Thursday, December 11, 2014

Updates are a long time coming

 Castlepoint Beach on the stunning Erl

While life isn't peachy keen and I'm struggling to make my income fit my expenditure (I need to alter my standard of living- definitely eating out/drinking too much) I still really dont want a 9-5 job. Part of it is I love the variety my life has now, and I have the freedom to block out days as I please for adventures that I cant really afford. It's just a bit hard in the lean times, when work isn't coming in. I should really get a third job :/  Still last week my old boss and I had a day blocked out to go for a hoon at the beach. It's the prettiest spot in the world I think, and was always the beach I went to for holidays as a child. It was a stunning day.

Erl wasn't that convinced it was safe, but you can bully Erl into doing things easily enough so we had quite a good paddle in the ocean and a couple of really good canters. That is the greatest feeling in the world isn't it?? The sheer raw power of sitting on a powerful horse, racing down the sand forever, it's magic, it makes the blood sing in your veins. That would be my most exciting horsey adventure for a long time.

 Tsar is looking and feeling fantastic. He is making leaps and bounds on being more in front of the leg and travelling straighter and falling in and out less on his turns. I really want to start getting him out and about more though hacking wise. I am still finding my motivation to jump pretty low. He went to the CHB A and P show and he jumped the 90cm clean the first day, though was fairly erratic between the fences, inconsistent in speed and had a few bucks. He gets so forward in the ring and he is so lazy at home, that it means I'm not training the whoa enough at home for it to be consistent and smooth. I am working really hard on schooling him hot. The next day the winds were really high and he was pretty frantic, jumped clean but wasnt getting up into the air as much, then fences 9 and 10 blew down as well at the jump crews gazebo so I retired, especially as he had jumped quieter and softer over 7 and 8.

Its quite cool that he is such a cool friendly pony that I really enjoy but that has some real potential. Though the National jumping federation are being a bunch of dickheads so I'm loathe to register him and start competing. Might do a local sports day this weekend if the weather is ok. He is a pretty special pony and he may have turned up in my life just when I needed him. I am prety nervous to jump though, I need to do more training.

Crossing the cows at work! Who wouldn't want this job, and the crews are work with are so much fun, so we will soldier on and hopefully shit gets a bit easier. I'm not sure how much the below pic applies but it cracks me up :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wairarapa A and P

Its hardly been a secret that with my terrible October, I have been struggling to ride, and old Tsar hasn't been getting the work he needs. I entered a show and then basically scratched because I got called into work, which is sad because I missed the show but good because I'm desperate for money. I sort of used my partner as a back stop financially and now I'm on my own so oops on that one. And I lost the polo ponies I work which would have covered my rent so things got tight really fast. That and I want to be a social butterfly, though after the next two weekends it might be time for a detox. 

I have moved Tsar from the grazing he was at to my old bosses place because I need her help to get motivated. And brave. I have never in my life been less excited to ride, even when I broke all the bones in my hand I was on a horse two weeks after surgery, while at the moment I would walk away from horses all together I think. Still I have Tsar and he is the sweetest natured horse and a real chatty Cathy. Anyways, I dragged him to a show to jump around the 80cm class having had not much work and only having jumped two cross bars beforehand.

Got to the show and it was blowing an absolute gale, terrible weather for a green horse that hadn't had much work. I was all like I'll leave it. And hen I walked the course and was like I'll get my boss to ride him. She then totally reverse psychologied me and I found myself warming up and then jumping the warm up fences and then I was like screw it lets go. Once I got in the ring it was easier because he was naughty so getting around was the only goal and I didnt have to worry about it being smooth because it wasn't going to happen. He was super zoomy towards the gate, then falling behind the leg away from the gate, but he jumped clear and couple of times gave me a lovely feeling in the air. Got the strides in the double and the related line, which is good because he can be tight striding and that would be limiting to his scope. If anything he is a little too aggressive in his lines.

My old boss reckons I'd be crazy to sell him so I'll keep playing with him and see how we go. Wouldn't it be a head trip if my cheapest horse turns out to be my best? I enjoyed being back in the ring and it was a tiny thing, but I did and that felt good. Now I just need this southerly to clear so I can get riding again.  

Monday, October 27, 2014


In which I wish October would end because as a month it sucks the big one. Buried Butch, my relationship broke up for the last time, no go backsys this time. To be fair despite ten years of history the relationship was a dead duck. It can just be really hard to see what's in front of you. This is a stupid post and I really have not much to say, but I'm alive, I'm upright and I'm still moving. I'm going to be ok. PS Connie is going super well and is much beloved in her new home, so thats a huge relief.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Where to now

It's so bizarre to think I'll never have this view again. Though I'm comfortable I made the right decision, I do miss the big guy. Its so bizarre to think this time last year I had two horses jumping 1.15m-1.20m and now I have one horse jumping 80cm. Tsar is in a boarding situation at the moment because its cheap as chips and he looks fantastic, his weight is perfect. It's been great because through all of this it has been one less thing to worry about. Had a lunge today in blustery weather and he was so naughty, much bucking and plunging. I elected not to ride him today and to crack on tomorrow. He is adorable though, such a sweet boy. 

It's just so hard starting again with a relatively green version. Tsar has been out and about prior to coming to me but he is still sort of green in his way of going and his outlook. Back into the baby jumping classes. It's also so stressful because financially I went to the bone for Butch and there is so little margin in my income. I'm not even sure how much I want to show anymore. I'm so jaded on it. But then without the incentive of showing I'm not sure if I will stay motivated. 

I have had the chance to jump a couple of client horses for my old boss and she has plenty of riding for me if I want it. It's been quite nice jumping small fences on other peoples horses and just having a play. It helps that they are both straightforward cute horses. I think I will just potter along until inspiration strikes

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Vale Bitchly

So today I farewelled brother Butch and gave him a dignified exit. He ran an incredible xc in the weekend to finish 3rd in the training class. The weather for cross country was hideously old and horrible. Never before have I been galloping along like I'm so cold I just want to stop. Everytime I looked up his ginger ears were hard forward. He was a touch sticky on the way out in horrendous footing, but settled in amazing and never gave me a moments hesitation. Had a moment in the water when I overrode it thinking he would suck back and we jumped in like we were trying to clear the thing. 

People must watch me dressage and lol but he is such a phenomenal jumper it makes up for the fact we or usually about second to last after te first phase. It breaks my heart a little I didn't switch him to eventing earlier. He loves it so much. He probably would have been a three star horse before his body was all messed up. 

The deal is he wasn't sound. He was a one out of five off all the time, he didn't respond to the coffin joint injection very much and his feet are so brittle he needs to go on to glue ons which I can't afford, even though my incredible farrier offered me an unbelievable deal. So while he is sort of comfortable enough and functionally sound on this round of shpes he was going to be crippled. I have to remind myself of this because this means he went out still functional. He was so much more fragile than last season and I wonder how comfortable he was in his body. At some point you just have to stop throwing money at the issue and face the facts. I still can't believe it's real, that I'll never see his gorgeous pink nose again. To the best xc horse and hunter I ever rode. Love you bitchly, please forgive me.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

When is it enough

Sooo is been a mental few weeks. I'm working long hours, and I'm really struggling to get to the horses. Obviously, in this situation Butch becomes the priority and Tsar can wait a little. It's only four weeks until daylight saving. Butch though. Oh Butch my darling darling boy. Why must you do this to me. So when he came back in from Winter his feet were a shambles, despite being shod, because he pulled most of his shoes. He has never had great feet though I haven't had too much in the way of issues with him, thy have come up in a big way. I started boxing him at nights to let his feet dry up and get harder, and to help keep his shoes on. This next reset he hasn't grown enough foot and so his already weak feet have too many nail holes.

My farrier wants to go to glue-ons and we are looking at scary large money for this. He can't go without shoes, he just cant, he would be so miserable. Two cycles with glue-ons and I should have a different horse, my farrier says he will love me for it and I trust my farrier implicitly. Here comes the dilemma. I don't have scary large money, and he already has this coffin joint issue, and he is such a tricky pony. I have quite a good understanding with him but he still is not an easy horse by any stretch. I'll never sell him and as a pasture puff he is just too high maintenance. You cant just pull his shoes and expect him to be comfortable and maintain his weight.

Still, I rode a little this evening and while he doesnt feel super he was ok and did some really nice work. I love him and I'm not prepared to knock the big guy over just yet. I'm struggling to find my enthusiasm for competing and riding anyway, which never happens in this part of the season. I should be champing at the bit, but my life is a bit of a shambles so I'm struggling with a slightly unsure future as well. It's a heavy weight on me. I guess the first few shoes will tell me if he wants to play the game. Showjumping the weekend coming and three weeks until the first horse trial.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Some Pictures

Happy Boys love the nights in their stables.

First jumpy jumpy in a very long time. So comfy back on this horse, but he is one of a kind to ride. Even my Trainer, who initially jumped him as a 6yo was like I forgot how hard he is to teach. Took a little time to adjust to his stride, but he stayed happy and relaxed for the whole lesson, in his french link snaffle which is a big deal.
That face!

Only about 1.10m but after the off season it looks humungous!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014


So Winter has turned up with a hiss and a roar with lots of cold wind and so so so much rain. Everything is soggy. It's hard finding the balance between conserving the grass I have, without having the cattle on so long they damage the pasture by pugging the soil. Bloody steers. The horses are good, stabled at nights and Butch always beats me to his box. Cute little sausage. He has such a big personality compared to when I first got him, he loves nose kisses and hugs. He feels decidedly ordinary under saddle. The front right issue is still there, so I'll get his coffin joint redone next week hopefully. Had a little jump today and he feels fantastic and his brain seems so much more settled this year. Still I don't know how long he will stay manageably sound to compete. Still it's early days yet and he isn't terribly fit.

Tsar has had a haircut and is picking up.They have also both had their teeth done and Tsar was qite sharp. He is so light mouthed I might switch him to a happy mouth bit. I have to get him travelling. In my lesson today the canter I need to make the strides feels super zoomy and outside the comfort zone for both of us. I think everything has been kept too quiet and safe and he hasn't developed a twelve foot canter. Laziest ex racehorse ever. More updates to follow I have to go to bed, I'm exhausted.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bitchly` is Back/Tsar and Kate do some jumps

This post wont go in a time linear fashion just in a word brain vomit fashion, as 
I think something and then say it, in my usual nonsensical fashion. So my big red giraffe llama is with me now where I'm farm sitting, and its not been a great start. We left his back shoes off, because even though I shoe everything, I do like to rest their feet and my wallet. Still it was a stupid idea and I regret it in hindsight. The problem is it has been so wet and his feet have been so soft. He also managed to pull a front shoe after only three weeks. Last winter he lost quite a bit of weight over the winter so this year I have twisted my Mum's arm and she has fed him for me every day. Of course he rips down the one part of his paddock that is stony and so he had not a lot of foot when I picked him up. It got to the point that even though my farrier was coming, I had to hustle him up, because Bitchly couldn't walk, and was stood there trembling. I drugged him. He was much much happier the next morning with bute on board and after an emergency call my farrier came in and shod him. He has fixed him the best he can, now I just need to keep his shoes on for four weeks and get some growth. 

Of course, wet feet aren't strong feet, so guess who is being stabled for nights for the next four weeks. I very rarely stable my horses, 1- because I have never really had stables and 2- its a LOT more work having stabled horses. But for Bitchly I will do nearly anything even though he is basically worthless, the broken down old hack. He also has a funny lump on the side of his neck from under his cribbing collar, which I'm hoping isn't an abscess. I'll see what it looks like in the morning but it may be a vet job :/. I have an animalintex poultice on it tonight and I'll see if it draws. Hopefully having his collar off he wont do too much damage to the stables which of course aren't mine. I have ordered a miracle collar, because his old plain strap one is causing trouble lately despite years without issues. His wind isn't the best and I fear it is collar related damage. His throat anatomy is quite different to any other horses. I'll see how he goes this season, but he is definitely the most high maintenance creature I have ever owned.   

I finally got Tsar into town to have a lesson and jump him for the first time. He has a cute round jump and is careful, he never touched anything, though everything was only about 60cm high. He has a strange canter stride, he has minimal engine. He covers most of his ground in the moment of suspension, and has limited reach in front with his stride. Lots and lots of long and low to get his back rounder and loosen up his topline and hopefully increase his reach. He is a lazy beasty at the best of times. Spooked initially at a few of the fillers, he sets me up do the wrong thing a little bit. He wants me to flap at him, and he wants me to grab him on the landing side but I'm really not intimidated by him at all so when he gives me a really round jump and then gets his head down and bounds and threatens to buck I'm not that bothered, and I don't feel the need to grab him and give him an excuse to do something.

So the idea is I just need to set up the canter, keep it jumping across the ground, and then sit quite. Interestingly, after all the bouncy spooky stuff by the end he cantered down to the wall and jumped it super, so that was our note to end it. The next day I took him to a small show and he cantered clear around the sixty cm class, backed off the planks at fence three, but after that was very brave to all the fill and was super down the treble. He reminds me a lot of a horse I rode a long time ago that perhaps some very very long time readers might remember called Kruise. Also, how adorable is the old school drop noseband with the old school egg butt.

Kate was at the same show, and she was good enough to point out a few valuable lessons I had gotten complacent on. She only did the 90cm and the 1m class. She is a spooky old goat and I was really pleased with how she was jumping- straight down the treble which now had an ugly filler under the oxer in (it wasn't a small oxer either), and it wasn't an easy corner to get to it. She jumped the liverpool which she traditionally is not a fan of, and got a great ride down to the last double, which was an upright to an oxer and the oxer had a plank in it. The same as the planks we jumped at three. So after all the scary jumps, got the great ride down the bending line, landed over the first fence and she bloody stopped. My fault entirely, I didn't ride it enough, I took it casually, I thought I was home and safe, and was already planning my jump-off! Touche Kate, Well played. I have found I'm collapsing a little over the fences with my upper body and folding over my hands a little instead of giving a correct release. The weather packed up and I wasn't going to do the 1 metre class, but I felt I had something to prove.

In the warm up, she was hurling herself over the oxer and I thought maybe her knee was bothering her, but she wasn't taking any lame steps. I figured I would start the round and see how she went. She got into the ring and started beautifully,. She is such a different ride, liking room from the base of her fences and the more forward travelling ride, and she is a good one to practice the supporting but not driving leg because she can get hot (why is that so hard!!! and so different for every horse!!!! It's all on feel- stupid supporting without driving leg). Just rolled over the jump at fence five when I let the filler suck her down and she just knocked the rail. Still she was super down the treble, only did one funny leap (I had a brainwave, and realised she only did it when she was jumping out of a puddle and landing in a puddle-DIVA!) and even saved me when I couldn't see my distance to the liverpool.

Sometimes my focus wanders, and I found myself looking at the puddle that had formed around the liverpool and not at the top rail like I should. I ended up miles off it, and I didn't know if she would chip in or not, seeing as she hates puddles and liverpools. But she took the long option, I was a little left behind, but better that than getting ahead and her spitting me out. I gave her a big pat for saving me, though she owed me one after the stop!!! Down the final line she was awesome and when I focused on staying up in my shoulders and strong through my core, I landed much more balanced so I could keep my leg on and keep attacking the oxer out of the double, which she jumped perfectly. She gets in he air, the old bat, and it's been a treat to be riding her again. I think I might put her in foal for myself. She is definitely breeding quality. She has had her shoes pulled and its just chilling until I figure out exactly what happens next.

Speaking of shoes, Tsar had his feet done as well. My farrier is like the best ever, so I was excited to see what he would do, because he had some funky looking square front feet. Apparently, he as thin hoof walls, and he has been reset with aluminium plates and really fine nails to preserve his wall integrity. He is also been stabled at night to dry out his feet and I need to get some copper sulfate and scrub both of their feet. He isn't as chilled in the stable as Butch and he is a bit of a wild man when I turn him out. Still his feet look much more normal, and though I haven't had a chance to ride him yet I hope it will improve his reach in front. Sweet pony. Even if he does trash his stable nightly.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014


So I think this is your first real look at Tsar. Rising nine yr old TB who was relatively successful as a racehorse and then apparently threw the towel in. He looks like an absolute dingus in this picture but he is very sweet and friendly. He is a little poor looking, even though I picked him up off of good pasture. He was being strip grazed (not by the owners) and I think the pasture was possibly too rich for him, because his digestive system took a while to settle down once he got here. Hay is like the greatest food for horses ever. He also is the coldest horse I have ever owned, he needs an underrug on and I haven't clipped him yet. Yay a three rug pony :/ once he is clipped of course, which I will do as soon as I remember to get my blades sharpened. So he is a tiny bit poor, and he has been out of work for a while so the topline is a little AWOL. He has been well looked after by his previous owners, and always had a good home and I'm very very lucky to have him, because all the hard work has been done, I just need to put the polish on.
Such a sweet face though, the little cutie. He has had a few naughty moments. First hack down the road the other day and he was pretty fantastic. This motorbike roared past in both directions and he was fine, we only ran into trouble about crossing the one way bridge which was ugly. Narrow with high drop offs and the water underneath was very loud. When he is a bit scared he almost accelerates at what bothers him and I didn't really want to trot over the really narrow one way bridge that was high in the air, while I had visions of the two of us plummeting to our deaths, and I hate falling. He refused and spun away, and when I tried to turn him back to the right, he braced and started going backwards and then threatened to rear. Circled to the left, refused again and jacked up to the right, threatened to rear again and then did have a tiny rear, which I think was supposed to impress me. I didn't get after him just insisted on the right turn and he gave up pretty easily and walked up to the bridge. I then led him across, because I don't know the horse and I'm not about to pick  fight on tarmac on the road. He crossed it nervously but fine coming home without my getting off. In times like this it would be nice to have a riding buddy! 

Schooling wise, he is quite behind the leg, and tends to put his head down but without relaxing his body and he is bad for falling out of his shoulders. That being said the quality of his canter is quite amazing and once I get him more in front of the leg and travelling he is going to be lovely. He reminds me a lot of a horse I used to own called Kruise, who was aptly named. I really like the horse without having ever jumped him of course. I think I will need to open his stride up to make the lines and get him putting more power down. He is a little spooky and careful with his feet and that bodes well for a clean jumper. I meant to take him in for a jump today but it just didn't happen, I'm crazy busy and its dark by 5.30pm.

I don't know how much people now about my life situation but I'm just farm sitting here for a few months and that's really neat and now I definitely want to own a farm one day because even though its super stressful I think it would be less stressful if it was my place and my stock so when bad things happened as they always do I wouldn't feel so so terrible.

Do you ever feel like you aren't mixing Dinner fast enough??!! Like you are being watched to make sure you aren't favouring one over the other??? Creeps.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It snowed

Damn you Northern Hemispherers!! Reading your blogs about your competing and pictures of sunshine is K.I.L.L.I.N.G me. I'm soooooooo jealous. American cross country courses are beautiful, so much decoration in all the levels and I have just found Evention TV and I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with it.

So it did snow. In my head I was like if I wake up to snow on the ground I will be royally pissed. So I walked out the door to snow on the ground. When I shifted my cows they walked around on the fresh food like "Dude, we can't eat this, it's frozen". I gave them two bales of hay but they only really needed one, though better to over feed than under with pregnant dairy cows. They look like happy blimps this afternoon.

Still the snow is beautiful, and it makes for a nice change to torrential rain, it was gone by lunchtime. I still have to go out and clean and return a borrowed float in the now torrential rain! The horses have basically just had extra rugs put on and lots of hay thrown at them. They don't want to be ridden in this!

I realise its not actually that snowy compared to like proper snowy areas, but it's not that common here, and it was worse than it looks in the pictures. And I'm a sook!
This Goober is ME!!!!

Snow was already lifting on the lower parts of the farm as I finished my chores and the flurries were pretty light weight.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ten Dollar Tsar

So I wish I could say I had been doing all of the exciting things, but I have been doing very little. I'm farm sitting and working from 9-9.30am until 4 pm which around the farming isn't leaving me a lot of riding time, because I'm pretty short of daylight. It doesn't help that this is the forecast.

If the zoom on your iPhone can see the snow at dusk, the snow is too close. I'm praying I don't wake up to snow because I'll have 160 cattle and four horses screaming at me for food, and I hate doing more work than I have to when its cold. I also have a sick steer that keeps trying to die on me. Started as a pneumonia type job and got really weak, he has been down a few times but everytime he does I seem to be able to get him back up with glucose water. Maybe its the energy from the sugar, maybe its the water boarding, either way it gets him up. 

The vet came today and with some anti-inflammatories on board he is brighter, which made life harder when I wrestled him onto a trailer and brought him up to a paddock with lots of grass and after the trauma of the ride, he did get off and start eating straight away and he was happy having friends over the otherside of the fence. In my head I'm thinking trailering him like this is some eastern european type shizz.

 Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that the new pony, Tsar, has been nothing but a delightful treat. He is mostly extremely mannerly and a pleasure to deal with. He is very sweet and not a tough horse at all, he may not be gutsy enough to be a top horse, but then he seems like the sort to try his guts out his person. My biggest concern is that he is quite tight in the back left hind, but as he raced for such a long time, it's not surprising he isn't equal. What remains to be seen is if he improves with work.He is a little greener than I had hoped, behind the leg and lazy at the work and trot. He lacks cadence and drive. He is a bad one for falling out and he likes a bit of a woohoo when he picks up the canter. It's nothing major, a jump and a headshake so it doesn't bother me. I love his canter, plenty of jump and so balanced and rhythmic. Funny when his other gaits need work.

And that being said he has been very brave, worked in basically the dark and his basic nature seems to be very good and very straight forward. I'm pretty happy with what I paid for him :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Eventing V Showjumping


So its the start of July and the first shows are a couple of months away and it's a bit of a mystery what direct my season will take. I have really enjoyed my foray into eventing, though clearly my showjumping flatwork hasn't crossed over into dressage very well, yes the horse is soft and supple (not so much Butch because he is a work in progress and built all the wrong ways) but I'm not accurate and I don't do enough transitions. The thing is for me the sun rises and sets over coloured rails, and while eventing has showjumping, generally I'm like boop boop boop because its relatively small and the technicality is way low.

The issue is that Butch, super star diva that he is, is cooked on coloured poles and to keep him relaxed I have to go so slowly and the most collected rocking horse canter ever. And thats fine and great, providing I can take some inside turns to make up some time to avoid time faults in the jump off, I can't open him up to jump off and he isn't so nimble and sharp that he can take insanely tight corners. Though, cross country he is a lot sharper and nimbler but he is carrying more pace, and absolutely in his happy face.

The thing is XC scares the living shit out of me. I have watched a thousand head cam videos of rolex, and other really hard tracks to prove its easy and people do it all the time successfully. And that is perhaps helping (though it hasn't helped with my productiveness now I have an Evention addiction) but yea when I rode down to do my first Pre-Novice I was dry-retching off the side of my horse, and believe me, that is one way to get people looking at you oddly. I had a huge buzz after I finished but it wasn't until fence 20 that I relaxed and thought I might be enjoying myself. I have plenty of competition miles so I'm ok once I have the fence in my sights and I just ride whats in front of me, but waiting to start with all the different difficult questions on the course whizzing through my head it's terrifying. And I'm not competing a high level- it's 1.05m so around 3'5" according to the converter I just used.

I'm a little hung up on the two recent deaths in eventing. I have already broken like ten bones horse riding and while it's a tad inevitable, I would prefer not to break too many more and jumping solid objects at a good clip does change the odds. I guess deep down, I don't trust Butch's smarts and cattiness because as a showjumper he has neither, though XC and hunting he has never let me down. And I have jumped things hunting that looking back make my toes curl- port and adrenaline! I don't know if I should downgrade and run a training before going prenovice again, but everone who knows me and the horse thinks I'll be fine if I go straight out at Pre-Novice, though rider fences, trakehners, palisades etc still scare me, though I don't think Butch even notices them. 

I will event him some definitely, because it's his happy place and I'm curious to see if it has improved his showjumping, and he has to suck it up and do some showjumping for me because that's my happy place. Perhaps, new man Tsar will be more the showjumper of my dreams and Butch cen be my hunter/eventer/play guy. I don't know, I think I probably need to take a harden up pill and stop being such a blouse, because I have a super scopey horse and I'm accurate and competent rider. Bluh.   

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wairarapa Recycled Ribbon Showjumping Day

So our Showjumping group has been running winter showjumping days on the new all weather surface at the Solway Showgrounds and it starts at 40cm so it's been great to see lots of really small kids on really small ponies out to have a crack at showjumping. The ribbons are all recycled, so basically some of the area pros have donated ribbons and the kids get a real thrill out of seeing what shows the ribbons are from.

My first ride for the morning was the schooler Charlie, on his second public outing under saddle and he was quite a good boy. Initially, he was quite daunted by the horses working around him, and we got a bit of tail flagging going and the big trot. Though I like to work them quite forward at home so when they get to shows and get big in the movement and a little hot, they are used to being ridden forward and stay responsive. It was nice to have him taking me as he is very quiet, like a 15.1hh Connie. Smallest horse I have ridden in a long time!

He was in the 50cm class and the 60cm class. He was clear in both, and amzingly bold. He really loves his jumping, but he is only four and he finds jumping all the way around a whole jumping course quite tiring. For the second round I didn't give him a very long warm up because he was getting over it, though his enthusiasm returned once he was in the ring.

Important points, its incredibly hard to be accurate to fences this small and the horse is insanely brave to fill. He didn't look at anything, at the filler above about 4 strides out I felt him hesitate a little bit and I rode him up, but didn't need to and ended up getting him quite deep, which doesn't matter at this height but it cracked me up. I couldn't have been happier with the little guy. He is a bit of a minimalist, but he isn't far off from needing some height. For his first showjumping day he was exceptionally good. The liverpool wasn't in the course, it was an option to jump after, and I'm of the opinion that you need to expose them to stuff as soon as possible, especially while the fences are small and not an issue. Over both classes without even a second look. I can see him as a really cute lower level eventer/hunter/ do everything type horse. I hope to get him back later in the year once Winter is more over and I have my life situation a little more settled. He has pulled a few shoes and runs the risk of losing too much hoof wall if he keeps pulling them in the mud so he has gone home until winter comes to an end.

This is his 60cm class and as you can see there is plenty of polish to put on and he got tired as the round went on but he was such a big grown up boy, and he made lots of progress in the month he has been here in terms of forwardness and reach in his gaits.

And my SUPER DUPER big surprise is that I brought a new horse for the sum total of ten dollars. Which is pretty much the best deal ever. He came to the day for a trip, second ride and he was foot perfect. His canter is to die for, though he is a little short in one hind, though apparently, he has always been that way and they think it's from having spent a long time at the track, he has over $6000 in earnings. It will improve with work and suppleness and it's really minor.  So he is an eight yr old TB by Ustinov, he has already got all the basics and he is a huge smooch and so far has been an absolute dream to deal with and his name is Tsar.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Closing hunt for the Wairarapa

So there is the field for the closing hunt for my area for the season, and I really only have a couple of hunts left to go. One in my old stalking grounds of Eastern Bay and a couple in Taupo hunt week if we make it. 

Kate was again an absolute rockstar, jumped really well all day, sometimes not the best in front if I got her a touch deep and I circled twice when I couldn't see my distance being a cowardly showjumper but she jumped a fullwire which I was never brave enough to jump on her before. I remember hunting on her being fairly wild and full on and sort of feeling like she might stop, but she really wasn't like that at all, she was controlled and easy and so brave to the fences and I think she tinged one wire all day, which is amazing with how much work she has had. Her fitness blew me away because I'm aware she hasn't done that much, but she never felt that tired, certainly quieter at the end but still had her ears pricked and was keen to go on.

So it sort of ran in fits and bursts for the first couple of hours and we probably jumped 20/25 fences which is super cool fun. Smallish paddocks but heaps of prep so I didn't feel like we missed out that much. God I just forgot how much I love this mare! She has the most stunning extended trot, and such a neat temperament. She is a tiny bit spooky but she has a huge ticker, and is everything you want in a horse. Mum always says that a TB that moves well will always be a great horse because they have so much heart. I like them because they are naturally forward inclined, even if you do have to develop the canter more so than in the WBs.

We were on a really good run and flying across the paddock, came round and lined up another full fence and then we all got told to pull up and the hunt disappeared. Apparently the hounds crossed the highway and the hound truck had to go and pick them up. It was half past two and we had been hunting 2 1/2 hrs by this stage and we crossed the road and released the hounds but there was no prep on that side and because I had to get away, me and my old boss shot back and took the horses back to her property just up the rd.

See how bright Kate was even for having been a busy girl.

So I'm at my friends place and we could here the hounds and they had come through a deer paddock and left the whips behind and were heading for the property behind my bosses, so we got our hunt whips and shot across her place and then into the neighbours, shouting at the hounds between gasping for air. Apparently, my cardio sucks and running in long boots is the pits. Then we got to a drain and couldn't cross but my friends dog kicked up and the hounds sort of doubled back and I plunged across the creek and kept running to stop them. You cannot stop a hound easily unless you are on the line they are hunting. So I'm shouting 'leave it' and 'get back to him' at the top of my lungs, and cracking my whip and having what felt like a heart attack and they turned back and started hunting the other way the buggers. Eventually we sort of got them headed in the right direct and the whips called them and they went back the way they came, and sweaty puffed me and my friend went back to the car and then back in for the breakfast. We got lots of thanks though and they were grateful because they would have had a hell of a job to get them back, by the time they went all the way around they would have lost them. You cannot deny the drive to hunt of a hound.
Good times.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Charlie and Kate

So poor old Kate has had a horrendous haircut, after I broke everyone of my clipping rules, she wasn't clean, my blades were dull and I was under time pressure. Awesome, she has the worlds hairiest armpits, its very Viva la France. She is only getting the chaser clip, with the workload ahead of her, she doesn't need to have her back and loins uncovered. She is actually fitter than I expected and a lot hotter to ride than I remember! Butch is so civilised and slow and I can dictate his every stride, Kate is a bit of a whirlwind. She has been looking at me approaching with the saddle with horror in her eyes, but the last two days we have done a little bit of jumping and holy cow happy horse! Such enthusiasm, she is all zooooooooooooooooooooooom, bounce bounce, fly over the fence, land head toss bound bound. Good times!

Kate is traditionally quite spooky but she was awesome. She gave the wavy planks the hairy eyeball once we finished jumping but she just bounded over them. Popped a few fences around three foot and she feels fantastic. 

Initially, I didn't think she would be any good not on her dicky knee, which doesn't appear to have troubled her, but on an injury she got on the inside of her hock once she was retired. She was very short striding on it and she still moves it somewhat stiffly but it has improved hugely with the work. And she is holding her leads and putting plenty of power down to the ground. Certainly, she is giving me no signals that she is anything but excited to be back in the swing of things. No stiffness after work, no back soreness, and she has retained so much of her schooling, as below with my little sister in the saddle when she was visiting from Australia. The thing with Kate is she is the most ladylike and dignified horse I have every had. It's an absolute pleasure to be working with her again, even if jumping her is a trip after all this time! Hard to imagine I ever jumped 1.20m classes on her. 

Charlie, the rising five yr old schooler I have in at the moment is improving really rapidly, though he is a bit sour to have to start earning his keep, he wants to be a big pet and be loved just for being around. Still he is quite cool, and so far even his very worst hasn't been that bad. Yesterday, I had my first little jump on him and he was super but it would have been the hardest I have worked him and so I wasn't surprised when the next day after being so perfect the day before, he was a little reluctant and didn't focus as well. He is very green, and he gets tired and loses focus relatively quickly. 

Charlie- small course (opens in a new tab)

The link should take you to a video of his course today. He is ready for more height, but I'm very very impressed with his bravery to fill, though I was too chicken to try the wall. It's 60cm but it looks massive! Next week! And even the way he is starting to take me to the fences and stay cantering.