Monday, 31 October 2016


We did it! We completed our first 80!!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Mudgee - Sunday Cross Country!

Sunday dawned bright and cold. It warmed up a little and it was an absolutely stunning day.

Gorgeous, right?
My ride started at 8am so I was up with the first light to bring Allie up from the night yards to the day yard to give her some breakfast. When I got to the night yards, the little shit wasn't in her yard anymore!!! Luckily the night yards were surrounded by a bigger fenced paddock so she couldn't go anywhere but I was still a bit cranky with her.

She ate all her breakfast and we had ours, then I we got ready and warmed up in the arena with the other 3 people in my group. Sam was running a little late because he gave an early jump lesson but we were on the cross country by about 8.15.

Sam gave us a safety brief (basically, the footing was ok but a bit wet/deep in parts so balanced riding and careful turns were the most important thing for the day). and then he had us warm up in trot then canter, transitioning from big forward pace to a shortened pace and vice versa. Then we started with a nice small arrow head which Allie and I aced, then we moved onto a bigger 80cm arrowhead. I was a little intimidated but if the tiny pony in our group could clear it then so could we.

She stopped at it.

Basically I hadn't had her canter right and hadn't given her enough leg to get her over it. Sam had me stand square onto the fence while he chatted about what went wrong, then had me gallop off and come at it again. Second go through we jumped it, but it was messy, for the same reasons.

Third go around though, was perfect.

We moved onto an 80cm oxer, and it went almost exactly the same, except without a stop. Our first jump she positively leapt over it and I am sure I swore, rather loudly. Here's the photos.

I look terrified.

But I gathered myself to ride away from it positively.

Second go through was better but not perfect, and third go through was perfect.


Next we did a little house, then a much bigger house. The first time to the big house again I quit riding a stride or two out and we had a run out. Sam had me slowly trot into the jump and stop dead straight square in front of it a couple of times, to show her that she is NOT NOT NOT allowed to do duck out, only allowed to go straight to the jump.

We jumped it twice more, perfectly.

Little house. Easy peasy.

Big house! Bit scarier.

After the big house, we jumped everything first go perfectly. I finally found the canter we needed. It was MUCH faster than I thought it should be. I felt like we were practically galloping straight at the jumps and it was hard to keep my leg on and not back off.

Scary brush? No problems!

Getting moving

Small table. She barely blinked.

Cantering through water

And out!

And in!

My face is too hilarious.

Sam said "If you can't jump each of these jumps first go well (not taking three goes to get it right) then 80cm is going to be too scary for you".

I feel like I know now the pace we need to be going at to get her rolling. We need to approach the jumps quite straight (I kept cutting my line a bit so need to go wider than I think if the jump is off a turn), and I need to ride away positively no matter how we get over the jump. Shake it off and look to the next jump, make it perfect!

By the end of it, we were jumping awesome and I felt like I could jump anything he pointed me at. I'll definitely be going to Sam for more cross country lessons in the future. His farm is only an hour and a half away from me so it's feasible to go there for a lesson (or a few!).

Allie floated home perfectly and was very glad to be home when we got back.

Silver Hills ODE 80cm this weekend! Wish us luck!


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Mudgee - Saturday Show Jumping

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So as you know I drove 3 hours away hauling Allie and squishing my daughter, niece and sister into my dual cab ute to attend an eventing clinic with Sam Lyle.

The weekend was a mixture of awful and amazing. We arrived on the Friday and set up camp, but were told that there was a massive storm rolling in just after dinner. Boy, it did not disappoint!!

We were trapped in our (luckily quite large) tent with high wind, torrential rain, lightning and thunder all around us. The rain was so heavy that we could feel the dirt turn to mud underneath the floor of the tent! It lasted a good hour or so, then hit again at about 4am. It was terrible.

I was ill prepared and had brought a basket of wet clothes to hang up to dry (because my drier at home konked out with perfect timing). Well, there was no drying of jodphurs to be had in that storm, and by morning I didn't have any pants to ride in. Thank God Natalie brought a pair of jods herself so I rode in a very tight pair of (thankfully dry) jodphurs. But my nice riding jacket was soaked so I rode in a fancy eventing clinic in a bloody zip up hoodie. Way to fit in, Lisa. I looked like a big green marshmallow.

Also, my phone battery completely died so I had no contact with the outside world except through Natalie's phone. I was bummed because I wanted to take photos of the place and of Allie while there (also I don't mind a bit of flicking through Facebook of an evening) but noooo, not allowed apparently.

Saturday was a showjumping lesson - I was in sharing a 45 minute slot with one other rider (who fell off her VERY naughty horse, twice!!). It was cold, over cast, drizzling with rain. Allie had a bee in her bonnet and was just not a happy camper and kept getting behind my leg, not picking up the correct canter lead, and even cross firing behind in the canter numerous times!!! I found it very difficult to hear Sam instructing as the wind was so loud and I missed quite a few instructions and he had to signal me in to tell me again which made me feel a bit like a numpty moron who didn't belong there. Sam was nice about it, but I still felt bad.

Allie jumped ok. Take away from that lesson was to get the canter I want from her, then just maintain it to the jump. It's the riders job to create the right canter, line and it's the horses job to jump the jump. Sam doesn't mind if the horse takes a long or short distance at this level, it's more about letting the horse figure out what she's doing but we set them up for success.

Allie had a stop/cat leap over an oxer with some picket fill and I very nearly fell off myself (only managing to scramble back on because my horse is honest and doesn't try to get you off when you become unseated, bless her heart). She wasn't sure about the fill but second go around she jumped it, and third time she jumped it perfectly, then jumped a stone wall no bloody problems! Mares.

Omg my face 😂

So grace. Much skill. Wow

That's a bit more, well, normal.
The wall.

A combination. Straight for the first one.
Not so straight for the second element. Whoops.

It wasn't our best performance to be honest. But, I learned that I need more power in my canter, I've been cantering way too slow and I need more to get her to the bigger fences. Sam said to either fix the cross cantering if I've got enough time before the fence, or if not to just ignore it and ride through. It's just her being green and unbalanced and me being green and unbalanced. It's not been a major issue before and I wonder if she had been a little sore from traveling the day before and then standing in a tiny holding yard in a massive storm all night. I guess I'll find out next weekend at Silver Hills.

After the lesson we went into town and had lunch with some friends of mine and also visited a laundromat to dry my bloody clothes.

That night it cleared up but the temp dropped considerably. There were showers there, but we had been told they were set to ambient temperature, which I took to mean the water would be the same temp as the air around us. Natalie desperately wanted a shower so readied herself for a quick cold wash, but to her delight the shower was steaming hot!!! What a freaking awesome surprise that was, we all had been wet and freezing all through the night before and that day. A hot shower was possibly the best thing to have happened to us the whole weekend haha. Even Evie loved the shower even though it was a bit hot for her. She huddled under my legs and enjoyed the slightly cooled run off water. She was such a good girl the whole weekend, only tantruming minimally.

Next up, cross country day!!

Sunday, 23 October 2016


It was harder than I thought it would be, the whole weekend.

But it was worth it.

Full write up to follow!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Mt Hope

So we have left Coolamon, the agistment we were at since before Allie had her tumor diagnosed.

I was sad to go, but it's a racehorse property and we were struggling without an arena, plus they were putting the price up.

Jess (who owns Prince, the horse I put a few rides on earlier in the year) found a new place for us to move to! It's called Mount Hope.

The positives about it are that it's $27 a week cheaper (than the new Coolamon price), Allie gets to live in a mini herd with other horses, there's plenty of grass, the paddocks are quite big (for yard type paddocks anyway) and they are hilly, there's a full jump paddock and a 40x60 sand arena and float parking. Plus it's like a 5 minute float ride to the indoor arena.

Arena! These aren't common here on agistment properties in Sydney, unless you pay big $$ for it.

Cons are that there's no trail riding (but can float to some not too far away). Also, the fencing is wire with electric up top.

So many jumps. Also, beautiful views of the Blue Mountains and surrounds.

The fencing is a con because last night Allie escaped into the next door property by just pushing straight through all the damn fencing.

She doesn't respect fencing unless it is HOT HOT HOT or big wooden fencing like at Coolamon. I had hoped that leaving her in the paddock all day sans rug (because remember she scratches herself red raw and I've only just gotten her mane and tail sorta back with constant rugging which I don't like to do) but NOOOOO of course she knew the second she had a rug on she could push through.


So poor Prince, who was paddocked with her, followed along for the adventure into the next door property and copped a cut for his troubles from the fencing. I feel awful. Then, when Jess went out to feed in the morning and she found them next door, she caught them then put them in another yard, fed them, then took Prince out to doctor his cut. Allie galloped straight through the fence again to get to Prince. FML.

So, in they went into a THIRD paddock and apparently this afternoon when Prince was taken out she didn't go through the fence but did call out a bit, eventually settling and hanging with the other horses over the fence. Thankfully.

She was so so super tense yesterday. It was very windy and we (being Andrea and I) both rode her, and it wasn't very pretty but we got the job done.

Just some crappy screenshots from a video Andrea took yesterday, at the end of my ride when she finally started to listen.

Anyway so now of course I'm terrified she's going to escape on to the road and I SHOULD be studying right now for my stats exam but I can't concentrate.

The agistment owner was apparently really nice about the fencing. She has run the place for 20 years so I'm sure it's not the first time a horse has run through the fencing.

Hopefully she stays put from now on.

Allie (closer to camera) and Prince (on the other side in a green rug) sharing a feed. Of course.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

October Whirlwind

October is a huge month for Allie.

- Monday 10th October, Andrea is taking her for a clinic lesson with Stefano van Zuijlen.

- Saturday 15th Andrea is taking Allie to SIEC for a dressage protocol day.

- Saturday the 22nd and Sunday 23rd I'm taking Allie to Mudgee for a xc and showjumping clinic with Sam Lyle (FINALLY riding with Sam! It's been in the works for years). I'm so so freaking excited. We are doing the 80cm clinic. Linda says I'm never allowed to take Allie around a 60cm course again lol.

- 29th I've got Silver Hills ode at 80cm.

This weekend just gone was our quietest weekend until next month. Andrea did two dressage/pole days Saturday and Sunday, then yesterday (Monday public holiday) I tricked my husband into coming with me to film my jump school.

I kept the heights rather small, about 75cm, with one smaller cross rail, one oxer, and a three stride double. I wanted to work on the related distance, also counting three strides into a jump to help me see a distance.

She jumped very honestly. I mucked up a heap of times but that's why I kept the height smaller so that she didn't have to do anything fancy to get over the jump if I stuffed up.

Here's some video - first up the related distance. This was about our fourth go through and we got it.

Here's the whole course we did. The second time we go over the combo, you can see how I stuff up my stride and she really is so honest jumping the second jump with my reins all over the place and no help from me.

We are getting there. Can't wait for my clinic!!