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.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Practice Jumping day

I'm about to load up and head off to a practice jumping day in Masterton with all four of my ponies. Quite nervous because it's the first public outing. In the meantime here is a video of Connie at the same practice day 3 years ago.