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.