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.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Really pathetic sad face

I have been a bit sad lately, though I suspect I do this every Winter, because I'm not sure where my future is in equestrian. It's definitely hellishly expensive and while I quite like producing young horses, without competition I lose interest really quickly. Like really quickly. Its the motivation and the driving force in my riding. It's expensive and tiring and so stressful but I love it so much. Whether I actually have the temperament remains to be seen, I have a horrible feeling I'll never be brave enough, but while I feel like that, I will never be brave enough in one of those stupid conundrum things and a cycle I need to break. My partner says that I'm too smart for my own good, and I have had too many tumbles now to be really brave. It will come I just have to believe.

But anyway this year the crux of my mopeyness is horse power. I can still only dream of the big brave scopey jumper of my, well, dreams. I have had some amazing horses, though most have come already somewhat broken in terms of courage, I haven't ever really had a super scopey horses where you are like damn thats a freak. Well Butch is scopey as and could probably jump a 1*GP but he gets so fragile showjumping. He has once felt fragile and like he might fizz over once on XC after I hit him into the water but after two more jumps he just chilled right out again, whereas once he gets that way showjumping it's a hard ride until the flags, especially if you need to turn left. He wasnt like this as a seven yr old so it's something that has happened in the interim.

I love him and I happy to event him because it makes him happy but he still isnt the horse I dream of owning. Maybe I'm being selfish and mean and just a terrible person, but all I really really want with all my wantings is to showjump over huge fences. Ones that are terrifying. Though next season I'm definitely going to try harder to fix some of his issues a bit more instead of just accommodating him. Though that is going to be an exercise in tact!

So anyways, this little chap is Charlie the 4yr old schooler I have at the moment whom is far to smart for his own good.

And in a totally immodest photo montage of myself jumping bigger jumps to cheer myself up.

This is not such a big fence but with as difficult as the horse was I consider it a victory, this round was a hell of a ride.

There you go the highlights of a showjumping career 12 years long. The biggest fences are 1.25m or between 1.20m-1.30m depending on the class which is pretty big hey, the smallest is 1.05m. It's quite nice all together. Only another 15cm and I can jump a 1star GP but thats a huge 15cm. I just have to keep working and training and competing and one day when I have money I can buy my dream horse. Like this one- Cumano:

Still, looking through it, I am at least still progressing and thats half of the battle. It's just Winter, and Spring will be here soon and I'll be eventing and showjumping and everything will be better, because at least I will feel like I'm working towards something again.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kate is back, back again

Being myself, and therefore, somewhat madcap it's not unusual for me to come up with madcap plans and I have had a doozey this time. I really want a horse to putter around with and maybe catch the last few hunts with her if I take easy obviously. Im not about to start thrashing an unfit horse around. She does have some minor arthritis issues in one knee but with hunting on the soft winter ground, over spars that are quite small I don't think it will be such an issue and I can use small doses of bute to keep her comfortable if it turns out she needs it,

She looks really well, not too fat and living on the side of a hill and having been super fit before for hunting in previous years and being a TB her base level of fitness shouldn't be too bad. Of course I have had her for a week and I have yet to sit on her because her foal was actually still feeding off of her and she had a surprising amount of milk on so she has been up on the side of the hill with Butch drying off, and she has had shoes put on and a iodine bath and a worm so I doubt that we are friends at this point.

I'm farm sitting for three months and I'll bring her down here tomorrow hopefully though the forecast is pretty ordinary. I should get her a corset for her mumma tummy. Though she badly badly needs a caslick after having torn some while having her foal and now she sounds loose as, to the point that she probably isn't rideable but the vet appointment is tomorrow at 2.30. What was supposed to be a get an older horse whom has hunted and pick up the tail end of the season has turned into a very expensive exercise. Curses! Though Kate is enjoying being far far away from her baby and it does give me something to do for the next little while.

I also have a very cheeky little schooler coming in as well so that will be interesting. So I'm finding unemployment very very busy.