Sunday, December 30, 2012

Puhinui Horse Trial 8/9 Dec 2012

Having had a SJ lesson on the Tuesday leading up to the event, I knew that my back was still too dodgy to ride, so again, Frank gave the wee boy a good outing.

Quite relaxed, as he had been essentially since he arrived on the Friday, so did a nice enough test;  a little overbent at times, but not too bad.
64.5%  (16th place)

Lovely track, nicely built jumps on a flowing course.
Frank gave Sampson a lovely ride to again finish clear under time.

This was the next day, the dressage and cross country having been on the Saturday.
Sampson warmed up well, and it was lovely to see his ears flicking forwards on the approach when Sharon put the practice jump up a bit.

They jumped a lovely round, and looked quite the partnership.
Unfortunately Sammie came a little deep to the last jump (double) and just took the front rail, but looked like he was really trying all the way round.

4 faults

Sampson finished the competition in 8th place - another top ten placing for him and Frank.

Taupo One Day Champs 24/25 Nov 2012

I had thought my back would be ok, but despite plenty of pill popping, I decided it wouldnt be fair to start Sampson and only partially complete if my back gave out again.  I asked Frank if he would ride him, and he kindly agreed to (no doubt much to Sammie's delight)

Not too bad at all given that there was show jumping going on just the other side of the fence.  He managed to hold it together, just losing focus (and a whoopsy) on the trot to walk trans (which was shaping up to be a great one till an inconsiderate horse dropped a show jumping rail at that inopportune moment).

However, scored 63% to be in 25th place (very large field with 45 horses)

Looked to me to be quite a nice course, although Sampson did fall asleep between two of the jumps and took the whole jump out, then had an unlucky rail at the end of the course.  But in general tried really hard.

8 faults (remaining in 25th place)

Completely different type of course to Rotorua's.
Big and bold, but with some technical questions - a skinny boxy rampy thing covered in lemons, immediately after a double landing on a down hill slope.
A double of corners off a turn in the bushes;  the corners essentially lining up only if you jumped the first one on the 'wrong' angle (and risking an easy run out).  There was also a combination, first one on the apex of hill and second half way down slope - looked to have a bit of an upright face (and Sampson DID collect it!), and there was also a somewhat large brush palisade.

However, thanks to Frank's bold riding, Sampson went clear and under time.

He finished the event in 10th place missing out on a prize by 1 mark (Prizes went to 9th due to the size of the class)

Woodhill Sands - 3/4 November 2012

On this occasion Sampson travelled alone, and I have to say that without his girlfriend to distract him, he seemed a lot more relaxed when away from the yarding area.

Gave him a short warm up, and he didnt seem too bad.
Did a good test, just becoming a little unsettled in the middle of the test (people walking cross country!), but overall I was pleased with him, and he did try.
9th place

Was very relaxed standing waiting, but as soon as I tried to warm him up he became very difficult....I was getting in everyone's way and he was getting more and more of a pratt.
Someone wisely advised me to just let him stand and chill out a bit then go straight in and jump.  That he was only getting more and more wound up the longer I tried to warm up.

So that's what I did.
He did one sideways just before the start and off we went.
He was quite forward and keen, and definitely giving everything plenty of air.
Clear to go into 6th place

Gave him a relatively short warm up, and he gave me a super ride.
I basically just sat and steered - didnt need to kick him along at all;  just steer in the general direction of the jumps.
Finished clear under time for 4th place.

Taupo Training Trial - 8/9 Sept 2012

Thanks to 'clicking' my back show jumping the day before when Sammie made an extra effort through a triple, Frank once again climbed on board.


Did a good test to finish in 4th place


Very cool and casual round, leaving all the rails up, and gaining a further place to be 3rd going into Cross country.


Went clear adding no further penalties to finish the day in FIRST place!

Te Rapa Horse Trial - 29.09.2012

Very sensible warming up (NO skedaddles at all - not even a hint of one).
Lovely to ride in his test, soft and obliging...just one wee skedaddle up last centre line when horse behind him, but very pleased with him
7th place

Funny little course, and he seemed to go off the boil when we went in, and was ummm too quiet.  Didnt really have enough GO, and as a result the round felt shocking....we were lucky to only have the one rail.
This put him into 3rd place going into XC

A few twists and turns, so not really a galloping track for a big horse.
However, I was kicking him along all the way, so was very surprised to have accumulated 13.2 time faults, which cost him second place.
 However, in hindsight, I can accept that he wasnt really going forward (hence me having to kick him all the way), rather than just sitting and steering.  The course with its twists and turns also probably didnt really suit him.
However, he went clear, finishing in 7th place, so can't really complain.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rotorua Horse Trial 17/18 Nov 2012

Yet another wet weekend competing, although much more 'do-able' than Taupo was a few weeks ago.  This was just a little bit wet, not continuous downpour stuff.

Well he warmed up really well, and very sensible (until another horse lost it across the front of him)...then he got a bit silly, but did come somewhat better.  However when we went to our arena all he seemed concerned about was where his girlfriend was at the yards.

He didnt ACTUALLY do anything awful in his test, and held it together just getting a bit silly on the first canter (R lead), but then after the transition back to the Left canter he did some nice work, and then just a little tense in the final trot work.  His second lengthening in the early parts of his test was super - really pleased with it.

However, it would seem the judge either missed a lot of our nice left lead canter, or got lost, or something giving us initially 4 x 3's in a row...later crossing out the last two and changing them to  '6''s.  However, he still had his LOVELY left canter transition left as a 3, leaving us with the grand score of 46% - not even a qualifying score, and although it wasnt a great test, an undeserved mark.

Managed to jump the cross rail once before he started getting silly, tried to do upright but it was a mess, and he was getting worse, so I left it, and just stood waiting until we went in.

Although not an overly big course, it was tight for a big horse, and wet slippery ground.  He jumped superbly, really trying, and was really ride-able.  I didnt find him strong, yet he was nicely forward.
Yay - a nice clear round.

Definitely not a course that suited him.  Until the last few jumps there was not a single jump on the course that was not preceded and followed by a turn.  He did a huge jump at number 7 a white rampy table thing, and I had to slip right to the buckle of the reins.  He was great through the combination 8a and b, but turning back to the curved oxer, we overshot our line and he was nowhere near straight.  I thought about circling away and re-presenting, then just thought that I would keep going.  He momentarily thought about ducking out, but jumped, probably at the higher part of the jump, but he made a real effort, jolting my back in the process, at which I considered carrying on, but thought it probably wouldnt do my back any favours.  Sampson wasnt really enjoying the twisting and turning and just wanted to get into his stride and run and jump, so I retired him.  Only to find that he had also ripped his shoe off at that jump, so thankfully we also avoided doing any further damage to his foot.

Hopefully Taupo next weekend will be a course that suits him better (and not one that scares me senseless!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Woodhill Sands HT 6/7 Oct 2012

After our first team effort of the season last weekend at Te Rapa, it was time to see where we stood before moving up to PN at Taupo next weekend (hopefully)

DEMENTED....He was marginally better warming up than he has been at Woodhill in the past, but once in the arena he was absolutely dreadful;  by far the worst ever!
Not sure if he was just that way, or if he was concerned about getting back to his girlfriend, or even both his friends, but his focus was totally on the truck park end of the grounds, and we had several very big leapy skedaddly moments, where I wasnt sure if we were going to leave the arena, (taking it with us) or if I would even manage to stay on this leaping maniac.
Even the judge later told me I had done very well to stay on him, and that she also wondered if we would even manage to stay in the arena!
We also managed to gain our first 1 mark.
Test A2
51% = 49 score
"disobedient, uptight, needs to relax, disobedient"

Funny that the evening before I had commented to someone that although it was lovely how soft and easy he was to ride dressage at Te Rapa, I would have like a little more spark for the jumping....spark NOT dynamite!

He was quite strong, but did jump very well going clear.
Definitely forward enough!
I am however, very disappointed at how I rode...looking at the pictures I can see that I hung onto him, and kept bringing my hands up rather than softening.
Mind you, I have gone from no energy last weekend to a steam train this!

DEMENTED warming up....again I thought I was going to hit the deck.  He completely lost the plot when a horse galloped past on course.
Very keen out of start box and although distracted around the course was forward and jumped well.
I didnt push for speed at all, but was surprised to only collect 11 time faults compared to 13 last weekend when I was kicking all the way.
Oh well, guess its just one of those things.

Photos very kindly taken by 
Michelle Horan

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Waihou Dressage 6 May 2012

Having expected a feral monster, I was pleasantly surprised.
I had decided that Sampson needed a break and turn out more than he need to do the three day, so had reduced him work, and he had also been getting daily grass turn out (although I did bring him in for a few days immediately prior to his last outing of the season!). I had also made no changes to his feeding regime. The one thing I did do though, is give him some liquid magnesium (and toxin binders the night before)
Anyway, he warmed up with no skeddadles whatsoever, and apart from a couple of moments in his test, held it together. He was very rideable.
Quite a few 7's and an 8
7's for paces and impulsion, 6 for submission "sometimes gets distracted"
65.42% for 5th ribbon
And same in his second test ... he did some lovely work, albeit with a couple of moments of lost focus (how could he resist!).
Again some 7's and an 8
"Generally pleasing test. Showing some nice work. working well at this level"
60.00% for 6th ribbon

Thanks to Debbie Stevens for the photos on the day

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kihikihi Easter 2012

So, after a brilliant (NOT) Autumn lead up; it was off to Kihikihi.

He was amazingly well settled in his yard, and although we had a few moments in the dressage warm up, he was going really nicely.

In the test though, he couldnt resist a couple of skedaddles, but they were short lived, I didnt react and he was back to good behaviour pretty quickly.
His test was ok, with some 7's just dropping marks on the movements where he "lost focus", final score 57% which I could live with, and definitely not at the bottom of the class.
Cross country, he was diabolical warming up, and wasnt really focused over the first jump clobbering it (which earned a telling off from me)...he then spooked really badly up at the turn into jump 2 but jumped it I carried on down the hill to the agapanthus oxer, which he jumped really nicely. So I pushed on to the big number 4 spread and he jumped it beautifully...we were on our way.

He was jumping really well, over 7a and 7b, and quick turn inside the tree (that many went around).... only to have branches in my face...oops - you would think that being 6' and on probably the biggest horse there, I would have taken note of tree branches etc. Anyway, I completely lost my focus and missed my line to 8a, and he jinked off the side (nearly decanting me in the process)
I was so disheartened at his first 20 xc, that I wasnt going to carry on...sitting for a while, before deciding to....again...why miss the opportunity for him to gather more mileage...and plus if I didnt carry on, how would I know how he would have coped with the rest of the course.
As it was, he was great....everything was so easy for him and he gave me a lovely ride.

Show jumping was surrounded by distractions, which did prove our undoing. He started off great, and we nailed the oxers (I rode him forward to them and was rewarded by good jumping). The second half of the course wasnt that great as he lost a bit of focus with the distractions, and got in very deep with very little impulsion to a few of them....however once again he still tried his socks off....I have no idea how he even got over some of them, only taking three rails.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Waitemata at Taupo HT 24/25 March 2012

The dilemma was whether or not to drop him back to training after our show jumping fall at Puhinui.

What affect had it had on his confidence? - it had certainly rattled mine!

Warmed him up for dressage and was absolutely wrapt with how he was going...he felt brilliant....was this the day for us to pull it together for the dressage phase?

NO it wasnt...when I went over to the arena he became very distracted by the goings on in front of Charisma hall etc...the horse in the arena next to us during his test, was also being very naughty, and several times hit the rails...just the excuse he needed.
He was AWFUL...(although he did get marked much more harshly than he should - for instance, one canter movement he skeddadled, lost the plot and I had to halt and start the movement again he was so awful....the other rein he cantered beautifully and didnt put a hoof wrong....we scored 5 for the first skedaddle canter, and scored a 5 also for the lovely canter!)

Anyhow, I was SO upset I bawled and then went on about how I hated him and was never going to ride him again....led him back to the truck during which time he was a complete and utter pratt (with me still bawling!).

Thankfully Carolien talked me into putting on his jump gear and doing the show jumping. He was a star. He took a couple of rails, but only because it was very slippery and I was a bit too cautious on the corners giving him insufficient oomph to get over the jump. But he tried his heart out..... completely redeeming himself.

However, I'm afraid I allowed the dressage score, which was not a qualifying one, sway me...I was so disappointed that I didnt even walk the XC, let alone ride it. Silly decision really as every outing is an opportunity for him (us) to gather experience.

Oh well....better luck next time!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rotorua HT 25-26 Feb 2012

Talk about things coming in threes.

All loaded up and ready to go with the two ponies, off we go....reverse back into the turn around.. BANG...truck suddenly on one heck of a lean. Seems we had driven into an old offal hole, and the truck was stuck solid. Unload ponies....two helpful neighbours arrive with tractors and an hour or so later, off we go.

Unloaded, only for one horse to leave a front shoe on the truck ramp.
Then went off to ride the skedaddly pony, only for my reins to break in the middle of the ride.
I really began to wonder if I really wanted to be here doing this eventing lark!

However, pulled myself together and decided that I really did want to!

Sampson hadnt had a start since the Spring...was I being foolish making our first start a step up to pre novice.
It didnt help that the first XC jump was pretty ugly!
He just about held it together for the dressage, but I still havent worked out how to keep his focus in this phase. So we ended up near the bottom, but I wasnt too distraught (he did manage a couple of 8's).

Onto the show jumping!
Having jumped one round of 90cm since Spring, and jumped all of 30-40cm in my lesson that week!However, he was a star and tried really hard...going clear (although he had a jolly good look at that scary wall).
Cross country...although they had finally agreed to lower the first jump, it was still not pretty, and I pretty much decided that I would have to ride my butt off at the beginning of the course.
However, having done that, I found that I could just about sit and steer for the rest of the course...he was fantastic...just jumped everything I pointed him at, no questions. I had no idea how he would be with the coffin, but a moment's hesitation to look at the ditch, and we were over....then for the big concrete drop...eeeek....he didnt bat an eyelid...absolutely beautiful through the bounce....straight through the sunken road, and coped with the water brilliantly - I had been a bit hesitant as to how he would deal with the off set jump on the out, but he eyed it up in the middle of the water and just worked it out and took me to it. An offset log combination towards the end which I had walked several times and just could not find my line ...coming in I could just "see" the line and he jumped it beautifully.
And...just to top it all off, despite having a 'rest' half way round, he only had 2 time faults to finish in 12th place despite being at the bottom after dressage.
So, absolutely thrilled with him.

Puhinui HT 3-4 March 2012

Well, talk about the highs and lows of eventing.

Having had a great outing at Rotorua, I was feeling full of confidence that with a little tweaking in our dressage marks, we had a realistic chance of being placed.

Hmmmm; not to happen.

Arrived Friday , and Sammie was his usual ignorant self riding around and trying to do some flatwork.

However, it was overnight that was the big problem. The place was riddled with Penny Royal, which was the initial instigator of his allergy problem, and he was very very unhappy....couldnt keep still in his yard, wouldnt eat at all (not even his dinner which I had dosed with Aller-G stuff). He was throwing his head around and just not a happy camper. Probably didnt help that his yard was separated from others by a few empty yards.

We moved him to a yard next to another horse and he settled a little, but didnt eat all night and continued to box walk all night (consequence his yard was a mud puddle). I did syringe him with some Aller-G which also helped relieve the symptoms a little also.

When I got on him mid day to warm up for dressage however, he was definitely off behind, so not sure if his nocturnal antics had tweaked something....however I pressed on. Unfortunately he didn't score too well, although apart from one skedaddle and a couple of course errors, he was 'irregular'. The canters were ok though, and the last few movements were spoiled by a squally rain cloud, which he took exception to.

However, not last.

Off to show jump.

Was not at all focused warming up....would then site the jump, hoon at it, boing up over it and run away with me. But, as he was jumping ok, I thought he would settle in the ring and get on with the job as he has tended to do in the past.


Bell went....skedaddle with head in air, didnt even seem to notice the first jump till the last minute and basically jumped from a stand still. Round to number two, still not with it, and clambered over that one. Number three was an oxer on a slight curvy line up hill. I rode him forward to it, but getting nearer to it really felt like 'nobody was home'...not a pleasant feeling. Again he basically 'noticed' the jump at the last minute, kind of tried to stop (and I fell off over it, managing to twist to avoid landing on the back rail), but while I looked up I could see he was coming with me. Ended up with us both lying on the ground.

Not the best way to finish our day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hunua Training 21 Jan 2012

Well, talk about best laid plans!

Was to have done a XC SJ clinic with Donna Smith and Simone Kann, which I was thoroughly looking forward to (apart from the usual pre-lesson nerves)....only to arrive at the venue with a horse on three legs and a lot of swelling above the hind fetlock.

So back home we went, poulticed, and ice booted to cover all bases. He was happier next day (although still lame, happy enough to leap and bounce around in the paddock).

Farrier found that a cavity between his frog had essentially harboured an infection, so more poulticing etc, and Hunua four days later seemed a long shot.

However we went....he had his first canter on the Friday upon arrival essentially having had only walk exercise the preceding few days with the odd trot (slightly off still).

Dressage not good....LAST!
He actually warmed up not too badly, but the pre trainers were SJ directly behind the judges car and rails clanking was all he needed...big skedaddle before we even got into the arena. The right hand canter transition consisted of a leap up into the air, arched back, head between knees and a succession of rather large bucks...ooops....but we finished the test.

Show Jumping....a little full of it trying to warm up, and flew at the practice jump so I simply went and stood quietly by the ring entrance. In we went, and he actually went ok, apart from bulging his shoulder and getting number 3 to the down hill double wrong having lost focus, but he only took one rail during his round. He was quite forward but looking at the pics it doesnt look like he is really jumping that well??
Unfortunately during my round (probably during the bulgy moment) I had hit the end of my thumb on his shoulder with the impact travelling up and doing something very painful to my shoulder....I was in agony.

Unfortunately, that meant no XC for Sampson (and no SJ for Willie)...however, there was still swelling in the hind leg so probably not such a bad decision anyway; although it does mean going into his first pre novice of the season not having had a run at training...gulp!