Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Silver Hills Hunter Trials 28.03.16

Hey guys! I have had a SHOCKER of a week. This is relevant, promise.

On Monday at the indoor poor Evie got bitten by a cat. Then Tuesday/Wednesday she had gastro, which she gave to me, so Thursday was out for me too. Friday we were still recovering and Saturday we all woke up with head colds. Easter Sunday I felt so dizzy from a lack of sleep all week (because Evie has no chill when she's sick) so I wasn't sure if I would be OK to ride on Easter Monday at Silver Hills.

Sunday night my daughter slept through for 8 hours for the very first time ever. Which meant that I did too!! It was an Easter miracle.

So of course off we went to the hunter trial!

I signed up to do intro level (80cm) and on the course walk that 20cm difference was clearly apparent. I was already vaguely nervous but I was so glad it was a hunter trial and not a comp because some of those jumps were worrisome.

Allie was very looky and spooky in the warm up. She spooked at a white flag and didn't want to jump even the tiny logs. I ended up getting a few nice jumps in over some bigger stuff (against my internal voice who was saying "what the hell do you think you're doing? Why are you even here? You can't do this!").

Out of the start box she was sooooo looky. Got over the welcome log but had a stop at the second jump which was a biggish spread, despite me giving plenty of leg and a couple of whacks with the crop.

We did not jump this. :(

Her head was not in the game and she just wasn't with me at all. I chickened out and just put her over the 60cm jump and headed into the woods. My internal voice wanted to just pull her up and get off and cry. "Who am I kidding? We can't do this. We have no business being here".

I don't know what made me put my leg on and get her over the next jump but I just did it and she jumped ok but was still off with the fairies. She even jumped a random tall weed on the way out of the woods to the water and a jump steward laughed his arse off at us. Don't blame him. I have no idea why she did that.

Jump 3. It's bigger than it look, ok? :P

She's never had an issue with water but she even stopped going into the water! Only for a quick peek at it then trotted straight through. But still.

Into the water, ride around that jump, then out again behind it. I think Allie thought I was going to make her jump the jump and that's why she wavered and stopped.

After the water were a few downhill jumps. Thank god they were smaller jumps because I really needed to get her rolling along. Jumping downhill is scary for me so I did a few 60cm jumps until we came uphill to an inviting intro jump. Leg forward and on, click click click and over she went.

Actually the jump I was meant to do is the bigger one there. Oh well!

I'm getting a bit ahead of the game here.
The uphill intro jump

Looking a bit relieved that it went well.

Back into the woods and I rode past Natalie (who took all these photos). I said to her "tell me we can do this" in a pathetic little voice. Coming up was a big wide jump and I was still trying to get Allie to concentrate even 6 jumps in. Natalie told me "she can jump this stuff easily! You've got this!". All of a sudden Allie switched from spook mode to to work mode. She was in front of my leg and solid in my hand. She locked onto the wide jump and over we went!

Again, it's bigger than it looks.

The moment she finally realised she had a job to do.

That's better.

Curve to the right then approach the next fence on the left. My horse was back! "oh, finally decided to join me did you?". 

This log was huge. Like, wide huge.

She cantered to each jump after this perfectly. She was super committed and felt like she had been doing it her whole life. Weaving in and out of the woods, over some pretty big (to me) jumps with super confidence.

Poor excuse for a brush
This one has a short tricky approach and was atually quite wide with a drop on the other side. No problem for my supermare who finally had decided to turn up!

You can kinda see the drop here.

This was the option for the big ditch jump. We haven't done ditches yet and my delicate confidence couldn't handle it so we did the option!

I was having fun by the time we hit this jump. She didn;t worry about the width of it at all.

Quite tall and wide but we were xc machines by this point!

Easy peasy

She had a bit of a look at this one about 4 strides out but comitted straight after that and jumped beautifully.

Easy log to finish off.
I am so glad that I finsihed confidently on the xc. I had stressed about it so much mut steeled myself and got on with the job. I didn;t jump all the intro jumps but we got around. Take homes for schooling - bigger fences, water, downhill jumping. I was pretty happy with my riding - I felt quite safe and secure and didn;t feel like I got in her way at all. Just wish I had have been able to warm up more before heading out on course. I'll definetly be coming back to Silver Hills to school the scarier jumps.

I had a nice big break before showjumping so we lunched and chilled until it was time to walk the course. But - I went up to walk it and they already had riders going! I couldn;t believe it. At least I just had to watch a few go to try to figure out the course. There were some ridiculous lines tbh (watch especialls after the pink jump) but maybe that's just standard at intro level?

Ok so let's just talk about my complete lack of forward to the first jump. She was actually really forward and a bit heavy in my hands so I half halted too late and that's why she trotted. She was actually super keen to jump and was committed to everything with no issues with the exception of the pink jump, but she only needed a bit of leg and click and over she went (albeit a bit wonky). I got left behind once and then got lost and had a terrible approach to the next fence - You can see I was looking for my line and then I saw the fence right there so I was like "ok, one stride out, here it is, over you go" and she did, bless her. She took a long spot to the first jump of the combination but we got over the B part ok and then we were done. I think there were three jumps in a row that were actually well ridden and nice? Anyway.

She seems to be super comfortable at this height. 80cm still doesn't warrant much effort from her. lol. You can tell I wasn't nervous or worried at all and really I was looking forward to jumping a bigger course and having some fun. She also didn't have a rail down at all but she did knock a couple. Take home? Jump more the week before a show if you can. And get those elbows in and probably take the stirrps up a hole or two.

Uh-oh. A long spot.

Sitting on her loins - that's what you're supposed to do, right?

just LOL

At least I don't bop her in the mouth.

That's a little better.
Anyway, it was a fun day and I jumped some bigger stuff and got some more confidence, even if I looked like an idiot doing it.

The end.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Indoor Magic

I took Allie to the indoor on Monday and I have to say, that horse blew me away!

I think we have our warm up down pat - it really works for her. We do two laps on the buckle in walk, trot and canter, with the only rule being she has to stay in front of my leg. Then, we pick up the reins and do various lateral stuff with a contact in both walk and trot (tried some canter leg yields yesterday too but she couldn't hold it, although she tried very hard). Then we have a short walk/neck break and then move onto working with a rock solid connection. We spend quite a bit of time on medium walk because it's her worst gait, we work on up and down transitions both within the trot/canter and between gaits. Up transitions are great now, but down I need to concentrate and ride her forward into the downwards transition otherwise she just stops the front end and the hind end keeps coming and flips all that weight on to front end and it is NOT pretty. I've started trying canter-walk transitions but we still need a stride or two of trot both up and down for now.

Our cool downs are generally stretchy trot and walk circles working mainly off the leg. She loves doing it.

But on Monday, her canter work was phenomenal. I ended up doing four loop sepentines up and down the arena with a simple change on the centerline each loop. Her simples just got better and better and she got more and more connected! There was a time not so long ago, when I had to "trick" her into a cabter transition while hiding it amount a bunch of trot-walk-trot transitions so she would sit on her hocks. Not so anymore! And the canter itself is starting to be adjustable. Ah man, she was a gem. We had a jump too but it's hard in the indoor because it's small and the sand is deep. She did well considering.

I couldn't ride Tuesday and I'm sick today and working tomorrow. Not ideal in the lead up to a hunter trial (on Easter Monday) but, you know, life. She can cope. I just wish I had gotten jumping this week over stuff a bit more like the 80cm we are going to be doing on Monday. Maybe I can sort something out on Friday.

Natalie had a ride once I was done so these photos are of her riding.

Thursday, 17 March 2016


Gracie is on holidays at the moment at my dad's place. He's got 5 acres and there's cows next door for company.

These are today, the tips obviously aren't hindering her movement!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016


As you may or may not know, I'm a barefoot trimmer. I've wanted to offer nail on protection (laser tips, poly shoes) for ages now, buy I've only nailed on one laser tip into a live horse under supervision.

I've been trying to find a farrier to help me learn how to nail on for a while now, but not surprisingly I've had no takers.

So I've had to just bite the bullet and just nail some tips on Gracie as practice. Natalie suggested tips for Gracie as she's battling some separation and sensitive (although thick) soles. It's all insulin resistance related and we are trying to tighten up her diet but in the mean time Nat still wants to be able to ride without worrying about Gracie being sensitive.

Anyway, today was the day. I went over my notes from college a few years ago, I had already recieved all my gear in the post, and Gracie was already due a trim anyway.

I was nervous but I really shouldn't have been. I think one or two of the nails are a bit low but that's better than pricking a horse! But other than that I think I did an OK job. I'll reset them after 3 weeks because I want Gracie on a short cycle.

Anyway, after a few more goes with tips I'll try nailing on a set of easy shoes or maybe Epona shoes. I'll have a go with Allie too, even though she doesn't need the protection.

Nail ons are far far cheaper than glue ons, plus you can reuse the shoe (depending on wear). It will be more viable offering nail ons than just glue ons.

Just thought I would share!

Sunday, 6 March 2016


I was trotting Allie around the racetrack warning up for some canter sets on Friday. We were just ambling along on a loose rein when


I hit the dirt.

Allie had shied violently to the left all the way across the track. She shied at a bent piece of the railing that some stupid racehorse had banged into. I didn't have a chance as I was rising and had such a long rein - she just shied out from under me. Luckily I landed on my big fat bum and I've somehow bruised my knee and pulled something in my back, because (thanks to a naughty little grey pony we won't name) I have a bad habit of holding onto the reins when I fall off. Poor Allie copped it in the mouth and I had to let go because she was so scared she was dragging me.

Climbing back on was, well, HARD. I never mount from the ground because I like my horse and want to preserve her healthy back but I think I need to get into the habit every so often because I ended up having to scale her back into the saddle like she was a cliff face. Thankfully no one saw.

Once back on board we continued on and she kept shying violently in the same spot. I ended up riding her back and forth until she relaxed. It took a lot longer than it normally does when she's a bit scared of something. I think me falling off really scared her. She's never had someone fall off her before.

So, that's my first official fall off Allie. Only took 6 years.