Thursday, August 18, 2016

Great lesson, great show.

China finally well covered over the ribs after 6 months. 

So the day before the next jumping day I had a lesson on both China and bob. China was once again a difficult know it all. He was fine jumping down the related line in one direction but going the other way would jump in and run at the next fence. We did some pull ups where I jumped in and halted him which just added to his stress levels and he refused to give it up. Normally you halt a few times and then jump in and sit up and they come back to you anticipating the halt and you go pat pat pat good pony good learning.

China took it as something of a personal affront and was like human why are you ruining this for me. I would have done it ten times and he was still looking to run down the next fence. I think I need to add circles in my related lines instead of the halting. Still he settled in the course work and whenever he got hot or silly I would just circle and we got our canter a little more dialled in and he relaxed and started to give me more shape over the fences.

Bob we had a real epiphany with though because I've been softening at the base of the fences on both of them to give them the room to jump in a relaxed way but of course I've been taking it too far and letting bob fall in his forehand and then lengthen that last stride which effectively throws all our impulsive into the toilet which results in rails. Firmer contact at the base and he really started to jump with more power. With China too I need to do this at least for a while because he's getting flat on the last stride as well. Though give it three weeks and it will change again. Having two very different green horses to ride is really keeping me on my toes.

The morning of the show was disgusting, pouring with rain and cold and I was really tempted to A. Pull the pin or B. Just take Bob because he's the client horse and needs to be getting out because he's on the market. However, I put on my Big girl pants and went despite being super late and there being low entries. I basically got there, got on China, learnt the course, jumped three warm up fences and went in. The course was really weird with only two jumps on the left rein and no related distances bar the combination and no fillers. The front part of the oxer into the combination was just two rails which wasn't bad at 80cm but it was hella ugly at 110m. So China had one rail in the 80cm when I let him run at it a little. But hugely improved from his last competition because I didn't have to turn with both hands on one rein and he was a lot more settled.

Bob came out and just leapt out of his skin at the practice fence and jumped a double clear round in the 80cm. Apparently he really likes contact at the base. Even my little sister was like wow he learnt a lot yesterday. Bonus was he won the class which is nice.

I just stayed in the ring and rode first in the 90cm. He jumped clean again and I had put my stirrups up a hole and felt like I could stay with him a lot better. 

China too was very good. Jumping well from the base and very listeny for him. Just buried him at the base of the first fence of the combination when my eye wandered through the fence. Focus woman! So he had a rail there but still uber happy with both of them considering the weather was so bad. Didn't even put breeches on just rode in my polar fleece pants 

China I feel is going to be one of those quite talented but a bit difficult ponies. Though changed his noseband to a figure 8 and though he didn't like it he did give me some good work. Lovely and responsive 


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ambition rampage

I don't know what's been with me all week but I have been absolutely fuming. Churning and grinding in this terribly frustrated mindset. I feel like on both the horses I'm not getting anywhere. Just flailing around in the sand and getting no where. Current progress has been pretty limited though I do realise that's normal with young horses, especially once you get past that initial stage where turning stopping and travelling at the desired speed are the win. Now that I'm asking for a lot more the progress is in smaller increments. 

I don't know if it's the backdrop of the Olympics where dreams are coming true and being shattered and all that malarkey but honestly I think it's mostly the daily bombardment of equine memes all selling the same Coolaid. 

I love horses, I love riding and I love jumping. I always thought growing up that it didn't matter what stood in my path, if I tried really hard I could be it. I'm pretty confident that I was confident I'd be jumping World Cup by now. 

It didn't matter that I didn't have a lot of money, it didn't matter that I lacked in horse power. I would work my guts out and overcome the odds and attain all my goals. Because this is what we are fed all day long. 

I have worked really hard. I've educated myself in a lot of different aspects of horse care, I've trained under some amazing international riders when I got the opportunity. I have diligently (and still do) applied what I have been taught. And I'm a nice rider with good feel. My eye to a fence is pretty good and I can follow instructions. But still I have never come anywhere close to the dreams I used to have. I say used to, there's definitely still an ember burning that just wants to jump a Grand Prix. 

Realistically though following my dream led to some pretty bum life choices. It's been cool jumping all over the country and chasing the series, but becoming a working pupil really was eye opening. The sheer number of horses you need to go through to find a super star is boggling. If they have the jump they don't have the attitude and visa versa. And then you still have to keep them sound and sane which is no easy feat.

And let's be honest the horses with the talent and the attitude are quite frankly dicks and often not very fun to deal with anyway.

You can put in the sweat, and the tears and the blood. You can put everything you have into something until you are running your car on $5 gas a time. It takes more than that though. You need luck, support and money and even then with horses that's no guarantee. 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is dream big beautiful mental dreams, fan the ember of passion and ambition. Believe in your ability to achieve. Don't carry failure solely on your own shoulders. Know that it takes more than just talent and hard work. Don't let your dream cloud your vision so you can't afford to keep riding. Accept that you have to do a million miles of basics on every horse you have and that luck and life will make you feel like all you do is put the basics on and never get to progress on. It doesn't matter where you start or how long it takes you to get there if you get there at all. What matters is that you start. Love the horse, develop that relationship because really the ribbons are just the icing on the cake of being lucky enough to even have a horse. 

Sorry late night stream of consciousness. Will sleep now. Thanks guys. Be brave. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Stuff and stuff

I can't promise interesting content at the moment that's for sure. I'm mostly flailing around with a fog like brain napping where I can. Calving has starting with a roar and a hiss and my life had gone from cruisey to insanely mental. I'm in the bath at the moment and my eyelids are getting heavy. It's 6.41pm on a Saturday night. I'm such a wild child. So a massive storm has blown up from the South And it's freaking cold. The wind is so bitter and it's been absolutely pouring. My poor baby calves are arriving so cold and wet. It's amazing what a bit of milk can do though. 

Such unexcited ponies to work. You can see the rain clouds building to the south. To be fair though both worked really well though which was nice because it was cold and I didn't want to invest that much energy. They are both such lovely boys.

I thought to if Bob is still around in a couple of months I might do some saddle hunters on him which is sort of like an American flat class based of type movement and temperament. He does dish a front leg but it should be a hoot even if I know nothing about it really. I'm told I have to do the working hunters as well which involves a jump so shit should get interesting.

Apparently they are looking at getting jousting into the olympics so maybe I should aim Bob at that. In other news my trainer hurt herself which means yay lots of ponies for me to play with and boo responsibilities at an already insanely busy time of year. Gah I'm not even sure what my point is. I'm still here I guess there's jumping next week and I'm very very tired. And cold it's also cold 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Show pics, thoughts and a super fun day

Bob in the 80cm, probably a little small
For the big guy.

Kim in the background on Kate 

I think he is such a cool looking horse. He's a such a big didonk. 

I think you can kind of see I'm struggling for air. Anyway, it's been an interesting few days. After two days of doing the bare minimum required and slowly dying, my immune system has rallied and I'm a lot better which is good because I'm an awful sick person. Very complainy.

Anyway, I was riding China yesterday and he was trucking along quite nicely and he had his neck nicely arched and he's such an impressive mover he felt pretty good but there were a few tiny things that started to make my head tick. Every so often he would throw the inside shoulder in, or lug on the bit before turning and get heavy. And then I kind of clicked and was like you clever little clogs. He's been faking me out.

 I did my favourite exercise of small circles in the corner, flexing around the inside leg with a very quick release of the inside rein when he softened. Then once they are lovely and buttery you go down the long side, little lengthen keeping the softness by using flexion and leg. Circle in the next corner until really soft again and the maintain the pace on the short side and circle in te next corner and so on ad nauseum but it just makes it a lot easier to get them really round. The release on the inside rein is key and pushing them into the outside rein with the inside leg and maintaining correct bend. And low and behold his whole back and jaw let go more, he was moving better and straighter in his body.

Bob is in a bit of a strength boot camp and I have noticed the same thing a in him. Rather than just throwing the shoulder, he also has a brace and run being quite reactive to the leg. And overbending. But doesn't lug on the turns. So I guess the epiphany is that it's time for both of them to have a bit more pressure on in their flatwork to make them work more correctly. It's easy when they are young and green to let things slide some but at some point they have to come to the party. It's so much easier to instill the work correctly at the start and not let the bad habits sneak in from the beginning. Shows will always make a horse revert to their old ways. For China that means blowing through the Aids, and for Bob falling in on the left rein and running. So that's ok we just work on this. Bob and I had a really productive ride tonight and I'm curious to see what that feels like next schooling session.

Te best part though! Trainer friend let me have a jump on her two good horses. One I ride quite a lot on the flat because he lets me work on myself and he has all the buttons so he's quite fun. The second I would be lucky to have ridden twice. The jumps were tiny like 60cm but they were still tricky enough to ride she makes them look so easy, but one is a bit chicken and the other is full of opinions and was most offended when I missed him. I thought he was going to bury me on the landing side! It was kinda cool to get my eye in a bit more and jump different horses and also to ride horses that are you know adjustable. My guys are getting there but they don't have the same level of collectibility. 

The hunger is coming back. The flutter in my stomach and that drive to jump. It's been gone a long time, but for the first time in a long time I'm excited spring is coming. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Feilding A and P Winter jumping day

Or alternative title- when the entire world conspires against you and maybe you should just give up. There is media coming, just waiting for the show album to be sent.

So Friday night a very grumpy version of my BF was finishing the floor of the float and I use the term finished loosely because there's still a part to be redone. So Friday I'm a bit drained and starting to feel ill. The forecast is for gale force winds and torrential rain. China doesn't get worked and I haven't even jumped him so I pull the pin on him and get Swap Kim into his entry on Kate. My trainer pulled out because she had plans and they changed the schedule making it not worth it, she would have had to miss classes to get back in time. So that left Kim and I with bob and Kate. I leave at 6.30am to go get Kim and the float ramp won't close. Much bashing with a hammer later (sorry neighbours) I got it closed. Get to Kim and Kate and struggle more with the door. Notice the air seems to be lacking oxygen because I'm feeling seriously weak. 

China man has of course escaped his paddock despite a brand new solar unit (he's one escape away from the banishment paddock at this point). Catch him and return him and catch Bob lead him down meanwhile Kim has put my stuff in the car but somehow we manage to forget a whip. I said to Kim while gasping for air that if we couldn't close the door straight away I was giving 

I add a sideways twist and it closes straight away. Ok. So we go! So begins
 an hour and 45 minute trip with a toilet break. And stopping for fuel. The conversation was excellent though. Horses boys politics state of the world racism sexism horses horses horses. 
We got there with plenty of time to spare and watched the class before ours because we were last to ride. Luckily the weather stayed amazing the whole day. Them about eight o'clock that night all hell broke lose and it got seriously windy!

The warm up was a little rushed but that suits me- no time to get nervous. And in we went. I knew he would struggle some because he's never been in an indoor before but he coped mostly really well. Obviously wobbled some especially in the combination but tried hard to be clean and had two green rails. One coming out of the double when he spooked at the judge and trotted and then at the last when the rail pickers walked out behind the fence. Kim had an awesome double clear for second place.

The next round was set quite big and I was a bit iffy about starting. I felt really weak, the was like half the normal
Amount of oxygen, he felt odd walking over, and he gets tired quite quickly and the footing had gotten really deep. Turns out he lost a shoe in the warm up as well. I shouldn't have started. I rode like a monkey. I made poor decisions, and even when I made the right choice the smoothness of excecution wasn't there. 

He did awkward helicopter jumps 
as well as taking rails, which is his go to when he's tired, he sort of forgets his back end and I didn't help by providing no sort of canter support. Sigh. I really wasn't well enough. Still first long trip, first indoor start and first proper outing so I'm still calling it a win. The owners were happy too so that's a bonus. I'm just a bit frustrated by the second round so he needs to get a lot stronger. Kim laid down another lovely clear for third and ended up winning the points prize! It was totally worth the effort to see Kim ride that well.

The drive home was long and when I got back I had to feed the trainers horses as well which took me a while by 
myself. I had to keep stopping to sit down and rest. Sunday I did my morning job from 6.15 to 9 and then went back to bed and watched movies and cried about how sore my head was and how weak I was. Good times! But progress of sorts. Another couple of rounds under our belt. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lesson recap


My little sister on Bob whom is looking so well and a lovely genuine horse. I'm surprised he hasn't been snapped up to be honest.

Bobs been back for a week after a three week holiday and has four jumping shows in the next five weeks which will be so good for him. The one this weekend coming is in an indoor though so hopefully he copes with that. It will be a good learning curve for him. He's very bold to fences and likes to do what he's told but can get a bit overwhelmed by the surroundings, like at the one arena where he doesn't cope with the white advertising board. 

He's a little bit reached the 
no everything stage where they don't listen so well but they all Go through it. It will pass. Anyway this doesn't recap the lesson at all so far. Basically he was a little strong but if I sat on him quietly and softened at the base he was jumping out of his skin and trying really hard which is great progress and for effectively 9 weeks work he's come such a long way.

He's the sort of horse that it's so easy to brace against though, he sets his head and neck and so it's easy to get hard against him and rely too much on te hand and forget the leg. I have to say I was really nervous as well because I hadn't jumped for three weeks, but my eye wasn't too bad. I did get told off because when he gets tired I let him run on and take the cheap distance. Go for the long one instead of keeping him compact, staying tall in my upper body and making him work and be more correct. Basically ride more correctly. Shorten my less and trust my own training. 

Mental side note to myself! Count you dork, it's so much easier when you count . Keeps me a little braver and more relaxed. China's entered for the show too but my float is still mostly sans a floor so maybe we won't be going anywhere .  Either way he's stuck at the turnout paddock. So I just rode him there. And he's such a dick. I know he's had three weeks off but my word he has so many opinions. On the plus side he feels good and only bucked a bit. He's also stacked on some condition which I'm rapt about.

He's just in this teenage rebellion stage where I go try and he goes make me and I'm hoping it will pass. Did I mention it's the first time I've shown out of the area in like two years 😳 keep breathing Becky 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Blog hop : F*%k Yea!

I'm going to try a blog hop because I was thinking about it today. And horse riding is so hard. Like you know those hard days where you're lying on the floor so depressed and haven't been able to pick up your left canter lead on any horse for days and for some reason your left hand won't stop clamping on the reins and refuses to soften and do what it's told and you feel like you'll never be good again. But you are good and there have definitely been times when you were like omg I am such a gangster at this. And I wanna see those pictures. The ones were you looked at them and went f%*k yea I am a bad ass horse rider. 

I don't care if it's the first time you trotted your horse, the first time you hit a jump well, your first ribbon, or the first time you rode without white knuckles. Tell me the story of why those pictures remind you that you are a hardcore boss riding gangster. Because it's important to remember that fact. 

Giant grid day on Kate, just rocking down to a big 1.25m oxer like it ain't no thing. Such a good scopey mare, makes it seem so easy.

Yea whatever, I can ride a legit racehorse and two year old tbs straight off the break. What a boss. Though track work is so hard and tiring. 

Yea I can totes jump clear rounds at four foot on my long awkward cooked horse and look like we are flying. I got this shit!! Only good picture of him over a jump ever.

We got this guys! We are horse riding bossanovas. So let's do a blog spot for the days when you go like this and feel like you'll never ride well again.