Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Damn this stupid horse.

Allie is lame.

Like, intermittent lameness, but lame all the same. Looks to be that left hind (the one she broke, remember?), and it gets worse the more she warms up while being ridden. I haven't seen her lameness and I've been riding her too, but poor Andrea and Linda see it when Linda gives her a lesson. This morning during their lesson it was worse than ever, but yesterday when I rode she was bloody fine! Ugh.

I've booked her in for a lameness exam on Monday. She gets a holiday until then.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

What's been happening?

Allie has been a little up and down lately.

Let me explain.

Andrea and Allie had a dressage show together a couple of weeks ago where Allie remembered that she could rear (twice in the warm up, twice in the first test!!). Then, during the second (much more obedient) test she was lame on the left rein and was asked to retire.

Big big bummer :(

She was a bit puffy in the medial collateral ligament on the left hind. Cold hosing, icing and a week off and she was as good as new.

Her first and second day back in work was with me and she felt great! So compliant, in front of the leg, ready to work. Amazing, right?

Today was Andrea's first ride back and bloody Allie chucked her off. :(

Also, she keeps jumping out of her paddock whenever her paddock mate is taken outt, which she's never done before.

Damn you mare. Pain in the arse mare. Shit for brains mare.

She's lucky she's cute.

Not much else to report except I booked another cross country clinic in January at SIEC, so we can get a chance to school over the 80cm jumps as well as run the whole course and be timed, in preparation for the first comp at SIEC next year.

Just going to work on our dressage in the mean time.

Saturday, 19 November 2016


So I've come to the end of our first year eventing. I think it's time to set out some goals for next year


I want to compete at novice, so we need to get the following stuff sorted:

- perfect leg yields
- get lengthens in trot and canter
- perfect simple changes
- get counter canter

We also both need to learn how to ride with spurs on. I've got a pair of short shank spurs coming, and I'm hoping Linda will help me to learn how to use them to get her a bit more active off the leg, and to use them for more precise leg aids.


- get confident jumping 95cm xc jumps (but stay competing at 80cm)
- work on the perfect showjumping round! Forward, in front of the leg.
- get flying changes for showjumping and xc (simple changes take up precious time!)
- place in the top 8 at at least 1 comp. (This one is a bit of a pipe dream, but I think we are capable).

We've got a busy 2017 ahead of us!!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Silver Hills eva80 - Cross Country

So after we had some lunch I was getting too nervous to wait around so we tacked up and went up to the cross country warm up a little early. On my way up there some girls from my class I had been chatting to earlier called me over to wait with them on their horses as the previous class (the 95cm) was running way overtime. We ended up just sitting and watching the water jump from afar for a good 45 minutes.

One poor horse got caught on the water jump, he didn't have the power to get over the ump and got stuck with it under his sternum, poor horse. They had to cut the jump down to get him off it. Both horse and rider were ok and walked away from it a bit sore. All of us watching were glad we didn't have to jump that jump!!

If you are interested I posted the course walk for our class.

Anyway, the warm up is weird at Silver Hills. It's literally a line of jumps next to the driveway, so you trot up, turn around and canter back over the jumps. I just had Allie go over the line twice making sure she was in front of my leg then they sent me over to wait at the start box early. I was glad because then I had the room to canter in big circles stretching her out and bringing her back and keeping her infront of the leg. She was absolutely itching to get going cross country but was very very level headed. I was so impressed with how rideable she was.

We entered the start box just before he counted down to 3, 2, 1 as she didn't feel like she wanted to stand still for any length of time. We walked in and burst out to the first log, then a left turn to the second jump and I lost my bloody right stirrup! Not wanting a repeat of our last xc stop due to a lost stirrup, I circled (thank god it wasn't counted as a refusal) and over jump 2 we went. Jump 3 through the trees was good then we cantered down to the water, two strides of trot to get in then she powered through the water in canter and out again to turn right then onto jump 4.

Game faces!


Next up was the scary ski jump but we absolutely blitzed it with lots of leg and Sam's voice in my head telling me to just set up the right pace and let the horse handle the jump.

Tight right hand turn and then up to the easy shute log pile then soft right to the square roll top thing.

No leaping or any "holy crap' moments here! We were cross country MACHINES!

Over that then out to the right then turn left through the trees to the giant log, and tight left again to the brush. Right then I lost my bloody right stirrup AGAIN but she was rolling along so I luckily got it back and jumped the brush ace.

Yes, yes I DID buy all the pro photos.

Soft turn right to get a good line to the log pile between the trees. She jumped that so so so beautifully.

Cluck cluck cluck!!

I think this one is my favourite.
After this I ha to find my line to the trakhaner. There was an option to double back and go over a small log but she was jumping frigging awesome so there was no way she wouldn't jump it! No photos of us over it but I let out a big "whoohoo!" going over it because I was having SO MUCH FUN!!

The last lot of logs were perfect, so easy compared to the jumps before, however the horse in front was going so slow and she was having trouble holding him so I didn't want to just gallop past her and cause an accident. We ended up almost 30 seconds over the optimum time because of this when we would only have been maybe 10 seconds over (and not at all if I hadn't have had to circle to get my stirrup back). They were only sending us out 45 seconds apart, I just drew the short straw riding behind someone going slow.

Here's some video Natalie took. It shows how bloody awesome we were going!!

I was on a HUGE high during and after cross country!! We had safely completed out first 80cm, it was harder than I thought it would be, but we did it with confidence and Allie was love love LOVING the cross country so bloody much.

So with the time faults from xc and the faults from showjumping we ended up 24th out of about 33. I was a little disappointed at first but honestly the quality of horses that were there was surprisingly high and I am just so proud of how we handled ourselves and of how I rode the whole weekend. Definitely a personal best for us!

I'm planning to stay at 80cm until we can get into the top 10 consistently. I think a year or two at this height will keep up safe, but challenge us sufficiently.

That's us!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Silver Hills Course Walk

Ok just skip this one if you want to hear how we went on this cross country course. I just don't want to clog up my other post and make it too long.

Course map

1 - simple log

2 - Oxer

3 - vertical

4 - through the water AROUND that jump. That's the jump that horse got caught on.

5 - log pile

6 - ski jump. My jump was the bigger downhill ski jump in the background, not the small one in front. I was worried about it because it as down hill into a tight rollback to get to 7.

7 - this log pile is super inviting, framed on both sides with a shute like fenceline.

8 - square rolltop? Is that what you would call it? Anyway, it's bigger than it looks.

9 - big wide log. Fun to jump but need to get the right line through the trees and there's a sharp left turn afterward.

10 - the most inviting brush I've ever seen.

11 - Log pile frames by trees. There's a drop on the landing side. Jumps awesome after the last three jumps.

12 - Trakhaner. The ditch is quite deep and a bit wide. I was worried about this one but knew she would be rolling along and wanting to jump the moon by this stage so tried not to worry about it too much.

13 - Lovely little jump with a little width from the ground log.

14 - Log pile 'skinny'. 

15 - another easy upright with some width.

16 - Bigger log pile.

17 - final log with the finish flags a few strides after. 

Silver Hills eva80 - Show jumping

On Sunday, I had an 8.15am showjump draw and a 10.41am cross country. Plenty of time between, and we would be done by 11am. We were sitting in 12th after dressage, out of about 32. We left at 6am again for a 7am arrival. This time I had Natalie with me.

The showjumping warm up and arena was slippery. Like, really slippery, so much so that two horses fell straight over (one in the warm up, one in the ring). Of course, this made me want a calm, quiet, safe round. I think Allie was a little worried about the footing too. She was nice and balanced though, so I was confident we could get around safe.

I walked the course and it all seemed pretty straight forward except the line from fence 4 to fence 5, which was a tight corner in a slippery patch. I made a mental note to take that corner slow and wide. The rest seemed ok.

I was early to the warm up, the second one in, and the steward said I would go in after the first horse. Great! I did a careful warm up, had a couple of great jumps over the warm up oxer and then decided to wait at the gate.

It was a bit of a shambles to be honest. They decided last minute to put a few of the fences down, and they let about 4 riders walk the course late, which pushed the start time by 15 minutes. Then the bloody steward (who was a bit frazzled) forgot that I was second and then told me that I didn't present to him when I came in. I told him that I was the second rider in after that horse over there, but he still put my number last after about 5 other riders. Argh!!!

Just after this a horse and rider slipped and fell in the warm up. They were ok and ended up competing anyway, but that held us up more. THEN a pushy mother pushed in front of me to get her daughter to go do her showjumping so that she could go and get ready for her own cross country. The steward wasn't really allowing it but she just sent her daughter into the ring to the judges anyway! Unbelievable.

I had to go do a couple more warm up jumps and for some reason right before I went in the ring I tweaked my back. I've been needing to go see my body lady for ages and of course right then was when my back decided it couldn't cope anymore. Fantastic.

I did a few stretches in the saddle to help but I was still not great to jump. I just kinda crossed my fingers and hoped I would be ok.

Finally, FINALLY it was our turn to go. Here's the video:

So a few moments showing our inexperience (especially having to circle to get the line from 4-5 without falling over) and we had one rail down and a few time faults. You can also tell I didn't want to fall over from cornering too fast so that's what all the trotting was about. But she jumped much more confidently. Some showjumping lessons and some jump club days are needed of course but she was very level headed the whole time.

Photos? Of course!!

Still with the chicken arms! But...

A much nicer release a moment later! Yay me.

Also that bonnet is a bit big, but it's all matchy matchy with the saddle cloth.

She's very comfortable at this height and so am I to be honest. It's challenging enough that it shows our weaknesses but we aren't overfaced at all. I think that day was a good place to build from.

So we had an hour or so to rest before cross country. Allie was a little tired but I knew she would wake up a bit for cross country. She got a pick of green grass while we ate breakfast.

Next up, cross country! Did we go well? Did the ski jump and the giant trakhener scare the pants off us? Stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Silver Hills eva80 - Dressage

So as per my last post, on the 29th and 30th October Allie and I did our first 80cm event!

We drew an 8.50am dressage time so I ended up plaiting up the night before because I knew I wouldn't have enough time before in the morning. Andrea came to help me plait up and Allie wore a skinny hood for the first time.

She was unimpressed.

Normally Natalie plaits the tail so this is really my first go at plaiting a tail. It was... ok, if a little wonky. 

The next morning we loaded up at 6am and arrived at Silver Hills just a little after 7am. Andrea came with me to help as Natalie was busy, and I am so glad I had her there. We tacked her up and I got on just after Linda arrived. Linda helped me warm Allie up and she went awesome, considering the warm up was on a slope, after a bunch of rain, and it looked like they had run cattle in that paddock only a few days before so there was wet cow shot everywhere. You could tell it was eventing dressage and not straight dressage because no way would straight dressage ever have a warm up like that!

See that footing?

Allie had her game face on though!

Just before we were about to go in to do our test, she started to resist the bridle and then she hung her entire tongue out the side of her mouth! I stopped and Linda checked it. Allie had somehow gotten her tongue over the bit, which she has never ever done before. Right before we needed to present to the judge!!

Linda fixed it and we tried to shake it off. I presented to the judge and then we started our test.

She felt sensational! In front of the leg, forward into the bridle, so adjustable and on the job and I had a huge smile on my face by the time I was doing my second canter. I was having fun. The test was super solid.

Once we were done I jumped off and Andrea stuffed her full of carrots while I hugged her neck and gave her a big kiss. Linda was almost tearing up she was so proud!

I didn't get my paper until the next day and I'm glad because what I felt and what the judge saw were two different things. Comments like 'tense' and 'rushed'. I mean, come on, it's not like we are doing medium level dressage here, it's bloody prelim level.

There were some REALLY nice horses in my class though (a few fancy moving warmbloods too), so maybe that's why.

We got 65.21% which I think is a fair score.

We were done for the day so Andrea took Allie for a pick of green grass while I walked the cross country. After that we loaded up and went home. I was home by lunchtime! My husband was pretty happy about that,

Next up - showjumping!!