiny baby classes on Neo. Have to see if I can be bothered unloading all of my stored stuff from in the float first though!

April 17, 2012

Thats right, Zak

If you're a naughty pony you won't get a brand new Gateshead equestrian rug & treats like Neo did. Better behave tomorrow, Zak!

April 15, 2012

That Neo

Neo has had a bit of regular work lately (well, regular compared to what he'd been getting before that). He is pretty fat and unfit, and tanking around like a pony, pretty much going the same as when he does in full work probably!

We got lots of tense work, quite a lot of counterbend, and nose poking here there and everywhere - but at least today he wasn't spooking at the arena letters (which has become one of his most favourite passtimes).

Even popped him over a couple of jumps - which felt bloody awful quite frankly... and I have no weight down in my heels and really am not doing him any favours at all - so after just a few fences I decided we didn't need to do any more jumping till we are both perhaps a little fitter and less fat!

Photo of me looking like a fool, because it cracks me up. And photo of me trying to do some bridleless work (which resulted in Neo just walking back to Zak, no matter what I tried to do).

Thanks again to Swifty for being cameraman - and to the weather for being awesome!

Taming the Terror

Yes, long time no post, I am aware! But I have had some motivation seep back in lately, and today Swifty was free to pop out and be my 'person on hand to call the ambulance' if anything goes wrong. So what better time to get started again with "Little" Zak.

Last season I had some trouble with Zak. He really went backwards after a growth spurt - he seemed to have decided that everything was uncomfortable, and worked out a few tricks. So I've gone right back to basics with him, Getting on and off again - letting him take his time and realise that nothing is uncomfy or really that bad at all.

He was actually pretty good after some initial little tantrums - but I kept it low key. Just rode him around the yard that Neo was in (Neo found the camera and sat in front of it for rather a while).

After he was a bit more confident, we ventured out into the big wide world...

And he behaved just fine! Pretty happy with the little lad - was expecting heaps more drama and it just never happened. Now I just need to keep on top of it and get some semi-regular work into him, then he can attempt to be seen in public, maybe?

Also I wonder when he'll stop growing? He'll be 5 in August/November depending on which calculation you're using.