Friday, December 21, 2012

Sometimes I wish I could say

I spend quite a few hours on a show ground and I see and hear plenty of things that I wish wouldn't be really rude to just say to someone. Especially as I'm not confrontational and just like to keep my head down and get it done.

Don't kill your kids buzz

You hear it all the time, the helper/trainer/parent critiquing the round as the rider comes out. And it's a part of growing as a rider and mostly it's one of those things. At one of the Pukete shows it really hit home how damaging this can be. A little girl on quite a big pony had the first rail and then jumped a really lovely round to be clear after that. She came out of the ring beaming and the first thing her Mum did was start saying how she had stuffed up at the first fence. Her little face just fell. As a rider you tend to know what you have done wrong, so why not say well done you round super after the first fence, rather than say why didn't you ride the first fence properly you did this that and the next thing wrong. I really felt for that poor kid.

When your horse stops, ripping its face off will not help

This is really one of my pet peeves.The horse stops for whatever reason and the rider starts pulling on the bit. Pulling on the reins means to stop so ripping on his face after he has had a refusal really is meaningless. If you think it's merited give him a kick or a hit which tend to be go forward signals. Horses mouths are pretty sensitive and if you hurt their mouths you teach them to be scared of the hand and to run through the bridle. Respect the mouth and you will have a much nicer horse to ride.

If your horse is consistently stopping at the practice fence you wont get round

The practice fence is the easiest on the course. It has no filler, and you jump it more than once and you start over it small. I don't mean when if you have a stop because you have a bad distance or someone cut you off or because you got distracted watching a butterfly. I mean if your horse is consistently stopping despite a good ride then you are only going to compond the problem by going into the ring where the jumps are scarier and new to the horse.  If stopping is out of character for your horse and he wont wont jump the practice fence chances are that he is carrying some sort of injury/ the gear is hurting him.

I know you are richer than me but I paid the same as you to enter

I get it, your horse is an import, your gear is worth a down payment on a house but the fact of the matter is my entries were as much as yours and I have as much right to the warm-up as you. Don't stand in the way having a chat with your mate, don't jack the practice fence 20cm higher than the class (which is against the rules anyway) and leave it that height so the poor schmucks riding after you have to have a helper or get off and adjust it. Don't cut me off. The truth is my tough little homebred horse is going to be a lot less bothered by a close call than your fancy version. My sister and I used to play pretty rough on our ponies.

Look after your damn horse

It really bothers me how many horses I see at shows that stand all day in their yards or next to the truck and you never see them get any forage/hay or water. The horse is carting your butt around all day and you are sitting on the ramp having a drink of water while your horse looks like its about to tip over. Thankfully this isn't that common, but it's not unheard of for me to run water and give my hay to other peoples horses.

Yes it's lame, now get off

It blows me away how many lame horses I see being ridden up here. So many more than down where I used to live. I don't know if they can't feel it or what but of the last 5 or so shows I have seen at least 2 lame horses go on to compete. Yes you can disquise it by cantering in the ring and not trotting, and the judges rarely pull a horse because it's lame, but it's not right. You don't know what damage you are doing and why make your horse work while it's in pain. I heard you discuss with your trainer how lame it was and he said it wasn't so bad and to just canter which is disgusting, because it was still clearly uneven.

Phew good to get that off my chest not that there isn't a bunch of other things that bother me, but these are the ones that really get me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taupo Christmas Classic

Epiphanies are funny things, they can spring on you when you least expect it. The last time Connie jumped really really well was Te Teko and the last time I felt really confident was around then to. So I'm warming up for the amateur class on the Friday when my friend turns around and says " Get your hands out of your fanny and keep them still". Not polite of course, but typical of this friend. And there is was, the root cause of all my issues was noisy low heavy hands. These are the things that get slack without lessons. See I have arms and Connie doesn't so it's really my responsibility to carry my own hands. The other statement was not touch her mouth around the corner at all. I've been trying to organise the canter from the front and it just doesn't work.

Anyway, with softer hands and letting the corners balance her canter and counting my strides, I got my flow back and had a good smooth clear round in the amateur. She did look at the wall a little because I got a really good deal on 60kgs of race mix which has oats and she doesn't cope with oats apparently because she was a hot little number. She was trotting around the warm-up really fast and it was funny because her little legs were flailing but she still wasn't really moving any faster. I had a rail in the jump-off at the second fence because we were motoring around, I then slowed right down to make sure we had a nice smooth easy round after the sort of trouble we have been having. Because we had such a good ride I stayed in the 1.20m class the next day.

Again with the smooth hands and riding around my corners and counting I had a wicked round. She was awesome and confident and I was getting into the zone. In the jump-off I took a real nifty inside line and nearly fell off when she landed going left and I was heading right. Still a few monkey genes left and I stayed with her. I didn't push that hard for the rest of the jump-off but she was clear and that was good enough for third. I was so happy because there were about 70 odd horses in it.

Stinky jumped a clear round on the first day and was awesome, jumping from deep and from long and really working to leave the rails up for our first clear in the 1.10m class. The next day in the 1.10m she had two rails and in the 1.05-1.1m class she had another two. Not from bad distances or anything, but she starts to run through the bridle on the second day. The third day she was impossible to hold , like a steam train despite the polo gag she was in. 4 rails in the 1.15m championship from reasonable distances.

Though in watching the video another time I can see she is pretty hurried and stressed looking. I just don't think she is a showjumper in all honesty, she just doesn't try hard enough to be clean. I'm tempted to try her over some really big fences but I'm not sure really, I don't think it's worthwhile. She is tidy with her front end but she isn't getting her body in the air.

I ended up riding my friends horse because she was really hung over. I got eliminated on him in the 1.10m! He canters in happy as and then he chickens out at the base of the oxers. I was a little annoyed and I cantered out to the practice fence and hit him at the base. I then went to the 1.05m-1.10m class and used my stick at the first fence and the third fence and all thoughts of stopping left him and he was suddenly game for anything. Wicked cool horse just like riding a pony- any distnce is ok and you can just spin him even though he has a good dollop of clydesdale in there somewhere. We were second in that class out of like 80 people so that was pretty cool.

The Sunday on Connie I was entered into the 1.20m Open Horse Derby. I have never done a derby before so needless to say I was very very nervous. Fence 5 which we just pop over I was quite intimidated by, it seemed rather large to the likes of me. And it was the first fence with a cross country jump under it. Connie was awesome seeing as she has never really jumped cross country fences at all. I had a rail about halfway round the track- which was a kilometer long and had twenty fences!!- I lost her focus as we left the arena and she was a bit surpised by the jump. She wobbled down the hill to the fence and cleared that one, and then struggled up the hill and over the cross country fence. The very last fence you can't see well is our first water jump with water in it. She didn't care she just rocked up and popped over. Love this horse man, that was such a buzz and she just cruised round so easily.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pukete Showjumping

As a show Pukete was something of a mixed bag. Connie was up first in the 1.10m Class because I needed and easy run. Was a pretty good ride for 5th place and a double clear round. Stinky came out and jumped super for a clear round in the 1.10m class and one rail in the jump off. I was just completely unable to jump the narrow stile jump for the rest of the show, I continually let the narrowness drag me into the base.

Then I had the amateur class and again Connie jumped clear. Such a good Connie. Iwas rapt. She jumped well, but still I felt something was missing. The quality of the canter wasn't 100 percent and I don't know. Looking back with hindsight, it is a lack of trust in myself to have the good canter and the good distance and that is one of the core issues. Finally got a good ride to the stile in the jump-off and must have sighed with relief and not put me leg on because she just rolled it out of the cups. Still she was the fastest of the four faulters to be fifth and we were the only combination to do one tricky inside turn.

The ground was very very hard so it was poulticing and wrapping for Connie, who tends to jar up on hard ground, because she is slightly back at the knee and doesn't have the smoothest action. The next day Malinki was first up in the 1.15m class and old Malinki who takes rails was back and she ran through the hand and had three rails. Then Connie had the 1.20m class. When I walked it, I wasn't that confident and when I saddled her up I thought her right front had a little filling in it. She was sound as a pound though and let everyone talk me into starting. Big mistake because I was so worried about her stinking leg that even though she warmed up super I wasn't confident and never found my rhythym. Has two rails early on and then pulled up before the last double which I was super intimidated by and retired. Weak!! Poor horse burdened with a mad woman.

Then Stinky had 4 rails in her next class which was 1.10m. She really isn't that concerned up clearing them which is a shame because she has plenty of power. Still it wasn't a good feeling, still not sure what was going on with my pony. Her leg was fine, perfect the next day, smooth cool and tight.  


Had a little practice and clearly she was still awesome. I wasn't however, still the piece of advice that would fix everything was only a few days away!

Friday, December 7, 2012

No internets :(

Sorry I don't have the internet in my new house yet and so haven't been able to post because they would get angry at work. Here are some pictures of Stinky at the latest Pukete show in the 1.10m which she actually jumped a clear round in. So weird and unexpected. Its in there somewhere!

I do jne3ed to find the right bit. This one isn't it because she is still very heavy in it. It's not that she is particularily strong or hot she is just really really big and a little bit stupid.