Friday, 3 November 2017

Silver Hills ODE October 2017 - Show Jumping and final thoughts

There was a nice big 3 hour gap between cross country and showjumping, thankfully, so Allie and I got to have a nice long rest.

They were running 45 minutes late with the course walk, and so after I walked it we scooted back to the float to tack up and get ready.

I shouldn't have bothered rushing because the warm up was a shambles. Nearly 70 riders all wanting to get their showjumping done so they could pack up and go home, the gate steward was the same as last year, the guy who didn't get my number down three times and made me wait long time. Surprise, same thing happened this year! I was number 57. He told me to go after 45, and I kept my eye on her. She went in, and he told 67 to go in after her even though I had been waiting so long! I literally sat on Allie in the heat for over an hour. It was bullshit.

Anyway, finally I just pushed in and was polite but firm stating I had to go pick up my 2 year old and could I please go in, as I had been waiting for so long (the issues with riding a boring bay horse, I suppose, is that no one remembers you). So finally, in I went. Linda warmed me up again, basically just getting me to ride the shoulders, keep sitting tall, get the canter right and just let the jump come to us.

We had one rail down which was my fault as I didn't get my line right and we jumped it on an angle. But other than that, I was happy with the ride. We did it well within time (she's getting much faster!) but were controlled 99% of the time, she jumped confidently, and y ankles managed to do their job for that minute and a half so we were good.

Overall, we finished 19th out of 32, on a score of 78. I felt really positive about the dressage, awful about my riding in the cross country but proud of my mare for looking after me, and felt happy with the showjumping both her and my riding, considering how bloody tired we both were.

Take aways for next time? Wrap my ankles, be fitter and stronger. Weigh less (I really am a bit too heavy for her), and just be there for her 100% - leg on, leg on, leg on (and SIT UP)!

I'm really looking forward to competing next year, if we can make it work. She really is a pleasure to take showing, easy to float, chills out tied up, eats, drinks (a little bit once she's super thirsty), is calm and not very spooky at all. I have an amazing group of friends and supporters who came to help and watch and coach, who I could not ave done this without. I have no idea how people go eventing alone.

Anyway, that's it! Our one and only comp of the year, done and dusted.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Silver Hills ODE October 2017 - Cross Country

I had bugger all sleep on Saturday night. My cross country was at 10.17am so I could have slept in a little but I ended up waking up at 5am anyway, and show nerves kicked in, blast them.

I was so tired, but Allie was a little pooped so I knew I had to warm her up in front of my leg and wake her up a bit - while waiting to go into the warm up she was almost falling asleep with a hind leg resting while the 95cm cross country was running literally right in front of us. Poor mare, we weren't really fit enough to be eventing, but luckily it's a short course, optimum time was 3 min 45 sec.

The warm up at Silver Hills is weird. It's a long straight line with two likes of jumps with space in the middle to ride up the far end, then you turn around, gallop back over fences, then try not to gallop straight over the gate steward. The right hand side is the smaller warm up jumps and the left is the larger. This year, we actually jumped the larger warm up jumps, two of which are a good 95cm! She certainly woke up after that, haha.

It was the same course as last year, and I knew we could jump everything in it. After the water (obstacle 3), my ankles, especially my right, started to feel very damn weak. I could barely get up off her back to let her gallop, they were that bad. I never lost my stirrups though, thanks to my fancy new Freejumps, but honestly I thought I wasn't going to make it around, I was riding that poorly.

We came to the downhill ski jump, which I wasn't worried about, except I couldn't actually get my leg on her and sit up, so she stopped. I was so cranky with myself, and she hadn't got her mojo on yet by that point. We quickly circled and she flew over it the second time with a few whacks of the whip, and then she just kinda took over - we have run this cross country course about 4 times now, and she just took a sharp turn to the next jump almost by herself, the funny girl. I even said out loud "you know where you are going, don't you?".

The rest of the jumps, she absolutely flew over. She was a total packer and she really really looked after me. She galloped so fast that even with the stop, we were 1 second below optimum time! We have never been under optimum time! I was bloody stoked with that.

The last three logs I was just hanging on wishing it were all over. My ankles and lower legs were in agony, and I was not enjoying it, which sucked big time. She galloped over the finish line and I pulled her up and took my feet out of the stirrups and let them dangle. I have no idea why they were so bad, but my body really let me down. I probably should have jumped in the two weeks leading up to the show, I guess.

You have seen us jump this before. She's not wasting energy over this anymore!

Pathetic little brush jump. It looks so sad, haha.

The stupid ski jump. It looks so tiny with all the long grass.

I love the way this jumps. There's a dip on the landing side and I like the way the horse drops into it.

Look at this saint of a mare! This is the scary trakehner with the rather deep ditch in front. She launched herself over it and really looked after me because I was useless by this stage.

So we had 20 jump faults, no time faults, and we were in 20th place. Next up, showjumping! Will my ankles give way? Or will my stupid limbs stand up to the challenge?

Dressage Pro Photos Silver Hills

Blogger won't let me edit my last post so I'm dumping these photos here.

Doesn't she look fancy?

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Silver Hills ODE October 2017 - Dressage

So, after Jump Club I decided that I would enter Allie and I in for the 80cm intro at Silver Hills t the end of October. Neither of us were really fit, and I hadn't been doing any dressage, so yeah, of course I thought it would be a good idea.

In the weeks leading up to it I had a couple of lessons with Linda and Allie gave us both the best most amazing walk and trot work of her life, and the worst bullshit mare crap I have ever had from her. Literally she would be trotting along beautifully into the contact, with a lovely cadence and I would dare to ask for inside flexion and BAM - she would throw in a stop and nothing would get her moving again, not pony-club kicks, not cracks of the whip, not Linda waving her arms, and she would even back up all the way across the arena, until finally she would rear, I would pull her down, and she would trot off again like nothing happened. Every time this happened I just followed the contact and didn;t give her the release that way but she keeps bloody trying it.

Anyway. Friday I rode alone and it was bloody awful. Full blown high-ho Silver moments, and the rest of it was tense and yuck. Thankfully Linda drove down to warm us up for dressage on the Saturday.

Warm up went fairly well, considering. We had one big rear (that no one caught on film, sadly) but the rest of it I rode the very damn best I could and Allie truly appreciated it.

This photo was taken after her one big rear in the warm up. She had her hissy fit, then decided I was in charge after all. She got a nice rest for that epiphany

Discussing the game plan

After this we went looking for arena 1, which was not where we thought it was. Luckily I was running early so I got to the arena right on time.

Here's the test.

I'm fairly happy with the test, for the most part. The right canter she picked up the wrong lead because I bumped her with my outside leg, but she came back to me easily and popped straight into the correct lead the second time. Out free walk was not what it should have been. Just as my test started a bloody great green tractor turned up and started driving around doing god-knows-what so that didn't help.

Here's my test paper:

64%. We were sitting in 21st out of 30-something riders. Not bad for our only dressage outing of the year, with only about 7 dressage rides all year at home. Haha.

Next up - cross country.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Twilight Jump Club

The local 2000 olympic equestrian venue, Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC) is an amazing venue, as you would expect. I've ridden there quite a few times now, but I've never ridden in the indoor - until quite recently.

Sydney Eventing has resurrected Twilight Jump Club on the second Tuesday of every month and I managed to get Allie there in October.

We did two rounds, and she did fantastic.

Next up - Did we get to Silver Hills ODE?

Monday, 30 October 2017


So, back in September, all the stars aligned and I managed to take Allie to a derby day to do a 60cm and an 80cm derby round. The derby is a mix of cross country and show jumps.

Allie was a freaking super star. As you know we have barely done anything this year, and we certainly haven't ridden off property, let alone competed. So I decided to do a 60cm round, then depending on how we went there, I would either scratch the 80cm or ride hors concors in the 80 (as it was an unofficial comp/training day).

The 60 was a piece of cake. Allie was a gem, jumped everything with confidence, and left me feeling like I needed to give the 80 a red hot go, even though some of the jumps looked bloody scary.

The 80 went awesome, too. There were a few fences I was worried about - a rather large trakehner, a blue painted house, and a big table top.

She flew over the trakehner no problems, but we had a stop at the house because, curse my wretched legs, I just didn't have them on. She thought about stopping again the second go around but as you can see from the video, she hopped over and then totally got in her grove! By the time the table top came along (not in the videos) she flew over that, too. I yelled out "F*ck yeah!! Oops, sorry!!" as I galloped away from it toward the water.

The day was bloody awesome, Allie was a champ, and we came away with a second in the 80 and a third in the 60! Always nice to come home with a ribbon or two.

Flying over the big table

We have our "it's business time" faces on here.

Hanging out between rounds

Winner winner chicken dinner!


Through the water

Monday, 14 August 2017

Can't Stand It

I've been perusing the major real estate sites for affordable acreage for years now. And I've been getting more and more upset with the unaffordability in Sydney that I must have given up on the idea for a while there.

I struggle to keep Allie in work. I hate not having her at home. I need to be able to bring rehab cases home so I can care for them properly. I hate sharing my space with other human beings, parking close and hearing their arguments and their kids scream and smelling their cigarette smoke. I hate living in suburbia. But what can I do?

Honestly, a vacant 5 acres close to me is currently on the market for $5,000,000.

It's never going to happen.

Unless... Unless...

My husband has finally come around to the idea. He wants it as much as I do now, and he's willing to travel an hour+ to get to work to be able to live that life.

One step closer. Now all we need is affordable acres to buy!