Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Still missing you

There is a update or two coming in regards to the horse trial with tsar and it was absolutely a mixed bag and I was sorely tested as a rider! As far as lead ups to an event go it went about as badly as I have ever had when he got grass affected a week out.

I think maybe it was the fact that the horse trial just been was the last event I ever ran Butch at and the weather was so horrendous and one shoe was barely holding onto his brittle munted feet and I couldn't stud the fronts because it would put extra strain on them. I have never wanted so badly to pull up cross country as my fingers were frozen around the reins ( it must have run earlier in the season because he's been gone for more than a year) but despite everything against him, his little sharp ears were hard pricked and he just rolled along jumping perfectly out of stride. His long ewe neck and awkward baby giraffe gait almost haunts me. I can recall whole courses stride for stride. I have ridden some super horses that I loved dearly I would never have believed that this awkward munted Orange horse would still hold such a huge piece of my heart.

Sorry buddy. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wairarapa A&P Show/ Gladstone Sports

Photos are all from Gladstone sports. So the weekend after the Wairarapa Champs, the Wairarapa A&P show ran in the next town. I only jumped the Friday and the Sunday because those classes best fitted with my work schedule. The Firday he was in the 1m and the 90cm class. Thw 1m class was held in ring 1 so it was quite busy and had a bit more in the way of fillers and stuff. Honestly, when I walked the course I felt sick because it was a lot gruntier than the very soft 1m class I had jumped the week prior. It was a two-phase class as well, so you go straight into the jump off if clear in the first round and the jump off part was a good 1.05, maybe nearly 1.10m. I was hoping I wouldn't get into the jump off. I went back to the horse float and was busy telling my partner how I couldn't jump it and it was too big, while the whole time I got my horse ready so go figure. (In my wussiness defense, he did say he thought it was a lot bigger than he was expecting). Horse warmed up like a dork because they were unloading pigs. Lots of the impossible to sit pepe le pew canter that jars your entire body. Still he was getting to the base of the warm up fence and just jumping out of his skin.

So he jumped super in the first round, a bit manic to ride between, quite hot and badly falling out on the turns, but I'm trusting him a bit more and not overriding so much. He was brave to the fillers as well, even when we were travelling down the six stride line he stayed brave. Super to the last triple bar as well even though I was scared. Though in looking back, we had an awkward jump over the second fence because I let him run himself really deep to it, but it was a brilliant piece of training because after that he backed himself off a little more, and rocked back and operated when he got deep later in the course. I'm so much better to stay the same, or go for the quiet distance than the ride up on this horse.

Both times I have gone for a big ride up I have ended way out in no mans land, trying to salvage the half stride. In the jump off he jumped super over the bigger fences. He shut down a little at fence 11 by the gate because he was like 'and I'm done' and I was all no no theres a jump two strides away. Still he cleared the fence and travelled down in five strides to jump the combination super. I didn't go for time in the jump off at all I just wanted to get him round these bigger fences smoothly and the 2 phase worked out well for us, because by the time he jumped fourteen fences in a row he was jumping so well and a lot more settled between. Very pleased to post a clear in by far our most difficult track. Man alive the horse can jump, over the oxer at five it felt like we damn near cleared the stands. Then I went straight down to ring 2 to jump the 90cm class and he was a bit manic again, he needs to not do classes back to back I think, and the 90cm just wasn't enough to make him think at all. He took the last rail and he felt good in places but didnt jump anywhere near as well.

Then on the Sunday, I was late to the grounds because of work and I was trying to learn the course from his back down at the ring side and ran into a whole heap of trouble. (This was with a calmer on board because I knew the atmosphere was going to be a lot for him to cope with) Ring two was very close to some of the other exhibits, including sheep racing and wood chopping and there were two guys playing ping pong and he just went to pieces. He was doing little rears and I couldn't turn him right at all and he napped all the way back down the alley was between rings until he was back in the warm ups. All the people watching were horrified and I took a pretty tactful approach because hes not a horse you go head to head with, he will throw down and he had a reputation at the track for being dangerous. So I wasn't that keen to start pushing his buttons when its not a side of him I had ever dealt with before.

 I ended up waiting until the gate was clear and then trotting him down the alley way with my partner running ahead. Once he was in the ring he was super. Had a rail because I thought he would back off a fence because it had a lot going on behind it and he didn't so I rode him through the top rail. Took a while but by fence 6 he had settled and finished really well. After my round I made him stay up by the ring and he was totally relaxed, so clearly he gets some performance anxiety. Still it was really good for him to be exposed to some real atmosphere and every round we do I'm trusting him more and learning how he goes.

The next event was the Gladstone horse sports and he was only entered in the 1m class, because I'm working heaps, but I probably should have done the 1.05m. Its taken three shows but 1m doesn't look that big anymore which is a nice feeling. At Gladstone he was the polar opposite of the horse I had been riding at the last two shows and he was completely laidback. I didn't quite compensate enough for how quiet he was by creating more canter, so I got a few deeper distances and he really didn't like the filler in the picture above, but he still jumped it. As long as he goes I'm happy. He seems to almost be more spooky when he is more quiet.

He got into the jump off and he had a rail in the combination when I overrode him between the fences (sense the theme??) It wasn't that long, he would have smoked through it easily if I left him alone a little and gave him the time to really jump into the air. I definitely need some lessons. Still I couldn't be happier with him. So next weekend he is in a horse trial and I'm pretty sure I'm going to die on the cross country. Why didn't I do the intro class instead of the pre-training D: