Monday, March 28, 2011

Woodhill HT - 27 March 2011

Having had one SJ lesson on the Thursday, being our only SJ since the fall, and two dressage lessons Wednesday and Friday, we headed off to Woodhill sands Horse Trial.

They were running a practice SJ on the Saturday morning, which should be perfect for us going into the Horse Trial.

Despite atrocious weather, I toddled down to the sand arena. Sampson was rather full of it, and I was a real nervous nellie...tense and tight. Eventually trotted! ... and finally decided to actually attempt to jump....however, my horse was a different horse to that pre accident!!

Off he charged toward the fence, head up and as soon as I tried to slow him down (panicked and grabbed) he started propping badly head still up, and did an awful jump. However into the ring we went, and I was thankful that the jumps were pretty small.

The first few were awful, we were quite simply fighting each other and he was immensely strong. However, I then (finally) stopped pulling and fighting at him, started to use my core and actually ride him, he settled and we got into a rhythm. Started again at jump 1 and did a passable round. Left it at that.


He warmed up well with lots of long and low and stretches.
Despite the disgusting weather - he had probably the worst of it, being a total downpour! - he was a very good boy and did a nice test. Predominantly 7's and 8's with just a couple of 5's - one where he broke from canter (other canters were 8's) and the other where he fooled me and curled under at free walk. Judge also commented on "this lovely big horse"....

Scored 67.5% for a penalty mark of 32.5 - just 0.5 behind Danni Lodder!!!
He ended up 7th after dressage, so very pleasing that he was up with the 'big wigs'... :)

Jumping was scheduled for the Sunday and thankfully despite rain continuing overnight, it wasnt actually raining. Needless to say everything was rather wet.

I actually only jumped the upright and oxer practice fences once each as he felt fine (as did I).

Into the ring I went, (with some very sage advice that if he took off on me, too bad and just vrrooom around the corners)....perfect advice as it turned out.

Jumped 1 and 2 and take off he did, but I just looked at number 3 steered to it, and he went "ooops, mum's not going to fight me", and so he got VERY deep somehow got over it, then settled and jumped beautifully for a clear round. He was very pleased with himself and I had to get off and lead him back as he was so full of himself.

CROSS COUNTRY (cross country photos by Michelle Horan: Kiwi Sporthorses)
I had intended to go for time (and may well have done had I known I was sitting in 4th place after SJ)....however, the course passed by the warm up on the splotty noisy sand, and every horse galloping past wound him up more and more (including horse running back to their trucks after depositing rider somewhere on course). I actually only managed to pop him over a practice jump just before we went.

He basically took several jumps to get onto the job....the steering was a bit peculiar and he was simply popping over the jump at the last minute when he kind of realised it was there. But by the time we jumped back onto the sand, he was back on him game. Just let him toddle along in a rhythm and sat and steered.....he just lined up every jump and popped over happily....didnt back off the water jump at all, and cantered through it and popped out over the skinny.

Gave me a lovely lovely ride, and I felt confident and happy. Indeed I did so little that apart from being hot (it was muggy) I wasnt even puffing!

Amazingly, despite 22 time faults he still ended up in 8th place!

YAY....onto Kihikihi and time to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Waihou Dressage - 12.03.2011

OK; time to put into practice our Shorter warm up, to see if it helps.
Having lost a lot of confidence in the fall, I also really needed to have an outing.

However, having lost a lot of confidence was the prime opportunity for the Big pony to exercise his sense of humour = NOT appreciated.

He was quite tense and on edge, and having timed it for about a twenty minute warm up, I arrived at the warm up area to find the ring was running well ahead of time with the rider before me already in and doing her test. I then dropped my back number so had to scramble to get it tied on. And onto our WALK around the arena....eyeballs sticking out at every opportunity!

The test was not much better, with a leap and bound and skedaddle across the arena, with me fearing us jumping out, and worrying about stopping. The rest of the test was pretty dreadful with him laughing at me the whole time and me riding by the seat of my pants.

But my goodness was he pleased with himself when he waltzed out of the arena, and thought he would march back to the truck. I knew then that the little blighter had been playing on my nerves! Yeah; huge joke - NOT.

After about ten minutes of working him at walk long and low and a relaxing stand under the trees, I gave him his final warm up just as the horse before was in the arena. What a different horse...he felt light soft and obedient.

We proceded to trot around the arena, and then the bell went for us to start our test. As luck would have it, at that moment a horse did a huge noisy scramble up a truck ramp....just the excuse he needed to do a monster skedaddle with head in the air, and leap about....I promptly lost my stirrups and had the fleeting thought that my still injured body really couldnt cope with another fall from that height.

Managed to halt, with the giraffe head up and eyes on stalks.

OK, time for positive action: we had a dressage test to do. Pushed him up together, told him to get on with the job, and he did!

Slightly tense throughout the test, but a completely different and rideable horse compared to the first test. - which again goes to show that he plays on my weaknesses and thinks it is a huge joke. Now to work on ignoring his antics in the future.