Friday, December 26, 2008

AMDG photos

A couple of photos of Gosh doing his first ever GP Kur at the AMDG Champs. Thanks to the photographic skills of Judith!

And a very cute shot Judith took of us waiting for the prizegiving. On the left is Victoria Wall and her lovely 4yo Astek Gymnast and I'm on the right on Da Vinci. Victoria was Reserve Champion Level 1 while we were Reserve Champion Level 2. The bridesmaids!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Only two more sleeps and the kids are positively bursting with excitement. I am, too, but more because on Saturday we are going to the north island and I will be reunited with my boys. They have both been enjoying some R&R at Brooklands Park, supposedly taking time out in the paddock but I have a sneaking suspicion that Bill won't have been able to keep his hands off Gosh...

We rounded out the spring with a couple of good solid shows. At Ashburton Des performed well for good percentages and proved again to have a great competition temperament. He was placed in both tests and was winning the SI Accumulator series last time I checked. Gosh did some rather fabulous work but scored disappointingly after deciding there were gremlins in the end goal lines of the rugby feild we were competing on. The grounds for the Ashburton Champs are always a bit dodgy with the A&P show a couple of weeks before and a SJ in the interim and both boys were feeling it in the end. However a well run show and lovely people to deal with.

I do have one comment to make regarding the prize givings, though... Please, those that are calling the results out - do NOT say 'first and only competitor...' It does take something away from the riders performance and they have worked very hard to get there. At Ashburton it happened for both the Inter II and also for the Para rider. In both cases, if the announcer wants to give either of us competition, then they are more than welcome in that arena with us!

After Ashburton it was time to plan and pack before heading up to the North Island. My (much) older sister was very inconveniently having her 50th Birthday Party in Hamilton the same weekend as Canterbury Champs so I packed the boys in the truck and took them with me. Some of you who cross over to the dark side and event might know my sister - Sally Millar from the Eventing Board... we had an awesome weekend with extended family and friends. I don't want to go soppy but I do have the greatest family; funny, intelligent, fun and about as diverse as they come. This is Sally (on the right) and her partner, Wendy.

From there it was over to the magical Brooklands Park in Waingaro, run by Carolyn McCree and Steve Gould and the base of Bill Noble. We had a couple of good days training before heading up to Auckland Manukau Festival of Dressage at Clevedon.

Da Vinci was incredible. For a 5yo at his first away show, first two day show and third ever dressage start - not to mention the days of travel to get there - it is hard to imagine how he could have gone better. He won two classes (including the challenge test by 4%) was second in a test by 0.5% where he litterally fell over after slipping on the glass like ground conditions and fourth in the first test when his rider was in a bit of a dream world and he broke in one lengthening. His temperament was rock steady throughout. In the end he was just pipped for the Championship by Ashleigh William's divine Papanui Don Juan. Don Juan (or 'Jedi') is a stunning individual, in his second year of competition with a very successful prelim year under his belt last season. Interestingly he is also by De Niro and is, in my view, a horse to watch for the future. Anyway, we were delighted to end up 'bridesmaid' with our first wide dressage ribbon.

Unfortunately the 'artwork' from the weekend wasn't the best but I do have two that mum took of Da Vinci at the truck and again at the prizegiving.

From there is was on to the Grand Prix and I have to say it was a change in mindset that I failed to make well. Gosh and I did do some good work but a lack of consistency and cohesion was apparent. I rode a little like a 'pony clubber', attempting to 'hack through' the tests which is not possible at this level and our scores were very low as a result. In saying that it was not all bad - some movements were outstanding, his temperament was brilliant and we got some good feedback from some knowledgable people who all said we look like we belong in the GP ring. It was a case of being brought back to earth with a thud for me personally. What I take away from it is the knowledge that we CAN do this, that both Gosh and I have the talent and that my trainer and others have faith in us.

From here it is onward - the next show will be the Grand National Championship Show. Da Vinci will be a show hack for the weekend while Gosh will contest the Grand Prix and the Kur and before that I have two weeks solid training with Bill. Cannot wait!

I wish you all the best for the holidays - take the time to enjoy your family and your horses and I hope you get to enjoy a true 'Kiwi Christmas'.