Monday, August 30, 2010

Adventure in the pipeline

So every season my good friend and I try to have some sort of adventurous trip away. In this way I have been to many shows I have never been to before- Gisborne, Te Teko, Rotorua, shows that are a bit beyond my traveling distance. But my friend has a beautiful truck that loves to travel and takes 7 horses, so we have come up with a doozey of an adventure for the start of this season. We are going to travel to Auckland for woodhill sands, then back to Te Teko and then on to Gisborne for three consecutive weekends! Hope to base ourselves in Whakatane. And then we get back and it will be the Labour weekend show and then the Wairarapa A&P show and then my horses will need a rest!

Feeling a bit battered from my rugged farming work and I desperately wish it would stop raining because myself, my family, the horses and the cows are all heartily sick of the mud. I'm so excited though. Still the first show is looming only 11 days away. AHHH! Hoping Connie meets me halfway on this one lol.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear Equestrian Sports New Zealand

AKA Daylight Robbers R US.

I did not quibble at the increasing price of registration fees this year, seeing as last year you told us that it was going to increase for the next three years. I still sent in my cheque for $589 that basically allows me to compete my horses in my desired discipline and doesn't do much else. I understand that money is used to increase the upper end of our sport and help our riders do well off shore. I don't quibble tat none of this money makes it to the grass roots of the sport as far as I can see, after 8 years on the local showjumping group committee. Apart from pretty identification papers and doing the insurance at shows, just what are you doing with all that money that it needs to increase at such a rate?? It was only a couple of years ago that the Bulletin was $40 and now that has increased by 50%. I did not quibble about any of these things.

But I'm quibbling about this. The cost of a name change has gone from $50 to $80. What in Gods green Earth is the extra 30 bucks needed for apart from revenue gathering?? I understand you want to keep the price high so people don't often change horses names, but jeebers isn't $50 bucks for you to change the name in the computer and print some stickers enough?? I had a horse that came to me once called Bobbit- you know like that woman who dismembered her husbands genitalia? Would you not want to be able to change that name?? Incidently I didn't change her name because her papers where for a gelding that was a year younger and I think Bill can attest to her mothers femaleness, I just registered her as a new horse.

I want to change Kate's name. I HATE Kate's show name, it's not her at all. But I don't know if I want to change it $80 much. I hate that the very federation that should be promoting our sport and encouraging members, is creating a weathly elitism in the sport. There are people that can not afford to do registered shows and that seems unfair that they don't a chance to play with the big boys. It used to be expensive, but it's getting ridiculous. It will get to the point where people just give up because the fees are too much on top of all the other costs involved with running an equine athlete.

Le sigh.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Team for 2010

So I thought I would introduce the team for 2010 even though you should know them by now! Still I guess it updates for the Newbies!

Connie- La Bella Vida

It seems strange to say but Connie starts the season at the head of the team. She is an 8yo 16.1hh Andalusian/TB that we bred ourselves because we had a mare and the stallion was both cheap and nearby. Connie is the first horse I have produced from a foal and I'm really pleased with her, she is such a nice girl. She is a little unorthodox in both her movement and her jump, but she is efficient and gets the job done. I can rely on her to try. And she isn't spooky or phased by much. She is a dragon in the yards and picks on the horses around her so I have to much she she is in the middle of the group. It's funny really because she is bottom of the hierarchy in the paddock, it's like she knows they can't get her. She can be a little lazy and most of my work with her involves getting her in front of the leg. If she makes it to the first show (what with my lameness issues with the wet conditions) she will be in the 1.10m class the first day and then the Amateur class which is 1.10m-1.15m. Fingers crossed!

Kate- Katie

Kate is an 11yr old 16.2 and a half hh TB mare of old school American breeding. She jumped to 1.30m with her previous owner and I have owned her for 15 months. I have jumped her to 1.10m and she is a super jumper. Her flat work has come a long way in our time together but I still don't trust her enough over feces. Still I think it will come together, we just need miles together. If she is over her abscess at the first show she will do the 1m class and the 1.10m on the first day and then another 1.10m class the next day. She needs a new showname though! I hate Katie. I'm thinking Kentucky Kate what with her dam being Kentucky Lady. Thoughts??

Rascal- Lynchberg SP

Rascal is a 7yo 16hh NZ sporthorse mare. She is a super cutie who loves the high life. being clean and eating and being a general princess. I brought her from her breeder 2 years ago. Her career has been riddled by injury but I'm optimistic that this season she will do a bit more. The goal is to get her going really nicely as a hunter and hopefully sell her off-shore. She is nice enough, I just need to overcome a little physical weakness and some confidence issues she has. If she goes to the first show she will be doing the 70cm hunter class and a 90cm class each day.

Bill- High Voltage

Bill is a 6yo Dutch Warmblood/TB mare out of my very favourite horse. She is really well bred and has lots of potential now I just have to get her out. She is broken in but after a massive injury to her back leg and now calving having started she will have to wait. I hope to have her out at some small shows before Christmas.

Fido- Trademark SP

A 7yo 16.1hh New Zealand sporthorse, he is by the same sire as Rascal. I don't own him but have him to kick around a few 1m classes for a while and I owe his owner so many favours because she has done so much for me, I can't say no really. He is an excellent field hunter and was really good around the farm and it's all more ring miles. I really need as many competition hours as I can get.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Comments on Comments and last season.

Val- A dogleg is a bending line from one fence to the next. Sorry it's my lingo.

kippen64 said...

Hi Beckz,

I admire your honesty. That problem must be driving you potty. Do you buy and sell horses? I don't know the horse market in NZ, but here in Australia, there seems to be a big market for reliable (though less talented) horses for inter-school competitions and Adult Riding Club. To get to the top, sadly a lot of horses must come and go in your life. Both in the quest to make a living and in the quest to find the horse that will take you to the top. When you do find the horse that takes you to the top, you will almost certainly have to take the good money that will be on offer for this horse. You can use that money to set yourself up. To further your experience and to have a chance to improve your riding, you may have to offer to work in exchange for lessons. It takes more than feel to ride a horse successfully in competition. It needs technical skill too. The reason that I am so aware of this is because that is my major flaw too. I hope that I don't sound harsh because I really do want you to succeed.

I thought this was a really good comment. There is a lot to think about here. I would love to one day have a job riding horses for other people, but those jobs are so limited in NZ. I would like to jump to Grand Prix in New Zealand and then look at riding options offshore. When I started on this whole dealio after finishing uni, I figured I could be a groom and have one horse and work really hard for someone else and probably miss a lot of hours of riding time, or I could work for my wonderful parents who offered to give me time during the day to ride, and then bank roll what I do with my wages. The second option seemed harder but to be honest more true to myself. I really like have my own team, that are mine, I love looking after all the details that come from looking after your own horses 24/7 even if sometimes it is a huge headache.

I like to the discussion on selling horses. All my horses are for sale. If someone comes up and offers me enough money to part with them (and not ridiculous amounts either) I would do that and then look at my options. I know probably none of the horses I own now are Grand Prix horses (maybe Bill in time??) But as they are all relatively young it's hard to say at this point. Kate might even do it with more schooling and relaxation.

Last season started well but was a bit of a blow out. The two major issues looking back? 1. Not enough lessons and 2. Getting depression and going crazy. Where did the depression come from?? I don't know really, but I'm fairly confident I have a handle on this now. I'm excited about the coming shows, more than I am terrified. Bonus! And I'm getting as many lessons as I can. Later in the year there MAY be a chance to have some lessons with Gerco Schroeder. Whoo!

It's really important that I accept that I wasn't well and move on from last season. While it started well with good placings in the 1.10m classes and was looking good for the future, by the end I was having panic attacks and not even making it to the ring. As my Mum says I may never have the temperament to be a top rider, but I have to try with all I have. Still I was sick, just in my head as opposed to a broken leg or something. I know rumours were going around that I was giving up riding (Damn small national circuit and I'm a nobody on it anyway, why are they even bothering with me??) but I'm here and I feel stronger than ever. Now I just have to get Rascal and Kate over their respective abscesses. At this stage it looks like they will miss the first couple of shows of the season. Boo!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Very short one day Cashmore Clinic

So today after a half day of work I blasted down to Panorama Equestrian to have another lesson with Mr Cashmore. I was of course horrendously late, but it turned out no to matter because instead of riding three horses I only rode Connie. Rascal and Bill both have abscesses in their front right hoof and Kate is still off on her sore foot, especially as she has been having a mad gallop around. I'm waiting for the farrier to come and have a look and we will see what happens I guess. Not good though with only 3 WEEKS until the first show. Haven't done my entries yet either! I'm not sure what classes I will even do. Amateurs for Connie should be a go.

Anyway, had a fairly quiet warm up just trotting around, few circles and changes of rein. Then Grant was all 'ok go jump the course'. It was set for my friends horse who is freaking amazing so it was probably to big for me but one of the doglegs was a small upright to an upright of about 1.10 so I cruised round and popped down there, even though I knew he was kidding. It's just that Connie is so reliable and awesome and I love her. Then I jumped the outside line which was a nice 6. I'm starting to get more feel for that more packaged canter. It definitely felt easier and more natural than the clinic before. I was also heaps more confident, knowing that she would jump well from the slower canter. She is really jumping across her fences as well. The new saddle must be working because she feels really good. Though for sure the hunting has really helped to get her forward.

Then we did the course above- minus the 6 stride line- starting over the oxer on the left hand side. The first time I got too long to it and she went from a long spot but still cleared it by heaps. The next time I waited and got that extra stride and she jumped it super and so we carried on and finished the course. The final dogleg 5 stride to the last fence was quite long but because I moved on it early it came up really well. I guess despite spending the last two weeks on hill training and not schooling I have miraculously gotten more organised lol.

And then we called it a day. Grant had a pretty nasty flu and was tired as and really it had gone well. The homework is to really work on the schooling- extensions and collections and leg yielding, as well as jumping a few bigger jumps and maybe some big grids.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dream on

If I'm honest, and my friends will tell you I often am, I would say that the loss of my relationship of the past five years has really rocked my equilibrium. I know that this is THAT relationship of my twenties that doesn't last but I did think I had found my forever partner only to find that this is not the case, because he doesn't love me anymore.

I have always dreamed of being a top showjumper. I have a myriad of skills that I can do OK. I'm an OK artist, an OK singer, I'm an OK scholar, and an OK athlete. I'm your general over achiever. My friends hate me for my ability to turn out an A worthy essay in only 3 days, and thats at post graduate level. The only thing that my passion has ever lasted for is riding. there is something about being on the back of a horse that makes the world feel ok, despite the fact when I'm not riding it all feels a bit broken. I'm a good rider. I'm a really good rider. If I believed in myself more I could be a great rider. I have a shit ton of feel, great timing and a natural eye to a fence. But I always second guess myself.

Sometimes it feels like I have given up a lot for my riding. I'm isolated from my friends, have made no effort to further my career, and I'm working for, and living with, my parents solely so I can ride. And without their steadfast support (despite my lack of results) I couldn't do it at all. I'm blessed to be in NZ where I can afford to even compete like I do. I could never afford it in the US or Europe.

This season is the litmus test. If I can't make an improvement this year- either jumping 1.30m or having a good showing in the Amateur series I;m going to sell all but one of the horses and probably go back to school, knowing that at least I made a shot at my dream which is more than a lot of people can say. Anyway, the whole point of this longwinded and wine induced post, is to share a poem that right now when it feels like I'm broken into a million pieces helps me keep looking forward.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill;
When funds are low, and debts are high
And you want to smile and have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must but do not quit

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
It when things go wrong that you must not quit.

"Don't Quit"
Author unknown

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cashmore clinic- Connie- Day 2

Because Connie had only done a flat lesson earlier, Grant very kindly gave me a lesson over fences after everyone was done because we had time to spare. So we warmed up with the same exercises, and then jumped a small course. The course went up the right hand side, oxer to upright in 6 short strides, left hand turn to the other upright and then the 7 stride dogleg. If that went well I was to carry on up the left hand side, over the double and then 4 strides to the final upright.

Well i was on Connie so we went jump jump and it was all very nice and pretty easy so then they put them up. My other friend was delighted, having wanted to see me jump bigger fences all clinic. The added height meant I needed more accuracy and straight away my lack of organisation started to show in a big way. Te other thing was it was really hard to just maintain that collected canter all the way to the bigger fences when my head was just like 'we need more speed captain, she'll never make it!' but she did. Grant did try a few things to get Connie jumping rounder- rails on the landing side and V poles but she just jumped and ignored that sort of thing.

Again, with connie it's always just the bare minimum required to jump the fences and even over the bigger fences she didn't feel particularly scopey. Still I'm told she wasn't making any effort over them and that she would go higher so thats always reassuring.

Anyway, on the last attempt when I got organised, sat up after landing and collected the canter straight away and stayed focused on maintaining everything, we had a really nice jump around the course and of course I was stoked as with her. Go fat Spanish pony!

Cashmore clinic- Kate- Day 2

Ah I love The Kate. Whenever I ride her I feel like I'm riding my proper jumper horse.
Not well by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm trying. It's safe to say that Kate is my most difficult ride. She is so sensitive it's like riding a sports car. Sometimes also I put leg on her and there is lag before she responds and she then over reacts and gets too forward. I feel like I'm starting to learn the balance, but it's a fine line between providing enough leg at the fence to make her confident versus too much leg which makes her hot, flat, and worries her.

The second day of the clinic she was definitely feeling her foot a little. Throwing in the odd short stride on it and just not jumping as round as she normally does. Still she was still keen to her fences and definitely by the end of the lesson I was getting a better ride than at the start. Now guys you have to remember to keep things the same and get the right canter and maintain it all the way to your fences. don't panic and chase spots! And don't panic and reduce your canter to bouncing on the spot in the search for your spot! Maintain maintain maintain! The same, guys always the same.

With Kate we did trot poles down in the top right corner and then cantered down to the oxer in the seven strides. Once she was warmed up I would do that exercise, turn right after the oxer and half circle back over the first upright vertical in the other direction. Then left hand turn back to the other upright before doing the 7 stride dogleg back to the oxer. I don't feel like I really mastered the dogleg. i had to pull up and circle away on both Kate and Connie because I wasn't getting organised early enough to get the seven strides in properly. I think sometimes I worry too much about counting and not enough about just riding. Anyway cool jump sequence pictures follow!

Then we worked on jumping the other line on the lefthand side- starting with the double and going up in the 4 strides to the other oxer. Do you think I could get this right on Kate?? AAhhh no. First time I turned too late and got too quiet on the corner and added a stride, the next time I came too quick and left out a stride. Once I maintained- rode through the corner and turned a little earlier the 3 strides out of the corner came up beautifully andthe whole line rode really well. I'm lucky Kate is quite forgiving.

Still I'm starting to get really excited about the coming season now! We are trying to get me ready for the amateur classes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cashmore Clinic- A big thank you

For the two weeks before the clinic I had a friend I had met through a horse forum staying with me while she was having her OE in NZ. She is from England and an eventer. Anyway, my partner recently left and my friend really filled the breach. She helped me with the horses and it's her you have to thank for all the awesome photos. It's going to be harder to get the photos in the future without Dan there, and it's weird to not have his support but at the same time it will be nice to really just focus on the horses.

Anyway, to thank my friend for helping me get the horses worked and for being a super groom for the two days (Really she was amazing- She would have the next horse saddled so I could have a break between lessons- I offered for us to have a Civil Union so she could stay and groom for me forever but it seems she wants to go home lol. The offer always stands though!)I let her have one of my lessons on Connie. thats her in the top picture. She said she got a lot out of it, but it stayed a flat lesson because she wasn't very riding fit after 8 months out of the saddle. Still she rode really well and had Connie going awesomely.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cashmore clinic- Rascal- Day 2

Rascal was my first ride on the second day. I already had her warmed up so we got straight into it. Again we did the trot rails exercise cantering down to the oxer down the right hand side of the course (See diagram below). It walked as a tight 6 so with the trot fence we were cantering down in 7 to get a nice round jump. Rascal really surprised me today with how confidently she jumped and how she carried me to the fences without hesitation.

Again the focus was straightness and strength. It's hard for Rascal to maintain her canter all the way to the base so often she runs me a bit deep. But she is a million miles improved from where she was, so to be honest I'm pretty happy. there is hope yet for my big plan to sell her to the States as a childrens hunter so I can have a holiday in Europe lol. (To be fair she would make a lovely childrens hunter, I schooled her bareback today and she was awesome). Then we did the righthand line as an upright to the oxer in the short 6 strides, which wasn't terribly short for her, but thats fine.

Then we went up the righthand line oxer to upright and rolled back over the upright and did the dogleg of 7 strides back to the first oxer backwards. Once she was doing this well, we tried the left hand line going down, the oxer- four strides to the one stride double.

She jumped in too small the first time and I really motored hr down to make the distance. Apparently Grant had told me to turn away but I never heard him so I kept going. GHe said I gave her a nice positive ride! LOL! She was better the second time with a better jump in.

One thing that is apparent, across all the second day lessons is that I need to be more organised when I'm jumping courses. Land, get the canter organised and collected to early to give me more room and time to ride up to the next fence.

Still a good lesson, Rascal is so much more confident and happy in her work and she is really starting to improve. I'm working really hard to fix my gimpy left hand which wants to hang on, so subsequently all my horses hang off of the left rein and as soon as I lighten it they all go better. I think maybe it's improving? I'm not that optimistic.

Cashmore clinic- Kate- Day 1

Ah Kate! What a mission it was even getting her to the clinic. I had done everything I could for her abscess, and when she was still off I took her to the farriers and had a pad put on her foot. This helped her immensely, and though she started a little short she felt really good throughout the lesson.

Grant was pleased with how much her flatwork had improved, though she is still a hot little number and always will be. Good old TBs eh. She is a lot stronger. Last clinic she couldn't canter down the arena without switching out behind and now she is doing it no worries.

It was the same exercises again. You would think it would get repetitive but with three such different horses, I have to ride so differently each time it's actually not repetitive at all! Kate was really good. Hot yes, but very eager to jump and really powering off of the ground.

When we jumped the other jumps after doing the trot pole to fence exercise she was a lot hotter. I struggled initially to see my stride to the oxer at the end of the trot pole exercise but I need to really stay soft and maintain the canter and then it's easy. Kate was really jumping over everything huge and I was grateful for the Prestige because I'm not sure I could have sat on her in the old Pessoa. Cantering down the final line (short 6 strides oxer to upright)v was probably the hardest because she doesn't trust the check and would bound through the hand so getting the six evenly and smoothly was quite the challenge. So much so I didn't actually manage it, but like Grant said I just have to ride the horse I have and she will always be a bit hot. That being said at home she tolerates the check better so it's only a matter of time until she does when she is out as well.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cashmore clinic- Rascal- Day 1

Rascal was my next horse out. This is my first time jumping her for ages! I ride her in the Prestige now as well because I love it and she seems happy in it as well. Better than trying to cram my big butt in that little 17 inch Bates anyway. So I have been worried about Rascal because she has been improving not at all, and still feeling very weak and unable to carry herself well. However, there is some improvement so I just need to keep working.

So we started with the same exercise- trot poles to the fence and I was really happy when for the first time in ages, Rascal took me to the fence and I just had to sit and maintain. It was nice that she wasn't backing off like she was when I first started riding her. Again it was similar work and again I need to do more to keep her together and maintain the canter. I have gotten lazy without a trainer!

We did run into one issue. She had a stop at a fence and that was entirely my fault because I didn't keep her straight. She is a right hand drifter and I need to do more about getting my horses strong and straight. As soon as I kept her straight, I could see my spot and she jumped really confidently. Still I was rapt at just how she was taking me to the fences and jumping confidently and getting her forearm up and jumping really round. She is definitely feeling a lot better and stronger within herself.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cashmore clinic- Connie- Day 1

I don't know why it has taken me so long to sit down and write this, but I have definitely been actively procrastinating it. Which is odd, because the weekend went really well. Connie came out first in the morning because I wanted to get my trusted one out of the way lol! Her flatwork has really come on, she just isn't the horse she used to be- she is better! I have worked so hard on her and it's nice that now I can just enjoy it a little.

We started with some trotting poles, and then trotting poles to a small fence then cantering down the line in 7 strides (it was a 6 stride line) to a small vertical. As always Connie was completely incapable of the trotting poles to jump exercise. Instead of getting both of her back legs between the fence and the trotting poles, she would touch down with one and through herself over the fence and land in an unbalanced heap. Grant had to move the poles to give her more room so she could do it like a normal horse.

The seven strides came up pretty easily though. He put in some angles rails to help keep her straight but she is pretty straight anyway. Good old Connie horse. Then the upright became a small oxer and then I think I did a little course over the other fences and it was really all very quiet and relaxed. It was interesting to note that the canter I have been jumping from is too fast and I need to slow down, collect up and get more organised.