Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Final Winter Recycled Ribbon Day

So last Saturday was the final of the winter series for the recycled ribbon days run by our local Showjumping group. It was a kind of a frustrating day to be honest. I worked that morning from 5.15 to 8.15 and got to the Showgrounds around 9.30. I wasn't in the first class, for the first time I was going straight out in the 90cm on both of them. To be honest it was a bit of a monster track, and it would either ride well or not depending on how you rode.

One line of a tall upright four strides to a pretty beefy square oxer was causing lots of problems as it was backing the horses off. Didn't even walk long but people were struggling to get down there. I went to warm up China and he was an absolute dick. He was so adamant he knew all the things and wouldn't listen at all. The first cross rail was scary the second was terrifying. He bounded two strides out and ate into the distance so we ended up right in the base of it and he sort of went to stop and I was part way up his neck and then he did jump and luckily we stayed together and that is why I prefer the European style deep seat because I didn't get spat out. I got him to settle some but everytime I checked him instead of slowing not he would throw his head up and lock his neck and go sideways or bound, which of course meant I pulled harder and we got into this ugly tug of war. I know it takes two to pull but I'm also not prepared to just be run at jumps either. I have ridden plenty of strong horses but this completely wooden lack of response is not pleasant.

I'm sure I'll get a few comments about flatwork and the like but he is beautiful to ride on the flat at home. Very soft and rateable, If anything a little lazy.

Definitely It's very mild and a little like Spring has sprung so the grass is starting  to get a little rich and low in mag. Which makes for hot spooky horses full of beans and both of mine definitely felt a little like that. We went into the ring and we had some nice jumps but mostly he wouldn't listen. We got a nice shot to te line at 3 because I had heaps of room by the time I had hauled him around the corner and he'd paused because we were turning away from the parking. 

When he stayed relaxed he was super but he also did some ugly flat jumps and I had a rail and a circle. Then I let one horse go and I went again, because I wasn't going to let him go be tied up to te float after such a wild ride. It was not worth rewarding. He was better the second time, had another rail but no circle and jumped a few more fences on a better shape but still a little manic. I went back in for a third time and he was even more settled though quite strong still and also a bit tired so he didn't jump as well.

It's just so frustrating because he's so much more relaxed at home and then we go out and his brakes seize up. Which is clearly a product of having been a racehorse that was impossible to hold.

Still the jumps he did well he jumped amazing. Here is the last fence three times. No shortage of scope. 

Honestly, I was completely stuffed by the end of that and still had to drag out Bob. Bob jumped super for one rail but tried really hard. A little hesitant jumping into his lines but really pleased with him 

The front end needs work and v rails to tighten up but as such a big horse he probably needs a bigger fence. 

I don't know why my right leg is so wayward. That needs working on. When did this happen?! Bob needs to tighten up in front and peak over the fence instead of beyond it. China I don't know really. I need to break the cycle of arguing . I need to sit on him more quietly And I really need some control. Though I never feel unsafe on him. Horses

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Channeling the inner 10yr old

I've mostly been an minimalist when it comes to turnout. Brown leather, white saddle blankets. Maybe a little stitching detail but nothing to flashy. I did get a sparkle browband that didn't get a lot of use because it didn't suit butches face. Bob however was born to wear sparkles! 

I think the use of sparkles has broke something in me. That and second hand internet shopping because I have been buying stuff all over the place dressing China up like a princess pony.

These bad boys are on their way

Amazing right!! And I got him this super thick and squishy bad boy 

I'm struggling internally about with it would be wrong to buy gold glitter hoof polish but surely not right? Maybe pink? China can pull it off anyway 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Great lesson, great show.

China finally well covered over the ribs after 6 months. 

So the day before the next jumping day I had a lesson on both China and bob. China was once again a difficult know it all. He was fine jumping down the related line in one direction but going the other way would jump in and run at the next fence. We did some pull ups where I jumped in and halted him which just added to his stress levels and he refused to give it up. Normally you halt a few times and then jump in and sit up and they come back to you anticipating the halt and you go pat pat pat good pony good learning.

China took it as something of a personal affront and was like human why are you ruining this for me. I would have done it ten times and he was still looking to run down the next fence. I think I need to add circles in my related lines instead of the halting. Still he settled in the course work and whenever he got hot or silly I would just circle and we got our canter a little more dialled in and he relaxed and started to give me more shape over the fences.

Bob we had a real epiphany with though because I've been softening at the base of the fences on both of them to give them the room to jump in a relaxed way but of course I've been taking it too far and letting bob fall in his forehand and then lengthen that last stride which effectively throws all our impulsive into the toilet which results in rails. Firmer contact at the base and he really started to jump with more power. With China too I need to do this at least for a while because he's getting flat on the last stride as well. Though give it three weeks and it will change again. Having two very different green horses to ride is really keeping me on my toes.

The morning of the show was disgusting, pouring with rain and cold and I was really tempted to A. Pull the pin or B. Just take Bob because he's the client horse and needs to be getting out because he's on the market. However, I put on my Big girl pants and went despite being super late and there being low entries. I basically got there, got on China, learnt the course, jumped three warm up fences and went in. The course was really weird with only two jumps on the left rein and no related distances bar the combination and no fillers. The front part of the oxer into the combination was just two rails which wasn't bad at 80cm but it was hella ugly at 110m. So China had one rail in the 80cm when I let him run at it a little. But hugely improved from his last competition because I didn't have to turn with both hands on one rein and he was a lot more settled.

Bob came out and just leapt out of his skin at the practice fence and jumped a double clear round in the 80cm. Apparently he really likes contact at the base. Even my little sister was like wow he learnt a lot yesterday. Bonus was he won the class which is nice.

I just stayed in the ring and rode first in the 90cm. He jumped clean again and I had put my stirrups up a hole and felt like I could stay with him a lot better. 

China too was very good. Jumping well from the base and very listeny for him. Just buried him at the base of the first fence of the combination when my eye wandered through the fence. Focus woman! So he had a rail there but still uber happy with both of them considering the weather was so bad. Didn't even put breeches on just rode in my polar fleece pants 

China I feel is going to be one of those quite talented but a bit difficult ponies. Though changed his noseband to a figure 8 and though he didn't like it he did give me some good work. Lovely and responsive 


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ambition rampage

I don't know what's been with me all week but I have been absolutely fuming. Churning and grinding in this terribly frustrated mindset. I feel like on both the horses I'm not getting anywhere. Just flailing around in the sand and getting no where. Current progress has been pretty limited though I do realise that's normal with young horses, especially once you get past that initial stage where turning stopping and travelling at the desired speed are the win. Now that I'm asking for a lot more the progress is in smaller increments. 

I don't know if it's the backdrop of the Olympics where dreams are coming true and being shattered and all that malarkey but honestly I think it's mostly the daily bombardment of equine memes all selling the same Coolaid. 

I love horses, I love riding and I love jumping. I always thought growing up that it didn't matter what stood in my path, if I tried really hard I could be it. I'm pretty confident that I was confident I'd be jumping World Cup by now. 

It didn't matter that I didn't have a lot of money, it didn't matter that I lacked in horse power. I would work my guts out and overcome the odds and attain all my goals. Because this is what we are fed all day long. 

I have worked really hard. I've educated myself in a lot of different aspects of horse care, I've trained under some amazing international riders when I got the opportunity. I have diligently (and still do) applied what I have been taught. And I'm a nice rider with good feel. My eye to a fence is pretty good and I can follow instructions. But still I have never come anywhere close to the dreams I used to have. I say used to, there's definitely still an ember burning that just wants to jump a Grand Prix. 

Realistically though following my dream led to some pretty bum life choices. It's been cool jumping all over the country and chasing the series, but becoming a working pupil really was eye opening. The sheer number of horses you need to go through to find a super star is boggling. If they have the jump they don't have the attitude and visa versa. And then you still have to keep them sound and sane which is no easy feat.

And let's be honest the horses with the talent and the attitude are quite frankly dicks and often not very fun to deal with anyway.

You can put in the sweat, and the tears and the blood. You can put everything you have into something until you are running your car on $5 gas a time. It takes more than that though. You need luck, support and money and even then with horses that's no guarantee. 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is dream big beautiful mental dreams, fan the ember of passion and ambition. Believe in your ability to achieve. Don't carry failure solely on your own shoulders. Know that it takes more than just talent and hard work. Don't let your dream cloud your vision so you can't afford to keep riding. Accept that you have to do a million miles of basics on every horse you have and that luck and life will make you feel like all you do is put the basics on and never get to progress on. It doesn't matter where you start or how long it takes you to get there if you get there at all. What matters is that you start. Love the horse, develop that relationship because really the ribbons are just the icing on the cake of being lucky enough to even have a horse. 

Sorry late night stream of consciousness. Will sleep now. Thanks guys. Be brave. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Stuff and stuff

I can't promise interesting content at the moment that's for sure. I'm mostly flailing around with a fog like brain napping where I can. Calving has starting with a roar and a hiss and my life had gone from cruisey to insanely mental. I'm in the bath at the moment and my eyelids are getting heavy. It's 6.41pm on a Saturday night. I'm such a wild child. So a massive storm has blown up from the South And it's freaking cold. The wind is so bitter and it's been absolutely pouring. My poor baby calves are arriving so cold and wet. It's amazing what a bit of milk can do though. 

Such unexcited ponies to work. You can see the rain clouds building to the south. To be fair though both worked really well though which was nice because it was cold and I didn't want to invest that much energy. They are both such lovely boys.

I thought to if Bob is still around in a couple of months I might do some saddle hunters on him which is sort of like an American flat class based of type movement and temperament. He does dish a front leg but it should be a hoot even if I know nothing about it really. I'm told I have to do the working hunters as well which involves a jump so shit should get interesting.

Apparently they are looking at getting jousting into the olympics so maybe I should aim Bob at that. In other news my trainer hurt herself which means yay lots of ponies for me to play with and boo responsibilities at an already insanely busy time of year. Gah I'm not even sure what my point is. I'm still here I guess there's jumping next week and I'm very very tired. And cold it's also cold