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.
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