Sunday, 30 September 2012

Prelim 1B - or How I Got Over My Nerves

I had been so nervous about my test over the last few weeks.Mainly the canter and the fact that every time I rode the test I got all tense which made poor Als tense.

I decided to mentally turn that nervousness into excitedness. I told myself I felt that way because I couldn't wait to do the test, I would have fun, yada yada yada.

Then on the way there this morning, Natalie played this song in the car and it just got me in the perfect mood. Just as I was about to turn at A to go down the centreline I recited the lyrics "10,9,8,7,6,5,4,321 a rocket ship went off like a gun!" and we went from there!

There were a few wobbles (like a shy at god knows what right in front of the judge), but overal I was super pleased with her.

Here is the video (link here if the embeded doesn't work):

I won't bore you with my whole test sheet but Highlights included 7's for "smooth" transitions (yay!), a "fairly supple" medium walk (double yay!), a 7 for paces (as per usual) and a 7 for rider. Overall comments were "Some smooth down transitions shown, well ridden, but horse was nervous and tense today". I can work with that!

Have some photo spam:

Linda and Hoodie came too - He looked awesome!

My lovely new stock tie!

Nice neck. Pity her eyes are closed.

When she picked up the right canter I couldn't get the grin off my face for the rest of the test!

After the test. So happy!

Top grooms - Nat on the left, her friend Madi on the right.

Allie is pooped!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Why I bought Allie.

I don't think I have ever written properly about how I bought Allie. She wasn't listed in Horse Deals, wasn't actively being advertised at all. I think I was meant to find her.

It started while researching eventing horses in my area mid horse search. Googling, I came across an anglo arab stallion called Gwaihir Aubusson.

This horse looks like he would stand up to a hard day's work, every day, his whole life.

The more I googled this stallion the more I found I liked about him. He had evented, show jumped, dressag-ed, successfully completed endurance rides, modeled in the middle of the CBD of Sydney, hacked and won at Sydney Royal. He had even done stock work. He sounded like my dream horse - multi-discipline, well comformed, hard working, super quiet temperament, with the bonus of already having plenty of successful progeny out competing in various disciplines but especially eventing. Even one olympic contender, Ari De Gwaihir.

Kind looking fellow huh?

I even liked his weird name - pronounced (with a soft G as in grape) G-why-here Oh-bus-son.

Floaty balanced trotty trotty.

I always giggle at the man having a snooze in this photo. Do you reckon he is a bored horse husband?

He jumps as do most of his progeny.

I wanted one of his babies. Needed one of his babies.

Cue mad googling. I emailed his owner to see if they had anything available (they did) and I also found this listing.

Look familiar?

I had been to see quite a few horses by the time I went to see Allie. I first went to see the other filly at Gwaihir on the same day. I fell in love with the other filly. She was an anglo, 4 years old. Just broken in, being brought into work. Shod with crappy feet (that were improving, they had just bought her back from the original breeder), but otherwise healthy. I got to meet Aubusson too. He was just as sturdy, friendly, beautiful and calm as I had been led to believe.

Then I went to meet Allie. She totally gave me the cold shoulder, but went really well under saddle. She was quite a bit spookier than the other filly. She did show a little interest in me when I have her a carrot but I didn't feel that connection.

I thought my mind was made up - I was going to buy the first filly. I had clicked with her better, she had been calmer, plus I liked her name (Aura) and I hated the name Alleycat (still do).

A day or so later, I started to really look at the conformation of the two horses. Allie was superior in all ways - maybe it was the warmblood in her but she looked like she would stand up to a hard day's work. Her legs were straighter, she had perfect bare feet. No rehabbing out of shoes, no worrying about less than perfect legs. She carried herself in a more rounded frame.

I returned a few weeks later to try Allie out again and this time I took $6600 and a float with me.

I returned home that day with my Aubusson baby. Just like I wanted.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Tack Review - Equilibrium Tri-Zone Over Reach Boots

Last week my old bell boots died. They were rubber ones with velcro, white in colour with fluffy protection from rubbing around the top and I thought they looked pretty before they turned yellow and the velcro fell off. After 2 months.

So I thought I would try some heavy duty bell boots and I ended up buying these:

Equilibrium Tri-Zone Over Reach Boots

I bought them from Horseland for $69.95. The Professionals Choice version of these boots were a little cheaper but I liked the fit of these ones better.

I have ridden with them a few times now and thought I would do a little tack review.

What I like:
  • Double velcro fastening with an extra little tab so it is easy to pull off.
  • No-turn knob that sits between the lateral cartilages at the back of the foot prevents the boot from spinning (you can spin it if you use a little force with your hand but they haven't moved yet while I have been riding).
  • The velcro is pretty strong.
  • There is a thick, harder heavy duty padding over the heels.
What I don't like:
  • They are pretty ugly!
  • This is hard to describe but on the hoof the velcro seems to have been designed for a hoof that is not as round as Allie's at the front (i.e. the dorsal hoof wall) so the velcro tabs don't curve around perfectly. This doesn't affect the performance, it is just a little annoying.
  • They are designed to sit a little higher than traditional bell boots but princess pony is yet to have a rub.
Showing the heavy duty padding over the heel bulbs.
The, er... knobby bit.
So were they worth the money?

I think so, so far anyway. They seem pretty durable and for almost $70 so they bloody well should be. I expect them to last at least 12 months if I look after them properly. I'll let you know if they don't last as long as they look like they should.
Not Allie's hoof obviously. Showing the extra little pully-offy tabby thingy.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


This morning before work I was schooling Allie. We had worked left canter, tried (and sorta got) right canter then I was quickly cantering left again before trying the right lead the second time around.

To be honest it was all my fault - she was only going where I told her to go and at the last second before getting too close to the fence I asked her to turn a bit sharper than the wet grass could allow.

Cue my lovely language - "shit shit shit" and Allie's hind end fell out from under her and she landed on her left side with my leg trapped under her rib cage/saddle.

I don't remember us getting up but it was almost immediate. I walked her forward a few steps to get her away from the scene of the crime (my crime) to chill out.

"That is going to set us back weeks with her confidence" I thought to myself. After all the hard work we have been doing to get a balanced canter. I was (still am) so grumpy with myself for letting that happen.

After about 20 seconds I hopped back on fully intending to just have a little trot around to finish on. After about 2 trot strides Allie seemed to say "hey, weren't we working on the canter?" and promptly popped herself back into left lead canter and carried on LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED.

Did I then get a nice right lead canter from her to finish on? You betcha.

I have the worlds best horse I swear. I fed her all the carrots left in my fridge (about a kilo) but she deserves so much more. What a champion mare.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Dressage Lesson 15.09.12

Allie and I had another lesson with Ann yesterday. We needed one badly.

We worked on going through and forward into the contact, straight lines and the right canter lead.


Ann reminded me it will take years for Allie to be solid in the contact. But her moments are getting better and better, longer and longer.

Ann had us practicing letting allie follow the contact forward and out.

Sucking back and me not taking the contact back too. It is my responsibility to keep the contact a constant and follow her when she sucks back like this.

Example of Allie's moments. First she says "I can't stay through when you ask me to turn!" then "I am an overachiever how great am I?" then finally "This frame is sustainable".

Straight Lines
So - I had been trying to get my wiggly wobbly horse to go in straight lines by trying to straighten her with my legs. Apparently that is impossible (and glaringly obvious now). It is her shoulders I need to keep straight. With my reins. Voila! Straighter lines, happy unconfused pony. I love a simple fix!

Canter, oh canter, why do you remain so elusive?

Left canter is going alright actually - we don't get frazzled and it kinda just magically happens. Right canter though - we both freak out and apparently according to Ann, Allie has kinda gone a little dyslexic. Like, she can;t figure out which way her legs need to go which is why she gets all disunited, swaps to the left lead, spazzes out and rushes, etc. etc. etc. Then I haul on her face to stop her and she takes that as a punishment which makes her worry every time I ask her to work on it again.

I'm to let her truck along and figure it out while keeping her through and forward into the contact prior to the canter transition. If she stuffs it up, DO NOT HAUL ON HER FACE! Let her drop back into the trot again with my voice, then ask again.

We probably won't have this whole canter thing figured out in time for my test. I'm going to take her along anyway, warm her up, see where we are at and if we feel good, do the test. If not, scratch. It's not worth her spazzing out and having a bad experience just for a comp.

A few more pictures:

Boy, this dressage thing is HARD WORK!

p.s. I have dropped a size in jodphurs. So pleased about that! I'm working REALLY hard on my fitness and strength at the gym (I'm totally not a gym person so its a big deal I'm actually going there) and it is starting to show in my riding which is still looking terrible but is getting more effective.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Starting to Stress Out

Last night Allie and I floated over to the indoor again. This time I hopped on with my favorite music playing from my earphones, a clear attitude and I made a conscious effort to ride Allie the way she needs me to.

We had a MUCH better school this time.

Her main problem at the moment is she is anticipating SO MUCH and therefore isn't moving forward into the contact all the time. Or even most of the times which frustrates me and makes me push her on which makes her rush. Vicious cycle ahoy!

Last night when she got fussy about going forward I made her move AND have her room in her face to move forward into. She would then reach down seeking the contact and I could pick her up again. By mid ride, I had her confidence in my hands back and we moved on to practicing parts of our upcoming test, especially changing our diagonal via kxm and our free walk via fxm.

She LOVES the free walk. Happy to reach all the way down to the ground for that contact. Nice! Medium walk on the other hand is super friggen fussy. Ann says I need to stop fussing at her with my hands but she still fusses badly, won't walk forward into the contact, takes tiny steps as soon as I pick up the reins. Last night was a lot better but still not a real medium walk. Sigh.

So I am starting to stress about my text on the 30th. It is at Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC) and there will be HEAPS of good riders there with amazing horses and I am going to look like a noob. But I'm going anyway. Eek.

Anyway, have a crappy photo of Allie while we were having a quick break last night:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Pick Me Up

I just had a sub par schooling ride. I'm way overdue for a lesson I think. I'm super bummed about the way I rode tonight and feel like I am ruining my horse. I know I'm not but it's hard not to think that way sometimes.

How do you shake these feelings off? How do you get back on again the next day knowing you WILL get a different ride? Help me pick me up because I feel like scratching from my up coming test (wouldn't be the first time I panicked and wanted to scratch).

Allie says "Quit getting in my way and maybe I WILL canter to the right. Jeez".

Friday, 7 September 2012



She has scours though. Poor muffin. She should be ok (vets are involved) and seems otherwise happy.