Mission Garryowen…

It’s now late 2022 and this is a post from drafts. It’s only about now do I want to clean another bridle again 😂 I would love to say I am joking but I totally completely burnt myself out with the Garryowen effort in regards to tack cleaning. Worth it though, it’s a exceptionally rare day with horses when the sun is shining, everything goes to plan, rider does their job + horses works perfectly and things are rewarded in their favour.

I didn’t quite realise what the event is all about until a few years later I was chatting in foreign country to a horsey person who had happened to attend that year with their Australian based non horsey but society/Melbourne royal attending Mum and how much they loved the little brown horse that worked out last and that he came back and won the next class. Pretty cool. I think E and I can remain a one hit wonder pairing. Meanwhile Garryowen goals for Ada in 2030 maybe.

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This will be long, it’s been in process every since the idea turned into something that we were actually seriously about to do.

Mission Garryowen.

It’s an event I’ve always wanted to just compete in. When the idea was suggested to me in February I thought hey, why not! E does reasonably well in his Hunter class, I do okay in my rider class…if we can pull together gear in time, it will be a fantastic experience. Plus he is such a good show horse I’d rather do him with him first than any other horse!

Thus began the whole learning/finding gear etc. It’s definitely harder in NSW as the knowledge isn’t so common like in Victoria where it seems to compete at least once is a “rite of passage” style thing.

Melbourne also work on a different performance calendar to Sydney, so gaining the last few wins we needed whilst I had a broken right hand was fun (the plaits were interesting looking to say the least!). Thankfully he is all accepted so we can do it this year, and if something goes wrong everything is in place for the following year anyway.

  • Turnout Bridle (Last minute ordering from DQ Saddlery, took a while to fit saddle and be 100% certain that’s what we where going with, so bridle colour can match).
  • Bits (If fixed cheek must be eggbut which is good as E likes the NS brand bits, only downside is they do have the logo engraved…however riding/happy horse marks worth more so NS bit it is).
  • Cane (Again had to be ordered after the bridle, so all leather colour can match).
  • Helmet (Brand new Black CO…probably will never wear again!).
  • Stocks/Shirt/Vest – Wagners Saddlery..people seem to charge crazy amounts for 2nd hand items.
  • Jacket – It’s a fraction big but purchased second hand, will see if Wagners can adjust….otherwise I’ll just eat some doughnuts or something.
  • Breeches – So it turns out I have really well muscled knees, I literally can’t fit into a standard ladies 8 breech because my knees don’t fit
  • Pins and accessories…okay so sort of don’t really know re the stock, I know how to tie a stock but will utilise Garryowen god services for this coming morning of the event.
  • Boots….cue the most expensive and ugliest top boots I’ve bought yet. That said for $2000 Mum and I have many laughs when it becomes time to take them off. Yet to polish. When I was being measured a lady told us her story that she was breaking in her own GO boots, got off the horse and couldn’t get them off by herself. In the end she had to flag a passing truck to help her get them off so she could drive!!!). Hahaha now I 100% understand.
  • Oven bags are also important feature to help one remove aforementioned boots.
  • Saddle wise I was lucky to find something that fits E.
  • Stirrup leathers I’m not quite sure on to be honest, I think these will be the last things we get???!
  • Stirrups…will polish up the normal ones I’ve used on E’s saddle, where foot goes is roughened enough and I’ve been riding without treads since April.
  • Numnah – Think I’ve got one 2nd hand that fits. I’m not quite sure if the saddle is a 17″ or 16.5″.
  • Girth – I have a 115cm that’s a bit too short for E, ordered a 120cm which hopefully will fit – I fear it might be a little too big though. I need like a 118cm??


Updating on this…

Turnout bridle – Realised it’s a good idea to have two, just in case something breaks/marks/doesn’t arrive whatsoever. Ideally both needed to be worked in more but I just ran out of time and it’s so hard trying to have something perfectly soft and used whilst having it non marked and looking in the best condition as possible.

Bits – Couldn’t find second set of exact bits. This in itself was annoying because it meant I was too scared to trust Australia Post and send them off for metal polishing. Thus meaning I had to polish myself. 4 hours later using Never Dull (I was a bit confused at first on exactly which polish to use because they are two type of metal). Curb chain has to be hung on second link with first link tucked in, so once I got it on the cover, and the right way we tried for size a few times before getting the extra links cut off. (Thanks TH.)

Cane – This was easy, ended up being perfect colour and length (measured with jacket/gloves on and crook of elbow to fingertips). Hard to hold 1/3rd of the way down though, I probably rode with it more in the middle as it’s so short.

Helmet – Again easy although we probably could have steamed it the night before to make sure all marks were out.

Hair – Okay this became a slightly issue because it was ever so slightly purple, so washing that out, then working out the best way to do it with no pins showing. Ended up being perfect 🙂

Stocks/shirts/vest – All from Wagners, starched the stocks numerous times using spray starch. Also did the shirt cuffs and had lots of spares ready to go in case something marked.

Jacket – Adjusted from Wagners so it fitted really well, I was happy.

Breeches – Again Wagners, perfect fit (ie loose when standing but they move up and become fitted when you sit down on the horse). I didn’t find them too hard to ride in or mount the horse in, not as good as our usual work breeches…but didn’t seem as terrible as some people make out.

Top Boots – Still the uggliest most expensive boots ever. Could have spent more hours polishing but you get to a point where you can only do so much. I will strip them down, ride in them over Summer to keep breaking in and then re polish.

Pins and Accessories – Yes it’s a good idea to have a couple in case you loose or bend them. Mum spent literally all day shopping for long gold safety pins and was very pleased to be told she had found the holy grail of safety pins.

Saddle wise – I will send it off to get points and buttons re done as while it’s lovely and really well worked in…that could improve it slightly for next year. Numnah fitted well and was easily able to be pulled up into the saddle, need to find a way to keep it there so it doesn’t slip down though. That’s only a minor detail though.

Stirrup leathers ended up being custom made by Wagners, then after using them and wearing them in I had stretched them and needed them to be shortened one hole. This is where Wagners are 100% dedicated and shortened them for me at the buckles during the show.

Girths – I think I have 5 or 6 now all in slightly differing lengths so that it would fit him perfectly. He put on weight during the week so we ended up with a slightly longer one.

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