Friday, March 23, 2012

Horse of the Year 2012

Sorry I have been so slow to update this, Hoy being a week ago but proper work in retail is hard work, and all the interesting internet sites are blocked and I'm living between two homes so I'm sorry but I'll make up for it with a nice detailed story.

So Connie went down to Hoy a fee days before me and my friend looked after her and cantered her around a 1.10m class were she had a rail and also four faults because she stopped to poo. It must have been a biggie because she doesn't normally stop to do that and my friend was quite embarrassed. I turned up thursday night and the next day we started in the 1.25 class. She was amazing but I was a little chicken at times and whenever I got chicken I got her deep. It's a slightly different spot for my eye to see to these bigger fences and it will take miles to adjust. Still she only had a rail and all three days we jumped big trebles and she was amazing down them. Which is amazing because she does find it hard, but she has stayed committed and attacking and it's been easy.

That afternoon when I went to wrap her and take her back to the yard she had swollen back tendons, one that looked like a bow and another lumpy one and I freaked out. The vet was called out and he said it was superficial and over the tendon not a problem with the tendon. So she got iced and wrapped carefully and I jumped the rest of the show in back bandages. Yes I had the go ahead from the vet to ride providing she was sound and I lined up about 8 people and made them watch her trot and they all gave her the all clear.

The next day was the 1.25m horse of the year class and as you would expect it was pretty beefy and technical enough being a title class. Connie was again super, ther problems we had were when I let the canter get a bit flat and running and didn't keep the canter powerful enough. Still she jumped her guts out and all the pictures are from that class. The result of three rails doesn't reflect how awesome she was. Two were the back rails of oxers where I was too far away from the base for her to clear the back rail and the first one was actually just laziness on her part. I was still rapt with her because she showed moments of real scope and potential and she really tried. It's just me handicapping her but I will get there. All the pictures are from that class. I love the picture of her over the green and red oxer though she looks cute over the walls as well. Such a gorgeous pony. Look out next season.

That evening I had been roped into the huntchase riding for the Wairarapa hunt of course and I was in a borrowed mens jacket that was about 50 sizes too big and weighed about a million kgs. So I looked ridiculous and it was in the international ring in front of a packed stadium so I was nervous and in true hunt fashion dealt with my nerves with some hefty gins. You can tell from Connies face that she is just like 'sigh, she is drinking again'

The actual competition involved the two teams slaloming over identical but opposite courses. The picture below is everyone learning the course, though being hunters two people still managed to jump the wrong fences. Wairarapa finished 9th with a pretty strong ride. I though Connie was awesome but we got smoked by our slalom competitior. I may have turned sharply but C horse is just not fast across the ground, still it was a lot of fun for her and I after such intense classes earlier in the week and a shitload of fun. Do you recognise the roan in the front??

The last day was the amateur of the year class and the one I really wanted. The track looked small after the 1.25m classes being 1.10m-1.20m. Technical though, lots of dog legs and roll backs and a tricky treble to upright related curving line that caused a wee bit of trouble. Had a great smooth round until the last fence when my breain went holy shit I'm clear and I stopped riding. I thought she would chip in but she was just like I got this momma and took off early and cleared the fence. Thanks pony!!

In the jump off I tried my guts out and we laid down an awesome time, lots of sweet tight turns and I took a real risk in the gallop to the last upright and she touched it and about three strides after the fence I heard it drop and heard the crowd groan. Still you have to try your hardest and take some risks, because I would have been more disappointed to take it more carefully and then be too slow. I would have been about third on time and it would have been a top 10 finish but I really would have loved to have been in the top 6 and get a presentation in the international arena. Still there is always next year. I'm undecided if I will chase the amateur or pro-am series. I might have another swing at the amateurs and try to make the top six for the whole series. Still 5 months to think about that and Connie is up on the hill with Kate. They are very happy to see each other and Connie can enjoy a well deserved rest for at least 3 months.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Series Finals

So after my first day in my new job, my Aunty and I skipped off down to Hawera for series finals arriving at midnight and I wasn't that amused to hear on the radio reports of a weather bomb that was meant to hit the whole North Island but specifically Taranaki where Hawera is :( Ah man not ideal at all. Arrived at midnight and had to be up the next morning for an 8am start. Still not the end of the world. Then I sat around all day waiting for my class.

Warming up for that 1.20m class was not good, my eye was terrible, I couldn't see a distance to save myself and I felt out of practice. I just had two rails both from waiting rides when I should have ridden up. Still she jumped awesome it was my riding that failed. That night we all went to bed with showground gossip about how bad the storm was going to be. And sure enough we were all woken up at 4am when the wind started to just hammer the truck, so much so it was like being in an earthquake. The roof started to lift of the indoor and they had to evacuate all the horses stabled in there. The roller door got blown off and the iron was damaged but mostly intact. The wall from ring 1 just disappeared apart from one stand, never to be seen again. The picture above is from Patea which is down the coast and they got absolutely hammered.

We fed more hay at 5.30am and then the wind eased about 6 and after all the adrenaline we all slept until 9. I got up and with the dropping wind came absolutely pounding rain. Connie was in an outside yard and despite a magnetic rug and a 2000denier 300gram of fill heavyweight winter rug she was shaking like a leaf. She ended up getting tied in gings indoor yard with ging for the day just to get her out of the weather. A bunch of people left though so later in the day I managed to get an indoor yard for her, that backed on to my friends yards so Connie was still with her buddies.

That day was cancelled and most of the series finals were held on the Saturday so I never got a chance to try and make the top six, which is pretty disappointing. Still finishing 15th is good and there is next year. I am considered an amateur until I place at 1.30m or higher. Much more lenient rules than in the states.

Would you believe the next day dawned beautiful and clear and the ground really wasn't bad so I went ahead and jumped in the 1.2m championship class and the little horse jumped super, really forward and keen and bold and jumped a good clear round. Unfortunately I couldn't jump off because my ride for Connie to get up to my new home was leaving. Nevermind eh a really good note to go into HoY on.