Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In which 2011 ends by kicking my ass

Thankfully in life it's not that often I'm left pondering my vulnerability as a human, but here we are for the second time in a 6 week period with myself heading to the emergency room. Not horse related this time though, but possibly something I am pretty blase about, and that's using the quad bike. I was racing around a mob of calves trying to stop them crossing over the culvert and keep them heading for the gate, and apparently lost my orientation because all of a sudden I was much to close to the drain and about where the calves had been walking down to the water they had cut away a lot of ground.

My front right wheel dropped into where the ground was cut away and the bike started to flip. I'm not sure if I bailed or was thrown off, Dan reckons I might have bailed, but I do remember being at the top of drain, feeling the bike starting to kick over and thinking I was never going to get out of this without being killed. I hit the bottom of the drain before the bike did and I hustled to get out of the way but wasn't quick enough and the bike pinned my ankle and I was trapped in the bottom of the drain. As the quad settled the weight on my leg got worse and the pain was unreal. I was screaming for poor old Dan to save me. He thought he was running to find my corpse so to hear my hollering was a positive.

Dan lifted the bike up enough I could scoot my leg out and I was free. I was limping back across the paddock to the gate when I realised my pants were torn and looking through I had a wicked gash on my knee that was just fill of mud. Blerk. Off to the ER we go, wait for hours, get both knee and ankle to make sure of no broken bones and big pieces of gravel. You know it's bad when the nurses are quite impressed. Anyway, it took about 45 minutes to clean and cut away the dirty flesh in my knee which was bizarre to watch. It didn't hurt but you are cutting me bro. The local was the worst part, that almost made me vomit, especially as I was on an empty stomach in case I had to go to surgery for it to be cleaned.

Luckily there was no real joint involvement, thought there was a small hole that went through to my knee cap. Sick! So 6 internal stitches and 9 external stitches and I can't drive, ride or bend my knee for at least 10 days to make sure the stitches hold. It hurts like an absolute bitch, but I'm really grateful that I'm alive and not seriously injured, just the gash and a few scrapes and bruises on my lower legs, and that I was out with Dan who was able to lift the bike off me. Lucky me. Though I don't like the rate I'm losing my lives at ha.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy holidays!

A bit of a time warp back to when I rolled as an eventer. That horse qualified for 1* but I never got the chance to compete in one on him. His name is Kruise and he was an unraced TB I brought of friends of the family, over weight and surly. Cool little horse with lots of ticker but a terrible jumper. Super safe cross country but unreliable as a showjumper.

Anyway, Happy holidays to all my readers. It's been an odd and confusing old year but the horses are great. Ging and Connie have both put in exceptional schooling sessions in the last couple of days and I'm making progress with Bill's issues and starting to pin point whats going on with her. I'm riding Ging in a rubber bit with hackamore combination and he loves it though is a touch strong which I never thought would happen. Normally he is ridiculously behind the bridle, but with the early warning from the hackamore, even when I need to back up my aid with the snaffle he isn't over reacting. He has put on a lot of condition as well, I wish I had taken pictures of when he first arrived but I have killed both my cameras. Figure that.

I don't show again for a long time really so there I have some time to really get Bill going and consolidate with Connie and get her a bit fitter and stronger. Ging goes back to his owner for the start of the next month for a while and might not come back as he is on the market but it's been a lot of fun to have him here. It would be totally weird to only have two horses here it would be our lowest numbers in a good decade haha! More than that even. Kate is looking really really well, fat and happy and shiny.

Good riding everyone, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and have a fabulous New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Taupo Christmas Classic- Rain!

I knew the forecast would be bad and very intelligently packed 4 raincoats and my heavy wet weather gear which pretty much saved my life this show. Uhh where I live the climate is really wet so I'm already over the rain when I'm away doing fun things like shows. The ground was ok on the first day though, and ging was on a surface so we were good to go ahead. I helped my friend with herself first and there was no gate steward so that ring was really dragging, finally got her organised, got on Ging was double clear in the first 1m. Jumped ok not amazing and ended up only a couple of seconds out of the placings which was good. I do like ging.

Then it was a mad rush to Get Connie up, because the Blake the best gate steward ever was on the gate for ring 1 and he had them flying through. So that was my first 1.20m in 6 weeks and it was ok but still a ring 1 track, plenty of filler and questions. Had a cheap rail at the first and I rode a little nervous but she jumped really well and that was the only rail to fall. I'm starting to get a bit backward again in my jumping and losing the forward flow. Something to work on. I don't show again until late Jan so it will be a nice chance to do some more training. I will be working on the flow thats for sure.

The next day Connie was first up in the amateur and I had even less flow. The issue was I didn't do enough to compensate for the now very sodden ground and she got even stickier. Actually that isn't fair I was good for the first half of the course but got into trouble at the double. Got a big jump in and it should have been fine but I think the ground grabbed her and killed her impulsion so we couldn't make the stride out. She added in and we had the rail. She finished with just the four faults and I can't be a hater, but it was just one of those rounds where even though the result is ok, you are disappointed with how you rode.

Had an awesome round on ging in the 1m class, started to feel like a real team with him now. It was very smooth. just had one brain explosion when I rode up and realised I had made a mistake and circled him off the fence. Not my horse to break eh! Still Ging adds strides in every line so I was happy to get the strides exactly as I walked in the last line and he finished super. So many four fault rounds!

At Taupo they have a practice ring set up that you can use for five dollars so I took Connie there and cantered down the combinations to make sure she stayed confident. She was better out there because the ground hadn't had the same thrashing.

Then more rain that evening. I scratched Connie from the 1.20m the next day (Saturday) after watching two horses out of the first five in the class before slip really badly. Connie is my only good horse now and I'm not going to risk her on bad ground. Then my friend who I had travelled with wanted to go home being sick of the weather and ground conditions so we packed up early and left. Not really the show I had planned for but I wasn't sorry to get out of the wet.

Now the pictures I don't have because the friend who was going to take them was coming on Sunday and I didn't ride Sunday obviously. Still there should be some pro photos I can get instead. Fingers crossed

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taupo Christmas Classic

So just about all packed and ready to go to Taupo tomorrow for 4 days. All the horse stuff is done anyway and the horses have been worked and went relatively well. Connie was a good little bee and ging struggled to keep it together during the hill work and threw his toys a bit. Hills make him work and show up his weaknesses and made him cross. Still nothing I couldn't handle, he is mostly all bluster and very little actual action.

The weather forecast is really ugly, rain the whole time we are away and getting cold over the weekend, so I'm not looking forward to that with Connie the fair weather princess. I'll just have to play it by ear. I'd really like to have a crack at the 1.25m championship class if she jumps well during the week, but at the same time if the weather is going to affect her I wont. I need to keep her brave and happy. I have brought her a magnetic rug for Christmas and I'm quite keen to see if that has any effect.

900 horses entered for the show apparently. I guess with HoY getting so prohibitively expensive people are using this show as the "big" show for the season, because it seems like every other show entries have been down. 38 trade stalls so I guess my wallet might take a hammering. I want to get an old school drop noseband and egg-butt snaffle for Bill. I have a long break after Taupo so I plan to really focus on Bill. Then it's North Islands and some other shows. It actually all wraps up relatively soon.

ETA- I should get some pictures from this show of connie and the ginger ninja woo!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

National Young Horse Show- Results

It was a good show, I can't complain it's not quite the result I wanted, but it was still a very good show. Ging was first in the 1m class and just had a cheap rail but jumped pretty well. I didn't ride him that smoothly though, the ring was really huge so I had too long to canter down to the fences and that meant I had time to second guess myself and got him a bit deep a couple of times, but I'm still new on him and it was the most difficult course I have jumped on him so far. And I hadn't actually walked it, I tend to just wing it at that height which is a bit naughty.

Then I reacted something I ate and got really crook between my classes and it was a very poorly version of myself, having cold sweats and shakes, that climbed onto Connie for the 1.15m class. It was a technical track and there was only one clear in the first 15 horses. I was the second. Yay Connie jumped really awesome, felt amazing and tried really hard. Gave them heaps of height and was confident through both the combinations and cleared the very light white gate. Then I had to go lay down and rest while I waited for the jump-off. Unfortunately after me there were another 10 clear rounds haha so I knew it would be pressure on. She jumped well in the jump-off, just had one rail when I got her a little deep to the combination, but still laid down a competitive time but with a rail I wasn't able to secure a ribbon. Guts.

Sorted out the horses and spent the next three hours dozing and recovering. Thankfully it passed relatively quickly and I didn't feel too bad the next morning. Ging was first again and I jumped a clear round in the 1m and it was a much nicer round, a lot smoother and more forward so I was quite happy. Connie was then up in the amateur class. Probably the softest amateur I have seen all season and there were eight clears in the class. I really wanted to break my four fault hoodo. Anyway, she jumped well, just tipped the third fence with her back feet and the rail fell. It wasn't a bad distance or anything, it was just one of those things where she didn't jump high enough. She jumped all the tough parts no worries it was just the little plain upright that she took ha. Ah well. The trouble with series classes is it does build up the pressure on one class and it's so easy to be disappointed. I am not unhappy though because she jumped so well and as a present I have brought her a magnetic rug which should arrive soon.

I want to stop pushing the amateurs so intensely and look at moving up a little more, maybe jump some 1.25m classes. How good with that be!? Heading to Taupo with Ging and Connie on Wednesday for a four day long show so I'm definitely looking forward to that. Also Ging is no longer available for sale in my price bracket, and thats a shae, but it's not really a good time to buy a horse for me anyway.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

National Young Horse Show

Off to the National Young horse Show tomorrow. Everything is packed and ready, horses are washed and mostly still clean. Just have to pack for myself and do the horses feeds in the morning. Stopping in at the farrier on the way past to get Gings toes done at 7am and hoping I'm not early in the draw for his class because I probably wont make it haha! It's quite nice to be travelling up the morning of the show for a change, less time to spend cooling my heels and waiting for time to pass. Less time spent stewing. Connie had a good jump school this morning and Ging had a good flat workout. Poor little fella is a bit confused about all this going forward but his teeth grinding is lessening which is a good sign.

Been riding Bill and she has been going like a good little pony which is reassuring. So onward and upward. I'm glad she is back to her normal self

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dilemmas- Feel free to give input.

Dilemma 1: I have been thinking about buying the orange horse. I have talked to his owner and she wants more money than I have for him, but is willing to come to an agreement about payment. But it's an awful lot of money, mote than I have ever spent before.

He is a lovely horse, I am really enjoying riding him, I feel very comfortable on him, like I have had him a long time. Obviously we still need to spend a lot of time together but if I take him slowly he could potentially go a long way. I have seen him free jump a 1.40 oxer from a trot and it cleared it easily. He has previously jumped up to 1.25m with placings so he is a good horse.

Connie is a super horse but I don't know how much further she will go, though I'd love for her to do 1.30m classes. It's hard to know how scopey she is, and if (heaven forbid) she should get injured I'm suddenly without a horse that is competing at NZEF level.

Still I don't know whats going to happen in the next couple of years, where I will be, what work I will have etc, but I do want to keep advancing in SJing. At the same time I don't want to financially cripple myself, but then I could always on sell him if I get into trouble. Tough one eh?

Dilemma 2: What do I do with Kate. I can't keep her really. I don't need foals as much as I'd like from her, the uncertainty of the next few years means I really shouldn't be breeding. It's one thing to sell competition horses, quite another to sell young stock. I don't feel like it's fair for her or me for her to be wandering around a field for the next 10 years. I wont have time to look after her. So I can sell her or put her down.

Now selling her appeals because then I don't put her down. She is a lovely breeding quality mare but I feel some people don't look after their broodmares well and I don't want Kate to end up in a bad position where she isn't looked after properly. She is a lovely mare and she deserves better than that. If I was staying her working on the farm I would keep her, but the time has come to move on and so things have to change.

If I do put her down I know that she will never suffer and that she will never end up in a bad position. There aren't many options for an unsound horse, and I have always been an advocate of euthanasia. I feel you never hear people say I wish I had waited to put him down, but you often here people say I should have done it much earlier. She is fat and happy at the moment so she would go out on a good note. So yea I'm torn about what to do in both situations really. Boo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Feilding IA&P Show

Another averagely run show at Feilding. Their organisation is terrible but the facility is so nice! The indoor is huge and though spooky, the footing is beautiful. Still it an indoor and there is no denying you have to be onto it because the fences come up a lot faster and you have less of a break between fences.

Anyways, so it's my first show back since my tumble and I was feeling a bit on riding and the progress I was making and the effort in for the reward ratio, sometimes I wonder if I would be better off not so involved and back off, maybe just one horse and a proper job. I got some good advice which was think about it after today. Ok that I can do. Gingles was up in the first class of the day and he was first ride in the 1m class in the outdoor arena. Warmed up ok, still just lack miles together obviously this being our third show- our 3rd class together ever, and the fifth time I ever jumped him. Still cantered around reasonably smoothly for a clear round and just had a rail in the jump-off. What I love about this horse is I always leave the ring grinning from ear to ear.

Then connie was up in the indoor for the amateur class. The very first line was tricky I thought. Forward five strides from fence one to fence two which was a very spooky oxer, away from the gate. In the first line you always find it harder to make your distance because you aren't travelling yet and away from the gate you also get less travel, so I went for the six strides, which is hard on Connie who doesn't collect well but it worked perfectly because she jumped in- canter canter for three strides, balk, and then I could kick on for the next two strides. Lost my stirrup in the balk and didn't land organised enough to flow around the corner to three so had the rail there. Then it was a related dog-leg line down to the double and because I didn't get a good jump in I needed to ride up, but I took a pull so got a fairly messy ride to the double, but she saved my butt and we left it up. I'm a bit ring rusty haha!

Sorted my life out and really rode for the rest of the class and finished with just the rail. At that stage there were no clears so I waited to see what would happen. There were only two clears in the whole class so I kept my fingers crossed and hppily I was the fastest four faulter. The thing with Connie is she is smooth and ground covering and I very rarely have to check or chase so she is pretty economical on the time. Still third is my highest result in an amateur class, so I am rapt. And obviously the course was hard enough for there to only be two clears. With the points from this placing I should move into the top 30 on the score board which is pretty bad ass. The points fall away pretty fast obviously haha!

Back to the truck and swap onto Ging. Warmed up and then jumped a very smooth 1.05m double clear. Very happy. I enjoy this horse, I like that he is not super smart so he is dependable, you know exactly what he is thinking. And he really loves to jump, he thinks he is pretty bad ass. So yea good day, motivation revved back up again and shows the next two weekends. Good.

Monday, November 28, 2011

On the up

This was the grey bastard Fred I had many moons ago, but I sold due to a total dislike of the horse, and his complete lack of try. It was always iffy if he would leave the ground or not. But man could he jump. Trainer said he would do grand prix, but he wouldn't, not with me, because he wouldn't give you anything. Still I learnt a lot from the great grey prick. This blog came about after this second version of my blog starting, this blog starting with the arrival of Kate whom I bought after selling Fred, whom by then I renamed Dread. It was because of this horse I started a blog really, and I sought out the help of Grant Cashmore who pretty much turned my riding around, well until I crashed and burned with depression. Life can be a kicker. Still without Grants help I would never have been able to produce Connie, who while a kind generous type, is not the most athletic and needed so much schooling to become a good (Well reasonable) jumper.

Anyways I'm just ticking along quite nicely. Back is doing ok but it really doesn't like me riding Connies canter, she has so much action in front and really gets the back jarring. She put in a good schooling session the other day and I think she might be getting this collection thing a little more. I'm definitely getting a lot less travel while maintaining jump in the canter if that makes sense.

Anyways I'll be back in the ring on Friday all going to plan and it feels like I haven't competed for bloody ages. I'm hoping to get a jump school in before Friday with both the gingernut and the C horse, but with the current weather and ground conditions it seems a little unlikely. I can't travel out because Truckie is in the shop getting the mystery wiring issue fixed. I guess it doesn't really matter both of them know there job, I'm mostly worried about how my eye is after this much time without jumping a fence. I know I have lost a little strength and fitness being out but I'm pretty happy in the saddle. I do wish I wasn't just travelling in for the day because I'm going straight into an amateur class with Connie in the indoor.

I'm well down in the amateur rankings, last time I looked I was rocking a solid 40th which is still pretty god and 10 places higher than I ever got last year. I was sort of hoping to be jumping 1.25m classes by now but it hasn't really come together. I feel a bit stalled almost and I'm not sure why that is. Though obviously retiring Kate who is my other good horse has set me back some. I hope it wont take too long to get Ging up to speed but he isn't the easiest ride. I'd love to 1.10m him before Christmas but realistically I gain nothing by rushing. I want to know him better on the flat first, and have figured out his buttons a little more. I don't know. Maybe Connie isn't going to go much higher but she certainly doesn't feel like she is struggling in the 1.20m classes. Now I must finish my wine and go to bed before I get up tomorrow and do it all again.

Changes be coming at the end of this season and I'm not sure exactly which way it will all I just know everything will be really really different and maybe thats why I'm stalled. Maybe I just need more ring time, maybe I need to think less and get it done. I cannot wait to compete again.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Back in the saddle 2

The handsome face of the new kid in town Ginga. He i a 16.22 hh Stationbred (mongrel) x DWB by VDL Emillion. He looks chestnut but is actually a roan which is choice because I love roans. He is a big lanky gormless type chap who is a little simple but very sweet and I'm really enjoying him. Had a lovely ride today in which we really made some progress in the go forward/ contact issues we have. Finally my back is starting to settle down and I am more comfortable in the saddle. I'm also off the hard drugs and just taking paracetomol so that's all good news.

Even grew a pair and rode bill again for the first time. Just walk and trot and a very quiet and short canter in either direction in a smallish area and she was pretty good. I let my mind wander a little and she starts to take charge so I need to stay a bit more focused and get better control of her feet. I also like the way she feels in the bridle at the moment. I have ditched the caversson and flash with a d ring rubber mullen mouth for an old school heavy egg butt jointed snaffle with an old school drop noseband and she is actually more consistent in the contact and not falling behind my hand which is both excellent and re-assuring. She is also on a calming supplement a mycotoxin binder and a mare herbal supplement so no wonder she was a bit more rideable than the wild woman I rode the other day.

I have actually had a little bit of an epiphany with Bill. I have been putting a lot o pressure on her and myself to get her out and competing because she is seven, and I lost a lot of time while I was depressed and just not in a state to take on a relatively opinionated and very athletic young horse. The fact is I'm not that comfortable riding her at home, so how can I be ready to compete? There is more work to be don, so instead of looking at show dates and saying I'll have her ready for this class, I'm just going to train her, and when I feel more comfortable and confident in her then I will look for a show. Generally i do it the other way around to keep having goals to work towards and check points to assess my progress but Bill isn't going t work to my schedule I don't think. So I'll look at taking her to a show once I can canter a course of jumps easily at home and at a strange venue. Better plan. There is no rush, her age doesn't matter, I'll just more horse in her later years.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Back in the saddle

First ride since hitting my head yesterday. Just went for a walk around the farm on Connie. It was really odd. It was the first time in a really long time- years and years and years- that it felt odd and awkward to be in the saddle. I think it's related to my back which I hurt coming of Connie a month ago which has now gotten quite stiff and sore with the lack of activity as I recover from the head. I have had a couple of big busters lately which has sort of hurt the confidence I'm not going to lie.

So with my back being sore I can walk and only walk. Trotting really hurts, cantering is agony, my back isn't absorbing any of the shock at all. I have a show in two weeks and it this rate I wont be going I would say. Big sigh.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recovering Slowly

I didn't realise concussions were so debilitating to be honest. Still haven't been back on a horse. Was going to try today but did some work instead and now my head is a bit sore so I might give it a miss. I Have cancelled all my show entries until the 4th when I do one day at the Feilding 3* show. I think my first class out is the amateur in the indoor arena so I'm not that optimistic it will go well. Always I hit some road bumps mid season and this is it.

I'm a bit lost really. Started the season with four horses going well and fit and looking good for the season coming and now I'm down to two and wondering how I can work through the issues of Bill. Though I think she was in season which added to her mareness the other day and that was a factor in her bucking. Connie of course is still my baby and I'm really starting to miss riding her. I feel I'm not having a lot of luck right now really. Either that or I'm making mistakes somewhere I don't know about. I'm still thinking pretty hard about sending Bill away and if she is really difficult again I will look into that. I would rather work through it myself though.

Now I'm going to go an take a nap. Hope you are all getting on better with your horses than I am with mine haha.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Young Farmers Show and a wee knock on the bean

I am so freaking behind and I'm so sorry about that! Bill and Ging were entered at this smaller local level show. My Mum came and watched and said she didn't like watching anymore because most of the riding was so bad. So yea bill in the 65cm and she did pretty well only the double was set in a really bad place and she wouldn't jump it. But other than that she was pretty good with the crowds of horses and atmosphere and everything. On the way pout being cheeky I jumped 3 and 4. In hindsight I should have just skipped the double and I think they would have let me do that because it was obvious she was very green. I think if I had had more opportunities to jump her recently she would have been fine.

Ging jumped really well but I had a stop at the last fence. I thought we would get there but ging being so back behind the bridle just didn't get there and it was a bit of a curfuckle. Can't do that again I'll lose the ride if he keeps getting stops. After this I have done some pole work with poles set at 12 feet so he has to open his canter and stretch over them and poles set one stride to four strides and then made him get the distances and he seemed a little more forward to the small jumps I popped over afterwards.

So anyways was riding Bill and she was bucking and I tried pulling her up hard after she bucked to see if that would help- it works with some horses. Ahh no she got worse a lot worse. Sat at some incredible bucks if I do say so myself but eventually she got me and I landed on my head. Knew I had done myslef some real damage there. Called for help but no one could hear me so I got up caught the horse. got back on rode for a minute at he walk until my vision started blurring. Untacked the horse went inside, started losing the feeling in my hands. Over the next two hours had 2 tramadol, two pacacetomol with codiene and 2 ibuprofen and nothing even touched the agony I was in. Not cool! Off to hospital at midnight- threw up twice which meant I had to have a ct scan. That was clear and I am also a little surprised they didn't mention how beautiful my brain was it was still a relief to know it was intact- the prognosis being a grade 2 concussion. The intensity of the pain had me a little concerned. Finally got some good drugs and was dishcarged with my Mum - she is a nurse so I was in good hands- got home and could sleep and woke up feeling a lot better.

So that was two days ago and I'm still pretty dazed and confused. My head is very tender and I'm still movement and light sensitive and a little slow on the uptake. The meds that help most with the pain are also making me pretty dopey. And I need to replace my helmet after that one which means I'll have to go for a cheaper option because I'm pretty light on coin. Which is ok of course as long as its safe but I did love my beautiful IRH. I don't really know whats happening i have fallen off so much this season its unbelivable really. Morse falls than I have probably had in the last three years. I do wonder what I'm doing wrong.

And Bill I need a new plan of action here because really I have reached this point and stagnanted pretty badly. Mother thinks I'm probably too soft on her which is probably right, I tend to use work and pressure to punish a horse rather than hidings. In hindsight I should never have tried pulling her up and been more about going forward but you have to try things. So my options as I see them are- save some money and send her away for a month or so to someone who can sit her buck but is still a good rider- I did think about sending her to pig hunters on the coast but maybe they will be a bit rough. The other option I thought was maybe to add some valerian and raspberry leaf to her diet and see if I can bring her down a bit and get her a bit more rideable. I don't htink I'm scared of her really so thats good, but I'm getting frustrated that I'm not making any progress.

Also sad is missing the next two shows! The doctor said 10 days before riding again and while if I had a sprain or something I'd be right back in the saddle, my brain is quite importat to me so I'm ok to follow doctors orders. Horses eh! And life.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thomas Fuchs clinic

I had put my hand up to be part of a clinic with Thomas Fuchs who was brought over from Switzerland. To be honest I didn't think I would get in because it was very expensive and ended up being very elite. I was very much the least experienced in my group which meant I had to work very hard. It was an 8 hour drive up to the clinic which was hard on my poor old back. Then when we stopped for groceries Truckie who must have been exhausted refused to start. I tried all my techniques of kicking things and hoping hard but I couldn't fix it and we had to wait for a mechanic. Then I lost my side and rear lights so I got pulled over by TWO policemen but they let me carry on because the road only had light traffic on it. It was such a relief to pull up at Penny Stevenson Sport Horses and be able to unload, feed and go to bed.

The next day I was watching lessons all day and was pretty much freaking out watching the caliber of riders struggle with the exercises and he was very yelly. Not that it isn't a little nice to see a top GP rider a) get told off and b) struggle with small exercises. I think one of things I really picked up from this is that we don't push ourselves enough in exercises at home. This stuff shouldn't be hard- dog legs, angle4 fences, narrows and turning up tightly to the fences but you don't really practice it at home you know. Realistically I can only build like four jumps so that makes it hard as well.

My group was stronger than expected and Connies flatwork was only really average in the group and I run into trouble when it came to collecting. She just can't collect well. I have spent so long going forward I have only just started the collection training and I haven't been asking for anywhere enough. She just kept breaking. This also meant I couldn't get the right number of strides in the pole exercises and he basically gave up on me and let me canter down doing the wrong strides. Which is good really because it saved Connie and I getting frazzled trying to do exercises we weren't capable of.

Luckily I have done a lot of training with Grant Cashmore which meant I have a good regular canter and practice at jumping at an angle from nearly stand to stand. And the jumping actually wasn't very bad. I made my distances ok and the little horse jumped quite well.

The second day her flatwork was a lot better and still the polework was a right off but she jumped so well. She was the only horse in my group to not take a rail and to not need to repeat an exercise. The final course started with a double one stride of narrow fences about 1m- four strides down to a 1.20m triple bar. Right around the arena and then rollback off of the fence- two strides to an oxer about 1.05m then a bending 6 stride line to a double of planks and liverpools set about 1.15m. Then a right hand turn onto a 1.1m upright and four shorter strides to a 1.20m double. So yea tough enough course eh but Connie was well on form and my eye was on and so it was pretty easy and I got some very nice comments from the other riders. Thomas said "Very good Rebecca, good jumping, poles not so good. Do them at home. Many many times" So while it was made abundantly clear I have a lot of schooling work to do, it was nice to know my jumping is in the right place for the level I am competing at.

One thing that was quite funny is that he made us count our strides everywhere and so many people struggled with it. He asked me what my problem with 4 and 5 was, because I tend to count in my head to 1 2 3 and then 1 2 3 again in a 6 stride line, and 1 2 3 1 2 in a 5 stride, and when I was focusing on my canter and distance my voice just followed my head. Haha!

I tried to get pictures of the horse I am borrowing but my camera spat the dummy. Anyway, he is an 8yo 16.2hh called Ginga, half stationbred and half Dutch by VDL Emillion. He is a simple soul and needs to get going forward more and trust the hand and not react so strongly to the contact. He also needs lots of hill work for strength so thats why he is here, that and my friend is very kind.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Many many changes and Manawatu A+P

The last week has been such an insane swirl of horse stuff and changes. Rascal went on the market at a price I would describe as cheap as chips and so I have gotten a lot of interest. She is currently under offer and waiting for the results of a final x-ray as to whether or not she is sold to what would be a very very good home so my fingers and toes are pretty tightly crossed.

Kate came to Manawatu to stand at the show so that no one got left alone at the truck while they were coming and going. She didn't leave with me however. A friend has traded me Kate for a horse she has had enough of and wants to have a break from who she wants jumped around 1m-1.10m tracks aiming eventually at amateurs so he can go on the market as an amateur horse. So yea a boy horse and he isn't bay. He is a very sensitive chap though and requires a really quiet ride so he will be very good for making me subtle and consistent and soft. Which is good because with Kates stopping I had gotten quite hard at the base of the fence. Kate has gone to my friends house to beat up her gang of horrible teenage fillies who all think very highly of themselves. Which is mission accomplished I'm told. The very next morning horrible teenage leader filly had been outted and Kate was large and in charge. This is a good job for a cranky mare with minor arthritis I think. She has forty acres of grass to her knees so she should be happy there.

Connie was first up in the amateur class and I don't really know what it was. I suspect I didn't get her woken up and in front of the leg enough but the mare didn't want to play ball at all and after a stop at fence 3 I was then eliminated at the combination at fence 4. Blerk I was pretty pissed. I don't know what her deal was really. And fair cop she isn't a bike or a robot but she was very adamant she wasn't doing her job that day. Later entered her into the 1.05m which was the last class of the day in the other ring.

Then I saddled up the new man in my life for the the 1m class. Now this was the third time I had ever ridden him and the second time I had ever jumped him, having gone down the night before to have a bit of a jump on him to get a feel for him. Warm-up went ok, but it was just odd to be on a horse so different to what I'm used too. He is able to collect really well and likes to canter really quietly to the fence. If you ride him up he sort of over reacts to the leg and is very light mouthed but I like him. Anyway so I went onto the 1m got a bad ride to the first fence for an awkward jump, survived around to the double got a nice ride in and he jumped in nicely and then I just let him canter down to the second obstacle, not remembering that he really needs to be ridden up his distances. He was a long way off the second obstacle but to his credit he still jumped when I dug my little heels in, though he nearly lost me in the air! I heard my friends laughing and apparently they had heard me go "not good not good" as I cantered away which I didn't even know I said.

Anyway, remarkably we had jumped a clear round. I had really jumped in at the deep in this class so I thought about retiring but then I was like man I really need to go through the double again. So I sucked it up and just jumped around quietly and got a much better ride in the double. Good shit, I was very stoked.

Then Connie came out for the 1.05m and while I was warming up a heavy rain shower came down and she threw her toys. She was doing her rearing and I got out of time with her bouncing and I just knew that I had screwed it up and that the next one we were going over. And we did, she went up and I had that sickening feeling on the horse beyond her balance, I feel and landed really heavily on the lumbar region of my back and lay there with my eyes closed in utter terror waiting for the impact of the horse hitting me. When I got brave enough to open them she hadn't actually fallen and was sitting like a dog thank jeebers. Very scary. So it was a shaky version of myself that got back onto Connie though she didn't offer to rear at all again and hopefully she has given herself a fright and will put it to rest. She warmed up really well though I was riding her very firmly. She then jumped super awesome in the ring for a double clear round and we won the class. So why she would not jump in the morning and then jump so well in the afternoon after having a fall is beyond me. Though probably it's me and the additional firmness and togetherness.

The drive home was agony and by the time I got home I was so stiff I could only walk like a little hunchback with the pain my back was in. It's just badly bruised with no major damage but still ow. Falling onto surfaces is not all that forgiving eh? I was really concerned about it because the next day I was supposed to drive halfway across the island to train with a top trainer from Switzerland. Yikes!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wairarapa A and P show- Sat/Sun

So Saturday was the day I decided to retire Kate and you guys already know how that paid out but both Connie and Rascal got a start on Saturday as well. Rascal was second in the welcome showhunter but as soon as it went up to 1m she started stopping and wouldn't make the distances. I think I have found her max height jumping. She is great up to 1m but at that height she starts to pack it in. The next day she wouldn't even jump the practice fence so obviously I had given her a fright. It's hard to deal with a horse who doesn't give you a break at all. If I could be 100% accurate all the time at 1m she would be all good and jump happily but I can't. I watch horse after horse tolerate misses much worse than I ever give Rascal and they keep happily jumping. I have dropped her price really drastically and hopefully she will sell soon. She is going to make someone a really nice horse but she needs to be somewhere where jumping is not the primary focus.

Connie had the 1.20m on Saturday. It was a smaller track than the day before but technical enough and I was pretty nervous. It still looks pretty big to me hey! She jumped really well had a bit of a hiccup when I got too deep to the fence five and then added all the way down the related line. Still she jumped clear and just had one rail in the jump-off when I got her a little close. I'm pretty accurate but I love that she will forgive me my mistakes. I still haven't got her rolling quite enough but it will come.

The amateur was on Sunday and it was a tough enough track and again with the treble! Last season I jumped maybe four trebles all year and I have jumped that many already this season. Started well, got a little pully to the third fence which she hit but didn't fall. Then landed and was like yup get going, got a good ride to the fifth fence and she took it out with her front legs from a good distance so go figure. Maybe the pony likes it more difficult. Turned to the treble and saw a great distance to it so that I was able to just ride up to it slightly and she jumped in perfect. A little hesitation on landing but I picked up my contact and she jumped through it so well. Only three clears so clearly it was a difficult enough track. Luckily for me I have a fat little horse I have to keep rolling on and so I was fifth overall being the 2nd fastest round on four faults. Yay more amateur series points. Love that pony. Had already put her away so collected my ribbon on a horse I may catch ride for a while all going well. Just have to clear it with the parentals.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A big and difficult decision

Ah Katie-pie you beautiful mare. I have been thinking long and hard about this horse for a little while now. After her injections she needs a week off, she jumps awesome for 3 weeks, and then starts to deteriorate. All of a sudden I go from riding a happy confident horse to riding a horse who is hurting doing the job she loves and obviously her enthusiasm levels plummet. It's hard on her nerve and it's hard on mine.

Ultimately when I weigh it up I'm paying a LOT of money to run a horse who is probably never going jump higher than 1.15m, money that I could be putting into a sound horse that could do the same heights and then some. It seems heartless I guess but I hate not knowing what horse I get heading for the end of her injections efficacy period and I don't feel it's fair for her. The ground was really soft this weekend she shouldn't have been sore but she didn't want to do the job. I retired her from the 1.10m class and late entered the 1m class. I went in knowing it was her last round ever and I was surprisingly cut up afterwards. She was even hesitant off the ground on the 1m and she feels like she is jumping to save herself. I know her arthritis isn't that bad on the x-rays but obviously her tolerance for pain is low.

She was clear in the 1m for first equal with all the other clear grounds and my big hearted mare go to finish her jumping career with a red ribbon. For now she is retired with the possibility of being put in foal in 2012. I don't feel like she owes me anything because she helped me get my love of showjumping back and having a good mare to move up the grades on meant that Connie moved up faster as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wairarapa A and P show- Friday

A mixed bag sort of a day but mostly there is a lot of good to take away from it. I have to say having spent the rest of last weekend at the beach doing fun non horse related things and watching rugby and drinking and not wearing gumboots for three days, I was excited to be at a show again. Down time! You have to make sure you get it! Weather was shitbox though. Blerk I do not like riding in the rain. The secretary gave me a hard time about being a fair weather rider when I scratched Bill and I was like eh? I still have the other three!

A while ago I brought some waterproof overpants off the internet but they were too small. Having lost a shit ton of weight over the winter/spring meant they fit so yay no wet bum for me! I hate that feeling so passionately. The ground did cut up a bit but didn't get so heavy and sucky on the horses as last week. Anyway, Rascal was up first and jumped a very cute double clear in the 95cm. She was pretty adament that there was three strides in the double, but the next time through in the jump-off I got a more aggressive ride into it and made the two strides but she made it feel like a real stretch. Lol Silly mare. I was really unhappy last weekend because I picked at her so I really focused on keeping her forward and rhythmical and I changed her to the waterford snaffle so I was able to be very subtle in my rein aids. Worked a treat, and she was the most confident she has felt over the big square oxers.

Kate was up next. Warmed up well but she is very heavy in the rubber snaffle. Again focused on riding around the corners and keeping her flowing. Had great jumps over fence 1 and 2 was feeling pretty good about life and then she stopped at three and I fell off. It was a longer distance and it was a filler that was spooking a lot of horses and I'm thinking perhaps I didn't maintain enough contact and made her feel insecure so she stopped. Maybe though it's her knee again which isn't that good because she only got treated four weeks ago. I'm not sure I can wear the expense of monthly injections :( Still she is in the 1.10m tomorrow and the 1.15m on Sunday so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and blame my riding for now and see how we go on the next two days. I landed on my feet and so while I felt a bit flustered I was not injured in any physical way. Even when you land on your feet a fall is still hard on the nerve eh.

Connie up last in the 1.20m class. She warmed up well and felt really good. Guess where I had the problem! Fence three the same fence Kate stopped at. I never properly committed to it and sort of ended up in it. Represented and she flew straight over and then jumped super for the rest of the round. Really getting in the air and jumping off her hocks and feeling good. The teble was the same set up as the treble I jumped at Foxton and we couldn't get down- oxer two strides to an upright one stride to an upright. So I was pretty conscious of not jumping her in too big. Of course I went a bit the other way and jumped into small. Nevermind she has obviously been hanging out with Rascal and jumped through in a very tidy collected 3 strides to 2 strides. Not ideal certainly, but I'm so happy she just wanted to keep jumping down the treble and was so confident. I just have to get a more moderate ride in lol. I'm so in love with this horse. So tomorrow Rascal showhunters, Kate 1.1ms and Connie has another 1.2m. Bring it on!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wairarapa SJ and SH Championship

Just one of those days really. To be honest I wasn't really feeling it at this show and I wasn't that keen which is a bit of a shame, but I think I'm a bit burnt out already. Certainly I have had more intensive starts to the season but this year I seem to have less time to do everything in. Normally I also get a break around now when we go away for a couple of shows in a row and I have the middle of the week to decompress but I haven't had this yet this year. Add in some personal stuff and I would say I was never really going to be in the exact right head space. Also starting to wonder if I should up my meds, but will see how I go. I felt a bit frozen with nerves in the ring and that hasn't happened for freaking ages. I'll see how it goes this weekend.

Rascal was first up and she actually jumped quite well. Another 1m class but I didn't ride brave enough on her and had two stops when I picked at her and interfered with her rhythm. She jumped really well otherwise. She isn't as comfortable at this height but given a few more rounds I think she will be happier. Certainly we didn't have the same flow as the weekend before. Did I mention that they had had like a boatload of rain the night before and the ground was very heavy. Not so much sloppy but quite grippy, the horses didn't jump out of it that well. Rascal is quite sensitive to footing so that will also have contributed.

Connie was first up in the amateur class. It was funny because the 1.10m previously was built tiny but the amateur was pretty decent eh. Right up there with the bigger ones I have jumped. She jumped really well though I didn't ride the greatest- Again I was a little picky and got a bit frozen and didn't ride fluildy. Still got a little deep to one fence for one rail and that's not all that bad really. I just want to do the little mare justice you know. Ha tomorrow I will be better- stay committed, ride all the way around my corner and the distance will be their waiting for me.

Kate was also in the amateur. Warmed up relatively well and started off jumping well but then slipped coming into the double and I found myself circling off of the fence. It wasn't a conscious decision I was like 'What am I doing?" I was far enough off of the fence I should have been fine but I guess I was chicken. I wasn't getting a flowing ride either and she didn't feel great on the ground so after a rail at fence 8 I retired. Easily my worst show of the season but a lot to take away with me. Mostly the whole ride around the corner and stay committed. Connie and Kate are both in happy mouths but can both go back into rubber snaffles so my picking wont have too much effect. I'm also going to work Kate in rubber mouth pelham and try that out as a bit. It is quite a strong bit obviously but she gets very heavy in the snaffle and I end up fighting with her, and the action of jointed bits she seems to find quite sharp. I will try her in my long cheek french link as well but it's definitely time to try a few more bits. I don't know if she will last the whole season with her knee and everything but even just cantering around some 1.10m-1.15m classes is great mileage for me and I don't feel she owes me anything.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

South Wairarapa PC Spring Carnival

So a smaller local show last weekend and a good place to give everything a bit of an easier run. Especially with Connie having that retirement, I was looking forward to jumping her down a combination in competition to make sure my treble training had worked. It was supposed to be bills d├ębut but yea that didn't happen lol. My neck and back were pretty stiff though and I had a fat knee.

Rascal was first up in the 90cm class and jumped a nice double clear though looked at the picket a bit. It was on a hell of a dogleg corner though and she can be a bit of a tool, but ultimately she jumped so it's all good. She put three strides down the double both times because it was quite long and she doesn't jump hugely and didn't make the distance. The next class was the mighty metre or 3'3". Now Rascal hasn't gotten around a class at this height on her since she was 5 and it was at this show and then the week after she injured herself and was out for ages. So I had a bit of a mental hoodoo about this height and honestly was quite extremely nervous.

As you can see there was really no issue, she has room to spare and she jumped really well. The only issue was that she was still adamant that there was three strides in the double. I should have adjusted for this and just sat up and collected for the three but I rode up a little but found myself still in no mans land at the end of the two strides. She chipped in (below) and took the rail. Still four faults at 1m is fine. I was rapt to break my hoodoo. Dad says I am imagining things because hoodoos aren't real and only in your head, but I say if it's in your head then it must be real.

Connie and Kate were both in the 1.10m class. Luckily my sister showed up in time to holds one for me so I could go directly from one to the next. It was an unbelievably strong field for a local 1.10m class but a local has brought a new grand prix horse and had that for it's first outing, an Australian import and a couple of 1.20-1.30 horses. Connie was a tool to warm up which generally means she will jump well and is full of beans and she impressed a friends non horsey boyfriend with her jumping around.

She went into the ring and jumped really nicely. She definitely knows her job now and when to turn it on because none of the grief she gives me in the warm-ups shows up in the ring. They said I looked special because I was grinning so hard but she is really fun to ride.

Got a great distance into the double, was able to just sit quietly and stay balanced and she jumped in super confidently. She locked hard onto the second element and took me to it and jumped out well so all was good in my world. Didn't get such a good ride to it in the jump- I had to ride up a bit because the jump off course was a tad ridiculous and the corner was literally a spin and go. Still C horse stormed back through the flags for a double clear.

Kate I wasn't even sure if I'd start because she is carrying a few nicks and bumps at the moment but she felt really sound, looked sound to bystanders and was really keen to jump. She jumped really well as well, I felt like I was getting a bit close but my friend who is much better than I says she looks more comfortable with the deeper distance. It's amazing how confidently she jumps now her knee is good. She had a good double clear as well. I'm still waiting for her jumping pictures.

So final results? Kate was first and Connie was second. I'm sure not many actually jumped off hard, but seeing as I need to practice my jump-off turns and staying cool as a cucumber against the clock it was good to practice. Still it felt totally mean to do that well and it was all in all a really good day even though I could hardly work the next day. 4 competition rounds on top of sore muscles from falling was pretty brutal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bad Ass Bill

Bill is not really that young at 7 but she still comes in as very very green. But maybe in my head I'm treating her too green. I have known for a little while that I haven't been on the right track with the Billock for a little while because we haven't really been making progress and in fact I have managed to just about lose the right canter lead so figure that. It's a straightness and forward issue that is going to be addressed soon I promise.

Anyway she was supposed to compete at a local show this weekend and I had her at a friends place to see if she could still jump and we never really got that far to be honest. The main issue I have with Bill is that I haven't really feel in control for the last little while and I haven't really managed to figure out why not. I know it's because she tends to fall behind the bridle but she feels forward so it hadn't really clicked for me. These are the difficulties of doing it all yourself. Anyway going down trot poles to a small jump she stood on the last trot pole, threw herself at the jump, unbalanced me and then emphatically bucked me off. I was happy because I always thought she would kick me on the way past and she didn't so that was a blessing but I landed very not lightly. And there it is my first fall off of Bill and probably one of many. Then we just worked on trot poles and straightness and a few other things but didn't jump again. He pointed out how behind the bridle she was and how she didn't do any long and low. He said she was faking me out by holding a pretty frame, but not actually doing anything. Food for thought. Clearly I decided we weren't ready to show.

I spent a lot of time pondering this issue and how I was going to face it really, being not exactly sure what I needed to do. I sort of started to wonder if much like the great grey bastard I struggled with for years whether she was just too much horse for me. I hate not knowing what the issue is. Anyway I took her to the show to ride afterwards and when I got on she started out ok but a little looky and sensitive as she would be in a show environment. Anyway they were packing up some jumps and she started to get freaked out and at one point did like this huge leap in the air and a few bucks but stayed straight so I sat it all out all right. My sister was there and she was all you know she is taking the piss out of you right? Oh. After the jump packers left I got back to work and a thought that hasn't popped up since the great grey bastard which was You are a heel of a lot safer going forward' and so I rode her forward really forward and suddenly it all clicked. I thought she was going forward before but she wasn'. Her more powerful WB movement was just faking me out and I was letting her nonce around in a fake frame and take control when she wasn't really going forward at all. I'd like to point out that this horse is a hell of a mover.

Once I really rode her forward she took up the contact herself and started to swing and be through. It's so often a small simple change that is key eh. It's always going forward too I should know that by now. As soon as I got her forward I felt in control again. At the canter she bucked a little and protested but I got probably the nicest canter work I have ever had out of her and she never got close to unseating me. I have added a pad under the saddle to balance it a bit more level rather than downhill which actually made a huge difference to my balance. She is still very down hill even at seven so sometimes I feel I'm riding a slide. So much work to do and just maybe I'll be able to jump her at the A and P show in two weeks over the 85cm class, if not I'll aim her for the young farmers show and miss the NZEF show that weekend. Sacrifices to get the wee girl going. Still can't believe I missed this for as long as I did.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Foxton Debrief 2

I would just like to offer my condolences to Andrea after the loss of her beloved Gogo. Truly that was a horse who never wanted for anything. It really makes you appreciate your horses.

Ok so to the Sunday of Foxton. Early start again because I elected to ride Rascal first up. She was in the 90cm showjumping and after yesterday I didn't know how it would go but the little mare warmed up feeling really really good, jumped super confidently and went into the ring and jumped double clear, though too slow in the jump-off to place. I don't quite trust her enough to really start slicing fences. So I don't know why she packed it in the day before but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Then I basically jumped from her onto Kate for the 1.10m class. It was a lot bigger 1.10m class than the day before whith more fill, two roll backs and a treble. She jumped really well though. Nearly jumped me out over the first oxer with fill. I really need to improve my leg strength some more. not as smooth of a round as the day previously but still I was happy with how she went. She just had the last rail when I didn't let her travel down the 6 strides enough and had to over ride the last two strides to make my distance and flattened her out.

Then I kicked my heels for like 5 hours waiting for Kates next class. She was in the 1.15m championship and again she jumped really well, again having one rail. We have been having a lot of one rail rounds this season. Awesome down the treble though. She had the rail at the liverpool which isn't that surprising because she hates liverpools. Truly she really is quite afraid of them, so I was happy she even jumped it, because it's the first one we have seen this season. Though to be fair I gave her a strong committed ride to it.

Then Connie in the amateur class. Pony was jumping amazing, must have cleared the oxer at 2 by like a foot she just jumped huge as which was exciting and cool. Got a longish distance into the first double but got through ok and then came round to the treble. Honestly I thought we would have issues here. She jumped in big and landed unbalanced and then couldn't jump out of the next two fences so she stopped. I reapproached with the same result- a stop at the second element- so I retired and jumped fence 1 on the way out. I was gutted because she was jumping so well. I wasn't exactly sure what I needed to do to fix this either which I always find more stressful. She was pretty unamused when as soon as we got home from the show I saddled her back up to jump a smaller version of the treble at home. I don't like to leave issues to sit for too long, better just to face them as soon as you can. She did initially stop and was quite hesitant but by the end was jumping through happily with the jumps set at 1m ish.

So really I'm not exactly sure what is causing this issue. She does always land in a bit of a heap, she isn't the most natural of jumpers. With a double it's ok because she only has to jump out over one fence, but when faced with two she couldn't do it. I think I need to improve two things. I think I'm throwing her at the combinations too much to compensate for her backing off combinations and in an effort to help her down the distance, but I'm probably just contributing to the issue. Secondly I need to land and balance her more and be stronger with my body position. I wanted to jump a treble every day this week but the rain spoiled that idea. There is a local show this weekend I'll take her too because I want to jump her down another combination at a show before we face our next amateur class.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I was very pleased and honoured to be asked to do an interview for Katie from My Equine Life. You guys can find that here if you click on this link. Go read please ignore my spelling mistakes. My brain is faster than my two finger typing technique.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Foxton Debrief

Ah horse shows. Sometimes they go well but just not as well as you hoped. I can't be unhappy with how they went but I would be lying if I said I hadn't hoped for more. The first day started with showhunter warm-ups at 7.30. Rascal cantered around nicely and came back and jumped a nice round for third in the welcome hunter. I then had to go back to walk the 1.20m class. I walked it and decided to change Kate into the 1.10m class as the 1.20m was full size and technical enough. Heathers courses are always built to size and always have some questions but they are always fair if you ride accurately.

Anyway I ended up riding Connie in that class before I went back to the showhunters. Connie was a bit of a tool to be honest. She reared up at the gate when I was trying to tell someone the course and went in pretty hot. The responsibility of any mistakes have to be put on the rider and i didn't get the uppity bitch to focus lol! She was like blah I'm a doofus- AAhh watch up a jump appeared out of nowhere! After I reapproached she actually jumped amazing and didn't have any further faults over a pretty big track. She did struggle through the double which was a sign of things to come.

Rascal was a bit stiff going back down to the showhunter but seemed to work out of it. Had a bit of a dodgy jump over one of the fences when I truly stuffed up the distance and maybe this pinged her confidence or her back fetlock because she adamently refused the next fence. Blah! I just scratched her out from the rest of the day because I had nothing to gain from continuing to jump her. I did of course pop back over the practice fence.

I had my favourite round for the season on the Kate. Didn't have to ride so much/manage the spook/ hold her together and managed a smooth confident round from Kate. She was clear in the first round but had a rail in the jump-off. Still I was rapt and when a man on the sideline complimented me on a beautiful round I was a happy wee clam. It was so cold in the evenings sleeping in the truck. I was in two sleeping bags inside each other with blankets on top and the hood pulled tight around my head. Got a hell of a fright when a drunk guy stumbled into truckie looking for a Kirsty at 1am but he sure looked sheepish when he realised he was in the wrong truck haha. So that was day one and it looked very promising for day 2 bar I had no idea what was up with Rascal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Foxton Prep

Here we go again! Travelling to another show tomorrow. Very exciting stuff. Had a wee jump on Rascal and Kate. Rascal was actually awesome if a bit strong. Jumped about 1m because thats the heights she is entered in. I got brave or something haha! Anyway she felt really good over the bigger fences, we actually got a fair bit of jump out of the wee girl. I wasn't expecting that at all! I lost my leg the first time! It doesn't matter so much if the finesse is lacking, as long as she is jumping confidently. The finesse will come.

Had a bit of a jump on Kate. I really wanted to jump her over some big fences but I didn't get a chance before the weather came in. Still had a good jump up to 1.10m and I really wanted get over some 1.20m because thats the first class on Saturday. I'm actually not that sure I'm ready for 1.20m with Kate yet. There is always the next show but I need to make a decision soon. If I'd jumped a few big ones I would know more eh. I wanted to do the same with Connie even though Connie should be all good really. She has been jumping well it's just a nerves thing, wanting to jump a bit bigger to make sure I can. I know Connie can do the height I just have to ride her well. I know Kate can do the height as well I just don't have the same faith in her right now. She was such a goose today too, so spooky. Curse the spring grass!

So tomorrow packing and cleaning and travelling. Might ride Bill and Connie in the morning if I have the time. Goodtimes. I'm so lucky to be able to do this. Fingers crossed for some more good rounds eh.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quick Catch Up

I wish I could say I had been super proactive but I would not be being that truthful. Rascal is still off unfortunately which is a crying shame with the run of form she was on. I'd love her to be right for next weekend which is our next showhunter show. Sneakily we are 2nd in the Amateur highpoints showhunter series after one show so I need to print that out and frame it before the real show hunters start competing. Still it gives me a ice set of goals to chase with my little horse.

Connie while unhappy with her diet and heavier workload is actually feeling pretty good and the windgalls have improved now I wrap her while I ride. I suspect a lot of the swelling was stocking up because she is so sedentary while yarded at shows but I'll continue to wrap for the next few shows until she feels really strong and starts taking rails behind. I have signed up for a Clinic with Thomas Fuchs who is a Swiss rider next month so Connie can do that which is very exciting. At first I was all I'm not good enough to do clinics with people that good, but shit why the hell not. My money is as green as anyone elses. I sometimes feel like I don't belong because I do it on a showstring budget and don't have all the gears and the right bred horses and flash truck, but all that matters is how they jump ultimately. It's harder to do it this way, training your horse while you learn yourself but I really can't afford the other option lol!

Kate had her knee done recently and I have yet to ride her since and I'm a bit dubious about jumping her in the 1.20m next weekend so I need to try get a training in this weekend and jump some big fences and see how she feels. Bill continues to tick along mostly nicely apart from some bucking. She gets upset when I let her get unbalanced at the canter and starts bucking which makes her more unbalanced and makes her buck worse in a vicious cycle. So it's important to try and keep her more balanced but at the same time I need to teach her to canter herself and keep her own shit together. Young horses.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fielding Spring Show- The rest.

Saturday my classes were all on in the morning. Kate was in the 1.10m class with no wins, Connie in the open 1.10m class and Rascal in the 1m class. Rascal after a short hack proved to be unsound which is about what I expected. Kate jumped more happily in the indoor but anytime I let her get behind my leg she took the rail and had 3 rails for 12 faults. Connie jumped well but a little sort of flat and dull and had 8 faults. I would like to point out that none of the indoor tracks were particularly easy, lots of rollbacks, bending lines and the such but fair technical not outrageous.

Then i got to have a big sleep that afternoon which was nice and the weather packed in which wasn't so nice but overall I was happy with the day. The next day Kate was up first in the 1.10m Championship class. Had a good warm up and she started beautifully and then I cantered straight past the gate which was fence 5 and got eliminated. Stupid, Stupid girl. The horse finally jumps well inside and I blew it. The amateur class was later that day and it was a big enough track. The 1.20m that followed didn't look much bigger. Connie as my nominated horse and so the horse I can get series points on went first and had a pretty disappointing three rails. They were only tiny touches and it just didn't go my way. Sometimes they stay up and this weekend they didn't. Possibly I overrode her to a couple of the fences. Her back fetlocks have blown a serious set of windgalls so obviously I put too much strain on her body and so am making a concentrated effort to a) Strip some weight off the tubby mare and b) get her fitter.

Kate was in the amateur as well and in hindsight I should probably not have started. I had a bad warm-up where I was struggling to see my distances and was under time pressure because by the time I got off of Connie and onto Kate and swapped spurs and rode back to the ring there was only 1 or 2 riders left. This is the difficulties of doing i all by myself. Anyway, the first fence in this class was off a 90 degree turn and while it was fine with Connie, Kate with her tendency to fall behind my leg inside was hopeless. I had two stops after some feeble indecisive riding. She would have gone if I had committed earlier and kept her in front of my leg. I cooked myself mentally in the warm-up though and so it was never going to happen. Connie ended up sixth and I get one series point which is excellent but still not that satisfying for a 3 rail round. I don't feel like I deserve it certainly. So much much work to do before Foxton in a fortnight.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fielding Spring Show- Friday Night

My first class was at 6pm but didn't start until like 6.3 which is pretty typical of the organisation of Fielding. It has to be by far the nicest facility in the lower North Island in terms of surfaced area available and the big indoor. But it is always poorly run in terms of organisation and class flow and other factors. So that part really sucks. If it wasn't so close I would probably drop it from the shows I go to. It was worse because the gorge is closed so instead of an hour it took me an hour and 45 to get there and the was this big hill I had to climb in third gear which is about 35 kms an hour because Truckie is a slightly gutless old lady so it was a fairly stressful trip.

Anyway they couldn't find the outdoor lights and the area for warm up indoors only had room for one horse. It would have barely been 20m wide. Have you noticed that indoors the fences look bigger?? Anyway we had to do the flat portion of our warm up outdoors in the dark which was ridiculous. They couldn't find the light switch. Coinnie was in the middle of a huge tantrum which was related to the fact it was dinner time and she hadn't been fed. At one point she reared so high I thought she would go over but she took some backwards steps and stabilised. It's silly but not being able to see seriously slowed my reactions down and I wasn't able to prevent her going up. Rearing is her new trick and seriously scares the shit out of me. The other thing was I couldn't really see the other horses warming up, only their outlines and white markings so it actually made for a pretty scary situation all round. There was also plenty of bucking but she got into the ring and jumped really nicely for a clear round. The class was 1.05m BTW.

Then back to the truck for Kate. Walking Connie back when the surface changed from lime track to grass she freaked out and I had to lead her back to the truck because she would go no further. So much for horses amazing night vision. Kate is a spooky old mare so by the time she made it to the warm-ups she was pretty beside herself. The other thing with warming up in the dark is it's really hard to gauge your speed and whether or not you have a good canter. So poor old Katie pie by the time she got into the actual indoor was fair freaking out. She was backing off even plain uprights and if I sat up at all she would fall behind my leg and start bouncing but somehow I managed to ride hard and give her enough confidence to jump around the spooky track with just one rail. Raced back to the truck and jumped back onto Connie and got back into the indoor just in time to go in for her jump off. She jumped awesome despite my hindrance and was clear again to snag third place. Lucky for me I had the fore thought to have everything set up during daylight and I was able to just wrap the horses and put them in their already prepared yards ready for the next day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nearly Showtime again.

Holy moly, two days and I will jumping my first ever evening class in an indoor. To be honest I'm not that looking forward to it because it's dark by 7 oclock and I will have to be organised and have everything done so after the class I can just take the horses straight to the yards for the night. It's also supposed to rain on Sunday which is less good because Rascal is jumping outdoors. I don't know how Kate will cope with being indoors because she loves her job, but she is a very spooky mare. The first class is only 1.05m to give the two of them a chance to canter around the indoor and have a look see and for me to get an idea how they are going to go. Hopefully well. Connie is obviously feeling like a million bucks because she has been such a PITA lately. I wish she would quit this bucking and general full of herselfness. I lost Kate today when I was ponying her off Connie and Connie had a good play.

I jump my first 1m class on Rascal since she was a five year old and I feel like this will be difficult and have a bit of a mental block about this height on her but you know she is cantering around the 90s so nicely I have no excuse not to move her up. Riding is hard! So many things to think about *flail* Na it will be awesome and on the plus side jumping on a surface means I don't need to stud which is not my favourite job. Though they are all good to stud. I'm just lazy and kack handed with my thread tap. Then it's a fortnight to Foxton show, Kate needs to get her knee done again before then, and the following week is Spring show when Bill is meant to debut, Then the two Wairarapa shows- SJing Champs and A+P ahow. Plenty to do thats for sure. I really need to do a lot more jumping with Bill. I had a practice day last weekend but when I got into town it was raining so hard I just went home. I'll compete in the rain but I'm not enough of a fan of the wet to train in it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Superstition and some photos.

I was pondering today as I worked my four horses (Two in the wind/ two in the rain good times) the percentages of competing. I know that riding has to be a mental game for the majority so I came up with 80% mental, 19% training/practice/horse power/ horse care etc etc yada yada the million things that go into running a sport horse, and finally 1% luck. Now when I was at uni I learned to gain every percentage you can and I do have a few odd habits that I maintain out of superstition. The first is a little pin of a black horse with a white star that my Mum brought me at my first NZEF show a decade ago. That pin has been on the lapel of my show jacket ever since then. I recently got changed to the Pikeur that I got half price at horse of the year. I'm still not sold on the Pikeur jacket but I love having a zip instead of buttons. No more jacket gaping over my boobs and the constant popping of my top button off.

The other thing I'm fussy about is I don't like to feed the horses at shows out of buckets the same colours of the lesser placings. For example red and purple is good, blue yellow and green not so much. Obviously this is a completely ridiculous hang up but there you are. Black works quite well but at some shows black is fifth so figure that. At the moment all my buckets are yellow because the cows get these mineral licks that come in these perfectly sized and well constructed tubs so I use those. I have mental compromise by calling them gold. Actually that's all my superstitions which isn't that bad at all is it really? Not too insane.

Another point which is not a superstition but just a point to note. I do try to have good turn out at shows but I'm like Pigpen I'm a real dirt magnet. It's not entirely my fault. Though sometimes I'm lazy about brushing tails because Connies tail is so thick and ringletted. Bleh!

Finally to the photos. These are the two I have purchased and they are the second fence in the amateur class. I'm a little sad because while they are lovely photos I don't think Kates one does her justice. Maybe though it's because I see them with their personalities. Connies photo fair vibrates with flash and diva-attitude, while Kates is like Kate. Workmanlike and plain but good all the same- saving it for the big jumps.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Had a bad week with the black dog nipping at my ankles. The citalopram mostly masks my depression but the black dog is often there in the background, mostly just on the very edge of life. I have been doing so well but with life come ups and downs no doubt. Partly it is post show let down (PS Yes Sharon La Bella Vida is Connie- if you are at shows also keep an ear out for Kentucky Kate, Lynchberg SP and High Voltage. Thank you also for saying I don't ride like a monkey lol!)

Times like these I like to pick up my psychology for riders workbook and do some reading. I think I'm not too bad once I'm actually in the ring- I can stay in the moment and forget the fence previous and focus on only the fence a head and the quality of the horses canter, but I definitely can sabotage myself at the in gate, the course walk, the practice fence and other times. I'm certainly getting better, but having self belief seems almost arrogant and stuck up. It's scary to think would people would say if I did start being successful, but also entirely irrelevant because this is my dream and really it only matters what I think and do. What would they say anyway I have done it all nearly off of my own bat. Damn me for being successful on horses I produced myself is about the worst ammunition they would have. I'm better than feeling like this, i have no reason to feel like this, I know it will pass and the black dog will be reduced to a whimper. I had to say I was amused when someone said to me at the show it must be nice having money after I said I had nearly complete sets of gear for each horse competing. I was just like yea it works that way when you work 19 days without a day off.

Rascal has managed to get a tiny wee cut on her back leg and then got massively swollen. Gave her antibiotics today. It's no big deal but she may miss the next show and if she doesn't I need to get a drug dispensation I guess. It should be a smaller show with Rotorua show being on the same weekend but i'm excited/nervous to be jumping indoors. Lordy knows how Kate will cope with that sort of atmosphere but it's ok I'm a good enough rider to cope with it < positive affirmation :).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pukahu Show- Day 2

I had a fairly leisurely start to the day on the Sunday I didn't roll out of bed until 7 o'clock which would have been a nice sleep i, only there was this fecking rooster that thinks that it is appropriate to crow from 2 am until 3pm. WTF rooster! you are lucky you are still alive. I rolled over at one point in the night and realised that in my fall I had bruised all down my left side- mostly thigh and shoulder though- because rolling on to it really really hurt. Not to mention it had been cold the night before so I went to bed in a pair of long shorts, a long pair of socks, a blue camo print polar fleece nightie and a kermit green jersey to make sure I stayed warm so I was pretty much sex on wheels lol. There are downsides to sleeping in a truck especially in September.

I was in the second class up- the 1.10m on Connie and Kate. Connie was first up and
I went the other way compared to the day before and I was too forward. Still she jumped well, just took the first and possibly the second rails. I'm not sure to be honest. Still though not happy with how I rode- too forward and still not as accurate as I should be. Then came Kate and I can recall so vividly sitting at the gate on her thinking that I really didn't want to be here and to do this anymore. I have lost a lot of faith in Kate after the end of last season. Still i sucked it up and got into the ring and got going. As long as I don't let go of her head we are ok and she will generally jump (even scary fill)- providing I also get her the base of the fence. And she jumped quite well. i was a lot more accurate. I had to get about stuck into her around one corner because she was spooking outside the ring so i didn't get a good ride to the double, but seeing as it was a fairly spooky fence in, having got on her case a bit, meant she knew she had to jump in and so she did. she actually jumped well and I just had the last rail. It was a bit cheap I'm not sure exactly what I did but it doesn't really matter. At least I had completed a round I was almost happy with.

Spent the rest of the morning mucking out yards and having a bit of lunch. Went to the secretary to find that Rascal had won the open welcome hunter and was third in the amateur hunter the day before. Yay! Thats 9 showhunter points in one show. I think I need 11 more to qualify for HoY. If she can be a successful show hunter maybe I will not sell her and she can be my diesel donkey. That being said it may have just been a fluke. Then I was almost late for my 90cm showjumping class on her. Cantered down to the ring, went straight over two warm up fences and went into the ring. Got the jump off numbers as I walked into the ring and learned the course as I jumped around it. It's so handy they have the numbers next to the fences. Rascal was so foot perfect as well. It was a relatively spooky ring but she jumped around almost foot perfectly and I had a lovely ride on her. She was double clear and as it was an A1 class in which all double clears are first equal, she "won" the class. Bless her.

Finally it was amateur series class time- thats 1.10m- 1.15m. I was pretty exhausted by now. I had forgotten how physically and mentally exhausting shows are! I also was getting more and more stiff and sore from my fall and couldn't left my left arm over my head. Still this is the series I want to do well in this season. I nominated Kate as my points getting horse as she had been jumping better than Connie. She warmed up well and Jumped really nicely. I am definitely starting to get more confident on her. The only really hiccup was coming into the first double- an oxer with fill under it to a plain upright- she kind of stalled at the gate and really wasn't that keen to jump. I didn't panic though and kept my leg on and the contact and dug the spurs in and clicked her forward and she actually went. She took the rail though. The is a goofy picture of her jumping this fence and keeping a close eye on that first oxer. It's good to know that I can be proactive enough and get her to jump even with how quickly things tend to happen on Kate.

So I was out on my nominated horse and it was time to get Connie. I didn't think Connie would go that well because she tends to not jump that well in the second round on any given day. She is a one start wonder. Warming up I jumped the oxer and my friend goes "Egg you can get her closer to the base" so I organised my canter a little more and suddenly it all sort of clicked into place. I got the right jumping canter for her, all my distances started coming up and it was all good. Had a great round with another strong ride to the double and a clear round! Woo. Go little Spanish. Only five in the jump off andI ended up fifth after taking a rail. I need to start training jump-off turns at home now because it's everytime I have a spin up that I blow it. She needs to be able to spin because she just isn't fast enough across the ground to make time up there. Still for the first show up I was rapt with her and finally I was happy with how I rode. All and all it ended up awesome. Long may that last. Fielding Show in a week and a half. Just hope I can remember the canter.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pukahu Show- Day 1

So the first show is over and done with and I ran the full gambit at this show. Overall though my ladies were naturally fabulous and I was the major disappointment. I have purchased two photos I will put up when they arrive. So to the beginning of the tale I guess.

The first morning I was up early to get a warm up round in the showhunters on Rascal. I made a stuff up with her saddle blankets though which I found to my detriment. My fitted pad moves around a lot on her back and must have pulled because she was a little cranky and hot when I started riding her which I attributed to nerves at the show atmosphere. Cantered into the first cross rail of about 30cm, she hesitated, I popped her with the stick and unbalanced myself, she jumped and when she landed with me still unbalanced she chucked me off which is about what I deserved for being so casual and not riding properly. Still the ground was very hard and before classes had even started I had stained one pair of my two pairs of breeches. Le sigh. Got back on did my warm up round and she was excellent. When I got back to the truck and unsaddled I saw her hair was ruffled under the saddle so I stopped my frank discussion with her about her parentage and her close relationship to a goat. Once I added another pad she was happier and I had not further problems with her.

Her first class was the Open Welcome hunter over 90cm and she jumped well enough, got her leads on landing and was basically very good. She feels a little bit looky but it gives her jump a bit of spark and I think I can feel it but it can't be seen. She did rattle one rail quite hard so that would have lowered her score considerably I thought. Hung around to jump my Open 90cm class and she had a rail in this one but otherwise jumped really nicely again. I was happy with her especially after this mornings somewhat flattening start.

Cantered back to the truck just in time to walk the 1.10m track, saddled Connie and Kate up and rushed back to the showhunters and got first on the list for my amateur class. Put in another good trip on Rascal leads and jumping wise but got a couple of deeper distances and suspect she may have not got her knees up cleanly over one fence. Still she had earned her grain for the day and even though I didn't have the time to hang around for the placings I was hopeful for a few minor placings.

Connie was first up in the showjumping I made one big mistake before I even got on her. I didn't stud her front feet. Connie doesn't like the way studs grab on landing and can start jumping too straight up and down with them in, but I underestimated how slippery the long grass was making the ground which was hard. I rarely stud her as she is very balanced. So it was a pretty poo round all up. I got a couple of really nice fences, but with her scrabbling on the corners a bit she just wasn't going forward and we had lots of bad jumps too. I had to circle her out of the double once and I felt terrible for doing that to her, not giving her a secure grip on the ground.

I was absolutely shitting myself about jumping Kate. I haven't been in the ring on her since she was cannoning me over fences at horse of the year and after a bad ride on Connie when I couldn't see my distances and rode like a monkey I wasn't feeling all that confident. Kate however feels amazing after having her knee done and warmed up really well despite me. So in we went. I should have mentioned it was a big enough track for the first show and it had lots of fill and was a very busy ring, so yea I thought I was going to throw up. Kate was good though and I had a reasonable ride. Not the most accurate and had a stop when I rode up for a ridiculous distance. Kate stopped way out though and pointed out I was an idiot ad then we finished really well.

So to sum up Rascal jumped really well, Connie did the best she could in trying circumstances, Kate jumped well despite my stuff up and I was feeling pretty average. Not that confident and very disappointed with how I rode even with it being only the first show, and I was hardly the only rusty person there lol. Still I expect better of myself and I was really hoping I would be able to better the next day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Practice Day

So I was really nervous about this stupid practice day. It's sort of the first public event of the season and the first chance to see where everyone is at. It doesn't help that I come from a small pretty cliquey gossipy region. It's not too much of an issue for me because I'm too poor for most people to bother about but you know they are talking about you and how your horses went. That being said all of my horses greatly surprised me. I thought they would be ok but they were off the hook. they all jumped confidently, and well. Kate felt bold and keen again after her knee getting fixed. Connie was awesome. Rascal started a little looky but finished so strongly. When I lunged Bill she was a maniac- all arched neck and floaty trot and snorting but she actually rode really well.

I went out with the goal of jumping each horse the height of their first class. That meant a nice 1.10m oxer on Kate/ 90cm-1m on Rascal and 1.10m on Connie. I was surprised because my eye is still pretty good. Obviously everything is not as smooth as it was at the end of the last season but I haven't lost too much ground over winter and feel a lot happier about the show next weekend after this practice day. I love it. I love this sport. I love my mares. They were some of the nicest schooled horses there, they are fit shiny and blooming with health. Maybe finally some of the years of toil will pay off and this season I'll ride at the level I want to be riding at. Last year was a good season but my lead into the season was fraught with injuries and abscesses while this year so far, fingers crossed it stays this way, I have had a relatively smooth run in. I only want to be a grand prix rider, thats not such a big thing is it? Lol! I believe it will all pay off that the work I'm putting in will be of value. Anyway, on to many many pictures.


Unfortunately there are no jumping pictures of Bill but I jumped over a few things and she was really good. Hopefully I'll fill this up next week. She is ready to start jumping higher and out of the canter. And some photos of her lunging like a mad arab with her tail all flagged up.


This is the 1.10m oxer so that I know I can jump her that high. She felt amazing, so rapt it feels like she is back in the game. Long may it last.


This is the second element of the double- somewhere in te 1.25m-1.30m range. Go Connie!

A lovely example of how if you get behind the movement you can't catch up. I'm behind the movement and have shut down her back end. I guess I didn't really trust she would leave the ground. I need to trust this horse.

Opening up behind- good back end again over a 1.20m upright

So I feel like I have basically done all I can and bring on the show this weekend. Fingers crossed and toes it goes my way. Really though I just need to focus and ride well and my girls will do it for me as long as I'm in the game.