Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pictures from Feilding

I'm manic packing at the moment for our trip North hindered somewhat by my massive hangover. Why don't I learn! Can't wait to get on the road for this massive adventure. I'll try to update where I can, but no idea how it will go.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Feilding Show. It's bitter-sweet.

I have pictures coming but I don't know when I'll so you will just have to cool your jets.

Anyway, we opted to only do one day of this show to save on the huge costs of yarding etc etc. The entries really are quite expensive at these Feilding shows. That and it was my friends birthday on Friday and we had to celebrate and I ended up working on Saturday anyway. So par for the course of this Spring it was pissing down at home with horizontal rain, but once we arrived it wasn't as bad and really there were only a few showers and at one point the sun even came out. We were parked on the car park though because the ground was so wet and there was actually nowhere to warm up properly which was very average. They did have a fence in the actual arena that you could pop over before starting but nowhere to have a nice trot and canter. Though I found a patch that was less wet to do that in. People in the indoor had a warm-up in there.

Kate was in the 1m and the 1.05m class. I would have been tempted to do the 1.10m but for our first show, and with Kate being a huge spook I wasn't that keen to do the 1.10m in the indoor lol. Anyway, The 1m class was a speed class and I did actually go for it which was nice. I don't have much control in the rubber snaffle she is in, but she doesn't bounce and bound in it. I'm never going to have super smooth rounds on Kate because she is hot so there no point worrying too much about the odd bound anyway. So it wasn't too bad, lacked a bit of flow and at one point I nearly got launched when I got her a bit deep and she just jumped huge, but it was certainly a fun round. by the end of the round I had some flow going and had a really nice run over the last three fences despite the tight lines. Kate was second in this which was nice.

I'm not sure they actually put the fences up for the 1.05m which seems a bit of a shame because a big 1.05m would have set me up quite nicely for 1.10m next week. She started out a bit sore over the foot she had the abscess in which sucks because she has been so so so sound lately. She did warm up out of it really quickly, and felt awesome over the practice fence. I would have most definitely pulled her from the class if this hadn't been the case. This time it was a round with an instant jump-off. clear in the first round which I was rapt about and then in the jump off i pushed her again. At one point I was coming in on a really tight angle and I can remember thinking that I had to trust her. Still it came off and she was double clear and was second in that class as well.

The bitter-sweet is that she is quite sore today and I guess some of the lime from the surface has irritated the old abscess site. I'm going to get a pad on that foot again in hopes of getting her sound for this trip away. Maybe it's mean but I have to try and get her sound. In somewhat happier news, Connie is improving soooo fast so I might take her away as well and even if she misses Woodhill there is always the other later shows, Connie is much less of a sook than Kate, she is tough and mean like me haha! Bill had a swollen leg today and another abscess burst which sucks for her and it did for me too when she was not keen to have some antibiotics. I had to twitch her in the end which worked perfectly, but when I went to put her cover on tonight, she wouldn't have a bar of me, so clearly I'm in the dogbox. Her problem though, she is the one with no cover on.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2 Sound horses!

Latest picture of Bills leg (Have I posted this already?)

Yess! Rascal is good to go, so mini upper North Island tour here we come. Well next week anyway. This week I'm at Fielding on the Sunday with Kate doing the 1m and the 1.05m. All of this dealing with feet has me pondering hooves and whether or not I could change my system to make it better for soundness. Though I have never had it this bad before. The mud and surface water is just unreal and there is nowhere dry for them really. Connie and Bill are gazing our driveway for an hour each day and that dries their feet and then I can get in and treat their feet.

I often wonder if shoes are the way to go, especially with more and more barefoot horses competing. However, they still aren't in the upper levels of my sport, and there really isn't a boot option that provides the traction that shoes and studs offer. I haven't ever had a problem with studs injuring horses, be it soft tissue injuries or standing on themselves. I often don't stud when the ground is good but I know that they make such a huge difference when the ground is really really wet and heavy or really really hard- especially if the hard has a bit of long green grass on it with a bit of dew. I think that is the slipperiest condition that exists.

I think I will show on a surface three or four times this year, and being able to pick my stud set up means I can make sure my horses grip matches the ground conditions. All my horses have a break without shoes and as soon as I start riding them again they can't cope with the work on the tracks and roads, so they get shod. It was interesting that a study on the Kaimanawa wild horses showed that not all wild horses have good feet with many horses having evidence of founder and poorly shaped or formed feet. They live in wet conditions as well, and they think the spring pasture flush is responsible for the founder.

sometimes riding provides a conundrum. I love my horses but they aren't my pets, not really. I work really hard for them and provide the best life I can for them and in return their jobs are to be my riding horses/jumpers. I don't care if they don't like jumping I can find them another home/job, but if they don't suit or can't do the job well then I will move them on. I know I can keep them sound and provide good grip with shoes and studs, but I am aware that a natural foot is a healthier foot. Still, I do my best to make sure they are well shod and I love my farrier, he is a gem.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Ok so in 11 days time I'm supposed to be going away travelling with the horses for two weeks but at this stage I have one sound horse. Is it worth that sort of travelling for one horse? And then if they do come right while I'm away no one will be there to ride them and I'll fall further behind. At the same time I'd love the holiday but with only one horse will be bored out of my brain. And it's so expensive to be away. Le sigh. You are killing me ladies with your lameness. Curse the weather and the fetlock deep mud and the never ending rain. It's starting to get a little down heartening.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Week late post about Pukahu

I don't know why I have been so slack about updating this but I sure have been. Anyway, We got to Hastings and it was pretty nice, a little overcast but warm for the Friday afternoon and the Saturday. The first class I rode was on Fido in the 90cm class (picture above). It was nice to have a small round to just have a start before going out into the bigger classes, because I could remember my breathing and the like. The courses where universally awful in ring 4, with the most ridiculous lines especially for the young horses but there you go. Nothing like a slog through a blog with a tight roll back up a hill to the double. Ahh lovely. Anyway, I had a rail in the jump-off on Fido. He really is a nice boy, despite the fact I don't ride him particularly well.

Connie was in the young rider/amateur 1.10m class and it was you know. Big. A very full sized 1.10m which I guess is to be expected haha! Anyway, I was very nervous and that but all weekend I got into the ring and completed my rounds so thats a huge improvement on last season when I was having those panic attacks. Anyway, she started quite well and jumped really well. I had a good miss into the double and had to jump in huge which meant she was a little sticky with combinations after that. And I sort of lost my organization. I felt like a was chasing my spots and not really getting to the fences. What it partly was, was that Connie stopped paying attention and mooned around and wasn't locking onto the fences really. That and I was collapsing a bit in the last three strides in my upper body. So we had one rail and I landed all disorganised and so I circled and sorted my life out and finished well over the final oxer.

The next day I had the 1m on Fido and had three rails which were purely me riding like a little pony club eventer and chasing my spots. I really need to learn to wait because I get worried the spot isn't going to be there and move up and so I lose it. I need to cool my jets a bit. Anyway, it was a really crappy day and it was really raining in the morning but had mostly cleared by about 11. In the first 1.10m Connie seemed more focused but I stuffed up because I went to move up and lost my spot so I just circled away and did it properly and would have had a clear round if I hadn't made that mistake. Still She was a bit sticky into the double and I still felt like I wasn't quite getting it done. I guess what it was was that it just wasn't flowing.

Anyway, in the Amateur class (which was really small thank goodness) which is 1.10m-1.15m I had a much shorter warm up and was a lot tougher on her. She didn't really lock on to fence one and I should have been a bit tougher before hand about making her focused and she took that rail. She was slow off of the ground for fence 2 as well, but sort of got going a bit more after that. I gave her a few whacks before the double and she actually jumped in boldly and confidently for the first time.

She jumped really well though and I felt good because I was pro-active rather tha reactive. Anyway, after fence 8 which was a big spooky oxer, I was like yay this is fun! Had the last rail because I was a bit casual about it- should have used more leg on take-off. Never mind though I was rapt because it felt really good.

So I need to learn to wait more to the fence, but ride more positively and stay more upright in my body in the last strides before the fence to help her stay balanced and off the base of the fences. Bad news though because she is now lame. I' not sure if she just has some bruising on her sole or an abscess brewing but I do say boo hiss to that. Not cool seeing as I had just started the season. Fingers crossed she is better soon. Still Kate is now sound, Rascal will be soon and even Bill is nearly sound again. Now if only it would stop raining so that I could actually ride them that would be nice. It's even too windy to travel them out to other locations. Feilding in a week. I doubt Connie will be there for her indoor debut, but Kate has two classes on the Sunday on the outdoor surface and her first show of the season.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a day

Gah what a day. Obviously the north Island felt left out what with all the South Island's Earthquakes so we got hit with a full on legitimate flood. That blurry picture is my dad up to the tops of his gumboots inside the pit in the cowshed. The water was running in so fast that even with two pumps working we were losing ground, and neither of us wanted wet boots. We even opened up drains that are normally closed off and still we we were slowly getting flooded in. Walking in water constantly is tiring! I was working up a sweat despite all the water around. Halfway through milking Dad rang Mum and her and I milked we he stood at the end of the pit and bailed it out with a bucket. Seriously, like we were in some rickety sort of a boat there. And Mum could only work at one end, because she is a little lady and her boots don't go up as high, and she couldn't venture into the deeps. Eventually though we had battled through that.

Mum and I took a trip to the store and the flooding around was just unbelievable. At one point we thought we were going to have to shift the calves into the woolshed, because a torrent was only 9 paces from the front of our new shed. It was unreal. Luckily about 2pm the rain slowed to showers and the water backed off pretty fast, though some roads are still closed.

Back to work than, and thank goodness for my Kaiwaka wet weather gear. Expensive yes, but awesome? Double yes.And it lasts awesome. Anyway, back from my product placement, then there was a dead cow in the drain after the night paddock. Luckily, it was only a pretty shit one, and not one of the favourites but it is still a blow. Still too not lose one in this weather would have been some kind of a miracle. On a side note, my beloved 119 who has calving paralysis is still down after 14 days, but her appetite is still good, so while she keeps trying I'll keep looking after her. I really don't want to lose her. She is loving the horse feed I'm giving her with a huge dollop of molasses. Then the cows where just contrary to deal with. They don't like the bad weather either but come on girls I'm trying to help here. I must have fallen over six or seven times chasing them and got covered in mud. At one point I did what all exhausted frustrated tough as farm girls do and cried my face off. And then got back to work and got everything sorted out.

So while comfortably relaxing with an after a crap day drink- apple sourz and cranberry mmmm- my mother came in with a gem of a piece of news. Dear old Bill had crossed the lake in her paddock where the culvert had blocked, that no horse in it's right mind would cross and was now stuck on a little piece of land in the corner against the road. AAAHHHHH! I took her cover off and sent her back into the lake and it was going well and she was nearly back across when she really proved the moniker "Dumbblood" and turned where the fence was underwater and tried to cross it. Crunch! (she has only been living in that paddock for a couple of months). Luckily with being dumb she is also tough and has not a scratch on her. She swam back to shore- such that it is- and snorted at me. Friggen horse. So back into the ute, back to the house for tools and I dismantled the road fence, stepped her out over the rails and put her back in the other side (with her cover back on of course) and closed a gate so she should be safe and sound. I was oh so tempted to leave her there being tired, but at the same time I can't afford to lose her, and could never deal with that sort of guilt for being lazy. Still all is well that ends well. Back home for my second what a hell of a day drink and then bed. Jeebers, and then we do it all again tomorrow.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A week to go!

This time next week I will have completed my first class for this season and will hopefully be enjoying a beer and basking in good round happiness lol. I have never felt more prepared going into the season than this year but still it's safe to say I'm feeling pretty nervous. Connie has been jumping super as soon as the fences go up so I can't worry about that. I am a bit worried she is going to go lame on me lol. Kate and Rascal are improving and look to be about a week away before starting work again. Their first show will be Woodhill sands in Auckland.

This season I really want to start to develop a better method for managing my nerves and general show anxiety, while improving my focus. this first show I plan to take a minute before I get on, listen to a song that gets me going and mentally ride my course a few times so I understand exactly what I need to do. I need to trust Connie's scope as well. She has heaps of power for what she will be jumping so it will be all good, I just need to go out there and get the job done. For me completing the classes I'm in for three rails or less will be a success, so needless to say the bar isn't set too high.

Gah it was another long day on the farm again. I'm so locked up between my shoulder blades from work. I would kill for a massage. Thankfully, my friend has a temporary groom who is also an osteopath. Win! Also today I went over to the big city and dropped money on clothes. The first time I have done so in over two years. Silly really to spend all that money on horses while I wear jeans with holes up the inner thigh and a fly that comes undone. So I'm happy to have some new things so I can be less scruffy. Then a hair cut the week after and I will be in top form in my project to get over my beak up. Thats not to say I don't wish every morning that he would text me, but life goes on and I have so much to DO! Not least fixing the buttons on my show coat. Oh it's probably going to be a hellishly wet show. Blerk! I'd like to get another jump in next week, but I don't really like my chances. Still I have done enough. Connie knows her job, she is fit, her schooling is right there and I know what I have to do. No problem right.