Nailed it.

Nailed it.

So very happy with Encore today, our first real week “in work” and he really seems to have stepped it up a notch. One would think after a relatively long break he might need a little encouragement but he has surprised me with exceptional work ethic and just so on the ball.

I decided it was time to attempt our last hurdle that was canter pirouettes. Perhaps I had a bit of a mental block, I thought they were really quite so much harder or at least the basic training.

So really a definite mental block…as we can canter half pass and canter along straight sitting for a few strides but I’d just never thought to ride a square or diamond shape, or travers in.

Not to mention the concept of walk pirouetting and then straight into a canter pirouette seemed completely unachievable. Proud to say E
proved me wrong and I think I’ve successfully muddled my way through teaching (or learning??) the raw basics of the movements.

I’ve decided I’ll have to man up and wear a boot from now on because I really do need spurs on. Not for the severity of the aid but more so the clarity…with flying changes it takes a few for him to realize the shoe against his side is me asking!

Nice to be back and having some good rides to make the early starts worthwhile.

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The year that was – Twenty Thirteen.

So what a year that was! I am rather glad I started and kept us with this blog because it was a fairly interesting year, devastating and exceedingly brilliant all in one. One of the more poignant ones with many moments I will remember for a lifetime.

Starting the Year I didn’t really post any goals or achievements I wished to work towards. I think this post certainly lives up to its name. I would certainly never dreamt this time last year I would be in the position I am now, with the opportunities I have been given. Truly grateful to Ladies (and Gents) of the Aussie Dressage world for being so extremely generous with their time, knowledge and horses.

So here is my semi defining list of moments for 2013

1. Canberra Royal – I should really thank the giver of the biggest backhanded compliment I’ll probably ever receive. Opened my eyes up 🙂

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2. Boneo Park – The gorgeous facilities but more importantly meeting a wonderful new friend, getting a ride on a gorgeous WB.

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3. Miss S arriving. Everybody involved was so incredibly nice and went out of their way!

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4. Lost my Louis dog, so suddenly. Forever Loved. I clipped our little Lochie today and shed a few tears in that familiar face looking back at me.

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5. I did finish my exams, admittedly the months leading up to my final exam around June was a very hard slog. Thankfully passed my final unit and got the results back the day after I paid the deposit on S.

So a year of ups and downs. Hello 2014.

 

 

Beach Ponies!

Beach Ponies!

Having grown up “seaside” I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the beach at all – don’t like the sand all the much. I know this sounds slightly absurd :). I look forward to the day of getting a fibre based arena surface so u don’t have to hose of wet sandy boots – yuk!

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I do however enjoy taking the horses, mainly as you have complete freedom in such a open space, with very good footing. Short of a racetrack there is little other space like this us mere mortals can have a good hoon at. The water is always great for their legs and riding through water, even though it’s mega splashy the horses love it…and so do I!

I try and go once a week before our show season kicks in, good exercise to gallop and do some work on the sand.
E’s favourite thing is to sink & drink. He lets himself sink up to about his knees, has sips of the ocean…waits for a wave then jumps up & does it over again. I imagine for him the sinking is quite a unusual feeling!

Seeing as how the lighting was good, I hoped off to take a few pics as E played. He is such a people horse he stays close by, combined with having a basic knowledge of being ground tied…he wasn’t going anywhere quickly!

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Beach attire wise – I use a leather bridle as PVC rubs precious pony. Cheap girth with nickel buckles that gets hosed (no point getting a decent one as they get sandy/salty and it ruins the elastic). All other work gear as normal – saddle gets cleaned & stirrups washed…and a helmet!

I tend to ride in shorts as you end up getting splashed and pulling wet Joddies off is no fun. That said you get some nice rub marks from the stirrup leathers and slightly odd marks on your legs where you grip.

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Even if the beach is a decent float ride for you, take your horse at least once during the summer. You will wish you did it sooner!

Apologies If this appears either spell checked using US language/random spelling/skewiff – blame the iPhone!

7 weeks and counting

7 weeks and counting

Whilst I generally like to keep my *ponies in good condition  I feel you cannot keep a horse at its peak 24/7. They always need a spell mentally and physically at the end of the season I tend to give them a holiday of about 4 weeks. Mainly as it for the past few years as coincided with Uni/Post grad exams.

With some luck I may have finished studies, so hopefully we can make use of the winter break -. I don’t know what it is but we seem to be slightly cursed with something fairly bad happening to one whilst on their break. Anyway so holidays now = winter…end of season this year, they can stay in light work but trail ride and beach.

Work started Mid Dec – I like to use these off season periods to train something new, that may cause a few issues if I was to teach when we are showing every weekend. Last year E learnt flying changes, picked them up rather quickly. Though I should have started a little earlier as we were still a bit keen to show them at every opportunity. Like Here. Nice one E…should have smiled and gone with it…but I’d prefer to contain the self-expression.

Fast forward nearly a year and tempi changes are happening. E is one of those “I want to dance” types and finds them fairly easy,  being on board I have to work on sitting up, counting correctly (naturally I get a bit hung up of this) and not interfering. I appreciate dearly of both J & E that I can teach them something, then they “schoolmaster it” back to me.

This summer we have been a little confused about lateral work to a certain direction and lacking forward, 2 weeks in and we have *got* it. Now just a matter of suppleness and flexion. Both working with that and shortening/collecting the trot and canter to later prepare for higher level work.

Riding early this morning the aim was along with the above, to work on being a little more responsive to the aids, both upwards and downwards. This evenings ride I went sans spurs, need to use legs a bit more and rode mainly long and low doing basic lateral work and practice walking. If your time poor I find a collected walk without anticipation is one of those hard things, we finish work and head goes straight down to stretch. So lots of practice collected walking now, just a matter of making the time for it.

So yes I rode my pony twice!! Canberra is coming up in about 7 wks and we need a decent amount of fitness. Compared to last year when E kept falling asleep again the stable door, which need to be pushed in, to open….he effectively locked himself in….wishful thinking to prevent that! LOL!

So above you have work wise to prepare for big show. Next post will be all the other things 🙂

I saw these gorgeous photos on Supreme Products Facebook even Olympic gold medalists do shiny faces and quartermarks.

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Yep, she is my idol….though that was confirmed before she was famous, the picture of  Ardenhall Royal Secret has been a favourite of mine for years! I came across the mare when looking for pics of E’s relatives. For those not into the riding ponies, she is now owned by Whitemere stud and progeny include a number of highly succesful LJS/Kolbeach/Whitmere

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*Well really horses yes, but seeminly as galloways and one being RPSBs and the other just scraping into pony dressage height they make good ponies 😉

A talent of sorts…

I have certainly purchased my fair share of bell boots thanks to E. He has a wonderful knack of removing his shoes – most often doing a big trot across the diagonal and about 3 strides in. That and prevention of over reach injuries.

I must say this unfortunate talent of allowing me to market test various brands of bell boots is not down to our farrier. E has big movement, huge movement when really asked…those hind legs just seem to come right through. Off course the talent extends to removing them whilst lying down, getting up, eating, being washed and most recently being trimmed. You see he lives in bell boots, I really only remove them once we are in the ring – even then I’ve ridden a fair few classes at muddy shows with them on!

Boring Boots

HBT5930L%20WHBeing frank – these are the ones I think anyone by choice would use for muddy days but certainly not the prettiest or even the best value. I have found the Gum coloured pull on style fairly easy to use, soak in hot water and on they go, last a fair decent time however they are pretty unfashionable and not the easiest to remove for hoof oiling etc. Don’t even both with the coloured pull on ones…must be something in the rubber compound but they are more “excessive force to get on”.

As for fleece lined rubber ones the white rubber seems to last much longer, we used a pair through a wet rainy winter…easy to hose off and dry. Purchased a black pair in early Nov, split up the side and now heading for the bin (or some inventive cloth taping?).

The straight neoprene ones I dont like using primarily as they dont wash and dry easily. I only ever use in conjunction with bandaging legs up when float, means the pads can go higher up the legs for protection.

Professionals Choice

 They say these boots have a life time warranty for fair use. I believe my 24/7 usage would wander outside this but all the same they are a very well made product.imagesCAI7PBJA

My first pair are 2 years old and still going strong. The ballistic layer came off about a month into ownership, a air bubble formed between that and the underneath making the pattern not visible. I helped it off, I like pretty coloured boots. They have frayed a bit at the back as well and now retain a slightly odd shape, initially they rubbed a bit on the sides from the top lining but over time moulded to the leg. The right top velcro strap has fallen victim to a few times and it has been stitched back on. Onto a 2nd pair (purchased 2nd hand yay!) and the right velcro is also a casualty. I suspect that’s our on special issue and not the boots fault.

Right boot velcro aside, they are serious boots for serious work horses and my daily choice. I don’t use them in wet conditions as they are to heavy, mud sticks and you certainly dont get much air up under them.

I’ve never felt the need to purchase any of the other US brands, though they do have some fairly funky designs! I have found Black Yak to be the cheapest/quickest…beats any Australian saddlery price!

Dressage Queen Styles

HKM – I purchased these a while back, although not worn 24/7 instead for rides the sheepskin wore out very quickly and detached itself from boot.

Eskadron…the ultimate of bell boots. I find they cannot be worn 24/7 they heat the hoof up and dont allow much air around the coronet band. The fleece ones are a must for dressage queen styling, you simply cannot claim your tiara without these on. Im looking forward to ordering a pair in brown! And patent ones…always one for shiny, perhaps they will stay cleaner as well.

I have not purchased the Calevo brand boots as I’d rather spend a few more $ and have the name brand. It’s totally about the look ;-). That said Calevo and Furfeathermeds are the *best* supppliers of reasonable priced accesories…I have not yet found a Australia supplier who is cheaper.1190615g

As for loosing shoes, I looked into those things that clip on the back of the shoe, you cannot ride in them so I didn’t make the purchase.

Foam and vetwrap works reasonably well for my shoe keeping on purposes – I usually do this the night before a big trip or the week before a big show.  It however looks very odd and people think your riding some terribly abscessed horse.

I have not included full sheepskin (bell) boots on purpose…these boots deserve a whole post…seeing as how they have a fair chunk of my tack space. 😉