Friday, December 21, 2012

Sometimes I wish I could say



I spend quite a few hours on a show ground and I see and hear plenty of things that I wish wouldn't be really rude to just say to someone. Especially as I'm not confrontational and just like to keep my head down and get it done.

Don't kill your kids buzz

You hear it all the time, the helper/trainer/parent critiquing the round as the rider comes out. And it's a part of growing as a rider and mostly it's one of those things. At one of the Pukete shows it really hit home how damaging this can be. A little girl on quite a big pony had the first rail and then jumped a really lovely round to be clear after that. She came out of the ring beaming and the first thing her Mum did was start saying how she had stuffed up at the first fence. Her little face just fell. As a rider you tend to know what you have done wrong, so why not say well done you round super after the first fence, rather than say why didn't you ride the first fence properly you did this that and the next thing wrong. I really felt for that poor kid.

When your horse stops, ripping its face off will not help

This is really one of my pet peeves.The horse stops for whatever reason and the rider starts pulling on the bit. Pulling on the reins means to stop so ripping on his face after he has had a refusal really is meaningless. If you think it's merited give him a kick or a hit which tend to be go forward signals. Horses mouths are pretty sensitive and if you hurt their mouths you teach them to be scared of the hand and to run through the bridle. Respect the mouth and you will have a much nicer horse to ride.

If your horse is consistently stopping at the practice fence you wont get round

The practice fence is the easiest on the course. It has no filler, and you jump it more than once and you start over it small. I don't mean when if you have a stop because you have a bad distance or someone cut you off or because you got distracted watching a butterfly. I mean if your horse is consistently stopping despite a good ride then you are only going to compond the problem by going into the ring where the jumps are scarier and new to the horse.  If stopping is out of character for your horse and he wont wont jump the practice fence chances are that he is carrying some sort of injury/ the gear is hurting him.

I know you are richer than me but I paid the same as you to enter

I get it, your horse is an import, your gear is worth a down payment on a house but the fact of the matter is my entries were as much as yours and I have as much right to the warm-up as you. Don't stand in the way having a chat with your mate, don't jack the practice fence 20cm higher than the class (which is against the rules anyway) and leave it that height so the poor schmucks riding after you have to have a helper or get off and adjust it. Don't cut me off. The truth is my tough little homebred horse is going to be a lot less bothered by a close call than your fancy version. My sister and I used to play pretty rough on our ponies.

Look after your damn horse

It really bothers me how many horses I see at shows that stand all day in their yards or next to the truck and you never see them get any forage/hay or water. The horse is carting your butt around all day and you are sitting on the ramp having a drink of water while your horse looks like its about to tip over. Thankfully this isn't that common, but it's not unheard of for me to run water and give my hay to other peoples horses.

Yes it's lame, now get off

It blows me away how many lame horses I see being ridden up here. So many more than down where I used to live. I don't know if they can't feel it or what but of the last 5 or so shows I have seen at least 2 lame horses go on to compete. Yes you can disquise it by cantering in the ring and not trotting, and the judges rarely pull a horse because it's lame, but it's not right. You don't know what damage you are doing and why make your horse work while it's in pain. I heard you discuss with your trainer how lame it was and he said it wasn't so bad and to just canter which is disgusting, because it was still clearly uneven.

Phew good to get that off my chest not that there isn't a bunch of other things that bother me, but these are the ones that really get me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taupo Christmas Classic

Epiphanies are funny things, they can spring on you when you least expect it. The last time Connie jumped really really well was Te Teko and the last time I felt really confident was around then to. So I'm warming up for the amateur class on the Friday when my friend turns around and says " Get your hands out of your fanny and keep them still". Not polite of course, but typical of this friend. And there is was, the root cause of all my issues was noisy low heavy hands. These are the things that get slack without lessons. See I have arms and Connie doesn't so it's really my responsibility to carry my own hands. The other statement was not touch her mouth around the corner at all. I've been trying to organise the canter from the front and it just doesn't work.

Anyway, with softer hands and letting the corners balance her canter and counting my strides, I got my flow back and had a good smooth clear round in the amateur. She did look at the wall a little because I got a really good deal on 60kgs of race mix which has oats and she doesn't cope with oats apparently because she was a hot little number. She was trotting around the warm-up really fast and it was funny because her little legs were flailing but she still wasn't really moving any faster. I had a rail in the jump-off at the second fence because we were motoring around, I then slowed right down to make sure we had a nice smooth easy round after the sort of trouble we have been having. Because we had such a good ride I stayed in the 1.20m class the next day.

Again with the smooth hands and riding around my corners and counting I had a wicked round. She was awesome and confident and I was getting into the zone. In the jump-off I took a real nifty inside line and nearly fell off when she landed going left and I was heading right. Still a few monkey genes left and I stayed with her. I didn't push that hard for the rest of the jump-off but she was clear and that was good enough for third. I was so happy because there were about 70 odd horses in it.

Stinky jumped a clear round on the first day and was awesome, jumping from deep and from long and really working to leave the rails up for our first clear in the 1.10m class. The next day in the 1.10m she had two rails and in the 1.05-1.1m class she had another two. Not from bad distances or anything, but she starts to run through the bridle on the second day. The third day she was impossible to hold , like a steam train despite the polo gag she was in. 4 rails in the 1.15m championship from reasonable distances.



Though in watching the video another time I can see she is pretty hurried and stressed looking. I just don't think she is a showjumper in all honesty, she just doesn't try hard enough to be clean. I'm tempted to try her over some really big fences but I'm not sure really, I don't think it's worthwhile. She is tidy with her front end but she isn't getting her body in the air.

I ended up riding my friends horse because she was really hung over. I got eliminated on him in the 1.10m! He canters in happy as and then he chickens out at the base of the oxers. I was a little annoyed and I cantered out to the practice fence and hit him at the base. I then went to the 1.05m-1.10m class and used my stick at the first fence and the third fence and all thoughts of stopping left him and he was suddenly game for anything. Wicked cool horse just like riding a pony- any distnce is ok and you can just spin him even though he has a good dollop of clydesdale in there somewhere. We were second in that class out of like 80 people so that was pretty cool.

The Sunday on Connie I was entered into the 1.20m Open Horse Derby. I have never done a derby before so needless to say I was very very nervous. Fence 5 which we just pop over I was quite intimidated by, it seemed rather large to the likes of me. And it was the first fence with a cross country jump under it. Connie was awesome seeing as she has never really jumped cross country fences at all. I had a rail about halfway round the track- which was a kilometer long and had twenty fences!!- I lost her focus as we left the arena and she was a bit surpised by the jump. She wobbled down the hill to the fence and cleared that one, and then struggled up the hill and over the cross country fence. The very last fence you can't see well is our first water jump with water in it. She didn't care she just rocked up and popped over. Love this horse man, that was such a buzz and she just cruised round so easily.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pukete Showjumping

As a show Pukete was something of a mixed bag. Connie was up first in the 1.10m Class because I needed and easy run. Was a pretty good ride for 5th place and a double clear round. Stinky came out and jumped super for a clear round in the 1.10m class and one rail in the jump off. I was just completely unable to jump the narrow stile jump for the rest of the show, I continually let the narrowness drag me into the base.

Then I had the amateur class and again Connie jumped clear. Such a good Connie. Iwas rapt. She jumped well, but still I felt something was missing. The quality of the canter wasn't 100 percent and I don't know. Looking back with hindsight, it is a lack of trust in myself to have the good canter and the good distance and that is one of the core issues. Finally got a good ride to the stile in the jump-off and must have sighed with relief and not put me leg on because she just rolled it out of the cups. Still she was the fastest of the four faulters to be fifth and we were the only combination to do one tricky inside turn.

The ground was very very hard so it was poulticing and wrapping for Connie, who tends to jar up on hard ground, because she is slightly back at the knee and doesn't have the smoothest action. The next day Malinki was first up in the 1.15m class and old Malinki who takes rails was back and she ran through the hand and had three rails. Then Connie had the 1.20m class. When I walked it, I wasn't that confident and when I saddled her up I thought her right front had a little filling in it. She was sound as a pound though and let everyone talk me into starting. Big mistake because I was so worried about her stinking leg that even though she warmed up super I wasn't confident and never found my rhythym. Has two rails early on and then pulled up before the last double which I was super intimidated by and retired. Weak!! Poor horse burdened with a mad woman.

Then Stinky had 4 rails in her next class which was 1.10m. She really isn't that concerned up clearing them which is a shame because she has plenty of power. Still it wasn't a good feeling, still not sure what was going on with my pony. Her leg was fine, perfect the next day, smooth cool and tight.  

 

Had a little practice and clearly she was still awesome. I wasn't however, still the piece of advice that would fix everything was only a few days away!

Friday, December 7, 2012

No internets :(

Sorry I don't have the internet in my new house yet and so haven't been able to post because they would get angry at work. Here are some pictures of Stinky at the latest Pukete show in the 1.10m which she actually jumped a clear round in. So weird and unexpected. Its in there somewhere!





I do jne3ed to find the right bit. This one isn't it because she is still very heavy in it. It's not that she is particularily strong or hot she is just really really big and a little bit stupid.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Unhappy people don't jump good

I guess was always just a matter of time but the fact of the matter is that the rest of my life and how I feel about it is encroaching on my riding and I’m going to shit. It started at Pukete show really. I had a miss and collected a rail in the amateur class and then had a stop at the combination following it and never really got going again. I’m getting so nervous I’m locking up, and just taking everything so seriously. But then when I’m miserable at work and at home and exhausted getting everything done, it’s getting harder to leave it all at the ring gate. The kicker is I’m riding Malinki fine because I know she will take rails so there is no pressure. Connie on the other hand matters to me. So I’m trying too hard and I have just lost my good quality canter where all my distances show up like neon arrows.

The next day at Pukete she cruised around the 1.15m in the video I put up in the last post. And I thought I had it back again but I was wrong really. The next weekend was Waikato Showjumping and I’m not getting to these shows until after 9pm after a full day of work and then still have to settle the horses for the night and then start at 6am the next day if I am in the first class and I think exhaustion is playing a big part in my problems. It’s easy as a rider to think only of horse and not take care of yourself but the rider is an important part of the combination and needs to be treated like an athlete as well.

Anyway at Waikato I had the Amateur first up and I was clear up until the 8th fence. The distance was a bit long, but she didn’t come with me and chipped in and we had a stop at the second element. Came round again and rode well and finished well. No rails just that silly stop which was my fault. The further around I got clear the more and more tense and frozen and wooden I got trying not to make a mistake so of course I made a mistake. I have lost the fluid feeling of my good rounds where everything happens almost in slow motion and I feel confident and in control.

  I late entered the 1.20m class and as I was cantering into the first fences I was telling myself to move, to do something, to do anything, but I sat there like a giant lump of useless. So naturally I had the rail at one and a stop to the combination and I was so wild with myself I actually you know rode. And it was like a switch had flicked, Connie got confident because she knew I was there with her and I was committed and she just jumped so amazing. In hindsight I should have down graded to the 1.15m championship class but Im so sick of being stuck at around that height so I stayed in the 1.25m championship. I was better in this round and made it all the way to the second combination before I had trouble. It didn’t feel amazing but it was ok and I was getting it done. Somehow I had gotten it into my head that it was four strides down to the second combination but it wasn’t so I ended up miles off the first fence of the double and had a stop. I came round again got a bad distance for a stop at the second element so I popped back over number 1 and retired because I was just getting nowhere. Poor Connie burdened with a headcase like me.

 It’s so frustrating because I know it’s all my fault and I’m not sure how to fix this. I’m struggling at work and I miss my home and don’t feel at home up here and my relationship seems to be slowly but surely circling the drain so I think I’m getting to shows and putting heaps of pressure on myself to do well to justify anything really, to have some good, and in doing so I’m ruining it.

The same weekend Malinki stepped up to the 1.10m and had two rails but is still just stepping over them because she really is ridiculously huge (17.2hh ish) and had a lazy rail in the 1m. The thing with Malinki is I don’t know if she will ever be that clean. Sometimes she tries her guts out to get over the fence clean and other times she will just bludge it. And she taps her way around the jumps. She is better if I hold her up at the base of the fence but still doesn’t try much. She was upgraded to the 1.15m championship and she actually jumped round ok. 3 rails but sometimes she got in the air nicely. Check out the video and tell me what you think. She probably isn’t really much of a showjumper but she is just such a cruisey girl to have around and would be the sort of horse you can jump big on and make mistakes and it wont phase her like it upsets Connie who tries so hard to be clean. I wonder if Malinki will start to get cleaner as she gets stronger because she has improved a lot, but as you will see on the video she still is very crooked.
And as for what comes next, I’m not really sure. I need to make some changes definitely in life because this is misery, I’m broke, stressed, homesick and utterly miserable. When I’m riding is my respite. Had a fabulous ride yesterday into the bush with Malinki, flushed some wild peacock and rode up to bush line and enjoyed the views. I cantered Connie around bareback until my thighs cried and I worked the little horse I’m riding for my cousin and she has made huge improvements in a really short time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pukete Showjumping

Sorry I promise a good update next week but I'm flat knackers. Here is a video of Malinki in the mean time and Connie

Monday, October 22, 2012

Feet and bees


When I moved up here at the start of March, I said goodbye to my very very good friend and very very good farrier, Pat Crowley from Crowley forge. Once I found him my horses never went better and despite Connie have ridiculous feet- thin walls, one big foot and three small and one contracted heel, he always produced beautifully balanced feet and we made huge inroads with her feet. She isn’t able to go without shoes, normally I like to rest their feet for the winter, because she just blows abscess after abscess.

Obviously, in the whole shod unshod debate, I’m pretty pro shoes for horses that are athletes. That being said riders and owners need to educate themselves as to what good balanced well shod feet look like. But then the same thing goes for barefoot trims, it can be as natural as all get out but if it isn’t balanced then forget about it you are only going to have problems. I also do use studs. I’m not so worried at around 1.10m and lower but higher than that it is important for your horses confidence and safety that they have a solid grip on the ground. Especially because I mostly jump outdoors and on grass, and studs allow me to adapt to the conditions I am confronted with. It’s amazing the difference in confidence in a horse that has studs in on bad ground and a horse that is unsure of it’s footing.

Anyway, I digress. I came up here knowing that there wasn’t a really reknown  farrier, but the farrier I had was ok. While she was out of work and on the other horses he was ok, but Connie with her niggly little feet is another kettle of fish. The last time she was shod I said her heels aren’t even. He said they were that some scar tissue on her heel from an overreach was fooling my eye. Hmm. At Te Teko show I started to feel it in her gait. A slight unevenness and changes in her shoulder development that was causing my saddle to twist. Anyway, to my delight another farrier has come into the area whom Pat gave the thumbs up too.

He has done both Malinki and Connie and they have beautiful tidy balanced feet. Incidently, he said to me that Connies heels were uneven :/ The only question i want to ask him is why her front shoes are set back which has altered her breakover. In only a week my saddle has stopped twisting which is awesome because feeling like your saddle is crooked when you are jumping is not  a good feeling. Malinki is going really well. I had put a lot of pressure on her and I actually didn’t know if she would cope at one stage, but we have come out the other side and she is going well. So much so that I have registered the great lummox and next week she starts competing higher than 1m. Having found she likes a lot of contact at the base I am finding things a lot easier with her and she is jumping up into the air a lot more athletically and trying to be clean.

 

On Saturday I noticed a few bees flying around Truckie, and when I came around the corner it turned out that a swarm of bees had nested in Truckie. So many bees, like hundreds of freaking bees living in the chest bin on my truck. They sure moved in fast because they weren't there the night before.  I got the exterminator in and he picked up the majority of the swarm and powdered to kill the remnants. I know I know, so horrible for the poor honey bees. My cousin though being a great bee advocate found a man with a spare hive and he has set it up for our bees. The are moving into their hive in the picture above. The honey guy was so into his bees he was very interesting and we ended up so close to the bees. I'm glad my cousin saved them, because if the exterminators friend hadn't taken them, they would have been exterminated and the honey bees need all the help they can get :| . Still some damn bees in my truck though.
 

 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eastern Bay Showjumping Championships

Last weekend was my new local show, the Eastern Bay Showjumping Championships and it was nice having a show that was only 5 minutes down the road, though of course by the time I swung round to get Malinki it was more like half and hour. Bloody Malinki living far away. The first day Connie was in the 1.15-1.2m welcome stakes and I had pretty high hopes considering our recent run of form. However, horses are horses and horses keep you humble.

At Rotorua, an issue was starting to develop where Coonie was starting to hesitate off the ground a little to the bigger oxers, and so far this season I haven't felt like I really had my canter sorted like it was last season when I could feel right away we were in the right gear so a problem was due and here it was. It didn't help that the ground was very deep and cut up and started to shift a lot.

Had a long distance to the first oxer, landed on the back rail, fine over the next but I didn't ride up enough to the oxer at three and pow a stop cleared that round to the double on an ok distance and a stop again. Reapproach and she struggled through and we finished though it wasn't fun and it wasn't pretty. I sort of froze in front of my new home crowd. At first I was all aww poor pony doesn't like the ground and then I went ahh stuff it and late entered her into the 1.10m class. I wanted to find out if it was her or me and shock horror it was me, of course it was me. In the warm up she was quite naughty and hesitated at the oxer and I hit her and gave her a growl and she wasn't happy having a punge and protest. Next time round she flew over, and wonder of wonders I found my canter. I remember now exactly how it should feel.

She rocked around that 1.10 like it was so easy and I just had a rail in the jump-off when
I interfered with her too much. It was day and night, how different she was. Started to warm up Malinki for her practice round and couldn't hold her, she just blew through the bridle and we even had some small bucks and rears. Goat! So I took her home still saddled up and rode the snot of her and got some quite nice work out of her. I have been worried about he because I have put a lot of pressure on her and thought maybe I had her a little cooked but she just is feeling so good now she is up to weight and fit, and possibly hadn't had enough work. I like to think I'm not one of those ladies that over feeds and under works but I probably am!

The next day Connie was up in the amateur. I'm next to go into the ring all warmed up and bam the horse jumping in the ring collects fence 7 taking rider and horse to the ground in a massive heap. Not cool! Twenty minutes of sitting there stewing later the ring is clear and I'm up. Gulp. Got may canter organised, focues on that and the fences and hello Connie is the bomb and we jump a clear. Meanwhile, I missed Malinkis rounds jumping off. In the jump-off Connie was clear and I thought we were really quick but not so much haha and she came in fourth. I was really pleased with her, though that hesitation does still exist a little.

On the last day of the show it was time for my first 1.25m class of the season and it was a good track, some really big fences and some smaller ones. Before that though I jumped Malinki for a foot perfect clear in the 90cm. Then I wanted to get my 1m in but I didn't have time because the 1.25m was walking and I ended up being late to that class and the announcer telling me off and having a rushed jump off which worked ok because no time to panic. Got my canter organised had this mentality like we were doing this and away she went. She was amazing and I was pretty accurate and we came home with a clear round. Went back and had a shocking 1m round on malinki for only two rails but it just didn't feel good. My eye adapts ok from Malinki to Connie but struggles to go the other way. I also have only just last friday figured her jump big and clean button which I didn't have then.

In the jump off which was rather large we took rails at the first and second fence. Rode up too much to the first fence because it looked hugemungous and had the rail into the double which I think I could have avoided if I had walked it better. Then a little hesitation again at the wall from the longer spot but finished well for only two rails in the jump-off in a relatively smart time. She didn't feel like she was struggling with the height , but I need to be more carefull to avoid the longer distance and get her there a little more, especially in deep ground. Still I was estatic to have a clear over that height- my first ever!

Now I just want one show to get decent photos of me competing and we will be away. Fingers crossed for that because posts are better with pictures.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rotorua Spring Show

This was a show of bad omens. Some sparkles have fallen off of Connies sparkle halter for a start and by the time I was organised after work it was that late that I did even make the turn to go and get Malinki and just took Bill and Connie instead. Making it easy on myself you know. We didn't arrive until 10pm. Early start the next day being a late entry in the first class which mjeant I was second to go.

The first class was my first 1.20m of the season and I thought it looked hugemongous! The oxers look mosterous at that height. The whole way itno the first fence I'm going don't panic, don't panic. I do seem to ride that little bit better when I'm a bit scared. Connie was of course amazing and jumped a clear round. It was a two phase and I did jump off and was around 4 seconds off the winning time so I was pretty happy with her. As I jumped fence 12 I realised the finish flags had moved since I walked it and luckily I looked up and saw the last fence otherwise I would have been so lost. Love my pony man.

Then I rode Bill. I don't like Bill. Bill and I don't click I'm pretty intimidated by Bill and she certainly knows it, so after riding her for all of 20 minutes I got in touch with a girl who loves her and Bill is very very sold and I am very very relieved. We click not at all.

The amateur was the last class of the day and I found it hard to get my head in the game. That 1.15m height really doesn't scare me anymore which isd a little demotivating and makes it harder to focus especially when I'm tired and it had been so hot. But if I don't jump that height I need to look at moving up and it's such a safe height for me. The thought of consistently competing at 1.25m and looking towards 1.30m seems almost impossible. Anyways, she jumped a lovely clear round and we went into a competitive jump-off to finish off fifth which is very very awesome, but the double clear in the 1.20m still meant more to me. I'm not going to get to enough shows to really compete in the Amateur series anyway now I'm a grown up and have moved away from home and have to pay my own way 100%.

Only one class on the second day and Connie was clean in the 1.15m and we had one rail in the jump-off. I took the rail in the jump-off really by collapsing at the base and not staying strong in my upper body. IO didn't even push for time in the jump-off because she has been jumped off so much lately she is getting a bit hot across the ground and fussy in the bridle. Then home time. I show again tomorrow in the Eastern Bay SJing show, With Connie and Malinki. Possibly also Trumps but he has been a bit stiff of late so we will see how he is tomorrow.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Edgecumbe Pony Club Gymkhana

The day started really poorly when I got Truckie stuck. It looked like a small mound of loose earth. Yea not so much, giant lump of chicken shit. :( Soo Embarrassed and not a good start for my day at all. So I hyad three horses to ride, Bill, Malinki and Connie.

With Bill it was a bit of a big ask seeing as she had been in work a week. She was definitely fit enough living on the side of a very steep hill but it was an ask mentally for us both. I just an not confident riding her, I roll up into a little hunchback of nerves. She was actually really good, a little hot and chewy but actually coped pretty amazing. Especially considering I rode her so poorly. In the end this other girl, who just adores Bill, basically talked me into riding her. Bill trotted around the 80cm really nicely, she had a stop at the double but she was looking at the judges more than anything. She went straight over the wall. She is just so little and wiggly and hard to read so I struggle with her a bit. Still she comes with me to the next show to jump the practice rounds so that will be good for her and I.

Malinki jumped the 90cm and the 1m. I had been riding her in a pelham just to help me when she leans and because she is so big- 17.1hh- it means it's easier to organise her but in the warm up she was behind the bridle so I changed it to this ancient nickle snaffle I have thats about the only bit I own big enough for her doongie head. She was heavier in it and had a tendency to lean on it but she was also happier in it so thats good enough for me. She did two lovely smooth rounds, very calm and collected. Tapped a lot of rails. Every so often she just feels super over a fence, and I think I'm influencing it but I'm not sure what I'm doing so definitely planning on having a play with that. I suspect I need to hold her up more at the base of the fence. She was second in the 90cm and third in the 1m. She would have won it having done an amaizing inside turn for such a big horse, but we bludged out the last rail, I should have collected her back and added the stride but I didn't and I think we took it out about knee height. Bless her. She is a lovely girl, my rein broke before the jump off when her rein got hooked in my cousins bridle and I could just trot her back to the truck with one rein and then just canter straight into the ring.

By the time Connie came up the ground had started to cut up and was pretty deep. It was a big 1.10m track, square oxers and relatively tricky- some corners you had to be very aware of to make in time and again the ground was pretty treacherous. The three rounds before me didn't go that well, there was a million rails and a couple of eliminations so I was like damn. Connie though is pretty much the bomb. She cantered around and took the rail at three though I rode up a little much to it. Then the hoodoo was sort of broken and other people had good rounds, but there was only one clear and Connie was second on four faults.

The general carnage and ground meant that only two people started in the 1.15m class and it was also a big track. First up was me :O Still I have Connie and she was spectacular, even if I took a few bigger distances and jumped a good clear round. She is ready to 1.20m this coming weekend. The other horse had a rail and I opted not to jump-off. Connie actually had a massive stumble on landing after the first fence and I only just managed to get her organised for the second fence, so IU definitely wasn't going to jump in the ground again. She has nothing to prove anyone. Definitely nervous and excited for the coming weekend. Fingers crossed for nice weather, she just feels so good at the moment.

  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pukahu Show

 
In all honesty I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season. Connie was a stooper star! She definitely earned her way back into her special sparkle halter. Friday night was like the coldest night ever it was not a good time. I was glad Dan came with me for the weekend because I would have frozen without his body heat. Still it was a pretty nice day even though the wind was cold. My frst class was the 1.10m young rider/amateur class and it was built disappointly small. I wanted to make sure I was on form heightwise but it wasn't to be. Still I was very nervous doing the first round of the season. She jumped really well, I had one sort of moment to the liverpool where I got a bit deep but basically it's all good. A little stiff maybe but on video it looks to flow a lot better than it felt. And it was good enough for second so I can't complain.
 

The nex day was the amateur class series class and what do you know they heavens opened with a cold rain. I worried about how my fair weather princess would cope but she was very brave and jumped awesome again. Better this time, very consistent but again the track was very soft with no real tricky parts and again uilt very small. 21 horses in the jump-off!



Connie is not a very quick horse and she isn't a big mover and she isn't the cattiest so she isn't really a great horse in a jump off. Still she was awesome in this jump-off. So good with her turning and I love that the turns look so smooth, not like I'm hauling her around, she is right there with me. I thought we were flyign but we really aren't that fast! Still it was a tough enough time that we won! Woo. I had decided I wasn't going to chase the series to hard and focus on moving up in height and try get to 1.30m this season, but now I have 10 big fat points! We will see what happens eh.

And saved for prosperity because it may never happen that I'm leading a series ever again.


 
There is a gymkhana tomorrow that I'm riding three horses in so I'll let you know how that goes. Had a pretty awesome day today, wicked to be cantering a  17.1hh hanoverian stallion down the beach, what a feeling.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Practice day 2

Malinki- 1.05m


Connie 1.20m


Trumps!


Sorry I'd write more but I'm supposed to be packing for the first show right now. Update soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Practice Day

I had three horses to ride at the practice day. The first was my friends young horse that I had hunted a few times and she came out in the 80cm. I got on and came to the sinking realisation that the little (big actually she is around 17hh) horse is really not ready for jumping. It's easy to canter along in a straight line, but when you try and rate or turn her not a whole lot happens. She really needs to be taught to soften in her neck and shoulders and it will all start to come together. Schooling people it's important.

The jump is all there, she is very cute it's the rest that needs work. I have been riding Malinki for a week now and I have her to sell on behalf of. 8yo 17hh WB/irish mare that is pretty well bred. Needs lots of schooling and strength, but is so easy and straightforward. What you see is what you get. I'm hoping she will develop a bit more personality as we go. Pictures of her from the 90cm then. I did the 1m as well. She jumped really well just had a few rails and it's partly a strength thing, and she needs to get closer to the base of the fences and jump up more but that will come. Grids and schooling. She also needs about 100 pounds of condition. I'm riding her in a pelham because in the snaffle she gets really heavy and dull.





The thing with practice days is that they really show up your riding weaknesses. This are my killer flaws at the moment. 1. My hands are rolling over which is locking my forearms and killing the lightness of my hands. 2. I'm not thinking far enough in advance so I'm reacting to the course too late, I need to be more pro-active.   3. I care too much what people watching think. 4. I'm really not fit enough! I was dead by the end of the day. 

Connie did the 1m and the 1.10m. Man she is so awesome. Little and unorthodox and unusual but my favourite little buddy who is like comfortable old socks. Such a gem, I adore her, even for all her diva behaviour. Couldn't wipe the stupid grin off my face. She is feeling really good so far, stronger and more forward than she usually is at this time of year. So pictures of Connie! Saturday there is another practice day and I am taking Trumps, Connie and Malinki. Though not 100% on Trumps. I'm not sure we are ready to debut in public.






Sunday, September 2, 2012

A big weekend

My friend from home came up to visit me this weekend and it was so amazing to see her. She cuts straight through the crap and I trust her opinions and knowledge implicitly. She thought that Malinki had a lot to offer if I could get her a lot stronger and feed her up some, which is pretty easy I make everything fat. I had a practice day on Saturday and rode 7 rounds on various horses so I'll update on that tomorrow when I get the few photos I got off the camera.

The other thing I did this weekend was ride for the first time the stallion I am working. He is a hanoverian stallion and he is gorgeous and pretty straightforward and huge! The sheer presence is amazing and the neck and the face. He even feels so powerful to ride. He hasn't been ridden for two years but the only thing he did was have a bit of a bounce at the canter. He gets tired really quickly and is quite lazy. He has had a shoulder injury in the past so we aren't sure if he will stay sound but fingers crossed eh. It's a thrill to riding a horse of this quality.


Connie got worked as well even though my friend and I had smashed a bottle of gin the night before! It wasn't much of a workout but she definitely feels stronger this year than this time last year so that can only be positive. She was good at the practice day, really it's me with the big issues. My hands have gotten average, less smooth and I'm rolling my knuckles on top. Still it's definitely fixable. Hunting makes you stick good and brave, but so mad for the little details like you know position and stuff. I need to find a trainer of sorts. Hoping my mate comes back because she is awesome at that sort of thing. 



So here is I think the first full size photo of Connie since the end of last season. And yes I really don't need the draw reins they aren't doing anything haha. She looks very well this year.




Saturday, August 25, 2012

New kid



Meet the pony I'm riding to sell on behalf of. Cute eh! And massively tall. Lovely quiet and very very straight forward mare, a tiny bit strong but just a cool horse. Hoping to make some pocket money off of her.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Beach!


How good do those ears look! I have missed riding my buddy Connie. I am so smitten with her. This was her second ever trip to the beach and the first time some years ago didn't go that well because we had two horses that had never been to the beach and they were both scared and stuck to each other and spooked and snorted and shied on what was a less than enjoyable ride. This time I made my friend come with me with her older not afraid of the beach because I have been there heaps horse and it was awesome.

Connie was of course initially pretty snorty and overwhelmed by the noise and movement but she was really good. I even managed to eventually convince her that the waves weren't actually solid and she had a good time trying to destroy the ocean with her front feet. Pony loves to paw. There is something about riding on the beach, that feeling that you can go forever that's so awesome.

My poor old mare has been in the wars a bit lately, she has been kicked in the back leg and while not unsound she has been quite swollen but working her has helped with that so I haven't stopped riding. This weekend the plan is to use some time and do lots of hacking. Maybe not so much this afternoon but definitely tomorrow I want to find some forestry to ride her in. At the very least some hills because she is a bit of a lard ass.

4 weeks until the first show. It has flown by hasn't it! Into it again already. I was hoping to have picked up a catch ride by now. But it is not to be. It's going to be harder in a new area where no one knows me I guess. I'd like to develop enough reputation to start to develop a bit of a business in the years to come. I have given myself until I'm 30 to jump a grand prix. If I don't I will scale back the amount I'm spending and make it a hobby more than a sport. That way I can look back and say I tried my best even if I'm not good enough to make it.

I start riding the stallion Trumps in a weeks time. He has had a paddock injury so may not stay sound but it will be nice to try. The horse can certainly jump, so that has promise. I'll bring Bill off the hill in maybe a fortnight and get her going as well so I'm going to be flatout. Still better that way! I'd love to win lotto and not have to worry about the nitty gritty and just ride everyday. Sorry for the pretty average update, hopefully more exciting things will happen soon. Practice jumping day next weekend!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Goat Clipping

Poor old Connie is not very amused with me!! I just brought new clippers, quiet, good cordless clippers. They were so light and not worrying about the cord when she swung around was awesome. The blades were so deliciously sharp and it really looked like it was going to be an epic clip. You know one of those clips where your friend goes 'remember that clip of 2012' and you look off into the distance with a half smile on your face remembering the perfection that was that clip. 

Alas it was not meant to be for me this year, but I still have high hopes for '13! It's actually a pretty good clip and my new clippers are the bomb diggity. The problem was Connies rain scald, (that and her belly refused to dry after her bath). She looks definitely like she has some horse leprosy. I'd put a picture up, but she doesn't want the internet to see her all diseased like. The scaly skin did a lot to blunting my blades rapidly. It doesn't look active anymore but I suspect once the baldy type parts grow in she is going to have the weirdest hair patterns. I may have to clip again in like two weeks, which isn't a happy thought. The hair is so invasive, it just gets everywhere! Especially when you do up the neck and it falls straight into your face. Blerk! I get so carried away as well. The only hair left is on the front of her head and she is lucky to have that, I had to stop because I had to go! I even had a moment when I thought seriously about hogging her. Luckily my sense returned and she still has her mane. She doesn't have the face to pull it off. The bonus of her being clipped as that I can really treat the rain scald that I have too, though looking at her general condition I suspect she is probably a bit low in copper.

I thought I would consider the pros and cons of clipping.

Pros.
-If done well horse looks very tidy and you look like a pro.
-Horse dries faster and stays cleaner.
-If you don't clip and ride a hairy horse at shows you look like a newb.

Cons.
-Hair in the eyes.
-Hair up the nose.
-Hair in the bra.
-Many horses twitchy to clip, making it hard to do a good job.
-Hair in the shirt.
-Takes a lot of practice to do a good clip job, which means lots of hair in the face.
-Your arm still feels vibratey for hours afterwards.
-A bad clip makes you look like newb.
-When you miss a patch and don't notice soon enough to tidy it up, that patch is all you see until the summer coat comes in and it will really really annoy you.
-Hair in the mouth.
-It's nearly impossible to have even lines when you do blanket or trace clips.
-You spend a ridiculous amount of time hunched under your horses belly and close to those very hard feet while your horse gets increasingly ticklish.
-It takes a long time to do well.
-Did I mention the hair???



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seven Weeks and counting

The show season is coming! Connie has come down off the hill where she has spent the whole winter being a wild horse with regular hoof trims of course. I like to rest their hooves over the winter and let them be bear but Connie has one club foot and she gets abscess after abscess in the bigger foot and her feet crumble really badly so she has front shoes year round.

Anyway yesterday I had someone coming try out Bill so I had to leave work and grab Connie and Bill. They live at my Aunties house, but they have been up on the run-off block on the side of a steep hill. They were of course miles away and I hollering at the top of my lungs and once Connie heard me she came galloping over, telling me that she wanted more tlc than she had been getting.

Bill was amazing in her trial for a horse that had been dragged off the hill and hadn't been worked for months, but looked like a hairy bush pony. I watched that girl jump her over a 60cm jump and I was just like wow. I have never seen her jump before, I'm always the one riding her. She is amazing. I doubt I will sell her to be honest. I probably should sell but another year wont hurt and at least in full work she would be worth a lot more. Its crazy when I want to ride jumpers to sell such a naturally phenomenal jumper. I just need to be careful what I feed her and make sure she gets plenty of work. I'm looking at a rental property for me and my partner with four acres and stables on Saturday so fingers super crossed for that. It would be a huge step in the right direction.

I was so excited to ride Connie after work but I got home and she actually has a bit of rain scald on her back so pony got a medicated bath instead which went down like a lead balloon. Tantrums were thrown and she left no toys in her cot. She doesn't like baths at the best of times. Still it's exciting to have her nearby again, that the season is coming, and the sport I adore will soon swing to life.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I had the most amazing hunt

The farm was beautifully prepared so there were heaps of jumps and there were hare everywhere. We didn't even get close to catching one but we ran and ran and ran all day. Blue and I were absolutely on the same wavelength and while it's probably the strongest he has been in the bridle, he wasn't fizzy or silly at all, he didn't even jig which at the end of the hunt with a pair of double Ds and a full bladder after 3 hours riding, is always very appreciated. He was pretty knackered to be fair but he just goes and goes and I would start thinking it was time to be hanging out of the hill for a while and he would get another wind. He was just fabulous and I had a blast. It's an amazing feeling to be galloping over beautiful country with the sound of the hounds in your ears and a good strong horse underneath you.

So anyway, what worries me most about the future is what I'm going to do with Bill really. She needs more time than I have to give so I would like to sell her, but she isn't an easy horse to sell. People need to realise you can't buy a super well trained sound athletic horse with her breeding for the price I have on her. Its a bit of a pick any three of the four on those options, and thats what you get for that price she has on her.

I had planned for one girl to ride her and in return for some of her costs I would take the girl, Bill, and the girls horse to shows but seeing as the truck will be sold I will be back to a horse trailer and two horses max travelling. Then my mate was going to take her, whom would be an amazing option because she is a phenomenal rider and a professional, but she is downsizing and looking to do it more as a hobby so that option was out. At this stage I'll just have to leave her until the days get longer and do it myself. Or try and scrape together some money for 30 days training, though that is basically dependent on my getting another job. A better, closer one.

A comment on the previous post talked about catch rides and I already have 2 two of those sort of in the works. One is a stallion that has jumped up to 1.20m I think and is really well bred and has an incredible temperament but has been lame and I'm hoping to bring him into work (if the owner thinks I'm good enough) and see if he stays sound. The other I was going to buy, but couldn't justify that as a non truck owning competitor, or really have the money seeing as Bill isn't selling. She is a 17hh chestnut mare (I have never owned a chestnut) that has jumped 1.30 a bit early. She needs lots and lots of schooling but gets up the air ok and wants to do the right thing over the fences and is really bold. She would be a good horse for me to try some bigger tracks on, but she would be for sale and so could go at anytime. Still never straightforward horse so I'm hoping to find time for them both as well as my two.




Friday, July 13, 2012

Man plans, God laughs

This title has sat on my dashboard for maybe three weeks and still I haven't managed to put into words whats happening because I still don't know. Everything is so up in the air. I desperately need better employment before I run out of money, I don't know what I'm going to do with Bill. There aren't many people who want a slightly difficult green horse funnily enough. Many many inquiries to her ad but nothing with any real intent behind it. It sucks because she is amazing, but I can't afford to send her to a trainer to get her fixed for myself, and I don't have the time to fix her.

I feel so freaking stuck. I just can't really see the way forward and anytime I start to get a situation sorted it all just falls apart again. Connie will need to come off the hill soon to start her fitness regime but thankfully this winter she hasn't gotten fat and living on a hill she still looks pretty fit. Hairy though having not worn a cover all winter. They all look like bears.

Trucky is in for repairs up to $5500 and then she will be sold to recoup those losses for my parents. So I'll be transport down, but we can survive this, I'll beg borrow and steal. Right now it feels like a good time to give up, to grow up and let go of the little kid dreams. I'd have money and time and I could do something else. I'd get to see my partner in times when there is still actually daylight. Easier sure, but I'm not known for doing things the easy way. There is still some fight in the old dog yet.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

EBOP Hunter Trials

As you can see a very successful day for me and the big horse Blue. He really is such a good boy now that we have a bit of a relationship going on and he knows who I am and that I wont smash his mouth. Being a half clydesdale with a bit of a high headed hollow jumping shape and a lot of knee action he isn't ever going to do amazingly well at hunter trails, but he is athletic enough to do quite well in the events not only judged on style.

I'm starting to get nervous in competition again and I don't know if it's because I have done hardly any competing or because with all the change and moving and a new job with a niggly boss I'm really struggling with my mental health. I'm keeping it together but sometimes it's really hard. Stupid mental illness. Anyone the first class is the eye opener and everyone has to do that class to prove they are capable of competing. Blue jumped pretty well though I over rode the double and made it an awkward one and a half strides and he touched the wire fence which is a big points loss.

The next class was the senior under 45 and he jumped really well and we ended up second in that class very cool, because that is my first ribbon ever in a hunter trial. The open hunter I had a really awkward jump over the tape jump. It had gotten a lot taller and I was like oh, and he went should I go past and I went nah better jump it and he did but it was just not a very pretty thing by that stage.

They do a steeplechase at this hunter trial and that was pretty exciting to watch they just went full out up and down these hills and over wire fences. Very exciting stuff. Then they had the handy hunter class and this was a very very difficult test. It's based around this little box that was about 3m across and 6m across and about 80-90cm high all the way around. You had to jump into the box and stop in the one stride of room available then pivot and jump from a stand still out the left hand side. Come round again and halt in the box again and then jump from a standstill again and halt on the otherside of that fence. The closer you could do the final halt to the fence, the better you would do. Knowing Blue pretty well
I had him dribble over the last fence and he basically landed in a halt. Yay for me! So he won that one.

Then it was the wire jump were you jump over the wire fence and and then turn and back over the same fence. Blue jumped ok but touched it both time.  Then they had a hairy legged race which is for the horses that are a half clydesdale and is another steeplechase. I wasn't that keen but got talked into it and off we went. Very exciting stuff. I haven't jumped fences at that pace since I evented. A bit frightening and I was a bit please please jump and don't chip but he was awesome and it was a real buzz. I won by a nose. The finish line is the last fence and it came down to a photo finish. That photo is below in the sentence below and is in the word "here". Please click it

Hairy legs picture click on the word HERE

Then there was the teams events which involved first a three abreast jumping contest over three fences. We started well but then I got behind the others and stuffed it up. Sorry guys. The next event involved opening a gate and doing a bit of a flag rash and then going through the gate again and closing it. My team was second in that. The final event involved the box again. The three riders in the team had to start in the box. Getting three horses into the box is hardwork because its so small! The first rider jumped out and bent around some poles, they jumped back into the box and the second rider jumped out and did a barrel race and then jumped back in. Then the final rider jumped out and jumped through a coffin-  jump, one stride to a ditch and two strides to another fence and then gallop back to the box. Now the trick is to have the others out of the way and bounce through the box because technically at that moment of landing all three are in the box again. The time stops when the final rider is out. We had a good run really, though didn't go flat out. Blue did he was super through the coffin and then bounced through the box like a real eventer. Consistency was the winner really and despite a few mistakes my team was second.

So overall it was an amazing day despite all the rain to start off with. It was nice to feel I still got it and am competitive. Especially with the fact that all my exciting plans for the future are starting to fall apart. Boo to that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I have started a few cunning plans which will come to light in the next couple of months. Watch this space and be prepared for a new face or two ok. Good times ahead I'm sure. I will explain more when I'm not at work!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sell Bill

I think the time has come to sell Bill. Which is stupid and emented because she is probably one of the most talented horses I have ever owned and definitely could be an amazing eventer or showjumper, her effortlessness over a fence is just amazing. THe problem is she is a difficult wee duck and she needs lots of work and lots of structure but I just can't offer her tat at the moment. I'm desperately chasing my tail just coping with life and all the changes and I'm doing her a disservice. It sucks, it breaks my heart. I feel like I'm failing her and myself. I have all these dreams of being a good rider but the reality is that I'm only very very average. We bred Bill out of my very favourite in the whole world horse, but in truth I don't feel I have ever realy developed a connection with her, we don't really fit together, she always went better with my sister whom adored her. I don't know, I guess I know she isn't really the horse for me, it just sucks to sell so much talent, when I want to be riding talent.Why are these decisions so hard? Realistically it isn't that hard, sell the horse you don't enjoy and get the one you want right. I already know whom I'm hoping to buy once she sells. I really just can't help feeling I'm a massive failure. More and more it feels like I'm never going to make it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hunting, hunting, hunting

Hunting

Been a while since I posted but all I have been doing horse wise is hunting really. The link above takes you to a picture of me riding the big horse Blue in the King Country Hunt Hunter Trials. I travelled down to Taumaranui a couple of weeks ago to visit my childhood friend whom also rides and hunts with King Country. It was a lovely hunt and they were very friendly. It was on a 5000 acre station farm and unfortunately the hare kept running back to one new grass paddock and we only saw about 100 acres of the country.

The next day they had their hunter trials. I was in the ladies wire jump, the ladies hunter and the champion hunter. For those that have the time you can find those classez in the above links, I rode second, second and first. The wire jump was the first class and you jumped a lowered wire and then turned and jumped a full wire. Now King Country full wires are bloody tall. The tops of the fence battens was about 1.20m. Thats a tall wire. Of course I have never jumped a full wire on the big horse and was pretty scared but he jumped so nicely over the first fence I had to try. Of course I got chicken and hooked him on the approach and got him deep to it, so he hit the fence but we stll made it over no worries so that was cool.

The ladies hunter involved jumping some cross country type gate fences and then going up and down a steep hill, jumping over a tape and finishing over the two lowered wire fences. I made a few mistakes here when I overestimated his stride and caused him to chip n, and I'm not brave enough to canter down a steep hill but I a went down at a fair clip- cantering halfway down. It's the first time really I have jumped him out of his own. He was really dull to warm-up but as soon as he was on course and he knew he was being watched he was full of beans and ego. Loves the limelight.

The Champion hunter was my best run, good distances to all the fences and only just touched the full wire and it was a really nice smooth round. It's all done at a hunting pace as well which is a pretty fast clip- faster than most leels of cross country. Still it was an awesome experience that I thoroughly enjoyed even if I didn't get any placings.

This weekend was bay of plentys ladies hunt and I was allowed out the front to learn how to whip. It was awesome fun, though pretty intense. It was so awesome to be part of the actual hunting process as opposed to just following the hunt. Blue was the bomb, though a little hot and I wore him out pretty good. I got lots of lovely compliments about how we looked up front and I definitely want to do more whipping. Need to learn how to crack the whip now.

Monday, May 14, 2012

For Sale

Do you guys remember how I was riding that roan horse and we got on like a house on fire and he fit my saddle, and I sort of put in an offer that was sort of rejected because one person was ok with the price but the other partner wasn't. Well he is on the market officially now and honestly it's pretty gutting because now I'm in no position to buy the big bastard and I really loved him. Life you taunt me with the things I can't have! He would have been a great addition to the two I will have competing next year. Behind Connie but ahead of Bill. Still I can hardly afford the horses I have now, let alone have time for them. This sucks. I'm so frustrated that I'm in this situation when the only thing that really matters to me, which is riding is getting further and further out of reach. I don't know what to do to change my situation so that I can get more time in the saddle. I'm not going to go back now, only forward. I need to be good at this jumping lark, need. It's a visceral thing, it's a real burning I have to be one of the best, and I just can't see a way out of the bind I'm in now.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hunting- Braemar Rd

So here are some pictures of the weekends hunting. The quality isn't great becuase there is a fair bit of zoom on most of them but here you are. I'm on the big grey with the navy saddle blanket and black and grey helmet.
Cooking sausages!
Me highly motivated to go and get a sausage!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

AWOL

I'm sorry I haven't been around all that much, there hasn't been much really to say. Billo was jumping out of her little tape yard and stuffing her face with grass and then bucked me off when I rode her and she was so full of beans she went on the gallop and buck and play for another good 10 minutes. I must say I was very patient and waited quite calmly and only threw my whip at her once. Then I lunged her and then I rode the living snot out of her and she is now living on what is basically a dirt lot with a sliver of grass everyday and a lot of hay and a very high fibre feed. She has been pretty good ever since, but it has been a knock to my confidence. Now I'm struggling with daylight as winter closes in it's harder and harder to get quality rides in. I think I have found the bit for the big horse I'm hunting. It's just a running gag and he was light as a feather in it. There is an awesome hunt this weekend because it's on my aunties property and it's the most beautiful piece of land. I feel a bit like a hamster at the moment, running my little legs off but not making any progress. I want to organise a lesson with Bill and I'm looking to get another job which suits me better and makes the most of my Science knowledge. I'm a little wasted on the shop floor if I do say so myself. I wish I was more confident, I have such huge doubts. Right now the big one is am I even good enough to produce Bill into the horse she has the potential to be. Sorry it's so short hopefully more interesting things will happen soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A hunt picture!

Here is a picture from Opening hunt with the big fella Blue.
Yes that is a gin in my hand, but it's hunting it's what you do, you gallop, jump and drink. Thayts why nit's so awesome. Bill bucked me off yesterday, landed on my feet and then watched as she galloped around the paddock bucking and playing for about 10 mins, then lunged her for 20 and rode her for 20 until she was just running with sweat from every part of her body and behaving perfectly, but Damn. A really good reminder of why if your horse is jumping out onto dairy cow paddocks you need to lunge your horse before you ride it because it will be on the mean sugar high. Needless to say she is on a dirt lot behind a double tape seeing as she thinks jumping a single tape is sooo cool. I hate falling, it's hard on the confidence and in this instance the ankles.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hunt weekend

This is my hunting steed Blue. At least a half clydesdale from the back of Taumaranui somewhere which is basically no where. I think he is about 10? Mostly hunted and done lower level stuff, I'm told he isn't a showjumper, but he would make a nice hunter, his jump is nice enough to oversome his knee action. He is quite strong but look at the length and thickness of the neck! He has been ridden by a few different people, the last of whom had a wicked set of bad hands so a lot of his stress and behaviour makes sense. He normally hits the first couple of spars because his jump shuts down behind while he waits for me to grab his face, which I don't of course, and then he starts giving me some shape. This year was the first year hunting a made hunter and I find it really hard to let go and just let him run especially over uneven country. The catch is the more I try and control every detail and micro manage, the less control I have of him and the more he fights. This is good for me as a rider though, make me more focused on the ride and the less on the worries and what ifs flying around inside my head. This weekend I was away for the whole weekend and got to hunt both days and for the first time I think I might actually have the hunting bug. We were way out in the sticks, no cell coverage, and believe me if Eastern Bay of Plenty hunt says it's big country, be prepared for some really steep hills. It was so steep Blue climbed part of a hill on his knees and my cousin had to talk me down off the top. Descents still scare the shit out of me after breaking all my hand bones 6 or so years ago. Blue is a sensible kid though, he wont run himself into trouble I just have to trust his desire to keep his feet. He is much more likely to slip and fall if I over manage and prevent him watching the ground and looking after himself. It's so hard to just let go and trust. Especially seeing as I don't know the horse that well, having only ridden him for the last 4 weeks. I love hunting, I love the wildness of it. The galloping across strange terrain, the thrill of the chase, wanting to get that hare, jumping wire fences in awkward places at pace, knowing the danger and doing it anyway. It's so exciting. There have been a lot of hunt photos taken so as soon as I get my hands on them I'll put them up. Also Blue has been clipped now, and for clipping him in the dark with blades that had done four other horses he actually looked pretty damn good. Thank jeebers, because I thought he would look like 15 five year olds high on coca-cola with those crazy plastic sissors had clipped him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A busy weekend

Its funny how even going into winter I'm flat out with the horses. It's good though. I'm losing all my farming muscles very quickly so I need to keep some riding muscles or I'll be a limp stick. And a fat one haha! Working next to a supermarket is not good for my waistline. Anyway, I digress.

I hunted on Saturday with Eastern Bay of Plenty hunt on my Aunties horse Blue. Thats the big strong clydie cross I had trouble holding at opening. Changed him out of the mullen mouthed pelham to a Dr bristol snaffle and he was actually easier to hold. Though Bridie was riding a pretty green horse so we didn't do to much. It was more of a long trek really.

We did spend 45 mins guarding the boundary to a property where the owner will shoot the hounds and has previously threatened them with knifes and the like. He even called the master a toffee nosed bastard. The idea was if the hounds came over the hill, we would try and turn the hare back onto the allowed property, or stand on the line of the hare and try and stop the hounds. I was freaking out when they appeared on the top of the hill but luckily they went down into another gully.

On the Sunday there was a tiny local jumping show. A bunch of us piled into my Aunties truck and rolled up with 4 green horses and Blue the hunter. I had Bill in the 70 and 80cm classes. I haven't been able to jump a course since Langdale sports because of the way everything has sort of played out. She warmed up beautifully, though very overjumpy. Into the ring and she got very very spooky and wouldn't go forward and when I showed her the wall she reared up and twisted and I fell off. I hadn't even jumped anything. Anyway, I got back on and she trotted around really nicely. Jumped very big and was very spooky about the pavilon where all the people were but trotted straight over the wall she was scared of. The fence that gave as the most trouble was one painted like a candy cane. She didn't like that at all.

I then did the jump off and cantered a few more fences and in the 80cm course I cantered most of the jumps except for the wall, the candy cane and the double and she was super. Man she is quite powerful in the air eh. Then I did the 90cm on Blue and was third. He was so dull and like a draft horse to warm up but once he got into the ring, he got his strut on and was quite strong. Shit he was fun though. I was cracking up the whole way around. Next event I do I promise photos. Look out Bill, there is a lot more jumping in your future.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What is good

It's a funny thing to say what is a good rider and what isn't good. Is the rider who lacks technical skill, but is brave, good; or is the technically skilled rider, who struggles with nerves, the good rider. I have noticed that so often just being confident will overcome a lack of skill, the horse will take care of you as long as you believe it will do what you want to, while those that focus on what can go wrong, tend to almost make it happen.

I know which rider I am, I'm the technical rider with the fear. Obviously, I still have a long way to go tenically but I am confident in my basics and my systems. As a rider that suffers from fear, being a technical rider gives me the focus to control my fear. I am so focused on the rhythym and the quality of the canter and the line, it leaves no room to think how big the fences are. And then once you have done it once, you can do it again. I have learned to shrug of the misses and the mistakes and let it go, to focus on the next fence, the next problem. I wish sometimes I was one of those braver riders, even though I tend to believe that eventually the size of the fences and the need for accuracy means that the brave rider is limited by his skills and his horses scope.

I want to be the best. I want to jump at the highest level I can in this country, it's a desire that truly burns inside me. It just seems such a long way away. I have plenty of time, luckily showjumping is a sport for many ages. I believe I have the talent, and maybe even the horse in time. Now I just need to put the work in and get some guts. And to not let what other people say get in the way of what I believe.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Moving is hard



I am 26 years old and quite frankly I feel like a lot of my peers have gotten the jump on me. I don't have property, I don't have assets, I sure as shit don't have any savings, a lot of the stuff that people my age have sorted out a bit more. I do have an education on the plus side, a fancy honours degree I have yet to use, and really, while I wish I had the security of those things, it doesn't matter to me as long as I can ride, and compete and continue to improve.

I am really homesick, I miss the farm and the lifestyle I had here, the freedom my parents allowed me to ride and the financial support they gave me. I would have been nothing without there support, and while I have yet to attain my goals in the last 2 years I have really made some important progress, jumped some pretty big tracks and had plenty of success. Having moved, for the first time 'm in a situation where the sums don't work. I cannot afford my horses. It's ok going into winter with only Bill really in work, but come Spring I'm going to be desperately short of funds.

I have a little time to try and sort this out and find a way out of it you know, because I have come way to far to give up now. I getting close to making a bit of a name for myself you know. People are starting to recognise the old moniker, and certainly recognise my very special little horse who is currently a woolly bearpig living on the side of a hill. The delight when her and Kate found each other again was so cute. When I left they were grazing nose to nose.

There will be a solution I'm sure, I'll find a way to compete but lordy it's something of a stressful time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I which I hunt with Eastern Bay of Plenty

Last Saturday, I joined my uncle and cousin in a truck known as the mothership to have my first hunt with Eastern Bay of Plenty. I was a touch nervous being as I was on a strange horse and hunting with a pack of strangers. As such, I was much relieved to find people very friendly and much less up themselves than wairarapa. I had the luxury of meeting many of those who hunt at my work because we sell horse food.

My mount for the hunt was a big grey clydie cross called Blue, owned by my cousins/Aunty. He is a really experienced hunter which is nice, and he jumps well but is quite strong in the field. He knows that red coat and he follows it regardless of what I wanted to do. I don't mind a strong or keen horse, but I didn't really like that I couldn't rebalance him coming down hills or anything. I do like to feel I have more influence than that! Still I feel like a few bit changes will give me more whoa. When I fought him in the pelham he would strike at the bit which was odd behaviour. That being said its what he is used to, he has hunted at the front the last few seasons and its what he knows while i like control. He is awesome though and can jump good. he is for sale and if he sells I might drag Kate off the hill and hunt her because she is the bomb hunting. Some people like to gallop heaps hunting, and I like to chill and have a canter, and have a good drink and spin some yarns, but Blue wont allow that he wont miss the action. Still had some mean jumps over hedges for the first time.

Bill spooked at a pukeko the other day and fell over on the concrete and has hurt her leg which is pretty lame, stupid horse stand on your damn feet, even when birds fly out of drains. She has a show the weekend after the next I'm hoping that goes well. It should. Right now I'm so fluey that just feeding the ponies leaves me a sweaty weak mess so after easter I'll have to crack on. Looking at my finances it may be the end of my riding career as I know it anyway. Shit box.