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!!

August 2008 - Karen starts riding Flynn

It has started, the process where Flynn gets morphed into a dressage horse... My friend Karen has started riding Flynn twice a week as she sold her lovely elementary dressage horse & wanted a new project without having to commit to buying another horse. We have taken some before photos as have also started him on Muscle Max as he lost a bit of weight over the last part of winter due to having nothing but mud to eat... Excuse the bad grainy quality of the photos, was taken with my cell phone.

Winter 2008 - Winter Show Jumping at Papatoetoe PC

Figured since Flynn had had quite a stop start summer season, with all his abscesses etc that I would keep him in work over winter to do the winter show jumping series at Papatoetoe PC (Formerly the NRM Series). It was every 3rd Sunday and I worked I could give him a week off after each one & still keep him fit enough to compete at them. This way giving a good balance between still being in work & still being able to have a break. I also figured he knew how to jump, so didn't jump him at home until the day before each one, just spent the time really working on our flat work and trying to get it nice & sorted before the new season started. We didn't get any ribbons at the series, but managed a top 10 finish in every class we entered, so finished the series in 15th place out of 69 entrants over the series. Had a couple of intersting days, had to do our first ever liverpool & our first ever skinny SJ. What a good boy, he just came round the corner, lined them up & just jumped them without hesitating. I honestly think that he's finally clicked on & starting to trust me, to just do what I've asked of him. Here are some random photos from the series, all of the photos are 1.05m except the orange upright which is 95cm. Photos care of Jannine

24 September 2008

April 2008 - Te Rapa HT

Last chance to qualify. Will we do it? He's been going really well, dressage feels sorted, SJing has been sorted for a while & surely he'll go clear on the XC this time round, he's been over everything before??
We were 12th after dressage, clear in the SJing

Then Sunday happened. I think I would really much prefer eventing if you didn't have to do XC LOL Nice hard course today, lots of ditches, combinations & a lovely massive corner. Excellent!
Left the start box & jumped the first 4 jumps & then headed up to the trakhener. I actually wasn't worried about this, as he'd jumped it last year without even looking at it, so wasn't even in a defensive sitting up position coming into it. I can honestly say that he wasn't feeding off my nerves on this one, I really wasn't worried about it. Turns out I should have been.
He came into it flatout & then at the last possible nano-second, he stopped, dropped his should & turned himself inside out & headed back in the other direction. No way was I able to stay with that & managed to cannon off in great style. Didn't land in the ditch, so that was a good start. Got up, dusted myself off & jumped into the landrover, were I was driven to the start box & reunited with my snot of a horse.
Got back on & galloped back out again. Galloped past the trakhener as at this stage, my new found confidence was severely goneburger & I knew I wouldn't be able to bluff my way over that & didn't want any more stops to destroy any more of my remaining low levels of confidence. Came down the hill & jumped the double nicely with the skinny at the back

Then carried on to the bank complex & then the water. I'm a little angry now as have started to feel a bit achey, so growled & made Flynn jump straight in the water off the ledge, which he did with no hesitations, then off to our first small coffin comination. Straight over that & out to the offset double, did that beautifully, as well as all the rest of the course. Sailed over the big coffin combination out the back, over the big corner. Finished up after going over everything clear (bar the trakhener) & was actually quite happy with Flynn. Packed up float & headed home, slightly gutted that we hadn't qualified but optimistic in that it didn't really matter, we'd done really well at Puhinui, so realistically had still managed my goal. As I was driving along, my left hand started to really, really hurt. Turns out I had dislocated my little finger at the knuckle and broken it just before the first joint. So was really, really proud of myself for getting back on & completing the course! LOL I do however think we will give up eventing, I don't really enjoy it & being that nervous & doing it anyway? Not so much fun!!

April 2008 - Woodhill Sands HT

Entered Woodhill Sands as thankfully with all the hard ground about, at least I knew it was all on soft ground! LOL Booked in mine & Flynn's accomodation at Chateau de Mel for Friday and Saturday night as I was on at 8.50 in the morning for dressage.
Dressage went really well, we managed to get 8th equal. Starting to be a far cry from the days of finishing last or 2nd to last in the class!

Then it was time for SJing, our favourite part!! There was quite a bit of carnage in the SJing, heaps of rails & refusals. We went clear, which put us into 1st place overnight by 0.2%. Nothing like a bit of pressure!

Day of the XC came around & good grief, I was super nervous! LOL If I could go clear, I would be able to finish top 4 & that would have been my qualifier for Taupo. Good bold course, our only downfall was that you had to jump over a log into the water jump which I hadn't expected, training up until now has always been small drops with a ramp option, but not today! Flynn was super awesome on the XC course, went to spook at a few things but thought better of it & just powered over everything in front of him.

In fact we were going great guns, until we had to cross the arena to get to the water jump. He stopped & spun around about 200m away from the water jump which nearly got me off as I was not expecting it whatsoever!! Managed to turn him & get over to the water jump but still had a stop at the water, circled & went in with guns blazing on the next attempt, go the ugly arm photo!

Then off to do the rest of the course & he just carried on flying around. Over the chevron half way up the steep hill, over the big corner up the hill, over everything. He even came straight down the steep hill with no hesitations, such a far cry from the Henderson ODE!! It was such a great feeling, I got off, for the first time ever, I felt like I could have gone again. Wow, I actually just enjoyed an XC course. What the?!! LOL

We ended up with 6.8 time faults & 20 faults from the 1 stop at the water & finished up 15th overall. Our best result yet! Man I love my pony!!!!