Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In which 2011 ends by kicking my ass

Thankfully in life it's not that often I'm left pondering my vulnerability as a human, but here we are for the second time in a 6 week period with myself heading to the emergency room. Not horse related this time though, but possibly something I am pretty blase about, and that's using the quad bike. I was racing around a mob of calves trying to stop them crossing over the culvert and keep them heading for the gate, and apparently lost my orientation because all of a sudden I was much to close to the drain and about where the calves had been walking down to the water they had cut away a lot of ground.

My front right wheel dropped into where the ground was cut away and the bike started to flip. I'm not sure if I bailed or was thrown off, Dan reckons I might have bailed, but I do remember being at the top of drain, feeling the bike starting to kick over and thinking I was never going to get out of this without being killed. I hit the bottom of the drain before the bike did and I hustled to get out of the way but wasn't quick enough and the bike pinned my ankle and I was trapped in the bottom of the drain. As the quad settled the weight on my leg got worse and the pain was unreal. I was screaming for poor old Dan to save me. He thought he was running to find my corpse so to hear my hollering was a positive.

Dan lifted the bike up enough I could scoot my leg out and I was free. I was limping back across the paddock to the gate when I realised my pants were torn and looking through I had a wicked gash on my knee that was just fill of mud. Blerk. Off to the ER we go, wait for hours, get both knee and ankle to make sure of no broken bones and big pieces of gravel. You know it's bad when the nurses are quite impressed. Anyway, it took about 45 minutes to clean and cut away the dirty flesh in my knee which was bizarre to watch. It didn't hurt but you are cutting me bro. The local was the worst part, that almost made me vomit, especially as I was on an empty stomach in case I had to go to surgery for it to be cleaned.

Luckily there was no real joint involvement, thought there was a small hole that went through to my knee cap. Sick! So 6 internal stitches and 9 external stitches and I can't drive, ride or bend my knee for at least 10 days to make sure the stitches hold. It hurts like an absolute bitch, but I'm really grateful that I'm alive and not seriously injured, just the gash and a few scrapes and bruises on my lower legs, and that I was out with Dan who was able to lift the bike off me. Lucky me. Though I don't like the rate I'm losing my lives at ha.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy holidays!

A bit of a time warp back to when I rolled as an eventer. That horse qualified for 1* but I never got the chance to compete in one on him. His name is Kruise and he was an unraced TB I brought of friends of the family, over weight and surly. Cool little horse with lots of ticker but a terrible jumper. Super safe cross country but unreliable as a showjumper.

Anyway, Happy holidays to all my readers. It's been an odd and confusing old year but the horses are great. Ging and Connie have both put in exceptional schooling sessions in the last couple of days and I'm making progress with Bill's issues and starting to pin point whats going on with her. I'm riding Ging in a rubber bit with hackamore combination and he loves it though is a touch strong which I never thought would happen. Normally he is ridiculously behind the bridle, but with the early warning from the hackamore, even when I need to back up my aid with the snaffle he isn't over reacting. He has put on a lot of condition as well, I wish I had taken pictures of when he first arrived but I have killed both my cameras. Figure that.

I don't show again for a long time really so there I have some time to really get Bill going and consolidate with Connie and get her a bit fitter and stronger. Ging goes back to his owner for the start of the next month for a while and might not come back as he is on the market but it's been a lot of fun to have him here. It would be totally weird to only have two horses here it would be our lowest numbers in a good decade haha! More than that even. Kate is looking really really well, fat and happy and shiny.

Good riding everyone, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and have a fabulous New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Taupo Christmas Classic- Rain!

I knew the forecast would be bad and very intelligently packed 4 raincoats and my heavy wet weather gear which pretty much saved my life this show. Uhh where I live the climate is really wet so I'm already over the rain when I'm away doing fun things like shows. The ground was ok on the first day though, and ging was on a surface so we were good to go ahead. I helped my friend with herself first and there was no gate steward so that ring was really dragging, finally got her organised, got on Ging was double clear in the first 1m. Jumped ok not amazing and ended up only a couple of seconds out of the placings which was good. I do like ging.

Then it was a mad rush to Get Connie up, because the Blake the best gate steward ever was on the gate for ring 1 and he had them flying through. So that was my first 1.20m in 6 weeks and it was ok but still a ring 1 track, plenty of filler and questions. Had a cheap rail at the first and I rode a little nervous but she jumped really well and that was the only rail to fall. I'm starting to get a bit backward again in my jumping and losing the forward flow. Something to work on. I don't show again until late Jan so it will be a nice chance to do some more training. I will be working on the flow thats for sure.

The next day Connie was first up in the amateur and I had even less flow. The issue was I didn't do enough to compensate for the now very sodden ground and she got even stickier. Actually that isn't fair I was good for the first half of the course but got into trouble at the double. Got a big jump in and it should have been fine but I think the ground grabbed her and killed her impulsion so we couldn't make the stride out. She added in and we had the rail. She finished with just the four faults and I can't be a hater, but it was just one of those rounds where even though the result is ok, you are disappointed with how you rode.

Had an awesome round on ging in the 1m class, started to feel like a real team with him now. It was very smooth. just had one brain explosion when I rode up and realised I had made a mistake and circled him off the fence. Not my horse to break eh! Still Ging adds strides in every line so I was happy to get the strides exactly as I walked in the last line and he finished super. So many four fault rounds!

At Taupo they have a practice ring set up that you can use for five dollars so I took Connie there and cantered down the combinations to make sure she stayed confident. She was better out there because the ground hadn't had the same thrashing.

Then more rain that evening. I scratched Connie from the 1.20m the next day (Saturday) after watching two horses out of the first five in the class before slip really badly. Connie is my only good horse now and I'm not going to risk her on bad ground. Then my friend who I had travelled with wanted to go home being sick of the weather and ground conditions so we packed up early and left. Not really the show I had planned for but I wasn't sorry to get out of the wet.

Now the pictures I don't have because the friend who was going to take them was coming on Sunday and I didn't ride Sunday obviously. Still there should be some pro photos I can get instead. Fingers crossed

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taupo Christmas Classic

So just about all packed and ready to go to Taupo tomorrow for 4 days. All the horse stuff is done anyway and the horses have been worked and went relatively well. Connie was a good little bee and ging struggled to keep it together during the hill work and threw his toys a bit. Hills make him work and show up his weaknesses and made him cross. Still nothing I couldn't handle, he is mostly all bluster and very little actual action.

The weather forecast is really ugly, rain the whole time we are away and getting cold over the weekend, so I'm not looking forward to that with Connie the fair weather princess. I'll just have to play it by ear. I'd really like to have a crack at the 1.25m championship class if she jumps well during the week, but at the same time if the weather is going to affect her I wont. I need to keep her brave and happy. I have brought her a magnetic rug for Christmas and I'm quite keen to see if that has any effect.

900 horses entered for the show apparently. I guess with HoY getting so prohibitively expensive people are using this show as the "big" show for the season, because it seems like every other show entries have been down. 38 trade stalls so I guess my wallet might take a hammering. I want to get an old school drop noseband and egg-butt snaffle for Bill. I have a long break after Taupo so I plan to really focus on Bill. Then it's North Islands and some other shows. It actually all wraps up relatively soon.

ETA- I should get some pictures from this show of connie and the ginger ninja woo!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

National Young Horse Show- Results

It was a good show, I can't complain it's not quite the result I wanted, but it was still a very good show. Ging was first in the 1m class and just had a cheap rail but jumped pretty well. I didn't ride him that smoothly though, the ring was really huge so I had too long to canter down to the fences and that meant I had time to second guess myself and got him a bit deep a couple of times, but I'm still new on him and it was the most difficult course I have jumped on him so far. And I hadn't actually walked it, I tend to just wing it at that height which is a bit naughty.

Then I reacted something I ate and got really crook between my classes and it was a very poorly version of myself, having cold sweats and shakes, that climbed onto Connie for the 1.15m class. It was a technical track and there was only one clear in the first 15 horses. I was the second. Yay Connie jumped really awesome, felt amazing and tried really hard. Gave them heaps of height and was confident through both the combinations and cleared the very light white gate. Then I had to go lay down and rest while I waited for the jump-off. Unfortunately after me there were another 10 clear rounds haha so I knew it would be pressure on. She jumped well in the jump-off, just had one rail when I got her a little deep to the combination, but still laid down a competitive time but with a rail I wasn't able to secure a ribbon. Guts.

Sorted out the horses and spent the next three hours dozing and recovering. Thankfully it passed relatively quickly and I didn't feel too bad the next morning. Ging was first again and I jumped a clear round in the 1m and it was a much nicer round, a lot smoother and more forward so I was quite happy. Connie was then up in the amateur class. Probably the softest amateur I have seen all season and there were eight clears in the class. I really wanted to break my four fault hoodo. Anyway, she jumped well, just tipped the third fence with her back feet and the rail fell. It wasn't a bad distance or anything, it was just one of those things where she didn't jump high enough. She jumped all the tough parts no worries it was just the little plain upright that she took ha. Ah well. The trouble with series classes is it does build up the pressure on one class and it's so easy to be disappointed. I am not unhappy though because she jumped so well and as a present I have brought her a magnetic rug which should arrive soon.

I want to stop pushing the amateurs so intensely and look at moving up a little more, maybe jump some 1.25m classes. How good with that be!? Heading to Taupo with Ging and Connie on Wednesday for a four day long show so I'm definitely looking forward to that. Also Ging is no longer available for sale in my price bracket, and thats a shae, but it's not really a good time to buy a horse for me anyway.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

National Young Horse Show

Off to the National Young horse Show tomorrow. Everything is packed and ready, horses are washed and mostly still clean. Just have to pack for myself and do the horses feeds in the morning. Stopping in at the farrier on the way past to get Gings toes done at 7am and hoping I'm not early in the draw for his class because I probably wont make it haha! It's quite nice to be travelling up the morning of the show for a change, less time to spend cooling my heels and waiting for time to pass. Less time spent stewing. Connie had a good jump school this morning and Ging had a good flat workout. Poor little fella is a bit confused about all this going forward but his teeth grinding is lessening which is a good sign.

Been riding Bill and she has been going like a good little pony which is reassuring. So onward and upward. I'm glad she is back to her normal self

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dilemmas- Feel free to give input.

Dilemma 1: I have been thinking about buying the orange horse. I have talked to his owner and she wants more money than I have for him, but is willing to come to an agreement about payment. But it's an awful lot of money, mote than I have ever spent before.

He is a lovely horse, I am really enjoying riding him, I feel very comfortable on him, like I have had him a long time. Obviously we still need to spend a lot of time together but if I take him slowly he could potentially go a long way. I have seen him free jump a 1.40 oxer from a trot and it cleared it easily. He has previously jumped up to 1.25m with placings so he is a good horse.

Connie is a super horse but I don't know how much further she will go, though I'd love for her to do 1.30m classes. It's hard to know how scopey she is, and if (heaven forbid) she should get injured I'm suddenly without a horse that is competing at NZEF level.

Still I don't know whats going to happen in the next couple of years, where I will be, what work I will have etc, but I do want to keep advancing in SJing. At the same time I don't want to financially cripple myself, but then I could always on sell him if I get into trouble. Tough one eh?

Dilemma 2: What do I do with Kate. I can't keep her really. I don't need foals as much as I'd like from her, the uncertainty of the next few years means I really shouldn't be breeding. It's one thing to sell competition horses, quite another to sell young stock. I don't feel like it's fair for her or me for her to be wandering around a field for the next 10 years. I wont have time to look after her. So I can sell her or put her down.

Now selling her appeals because then I don't put her down. She is a lovely breeding quality mare but I feel some people don't look after their broodmares well and I don't want Kate to end up in a bad position where she isn't looked after properly. She is a lovely mare and she deserves better than that. If I was staying her working on the farm I would keep her, but the time has come to move on and so things have to change.

If I do put her down I know that she will never suffer and that she will never end up in a bad position. There aren't many options for an unsound horse, and I have always been an advocate of euthanasia. I feel you never hear people say I wish I had waited to put him down, but you often here people say I should have done it much earlier. She is fat and happy at the moment so she would go out on a good note. So yea I'm torn about what to do in both situations really. Boo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Feilding IA&P Show

Another averagely run show at Feilding. Their organisation is terrible but the facility is so nice! The indoor is huge and though spooky, the footing is beautiful. Still it an indoor and there is no denying you have to be onto it because the fences come up a lot faster and you have less of a break between fences.

Anyways, so it's my first show back since my tumble and I was feeling a bit on riding and the progress I was making and the effort in for the reward ratio, sometimes I wonder if I would be better off not so involved and back off, maybe just one horse and a proper job. I got some good advice which was think about it after today. Ok that I can do. Gingles was up in the first class of the day and he was first ride in the 1m class in the outdoor arena. Warmed up ok, still just lack miles together obviously this being our third show- our 3rd class together ever, and the fifth time I ever jumped him. Still cantered around reasonably smoothly for a clear round and just had a rail in the jump-off. What I love about this horse is I always leave the ring grinning from ear to ear.

Then connie was up in the indoor for the amateur class. The very first line was tricky I thought. Forward five strides from fence one to fence two which was a very spooky oxer, away from the gate. In the first line you always find it harder to make your distance because you aren't travelling yet and away from the gate you also get less travel, so I went for the six strides, which is hard on Connie who doesn't collect well but it worked perfectly because she jumped in- canter canter for three strides, balk, and then I could kick on for the next two strides. Lost my stirrup in the balk and didn't land organised enough to flow around the corner to three so had the rail there. Then it was a related dog-leg line down to the double and because I didn't get a good jump in I needed to ride up, but I took a pull so got a fairly messy ride to the double, but she saved my butt and we left it up. I'm a bit ring rusty haha!

Sorted my life out and really rode for the rest of the class and finished with just the rail. At that stage there were no clears so I waited to see what would happen. There were only two clears in the whole class so I kept my fingers crossed and hppily I was the fastest four faulter. The thing with Connie is she is smooth and ground covering and I very rarely have to check or chase so she is pretty economical on the time. Still third is my highest result in an amateur class, so I am rapt. And obviously the course was hard enough for there to only be two clears. With the points from this placing I should move into the top 30 on the score board which is pretty bad ass. The points fall away pretty fast obviously haha!

Back to the truck and swap onto Ging. Warmed up and then jumped a very smooth 1.05m double clear. Very happy. I enjoy this horse, I like that he is not super smart so he is dependable, you know exactly what he is thinking. And he really loves to jump, he thinks he is pretty bad ass. So yea good day, motivation revved back up again and shows the next two weekends. Good.