Monday, December 6, 2010

Waerenga HT 5th Dec 2010

Very hard, and somewhat rough ground for all phases.

He was a little silly warming up for dressage, but settled relatively quickly and was quite focussed when our turn came - although the coffee expresso machine at the entry end of the arena did unsettle him somewhat, but he kept it together.

All in all a good test, with just a few glitches, which in all honesty were more rider errors than anything.

5 x 8's, 5 x 7's, and some 5's and 6's, so very pleasing. He scored 8's at all paces, so not like I have a specific thing to work on, just accuracy and preparation.

64.5% to finish in 12th after dressage, just 5% off 2nd place.

He was DREADFUL warming up for SJ, just wouldnt focus, skedaddles, napping and lots of taking off with head in the air. I gave up in the end and just stood quietly near the ring entrance.

However, once in, and through the flags he did focus and gave me a lovely round. Just one rail which to be honest seemed a small moment where he lost concentration.


Onto the cross country, and although he was still spooking all the way to the start, he warmed up quite happily. Popped over #1 and on to #2....umm unfortunately it took a lot of time and encouragement (the old reins in one hand whip in the other) to get him through the small river crossing - he was genuinely scared, despite my having spent some time the evening before getting him into the river.

However, in terms of the course as a whole, he was absolutely wonderful. I went WAY faster, and I am sure would have gotten the time if not for the problems getting through the river crossing (he jumped the second one!).

Did all the quick routes, including the bounce where he was incredibly athletic and quick, straight over the corner, and just jumped everything I pointed him at. He didn't pull or get strong at all, just stayed in the same rhythm right the way round. I simply had to sit up a few strides before a fence and he just kind of brought his hocks under was a lovely feeling.

He did have a wee look at the water jump, but never stopped going forwards, so with time he will gain confidence with water jumps.

The only jump that wasnt quite so nice was the palisade. He jumped the preceding jump beautifully and I probably rode him too forward to the palisade (in case he backed off the ditch)...however, he did not back off it AT ALL, and consequently did a silly little hop over it.

Good to know he doesnt seem concerned about palisades!

He finished the course happily, not even puffing, and indeed continued to spook at everything on the way back to the truck like he'd been for a trot around the paddock.

Without the time flts XC, and in spite of the rail, he would have been placed.

All in all however, thrilled with how he went in all three phases, and especially happy with how he (and I) felt going XC.

Just seems too long till our next start now!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Scott lesson 22.11.10

Time to again drag out the brave pants, given Andrew's tendency to build rather large jumps during lessons - although having said that, it is what I was looking forward to, and seeing how Sampson and I coped.

I shared my lesson with another rider, funnily enough also on an Anziyan (which I picked as soon as I saw him) - very pretty horse.

Sampson went very well, given he had been on his worst behaviour the preceding day and scared actual fact, he was dead quiet. Of course this led to me being reminded to keep his engine going coming into the jumps!

But, I was also advised not to try to protect him: that he need to learn also to back himself off when needed.

Basically Sampson just popped over everything happily, and I will admit to being a little disappointed that although we did a few at about the 1.05 mark, in general they seemed very small.

Although, isnt it GREAT to be leaving a lesson wishing the jumps had been higher, rather than scaring oneself silly cos they looked too big.

Have already put my name down for his next visit up here, and asked to be in a group jumping slightly bigger (but not huge please!), and a day of XC too. Can't wait!

Monday, November 8, 2010

6/7 November 2010 - My Turn :)

OK Brave pants packed, and I remembered to put them on!

He was a bit wound up warming up for dressage, but it was a relatively small area and very busy. Spent most of my time trying to avoid everyone else, and hoping that we wouldnt collide with the inevitable skedaddles. But we survived. I actually enjoyed having 'more horse' and some natural 'life', rather than having to bully him along as I do at home.

Unfortunately on our way to the arena he kept putting his foot Under the tape instead of stepping over it, but we got there. Bit spooky down that end, cars passing above us, horses appearing and jumps, and people walking the XC...apart from one wee skedaddle whilst going around the outside of arena he coped.

It wasnt too bad a test, although I have to admit to being very disappointed with his score. Oh well, we at least completed it with no major dramas; hopefully the judge will mark us better next time. Interesting that the judge was the same one that judged my very first dressage test on 17.11.1974

Onto the show jumping: He warmed up quietly and sensibly and in we went. He was absolutely lovely, just toddled around jumping everything nicely. Was super pleased, especially when the commentator said it was a "lovely clear round" :)

Cross country, and I'll admit I was very worried given I had been warned that he would be far too strong for me XC.
He was a little full of it warming up, and pretty keen to run off after the practice jump, but he did behave himself.

I took him very quietly, just cantering over the first couple, then (eeek) trotting down the hill (for fear he would get away on me and get too strong). A few spooky times between some of the early jumps where he was googling at the people, trucks, ambo etc, but he just kept toddling along behind the bit and popping over whatever I pointed him at.

After the water (at which I got the dreaded "E" - not because we failed to jump, but because stupid jockey jumped out over the wrong jump), I pushed his stride out a little and he felt even better, the jumps came up lovely and he was really listening.

Absolutely thrilled with him.
I realise that not every outing is going to go as well, but I am so glad I got to feel how he can go, so I know what I am aiming at.

Yay: bring on the next start!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SJ Leamington 31.10.2010

Yay! I actually did a competition on the big pony.

Joined in with an adult riding club day yesterday on him, and he was very well behaved. Didnt even skedaddle when we were all trotting around in a circle, even though one or two others did the whole bucky, bouncy thing. And a couple of people commented on how quiet and relaxed he was (people who didnt know him). So very proud of him. He then went awesome and jumped everything asked of him - we had a XC play.

Today, I took the two boys to Leamington for the SJ.

I even got straight on him at the truck without leading him around first!

Yes, he did some pretty big skedaddles while warming up, but for some reason I was fine with it (maybe because some others were having far more 'interesting' rides than I was, so my boy seemed easy in comparison?).

I started with the 80 class, and just took one rail. Set out really well, then lost the canter between 2 & 3 so got an odd spot with no impulsion. Then I got it together, and he felt great.

For the 90 class I got my timing a bit wrong, so had to run over, throw on his gear, trot to the warm up, a quick warm up and in.

Again, started off great, then AGAIN! didnt maintain enough canter (to the point of even allowing him to trot), and he took a couple of rails. But I sorted it out, and he (and I) finished great. Really pleased.

And it was great to be able to see it on video cos I could see so clearly the lack of canter in places. Ha ha, and he looked so quiet and sensible :)

Rushed off and got on Willie, another quick warm up and in. Again started great, then YET AGAIN, allowed the canter to fail (interestingly in the same places), but unlike Sampson, Willie stopped. grrrr. He stopped twice.

The judges then kindly allowed me to go back in. I rode far more determinedly, and he went great....apparently I did several lines and cut in front of jumps for the jump off that nobody else had even tried, but then Willie loves doing jump offs and I also get my adrenalin up. It was great fun! So finished there on a good note.

Also nice to get feedback that I see to be beating the tilting habit, and I am sitting in behind them better. Likewise wasn't anxious, and when I cocked it up, I simply fixed up what I was doing wrong rather then letting it get to me. Now just need to maintain the right canter (on both of them), and react quicker and right RIGHT to the jump on Wilson.

Yay; I'm on my way.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Taupo HT 16.10.2010

Having ridden Sampson before leaving (and spent 40 minutes looking for a pulled shoe), we arrived to find Taupo Equestrian Centre basked in sunshine.

After setting up camp, I tacked up Sampson and rode him over to the sand arena to do some schooling. He was a little tense to start, but when he realised that there were water sprinklers going, that was it! He just wanted out of there, and I'm afraid I got a bit defensive.

I got off and spent some time leading him near the sprinklers until he could cope - first time in a long time he has done the passagey skedaddle thing when being led, but he soon calmed down.

I got back on, but I'm afraid I didnt really ride him forward, and we had a couple of skedaddles - probably him taking the mickey. But I did persevere, so that's still progress.

Next morning I tried to lunge him, only to find that was a dead loss. He was quite wound up, and there were plenty of pretty passage movements with his tail stuck up like a flagpole, and going round in circles quite simply, was not high on his agenda.

Eventually I did manage to get him to lunge at trot in both directions, but we must have been at it for about an hour.

It had been mentioned to me that if I was feeling at all tentative about riding him, I was better not to, for the horse's sake. I therefore offered the ride to Frank, who was kind enough to ride him at his first training event.

Funnily enough, the horse walked calmly over to the warm up area and warmed up sweetly - definitely makes a difference when the rider is not anxious or tense. He did a pretty good test, just coming a little behind the vertical at times, which is simply due to the fact that he was a little tired at that stage and couldnt maintain his carriage. All in all very pleasing finishing on 68% and 8th place after dressage.

It was not only the first time Sampson was attempting training, but the first time Frank had jumped him. Over the practice jumps a few times, and into the arena.

He went very quietly and jumped confidently, just being unlucky to have a couple of rails - interestingly enough though, with the two rails, he was still in 10th place going into XC.

It was probably not the smallest of cross country's for a first start, with a skinny, large trakener, and a bounce. Frank gave him a lovely ride, taking him quietly and confidently including going the direct option at the bounce (the majority going the long route, and those attempting the bounce looking somewhat less than pretty).

Sampson looked lovely, and jumped well, only having a wee look at the skinny, and being surprised upon landing after the drop - simply green issues. He did the bounce beautifully, and at the end of the day finished in 9th place. Not bad for a first training start, and having had two SJ rails!
Many thanks to Frank for stepping in at the last minute....hopefully I will maintain my nerve enough to have a go myself next outing!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Te Rapa HT 2-3.10.2010

Sammie's second outing.
He was excellent warming up for dressage, much more relaxed, although got a wee bit tired in his test which results in him coming a little behind the vertical. But overall a lovely test, again ridden beautifully by Wendy.

He scored highly being pipped for the lead by a very good dressage horse, but both of them were quite a way ahead of the rest of the field.

On to the show jumping.
He was a little concerned initially when we led him over, but soon settled, and warmed up well.
Very calm into the ring; indeed not quite focussed on the first jump which cost him a rail, but did a beautiful round. Wendy rode him calmly and in a lovely rhythm and the two of them looked really lovely.
Cross country time.
Again quite settled warming up.
He looked really nice going, and looked to enjoy himself.
Wendy described his round as "gorgeous"...she said he was much softer than at Taupo and came back as soon as she sat up, and just got on with the job. Looked at a couple, but it was simply to suss out the job.

Although he had taken a rail SJ the top two were ahead enough that Sammie had retained second place.

Word came through that the leader had missed a jump, although this was not recorded by the jump judge. The honesty of that competitor meant that Sammie had won his class.

Proud Mummy moment!

Photos thanks to Jan at www.takethemoment

Monday, September 13, 2010

Taupo 10-12 Sept 2010

Photos courtesy many thanks to Michelle of Kiwi Sporthorses.

Headed down to Taupo Friday for the weekend, including the first training trial of the Spring.

Truck loaded with lots of gear, Saarin's pony (his first weekend away), Sampson, and Wilson.

Gave Sammie a half hour ride before leaving and he was on his best behaviour, hoping that he would maintain that frame of mind for his first XC clinic that afternoon with Kirsten Kelly. Oh my gosh; what have I let myself in for....only a matter of weeks since my big fall from him and still sporting bruising and a very sore shoulder.

Went for a hack on arriving with Wilson and Saarin's pony, then the butterflies started in anticipation of the xc clinic!

First few jumps he was a bit yeehah, lets go (I'm afraid my hands came up the first time, but after that I managed to keep them down), but after a few he got better and eventually just jumped and pulled up happily.

He was great!
Jumped quite a few different sorts of jumps and I found that he kept a good rhythm, was soft and light, and actually started to focus on the job.

Kirsten said he was a very nice horse, and jumped in very good style (and that it was effortless for him).

I was thrilled, not only with how he went, but how confident I felt riding him.

Saturday 11th

As has been usual for the weekend of the Taupo training trial, there was a practice SJ on the Saturday. We toddled over with Sampson and Wilson all tacked up ready, and I started on Sampson.

He warmed up lovely....felt soft and round, and Saarin said he looked lovely. I also noticed a couple of people's attention had been drawn to him....what a nice feeling. Just one wee skeddaddle when someone jumped the practice jump behind me, but no problem.

Into the smaller ring 75-85 .... he was a little distracted, but every jump I pointed him at he just popped over, whether at trot or canter, including the liverpool.

So....into the bigger ring...probably set at about 85 but the white wall was at 95 as apparently wouldnt go any lower. Again, he just popped over everything happily, including swedish oxer, triple bar, one stride triple, and the liverpool. He did do a yukky jump over the white wall - but he never offered to stop.

So again thrilled with him, and me! (I rode a little messily, but felt confident)

Willie however, was AWFUL! Did the 95 and he was like a bulldozer....hooned at everything with no brakes....YUK Perhaps he is a little short of work and the quiet hacks should have been work outs!


The day of the training trial had arrived for us to find everything extremely wet. I decided not to run Willie; he had felt a little off the day before and was particularly grumpy (I am now wondering if he is suffering a spot of jealousy having for eight years been number one only to be usurped). Had it been fine I probably would have run him, but I also wanted to focus on Sampson, whom Wendy was riding.

It is so nice to see your horse ridden by someone like Wendy. She is always calm and quiet and does such a beautiful job.

I gave him a 20 min lunge just to give him a chance to blow a few cobwebs out, then we got him ready.

Unfortunately, I made a big mistake in thinking having Wilson around while he was warming up would help him settle. WRONG....he simply got very tense and distracted always worrying to see that Wilson was still there. He didnt actually do anything wrong in his test, but was tense and distracted, which spoilt the work he is capable of doing. However still got some positive remarks on paces and the nice rider/horse combination, and that he showed potential.

15th place with 57.5% (well over 30 starters)

SJ ....LOVELY, (left Willie in yard)...he warmed up nicely and Wendy did a lovely rhythmic calm round on him.

XC...he did find it a bit hard to cope with the multitude of horses warming up, and got very tense and was napping. Wendy took him off by himself and he slowly got his focus back on her.

Into the start box and away....trotted up to the first, which he popped over, upon which he decided this might be rather fun, and became very strong. However Wendy skillfully managed to keep him in check in a nice rhythm and he jumped everything very calmly and boldly. Basically didnt worry about anything.

So clear and just the 3.2 time faults which pulled him up to 8th (5th if no tf)

So, very pleased with the wee boy

Taupo Competition photos courtesy of Jan Sutherland of Take the Moment photography

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clover Hay ?

Ok, following on from the weekend, Sampson was a little on edge Tuesday and Wednesday when ridden, then Thursday simply awful, to the point where he was leaping all over the place and incredibly tense - and this was in his home arena - at the walk!. (bummer as I had set up the show jumps for a jumping session on him).

Anyway, got off and tried to do some ground work. More leaping about, barging etc, and the far end of the arena harboured horse eating gremlins.

On with the lunging gear.

Lunging was....'interesting'....lovely elevated cadenced trot :)
lots of ummm hooning (rather than cantering), including many flying changes.

However, after an hour he finally dropped his head and relaxed, so gave him another ten mins and finished.

Then the questions....WHY?

Hmmmm; what had I changed....the only thing I could think of was that I had been giving them lovely clover hay, which may well be the problem. Have spoken to some friends who give their horses clover hay, but NOT their full-on horses, who they tell me have gone absolutely nuts on the stuff.

Also, I realised that I gave them the nice clover hay at Taupo for a 'treat'.....Sampson actually ate a whole bale Friday night and another half on Saturday.

So, it is back to crap hay for him (much to his disgust)....will be interesting to see if he goes back to 'normal' after a day or so off the clover.

Oh well, one lives and learns.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Taupo 27-29 August

Off to Taupo for the weekend!! YAY

Friday...rode an hour before leaving.
Got there put them in covered yards, then set up truck
Geared up sampson, tied up Willie by little sand arena and rode Sammie....then rode him around the vacinity of the sand arena looking at the jumps and things (on the buckle)...he was excellent...he had started off a little tense in the arena but I gradually worked him through it.

Sat. -put boys in outside yard....tacked up Sammie, and took him for a walk (led) to big sand arena, and all over the xc to inspect jumps etc...I held onto the buckle of the reins and he was relaxed but curious, then we went back over to little sand arena and I worked him for about 20 mins / half an hour ...he was excellent (Willie meantime had trashed his yard and buckets, and worked himself up into a muck sweat) - we weren't toooo far from the yards and in clear sight for Willie! - what a plonker he is.

Afternoon, Carolien came and I again tacked up Sammie...she led Wilson so he wouldn't get demented when we went (probably also helped Sammie too having his friend there).

Warmed up in small sand arena, then went out onto XC, started with a little combination jump, then a ditch, then ditch to log, then rail to little problems.

Banks....started walking down and up the baby baby banks, then the bigger, then the biggest, before trotting him off the bank....not even a hesitation! Then down the bank two strides up the bank and two strides and over a jump.

Then a few random logs etc...then to the bigger he popped without even thinking about it, then trotted him off the bank, a few strides and over a jump....not a problem.

Then to the water...he was a little hesitant to start, I think maybe because of the yellow pine pollen floating on the surface, but quickly went and out, then walked up and down baby bank, then trot off normal bank....not even a flicker of hesitation.

Then onto a log combination, first at trot, then canter....Much better at canter as he was more forward and 'together'....

very pleased with him.

Sunday morning, there were people there for SJ practice and SH, but not really that chaotic...he seemed relaxed enough in the outside yard.

Got on, and he felt very tense and worried....tried to ride him out of it, on the grass paddock next to their outdoor yards, but he seemed to get worse (I only walked) I got off and took him for a wander and look at the sj...he didn't seem too concerned....maybe a little antsy (didn't want to stand still) took him for a walk around xc again....he got more and more worked up and the further we went the worse he got....I kept having to halt him as he was barging into me, did a few leaps, and almost went into passage (but didn't...yay progress from other times). I did manage to lead him back to the yards, but he was very strong, and 25 hands high.

Its almost as if he just couldn't cope and got very insecure....but why was he fine when I did the same thing the day before???

A little disappointed with the Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde thing, but I guess we just need to keep taking him out till he learns to cope with his insecurities.

However, thrilled with his jumping and attitude to the xc

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Great Lesson

Loving my pony at the moment; and even managing to work through the skedaddles on 'those' days!

Had an awesome show jumping lesson with Wendy today.

Initially did some work on transitions, trying to keep him lighter in downwards, and sharper upwards. I also need to work on keeping my calves on him and not tilting forward with leg back to 'kick'....magic dressage whip helps :-)

Then the dreaded pole exercise....two pole set at 12.00 and 3.00 on a circle, maintaining canter over them and moving from three to four strides between the poles....HARD work! but definitely on the improve which is good.

Then a few warm up jumps, a one stride double to an oxer, and then a four loop serpentine at canter with a jump each crossing of the centre line. I need to keep my eye on the jump so I am not cutting in and turning too early, and even if we're on the wrong lead keeping the canter balanced and a little up in front.

Sampson jumped really well, and is actually very good at maintaining a rhythm; one just needs to ensure the engine is kept going so his butt is under and the forehand lighter.

Absolutely thrilled with how we both went today. (I was also really pleased with myself in that initially when I looked at the jumps I thought they were FAR too big to start, but didn't even suggest that they go down, and was more than happy when they actually went up)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kaurilands 08.08.2010

A few skedaddles warming up, but again Wendy held him together for his first test, scoring 64% for 4th equal with the gorgeous Flybuddy (MJ Blair) and Dux De Luxe (Angela Matheson) who took out overall honours in Primary for the series. Quite pleased with Sampson when I see both the others have grading points, Dux having amassed a total of about 86!

In his second test, he was more relaxed warming up, but did look like he had just about had enough sometimes coming a little behind the vertical, and not always completely in self carriage. However, despite the judge noting those wee faults that we had also seen creeping in, Sampson managed to win another test with a score of 70.87%, so very pleased with the wee boy.

Wendy achieved an overall second placing for the series in Primary (behind Dux de Luxe), third overall for entire series (all classes) for thoroughbred score, and Won the membership sash for highest points over the series.

Beautiful sashes!
And many thanks to Wendy, not only for the wonderful job she has done with Sampson, but also helping me gain the confidence in myself to be able to ride him myself!

Friday, July 16, 2010

SJ Lesson 17.07.010

Great lesson with Wendy.

Did quite a bit of work initially on getting him to stretch down and out, and then on raising his poll, before moving onto the canter pole exercises....PUFF PUFF PUFF - geeze, I sound like an old, unfit, 2 packet a dayer! Not to mention that I also felt like I'd been in a sauna for several hours.

Sampson went very well, and apart from me learning to control his shoulder, and turn using my legs, all was good.

Moved onto a trot cross to oxer with the object being to use my legs, rather then my upper body, particularly when he feels a little flat. I need to build up the energy (not the speed) on the approach and keep him sharp. He can tend to fall asleep a little if allowed to - yeah, sounds a bit strange when my problems with him stem from skedaddles and reactivity.

He can actually be quite hard work (although a lovely lovely ride), and often not particularly sensitive. But when the mood takes him, he becomes reactive to his surroundings (or any excuse really) it becomes a feeding balancing act so that he retains sufficient focus to enable him to be able to do his job. (As well as me learning not to react too, and just correct and ride)

We then moved onto jumping a course, which he did well. Up with a few of the jumps and we finished off with a lovely round...I did lose his shoulder on one turn, but it was all good. I just need to be more demanding with him. Wendy tells me that because he is so big and strong, she finds her half halts are ten times stronger than with any other horse. And yet when he is soft, he can be very soft.....all part of his learning curve I guess.

So, very pleased with how both he and I went today.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Kaurilands 11.07.2010

Despite being a "little inattentive" and reactive warming up (resulting in a few skedaddles), Wendy rode Sampson beautifully and managed to hold his attention through both his tests.

68.8% for 1st place

68.75% for 1st place

So the wee boy gained his first red rosettes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Awesome lesson 28.06.010

Toddled out to Wendy's, where Sammie is 'at boarding school', and had a SJ lesson.

Sampson didn't put a foot wrong, and I was thrilled to find that I had not one moment of even slight concern, or the "what if's".

Hard work though....we did a lot of work on my position, and in particular keeping the lower leg in the right place, rather than swinging. In fact, if I hadn't swung it so much in the early part of the lesson I may not now be in agony with a large rub on my leg. So much for cheap chaps...the burn on my leg is not nice, and extremely stingy in the shower.

Lots of work on two point, working on balance and maintaining leg position.

And trying to simply sit and wait for the jump, whilst maintaining rhythm and impulsion.

Sampson just kept on doing his thing while I tried again and again to get it right - lucky for him I did - eventually.

Interesting also, that now I am learning to ride Wilson more forward focusing more on getting him to come from behind, he and Sampson feel a lot more similar to ride. OK, Willie doesn't have the spring from behind of Sampson, but I felt yesterday riding the two of them, that there was FAR less difference between the two of them. I also didn't feel that Sampson was going too fast at all, which initially had been my feeling when going from one to the other. So that tells me that I am also riding Willie much better all good!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kaurilands - 13.06.010

Sampson is now an old hand at this dressage lark, and he is ever improving under Wendy's careful schooling.

He just seems to be getting more and more confidence, and more relaxed. Wendy has helped him heaps with his little insecurities, and it is really good for me to see first hand the fact that with a rider who does not get tense and anticipate trouble (like I tend to), Sampson manages to cope with the little distractions.

Both his tests were on the grass, which was a bit slippery for a big green horse, but he tried really hard.

First test was in torrential rain and I was so proud of him; he just kept on trucking.
I was writing for his second test (otherwise would have had some photos), and again it was a 'proud mummy' moment. He lost a little balance on occasion but overall went very nicely and he looked so relaxed.

Much kudos to Wendy for the help she gives him.

First test:
80.83 % for 2nd

Second test:
67.69% for 4th

So again a very successful outing for the wee pony.

And again, many thanks to Wendy for the wonderful job she is doing with him.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Change of Heart

How surprising!

Like many others before me, I changed my mind about selling.

I think if the initial agent had managed to contact his buyer sooner, I wouldn't have had the time for my doubts about selling to grow. The agent had looked at the pony, liked him and asked for first option, which then delayed him being listed on the open market.

However, no sooner was he listed than people wanted to view him. As soon as someone had made an appointment I knew I wasn't ready to sell.

Maybe I had to go through this exercise to realise that in my heart of hearts, it is not the right thing at this moment. It may be that down the track it is the right thing to do, and I will be more sure of my decision at that time (hopefully).

I think also, having looked for a replacement with a budget MUCH higher than any I have ever had before, it made me realise that it isn't that simple.

17h does not necessarily mean 17h, indeed it seems you are lucky if it is a good 16.2 (which is big enough anyway).
Good paces and 'straight' movers often dish.
Never bucked, reared, shied etc, means that on viewing the horse does some big leaps at trot, then proceeds to hop behind at the canter.

The horses that I actually got to the point of looking at, and even riding, just didn't cut the mustard. In fact the ones I tried, I found that I quite simply did not feel happy on. And funnily enough, having ridden them, Sampson suddenly felt so much safer - added to which he is a lovely ride anyway.

And of course good old Willie: he's also a tough act to follow in terms of comfort.

Maybe I am just spoilt.

Well, too bad.
Now to continue to work on the confidence, and Tally Ho!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Still Hunting??

Had Sammie home while Wendy was at the 3De, which was great. Made the most of it, riding him every day barring the last...he felt wonderful!

Picked up trial horse last Sunday, (Sammie going back to Wendy Monday) and was quite excited to try him out. He seemed a lovely boy, with a lovely expression and outlook and had already completed a few training trials so on his way. He was also plenty big enough.

Unfortunately, I just didnt like him, and nothing I could even put my finger on....I just didnt feel happy on him, despite him doing absolutely nothing wrong. Perhaps it was that I am used to more horse in front of me (my breastplate which is fine on Willie and Sampson, absolutely swamped him). He didn't have the nice mouth that my two have got, and was more inconsistent in his contact and did tend to come right up from trot to canter....but that's nothing that cant be schooled??

I persevered for the week, before deciding. I also got Saarin to ride him so I could see what he looked like and get her feedback. I wasnt really inspired watching him, and funnily enough, Saarin didnt feel happy on him either.

I know I am comparing everything else to both Willie and Sampson, but I guess that is only natural; after all, if I am looking to replace Sampson, I have to feel at least as happy, if not more so, on it than riding Sampson. Otherwise what is the point?I will see how things pan out, but I am starting to toy with the idea of having a more confident rider start him out a few times, to get over those usual first outing nerves....or even having someone do a season, or half season on him?? (it really is quite fun seeing your horse being ridden well)....and maybe see how I feel riding him out and about then???

Still undecided, but will go with the flow.
Meantime, it is lovely to see how he is progressing with Wendy; she rides them so nicely.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kaurilands 16.05.010

Is it wrong to think one's own horse is rather beautiful, and makes others around him look somewhat mediocre?

Watching him warm up, he looked lovely.

His first test was up on the grass right in front of all the activity, and he did get quite distracted at kids, and loud noises and all the goings on, but Wendy rode him absolutely beautifully...she has the ability to stay focussed and relaxed and reassure him when he needs it.

His trotwork was lovely, although he lost focus a little in his canter, and with his right canter he did struggle to maintain it, with quite a lot of the movements being in trot having broken. Although he broke once on the left lead, he did manage to keep going.

Despite the lack of canter, he placed 5th and was only 4% off first place!

In his second test he was on the sand, and a little more relaxed, the only mistake being a sideways step at the halt, which actually cost him the win!

His test sheets read like ones I dream of getting, with high marks pretty much throughout.

I am absolutely blown away by what Wendy has achieved in just one week, and watching my pony I realise I am right in thinking he is something special (yeah, ok so I might be a little biassed!)

I can now see that I would get so much enjoyment in just seeing my pony out competing with a good rider, as an that is yet another option for me to consider if he doesnt sell (is it wrong that I am now hoping and praying he doesnt sell?)

And could it possibly be the case, that once he has had a season under his belt with a confident rider to see him through his insecurities (young horse thing), that I could ride him myself?

Or do I just go with the flow, and if he sells, he sells, and if he doesnt, it's not such a big deal either?
Oh dear, the dilemmas!

Tough Decisions (Part II)

Having decided that he would be more suited to a more confident rider (probably a man, given his size), I set about looking for a replacement.

A bank loan was organised to bridge the gap, also with the idea that if I found something to go on with to take his place, it would be easier to let him go.

Easier said than done.

So far I have found that 17 hands does not actually mean the horse is 17 hands (which worries me somewhat if I go to look at a horse advertised as 16.2). One 17 hander was lucky to be 16.2, and another was quite a bit smaller than Willie, although given its build was plenty big enough.

I have even looked well above my price bracket, and so far I am afraid nothing comes close to replacing Sampson. OK, I havent actually been to see many so far, with most being crossed off the list after a few further questions...but what I have seen has disappointed me.

I guess it is simply a matter of time before I find the right one, but given that my loan enables me to consider spending more than I have ever dreamed of spending on a horse before, I am surprised at my experiences.

And all this does is make me start to doubt my decision to sell.
Especially having seen how my pony goes after only one week with Wendy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010 for a bit of 'proper' schooling

Well the big pony is off to spend some time with Wendy for some schooling, and after much thought and deliberation, to be put on the market.

The seed was planted when someone asked me if I wanted to sell him, as they knew of a tall man looking for a big horse.

Given that after a couple of days rain, and a flush of grass, a few skedaddles seemed to undermine the confidence I had built up over the past six months. Why? I don't know....I had reached the point where if they occurred they didnt worry me too much. Maybe other things in my life have affected my riding?

So, at this stage, the plan is that he is to go for schooling and then be sold on behalf :(

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little Valley Farm 22.03.010

We toddle out to LVF on Friday for a play, and apart from a white filler which he spooked (VERY quickly) at, he was happy to pop over the little jumps, and we finished with a short play in the water.

He was quite concerned at the prospect of jumping off the cliff (all 20cm or so of it) into the water (mud) but we eventually succeeded.

So, while we were on a roll having taken him out somewhere every day for the past several, it was off to LVF for another play.

I was absolutely thrilled with him....he was just like any other normal young horse, and even managed to simply stare standing stock still at the trains.

Having popped around some baby jumps, we put them up a bit, and built oxers. He was GREAT! really happy with how he went, apart from one wee mis-hap which resulted in me hitting the deck....ooops: After we had put the jumps up I cantered in (probably a little blase) to a white picket with white rail oxer, having stupidly not popped him over it as a baby baby jump.

At the last minute on the take off stride he spooked and ducked out....and I was gone.

We popped over it a few times, very spookily but he gradually became more confident over it .... so obviously he will need some conditioning to those scary white fences.

After that he happily jumped around the other fences.

Then we took them for a play over a couple of ditches and into the water jump. He was such a good boy, and even started to take me to both the ditches and the drop off the bank into the water.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kihikihi Show Jumping 20.03.010

Well, I actually got out of bed, put the horse on the truck, and went....yay: go me!

He was a little googly eyed, staring into every little moving speck on the horizon, but settled ok with a wander around on the lead.

Time to get on...gulp: oh dear; the timing of a polo match next door was not really opportune! However, I did manage to get my brave pants on, and actually mount the poor pony.

He was very distracted, but I managed to walk around a bit, and even managed some trotting, until something set him off and we got a bit of passage.....which is actually yucky cos he is tense and stiff and his head is up, and he is off in his own lala land. OK...back to walk, and did manage to walk around for a bit longer before he got so tense and bunched up I knew it was time to call it quits.

Held him for a while and he did gradually improve; not that he was leaping anywhere, just a bit distracted.

Back into the pen for another blob out (during which time he watched the polo match).

Back on, and he was SO much better. He trotted soft and round, and even though he was going slow, he didnt feel behind my leg, and was very rhythmic. Same at the canter on both reins. yippee.

I even popped him over the X bar practice jump, and then got really brave and did the upright.

Enough for a while, so off I got again and held him until the jumping was finished.

Then Wendy had the brainwave of asking if we could pop the jumps back down when everyone had finished and toddle our ponies around.

I was hesitant at getting back on, thinking I had already done well to walk trot canter and do a couple of practice fences, but Wendy convinced me to give it a go....I am so glad I did. He was really good, trotting around and just popped over the jumps - despite me being an unco blob on top. And he was even better when I managed to maintain a canter, although even if he came back to trot he was good.

He seemed (and probably me too) to focus more on something other than what was going on around him when he jumped.

Yay: progress!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lesson LVF 05.03.2010

Photos by the wonderful Kate of GeeGee photography

His second time to Little Valley Farm; the first being a couple of weekends ago when I got Saarin to ride Willie with him, and he was basically, just like any other 'normal' young horse.

This time however, although Willie was in the yards awaiting his lesson, he was on his own. He became distracted by other horses working, splashing into the water jump, random little dogs, and a TRAIN. At times he grew to about 20 + hands!, but no skedaddles, no spooks and no naughty behaviour.

In honesty, I was the one who became tense and reacted to the situations anticipating bad behaviour....which actually didnt eventuate.

So, all in all I was thrilled with his behaviour, and I gradually became more confident (slightly anyway!)

He did some lovely trot work, we worked on his canter, and finished with some small jumps which I think he really enjoyed. He certainly didnt seem to spook at the fillers, and just popped over whatever he was asked.

So.....yay; more progress

Long Time No Blog

Well, it seemed for quite a while that my records were simply illustrating the principles of one step forward, two back, three steps forward, one back, and so forth.

However, I really feel now that we are finally making progress. Well, it has (again) probably more to do with my mental state, than the horse. There will still be (and are) glitches and backward steps along the way, but I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, and I really dont think it is the proverbial train coming.

So, I have now set myself some goals to aim towards, and will be thrilled if they are reached.

Here's hoping the progress continues....