15 December 2008

Adult Ride Mini Course - SJing with Ana Rattray 25/26 November

Its great being part of the Papatoetoe Adult Ride, you end up getting heaps of opportunities to ride with different instructors. For the mini course you could chose to either 2 days of dressage, SJ or cross country. I picked to do Show Jumping with Ana Rattray (Cheleken Stud)

Tuesday turned up & started warming up. Flynn felt a little tight & nappy, however worked out of it quite nicely, although stayed a little argumentative about somethings, however completely perked up once the jumps got higher. Ana said he was a lovely jumper with a super front end, but our flat work needs more work, we need to be more adjustable through our paces. She also suggested that maybe a martingale would help as there were times where I'd ask him to wait & he'd disagree & charge on with his head in the air instead, only bringing it down 1 stride out from the jump. Not ideal at all. He was also over the top spooky at the jumps.

After the lesson I had a chat to a friend of mine & started putting 2 & 2 together. I do wonder if the oats are not having the good effect that I was hoping? Since starting them, all I had gained was a horse that was not any more energetic, he was just more spooky instead... Figured maybe it was time for a vet visit to do some bloods, so booked the vet in for Thursday. Made sure Flynn had no oats for dinner that night!

Wednesday Flynn was a lot better, warmed up nicely & actually stayed polite through the jumping. Ana commented that he was the total opposite to the night before, was there possibly something going on with him? I told her about the oats theory & that I was getting the vet out the next day for blood tests etc. Got taught a few more great exercises to try at home to have the horse really listening and am also going to get a few more lessons off Ana in the new year as she's keen to come up & teach at PC every couple of weeks if I can get a group together. So proud that she likes my pony :D :D

Pukekohe 2 day Show Hunter Show 22/23 November

Yay! My first show away in the truck! How exciting! Took it into work during the week and they redid all the gas fittings in the accomodation, replacing the garden hose with proper gas hose (eeek!!) & putting in a new gas cooker. So I made sure I went out & bought milk so that I could actually make myself a cup of coffee! Man I could get used to this!! Tested the fridge & found that whilst it no longer works off the gas setting, it does still work off the battery setting, so made sure I switched it on as I was warming the truck up & turned it off an hour after getting to the show, so as to have it as cold as possible, for as long as possible.

Had decided after Flynn being very flat for the dressage the week before, that maybe he needs heating up a bit? Went out & bought some oats to see if they would help. Didn't make any difference in energy at all, but noticed he was spooking a bit more than normal.

Got out to Pukekohe & had a casual morning plaiting up, drinking cups of cofee & watching the other classes. Got ready and went over to warm up for the 1m class. Flynn felt a bit hesitant coming into the practice fence the first few times but warmed out of it, so I didn't give it another thought. Went into the 1m class & had a right disaster, he gawked at every single fence coming into them, and then had a rearing fit when he took exception to a large area of dirt in the corner of the ring. He managed to get himself extremely wound up & upset over it, but eventually after about 2 minutes of standing on the spot waving his legs around, he finally went past it, but kept a good eye on it LOL Funnily enough we got 20% for that round *blushes*

Then in the 1.05m, I'm not sure what happened, but for the first time in his life, he actually dive bombed the jumps. We had quite a few rails in that class, including landing in the middle of the oxer, even though we'd taken off from a normal stride. 40% in that class & it left me very confused and wondering if I should still do the 1.10m or not... Decided to give it a crack & I could always retire during it, should he carry on the way he was. Turns out he wanted to do the 1.10m class as well, did a lovely round, for 6th place and 75%. So toddled off home, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. Figured maybe he was a bit off his game from being in the paddock with no grass the night before, so doubled the oats, gave him a blud sachet & threw him in the usual grassy paddock.

Went back out to Pukekohe the next morning & got ready for the 1m class. He warmed up nicely on the flat, nice & foward & big powerful trot everywhere, so was hoping the day before was put behind us. However still jumped the practice fence a bit weird. Went into the 1m class & I have to say, I have never had such a short round before! We went over jump 1 after looking at it from miles back (just a plain brown upright too!) then we stopped at the white upright coming into the 6 stride line. I whacked him, we circled & went over it then 2nd time. Then he slid into the white oxer. As in through it. I quite retired & left the ring. That was really, really weird, Flynn's never done that before, if he stops, its a stop & spin at the last second, where as he backed off the whole way down the line & then 1 stride out just put on the picks, with no attempt to dive to the left like he usually does.

Decided to do the 1.05m to see what happened, however we didn't even get as far as the third jump. The white line was again jumps 2 & 3 in the ring. We came into the white upright and he backed off, I growled, he went to go, then went to stop, then thought better of it & tried to jump it, only by this stage we were nearly at a standstill, so he got his front end completely over it, then decided to go backwards instead of forwards. Hooked the pickets with his front legs & pulled them back towards him, got a fright from the pickets & poles coming with him, and leapt to the left, which then took out the jump stand and then took off across the ring. Goodness knows how I managed to stay on. I retired & then scratched from the next class & took him home.

Adult Ride Dressage & SJ Comp 16 Nov

Decided to be brave & entered Flynn in his first Novice test. It had lengthening in both trot & canter, as well as some leg yielding, so figured it would be an interesting test to say the least! Well for the week leading up to the comp, Flynn honestly went the best he has ever gone on the flat, his 'few lengthened strides' in trot felt great, however we did have one moment where I asked him to lenghten canter down the longside & he got a bit excited & his knees came past his ears. Only problem was that the next movement was a 15m circle. Hahaha that was fun! Had a quick jump the night before the comp as I don't tend to jump at home, figure he knows how to do it, no point over jumping his little leggies...
Day of comp, lovely, lovely day. Tootled off down to Adult Ride in the truck (man I love my truck hahaha) & parked up so Flynn could stand in the shade. Had to get there early as judge was using my truck as the judges box, so Flynn had to stand around for a little while before we were on. Got him ready for the dressage & hopped on & started warming up. He was going so nicely, quite like he was showing off actually, felt great! Then it all turned to custard when we entered the dressage arena. He dropped behind my leg & napped the whole way up the centreline, tried to cut the corner at the top, which resulted in a bit of an argument & then the test went downhill from there. After arguing the whole way round, he then tried to launch into the canter, which resulted in a halt on the spot, which thankfully then sorted him out. He carried on nice enough after that, but our test was well & truly stuffed LOL. Got 59%. Have decided with him being sooo flat, that I might give oats a try at giving him a touch more energy.

Then it was time for the SJing. I stuffed that up too, thought we had a 1.05m class but they decided on the day due to only 2 riders, 1 in the 95 & me in the 1.05m, that we might as well both ride in the 95cm. Sorry Flynn, not much of a warm up there!! Flynn woke up & did a lovely round, however stupid, stupid mother, jumped an extra jump in the jump off! DUH!

Then everyone was nice enough to put the jumps up so that we could have a play over some bigger stuff. Most of the jumps are 1.10, with a couple being 1.15m. Sadly my position is very lacking, so its time for me to bite the bullet & get some lessons. I'm just not stable enough and would hate for it affect Flynn anymore than it does LOL As you can see we got in a little close to the blue upright LOL still can't believe he cleared it

15 November 2008

Time to give XC another go

Decided after the disaster of Flynn being scared of the XC jump at Clevedon A&P, it was time to have an XC school to remind him that there is more in life to jump, than just coloured poles & pretty flowers. So arranged to go round the Papatoetoe course with Jannine. Just pottered around over the intro fences and only had one moment were he stopped & gawked but thankfully it was so low that I could just get him to pop over it from a standstill. Think we might go out & do some intro ODEs over summer as we never really going confidently on the XC course last season, stops all over the show, we never did get a clear round, so maybe its time to go back to basics now that he's finally grown a somewhat sensible brain & put some effort into creating his brave button...

Clevedon A&P

Last year I went and watched Tara and Lynette competing at the Clevedon A&P and decided it looked like fun, so entered Flynn in this years one, to give us something different to do. Figured it would be good for Flynn to get out in a different atmosphere, so entered the sporthorse classes, including the inhand classes.

However. I didn't think it through very well. Had a big OH SHYITE moment a few weeks out when I realised I had no idea what I was going to wear, or even what colour gear to use. Debra & Dana very kindly leant me all their flash black gear, however I then realised that I have a brown saddle for the ridden classes, so needed to stick with brown. However I didn't own an "A&P appropriate" browband as I'd attacked my ribbon browband with scissors LOL. Whoops. Kyrie was a godsend and leant me her lovely cream browband with diamantes on it. I got Chris at Horsesports to order in a silver chain to attach my single plaited Sparrow rein for my inhand bridle, Jenny went out to Pukekohe and got me a brown number holder, and that was Flynn's gear sorted. Then out of the blue, I had a revelation that I hadn't sorted myself out anything to wear. DUH! Rach VERY, VERY nicely sent me a grey suit to wear for inhand, I managed to find a lovely little hat, bought some new gloves & bobs your uncle, I'm pretty much sorted!

Jannine gave me some clear highlighter to play around with and on the Saturday, I decided to just give Flynn a quick wash as would give him a better all over wash on the Sunday morning. Hahaha so glad I did, by the time I got all my gear organised on the Sunday morning, I had completely run out of time to give him another wash. Started plaiting and carefully sewed up my plaits, only to find that nope, as much as I thought I could, I definitely can't sew LOL So redid all my plaits & just used rubber bands. Had planned on leaving paddock around 12, to give him time to soak up the atmosphere before we were on at 1pm. Hahahahaha left paddock at 12.45. Gawd I'm useless!! Got there, raced around getting ready, with Flynn swinging off his leadrope as the polo players and the bagpipes had upset him. Lead my now piaffing horse, over the sporthorse ring, only to find out that we 15 classes before ours. Went back over to truck & redid hoof oil & brushed his head & got myself sorted out properly. So glad we didn't have to go straight in haha!
Flynn eventually settled, and even contemplated having a sleep, which was refreshing,
except he kept sidling over to me & trying to have a cuddle & everytime I stepped away he's sidle closer again. After giving him a smack on the shoulder, he gave up on that & kept his distance. Contented himself with smooching all over 2 young girls that wanted to pat the "goldfish pony" LOL the dad was an ex polo player and was quite impressed with how Flynn was just letting his 2 little girls stick their fingers up his nose & pat him all over. Eventually it was our turn to go into the ring and Flynn woke up. Unfortunately... cause then he thought it would be funny to charge & canter & shake your head threateningly in the trot up in the first 2 classes. 15 horses in the ring and the only funnyman had to be mine. *sigh*

Got the hang of just trotting though, in time to get 2nd for suitability for SJing

Judge was very complimentary, said he would have been first, he has the perfect back end, but that his front end doesn't quite match, he needs to fill out a fraction. Which is great, as Claire McGowan said he's got 1 more growth spurt to go & will fill out his front end nicely.

Then it was time for the 3 ridden classes I'd entered. Only 4 in these classes, had a feeling we were going to be a bit embarrassed & sure enough, we were! LOL We bombed out in the first 2, Flynn got a bit excited & very elevated in his canter, so suffice to say we weren't placed for the dressage one LOL He then packed a screaming hissy fit at the intro xc oxer we had to jump for suitability for jumping, so again, we were 4th out of 4 LOL. Then it was the SJing class and thank gawd he got his act together & jumped very nicely, to get 2nd. Judge was again very complimentary, saying his antics had let him down in the previous 2 classes, but she was hoping to see him out & about next year when he's a bit more mature as he had really nice movement, just needed to be a bit more settled. So lovely hearing that from someone I haven't paid PMSL

Was a great day though & I have to say, I'd be very keen to give it another go sometime!!

14 November 2008

Flynn gets a travelling palace

After competing down in Cambridge in the pouring down rain, hail and thunder, I decided enough was enough and I am not doing the car and float thing anymore. With both me & Lynette there, the float was full of 2 lots of wet horsegear, 2 lots of wet people gear & there was just no way of hiding from the weather. So I came home & started hinting to Richard that maybe a truck might be a really, really good idea... Then as I was browsing TM, I came across the cutest little 2 horse truck. It already had the basics, accommodation, fridge, cooker, running water in sink, hot water washdown, shower etc. Its a 3L Ford Trader, so definitely gutless, goal is to change cabs on it in a years time to something more powerful, but in the meantime, it will definitely do!! It passed its prepurchase inspection and came home with me.

And so far I've managed to successfully drive it into my car... Yes, yes, laugh it up, my Ford truck ate my Holden Commodore :( Was a big wake up call when trying to do a reverse hill start whilst turning with no powersteering. Thought I'd left enough room & went to go forwards, only to my horror that I couldn't turn it in time before it smacked into the back of my car. Funny now, but I was in tears at the time LOL

Its got a good size box with a raised roof and is 2.2m wide, but the dividers pretty much go straight across & Flynn's a bit long for that, so he's currently travelling with the middle divider pushed over against the first one to give him 1 1/2 spaces and he's happy as larry. Luffs his truck, he's walking up the ramp before I've even gotten myself organised, you can throw the leadrope over his head & he goes & turns himself around & everything. Its very cute.

02 November 2008

Adult Ride Show Jumping Lesson

Had a group Show Jumping lesson courtesy of adult ride with Jacob Razak (Currently riding grandprix) He set up a few related lines which we had to vary our striding down, which was a lot of fun. Flynn even had his listening ears on! Found out that by just sitting & doing nothing, he would lenghten his stride, no need for kicking on or flapping as he already has a really long canter stride. We found getting in the extra stride a little harder, but once we got the hang of it, we were away laughing.

We then moved onto the next exercise, over a small jump, roll back & up through the line, putting in either 4 or 5 strides as requested, then another roll back at the other end. Once Flynn figured out exactly what his job was, he started really enjoying himself. When Flynn enjoys himself and thinks he's done something clever, he starts leaping around. So after nailing the exercise, we had funny canter with knees flying past his ears.

Jacob said that he was very talented & should be able to go grandprix in a few years, which was very, very cool to hear. Also said he'd compete him for me as I'm apparently wasting him LOL So might take him up on that offer later in the season

26 October 2008

Waikato Show Hunter 26th October

I luff my pony!!
Took him down to our first registered Show Hunter outing of the season. Left horribly early in the morning, we were picked up from the paddock at 5.15 as the weather was completely disgusting and we wanted to get there early to try & get a good park. Got there early & decided to change my entry. Had originally entered 2x open hunter 1m classes, open hunter 1.05m & 1.10m high points class. Changed from 1 of the 1m classes to 90cm so that I could have an easier first class. Quickly plaited up in the rain as had gone from the 5th class to the 2nd, not giving myself a lot of time to get ready. It stopped raining as I got on thankfully and we headed off.

The 90cm class was very interesting. Normally Flynn's first class at Show Hunter is spent reminding him that neutral coloured fences are not to be galloped at like XC fences... however not this time... He started off absolutely perfectly, had a beautiful steady uphill canter going, took off each time really nicely in the right spot etc, until we came into the 5 stride line, at which point he tried to take off with me into it. Asked him to slow down but there was nobody home. I sat up after the first jump and gave him the biggest half halt I could, which effectively sat him on his ass & then let him forward again. End result was 6 strides in a 5 stride line. He did however land after the second fence and continued on like an angel, no more rushing and listened very nicely. We got a score of 70% (14th place) so very happy with that effort except for the middle, such a shame!

Took him back to the float and untacked him. Just got his waterproof cover on when it started hailing. Mmmm, lovely weather! Hid in the float for a while before heading over to the ring to watch Lynette. After 4 seasons passed in the next hour, it was time to get ready for the 1m class. Of course it absolutely poured down as I got ready, but again stopped when I got on.

The 1m class was very rushy the whole way round and a bit disunited after he decided he couldn't possibly finish his flying change with all 4 legs going in the same direction, but he jumped very nicely, getting a score of 72.5 & 8th place.

The 1.05m class was much nicer, he was listening a lot better, less rushy & more settled. However unfortunately I bought him back to trot in our warm up circle which gave us the obligatory 65% score. Stupid mother!!

Then whilst warming up for the last class we had everything. Hail, thunder and pouring rain. Thankfully it stopped after 15 minutes, but it was certainly very uncomfortable for a little while there!! Also thankfully the SH group were wonderful and kept moving the jumps sideways every few classes so that when you went in you weren't having to deal with horribly pugged up take offs.

The 1.10m high points class made the whole day worthwhile though. He jumped nicely, was lovely & consistent in the middle & was just generally a very nice ride. What was even nicer, was that we got placed! We got 5th, on a score of 77.5%, which earnt us 1 point. What a luffly clever pony he was! And another plus is that he didn't drop a rail in any of the classes, despite the heavy conditions, so I think its safe to say his muscles are fixed!

Photos by Take The Moment - www.takethemoment.co.nz

22 October 2008

I can ride again!!

After having some serious doubts as to whether I was going to be able to ride again anytime soon, I went to see Lynette who gave me some great stretches to do on my arms. After that, since I could actually fully extend my arms & move them again, I decided to go & have a ride on Flynn, to see if there was any chance I would be able to ride him at the Show Hunter this weekend after all...

Turns out that not only can I ride, I can jump too!! I started off by putting out 2 poles & practiced cantering over them and getting 3 strides and 4 strides in the middle. What a hard exercise that was! Flynn had his slightly non-listening ears on, as he's still not 100% balanced on his left rein canter, but tried really hard on the right rein. We are also able to complete flying changes on both reins, albeit after a few "enthusiastic attempts from the back end", but no more going back to trot to get the correct lead anymore, which is fantastic!! I don't think its going to be too long until he can do them properly. He already has the left lead to right lead pretty much sorted, its just the right to left he gets muddled with. Not helped by the fact that his butt muscles still sorting themselves out. With it all going so well, I decided I might as well try & see if jumping was possible & it was! Which was great, he wanted to tank into the small upright, but after a few canter/walk and canter/halt transitions in a few places including coming into the jump, he learnt that maybe it was better to just wait instead of trying to take over.

Onwards & upwards from here!!

20 October 2008

Flynn the DQ?

Well with me being out of action, Karen has been doing an absolutely spectacular job of schooling Flynn for me. So much so in that he is already a lot more balanced and responsive and straight.

His trot has improved out of sight, now that he is straighter, he has developed a lovely big trot, complete with a bit of elevation! No more shuffling for us!

He can also now maintain a frame when you give away the rein for a few strides!

Flynn has a makeover

On Sunday I went with Karen out to the orange pony, where he then proceeded to have a complete makeover. Karen pulled his mane, clipped his legs, beard and all the wispy hairs off. He then got a bath & slathered in some staysound as he had come in with 2 swollen legs. Not sure what he was doing in the paddock! Here are some photos after his bath

05 October 2008

Poor Flynny!

Took Flynn to Claire McGowan yesterday as he's been disuniting a lot when asking for flying changes & doing the odd buck when asking for canter. Turns out he's ripped his stabiliser muscle in his butt on the near side. Hence only sometimes being silly & not constantly silly, still being able to jump etc, etc. Apparently its not a muscle they use all the time, only when its needed, so very easy to miss when its been damaged. I feel so bad, she thinks he would have done it a few months ago, so its a week of no canter, lots of lateral trot walk (thank god he likes sideways work!) & lots of massage for 3 weeks. Thankfully it is a relatively easy fix as although its not a muscle in constant use, it is full of nerves, so will come right nicely. Next show still on track for Show Hunter at Leamington 26th October as ok'd by Claire. I have my op on Tuesday, so for 3 weeks Karen will be riding him & making a DQ & I'll pretty much start riding a few days before the show.

28 September 2008

Flynn Can Fly!!

Had an Adult Ride rally at PC on Sunday, which was a games rally. We had a blast walking between covers on poles, going through zigzag poles etc. Did the barrel race and proved you can go really fast when disunited LOL Then after that it was the jumping games and we did the Barrel Jump & Tip & Out.
Barrel Jump was a lot of fun, started off with 3 barrels on their sides, then took one out each time until we got down to 1 barrel. Cleared that & then put 2 upright barrels side by side. Cleared those 2 as did a few others including one of our resident dressage queens, so a lot of laughs were had with that one.
Then onto the Tip & Out. We just had the 1 pole, no fill, no ground line, no nothing. Was up against Jannine's lovely boy Rumble with Claire on board, so in no time we were over the 1m mark. Going up 2 holes at a time, it got very hairy, very quickly & before we knew it, we were at the top of the jump stand on 1.49m!! I honestly thought he was going to go under it, he put his head down & got very deep, before taking over & clambering out over the top, leaving it standing. Not sure how that happened!!! Photos courtesy of Ross Vaughan.

Paddock Ride

On Sunday we set up the jumps paddock with all the jumps again, as they were taken down over winter. We set up the walls etc & on Wednesday, Karen came up with the video camera. We worked on keeping Flynn on a waiting stride, instead of a bowling on with no control stride. Seemed to work quite well & Karen's given me some exercises to do, which will help as well. We put some of the jumps right up to 1.15m, which was exciting & Flynn didn't miss a beat. I really think he's gotten so much more confident in himself which is really nice.

25 September 2008

September 2008 - 1* Show Jumping at Woodhill Sands

The season has started! YAY!! Be interesting to see how this season pans out, there are not many SJ/SH shows in the Auckland area this season & I have promised myself I'm not travelling too far this season with petrol being what it is. We're a bit tight at the moment as the higher grocery & feed bills are eating into the last of our disposal income. Anyway, decided to be creative and did some baking to take with me to Woodhill Sands as it was going to be a long day. Was going to do our first ever 1.10m, the plan was to enter the first class (1.05m) and the last class (1.10m) Got up at 5.30 & packed the car and headed out to the pony. Washed his legs and tail and ended up leaving the paddock much later than planned. It then took me longer than planned to get to Woodhill Sands, so I missed doing the first class as arrived 5 minutes before it started. They offered to let me still put in a late entry for it, but would have had to have ridden first & it just wasn't worth the stress, that trying to get ready in time would have caused. So I entered the 1m instead & relaxed & went & watched my friends ride instead! Much more pleasant! The baking was a success too!
Poor Flynn though, we were 42nd to go in the class and didn't end up riding until 3pm. He warmed up very, very nicely, all Karen's hard work on the dressage is really paying off! Photos courtesy of Mel

Then it was our turn, we trotted nicely into the ringAnd had a mild gawk at the judges

And that was the end of the manners. We cantered our circle, the bell rang and he was off! Flynn decided that the speed best set for this course would be a quick tanking canter, whilst being on his forehand and heavily leaning on my hands. No amount of half halts were getting through to him. He jumped nice enough

But I ended up deliberately asking the impossible of him in the jump off as I really wanted him to come back to earth, so instead of doing a big circle around, I made him dog leg a corner, only he wasn't listening & fought right the way up the jump & jumped it hollow & knocked it with his stifles. Silly pony! Was really nicely behaved after that & waited very politely!! Funny that!! Then it was about an hour before our next class, so went back to the float, only to find out that the horse parked next to us, had kicked in the back window of its owners Prado. Glad we weren't around then!! Finally the time came round for the 1.10m. They split the class in half and had each half jumping in each ring as the training ring had finished. I ended up riding at 5.30 and got a lovely clear first round, with 2 rails in the jump off. Both of them my fault, so very, very happy with our first attempt. I wasn't nervous, he didn't feel overfaced and all in all, it was the perfect start to our season. Rock on the next show!!