Friday, 3 November 2017

Silver Hills ODE October 2017 - Show Jumping and final thoughts

There was a nice big 3 hour gap between cross country and showjumping, thankfully, so Allie and I got to have a nice long rest.

They were running 45 minutes late with the course walk, and so after I walked it we scooted back to the float to tack up and get ready.

I shouldn't have bothered rushing because the warm up was a shambles. Nearly 70 riders all wanting to get their showjumping done so they could pack up and go home, the gate steward was the same as last year, the guy who didn't get my number down three times and made me wait long time. Surprise, same thing happened this year! I was number 57. He told me to go after 45, and I kept my eye on her. She went in, and he told 67 to go in after her even though I had been waiting so long! I literally sat on Allie in the heat for over an hour. It was bullshit.

Anyway, finally I just pushed in and was polite but firm stating I had to go pick up my 2 year old and could I please go in, as I had been waiting for so long (the issues with riding a boring bay horse, I suppose, is that no one remembers you). So finally, in I went. Linda warmed me up again, basically just getting me to ride the shoulders, keep sitting tall, get the canter right and just let the jump come to us.

We had one rail down which was my fault as I didn't get my line right and we jumped it on an angle. But other than that, I was happy with the ride. We did it well within time (she's getting much faster!) but were controlled 99% of the time, she jumped confidently, and y ankles managed to do their job for that minute and a half so we were good.

Overall, we finished 19th out of 32, on a score of 78. I felt really positive about the dressage, awful about my riding in the cross country but proud of my mare for looking after me, and felt happy with the showjumping both her and my riding, considering how bloody tired we both were.

Take aways for next time? Wrap my ankles, be fitter and stronger. Weigh less (I really am a bit too heavy for her), and just be there for her 100% - leg on, leg on, leg on (and SIT UP)!

I'm really looking forward to competing next year, if we can make it work. She really is a pleasure to take showing, easy to float, chills out tied up, eats, drinks (a little bit once she's super thirsty), is calm and not very spooky at all. I have an amazing group of friends and supporters who came to help and watch and coach, who I could not ave done this without. I have no idea how people go eventing alone.

Anyway, that's it! Our one and only comp of the year, done and dusted.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Silver Hills ODE October 2017 - Cross Country

I had bugger all sleep on Saturday night. My cross country was at 10.17am so I could have slept in a little but I ended up waking up at 5am anyway, and show nerves kicked in, blast them.

I was so tired, but Allie was a little pooped so I knew I had to warm her up in front of my leg and wake her up a bit - while waiting to go into the warm up she was almost falling asleep with a hind leg resting while the 95cm cross country was running literally right in front of us. Poor mare, we weren't really fit enough to be eventing, but luckily it's a short course, optimum time was 3 min 45 sec.

The warm up at Silver Hills is weird. It's a long straight line with two likes of jumps with space in the middle to ride up the far end, then you turn around, gallop back over fences, then try not to gallop straight over the gate steward. The right hand side is the smaller warm up jumps and the left is the larger. This year, we actually jumped the larger warm up jumps, two of which are a good 95cm! She certainly woke up after that, haha.

It was the same course as last year, and I knew we could jump everything in it. After the water (obstacle 3), my ankles, especially my right, started to feel very damn weak. I could barely get up off her back to let her gallop, they were that bad. I never lost my stirrups though, thanks to my fancy new Freejumps, but honestly I thought I wasn't going to make it around, I was riding that poorly.

We came to the downhill ski jump, which I wasn't worried about, except I couldn't actually get my leg on her and sit up, so she stopped. I was so cranky with myself, and she hadn't got her mojo on yet by that point. We quickly circled and she flew over it the second time with a few whacks of the whip, and then she just kinda took over - we have run this cross country course about 4 times now, and she just took a sharp turn to the next jump almost by herself, the funny girl. I even said out loud "you know where you are going, don't you?".

The rest of the jumps, she absolutely flew over. She was a total packer and she really really looked after me. She galloped so fast that even with the stop, we were 1 second below optimum time! We have never been under optimum time! I was bloody stoked with that.

The last three logs I was just hanging on wishing it were all over. My ankles and lower legs were in agony, and I was not enjoying it, which sucked big time. She galloped over the finish line and I pulled her up and took my feet out of the stirrups and let them dangle. I have no idea why they were so bad, but my body really let me down. I probably should have jumped in the two weeks leading up to the show, I guess.

You have seen us jump this before. She's not wasting energy over this anymore!

Pathetic little brush jump. It looks so sad, haha.

The stupid ski jump. It looks so tiny with all the long grass.

I love the way this jumps. There's a dip on the landing side and I like the way the horse drops into it.

Look at this saint of a mare! This is the scary trakehner with the rather deep ditch in front. She launched herself over it and really looked after me because I was useless by this stage.

So we had 20 jump faults, no time faults, and we were in 20th place. Next up, showjumping! Will my ankles give way? Or will my stupid limbs stand up to the challenge?

Dressage Pro Photos Silver Hills

Blogger won't let me edit my last post so I'm dumping these photos here.

Doesn't she look fancy?

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Silver Hills ODE October 2017 - Dressage

So, after Jump Club I decided that I would enter Allie and I in for the 80cm intro at Silver Hills t the end of October. Neither of us were really fit, and I hadn't been doing any dressage, so yeah, of course I thought it would be a good idea.

In the weeks leading up to it I had a couple of lessons with Linda and Allie gave us both the best most amazing walk and trot work of her life, and the worst bullshit mare crap I have ever had from her. Literally she would be trotting along beautifully into the contact, with a lovely cadence and I would dare to ask for inside flexion and BAM - she would throw in a stop and nothing would get her moving again, not pony-club kicks, not cracks of the whip, not Linda waving her arms, and she would even back up all the way across the arena, until finally she would rear, I would pull her down, and she would trot off again like nothing happened. Every time this happened I just followed the contact and didn;t give her the release that way but she keeps bloody trying it.

Anyway. Friday I rode alone and it was bloody awful. Full blown high-ho Silver moments, and the rest of it was tense and yuck. Thankfully Linda drove down to warm us up for dressage on the Saturday.

Warm up went fairly well, considering. We had one big rear (that no one caught on film, sadly) but the rest of it I rode the very damn best I could and Allie truly appreciated it.

This photo was taken after her one big rear in the warm up. She had her hissy fit, then decided I was in charge after all. She got a nice rest for that epiphany

Discussing the game plan

After this we went looking for arena 1, which was not where we thought it was. Luckily I was running early so I got to the arena right on time.

Here's the test.

I'm fairly happy with the test, for the most part. The right canter she picked up the wrong lead because I bumped her with my outside leg, but she came back to me easily and popped straight into the correct lead the second time. Out free walk was not what it should have been. Just as my test started a bloody great green tractor turned up and started driving around doing god-knows-what so that didn't help.

Here's my test paper:

64%. We were sitting in 21st out of 30-something riders. Not bad for our only dressage outing of the year, with only about 7 dressage rides all year at home. Haha.

Next up - cross country.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Twilight Jump Club

The local 2000 olympic equestrian venue, Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC) is an amazing venue, as you would expect. I've ridden there quite a few times now, but I've never ridden in the indoor - until quite recently.

Sydney Eventing has resurrected Twilight Jump Club on the second Tuesday of every month and I managed to get Allie there in October.

We did two rounds, and she did fantastic.

Next up - Did we get to Silver Hills ODE?

Monday, 30 October 2017


So, back in September, all the stars aligned and I managed to take Allie to a derby day to do a 60cm and an 80cm derby round. The derby is a mix of cross country and show jumps.

Allie was a freaking super star. As you know we have barely done anything this year, and we certainly haven't ridden off property, let alone competed. So I decided to do a 60cm round, then depending on how we went there, I would either scratch the 80cm or ride hors concors in the 80 (as it was an unofficial comp/training day).

The 60 was a piece of cake. Allie was a gem, jumped everything with confidence, and left me feeling like I needed to give the 80 a red hot go, even though some of the jumps looked bloody scary.

The 80 went awesome, too. There were a few fences I was worried about - a rather large trakehner, a blue painted house, and a big table top.

She flew over the trakehner no problems, but we had a stop at the house because, curse my wretched legs, I just didn't have them on. She thought about stopping again the second go around but as you can see from the video, she hopped over and then totally got in her grove! By the time the table top came along (not in the videos) she flew over that, too. I yelled out "F*ck yeah!! Oops, sorry!!" as I galloped away from it toward the water.

The day was bloody awesome, Allie was a champ, and we came away with a second in the 80 and a third in the 60! Always nice to come home with a ribbon or two.

Flying over the big table

We have our "it's business time" faces on here.

Hanging out between rounds

Winner winner chicken dinner!


Through the water

Monday, 14 August 2017

Can't Stand It

I've been perusing the major real estate sites for affordable acreage for years now. And I've been getting more and more upset with the unaffordability in Sydney that I must have given up on the idea for a while there.

I struggle to keep Allie in work. I hate not having her at home. I need to be able to bring rehab cases home so I can care for them properly. I hate sharing my space with other human beings, parking close and hearing their arguments and their kids scream and smelling their cigarette smoke. I hate living in suburbia. But what can I do?

Honestly, a vacant 5 acres close to me is currently on the market for $5,000,000.

It's never going to happen.

Unless... Unless...

My husband has finally come around to the idea. He wants it as much as I do now, and he's willing to travel an hour+ to get to work to be able to live that life.

One step closer. Now all we need is affordable acres to buy!

Saturday, 1 July 2017


I haven't ridden Allie in months.
She's just been hanging out, being a horse, getting fed and having her feet done. That's it.
I've been super busy with uni, trimming, hoof clinics and masterclass and I've just not had the emotional energy to deal with Allie and all her drama so I just... haven't.
Anyway, both the girls were overdue for their dentals so we took them in today to get them done. Gracie was great, her dental was super quick.
Allie on the other hand...
So last time we did her teeth about 5 months ago the vet removed the dental pack from the surgery, and this time the tooth behind it had shifted significantly, to the point where the gap between it and the next tooth was just small enough/just big enough that food keeps getting packed in there, causing ulcering and also causing the gum to recede quite a bit. That tooth that moved also looks like it will need to come out in the next 6-12 months.
Anyway, we chatted about maintenance and the vet wants a diet change to help prevent food getting caught in that gap. So, no more chaff. No more hay! At all!!
Gah. It is the dead of winter in Sydney. No one has any grass, and even if they did, I'll remind you how we discovered last year with all her breathing dramas - ALLIE IS ALLERGIC TO GRASS.
So my horse can't eat grass, hay or chaff. Great. Just fkn great.
So basically now I need to find a place where she can eat short, green, not-dusty grass, in the middle of winter. Good luck with that!!!
Anyway. Once I sort out what the fk I am actually going to feed her, I can finally think about clipping her and then get back on and ride. Except, that, remember how her hocks were playing up just before Christmas last year? Yeah well that will probably need looking at.
So we've got an outline of a plan, the vet and I.
6 months is the next dental, unless she has sinus infection issues before then (which will prob mean the tooth needs to go). As I ease her back into work, if she has even a slight issue with her hocks, we are just going to look at injecting, probably with HA, I'm not sure. Then, at the next dental, we will take some rads (of her head) to see what that tooth is doing. If it needs to come out, she will try to remove it under standing sedation and through the mouth. Try to avoid another sinus flap surgery if we can.
And if I actually get to compete in between all that then I'll be cheering.

She's resting her head on the fender. 🤣

This bloody horse. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Motivation Squashed

So my dressage comp this weekend has been cancelled due to the wet weather.

Thursday, 9 March 2017


My baby girl is 2 today. 2!!!

I can barely believe it.

Monday, 6 March 2017


It's so easy to say "I'm too busy today, my husband is too cranky, my daughter is too clingy, it's too hot or it's too wet, I'm sick, I can't ride today".

Way too easy.

So I booked a couple of unofficial prelim dressage tests for Allie and I on the 25th March, just a few weeks away. Linda is going to come put a few rides on Allie for me, and I'm going to have a few lessons with her too. It's the little kick up the bum I need to actually ride my bloody horse.

So with that motivation, I went out on Saturday in the threatening rain and I rode. Allie was a bit miffed at first, but got into it and gave me some lovely trot and canter work.

Hopefully I can squeeze in a few solo rides too.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Gracie update

Gracie has healed spectacularly. It will be 4 weeks tomorrow.

She's sound and happy. She had a body treatment this week and the therapist was able to get a bunch of good releases from her which is unusual. Gracie even yawned 4 times! She never yawns during a treatment! Hopefully in a couple of weeks Natalie can hope back on like it never happened.

Thursday, 16 February 2017


Last weekend we were all set to take both the horses to Jump Club - I was going to attempt the 90cm with Allie and Gracie was going to hang out at the float while I did that, then Nat and I were going to go for a ride around the Camden Equestrian park before coming home.

Gracie had other ideas.

Excuse the french, but that fucking mole of a horse refused to get on the float and chucked such a massive hissy fit that she got her chest caught up on the butt bar of the float and ripped a hole in her pectoral muscle.


No jump club for me, and a nice Sunday vet bill for Natalie.

There was so much blood. Even I was worried about the amount of blood (and I've seen my fair share of graphic horse injuries) but by the time the vet got there we had stopped the bleeding. It soaked though an entire animalintex bandage plus a couple of smaller ones too. Natalie almost fainted while trying to stop the bleeding.

The vet said there was nothing she could do - the wound was in a great spot for drainage and stitches weren't going to be a help at all. I even had my own bute on hand so we didn't even need her for that - but we are the type of people that when our horse tries to impale herself, we get a vet check.

It's been a week and a half and the wound is healing excellently. We've been keeping it super clean and it's draining really well and seems to be closing from the inside (yay!).

Vet said a good 6 weeks before she would be healed.

Damn horse.

Ok, graphic photos now, ok?

Keep scrolling
The day it happened, but about 2 hours after the fact.
Day 2 - note some fill in between her front legs. That needed massaging but is gone now.

Day 9, after being cleaned. Looking good! No bute anymore and she's sound as a bell.
Bloody horses.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Where are we at?

So Allie has had about 4 rides and one lunge over the past week. The weather has been cooler so I have been able to ride while Evie naps in the pram by the arena in the middle of the day. So far, she's going well. Dressage rides I'm concentrating on her being through and swinging through the back, with nice up and down transitions and not rushing anything. The last two rides in particular she's been awesome.

She's had one jump school/fitness work (half hour all up, only jumped three jumps).

The last ride, today, she started dragging her hind toes a little, but she had the nicest swing in her back going to the left. I'm going to get some body work done, get the dressage saddle refitted too, and just keep doing what we are doing until she either goes properly lame or she doesn't. The dragging is only in the deeper sand in the arena and her toes aren't squaring off as bad as they were last November, so hopefully I can keep her sound.

Breathing wise, she has handled the super dry dusty weather better than I expected. She's not on any meds, and is coughing maybe once per ride, if at all.

I decided against doing the Camden hunter trial this weekend and the SIEC event mid February in case she isn't sound (plus she isn't fit enough to go xc this weekend). If March comes along and she's stayed in enough work, is fit enough, and isn't lame, I might do Berrima in March and almost definitely Equestriad in April. We'll see.

Unfortunately Andrea isn't able to continue the lease due to her new job so I'll be doing most of her riding and Natalie will help out when I can't make it. Luckily we actually have some decent hills at the current agistment so we can do slower fitness work, instead of canter/gallop sets in deep sand like at the last place. I'm hoping to get three rides in a week, sometimes 4.

So that's where we are at right now. I'm a little more optimistic after her time off. Next week it's meant to be stinking hot again so I don;t know how much riding I'll be able to get done but I'll go with the flow for now.

Oh My Heart!

Evie rode Allie yesterday and it was the cutest thing you ever did see.

She "helped" me groom and tack up.

As you can see, she is a pro and doesn't need my supervision, apparently.

First I rode (Allie went lovely, I'll update next post) and then Evie hopped on to cool her out.

Happy pony, happy kid!

It was her third ride on a horse ever. She really really loved it this time, laughing and squealing the whole time. Allie was an angel.

Skip to 50 seconds if you don't have time (or patience) for the whole video.

She's going for Heath Ryan hands.

After the ride, posing for Daddy.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Starting again

I'm finding it really hard to get going with Allie again. She's not lame, but she's also not in work, so I think subconsciously I'm avoiding dealing with it.

She's happy, but looking a bit bleached out after some very hot weather. There's another excuse, because the only appropriate time to ride is early morning or late evening and both those times my husband makes me feel guilty for leaving him with Evie.

It's also been quite dry and the arena is dusty. The dust might be a trigger for her RAO, so avoiding riding in the dust is another excuse.

Despite all this, I did hop on late on Sunday evening. Allie was exactly how you would expect a horse to be after 5 weeks mostly off (I've ridden probably 4 times over the last month and a half). She was rushy, inconsistent in the contact, and she pulled a mole stunt where she decided one part of the arena was impossible to canter over, and would stop, prop and rear. We ended up working on it again and again and it got dark so I was cantering in the dark and still trying to sort that shit out. She was a stubborn bitch about it too. All I wanted was one circle of canter each way, but apparently that's too much. We finished on a good note, but the ride left a sour taste in my mouth.

I arranged for Linda to come give me a hand the next evening (Tuesday) but my husband had a whinge and my nan went into hospital and it was all a bit too much to deal with. I'm definitely letting him get to me.

I scratched from the cross country clinic this weekend. It's not fair on Allie who is maybe-lame and definitely not fit enough. Neither am I to be honest.

The lease is suspended at the moment until we figure out if she really is lame or not, so Andrea hasn't been riding either.

So we are stuck in a bit of a rut. I need to sort it out ASAP because if I don't, We are going to miss out on the eventing season.

What do you do when you're in a rut? How do you find the determination and motivation to get started, and to keep going?