Friday, March 28, 2014


Opening hunt today. I wasn't going to go today and after have relief milked for most of the week I didn't wake up until 9 am and was in bed reading when the peer pressure piled on at 10.20 ish which made for a bit of a rush to get there in time to get saddled for a 12pm ride out. The problem with an experienced hunter is that they just know and he jogged and flubbed his lips all the way out. Still he jumped awesomely all day as he does. He loves it so much. Flying changes don't exist at home but he does them easily hunting or xc :/ . 

It wasn't the fastest day but there were a few good runs. I did have one moment when we jumped a very tall lowered wire with metal standards so it wasn't very visible. We got to a decent distance and I thought he would take off but he bobbled and sort of looked through the fence, then chipped in and jumped it. He generally isn't the chipping type but it's nice to know he can, so he ended up touching that with his front in and it was just a funny moment. Like not actually scary or dangerous but just like a damn that could have gone the other way sort of thing. The next fence was exactly the same and he obviously had given himself a wee fright because he jumped so hard over it he hit me in the chest as he jumped up through his shoulder. Good day that ended earlier than hunting normally does because it was really muggy, the horses were fairly poked and we had had a kill.  Butchly is about to get his third feed for the day and he has been well washed and linamented and has his magnetic rug on. Then I shall go have a nap. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Interesting post title

From my eventing days in the distant past.

Ha see what I did there. I wish more interesting things were happening but the craziest thing I have done this week is ride in a dressage saddle. And thats weird. So weird. After 9 years of knee rolls and short stirrups, it was completely bizarre. I think Butch liked it though he felt super light and loose. Interestingly I found a real weak point in my horse and it really ties into my thinking that he is tighter along his right hand side and this is where stickiness turning left comes from this. When I asked for haunches in to the left, Butchly had a tantrum complete with kicking at my leg. Never had that before. I think more lateral work and bending will help with this.

Otherwise he seems quite sound. Maybe not 100% on a small circle turning right, there is a little shortness in his stride with no head nod, and trotting done the tarseal he feels really good. It's hard because when you are looking for something, every funny stride is like OMG he is LAME! He will never be sound!! Woe woe! But with Butch funny steps happen a lot, as he is a baby giraffe. You are all welcome to come have a ride so you can feel it for yourself.

Anyway, I have entered for Northern Hawkesbay and I did upgrade to the pre-novice. The dressage test will suit him better than the training test, anyway, he is scopey as hell, 1.05m is nothing for him and I'm a good enough rider to cope with the technical questions. I hope! Gotta keep pushing eh! I really want to qualify for the 3DE in May and I need two scores, so I might as well have a crack at it. I can always downgrade for the next show, or at this show if in the lead up I feel he isn't ready. I just need to nut up and stop being a coward. Hoping I don't have a rail in the SJing that would be a bit lame! The field is pretty intimidating with lots of professionals, but hey someone has to come last!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


So I'm sure we all remember that in April last year Butchly was lame and it turned out he had a shadow in his x-ray over his pedal bone that we took to be a haematoma. In the Spring when he came back to work he was pretty good, though took some lame steps as he got close to needing new shoes. When he got new shoes he would improve again. He is a very oddly shaped horse who moves oddly and has  quite thin soles so it's not unheard of for him to get muscle sore from correct work and to just take the odd uneven steps.

Still as the season wore on and the ground got harder he started taking uneven steps sooner after his new shoes- 4 weeks instead of 5 etc and with the switch to eventing and more trot work it started to become more apparent. The amount of galloping in eventing probably doesn't help. Anyway I thought it would be related to that haematoma and I was curious to actually see what was going on in that foot,

So off for my basically annual visit to Southern Rangitikei Veterinary Services. I love these guys and can't recommend them highly enough. The equine vets compete as well so they get it. Anyway, so blocked his heels and he was sound after initially being a 1/5 on the straight, a 2/5 circling left and a 3/5 circling right on concrete. Last time we had to block from the fetlock down to get him sound. So anyway we did a full set of foot x-rays. The happy news is that his foot is really very balanced especially considering the shoes were six weeks old. His sole depth is over 1/2 an inch so I can no longer consider them thin!  On the x-rays his legs showed some conformational deviations but in other happy news there is no side bone, no osteoarthritis, and his navicular bone is perfect perfect perfect. The site of the other injury from last year shows bone remodeling so it looks slightly different but the bone density is good and the vet was really happy with it.

The bad news is that there is no apparent issue which of course makes it harder to treat. So he has had a diagnostic shot of corticosteriods into his coffin joint. If he has issues with his cartilage or his impar ligament this shot will help and I should see an improvement in a week maybe 10 days. However long the improvement lasts will help show what the issue is. If it doesn't help then we start looking for bruised heels though this seems unlikely as I always ride him in bell boots and he hardly hustles around the paddocks. He only walks and grazes.  So that is where we are at the moment. I had some vague hopes of qualifying for the national 3day event but that is fading into the distance a little, though if he responds well we have a chance!

ETA when the needle was in his joint space a lot of joint fluid flowed out which is apparently a sign that something is going on in the joint and the joint tries to protect itself by producing more fluid.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Eventing Wellington ODE

                                     So cute with his braids in!
Clearly the eventing bug has had a little nibble at me because I was at it again last weekend. Last weekend it was a local pony club event so the field wasn't that large. This week it was a proper sanctioned horse trial so the field was 26 strong, and the dressage test was a lot more difficult. Butchly is a big long horse and trying to show lengthenings in a 20mx40m arena is really hard if I'm going to get him recollected and not jump out.

He tries but the lack of dressage specific schooling shows. He had a better shape this test and worked rounder and his canter work was much better but he broke in nearly every movement in the trot. His answer to every question is to canter. Still thats on me and not him and its something we can work on. I'm way behind in this sense, it's a bit odd to have the dressage as my weakest phase.

The XC course was pretty solid, had a few questions and some steep descents which scare me a little because he is much like a baby giraffe to ride. He was so excited warming up for the XC, he kept doing these groans and flagging his rather thing tail. When he is really excited he sounds like he is a bit constipated groaning away, it's the weirdest thing, but I'm happy that just warming up over solid fences has him this happy.

So the first three fences were straight forward- rolltop, oxer and a hanging log. I'm always scared starting but once I'm going I'm a lot better. Then it was a up a steep rise to jump an upright followed immediately by a steep descent. He didn't like this part that much and then we were on narrow tracks through the scrub. Five was a ramp with a steep landing. If you jumped to the right you landed on a flat bit before the hill so I jumped there but he still stumbled at the bottom of the hill! I am no man from snowy river! Another oxer and then a table top and then we rolled down to the coffin which you can see in the background of the skinny picture below. Now this is our first ditch in competition and I didn't know how it would go but I rocked him back on his hocks and got the quiet jump in, and he popped through perfectly. Go Butch he is a cross country machine. Then around to the narrow in the picture below which he jumped perfectly.

Then on to the palisade below. It was a good one because with a slightly uphill approach you never see the ditch, though it did cause one elimination. It looked much bigger from the other side! He just jumped it, never looked at all. Once he starts rolling I don't know that anything will stop him now! Then we turned left over a fence with a slightly downhill landing and then up a steep hill with a long steep descent which I started at the trot because of the baby giraffe thing. I let him pick up the canter as we went and we rolled down to fences twelve and thirteen which were two strides apart. This is were my next issue will come up. He jumps in so bold it's hard to get my strides, the two was quite tight. I need to start getting a quieter jump in. With his big rolling stride and he jumps the straightforward fences out of his rhythm so I should be ok for time. Always with the the time with this horse!

14 and 15 was a skinny to a sharks tooth on two strides again. Again it was a little tight. 16 was a corner with an option where you turned over the wings over the corner. I put him back on his hocks and when straight through. Too easy. He locks onto his fences so well even when they are narrow. Then the water was 17abc, so it was a black A frame shaped fence, two strides to the water, and then out up a bank. Now because it was the water I collected and rode quite aggressively because he did back off the water the previous weekend. Not so much this time! He landed one stride, shuffle (we were running out of room) and pow straight into the water. I was like huh ok. I can start a quieter ride to the water now! then two log houses to finish full of running and very happy.

The SJing had started for my class but I took the time to walk him out, wash him off and let him dry because saddling up to go jump. He was quite tired and it took sometime to get my SJing eye back in! I wanted to take the big distances but I made sure I kept him collected and got to the base of my fences. He felt ordinary in the warm-up but then jumped super in the ring for a clear round. All of this meant he ended up 8th! At his first horse trial! Yea this is his forte. So four weeks until the next one and there is a lot of dressage work to do. Now the question is do I move up to Pre-Novice which is 1.05m? He is cruising around the courses and if I get the quieter rides into my combinations I should be all good because 1.05m is nothing to a horse with this much jump.  But I'm such a coward. Food for thought!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2 XC pictures

Here is a link to two photos of Butch jumping the skinny on top of the lump and cantering away afterwards.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Is this his calling?

Safe to say that at my first ODE in 9 years I was feeling like a fish out of water, luckily everyone was super lovely and sooooo friendly. It was actually a nice change from the fashionista, label bashing, imported horse, dramas, of the Jumpers. Though in saying that it was a smaller show with only 14 horses in my class. Dressage was much as I had expected from Butchly. He did some nice work- an 8 for my free walk, What a good boy, he loves the stretches- but he really didn't help in some ways. His early work was better, but after doing the left canter work when I switched to the right rein he cantered the first loop of my trot serpentine, and in his right canter circle he did a happy leap and head flail. So it was not as good as he is capable of, but it was much better than expected.I refused to look at the scores all day because I wanted to just ride and not being trying to "protect" a position on the leaderboard.

The showjumping was tiny, like only 90cm instead of 95cm and I thought to myself this is small enough that you could really make a hash of it. Not trying to sound arrogant of course but I often find it easier to get a distance to a bigger fence when you have to be more accurate. Still he cantered around like perfection and I made no major stuff ups. Result. It was quite nice for him to just cruise around, in just the french link snaffle with no stress.

The XC started nice and small. I had a flyer at number 4 but should have killed us both but I managed to sit up in time and Butch the scopey and careful managed to chip and twist and save us both. Stupid stupid blood to the head ride. Butch normally has no self awareness and his self preservation is about 1% so I was delighted cross country when he was super careful and aware of where his feet were. I'll take a horse that will stop on xc over a horse that will flip, though on Butch I have scope to burn, he can jump me out of most issues. Anyway after 4 it was two banks with one stride between them and Butch jumped up both like a pro, though the stride was short so I was careful to get a quiet ride to them. Butch tends to jump big into his combinations and have very little back off so quiet rides into combinations are always called for. I'm thinking I need to train bounces more to back him off a bit.

6, 7, 8 were all rolling fences along the top of the course (I meant to take pictures of them all! but I was so nervous I was subfuctional). Then we rolled back to a combination, walked as a short showjumping 3 strides, jumped in what I though was quietly took one stride, realised the three wasn't on, let him open the next stride and he comfortably did the two. It didn't feel unsafe at all and I am a big chicken. I showjump him with his stride so compressed to help him jump soft and round, I forget how naturally long his stride can be. Then up onto this steep little lump with a skinny brush fence on top with a steep downhill landing. Butch impressed me here as well because I thought he might take the longer distance, but he did the add, got right to the base and popped over so we didnt land too far down the hill. Sensible Butch, sensible! This sounds like I really had no input I'm sure but it didn't feel like that, we felt really in sync and he was so happy looking for the next fence.

Then down a hill, over a the lens of a "camera" and then we turned to the water. It was a small fence, one stride to a log drop into the water. I got a fantastic shot into the first element, landed sitting up and put my leg on. I was really worried about getting him into the water. He didn't do it in the one stride, he chipped in and popped down into the water, which I was happy with. He will get bolder into the water jumps I'm sure, and the one stride was quite long so again he proved he was looking after himself. We have to remember it was his very first proper XC run. Then over an easy corner, a brush fence, turned to a combination which was a rustic jump and a curving two strides to a skinny fence. Locked my eyes onto the second element as early as possible, he came around smoothly, locked on jumped great, rocked up to jump the skinny corner really well and rolled easily around the last 5 fences to cruise home. Never pushed his rhythm, just let him roll around, he locked onto his fences happily, it was such a fun ride, he was an absolute delight.

So because there were only two clear rounds XC, Butch being one of them, he came second and the catch ride ended up fourth after a runout XC at the skinny at the top of the hill. So In over a year of SJing Butch I have gotten one ribbon, in 1 attempt at XC I have gotten one ribbon. I wonder whih one is more his calling. I had been so frustrated with his lack of improvement and his inconsistency SJing but maybe this is what he is meant to be doing. He just loved it and I really enjoyed myself so I have already entered a proper horse trial for this coming Sunday. The field is a lot bigger and the dressage test a lot more complicated but all the canter work is after the trot work so maybe he will stay settled longer. I have three days to practice anyway! I wonder if I train my canter early in my schooling sessions and then go back and do a lot of trotting, instead of doing my canter work last, he might anticipate the canter less. I'm only doing it for fun anyway, I'm still so green at this. Still I would love another XC country like the last one, it was so much fun.