Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Next Up...

I booked my next test today - Prelim 1B at Syd Int Equestrian Centre on 30th September. That gives me two months to get my shit together - doable right?


Monday, 30 July 2012

Dressage Semi-Fail

The dressage day yesterday was disappointing.

I got food poisoning on Thursday which did not set me up well for the weekend - I am only just now able to eat a proper meal without feeling sick. Saturday afternoon I took Allie out to practice our tests - it was really messy. Y U NO Left flexion? Y U NO straight lines? Y U NO canter? You get the picture.

Sunday I planned to wash and plait up at home in the morning as I had a late draw - but Allie had other ideas. She was in the WORST mood I have ever seen her in - striking, pawing the ground, swinging her butt around, BITING ME while I was trying to plait up. The works. She put me off and I felt cranky and was not having fun. She was totally not herself - I think she was upset about being washed early in the morning instead of getting breakfast hay out in the paddock. I DID use warm water though, I'm not a total witch.

We ended up loading her and finished plaiting up when we got there. She was a lot calmer but still on edge.

Natalie plaited up for me - I was too grumpy.

As we were so early (like, 2 and a half hours early) we went and watched some tests and chilled out.

She started sooking really badly while we were chilling out. I think she felt bad.

"I'm really sorry mum - please don't hate me!"

When I finally did get on, she actually felt really good - much more relaxed than last time, willing to canter and I had a little left flexion. Good! But we lost quite a bit of right flexion and there was no flexion at all either way in the canter. The videos of my tests shows how rushy she was which explains why she fell into her downward transitions.

Gear check. Very important, can't forget those white gloves!

Warming up

Video (turn down the sound, the wind is quite noisy)

We scored 55.25% on this test. Last time we did this test (our first test) we scored 64.5%. Judge's comments were" Regular at all paces. Willing and capable of better than this performance. Needs to be gathered together and engage. Keep trying". We had a 4 (insufficient) for our right canter circle (sad face) but a seven (fairly good) for our free walk (yay).

We untacked for about 20 minutes between tests and then for a warm up I just sort of walked around trying to chill her out at first. She offered some nice trot work but I had a stitch from wolfing down a burger (BAD MOVE LISA especially after food poisoning) so I didn't maintain it for long. There were quite a few other horses warming up and she isn't used to that - she kept trying to leap into a trot or a canter and went heavy in my hands. Then she did her 'contact means I can't go forward' thing where she gets all offended if I ask for her to give and be soft and she gets all sticky and won't go forward nicely. Ugh.

The second test was in a different part of the grounds on a sand arena with OMG SHEEP!! in the next paddock. She was not impressed and kept trying to pop up and look at the sheep but wasn't rubber necking or anything. She was quite tense in this test as was I - I just wanted it over.

This test we scored 50.909%. Comments were "Obviously new on the job. Just needs to focus and be attentive to the rider's aids. Patiently ridden". We had five 4's (6 including a 4 for the overall submission). Bah. I can see why.

Basically, for the first test, it was ALL my fault - even the judge noticed she was capable of a better test - I let her down, got tense, worried and didn't just 'let it happen' like I should have. It was a pity as I really could have improved on her score from last time if I had just chilled out. Maybe even gotten a ribbon. The first half of the test wasn't too bad.

The second test you could tell I was tense, she was worried about those stupid sheep, but we got through it with gritted teeth. At least I didn't forget the test (other than forgetting where G was to halt!).

Peektures? Ok.
Aaaaand.. we are done.

Funny story - while waiting in the office for my test papers, I was surrounded by about twenty 12 year old (or younger) girls. They all beat me. I know it is silly to be bummed by that (they were all probably riding old schoolmasters or otherwise well schooled older educated ponies) but I can't help it.

Glad that is over.
Allie loves Andrew.

Checking out the cross country jumps.

Nice bum, but those hooves need a trim.

Screen caps

Ah well - I have a lesson with Ann on Saturday (after 3 trims - ouch!). I will be asking her for homework and booking in another lesson asap - I really really want to work hard on this and get out to another dressage day at the end of next month hopefully at Sugarloaf or something.

Positives to take away from this? It was an outing - counts towards experience for us both. The judge said the second test was 'patiently ridden' - bloody oath. Also, she looked pretty. Oh! AND I wasn't too fat for my jodphurs after having lost a kilo and a half from the food poisoning. Win!

Friday, 27 July 2012


I have another couple of tests on Sunday - Prelim 1A (again) and Prelim 1C.

I saw a cool video where they put the judges marks/comments as annotations and I thought I would do it on my video of Allie's first test to remind myself what should have improved (and also because I was home sick from work today).

So, here it is:

Kitten Update (with a little video)

Remember these guys?

They are 6 months old and all grown up now. These are the two we are keeping - Herman (the brown boy) and Fluff (yes really, the little princess who is adored by Andrew). Have a video of how completely beautiful they are:

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Where Have I Been?

This afternoon, I fly out of Queenstown New Zealand back home after a 12 day road trip from the Auckland to here with my husband, best friend and her boyfriend. View from my Queenstown hotel below.

It has been awesome, but I am so ready to get home. I miss my pets like crazy - my cat, two kittens, Allie and of course Gracie.

I did something silly though. I entered a couple of tests this Sunday. I repeat, I have TWO tests this Sunday and I have done no riding or schooling to prepare. Nat has been looking after all the pets and has schooled Als a couple of times for me and apparently she has been doing well under saddle (but has been a witch to load on the float).

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Annual Review

So I stole this from Melissa at the Paradigm Farms blog, thought it would be fun to do.

Rate yourself as your horse would rate you on your horse management skills.

Core competencies:

A: Needs improvement
B: Meets expectations
C: Exceeds expectations

B - Meets Expectations. Allie is kept clipped and they are both rugged, their hooves picked nearly every day, they are brushed before every ride and sometimes just 'cause. They enjoy being groomed too, Als especially. She even likes having her mane pulled (which reminds me, it IS getting rather long...)

Riding abilities:
A: Needs improvement
B: Meets expectations
C: Exceeds expectations

Ugh. This one goes up and down. I think A - Needs Improvement. I definitely need some lessons and to take them more regularly! Canter is killing us at the moment, it ruins the magic of the rest of the schooling ride. :(

On time completion of scheduled activities, farrier, vet, vaccinations, de-worming:
A: Needs improvement
B: Meets expectations
C: Exceeds expectations

B - Meets Expectations. I tend to leave their feet untrimmed a bit longer than I would any of my client horses, but only because of the whole trade curse - I could do it any time, so I'll do it tomorrow. Plus I tend to leave them to road trim on occasion! (shhh!).
Vaccs, teeth etc all UTD, but I don't worm as regularly as I should - I don't like just throwing wormer down their throats blindly - fecal egg counts FTW!

Level of endearing comments regarding said equines, both online and in person:
A: Needs improvement
B: Meets expectations
C: Exceeds expectations

B - Meets Expectations. I DO love my horse and will talk about her to anyone who will listen but she really is a big doofus and does some pretty stupid things for no god damned reason - this makes me exasperated and I quite often say bad things about her! Whoops...

Stylishness and comfort of transportation rig (trailer / truck):
A: Needs improvement
B: Meets expectations
C: Exceeds expectations

A - I think they would both say Needs Improvement - only because Gracie travels better when the back is closed up and that makes it hot in there - we need to add barn doors and wurly birds.

Number of treats per interaction:
A: Needs improvement
B: Meets expectations
C: Exceeds expectations

A! I hardly ever feed treats. Nat always cheats when catching them and takes a little handful of grain to catch them with but I never do. They are lucky to get maybe a carrot each per month! Poor ponies, someone call the RSPCA!

Cleanliness of stables and pastures:
A: Needs improvement
B: Meets expectations
C: Exceeds expectations

Another A I think - I always muck out every day and on sunny days I sweep up the shavings, lay lime down, and leave it to soak it up, but I don't pick up poo in the paddocks - rather I spread it out over their chosen poo areas, and the tie-up outside the stables always requires a good sweep (although I normally do pick up the poo under there!). Another whoops. They don't seem to mind!

Well - looks like I need to pick up my game!!