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.