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


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!


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!



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…


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!).


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


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.


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.


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).


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.






Other things…

So equine education aside, what else am I doing currently preparing for a some time away and a royal show?



Admin side – Holidays from work …tick Entries done back in October. Stabling at two different locations, booked and paid for Boneo Park (WOOHOO!) back in Dec…and praise the stabling allocation gods we have been allocated stables for Canberra. Sorting out dog accommodation remains on the agenda as finding a decent kennels in Canberra for our dates seems a little hard. Would be nice to bring the furkids with us to Melbourne for the week.

Feed wise – Mid December started on Groom, Ricebran oil, Sunflower oil for E and Livamol along with my very simple diet of hay/chaff and the best mix ever created made by a local company. If we need topline I use HPI whey powder -same stuff and far cheaper than the brand names. 😉 Closer I will start both on a mix of physillium/brewyers yeast/slippery elm and whey powder (different to above…go google it) for ulcer prevention when travelling.

Transport – New car so that should be okay though electric brakes are being a little difficult thanks to some known wiring issues with the cars (2012 Ford Rangers) so perhaps visit the auto electrician…..float may need new tyres and its routine visit to having bearings checked.

Gear wise, all good – new things from Stable8 have been ordered, just have to pick them up. I think I have scored E the most amazing bridle of which I was just about to purchase made to measure….fingers crossed it remotely fits. Silly though – I didn’t order padded reins…I love them, so ordering of them is pending bridle arrival. New tweed in pink/purple for J requires new shirt/vest/tie but Canberra has amazing trade stands so they can wait. Plus knowing me I will stick with my favourite mustard jacket.

Along with the above there is so many other things like restocking the Fat Max, and various little things from getting power cords tagged to making sure I have a worn in shoe or three in case we self remove.

Now, all of that aside my favourite thing is the grooming/presentation. At the moment its a matter of making sure everything is clean.

539549_279785362131884_2027695078_nBecause of the hot weather, I use flag rugs and they are getting washed every 2 days so its handy to have plenty of spares. I purchase mine from Camelot. After being worked they get hosed off, mane washed every 2nd day.

J has his tail plaited so it stays bagged and is brushed daily and washed weekly. His tail truly shows that if you put the time in the hair does grow! Its gorgeous, hardly needs a falsie now.

E on the other hand has the clipped/shaved/pulled thing happening, its growing out…Im wishfully thinking I may have enough length to plait it. Consequently it gets a tad sweaty and needs washing quite regularly.

Coats a fairly routine, lights in stables keep them short. J = curry & brush pending time. E isnt keen on the whole brushing thing, best thing is going over dispensable rubber glove to pickup the loose hair/dirt and towelling him off well after work/hosing.

I leave ears to grow, find you get a better job doing it the night before. Muzzles/chins I generally shave for neatness/getting stuck in the bit/I don’t like kissing prickly boys.

Chestnuts always get removed though I tend to leave them alone a little bit, so they come off easily and cleanly. Any white bits get clipped out.

After being worked I generally use a moisturizer like Palmer’s olive oil around eye/faces…keeps the skin healthy and lessens the hair growth. Clean skin = fabulous and easy makeup jobs.

About 4wks to a show I like to clip their legs, just to take off the coarser hair, makes for cleaner lines. We may being competing in a few weeks so I choose to do this sooner and let any clipper lines grow out. Some people possibly think I’m mad for clipping out black legs but I believe it does make a difference.

Hind legs are the easiest, clip out from fetlock down then once up the back of the leg and taper that around to take of the hair on the outside of the hock joint. Any scars get clipped over with a finer blade.

Front legs, depends on the horse and what the history of the legs is. Any splints I clip as closely as possible using a very fine comb. I generally pick the leg up, clip fetlock, both sides and then up the front to just below where the knee naturally bends. That way when they are moving the hair line blends in easily. E I do all over with a very fine comb. J not so much, being a hunter the super fine bone isn’t really the look we are after 😉

Here are J’s legs in all their honourable bumps and white haired glory.