And the rain followed us to BP.

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Of course it had to rain…one would have thought seeing home 1500km away was literally under water (and I mean literally – check the pics below out!) we would have enjoyed dry sunny days in Victoria. Nope, not going to happening. I spotted the above clouds when heading over in the morning…it decided to rain for most of the day.

Now enjoying the lifestyle, we skipped breakfast and headed over to clean stables and then work horses. It is such a great training environment, so quiet and relaxed for the horses. Even though it was a wet and windy day the indoor was gorgeous to ride in. So lovely being somewhere with the facilities so you never have to worry about riding in bad weather.

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The nicest thing was not being hurried to work horses and have somewhere else to be, it getting dark or things to do. Time goes pretty quickly and before you realise its lunchtime. I find it myself at big shows, but I can see why people who work with horses are often so slender, you dont get a chance to stop & eat!

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Of course being on holidays, we did. Went out planning to find a nice cafe for lunch, instead we came across a great little deli and headed back…Still raining and bad weather I opted to read the Horsedeals just out.

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Headed over to play ponies later and found E flat out on the ground, I didnt feel so guilty. I must say all the agistees were so welcoming and tolerant with us. My boys in particular were literally the smallest in the stables.

 

Sydney Royal

The hardest/most stressful thing I find about Sydney Royal is actually get there and getting settled in, the rest is easy. We had literally the easiest Bump In ever and I was most happy to arrive in our aisle and find we were in with super lovely people! (Beats some old harness hag last year who hissed and spitted at everyone, including the feed guys! thankgod she left quickly). Also with one of the photographers and O M G the dedication she (and the rest) have is amazing, out on her feet photographing all day then back every night proofing photos. Don’t ever complain about paying the small amount they ask, that is for sure.

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In and settled that night we watched the Darcy’s Quest. OMG I think whoever came up with that was seriously on LSD, it was just bizarre from a big horse on a crane to people shooting static electricity at one another to kites of the back of quads with fireworks.

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Very easy schedule having the boys on separate days. I absolutely cannot fault how either of my boys worked, I’m so happy with them. E scored a good place in his Novice. Perhaps I am a little disheartened with our results as in a few particular classes some very naughty horses went up the line. Fair enough to ribbon a quality animal but seriously – at royal level they should be able to keep 4 feet on the ground when asked. Each to their own opinions anyway and this is mine!

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One class had the workouts shortened drastically due to time constraints – luckily we got a call but seriously for a royal show where you pay good money to enter, you would expect more than 3 laps on the ring – I seriously feel for those who went IRO within about 2 minutes.

On the flip side – nice to see horses being asked good workouts, stewards allowing a warmup circle or two and the lovely lady in marshalling keeping everyone informed even when classes got moved forward.

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I notice a lot of people are using google to search for opinions on the judging of the Show Hunters of which this blog seems to come up.

I didn’t get to watch the ponies but in the galloways he was definitely going for a heavier type – picture ASH/Welsh Cross/Saddle pony/WB cross etc. All the horses worked very well to deserve their wins/places. No rearing/bucking getting ribbons like other years which was most refreshing to see 🙂 Again, engaging workouts being asked for which was lovely to see.

As for the open galloways, the show jumping seemed to upset a lot of them, which as a rider is always disappointing but surely it beats having harness working in the ring any day.

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E being Uncle E with a very capable young rider…who was most enjoying doing flash lengthens impressing all the general public watching! I think E enjoyed it as well!

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It’s lovely to have use of the trail out to the park, we choose to work the boys over there when we can. On Thursday it was quite hot so I ended up riding 1 and ponying the other. I tacked J up and took him for a gallop on one of his free days, lots of fun…we did walk as well…he was keen to have a look at the boardwalk and much to my surprise happily clonked along it.

Being in Kelly Pavillion is quite good as you have the stairs up to the Main arena seats very close by, easy escape to the park…not having to battle the crowds and a work arena at one end. Only downer is you get a lot of crowds through at times, on Easter Saturday it was absolute madness – while I was trying to plait E people were streaming along our aisle with elbow room only. I snapped and strategically placed some wheelie bins…much easier! I don’t mind people patting the horses but sheesh they pack into the aisles and poke fingers at them whilst waving all manner of things from balloons, to sparklers to kids patting horses on the bum (eek! as they do it so lightly the horses flinch like it’s a fly!).

Not to forget Bumping Out, which entails a slightly dodgy (dark early morning and all that) walk over to the car park, locate car/float and do the circle around to get back in. Nice and easy thankfully, it wasn’t even raining! A joyously eventful trip home though we did stop and change drivers a few times, due to both of us being pretty tired! The boys were so happy to be home and eating fresh green grass! Not to mention E who has a phobia of rolling in the stables…so he enjoyed a good long roll!

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Jester @ GNs

Jester @ GNs

A quick post…Day tripped Grand Nationals – 10hr round trip. Joy! Jester worked incredibly well, very happy with him. I think I was most happy with the fact he didn’t spook at anything…usually he at least gets a look in the arena before the class. Good pony indeed. E came along for the trip, he gets 10/10 for being a good travelling buddy. Unpack – repack time…We head into Sydney royal for nearly a week on Wednesday.

Day 6 – Jester’s Turn!

Perhaps not the best weather, slightly drizzling in the morning and rather cold so I kept J in his stable, quick lunge before the class to warm him up and off we went to marshalling. J did a stellar job, got the gate – that’s show horses. He left in exceedingly good company, and perhaps my pick of 1st – 6th was rather upside down compared to the placings. If we all liked the same it would be a boring thing, I guess seeing what is in our class so often I do have favourites though I love a few of them like my own, would most gladly take them home. (LOL so I’m fairly biased). I guess slightly disappointing as the judge loved one-handed work & J is very well-practiced at that (perhaps due to me having a rather dodgy right hand anyway!). The best thing though was coming out, we had a lovely chat to another show hunter competitor who I respect greatly who gave the nod for E to perhaps become a hunter when he expands with age.

Onto our side saddle classes! Same judge, so she went in looking a little different to normal LOL the things a small amount of white makeup & white browband can do!!! Again a little disappointing as in the workouts relayed to us by the steward a few things got lost in translation. Not to worry – J was a star & we were 2nd in the rider & 3rd in the Galloway. Looking forward to next year 🙂

Grand Parade time – J stayed in the stable as I cannot ride two & E is so cruisey. Nothing spectacular or exciting happened thankfully, got around reasonably safely

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Later in the evening, it was time for the side-saddle challenge. I checked and we were allowed to go in with a martingale & had J bandaged up. He was the most fired up he has ever been in his life! Massive crowd in the stands was cheering & clapping…with the guy on the mic getting everyone going. J was pawing & spinning and rather wanting out! Thankfully I know him rather well so I convinced him standing(ish) would be a good idea. The general idea was to go around a few cones as fast as you could, over a jump of a decent height OR skip it for a 5 sec. penalty then fast back to eat a cupcake and drink a cup of tea. Two would go at a time, on courses next to one another. Or at least that what I could ascertain as it was incredibly noisy & J wanted to stand head on to everyone not what we were doing…love him!

J did a stellar job of going fast, I just hung on LOL stopped midway as the girl also going went over the jump….I think both J & I just stopped in awe!!! Galloped back, pulled up…ate the cupcake, struggled with the tea.

J got 2nd LOL no idea how with the time penalty!! Guess his fast is fast! Absolutely well done to the winner, she was incredibly brave jumping! Lovely prize from Adore Tea who sponsored the event.

Back to the stables to untack and help J get over his mini heart attack. A rather long fireworks display to end the night!

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Canberra Day 3 – Novice Day!

Novice day!! Potentially exciting as we try to crack the Novice, potentially not knowing it’s always a huge class of quality and succesful horses. Looking at the catalogue E was potentially in with a chance of a place, which doesn’t really help as then I know it’s really got to go to plan! Catalogue was closed Tuesday night and Show Mum told not to read it aloud!!

E had a short ride out on the main arena at 6am, short was it was freezing!!! Thankyou to my gorgeous friend who gave me a woolen quarter sheet, I think without it E would have refused to move. He worked well and felt great, not worrying about big screens, wayward ponies, flower pots or the towering plywood 100 for the Centenary of Canberra.

Wash time and then some plaits, I left the plaiting til the morning as I had plenty of time. Falsie in, legs done, saddle on, quartermarks on, tail brushed & chopped, bridle on then makeup. Show Mum approves of browband & holds horse whilst I get into more proper attire! Least having the speedway to walk on means that boots don’t get dirty, beats walking through mud. A few final touches and more clear makeup and E is ready to go.

Into marshalling, the warmup area is filled with huge woodchips which I’m a bit dubious about trotting on so do two naughty quick trots in the laneways and walk around…catch up on some interesting gossip and off we go!

E works super on the ring and gets a call, again makes the final cut to line up in 4th from memory. I restrain myself not to do 1 million circles out the back before he works, which generally annoys the crap out of him…instead a quick trot/canter then halt and wait with the steward. One or two before him have a bit of stage fright at various flower pots and blades of grass. There is a bit of an impending curse as it becomes E’s turn…will he continue the naughty horse chain or cut it? He works well and I’m happy with him, no lengthens – from memory workout was trot out, half circle either way and canter back to judge trot/walk/halt. Go E!

Some judges like to lineup you up in placings as they go along, which does generally annoy me because if you are called in as part of the 2nd heat it is very hard to work up the line, even though which heat you are in is just numbers (well depending on how you juggle it going out….first heat is the best, but sometimes they work from a different end or one heat is all quality and the other maybe a tad easier). I digress, this judge intelligently remembers what he likes, gets everyone to walk on a circle and moves horses around from here over to lineup in placings….and E is called in 2nd! Go E! Red ribbon, didn’t crack the Novice…but the horse that did was a very quality type and deserved it so very happy to be in 2nd!

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Rest of the day, E gets carrots and some licorice for being a good horse. J’s turn to be worked, we have a bit of a practice sidesaddle but he needs a bit more work to settle..

Swap a few bits of bridle around, get the led outfit ready for tommorow….8am led class…joy!

 

Canberra Day 2 – Shopping & Playing Ponies

It’s always nice to have the one full day there for the horses to settle in and things just seem to take so much longer! I’m not sure if it’s because everything is such a distance…nearest tap was about 100m away or you get stuck talking to people, or just waiting to use the tap but even a quick washdown is grab your hose fittings/hose/wash bucket, wait in line, convince now cooled off horse hosing *is* a good idea and so on…

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Both got verified height wise, no dramas there – it is wonderful Canberra accept SHC height certificates, makes it reasonably quick & painless…I think I only got to chat with two people before we were stamped and out of there!

Explored the trade stands, most were not setup. I did manage to pickup a pair of gorgeous Eurostar charcoal work breeches (a bigger woohoo for now knowing my size!).

It was almost eerie, by Tuesday Canberra is normally filling up, horses going every which way and the trade stands are doing a roaring trade. Not so much this year…about 60% of floats/trucks. It stayed like that for most of the show, I guess in trying to keep people from camping under the major power lines everyone has become a lot more spread out. I certainly would have our 1km walk over being stabled/camped far out the back! (The cows were right next to us…this baby was pretty cute!).

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E got an early morning session from 6am-7am when the grounds were open so got a good chance to look at everything, he settled into his work well but was a bit looky at so many horses! Admittedly so was I, there is literally 100+ horses all being ridden around at once…a lot to watch, so you generally pick your line and ride it, pass people left to left…and avoid any kids on ponies or those having trouble on hot hacks.

J got a ride/lunge in the sand arena, keeping things quiet for him. He always *knock wood* performs when he gets in the ring and being so deep the sand isn’t ideal (and neither is the back work arena which is rock hard)…E comes 1st as his classes are 1st

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E got another ride that afternoon, this time had a few tantrums, pent-up energy that required about 1hrs riding on the grass arena, 30mins lunging and another 1hr in the sand arena. Which had him exactly where I wanted him…tired but listening and concentrating on the work. I’m sure there are a few thinking ” is a LOT of work for a horse usually ridden 1hr a day”…Yes, it is! That is how I manage him at a royal or big show, over the next few days it means I could trust him with a warmup of the walk to marshalling & 2 laps around the marshalling trotting each direction then walking on and off in the laneways. If as planned, he would be nostrils flaring, ears pricked…but listening and responding to what was asked.

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On that note, we washed, we trimmed and we had dinner…and slept!

Canberra Bound…

Early start and onto Canberra we went, always nice to get through Sydney before peak hour.

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Dropped our two beloved dogs off at the kennels nearby for the week, they settled in very well. Onwards we went to Bump In around 10am. So much easier since RCNAS opened EPIC up from early morning onwards. Previously it was a 12pm which was both difficult to coordinate arrival times (as I find they travel so much better early morning/late evening) and you would get such a lineup it would back up, out of EPIC and onto the highway (cattle people share the same gate).

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Super quick and easy Bump In! Woohoo for stable numbers being written on our camping stickers!! Beats the trek down to the office while two horses wait rather impatiently.

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