Monday, November 30, 2009

Bruno's back!

Those of you who have been followers of this blog for a while may remember Bruno, my young yellow pony. Actually he is more of an orange colour but as I met him as a yellow ball of fluff, he will always be that to me. Bruno is a 4yo by Gryffindor who was broken in at Christmas time and then spent a spell on the West Coast with Toni Bryant being educated. As he had spent quite some time since then in the paddock and I'm no young horse rider I sent him to Mark Brooks to bring back in. He was there for four weeks and has been home here a week. Everyone has done a super job on him - he is obviously very green with balance issues, no bend and a rather uncoordinated canter strike off, but he is immensely rideable and adjustable and incredible confident to hack out. These photos were taken of his second ride at home last weekend. The aim is to bring him on quietly and maybe find a small show at the end of the season to debut him at.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Waikato's World!

Well, I've had my showie outing for the season and what fun it was! I always say that I go because it's a good day out for the young horses and great exposure for them in a 'no pressure' situation. All of that is true but if I were completely honest I'd also say I just love it - getting all dolled up, hanging out with so many people that also adore their horses and going out and showing off, with no repercussions if it doesn't quite go as planned. And I have to say that the Waikato A & P Association put on a show that will probably have me back next year for more. Fantastic weather, great setting, friendly atmosphere. Brilliant. The fabulous Lizzie Charleston and her gorgeous mum, Jocelyn, did a super job of keeping the horsey side of things running like clockwork, and managed to look stunning while doing it! What blew me away was the fact that this show was the weekend directly before the Melbourne Cup and that Elizabeth was also responsible for the Cambridge 'sister city' celebrations that Tuesday. Unbelievable - she has stamina to envy!
Anyway as far as the showing went Des was a super star. He was placed in his two conformation classes (the egg sized splints are always going to be an issue in these classes) and won his paced and mannered easily. I completely overlooked the fact there was a championship P&M class so didn't hang around for that... I also won my rider class but had a complete away with the fairies moment when I rode out for the championship class and rose on the wrong diagonal. Of course I thought this was hilarious - after all there's not much rising trot in upper level dressage - but my showie friends were mortified.
Ah well, a good day out and I'll be back next year - especially if they arrange the same weather pattern!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

BOP Champs - 24th & 25th October

BOP Champs was a really enjoyable and interesting show for me. For one thing it was great to get the chance to watch all the GP combinations go round. Usually when I'm competing at that level I just get glimpses of my competitors warming up or at best a test or two if I have an early draw. Vanessa Way and Arvan looked the class act of the show and in my mind thoroughly deserved the win. Even though it is just their first season they are looking quite established in the work and when Arvan brings his piaffe to game day they will be the combination to beat. It's always good to see a fellow Zilco & NRM sponsored rider doing well, too! The other find of the show for me was the delightful pairing of Nicky Pope and Fabarchie. Cute as a button the pair of them and with a bit of mileage under their belts I'm sure they will add that touch more power to make them truly serious. Plus its wonderful to see someone so happy to be there!

My own show went well. Des was mostly very good, just once getting a touch behind my leg and flipping me the bird when I attempted to correct a flying change that should have been a simple one. He was especially good the first day with a lovely amount of energy. He did have a wobble or two and at times was a little innaccurate, but I still have to say I was disappointed with the marks of low 60's. The second day he rode in a little flat and was against my hand and on the forehand the whole test. He did however stay in a consistent frame and rhythm and we were reasonably accurate in the movements and we were rewarded with a whopping 70%. I found this interesting and confirmation of something that Bill often states - that we are training a future GP horse, not one to win the lower grades. I want a horse that is electric and responsive and it is my opinion that in order to produce the consistency required to win at Medium I'd have to sacrifice some of that - or spend years at the grade which I think is counterproductive as well. Either way we're not hanging around long enough to find out - our next dressage start will be Waikato Champs where we will be having a crack at Level 5.
Here are a couple of pics, not my favourites but I do want to point out the positive disassociation in the first photo. Not strictly correct but at least you can see he is moving in an uphill frame and a whole lot better than the massive negative disassociation that is shown all too often. I'm sure this would be judged 'too open in the frame' as well... ;o)