Saturday, March 27, 2010


It's cold! I even put winter rugs on Rascal and Bill, even though normally I make them tough it out. Mean hey. I'm not riding much at the moment mostly due to a lack of saddles. I'm definitely feeling better though, getting more work done and having less days where I feel I'm wading through treacle and exhausted. I also feel calmer and less stressed so it's a nice change to see some up after been stuck on a downward cycle for some three months.

I freejumped Bill yesterday. I wanted to see if she had any jump seeing as she is far and away the best bred horse on the property. I didn't take any pictures though sorry. Her breeding sort of points more towards eventing, more than showjumping but both her sire and her dam sire have produced top showjumpers. Anyway, the first few times she jumped the crossbar I was cringing. Handing legs and rolled shoulders! It was hideous! She also loved that long spot and took a few flyers.

It was really interesting though to watch her figure it all out as the jump got bigger. Only went to like 1.05m which she was popping over easily and she was finally starting to add the extra stride rather than doing huge leaps. She actually has some technique in there once she figured it out. She was getting her knees up and she uses her head and neck really well. A little trail behind so there is plenty there to be happy about after the initial horror haha! Then we made a little cross and made it ugly as with lots of fill, changing it every time she went over. I was very impressed with how bold she was. She definitely looked at it but never looked like stopping even if she did give that little cross lots of room. She seemed to enjoy herself also which is good. I had planned to ride her today but obviously the weather got in the way.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Horse of the Year and Saddle Fittings

Horse of the Year was, as always, huge and amazing. All of the trade stalls make me want to run around spending up large. Of course I don't have the money for that but the day I do I'm going to go crazy. The premiere arena was amazing, but the lesser showjumping rings could have done with a lick of paint, so that was a bit disappointing. I got a chance to look at the Amateur Class that I wanted to ride in, and it was nice so next year I'm a definite for that.

Now anyway it seems I need new saddles for both ponies. I thought Kates saddle was ok, but it turns outI don't know that much about saddle fitting. I know Connie needs one and I wish I had got around to this earlier, bu my options until now have been Bates/Wintec extra wide gullet, or the wintec wide saddles. Neither of which work for my situation. So I went up to HOY on Thursday to book saddle fittings and then on Friday I took the horses up. I thought it would be a fairly leisurely day but it really wasn't. It was flat out from the time we arrived at 1.30 until 6 when my fitting finished. Saddle fittings are really time consuming.

I went in knowing a few things I was looking for- wither clearance, sweat mark, being able to run a hand under the front of the tree, balance of the saddle being level. I also know that saddle fitters are out to sell their brand of saddle. So you have to be prepared to wade through some bullshit. I hope the saying that you can't bullshit a bullshitter rings true because I'm good in that case. The first saddle I tried was a treeless jumping saddle called the Sensation. It was UGLY, but hey thats not what is important. Connie has the back for a treeless so I had a ride in it. It was nice on the flat, but felt very strange over a fence, like I couldn't get out of it very well. Ideally, a treed saddle is better because they disperse the weight better.

Then to NSC for Kate. She put a saddle on Connie and was basically like you are on your own here. She is out beyond the extra wides. Which is strange considering she isn't that large of a horse, she uses a much shorter girth than Kate, and Bill. Well not so strange with the Andalusian breeding but still it is not an ideal situation. What do other people use on their big horses? The NSC was ok on Kate but the saddle was somewhat nose high and she didn't seem that happy in it. Kate being your typical TB mare is pretty thin skinned and not shy about expressing her displeasure, unlike Connie who just soldiers on. It is a very thick saddle also, you feel a long way from your horse, but at the same time that means it offers a lot of protection for the horse.

From there I looked for other brands and found a new one called Strada which comes in a range of trees designed for different types of horses. There was a lot of talk in their pitch about the saddle being in perfect balance, and the heat melding panels preventing all pressure points which I am skeptical about but there you go. Anyway their broadest tree size was a nice fit on Connie and I had a ride in their dressage saddle, as the jumping in that tree isn't in the country yet. It was a lot of saddle to sit on in an already wide horse, but Connie seemed pretty happy in it. And when I cantered she reached down to take the contact which she doesn't really do. She will take the contact and be soft on it, but she doesn't take it down. So I really hope the wide tree trial saddle gets here soon. It's a really pricey saddle too, but if thats my option then so be it.

Then I was hustling around the show grounds (Which are huge) bareback on Connie and leading Kate, while trying to find a gate to the polo grounds to get to my last fitting which was with Prestige with Kate. This fitter seemed the most knowledgeable and thorough, though Kate was not amused by his drawing on her with a vivid. Sensitive, sensitive mare. He did have the best pitch though as well, even trying to get Kim onside which is a waste of time because if I'm skeptical Kim is 10x more so when it comes to sale people. He was though the only fitter that accounted for her muscle wastage, and went for a saddle that will fit her as she starts to build up. So it was the Prestige Event with a 33cm gullet with a pad with front shims. She seemed happier than in the NSC. And once she got going, she was nice in it. It's a hell of a saddle, incredibly comfortable and easy to sit in. Pricey though. But I figure it retains it's resale so I went for that saddle for Kate. Now I wait and see for Connie really.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

End of the road for the 09/10 season

So safe to say the Wairarapa SJ didn't go that well. It was a nice little 1.10m track- very kind. Connie warmed up amazing, bounding over a 1.15m oxer in the warm-up no worries. Went into the ring and feel apart. never got the canter, never got the leg on. She jumped over the shoulder over 3 fences and then I retired. Perhaps I retired to soon, but seeing as I have never felt Connie ever jump like that, maybe I was justified. she had already punted out the first fence at with her knees so I guess there wasn't much to be gained by continuing.

One of my greatest strengths was that I always got it together in the ring and I don't anymore. And it sucks very hard. I'm just going to pieces. I do have depression and it is ruining my life as I know it. Obviously I'm starting a treatment program but it's too late now for Horse of the Year and the like so I have scratched from that. It will be the 6th year I miss it and I'm devastated as it was my goal of the season. It's a shame I didn't just break a leg, then being sidelined would have been easier to take. To stop because your head is messed up doesn't help with the messed up ness.

I'm really lucky to have some really nice horses, and I don't want my unconfident state of mind to get passed on to them. So I haven't turned them out as such, I plan to just ride for fun and to keep them ticking over. I may hunt a little, I may do a few winter shows if Teilcey runs them, I may even do some dressage ribbon days. I really want to do some Winter clinics with Grant Cashmore but mostly I want to find my happy again.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wellington and Horowhenua Showjumping and Showhunter Champs 3

Sprinkler bandit- I drag my boyfriend along to take photos, or my sister if I drag her along. I always have some support crew otherwise I struggle. Dan is getting to be quite the Equestrian photographer.

Anyway, I was a very good organised girl for the Saturday and was on the board to ride 25th and 45th in the 1.05m that morning and then I could get out of there and go home! Woo. Relaxing afternoon and shower. Foxton is on the coast so it has good sandy soil that handles the wet really well, but the practice arenas cut up and get really dusty. You know the feeling, dust all over your face, and up your nose and in your ears? So they had watered overnight and they had gone a little over the top and the practice arenas where really quite treacherous. I quite often don't stud on sandy soils because they don't get slippery like clay, but man I was glad I had that day.

I rode Connie first as per. It seems to work better that way. she is the more difficult ride but she is also my girl and she is brave and fun so it seems to go better if I ride her first. Connie doesn't move much in her yards overnight which slows her guts down and then when I ride her she poos alot. Again she pooped coming into the first fence- hence the very pretty trot to the first jump. She still cleared it though- good pony.

It was a much better round than the days before. Still a little over bent to start but the last half of the round was awesome. I even had that perfect fence you know (The red yellow and white vertical) where you just canter it and it comes up perfect. So that was good. In the jump-off she jumped well but again not quick, but had a rail coming out of the double. Probably I rode her too flat through it, but without a video it's hard to say really.

Kates round was also heaps better, just smoother and more consistent than I was riding the day before. A little more confident and together you know. I took the rail at the first with Kate- I sat up to soon and she took the rail, but other than that she jumped really super.

I definitely was feeling a lot more content and satisfied with those rounds. Most of my issues where just being rusty. It's that feeling at the start of the season when you feel a bit rusty and haven't had the ring time. I just haven't had enough shows lately. So 1.10m next weekend at Wairarapa Showjumping Show for both of them and then 10 days until the HOY. Even if I only jump 1.10m there all week I am very excited to be there and be riding there you know.