Monday, 30 January 2012

January - goals and achievements

I haven't specified any goals for us in the past. But I think I will start doing it now, especially as we finally seem to be getting somewhere!
(With apologies to Andrea at for stealing her format)

January 2012 Goals:

Rising trot (me) - doing it correctly and working on fitness and core strength
Success - getting better but I need to do more. Also need more pilates work, but our physio is going to do specific horse-rider classes this year! AND I need to sit on my fit ball while I watch TV.

Sitting trot (Max) - schooling with my coach to teach him to lift his back
Success! He looks like a real dressage horse and seems to have a good work ethic.

Canter (both of us!) - give canter a go without freaking out and panicking
Success! We cantered on both reins in Nicky's HUGE arena without tantrums or bucking, or hysteria on my part. We also had a few less-controlled canters around the cross country paddock at the Park. Almost-but-not-quite running away on someone's part, followed by "so you want to canter, do you????" from someone else. Both ended up puffing and exhilarated.

Go out in the world!
Success!We went to Nicky's arena last Saturday (about 15 km from home) with a few wrong turns, so that tested Max's travelling skills. Also this month, we have been out for a hack along the Tutaekuri River, and in a groupof about 6 at the beach. Unfortunately, Max decided he would jig-jog all the way home both times. So he isn't going out in a group again until we have that sorted.

Summer twilight dressage
Fail. The first one was just two weeks after New Year's and we hadn't done enough riding. The second one was last week, and still not enough riding, no canter skills and I'm over paying good entry fees just for an outing. We need to be getting out with the intention of competing.

February Goals:
1 - Pilates for my position and core strength
2 - Work on trot for both of us, and our fitness
3 - Canter work to improve balance and control. Refine the aids, ensure the correct lead every time
4 - Continue going on adventures out and about BUT no jig-jogging

That should keep us out of trouble for a bit...

Friday, 6 January 2012

A good horse is never a bad colour

From The Young Lady's Equestrian Manual (circa 1838)

"Of all colours presented by the horse, none is so rich and at the same time, so elegant and chaste, as a bright bay; provided the mane, tail and lower parts of the legs be black. A small white star on the forehead, and a white speck on one of the heels, are to be considered rather as beauties than defects: but much white either on the face or legs … is quite the reverse of desirable."

Ha! I'm finally fashionable. 
Only two hundred years or so too late, of course.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Christmas Ribbon Day 2011

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Yep, that is a first-place ribbon, and for the Turn-out class no less!!!

This was our first attempt at showing (also called "dolly classes" or just-going-around-in-interminable-circles) at the riding club Christmas ribbon day. Showing is not at all my cup of tea, it bores me senseless and I feel very uncomfortable with the whole beauty show mentality. I hate people looking at me and I would rather have a task to do - having a dressage test or some jumps to do suits my goal-focussed brain much better.

However, as we are not ready to do any jumping at this stage, there aren't many options for outings. And I figure it is good for both of us to go out in a crowd and experience a day at a show. I definitely need to do more practise on plaiting and figure out how to use my new braiding wires that are so much easier to get out than rubber bands!

Maxie was undeniably a star! He managed to keep his plaits in overnight and only rolled in the mud a little bit so it took longer for me to make myself presentable than it did for him. I didn't think we had a snowball's chance in a supernova in the turnout class, but figured we might as well as some of the others hadn't plaited. And waddyaknow - we won it! He does look gorgeous in the photo but I suspect the judge didn't look at my plaits very closely, and my gear doesn't match and so on. But a red ribbon is a red ribbon!

We also placed third in Best PARC Riding Club Mount, fourth in Best Mannered and fifth in Best Rider. As we don't yet have a steady trot, we definitely were not going to canter in a huge paddock, but that didn't seem to worry the judge.So, four ribbons out of six classes and I am more than happy to now retire from showing forever more!

He was definitely tired by the last class and kept turning his head around to look at me as if to say "Why are we still going around out here?" I suspect I have started to turn him into a bit of a nancy boy dressage queen with only riding in the indoor arena for less than an hour. Note to self - get in the saddle for longer! So we didn't do the games classes and he got to stand at the float and demolish a large haynet for a while.

After lunch, we dressed up for the fancy dress class - more on that soon!

I was so pleased with how my little guy coped with a very big day out (for him), behaved perfectly when the others were cantering around him, stood well at the float when I left him, and loaded up and went home like a champion. Other people might wonder why I didn't do the jumping as well, but I think this was quite enough for a green horse to cope with. My coach is a great believer in breaking things down into small do-able chunks, and so I think that throwing Max into a whole day would be too much for him. Maybe next year we can go jumping?