Saturday, July 30, 2011

Team Trip to Tielcey Park

After years of being uber expensive Tielcey park has finally lowered it's prices to $10 for the outdoor and $15 for the indoor which is very cheap really. It's now worth the hour drive over there to use the facilities and the jumps. So for the first time I loaded my entire team on the truck- Rascal, Kate, Bill and Connie. Kim took some really nice head shots while I was warming Rascal in which I'll now force you to look at.

Cute ponies eh! The colours haven't been altered it was actually that green. Strange eh. So anyway the goal was to get some flatwork footage of Rascal for a sales ad, to do some jumping with Bill and the just work Connie and Kate, over fences or on the flat. Rascal is starting to give me some really nice work but I see in the stills I'm riding her a bit deep and need to ease up on my hands and add some more leg. Still she felt really nice and elevated and through. I have a picture somewhere and the amount of elevation in her front end is really really good. She really is probably meant to be a little dressage horse. After the flatwork I had a jump around outside and despite the fact I'm pretty rusty she jumped confidently and cleared everything and felt mostly very very good.

Bill did some nice work. no as soft and relaxed as in the last photos but still was confident working around the indoor arena. She is picking up her right canter lead really well now but is very very unbalanced in that direction, though she did improve with more work. She did point out she was finding it hard though!

Then we did some jumping. At first poles on the ground where pretty scary which is funny really. Once she figured that out we put up a little jump that we fell over a few times. Then she figured that out and actually started to try clear it. We ended up making it about a foot and a half high in the middle I guess. She was reluctant going towards it, but despite arriving in a slow trot she felt so easy and strong off of the ground and up through the shoulder. A couple of times the back end jumped especially high and it was a bit scary to sit on. Next time we go over I will do a small course in the outdoor arena which she walked around quite happily when she cooled off. She is quite a brave little horse.

Connie wasn't sound on her foot she was missing a shoe on so got put away straight away and on the way home I stopped at the farriers and got a shoe put on her. Kim was warming up Kate and I tried to school her for 10 minutes but she was just so happy to be around jumps she wouldn't relax and work. She kept trying to lock onto the fences. So I chucked Kim back on and the two of them blasted around some small fences with grins from ear to ear on both faces. It looked so fun I couldn't resist having a little jump myself and jumping a few bigger fences- about 90cm I guess. Kate was really really good and felt really sound on her bung knee, no unlevelness at all. I guess the feed through joint supplement is helping. With more work on board, as her fitness training intensifies, it will be interesting to see what happens. She jumped really well but I was surprised how much confidence I have lost in her with the falls and stops we had at the end of last season. It's to be expected I guess but it seems like a shame. When we were done I was trotting her out and I patted her on the neck and she shook her head from side to side which is her happy signal. It was nice to feel her so happy again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snow Day

See my grandads saying of as the days get longer the cold gets stronger is definitely standing. I didn't think it would snow this winter because it has been relatively mild for where I live anyway. Even the ancient Maori name of our area means "to eat bad weather". Cheers guys. Anyway, I have just worked a solid month without a break so when I eventually woke up and looked out the window and saw all the snow I had a pretty good laugh because I didn't have to go work in it.

This year my Mum isn't using one of the small sheds for calves so she said I could have it for the horses. Lucky for them I guess. I use one end for saddling up and that leaves two bays for the horses. It isn't that pretty but it's functional and it has to beat being outside. I felt a bit mean seeing as I could only bring two in, but Kate and Rascals paddock is getting really muddy and deep and as Rascal has a touch of mudfever, she and Kate lucked in. Connie and Bills paddock has a big shed they can stand in the lea of as well. Kate was a bit iffy at first because she is a suspicious old mare, but even though I had dropped Rascals rope she marched right in by herself and made herself at home. When I last saw them they actually looked pretty smug. Anyway pictures!

The really snowy sheep is Called Rustle, because we give Mum a hard time for "rustling" her when she saved her off of the side of the road during a snowstorm a long time ago as a new born. The other sheep had been moved away from the paddock and she was all alone. I gave these guys a lot of hay seeing as they looked pretty peckish. They were delighted.

Poor outside horses!

A bale of hay eases the cold eh. They were pretty rapt with that!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bill makes progress

I have been working on Bills canter. Her walk and trot is coming along really nicely but her canter is very average. It's not that it isn't a nice canter, because it is, it's just that once you add a riders weight, and with her natural tendency to fall on the forehand, and her long powerful stride, and you get a runny bulldozery type mess when we canter. Of course this is in the open down the farm tracks so it's all straight lines basically and I can't use corners to help balance her. The last ride I had on her the cantering started pretty well with some good rate, but once she got a bit tired we got some huge bucks and it fell apart a bit. I made a big effort to get my work done early and took her to a nearby indoor, where the surface would be good and I could practice some cantering.

She traveled really well on the truck and was remarkably settled on arrival. She is getting to be so grown up. A bit of walk and trot to get her used to the arena and then straight into the canter. Interestingly, being inside backed her up and she didn't run in the canter, in fact it was hard to get her into the canter. It took her a while to believe me that she could canter indoors, but she was actually pretty good, with a nice amount of speed control, though she tended to fall behind the leg. She even managed some 20 meter sort of circles. The right canter was a lot less balanced than the left, but this one sidedness it's normal for her. She falls in and out a lot at the canter but as her walk and trot gets stronger, and she gets more responsive to the leg I will have more control of her body. Her walk and trot work was fantastic, and overall I was very happy with how she went so now I will bombard you with Bill pictures. I did think it was interesting how in nearly all the photos I am in a quite light forward seat. It wasn't conscious. I wonder if she is better like this, or it just sort of happened. I'll have to play with this more consciously. I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up being a horse you sit on lightly, her dam was, and she was a similar short coupled horse.

In other news I have been back on Kate and Connie and it was bliss to be back on grown up trained jumping horses. Kates canter is so beautiful and easy to collect, it's effortless for her, and Connie is so phenomenally soft in the bridle and square to ride and responsive. I did a good job if I do say so myself, she is such an easy ride. My sister rode her at the indoor and raved about her which is hilarious, because she has never really been a fan. Connie and Kate are both so hairy though. It's unbelievable. Sent my clippers away yesterday so next week they will have to have makeovers to make them less goat like.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yo yo

I promise a new post will be coming. I'm writing one on horse that stop. For the moment I apologise for my lack of posting parents are away and just my sister and I are running the whole farm. Which is fine only be have had a few disasters. We had a week of a bad weather system that involved thunder, lightning, torrential rain, hail and gale force winds. After a week of that it was starting to get a bit hard to get out of bed. Add in that I haven't had a day off since the 27th of June and I'm getting a bit weary and things like blogging (and riding le gasp!) go by the wayside. That being said I have ridden The Kate again and it was nice to be on a real horse even if she dos look like she is half bear. What a coat for a TB. I think I have ridden maybe 6 or 7 times in the last 3 weeks. Thats lame!

Anyway here is the picture of when I was driving the tractor and it was so wet that I slid off a hill into this culvert, even though I had the brakes on.

You cant see it but the far front wheel is way off of the ground. A digger came and pulled it out. I'm told a good driver could have driven it out, but I don't believe that this is so. I just found some men who got it out and left me to the milking. Being a girl has a few advantages on the farm.

This is a good picture to show how much rain we had. I was like over 200ml in 3 days or something equally insane. The first day of heavy rain we were milking super fast as the water in the pit-(where you stand to milk the cows) starting climbing and we finished just in time to get out before our gumboots got filled. Thought Kims did when she was all "it's fine" And I was like until you move and she moved and I was right. The picture was taken in the afternoon after milking and despite the pump going all day it was still overflowing. That pit is about 3 foot deep so it was a lot of water.

We were not happy farmers.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Winter Riding

A much much younger Connie at a winter clinic- her very first clinic as I recall.

I have actually managed to ride twice in the last fortnight or so. Ah winter. It's been a very warm mild winter so far, but it's starting to set in now. As my grandad used to say " As the days get longer, the cold gets stronger" and he has yet to have been proved wrong. I can expect to ride in the rain or the next three months or so. I really need to start travelling out to a local indoor. My parents are in Turkey at the moment so my sister and I are in charge of the farm and time is at a real premium what with all the cows I have to feed. So anyway, the horse I rode twice was dear old Bill sausage who appears to have grown considerably taller in the month since I last rode her. I wouldn't be surprised if she has added an inch of height in that time. Her neck hasn't gotten any longer unfortunately so it feels like I'm sitting on a giraffe. She is so different to ride to anything else here, on sheer power of hindquarters alone. Like Kate has a huge canter and plenty of power but not with the same effortlessness that Bill does. It's almost a bit intimidating, only she is so smooth it isn't.

I really think I'm not that good at training though. I'm always going back and filling in holes but I guess thats part of the process. She was so lazy under saddle I spent heaps of time getting her to carry me and go forward and now I really need to work on her rating because we currently have two speeds, resisting going forward and then full speed ahead without breaking gait. To be fair after a 20 minute session the other day she was starting to feel quite good and a bit more consistent in pace. I really don't want to ruin her by missing something in her training, because if she turns out to be brave enough she could be a really good horse, she is certainly athletic enough. I have always had pretty rubbish horses, that were nice horses because I worked so hard- Bob (Bills mum) being the exception, and perhaps Connie, so to have a nice one is a bit scary really, knowing someone else would be doing a much better job. And Connie is a funny one because she was so awful and even my trainer guy was like I really wanted you to sell that horse because she was so average but you have done a good job.

It's so so easy to get disheartened this time of year. When the only time I see the horses really is when I brave the now torrential rain to throw them some hay. It's a bit like exercising, when you do it every day you get really keen but as soon as you have a few days off it gets a bit harder to get motivated again. You want to do it, and you know you need to do, but you look at the rain and its easy to just say nah. After this weekend I really need to start cracking on and get everything going. In about 4 weeks time when everything is a bit fit and making progress it will be so much easier. Man I want it so bad I can almost taste it. The feeling of cantering down to a big fence, being a bit scared, getting that great distance, and just that power off of the ground. Love it can't wait to live it.