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.