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!

Hunua Horse Trial 21/22 Feb

Speaking of useless, OMG! I am terrible! I cost us 2nd place :(

I had been going out & having fortnightly lessons with Angela. This has involved changing how I ride & getting Flynn straight, not letting him go out through the right shoulder anymore. Well this has been so good for us, we have more elevation again & very strong powerful trot (when he's not being cocky & evading me by trotting off & ignoring me!!)

Weather was diabolical all week heading into the HT & I was starting to get really nervous with Flynn having no back shoes on with the wet slippery ground. Lucky for us, we were 4th to go in the dressage before it all got too cut up, so he did a lovely dressage test, think from memory it put us 7th? I then raced over to the Sjing and managed to go 2nd, again, trying to avoid slipping over in the mud after too many people had gone through. It was so murky & yuck that it was a real effort for Flynn to pull his legs out of the mud & unfortunately he took a rail in the double. However this was good enough to move us up to 3rd as everybody had many, many rails. So glad we went early!!

Sunday was an early morning as I'd managed to find a farrier to put back shoes on Flynn so that I could whack in the biggest studs I could find. Went and warmed up & decided that it might be safest to jump down the outside line on the fences as the middle was going to be pretty cut up by the time our class got out on to the course. Turned out this was a good idea and Flynn jumped around clear with no loss of footing or anything. However, by saying he jumped around clear, I mean he jumped every jump I put him at. And unfortunately coming out of the water, I thought the roll top was for Pre Novice, so literally pulled him out of it, including saying to him "no Flynn not this one". Wasn't until I walked over to watch the Pre Novice and saw they weren't doing that jump, that I realised that duh, it was mine & I should have jumped it after all. Went back to the board & sure enough, we had a lovely big E next to our name. Which is a shame as the person sitting 2nd in front of us had run outs & we would have finished up in 2nd place at our first Horse Trial back. Mel had very nicely come out & taken photos for me, however it also meant she had to put up with me cursing & swearing and kicking stones all day LOL Thanks Mel for putting up with me!!More photos to come

15 April 2009

Papatoetoe 2 Day Event - Pre Training 31 Jan/1 Feb

Unfortunately I've been a little useless at updating my blog, so I can't actually remember how it went, I just know that he did a lovely test to sit top 10, clear SJing to go 6th & then clear XC to finish 5th and get a lovely multicoloured rosette. Yes, yes I am useless :D

Lesson with Angela Lloyd - End of Jan

Decided if I was going to seriously try & do horse trials again, that I needed to start putting more importance on the lessons and doing stuff correctly for a change, so booked a lesson with Angela Lloyd. I tend to spend my money on competing and have nothing left for lessons, however I do believe that I would be making better use of my budget if I start having fortnightly lessons. Richard very nicely came out with me and took lots of photos.

We started off over a 4 stride line and I had to really work at sitting up & waiting for the fence (hmm, I can see my flop forward & put him off balance routine isn't going to cut the mustard here!!)
I also found out that I am particularly good at stopping riding after the fence as well. I had that down to a fine art, would come over a fence, land & just relax & stop riding until I lined up my next fence where I would sit up and put my legs back on again. To that end, there will be no more letting Flynn plonk along with his back end way out the back and his front end long & out the front LOL I have to get him more connected and get his back legs stepping underneath him better which will help everything, dressage, show jumping and my cross country which will actually have a bit more purpose LOL Not a great photo but he's actually using his butt!
We moved on to some more technical lines, including very tight corners before jumps and I worked on my position a lot more and really worked hard on keeping my legs on at all times. It worked amazingly as all of a sudden Flynn started jumping differently. He started using his back end. I nearly fell off a couple of times as wasn't expecting to pushed out of the saddle quite like that!

Once I got the hang of things, Angela decided it was time to scare me by making us do some XC fences. No pre training warm up fence here, it was straight into the training fences with the big ditch and a few pre novice jumps thrown in as well. We were testing his new found bravery & accuracy (& my riding) by having to jump over a ramp that had hay bales on either side at the top and an upright haybale sitting in the middle of it leaning against the fence, giving you a small area to jump over. Flynn did this first pop, but please ignore my position!! For some reason I completely freaked out right before the jump. Just as well my pony ignores me sometimes! As you can see, he wasn't fussed, he even has his eyes closed We then had to jump a dog kennel with a picket and telegraph pole in the front of it, on an angle to get the 2 strides to the nice roll top behind it
Also had to jump the horrible big ditch Complete with new found enthusiastic back end *sigh*

On the plus side, Flynn has a new admirer, Angela was very complimentary about him (apparently if he goes missing, I'll know whose paddocks to search!) & said lots of nice things which is always really lovely to hear!! Luff my pony, he tried his heart and didn't stop at a single thing! I also felt quite proud of myself as I tried everything she told me to jump without whimping out :D Goal now is to do Pre Novice on him next season and then she can ride him from Novice upwards as I have no interest whatsoever in trying it for myself!