Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Not sure what to call this - When the other one bucks? Truth be known I was on the other side of the (rather vast) grounds at HOY, in my civvies, when I was told I won a ribbon for my Inter II. I stole the nearest bike, hightailed it back to my truck to throw the top hat and tails on and then (longtailed?) it back for prizegiving... I did get some rather odd looks, especially as I cycling and texting. Not sure of the safety rules on that one!

Kelt Capital Horse of the Year 2009

We’re home! Safely after two days travel. The trip home was uneventful – the Cook Strait had been off limits to livestock for 24 hours before we sailed but in the end the crossing was a non-event with minimal seas. However it is still a very, very long way. HUGE thanks to those that put me up along the way, especially Maryanne and her family who went out of their way to be helpful and hospitable.

The show itself lived up to its reputation as an extravaganza of all things equestrian and was a fitting climax to an eventful season. I enjoyed being amongst the other disciplines and watching the best of the best compete, and also the opportunity to get to know some of the other sponsored ‘team’ riders. It was great to rehash the day with them – we may be in different disciplines but we all know the work and commitment involved in getting to the level we have done.

It was great to catch up with friends new & old and I have to say the social side of a horse show is more than catered for at KCHOY! Must be all those showjumpers.... ;o)

On the competition front I had a good show. The first day we started off with a hiss and a roar with our best test to date. We still made a few mistakes but quality of the work we did do was good enough to have us on 59.79% and less than 3% off the winners. The second day was the big one for me – the Grand Prix. We started exceptionally well in the test, especially the piaffe/passage and transitions between – the parts of the test we had had problems with at Nationals. I even allowed myself a ‘whoa! this is going good!’ moment… And then I made an error of course – went the wrong way. Not such a big deal but by the time a few other things had happened around that outside of my control, I had lost my composure and never really got it back. At our stage of training, if everything goes our way Gosh & I can foot it with the best, but we don’t have the experience to fall back on just yet when it doesn’t – unfortunately there is no way of hurrying mileage. The final day found Gosh very tired and tense. He was badly spooked by a wildly flapping flag just before going in and then had a plastic bag fly at him right at our entry halt. However we continued quietly and although his tension was apparent we again showed some very good work – good enough for the ‘O’ (Olympic level) judge from Germany to give us 61%!

Overall I am very happy with the trip north. The feedback has been incredible with many people saying what an exciting combination we are.

So what now? Well the winter will find us training on solidly. Des has had a few weeks off and after three rides feels pretty ready to get back into it. We’ll be pushing on with him – aiming for a few Medium (Level 4) starts next season. With Gosh we will be hard at work to consolidate the movements – working to get him happy and confident in all the work. Just how quickly it all comes together will dictate our competition programme for next season. At the very least it will be a concerted effort to have him securely prepared for this time next year when we will be looking to be in amongst it at Nationals/HOY 2010!

These incredible photos were taken by Kate of Geegeees Photography on the Friday (Inter II day). Just a newbie to the photography scene, her timing and composition are fabulous.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Game of Two Halves...

The Nationals are over and what a weekend it was.
Des was once again a rock star, having a very full weekend competing in the Young Dressage Horse classes and also the Level 2 Accumulator Final and Championship classes. He was second in the 5yo YDH class to the eventual Champion of Champions winner, second in the Accumulator Final, which was enough for him to take out the overall title for the South Island season and third in the two Championship classes to come third overall. He was beautifully behaved all weekend and gained many new admirers. I fully rate this horse and know he has earned a couple of weeks in the paddock. Actually he'll hate being left out - it'll only be a matter of days before he starts pacing although Bruno over the fence will hopefully keep him company.

Gosh, on the other hand, had a disaster of a weekend in the ring. A minor change I had made to his tack at the South Island Champs lead to a complete meltdown in the week leading up to Nationals. I changed the bit position back on the second day but his lack of confidence was apparent and lead to virtually non-existent piaffe all weekend. This was very disappointing as the piaffe is his strength – the one he did do scored very highly, but in these tests with the scoring weighted to 30% being piaffe/passage and the transitions between, this was extremely costly. Of course I am kicking myself, especially as he had been training so well (in a different bridle) in the lead up to Nationals. All I can do now is continue to do all I can to restore his confidence between now and HOY and cross my fingers we get a performance I know we are capable of. I am extremely heartened by a great schooling session today – I hope we are over the hump!

If you are at HOY, have a great show. If you see me, come and say hi - although not right before a class or you may not get such a gracious reception!! I'll be hanging around the food stands - hopefully the whitebait man is back...
Chat soon!