05 September 2009

Schooling at Home

Asked Richard to come out and fix my truck, so figured might as well get a couple of flatwork photos for the blog.

Taupo for XC Schooling


Went with Ky and Kylee to Taupo to go schooling for the weekend. With the last trip to Taupo being a little disappointing with me ending up in the water jump, I was understandably a little nervous about what sort of horse I had taken down with me. The old Flynn was so whimpy about XC jumps that he'd slide to a stop at an intro log if he hadn't seen an xc jump in a little while. Well thankfully the old Flynn has long gone, we started off over some PreTraining logs which he flew over, then straight into a PreTraining chevron, which he just lined up and went at it. Ok, cool, scrap the baby jumps then, lets just go for the training ones, which he did without a single hesitation, including over the logs into the water where we had parted company 2 years ago. Gosh I love the new Flynn, feels so confident, he really just takes you into the jumps without the slightest feel of doubt. No photos from day one as we all rode together.

Day two was a bit wet by the time I rode, but on the plus side, got heaps of photos! Started jumping anything and everything in front of us, including a big intermediate roll top and quite a few Novice jumps. Then remembered that I was just there to practice over the PreNovice stuff in preparation for our PN start at Taupo in October, so settled down and just did them instead. Figured that I am planning on having Flynn for a long time, so no point pounding him over the bigger jumps when I really just want a nice PreNovice horse for the time being :)

Flynn's baaaaack

So Flynn was turned out on the 3rd of May for 3 months holiday at his aunty Louise's place. No feed and only 1 bale of hay was consumed and he came back in FAT!! Like heavily pregnant broodmare fat! And with the joys of being a hairy stationbred, he also came back in looking like a red yeti!

First things first, Ky came out & clipped him for me, so that he look 10x more presentable. Sadly, didn't change how fat he looked LOL He was great for his first ride, not even needing to be lunged, just hopped on and went for a wander around the PC grounds. Day 2 and even Jannine rode him, he was such a good boy. Day 7 however did end up with a very fresh athletic horse LOL luckily it was just for the 1 ride and we haven't seen any more of that behaviour.

As I was away for the weekend with friends in Ohakune and we were going to Taupo for schooling the weekend after, I needed him kept fit and fed, so he got sent to Angela's for exercise. Very handy! Apparently he was a joy to have around and is allowed back any time :)

So back into it, have moved to a new grazing that has a 60x20 arena with floodlight at one end, stables, 13 acres with 4 horses on it, feed room, tack room, concrete hosedown etc... goal for the season is to do training at Te Rapa 3/4 October, then hit PreNovice at Taupo 17/18 October, with the aim to be ready for the big classes at Richfields end of November and Puhinui in December.

07 July 2009

Adult Riding Club Prizegiving

WOW. So it appears all the blood, sweat, tears and unwillingness to give up, have paid off! Flynn won the Hyde Dressage Cup, the Show Jumping Cup and to finish off the night, also took out the coveted Tele-Ho Eventing Trophy. The Tele-Ho eventing trophy is run by Angela Burrill, who gives you points for every entry, every top 10 dressage placing, clear SJ round, etc, etc. She also gives upgrade points each time you move up a grade. She was top of the leaderboard herself over the spring season, however we managed to pip her at the post with 91 points to her 64 at the end. She has worked tirelessly to score/provide prizes etc and without her generosity, this trophy wouldn't exist. The picture in the trophy is of Ange & Tele-ho jumping into the water at Kihikihi. Lovely trophy too, very cleverly done. Came away with a free Allan Goodall lesson so that should be intersting, will make sure I have photos from that one!!

Flynn also got a certificate for being "Party Popper of the Year" as he popped all the balloons on the joker fence at Pony Club camp in January "for putting his body on the line and saving everyone from the evil balloons". Unfortunately we were 2nd to go and nobody had spare balloons to redo the jump. Suffice to say everyone found the joker so much easier after that LOL

14 May 2009

Te Rapa HT - Training - 2/3 May

Hmmmm... interesting weekend actually...

Went down Friday night and rode in the sand arena as wanted him to be as acclimatised as possible. Was silly for 20 minutes and then bingo, he all of a sudden settled and started to work quite nicely.

Saturday morning dawned, weather was crap, day consisted of pretty much constant drizzle. Tacked up & rode to the sand arena to warm up and he was just beautiful to ride, lovely and soft and straight and was listening & was even soft across the top of his poll, which is always the last place to soften on him. Went over to ride up the bank to the grass arena's and he didn't want to go up there, get up the arena and then he decides to be an acrobatic idiot in front of the spectators. We even got a few giggles as I was just saying "Don't even THINK about it" when he promptly launched & leapt into the air. Did a 4 foot plant in front of the judges car, where we then promptly had our bell rang. He pulled out an amazing lengthened trot going down the long side away from the judges car & I just knew the test was going to go to custard LOL

He powered up the centreline, however managed to stay really straight, so that was a good start. Unfortunately he just got more and more energetic as the test went on and by the time came to canter, he did his elevated canter on both reins, and every single step, instead of his normal "left rein only & only the second step after transition"
Pulled him out of canter as early as possible on each rein, however I do have to say he did some really nice trot work and a lovely free rein walk (no idea how he was so relaxed when he was a such a shyite for everything else!!) After our test, I went and worked him in the sand arena again for 10 minutes. Funnily enough, he was straight back to being super nice & polite. In fact a friend who didn't realise we hadn't gone, even commented, "Gosh he's going super, I bet you hope your test is soon!" LOL oh well, never mind, its the second time he's gotten a bit tense at the grass arena's at WEC, wonder if he remembers the jet boat from last time?

Went back to the truck and changed gear for the SJing as just wanted to get it over & done with and try & get him back in his warm covers before the weather got too much worse. Thank goodness for studs, footing was pretty grotty, so jumped hard up the right side of all the practice jumps to try and get a clean track in. Went into the ring and decided with all the yuck corners that perhaps our Show Hunter "expertise" could possibly put us in good stead. Turns out it really helped, except for a small slip coming into jump 6 which resulted in our one and only rail.

Got both of us dried and changed into warm clothing before we could freeze any further.

Lucky I have all my rugs in the truck, it was so cold down there that I ended up with the woollen show rug on my bed with hot water bottle and he was wearing everything else!

Cross Country day - luckily the weather cleared up for it, as was quite an interesting track, making the most of the little steep hills. We had to do a sharp turn onto a steep short downhill to a ditch in front of a log upright. It was just like a palisade but without the solid back wall, quite weird being able to see straight through LOL I had my whip out and legs on and everything and unfortunately we had a stop there, I can honestly, hand on heart, say that it wasn't for lack of riding on my part, we even slid in to the ditch as I was so committed. After he finishing shaking & overreacting about the jump, I turned a tight circle, gave him a good smack half a stride out & he leapt over it like it was going to burn him. Had to sit up & get him controlled again as 6 strides later was a drop fence on the edge of a very steep hill. He hesitated momentarily before leaping over it, I'm sure the butt paddling he got going in to helped as well LOL
He went the rest of the way around the course clear, including jumping the big log into the water and doing all the harder options, straight through the bounce etc. Very proud of my boy by the end, he is just turning into such a machine, I am really looking forward to giving pre novice a good crack next season!!

Photos from the weekend here: http://www.takethemoment.co.nz/photos/v/events/TeRapa/Mattingley_N7324.JPG.html

26 April 2009

Adult Ride Dressage and Show Jumping Comp

Papatoetoe Adult Ride has 3 dressage and 3 show jumping comps per season, and lately we have been starting to hold them together on a Saturday to make better use of our time/people available to help set up etc. I decided to be brave/dumb and entered Flynn in the 2.4 test as although we weren't ready for that sort of test, the whole idea of the comp is to give it a go in a more laid back setting. So entered 2.4 and started to pray LOL Also, in the week leading up to the comp, our lengthened trot button decided to break. It was nowhere in sight, he would just run along, even if I balanced him right back in the corner. Not looking good LOL

Saturday came & thank goodness, as we were warming up, I discovered that our lengthen button had been reinstalled. YAY! Flynn actually ended up doing a really super test and good grief, he even won his class on 74%! he got 8s & 7s and only 1x 6 in the whole test. Even got an 8 for one of his lengthened trot movements. Ended winning not only his class, but also got the highest test score over the whole day to win the dressage part overall. Go the jumper!!

We then had the Show Jumping part of the competition. Unfortunately I was only one in my 1.05m class, ooo, guess who won? LOL but our jump off time was good enough to actually win overall in the Show Jumping, so took out that as well. I was so proud of my boy!!

Best part of the Show Jumping comp is that we encourage people to have a play at the end, so got them to put some of the jumps up. Yes well, I thought one of them looked pretty decent& sure enough, got the measuring stick out, big oxer, 1.25m high and 1.20wide. He didn't even feel laboured by it, just flew over it no worries. Got to love the orange pony! We even did it a few times to prove it wasn't a once off LOL

Then stupidity set in & I was dared to do the 1.10m upright without reins, so knotted them on his neck and dropped them a stride out to do a flying angel. Hmmm stupid much? Had a sudden thought as I flung my arms out including whip (can you see where I am going here?) that it was potentially a really dumb thing to do if he happened to catch sight of the whip out the side of his eye. Luckily he didn't even bat an eyelid and just jumped it nicely & cantered off nicely on the other side. Thank god he has more sense than I do!! Won't be doing that again in a hurry LOL

Consolidating what we've learnt

I've been having lessons with Angela every fortnight since the last week of January and I have to say, what a difference!! I no longer wiggle my hands around and they are starting to get a lot more even, I even have a photo of me riding flatwork on my friends horse & OMG and they are level! I am also getting less naggy with my legs, which means that Flynn listens when I use them, which is always nice!

Angela is really quite taken with Flynn and I've promised her I'll go to her first if I ever decide to sell him. My main problem is that I just couldn't replace him! I've even upped my bravery levels and am going to go out and do Pre Novice next season after a Training start, as we have been schooling at that level with Angela and I am not longer petrified at the thought! I have even quite happily done a few novice roll tops, so the future is definitely looking brighter.

First weekend of April I took Flynn down to PC & practiced an exercise that Angela taught me, which involes a low but heinously wide oxer and a jump 1 stride on either side of it. Jannine very nicely took photos for me
Shame he knocked this one

Then it was off to play on the XC course. I really want him to be comfortable over trakheners as that was our biggest problem at Te Rapa HT last year, so have been practicing them heaps and he's not even remotely fussed about them now! Jannine had done up a new jump for horses to be scared of, so put him over both of those. So cute over the bags they were going to eat his tootsies dontcha know!!

Not even fazed by the big hole in the ground!

Puhinui Horse Trial - Got our groove back?

Yes, yes we did! After the disaster at Rotorua where I seriously thought I had completely set us backwards, turns out we're not as stuffed as I had thought. We went out and did quite a lot of XC schooling with Angela to get really settled at it and had a great jump schooling lesson with her the week of the competition.

Dressage went really nicely, he was very well behaved, scoring 67.64%, for which gained us 11th place going into the Show Jumping. He then did a lovely clear round which pulled us up to 7th place.

And tada - lovely CLEAR cross country round. I was so stoked! There wasn't anything on the course I was overly concerned about, it was all just roll tops etc, but there was a big roll top out the back that was made wider with brush & was quite tall if you were stupid like I was & measured yourself against it at the back LOL. I was a little concerned about him going to fast into as it was at the back of the course down a hill where you then had to double back to do the corner. He actually came back quite nicely to me & jumped it well & then turned quite controllably which was nice! I really do think that speed is 100% our problem, I'm just not sure why yet...

We ended up 5th for a lovely rosette and gift pack from the sponsor of our class, I think Flynn will have a lovely untangled tail for the rest of his life as we got a Savvy Touch spray bottle plus a refill pack!! Photos to come...

22 April 2009

Rotorua HT - 7/8 March

Took a half day to drive down the Rotorua HT and am so glad I did! What a day for things to go wrong! The goal was to come home and pack, and then take Flynn's travelling palace (it had been at home getting second battery installed) & pick Flynn up & leave by 1.30 at the latest & get down there in the daylight.

First of all I could't find anything I needed at home, had washed saddle blankets & boots & put them in different parts of the house. Left home at 12.30 only to have the truck battery light come on, so went to Richards work, where we then found a really big oil leak as well. After having a look & realising there was nothing we could do, decided to take a bottle of oil with me & just keep topping it up on way down if necessary. I then decide that I had gotten new tyres on the back at last COF & was supposed to get the wheel nuts tigthened again after x amount of kms which I hadn't done yet, so pulled in there to get them to tighten them up, which they did. I then asked them since they were there, to check the air in my tyres. Lucky I did as my inside back tyre was flat as a pancake. Wheels come off to find that the sidewall has a hole in it. Luckily it can be repaired though, so after putting on a patch, I leave East Tamaki at 3.30 & head out to horse. Fill truck with water & finally get leaving just after 4. Whoops!

Was supposed to be picking up a tub of equilibrium at Matamata, the lady very nicely agreed to take it off my visa & leave the tub outside so that I could still get it as I came through. Thank goodness for daylight savings, didn't hit Matamata until 6.30 & the lovely lady had stayed behind to do long put off after hours work, just so that she could give me the tub. Big ups for GN Hills! Arrived at Rotorua in the dark & promptly missed seeing my name on the yarding list. Luckily Ray came over with a torch & helped me out. Richard then arrived as he had driven down from Auckland seperately. It was raining by this stage & suffice to say the first sleep in the truck was not a pleasant one as I had stupidly parked under trees!

Flynn warmed up very nicely for the dressage, I was starting to get quite hopeful. Until I had to leave the warm up area & go down to the end arena, where he promptly got all wary of his surroundings & tensed up beautifully. Trotted around the arena & did some transitions to try & get his mind back on the job, which mostly worked & he actually started a nice dressage test until he decided to do his usual standard issue left rein canter "elevation" LOL We even got it caught on camera for change. Its always the second stride in canter and I know always know when its coming, please excuse the heinous long reinsyes in this photo I am saying oh you little shitbag!Just have to smile sometimes
Lucky for Flynn apart from the canter he actually did some nice work and finished the dressage on 11th place.

We then went & got ready for the SJing. He was quite energetic but still produced a lovely clear round. I think it helps that he still clears them by miles LOL Though we did slip coming into the brown wall filler and I got lost & came in on a bad angle & hit a mud patch right as we took off. Going clear moved us up to 7th place

After a further disastrous evening which involved someone who shall remain nameless locking their keys in the boot with 8 bags of ice in there & my McDonalds in the front seat going cold & having to call someone out to get them to break into a certain Altezza... We then relaxed by watching Pineapple Express with Ray & Debra. Highly entertaining movie!

Sunday morning & thank goodness the weather had cleared up nicely. Flynn warmed up nice & positively, such a change from the horrible gawky pony that used to slide into the first practice fence I would put him at! Love the new version!

Unfortunately I didn't work on my speed though & I let him too long & strung out & fast and it then put him backwards & he got all apprehensive, went too fast through the gateway & tried to charge off up the driveway, by the time I finally managed to get him turned, we missed the nice slope up & had to jump the drainage ditch instead. We then cantered up to the coffin combination & had a run out at the last part of the combination (how embarrassing, probably the smallest jump on the whole course!) He had caught sight of the spectators and just wasn't paying attention at all.
Then it was off over the rest of the course. We had another run out at the second jump in the triple, I had strided it wrong and was aiming for a short upright canter coming into it, however didn't quite get there, which then put him in a bad spot for take off. That teamed with me on his neck, meant that he just couldn't do it and he ran out. Quickly represented and he jumped it beautifully. Jumped beautifully into & out of the water and then did a great superman impersonation over the palisade

So cute, go superman, go!!
With the 2 run outs, we ended up 11th, which is pretty good, however it was a tough course as only half the competitors completed it!