Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wellington and Horowhenua Showjumping and Showhunter Champs 2

There second classes for the day were the 1.05m for Connie and the 1.10m for Kate. It was a long wait considering that the 1m finished at like 10.30 and it was easily 4 o'clock before I rode Connie horse in the 1.05 class despite being only 15th to go. This round was better. After ridng Kate I was better able to see the forward spot. It was definitely a better ride than the morning. With the pelham (Without a curb chain) I had a lot more control but I also have t be careful that I'm kind with my hands because she does over bend in it. It's something of a catch-22. in any snaffle she sets her neck and trucks around ignoring me unless I can flex and circle her which I do when I'm schooling at home. In the pelham she stays soft in her poll and is much more obedient even in straight lines but I have to remember to let her poke her nose out.

She jumped really well, she is a super pony. I stuffed up the related distance into the double and we managed a very neat three strides in the two stride double. Luckily it was a fairly long double. Thats why her front end is so tidy above! I also need to remember that Connie now has a longer stride than 12 ft so needs to be checked down the lines. She used to always be a ride up :D Still this is all just a product of not enough ring time lately.

She jumped clean in the first round and was clean in the jump-off but not fast as I decided I would be better off having a good round rather than a fast one. As you can see the double was much better, I managed the two strides with a good jump in. The class then ran on for ages. At 6 o'clock I had pretty much given up on the 1.10m class. Then a kid had a massive fall in the 1.05m class when he jumped ahead of the horse and the horse collected the fence (last fence in the jump-off and they were hustling) and they both fell. After they waited the half an hour for the jump-off they cancelled that 1.10m class because it was too late, even if they split the class. There was a 1.10m class the next day but I know that builder builds bid tracks and I just wanted to get through the show you know. To complete each class I entered. So Kate only had that one start that day but I don't think she minded really

Wellington and Horowhenua Showjumping and Showhunter Champs

I have to say the bar was set pretty low at this show. My goal was mostly just to make it to the ring after the debacle last weekend. Incidentally, I am told after talking to someone that what happened at Masterton was a panic attack. Good to know. I'm generally ok once I get into the ring, but I noticed this weekend the panic is beginning to bother me in the ring. I stop breathing, which severely limits performance. So I tried to remember to do that. First class was the 1m class. My eye sucked and I was really rusty. Connie was hot hot and I made a mistake taking her out in the snaffle because I had no check at all. I got some yucky deep spots and she had a rail at the double. Mostly, I couldn't see good spots, and I wasn't seeing the move up spot at all. Still I have a very good little mare and she didn't seem to mind. She was letting go behind super too which is good because she didn't let go at all at Danniverke.

Kate was also in this class, and I was more nervous about riding her, this being our first start since December last year. She was pretty happy to be back though and jumped really well. I gave her a terrible ride down to the first picket, just jammed her up heaps, for a hot horse she is very light mouthed which is awesome but something I need to be aware of. I used some leather grip on the inside of my boots and it made a huge difference to how much she jumped me around in the tack, I was a lot more stable. Still she jumped a clear round.

It was a good jump-off course for us, lots of turning on landing and Kate loves that so we had a good jump-off, even if I did nearly run over a guy taking photos. She was fourht in that class and I came out a lot more confident in her.

I have picked up a few bad habits again though, I'm unfolding to early over the fences again, which is a back end killer especially on Kate whose back end sucks anyway. Stay down Bex stay down. To make it to the finish flags though was a pretty big deal in terms of my head.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Riding is 99% mental

Super straight mover! rocking the bareback

I always strive to be honest on this blog. Obviously sometimes I don't do this, but maybe one day my story can help someone else. You guys all know that riding is mostly a mental game. That the rider with the best timing but no confidence while be surpassed by a bold rider, because horses are supremely sensitive to their riders emotion.

I have been struggling recently with the mental side of my riding. A lot. And it's not limited to my riding but it's a misery that pervades all of my life. It's mostly that riding is where it is most noticeable because thats what I used to take the most pleasure in. Somewhere along the line I lost my vibrancy, my self-esteem, and my motivation. It's something of a struggle and it's a little humiliating to say all this because I love to put a brave face on things and to be ok. I never rode at Masterton A+P show. I went to the grounds, I watched and I waited because they had changed the schedule. I walked the course and went back to my truck and had a meltdown. And then I went home without ever getting on my horse. And I never went in the next day, instead I went for a ride with Kim in the hills which seemed the more enjoyable option. I have an appointment to see someone about this, because I can't continue on this path.

I have Foxton next week and I'm starting small, back to the 1m to try and regain this confidence. So I can just get going again. If I don't ride at Foxton, I might as well turn the horses out, but I'm not prepared to give up on my dream of going to HOY just yet. Connie seems sound and sturdy. Mystery swelling is gone and I found some bruising on her sole which could explain the lameness? It's been so wet this summer, her feet are still pretty soft. Her saddle is also in getting repadded because it's been twisting on her back. I think it got crooked from me riding crooked as talked about earlier. So I'm cruising around bareback which she is really good about, she is very forgiving of my almost falls. My bareback balance used to be amazing when I was a kid, but obviously you lose it pretty fast. Amazing workout for the legs.

She actually moves differently bareback. I know her saddle isn't an ideal fit, but I have saved some money so that if I get her to HOY I can get her a saddle thats fitted to her. At 7 she isn't going to change as much so it's worth making the investment. She is built much like a barrel and she really needs a custom fit. I'm keen to see how this will change how she goes if at all. I try do the best I can for my girlies.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Summer is over

The weather has absolutely packed up the last few days. Today is terrible. It's still muggy and raining huge rain drps sideays, so you put your wet weather gear on to stop from getting wet and as soon as you move you are just sweating. It's pretty gross really and either way you end up damp. Ihate this weather because sit around inside thinking and when I think it's bad. I have too negative of an internal voice to be sat around doing not a lot. Looking back on this season it has been a really mixed bag so far. I have missed a lot of shows due to niggly little injuries or circumstance which is a shame. I would have liked to have done at least 1.15m by now but I haven't and thats how it goes.

Connie has been not quite right on the left fore for a while and so I have been taking it easy with her and the other day I found that fetlock was slightly puffy on the inside though it didn't have any heat, and based on how she was ripping around the paddock yesterday she doesn't feel that bad. I was trying to tell if she was off but the way she was bucking it was hard to tell. I do think she possily has some puffiness in one of her hind fetlocks as well. It's a bit strange really. I'll give her some more time and see what happens and if she doesn't start improving I'll get the vet. I just have this sinking feeling that it's something not good you know. Paranoia perhaps??

So plans for the rest of the season? All of the rest of my entries have gone out- Masterton A+P, Wellington-Horowhenua SJ+ SH champs and the Wairarapa SJ+ SH show on the next three weekends. then a fortnight until Horse of the Year. I'mgoing to make something of a last dash for the Amateur class on Kate. I mean I brought Kate because she has jumped beyond these heights and they only way I'll trust her over these heights is to suck it up and jump them. The last wairarapa show has a ring 2 1.20m class that I'll have a crack at if all is going well. My only concern is Kate clears 1.10m by so much, will I be able to stay with her over 1.20m! Even if in the end I downgrade and don't do the 1.20m class, I have a nice run in at the actual HOY show. Two days of 1.10m classes, one 1.15m class and then a 1.20m class, a break day (saves money) and then the amateur class. And even if I don't jump the 1.20m before the amateur class itself, there is no reason it can't be my first one. Probably be better that way because it's 1.10m-1.20m so it will have a small first fence!

This is Kates schedule BTW, Connie isn't ready for this- even if she does come right. I realise it's still a decent ask but if you never try you never know, and like I say I can always downgrade classes. I just really want to know I made a good effort to get there and finish the season solidly. Ultimately all I can do is canter down to the fence and hope Kate clears it. She has a ton of scope, knows her job and has a superb canter. I just need to get some guts :). Now the weather needs to improve so I can do some practice.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cellphone pic glory

Connie and Kate and Kim at the top of the neighbours farm. I'm off doing a gate probably. Check out the lather around Kates breastplate. It was Kims new adventure with the steepest hills ever apparently. I have this huge hang up about hills. Mostly going down them after I got smoked going down the hill on Fred and broke my hand. It was the only time in memory that I could remember a horse took off on me like that, in that I had absolutely no control and no ability to alter his path or nothing. So there was a really steep descent. We went through this gateway and I was like "uuhh Kim, are we just going off there?" And she was all like "yup, just of to the right a little" It was that steep that you couldn't really see the track down until you got to the edge (Nums if you are reading this, I'm taking you on this ride ok). Then it was this huge steep climb which Kate blasted up like a good TB, and Connie got halfway and then walked up because it's way too hard for little Spanish. Kim reckons I'm cured of my descent phobia now, but we will see when I have to go down hills on Bill eh.

Here are Bills grown up girl feeties. So cute! You can see the near fore deviates front the fetlock slightly inward and that the inner wall has more flare than the outer wall. The crooked look is not helped by the white stripe down her foot. She is so much happier with shoes on her fronts. I rode her today, just at the walk. It's the hardest thing I think screwing up the courage to just get on, because once you are on, it's all good. She remembers everything from last year and though a bit lazy walked around happily and well.

Need to look forward.

So HOY is really not that far away. My entries have been confirmed which is excellent. Now i just have to hope it's doable. I don't often practise jumping at home because I'm a bit chicken, but I really do need to jump at home more to get more comfortable and to make up for the fact I only have three shows before the HOY. So thats all good, it makes me nervous thinking about HOY but it's also a really good incentive to get to work.

Rascal has been turned out. She has a pressure crack that is about an inch forward of her heel, and we have decided that this crack is not helping with her jumping. She was sound on it but as the ground gets harder she is getting more unlevel. So the farrier cut away her heel on that side so that the portion behind the crack is no longer weight bearing. This means the crack can now grow down without continuing to split. She is potentially out for four months, but with Kate and Connie probably going on holiday for a while after HOY (Though I may have to keep one ticking over to go hacking with Bill) I wont have much on when she comes back into work. I plan to do some of the Teilcey park dressage and jumping days with her over the winter and then who knows what we will do.

Bill is back in work again. Kim has been longlining her around and working with her but she has gone on a school trip so I might get on her today and start riding her again. She has a crooked front leg so she wears down the outside of her hoof too fast on that leg. So she has her first set of shoes now on her front feet. She looks so cute just like a grown up horse. She isn't a fan of the farrier so I was worried bout how she would handle being shod. But we just did a cold shoe and she was excellent. She was thinking very hard though- her ears were sideways- and initially she didn't want to move her shod foot. It must feet really strange for them.