Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to all my readers around the world! Hope you have an amazing day with your family and friends!

I'm just off to my familys Christmas (yes we have it on Christmas Eve) and I spent all day yesterday baking cookies and a cake. It was a mission but it turned out great!

Have a magical time and God Bless.

Isn't this dog awesome? I found this picture on the net.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Henderson ODE - Sunday 16th of December

I was up at 6 on the morning of the Henderson ODE. I had to be at the Pony Club at 7 to get Red and Harlequin (my friend’s horse) ready to be loaded at 7.30. This proved to be a tad difficult as Red doesn’t like Harlequin much and would attack every time she came near. I got them down to the clubrooms, with the help of another grazer. We then loaded them and off we went.

Massey Pony Club had been designated a special place to park so we could spend the day together. It was quite nice having all my friends at easy distance. Red and I were about ½ way in the class. I thought we would have ages to get ready and warm up but as it happened we were on sooner then I thought. Our warm up was hurried and for some reason Red didn’t do his usual warm up in the trot cough. I should have known he would do it later. Once the previous rider had come out of the arena we started trotting around waiting for the starting horn. That’s when Red started coughing. He coughed all the way down the centre line and into our first movement. I couldn’t get him settled after that so our test wasn’t the best.

Show Jumping was next. Our warm up was amazing. Red was jumping beautifully. Unfortunately this didn’t go on to happen in the actual round. He refused jump 1 and 2 once each but we completed the rest of the course with no other mishaps. I was still quite happy with him.

Cross country was amazing. Red zoomed around! I almost came off over one jump when he did one of his HUGE jumps. My friends were by that jump and they were all yelling encouragement to sit back up and keep going. But he was so good the rest of the time. He took everything without batting an eyelid… that is until we reached the last jump. The jump happened to be immediately after a pretty sharp corner and I almost missed it as I was thinking it was a bit further up. I must have looked at the jump as we were coming up to it because Red slammed on his breaks. You won’t believe how frustrating that was! He went over it fine the second time. It was a brilliant course and I had so much fun on it so I was very pleased with him anyway.

All in all it was a good day. I felt much better about it then I did after the last ODE. We have a break until February. Then it’s another Massey ODE. I’ll be working on doing some consistent Show Jumping courses in the mean time. I’m determined to go double clear yet! Here are a few pictures Peter took. The picture at the top of this post is my favourite. My dad also videoed all my phases so if I can find the cord I’ll put a short video clip up sometime soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lesson with Sue # 3

Its been awhile since my last lesson with Sue. This is mostly due to Reds recent lameness. With the ODE that happened on Sunday (I'll write about that in my next post) I decided that a lesson was well in order. Since Area games was on we weren't able to do Show Jumping so we did a Dressage lesson.

I've found that since I am an older teenage rider people assume I know things about the basics of riding. But since I only started riding properly two years ago i.e. not just hacking around the farm, I really don't know much at all. Unfortunately this means some instructors just don't teach me things or they are very suprised when they ask me to do something and I have no idea how. For example recently an instructor commented in a group lesson at Rally that I don't attempt to keep Red rounded and on the bit. She couldn't believe it when I said I had never been taught how to really do it (I must state here that even after she found out this help she didn't try to tell me how to do it). So this is what Sue and I (or should I say Red and I) worked on during this lesson.

I know the theory in getting a horse to become round and on the bit (I've read enough books) but when I had tried to do it nothing really happened. He would sometimes stay on the bit in walk but there was no point in even trying in trot and canter. My friends would try and tell me how to do it but nothing ever seemed to work. I explained all this to Sue at the start of our lesson. She explained the balance between the leg and the hand and likened it to the clutch and accelerator of the car. How you must have the right amount of balance between the both for it to work. So I tried. Nothing really happened, he would come down onto the bit but would not stay for long. Finally Sue resorted to getting on. She walked and trotted him around and finally she figured it out! He needs a lot more leg then hand and once hes on the bit he needs a matinence leg for him to stay there.

So I got back on. We worked consistenly on the bit on each rein at a trot and a canter. He was worse on his right side (not surprising) but his left rein was amazing. I found that Red gives me two options when it comes to this 1. Rounded and slow or 2. Not rounded and forward. Hes incredibly slow when he comes on the bit, especially in the trot. My legs ached as I tried to get him to move forward. Sue then handed me a dressage whip. Now this is another basic I've never been taught. I don't know how to use a whip. She showed me how to hold it and it definitely worked. Red was on the bit and moving forward nicely. Unfortunately I couldn't keep my hand from moving and the whip waggled around a bit which made Red a bit upset. I guess I'm going to have to work on that.

In the canter I was rocking too much. I used to have the problem where my butt wouldn't stay on the saddle. Once I got that sorted I started the rocking. Sue figured I was overcompensating with the butt thing and it caused my upper body to rock. She explained to me in theory how my body was supposed to work in the canter and I don't know how it happened but when I put Red into the canter it went perfectly! I didn't even think about it. It was like my brain had cemented what Sue had said and then just did it! After that we just worked on Red cantering on his right leg and then we finished up.

Coming up: Henderson ODE Post

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Something new on A Girl and Her Horse

Recently I've been trying to make this blog a little more user friendly. Before it was all over the place and everything was a bit helter skelter, especially with the tags. And so I've tidied everything up a bit. You can now access all the stories in my 'A Story for Another Day' series straight from the sidebar and some of my better posts are easily avaliable under the 'Recommended Posts'. But probably what I'm most excited about is the new 'Resources' section. Right now there is only one resource avaliable to you, which is my 'Horse Information Template' that I talked about in my post Horse Records. The template will work best if you copy and paste it into Microsoft word. The boxes will need to be deleted and appropriate pictures added. More resources are on the way.

Just to finish off I would like to announce that Red is no longer lame!! I'm so pleased. We have a theroy about his lameness that I'll share about in the future, but we have to wait to see if the theroy will prove itself first.

Oh also here are some pictures of me and Red at rally. I don't know how he does it but Peter, the photographer, always takes pictures of me with funny faces! Oh well, its hard to be vain when you are a horse rider! The first one (the picture with Melissa on Gilbert) is especially bad. And the one of Red and I jumping was taken before Red started refusing every show jump I put him in front of. And yes I agree, I do need to release more when I'm jumping.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Tribute to Red

My Chestnut boy
You are the best.
I love you more
Then all the rest.

You lift me up
When I am down.
With you right here
There is no frown

You give me wings
When I can not fly.
You give your all
When I ask you to try.

You dance around
the dressage ring.
You make me so proud
I want to sing.

Our ribbons might
not be blue.
But darling boy
I'll always choose you.

Even when we
make mistakes.
You, big Red,
take the cake.

We've galloped along
a sandy beach.
And through the forest
with great big leaps.

We've had some fun,
you and I.
Our memories are something
I cannot buy.

You big man
have stolen my heart.
You took it then,
right at the start.

When your old
and need a rest.
Of my care
you'll have the best.

I'll rug you up
against the cold.
To anyone else
you'll never be sold.

Thanks, Red
for all you are.
Your the best,
you are my star.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Still Lame

Reds still slightly lame. Nothing to really worry about but every 12th stride or so he does a little hop. It looks like his hooves have grown extra fast and the shoes are starting to slip. The shoe on his left hoof has slipped quite a bit and is pressing on his corn which could have been the reason for his lameness all along. Its only been 4 weeks since he was last shod. Usually he needs work done every 6 weeks. But the grass has been growing really fast lately and apparently when the grass grows so does the hooves.

I was supposed to have a lesson with Jacqui on Saturday but she was the one who saw the hop in his trot. She said he could be lightly hacked but not to do any work until he was re-shod so our lesson didn't happen. So this week hes getting re-shod and hopefully he'll be fine for the ODE on Sunday.

In other news it seems like the electric fence in the paddock where the Hacks are grazing went a bit crazy. Somehow electricity was being put into the ground underneath the gate and was giving the horses an almighty shock as they walked in and out of the paddock. The water was also alive so the horses weren't able to drink. Only the horses were affected because of their shoes. My Auntie Sue said when she was bringing Red out he suddenly bolted through. She didn't know what had made him do it. Someone must have figured out what was wrong when the other horses reacted too. The electricity has been turned off now. The poor horses! Its must have been a powerful shock to make them react like that. Imagine if a human had been been shocked. It could have caused someone a lot of damage. Thankfully everyone is alright.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another Goal Gone!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Red and I were due to compete in a particulary hard dressage test against my Pony Club ride. I only had 10mins to warm up and I wasn't expecting anything spectacular but as I trotted around the ring I said to myself 'We are going to be amazing, we are going to do the best dressage test ever' over and over again. Lo and behold we did great!

Red and I scored really well. We got a lot of 7 and 8s in the transitions which I was very pleased with. The only thing that let us down was the right canter which I'm not suprised at all about. But we're working on that.

But even more exciting was we got lots of great remarks about Reds bending! Comments like 'Supple and bending well into the corners" and "Great circle, bending nicely' showed up. I was so pleased. We didn't place but hey sometimes achieving a goal is better then getting a rosette.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Congratulations to Michelle!

I was just want to say a hefty well done to my friend Michelle and her horse Gizmo over at A Moment in Time. Michelle trialed for Pony Club Show Jump Champs and came 4th in the last trial which is awesome! Shes not in the Hamilton Team but shes eligible to be a draft rider for another team if they need a senior. This is a great accomplishment! Well done Michelle! I'm so proud :) You can read her version of events at her blog.

Here are a couple of her pics:

Also congratulations to my friend Simone and her horse Rocky who made the West Auckland team. She doesn't read this blog but I thought I might put it in anyway.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A story for another day #6: The Day Red was Horsenapped

One spring evening mum dropped me off at the top gate of the pony club. I was looking forward to riding that night. It was slightly cool, the sun had painted its glory across the skies and I was just happy to be outside after spending all day in a office.

I walked down to the staircase paddock to get Red. First I just stood at the gate calling his name hoping he would come running. But alas it wasn't to be. So off I went to look for him. It was obvious he wasn't with any of the other horses standing around in the open so I went searching for him in the out of view nook and crannys of the paddock. But he wasn't anywhere to be found. I went back to the herd and took a closer look at the horses. Usually I can pick him right out by looking at his cover, but once I spent ages walking around his paddock when my Auntie Sue had changed his cover from a bright blue winter cover to a bright green spring one (she had told me, I had just forgotten). He definitely wasn't there.

Thinking he may have jumped the fence into the next paddock that held the ponies I went over and searched that paddock. But he wasn't there either. Now I was starting to get worried. I had visions of him lying in one of the Staircase paddock ditches with a broken leg and in lots of pain. I went straight back to the staircase paddock and did an extensive search. Nothing turned up.

Then I heard it. Laughing and jeering. I just knew what was happening. Someone had gotten Red out of his paddock and was torturing my poor horse. I grabbed a stick and sprinted towards the noise, ready to risk my life for my horse who had always given me his everything. When I got to the paddock fence I saw what was happening. Some kids were playing tiggy in the backyard of a house next door, and my horse wasn't with them. I dropped the stick and went sheepishly away.

Suddenly I realised EXACTLY what had happened. Red had been horsenapped! Someone must have broken the chain on the gate, caught the first horse they could see (which happened to be Red) and taken him away. The rational side of my brain did wonder how they got him on a float but that thought was soon pushed away with thoughts of the pain and fear he must be suffering at the hands of the horsenappers. I sprinted towards the clubrooms, glad that I had my Horse Information File in the car so I could show the Police what he looked like.

As I got closer to the clubrooms I saw a horse standing in the Plum Tree Paddock. "Hmm must be a loose horse" I thought. Then I saw another horse, and another one and then a few more. I sped up trying to figure out who these horses were. I'm short sighted so it took a while until I realised that THE HACKS HAD BEEN MOVED INTO THE PLUM TREE PADDOCK. I soon spotted Red and I threw my arms around him. My feelings flew from euphoria that he hadn't been stolen, to disbelief that I had been so stupid. Then I just put my head on his neck and laughed. I haltered him and took him to the clubrooms where mum was waiting. I told her the whole story about The Day Red was Horsenapped.

Lameness Update #2

Red and I didn't ride in the Pony Club rally last night due to his sore leg but I went up anyway to check on him and watch my group ride. I'm please to annouce that hes much better. His limp has all but gone and his swelling hasn't got any worse. Hes short stepping slightly with the sore leg but otherwise hes great. I'm very pleased. Auntie Sue will check on him tomorrow morning but it looks like we won't need a vet.

It looks like it will be all good to enter into the Henderson ODE. If his swelling and limp is gone by Friday evening I'll possibly have the lesson with Jacqui on Saturday but I'm going to talk to Sue about it.

It looks like the injury would have come from him fighting with the new gelding at the pony club. A few people have seen them have impressive all out fights complete with rearing battles and nashing of teeth. I was wondering why Reds neck was continually covered in bite marks. Hopefully that will settle down and they'll sort themselves out soon so Red doesn't get any more injuries.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lameness Update #1

Red had some slight swelling in his knee last night when I checked on him. Its very minor and he doesn't seem to be sore in or around his knee in anyway. Two of the more knowlegable people at PC poked and prodded all around with no reaction.

The conclusion is that something is sore in his hoof area and hes over compensating with his knee so he can keep the pain to a minimum which is resulting in the swelling.

We're going to wait a couple of days to see what happens with it. I'll check on him tonight and my auntie will check on him tomorrow night and then we can make the decision about whether to call the vet. I was supposed to be having a lesson with Jacqui Williams on Saturday but at this point it looks like that won't be happening.

Hopefully he'll get better soon and won't be in pain. Wish us luck.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Oh dear! Hes lame.

Well here I am. Sitting at my desk trying to figure out WHY RED IS LAME! Yes hes lame. When I was leading him in the paddock I saw it, but then again I always think hes lame in the paddock because of the un-even terrain. I walked him over to the rails, tacked him up and as soon as we walked off I felt it. That totally evil, time wasting, money wasting limp. I trotted him out for one of the instructors at the club and she said it was in his left fore. There was no heat or swelling otherwise I would have seen it when I checked him over while grooming.

Lisa, a vet in training who rides at PC, looked him over and did a hoof test but she couldn't find anything. She said it could be an abcess that will burst in the next couple of days. If he's still lame on Wednesday I'm calling the vet. Hopefully its nothing too bad, I hate him being sore!

It seems to be one thing after another with him lately. Last weekend he was bitten by a White tail spider (we think) which can affect humans quite badly. My poor guy was swollen up in patches all over his body and anytime I put my hand near the spot where we think he was bitten he attacked with menace. I left his cover off since the heat generated from it seemed to make the swelling worse and when I checked on him the next day he was fine.

Hes also been having trouble with jumping, hes refusing jumps that we did easily a few weeks ago. I don't know whats up with him but hopefully it all stops and he gets back to his normal soon.

Anyway heres a cool little thing that Maddie over at Pony Tail Club posted about... You upload a photo and suddenly your in a gallery! Check it out!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Last Ride

A Beautiful Poem...

A pioneer in life's sunset
To his pony sang this song
I am going west this time old pal
And can't take you along

I'm headed over yonder
To the happy hunting grounds
Where life's sorrows cannot follow
And peace and joy abounds

I've hung up the well-worn saddle
And laid aside my gun
Farewell my pinto pony
Our hunting days are done

The mountains and the valleys
Shall look for me in vain
The pines and dancing waters
I shall never see again

A phantom horse shall guide me
On the oldest trail of all
This the path that all must follow
When we hark the final call

The unknown trail is waiting
In that place where myriads dwell
The land where none returneth
The journey there to tell

Voices long forgot are calling
Life's sunlight fading fast
Life's trails are but faint memories
Life's hopes and dreams have passed

I'll be waiting over yonder
Just across the great divide
By the campfire I'll be watching
Good bye old pal I RIDE.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Moving on up

Well we did, Red and I passed our C certificate Exam. We are now the proud holders of the C level badge (well not really, I haven't recieved the actual badge yet). Every wednesday night I would drive an hour to Sues house in the whop whops. I studied the theory side of the exam with a couple of other girls there. We discussed, we talked, we ate some chocolate cake and we revised all the particulars of the C exam and finally last night we sat it.

Sue didn't give us much warning about when we were going to sit it. In fact she only gave us one day. She also neglected to tell me until lunch time yesterday that Red needed to be plaited. I had work till 5.30 and the exam started at 6.10. and I can't get up to PC till 6. Luckily my amazing friends came to the rescue. When I arrived at Pony Club last night Red was standing tied up in all his plaited glory. Stephanie, one of the older riders had even plaited his tail for me.

Soon we were in the arena, following the direction of the judge. All was going well, its a relatively easy exam, until the judge said "Take your feet out of the stirrups" and then "Cross the stirrups over please, we're going to do some sitting walk and trot". Now I can bareback as well as the next person, it took me awhile but now I feel completely secure with no saddle on Red. But sitting trot in the saddle is a completely different thing. I combed my brains for all the information I had ever heard on sitting trot in the saddle with no stirrups. I relaxed, put my heels down and low and behold TROTTED! And I didn't fall off.

Next it was the show jumping. You might remember that last time I show jumped it didn't go quite as planned. I tried not to think about it as we trotted around the jumps. "We are going to go clear" I chanted over and over to myself (in my head). "You may do some practice jumps" the judge declared. "Here we go" I thought to myself as we cantered towards the jump. SLAM! Red threw on his breaks. He did it twice more before I got him over. Teresa was first, her horse Copper refused at the big barrel jump but was fine after that. Then it was Red and I. The first part of the course was simple and we did it with no trouble, but then we reached the barrels. I rode Red in, legs on, eyes up but he refused. I turned him around and rode him towards its again, he refused. We tried again and again he refused. Now I was getting angry, I turned him around, determined to make it over. He cantered in and I felt him hesitate so I put my legs on hard. He came almost to a standstill and then took a leap. It was one of his huge jumps that clears the heights by miles. I came flying out of the saddle and landed with a thump on his neck, my jaw wacked hard against his head. I felt myself slipping so I monkey grabbed around his neck with both my hands and legs. I then managed to wiggle myself back into the saddle. And with my head pounding Red and I finished the course with no other mishaps.

Cross country was next and we went clear with no problems what so ever. After a bit of theory with the judge we were told we had all passed!

So congratulations my darling Red, thanks for helping me pass. I'll love you forever no matter how many times you refuse :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The saddle on my horse's back: Part I

I need a new saddle. Its a simple as that. My current one was $200. Yes... one of those saddles. Made of cheap and smelly leather that had the black rubbing off it within a month. Its hard, its uncomfortable and its just plain not nice. It hinders my efforts to stay in the correct position. It also pinches my poor thighs terribly, especially when I'm jumping. Its guaranteed that some pretty purple bruises will appear soon after a hard jumping lesson.

Now don't get me wrong. My saddle has served its purpose. It hasn't hurt Reds back and its only let me down three times, when a stirrup dropped off (this happened twice last weekend). But frankly the saddle has to go. It will be retired into my tack room (which is still in the making) and my new one will replace it.

Now to find a new one. I'm sure anyone who has bought a saddle before will agree with me that it can be a difficult business. Every horse is different, as is every person and finding a saddle that fits both can be hard.

Personally I'm looking a for a close contact saddle, aka a jumping saddle. I really am more keen on jumping then dressage, but thats probably because my dressage has always been the weakest of all my phases. I also have a dressage saddle so that won't be a problem. I want a saddle that has a easy change gullet system so I can adjust the saddle as Red adjusts his muscles. So far these two are my favourites:

The Collegiate Graduate Close Contact Saddle

The Bates Caprilli Close Contact Saddle

I'm leaning towards the Collegiate at the moment. Simply because in the Tack Reviews I've read on the Bates saddle it seems that the leather is incredibly soft and marks easily. But if the Bates fits Red and I better then the Collegiate, then I'll go with that.

In The saddle on my horse's back: Part II - We get the Saddle fitter out to fit these two, and possibly even some other saddles on Red. Keep your eyes open for the next instalment.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Survive summer with your horse

For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere the Summer season is just about upon you. Soon you'll be packing away the heavy coats and jumpers and pulling out the the cotton tops and sunscreen. Here are some tips on surviving the heat and everything else that comes with it.

  • Buy some horse safe flyspray. Trust me you are going to need it. When the flys are many horse are continually stomping their feet to get rid of the irritating little insects. Frequent stomping can lead to tendon, tendon sheath problems and it can also loosen shoes since horses don't have the same twitch reflex as they do on their upper bodies. Fly Masks are also a great peice of equipment to keep those blasted things from irritating your horses eyes. For more on keeping flys away check out this article.

    This poor guy is covered in flys.

  • Are your rugs ready? You may have already put your Summer rugs on your horses but if you haven't pull them out of storage now and check them over. If they need repairing send them off to be done or if you know how to do it yourself get onto it. Send your Winter and Spring rugs off to be washed, mended and waterproofed ready for next time. Also make sure your fly sheets and show rugs are in good repair.

  • Exposed, unpigmented white and pink areas of a horse like the nose can get sunburnt easily. Protect your horse with sunscreen or a nose shade.

  • Along with the rain and sun of Spring and Early Summer along comes Laminitis aka Founder. Horses and ponys who have suffered from laminitis before are more likely to get it again. By clicking on the link above you will be taken to a great page the explains all about Laminitis including causes, signs and treatment. Its a good idea to check it out.

  • Have shade available in the paddocks. This can be anything from trees to a stable. I hear of many people putting fans in their stables and their horses have access to them at all times.

  • Hot and humid weather can be hard on all horses, creating extra stress on the cardiovasicular system which can result in heat stress, and dehydration which can then lead to heat stroke and even death. If a horse fails to regulate its body temperature or when there is excessive fluid and electrolyte loss from sweat, serious medical problems can occur. If your horse is sweating a lot make sure you keep an eye out for heat stress signs such as:
    - Temperature above 40C (normal is 37.2C to 38.2C)
    - Rapid heart and pulse rates that don't recover after exercise.
    - Rapid breathing that doesn't slow after exercise
    - Less sweat then expected
    - Hot skin (this might progress to cold skin if the circulation shuts down)
    - Signs of dehydration which include loss of skin elasticity, sunken eyes and
    ceassation of urination.

    If you suspect your horse is suffering from heat stress call your vet immediately. Get your horse into the shade in a well ventilated area and sponge or spray the large blood vessles along the inside of the legs and belly with cold water.

    Make sure cool, clean and freash water is always avaliable to horses during the summer months. Some horses are very picky about dirty or foreign water. If you think your horse isn't drinking enough try adding mollasses to his water. Some horses need electrolytes during the summer, especially if they are being worked hard and sweating eccesively. Talk to your vet about adding electrolytes to your horses diet. If you can try exercise your horse in the cool of the morning or evening. As well as being nice on your horse it can be nice on you too.

  • Travelling with your horse in summer requires some special consideration. Heat can be unbearable in a trailer or float. If you can try driving in the early morning or evening, or even possibly at night. Offer water frequently to your horse. Avoid covering him in the float. If you are going on a long trip with your horse, let him off the float to have a break or two, take off his hot horse boots so he can air his legs. Plan to miss the traffic, its going to be much hotter sitting in traffic than if your driving at 70km an hour along the motorway.

  • The ground is going to be hard in the summer so remember to think about your horses legs. This is especially important if your horse is old or has bad joints, or if your jumping or doing cross country. If you think the ground is too hard, especially at competition just don't ride. Your horse could be far more worse off if you do decide to ride.

  • Make sure you cool your horse down properly after a ride. Walk him around for about 10 minutes and then hose him off. Scrape the excess water off and hose him again. Again scrape the excess water off. If you don't scrape the excess water off it can make your horse hotter.

  • Look after yourself. All you New Zealanders are going to remember those old slip, slop and slap ads. You know 'Slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat'. Well that informatins still counts, when your riding or working with your horses in the hot sun make sure your being 'sun smart'. If you don't follow these rules your going to get sunburnt which can then lead to melanoma. Trust me you don't want this. I know a few people who've had this and they've had to have big chunks of flesh cut out. Also make sure you have a water bottle on hand at all times. Don't let yourself get dehydrated. Be smart!

So there you have it. Look after your horses this summer. Now that daylight savings is here you'll have more time to ride then ever! Happy trails.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Survive winter with your horse

For those of you in the Northen Hemisphere you are just about embark on the cold, windy, stay in bed, put on a warm jacket and give your horse a heavier rug season i.e. Winter.

Because Winter is never nice I thought I might give you some tips on making it more enjoyable. Since Auckland doesn't get snow I'm not sure if many of these ideas will work in a place that has a lot of snow, but you can take what you want and adapt it to your own enviroment.

  • Get your horse rugs sorted: Pull your winter rugs out from storage and make sure they are clean, mended and waterproofed(hopefully you did this last spring when you took them off). If your like me you'll send your rugs off to be cleaned, mended and waterproofed as soon as they come off the horses so you don't have to worry about it when the time comes to use them again. Store your summer and spring/autumn rugs for the new seasons in a rodent free, out of the way place. Don't be like one of my friends and leave the rugs hanging on the fence throughtout the seasons. She often goes to put them on her horses when its time for the change only to find they are mouldy, rotting and cannot be used. This wastes money and time.

  • Be ready for the cold: Make sure you have sutible horsey type clothes ready for winter. I always make sure I have waterproof jacket and pants, warm jumpers, stockings, wooly socks and fingerless gloves ready for my journeys into the elements to ride Red. I'm thinking seriously of investing in some Ear Warmers. Make sure you have a pair of good fitting gumboots. They will save your riding boots from the mud and a good fitting pair means they are least likely to come off when the mud is really sticky (trust me you don't want this).

  • Dentist visit: Get the horse dentist out to do the annual matinence of your horses teeth. Horses can have a difficult time retaining a healthy weight when they can't grind their food effectively. If your horse is a hard keeper over winter he may have dental problems.

  • Try something new: If your horse is a dressage star why don't you have some jumping lessons? It will be a breath of freash air for your both. Are you an eventer? Try a short competitve trial ride. Maybe go on a hack to the forest or beach with your friends! It will not only be lots of fun, but it might give you the motivation to get out and ride when the weathers cold. Whatever you do don't get stuck in a winter rut.

  • Set your goals: Winter is a great time re-evaluate where you are and to make some new goals for the next season. Set yourself short term goals to work on over the winter and also medium and long term goals to complete in the future.

  • Get fit! When you can't get out to the barn or paddock to ride why don't you pull out the pilates video or jump on the tread mill instead. Keeping fit and eating healthy foods during the winter will help you stay in top gear for the next season.

  • Be a spectator: If your horse is turned out or its just too cold to go riding try to improve your riding skills by watching someone else. Treat yourself to some new training videos or tag along to a friends lesson. We can all learn from others no matter what level they train out.

  • Train! If you are not turning your horse out winter is a good time to train without the constant interruptions of shows. You'll have time to work on those small problems that always loose you marks in the dressage test. Maybe you'll have time to finally do that trailer training you've been wanting to do for so long. Winter is also a perfect time to work on ground manners that may have lapsed over the last season.

  • Tack room clean up: Winter is the perfect time to clean out your tack room, re-organize it and make sure everything is in tip-top condition. Any tack you don't want you could sell on Ebay and perhaps buy something you've been wanting for awhile.

  • Groom to high heaven: Horses that have been turned out still need regular checking and grooming. Daily grooming will keep your horse more comfortable. Hoof care is especially important in winter as foot abcesses, wall cracks and seedy toe are more common in winter.

    Hopefully some of these help you get through the dreary winter season. Stay warm, have fun and happy riding to you all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to Red!

In the midst of all the rush of getting ready for the ODE Red turned a grand 18 years old. His birthday was on the 9th of November. No, we didn't forget it. In fact I made a special effort to include carrots in his feed which I usually do forget. I was going to make him a carrot cake but I ran out of time, but I gave him extra pats and scratches to make up for it.
Happy Birthday to you my darling Red. I can't wait for whats still to come!
PS. My 18th birthday is tomorrow :) And tonight Red and I are doing a extra hard dressage test that I just found out about today argh! Wish us luck.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Massey ODE - Sunday 11th of November

I just got back from the ODE, in fact I'm still in my cross country gear. I'll go have a shower soon :P The ODE was not a great success overall. We were first in for Dressage in our ring. We were a little late getting to Pony Club so I had to rush to get him ready. My friend Brooke balled Reds plaits for me while I did the rest, but we still only had 10 mins to warm up. As a result our dressage wasn't the best! I coudn't get Red to bend and he went a bit wonky down the straight lines but otherwise it was alright. It was also boiling hot even though it was only 8.30am in the morning and I was sweating profusely under my dress jacket.

Reds head is up in this picture but I still think he looks gorgeous.

Then it was Show Jumping. We had a lonnnnng wait between dressage and show jumping so I unsaddled Red and parked him under a tree with a bucket of water and watched some of my friends doing Show Jumping. Then it was our turn. Heaps of my friends turned up right before I started warming up and I got a bit nervous which didn' t help my jumping at all. We also had a bad warmup. Over one of the jumps my stirrup dropped off my saddle but I managed to stay on. Then we went into the ring. Red was doing a beautiful canter and after we the bell went we cantered through the flags and came up to the first jump. Red did one of his HUGE jumps over the first one, which was alright because he always starts off bad. The second jump he did the same thing and as we were coming around a particularly sharp corner my stirrup fell off a second time and I went off with it. I got up, dusted myself off, put my stirrup back on and got back onto Red. We then went on to refuse three jumps and I was eliminated. Only my pride was hurt but all my friends were very comforting when I walked out of the arena.

I opted in for the cross country because both Red and I love zooming around the cross country course. He went beautifully, although he did refuse one jump which was entirely my fault. I hesitated at it and then I let Red duck out. He sailed over perfectly the next time. I came through the finishing flags to a ovation from my friends. Luckily I felt so good about the cross country that I forgave Red and myself for the terrible Show Jumping phase. I also got lots of compliments on my new cross country colours so that was a bonus.

Coming into the finishing flags, a bit fuzzy but you can still see
how cool we are!

My trainer Sue told me not to invite my friends next time because it makes me a lot more nervous and she also said to warm Red up longer in Show Jumping because he needs a lot of time to work in for it. So next ODE, which is at Henderson, we are going to do a million times better. I'm also going to ask Sue to help develop my warm up for Dressage so I can get Red supple and ready for his time in the arena.

The photographer wasn't there today so mum took a few photos but they are not the best. Have a look at the set of them on the link in the sidebar marked 'Massey ODE Nov 07'.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Chiropracter comes a-visiting.

The Chiropracter came to see and treat Red on Friday morning. Apparently the chiropracter is one of the best in this part of New Zealand. Hes worked all over the world treating horses and everyone I talk to about him say hes incredible. He actually lives in the Bay of Islands but comes down to Auckland and the Waikato to treat horses during the week.

I wasn't able to go to the appointment because it was 8am in the morning and I start work at 8.30 so my lovely dad went out for me. I asked if he would take a couple of pictures and he kindly oblidged. As he brought Red down to the washbay the chiropracter said "He is out on his right side". My dad was impressed. Red has always had a problem with his right side, when I bought him his right leg and the right side of his rump was wasting away and he had a big limp because of it. The chiropracter set to work and immediatley found problems. The lower part of his neck was out, and when he pressed on it Red shot back with his head in the air. WHAM! He punched Reds neck. And then moved onto his back. "Does that really work?" asked my dad, "Well look at this" said the chiropracter, pressing in the same place as before. Red didn't bat an eyelid.

Heres a couple of photos of Red getting adjusted, isn't he an angry old man?

Reds back was out in about 5 places. Something was out in the middle of his back, so a few adjustments were done there. One of the most interesting problems was in his lumbar region. The chiropracter thought that the problems with Reds right side was was caused by this particular outage. He also pointed out the difference in Reds muscles of his hind quaters, his right side is very undeveloped whereas his left side is big, and well developed. Heres a picture pointing out the difference:

The chiropracter said I will be able to start building up the right muscle now, and also that Red will probably be able to canter on his right lead much easier. Which I'm glad about since my ODE is coming up this weekend.

Once all the adjustments were made the chiropracter told dad to seperate Red from the rest of the herd so he would have time to heal correctly. This posed a little problem since it was Guy Fawkes during the weekend and we were worried how Red would react. We always have herd watchers during the night at Guy Fawkes so we asked them to give us a call if he was reacting badly. And at 9pm on Saturday night we got the call, Red was running back and forth by the fence side. So I went out and hung with Red in the paddock for a couple of hours till the worst of it was over. He was pretty calm once I got there. The next night we put him back with the herd and he was fine.

So that was Reds chiropracter visit. We're going to get him out every year to get any adjustments that might be needed done. Hopefully Red will be much happier with his back put back in the right place.

This weekend is the Massey ODE so keep a look out for my story and pictures! It should be good.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lessons with Sue # 2

I had my weekly lesson with Sue today and I'm pleased to say that we did a aprox. 90cm grid! I was so proud of Red. Once he settled into it he was the man! We had lots of fun doing it, although there was one scarey moment during the lesson. We had come out of the grid and I took Red up a little hill in the paddock, he tried to break into a gallop so I was pulling him up and he slipped. I heard Sue gasp as we started going down but he managed to recover himself at the last moment which I was very happy about. My heart was going a million miles an hour.

He also did these silly little things that weren't bucks but looked like them (pictured above). He would just put his head done when I was collecting him to tell him we were about to jump. It got quite annoying.

Sue also taught me how to pull a mane and plait! So i can cross 'Learn how to pull a mane' off my goals list! The perfecting of plaiting is still a long way off though :)

My dad was taking pictures so there are few in my 'Lessons with Sue' folder, the light was bad and our camera is bad so they are not the best quality. The pick of the crop are in the folder, and for some reason they are all photos of when the grid was lower! But thats all good.

Well my friends, happy riding :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007/2008 Season Goals

I'm a goal setter. I set goals for most aspects of my life and they help me achieve things I wouldn't usually achieve. They give me focus and I always feel great when I achieve them. So at the end of last Pony Club season when I realised how little I knew about riding I decided I would set myself some goals for this season and here they are:

  1. Jump the 'Kennel' in the Tractor Shed Paddock.

  2. Consistently canter on the correct lead.

  3. Achieve a 65% or higher in a dressage test.

  4. Develop a warm up program for Red. (This includes working out Reds optimum warm up time so I know when hes on top of him game before I enter the dressage ring etc).

  5. Go double clear in Cross Country and Show Jumping at an ODE.

  6. Achieve high marks for suppleness and bending in dressage tests (or at least no negative remarks on them).

  7. Consistently post on the correct diagonal.

  8. Consistently work on the bit.

  9. Compete at training by the end of the season.

  10. Achieve high marks in straightness in dressage tests.

  11. Learn how to pull a mane.

  12. Learn and 'perfect' mane and tail plaiting.

  13. Complete a cross coutry course without dying of unfitness.

I was thinking about putting a goal in like 'Recieve a placing in a ODE' but I really think that if I work hard at these other goals I'll have a better chance of doing well. Also I don't want my riding to be all about winning, I want it to be about fun and also the relationship I have with Red.

So now, here are some tips of setting and achieving goals. Since this site is basically about horses these tips are tailored to help horse riders and the like, but you can morph them into any area of your life.

  • Express your goals postively. So instead of saying "Stop getting 3s and 4s in canter leads' say "Achieve 7s or 8s in canter leads'. (Or whatever else your setting your goals in).

  • Give yourself a time frame. My goals are set for the season which finishes about April 08. Without a timeframe you may find yourself putting your goals off and eventually forgetting about your goal altogether.

  • Set priorities. This way your goals won't overwhelm you and you can concentrate on one or two goals at a time.

  • Write your goals down. This can help make them real.

  • Write down how you are going to achieve these goals and then do those steps. You won't achieve your goals if you don't have a plan to get them done. My first step in my journey to achieve my goals was to get a trainer that would give me weekly lessons. Hence the reason Sue is now working with me.

  • Visualise completing your goals. You might be a bit weary of this but it really works. I sometimes freak out at the size of jump and I take a few minutes to close my eyes and visualise myself and Red jumping it easily and landing safely. After that I can do it no problem. It works for goals too. So if you want to perform that Piaffe on your horse, just imagine the smell of the leather and horse sweat, feel your horse underneath you, and imagine yourself doing a perfect piaffe.

  • Set realistic goals. This is an important one. Theres no use setting a goal that you have little chance of achieveing. I couldn't set a goal like 'Compete at CCI**** by the end of the year on Red' because we are no where near that standard and I'm just setting myself up to fail. This doesn't mean I don't set goals that I can achieve too easily. I would be able to compete easily in pre-training by the end of this season. And so I chose a goal that would challenge Red and I.

  • Review your goals frequently. Think about them alot. Possibly read them before you go to bed or when you wake up in the morning. If your anything like me your mind doesn't stay fixed on one thing for long. So I'm constantly having to go back to my goals to re-evaluate them and myself to keep on the right track.

  • Tell someone about your goals. This helps to make them real and the person may also be able to help you achieve them. Most people need encouragement and this person will do that for you. Personally I've given my list to Sue since shes my trainer. She'll be one of the main tools in the achievement of these goals. In saying this don't go telling everybody about your goals. People may criticise and criticism is a great way to make you feel like you can't achieve what you want done.

  • Reward yourself! Give yourself a pat on the back, treat yourself to a new bridle, take yourself and a friend out to the movies. Do whatever it is you want to reward yourself when you have completed a goal.

Obviously sometimes things can happen that will make your goals impossible to achieve within your set time frame. If Red goes lame this season I'm going to have a hard time achieving most of these goals, so you always have to be prepared that these things can happen.

There are sites all over the net about setting goals so if you need any other help just do a google search. So if you haven't already, go set your goals and put them into action. You never know what you might achieve.

Monday, October 22, 2007

8 Things about Me

All through the blogggin community people have been writing their '8 Things about Me' posts. You are supposed to get tagged to do this, but no one has tagged me. So I am following in my fellow blogger Callie footsteps at MidWestHorse and writing one anyway. So here they are.

1. I went to Tanzania in Africa when I was 15 years old. I went with my High School on a Mission trip to help out in orphanages and perform at schools etc. While I was there I went on two safaris (and saw 4 out of the big 5), rode a camel, treated orphans for scabies, kissed a snake, barterd with the Masai, gaped at the enormity of Mt. Kilimanjaro, danced at an African Wedding and rode a horse through a African Village.

2. I have the weirdest sleeping habits of anyone I know. Sometimes I sit up in bed for no reason, and usually I do this really, really fast. Instead of snoring I make a clicking noise in the back of my throat. I've once had a conversation in my sleep with some friends but most of the time I'll just mumble nothing when friends try to talk to me. I also make this weird noise when I am asleep sometime, its much to hard to describe over the net.

3. I am a Disaster Preparedness fanatic.

4. I always have something wrong with me. Usually its an injury from Horse Riding. Up until recently it was migranes, now its my jaw. I smacked into a pole that was bolted into the ground when I was playing badmington three years ago and I did damage to the joint. Its been dislocating a lot lately and its getting harder to put back into so I'm off to the hospital next month for a painful look at whats wrong. I'm also getting my wisdom teeth out the day after my birthday.

5. My cat Chucky died this year. He was my first pet and I loved him with all my heart. He's buried in our back yard under a cross I made for him. I still have dreams about him coming back to life. Its heartbreaking.

6. I've had three black eyes in my short 17 (almost 18) years.

7. My favourite time in the world is when I'm at Horse Camp in Taumarunui during the Summer, sitting on the couch on the deck with my best friend and all my other good friends just having a friendly chat.

8. One day I want to have my Private Plane and Helicoptor License. I also want my heavy truck license and I want to know how to fix cars.

Reds Spring Cleaning

Hasn't happend yet! And its not just me being slack, there are real reasons which are:

1. Pony Club now has a water restriction because apparently the water bill is HIGH and so its hard to give a bath when little water is avaliable.

2. Sarah-Anne invited me down at the last minute to stay with her during the long weekend. It was a lot of fun but it meant I wasn't in Auckland and consequently didn't see Red.

Yep so for those who are waiting for it you will just have to wait a little longer! I'm sorry!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Coming up on 'A Girl and Her Horse'

So I've come up with a few things that I'm going post about here on 'A Girl and Her Horse' and here they are:

  1. Horse Gear Review # 2 - The Magic Block.
    Yes, its been a LONG time since you have seen one of these. I have completely neglected the poor horse gear reviews. But I promise to start again so keep a look out for more in the future.

  2. The saddle on my horse's back.
    I'm just about to start the dreaded hunt for a new saddle for Red and I am taking you on the journey too.

  3. 2007/2008 Season Goals.
    This post will be based around my goals but I will give you some helpful hints and tips on achieving your specific goals.

  4. The Chiropracter comes a-visiting.
    Tonight I will be ringing up one of the best chiropracters in Auckland and booking an appointment for Red. I'm convinced Red has some back alignment problems and I know he hasn't had a visit from the chiropracter in the last 6 years. Photos and explanations will accompany this post.

  5. Tack room in the making.
    At this moment in time I do not have a tack room. I keep Reds tack in plastic containers in our garage. This wouldn't be such an issue but we don't use our garage for our car, its a storage space. An unorganized storage place. And as a result I'm finding it harder and harder to find places for my many items. Dad has 'agreed' to let me have one of the offices downstairs that are used for storage too. Keep a look out for the post that will include before and after shots of my tack room.

  6. Spring Cleaning
    Its spring here in New Zealand. And I always give Red a 'spring clean' if you like. I've been meaning to do it for the past 2 weeks but I haven't gotten around to it but this saturday I'll do it! Featuring in this post will be 'how tos' and before and after pictures.

  7. Massey ODE - 11th November 2007
    Its my first one day event of the season! I'll be competiting at Intro, but would you believe they have given us a Training level dressage test to do? Thats two levels above intro for those who don't know. Oh well I will do my best. Other than that I can't wait for it! Lots of pics will appear in my flickr account so keep a look out after that date!

Well there you go! Keep an eye out for all these things in the near future.

Lessons with Sue #1

Hello everyone,

Did you have a good weekend? I did.

Because you see I had my first weekly lesson with Sue and frankly it was great! We did dressage and Red has improved so much! I was so impressed. It was also a really windy day and Red usually spooks incredibly on windy days and he didn't once bat an eyelid. Go Red! I have a list of goals I'm wanting to achieve this season (I'll write about them in another post) and we worked on some of those.

First we worked on suppleness and bending. I am always getting remarks in my dressage tests about getting Red to bend more but as I know almost nothing about riding I could never get him to do it. Sue gave me tips and within ten minutes he was bending beautifully! He was also coming on the bit by himself without me constantly having to work to keep him there which was great! His frame was absolutely beautiful. We also corrected my problem of my dropping my shoulders especially my right one when I turn with Red. As soon as I got that fixed I was so much more balanced which in turn helped Red carry himself correctly and he was in a gorgeous frame. I recieved heaps of compliments on him afterwards which always makes me feel great!

We then worked on keeping Red going straight. I get lots of bad comments about not being straight coming down the centre line so it really needed some work. We soon had him trotting down the centre line without a waver in sight (though it did take a lot of work to get him there). About the third time I got him straight he started getting really grumpy and kept bopping his head like he was threating to buck. Reds never bucked with me and I didn't think he wouls go through with it but we went onto someting else. He was probably just a bit bored.

The rest of the lesson was just working on feeling for the right diagonal. I still need to work on that but I am getting better. Anyway Rosemary was there taking pictures and heres the best picture from the lesson. She only sent me one lol.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It has began!

Yep so it was the first Pony Club Rally last night! And really it was quite an anti-climax. All we did was trot around and a tiny bit of canter and that was it. I did get some good bend out of Red though. We also didn't have our normal instructor because she only got back from Scotland yesterday morning.

We also played a game where we had to throw lollies to someone else on horseback and answers questions about different things to do with horse riding. So that was good. Lollies are always good.

After the rally had finished I was doing up Reds cover and he tried to kick the pony next to him and barely missed me. I felt the air woosh by my stomach. That could've been very painful. Hes not usually a kicking horse but obviously he doesn't like Harlequin too much.

Anyway I can't wait till next week. It should be really good! At least I hope it will.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Saturday at the Pony Club

Having a horse and being part of a horsey community is amazing. The friends you make, the horses you ride and the experiences you have are really something special.

Yesterday we had a working bee at pony club and the jobs we did really could have come straight out of 'The Saddle Club'. When I arrived it was well under way, it took me awhile to get myself together yesterday thanks to a really good book that I didn't want to put down.

Recentley our pony club has bought a lot of new equipment. We've bought a bunch of new pipe arenas for ODE's, a new cross country course is going to be installed soon and we bought new show jumping jumps! The SJ jumps needed to be painted so thats what we did yesterday. The poles had been layed out on the hitching rails and most of them had been painted by the time my friend Emily and I had arrived (she was late too). But we picked up a paint brush and helped finished them off. I put a little bit of paint on Emily's cheek and needless to say she needed revenge. She first got me on the hand, then on my ear and a little bit of hair and then on my eye!!! I had a stripe down my face that made me look like a Native American in war paint.

We were then given the job to paint the trotting poles with black oil paint. Which was rather unpleasent since oil paint is hard to get off. I got some on my jeans :( and all over my arms which no amount of scrubbing will take off. Em was wearing shorts so she got spots all over her legs. While that was drying we went up to Westgate (a shopping centre) to get some lunch. We didn't get all the paint off and we got some weird looks from people in Subway.

When we got back to Pony Club we finished the black poles and went for a ride. I got to try out Reds new shoe! The farrier opted to put a heavier shoe on his club foot as recently hes been throwing that shoe a bit. He also it said it would help Red to canter on his right lead as thats one of our big problems. So first I did some jumps on him and he would canter on his right lead while we were doing that and I was really pleased, I thought that problem was over. But alas when I cantered him in the open he was back onto his left lead! But at least its an improvement! He wouldn't even canter on the right lead when we were jumping before that shoe was put on.

Emily jumped on him while I went on her baby Harlequin. Shes a great rider, especially compared to me and she gave me some good tips on getting him going well. When I got back on him I tried them out and he was a gem! Thanks Emily!

I also wormed Red by myself yesterday which I was very proud of! Red is a terrible wormer. He hates the tube coming anywhere near his mouth! But I worked with him calmly and managed to do it! He does stick his head straight up as soon as he tastes the wormer which makes it difficult to administer the full dose in one go, so I had to do it three times till it was all in.

Anyway today I'm going for a ride and giving him a bath (another thing he hates) but he's got some bad dandruff that needs dealing with.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A story for another day #5: Walkie Talkie + Dixie = Nothing Good

Dixie was a gorgeous horse, absolutely stunning in my opionion and I fell in love with him as soon as I set my eyes on him. He was a gorgeous dun with a dorsal stripe and black stockings and an incredible mane that really topped him off. It was black underneath but the top layer was an incredible silvery colour the likes I've never seen before.

I soon found out he had ringbone arthritis and Sarah-Annes family were seeing if he could be used for light trekking. If not he would go back to his owners. After my little escapade in A story for another day #3: The Devil Mare I was asked if I wanted to ride him. I jumped up and he was an absolute dream the whole time. After that he was one of my favourites.

So the next day we went for another ride. I was going to ride Dixie again, I caught him but when I went to swing up he wouldn't stand still and was acting a bit funny. Grace said she would try him. She took him to the water trough, and slowly slid her weight onto him. As soon as her butt was on his back he took off in a bucking frenzy. Huge, huge bucks for a horse with ringbone arthritis. After he had settled down she got off, gave me a leg up and we went for the ride. He was fine the whole time.

The next day camp started so the of us couldn't go out together for various reasons. Instead Grace and Christina took some horses out to exercise, and Sarah-Anne and I went about 30 mins after them. I was on Dixie bareback, and Sarah-Anne was on a horse I can't remember at the moment. We decided to do one of the basic tracks that takes you around part of their farm and then back to the home paddock. We had a walkie talkie on us as did Christina and Grace so we could keep in touch.

The first part of the ride went fine, and then we came to the bottom of a hill that we always cantered up. Suddenly the walkie talkie that was sitting in the front pocket of my hoodie came alive, it was Christina "Katie, this is Christina. Come in Katie." I pulled the walkie talkie out of my pocket, and held the reins in one hand. "Recieving Christina, go ahead." (As you can see we had fun using all the walkie talkie type phrases). "We're just up the top the hill in the trees" she said "We can see you." Suddenly Dixie skittered sideways, but I easily sat on. "Oh I can't see you" I replied "Where abouts are you talking about?" "Um we are about..." and thats when it happened, Dixie started bucking. Small bucks at first but they got bigger and bigger as Christina kept talking. I jammed the walkie talkie back into my pocket and tried to calm Dixie down while trying to stay on at the same time. But he got more upset the more Christina talked. I prayed and willed with all of my heart for Christian to just shut up but it wasn't happening.

So my options raced through my head, I could either pull the walkie talkie out and toss it onto the ground and hopefully Dixie would stop. But it was an expensive piece of equimpent and I didn't want to be responsible for it breaking on impact, or perhaps having Dixie smash it when he was doing his little bucking dance.


Throw the walkie talkie to Sarah-Anne. But unfortunately my aim is bad at the best of times and trying to do it while on a bucking horse would just be silly. It probably wouldn't reach its target and end up getting smashed on the ground.


Somehow pull the walkie talkie out, press the right buttons and tell Christina to be quiet all the while trying to stay on and calm my horse down.


Just jump off. I really didn't want to do this as I hate horses getting the better of me in these sorts of situations . If I could ride the bucks and get through this it would be better in the end for both of us.

Still Christina talked, I could hear her trying to explain where they were standing. I knew she could see us as she said so before so I knew she could see what Dixie was doing. I hoped that she would put two and two together and stop talking but she didn't and as a result his bucks just got bigger and harder to sit.

It was (as they say) 'do or die', I knew that I would probably get bucked off in the next couple of seconds and I would probably land hard, maybe even breaking the walkie talkie while I was at it and so I just jumped off.

Dixie stopped as soon as I was off and just at the time the walkie talkie went silent. I was so angry! If I had stayed on that second longer I might have been able to get him to stop. I pulled the walkie talkie out of my pocket, walked up to Sarah-Anne and gave it to her. I was not going to have the happen to me again.

I had to walk a bit to find a slope so I could vault back on as Dixie was quite a big horse (don't dispute me on this Sarah-Anne haha). We went on with the ride and Dixie was fine after that except for one small buck when I wouldn't let him trot when he wanted to.

Christina and Grace were back at the home paddock when we arrived. "Oh hey we saw Dixie bucking" Christina said when we jumped off "What was wrong?" I couldn't help but laugh as I explained why Dixie had been bucking. "Oh I'm so sorry!" she said. I told her not to worry, these things happen.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Event Shirt

Here it is!

Awesome isn't it? Thats me on Tonka... our resident horse since we can't keep a real one here. I named him after the Wild Horse in the Movie 'Tonka' Which is a great old western movie that you should watch if you haven't already. My standing vault technique is actually derived from Tonka so it really is a special name.

Anyway there it is :)

So where is he?

I told you a little while ago in this post that I would be leasing Phoenix and he would be arriving in the next couple of weeks. Well in case you haven't noticed there hasn't been much word on him here, so heres an update:

He was supposed to come about 2 weeks ago but the girl who has him can't drive him as shes on her restricted license and her parents were over seas for a couple of weeks so we had to wait for them to get back.

Then last week she rang me to say that her parents were back but when she had gone out to see him that day she had felt some heat in his hooves which meant he could be lame. She was going to get someone to check it out and see if he would be alright to travel.

She then rang me on Friday night and said there was no heat anymore and would it be alright if they brought him up on Sunday afternoon (yesterday). Of course I said yes, glad that something was happening and I would be able to show you all some pictures. She said they would probably get to the Pony Club at about 4.00pm. So about 3.30 I was just about to leave to go up to the Pony Club when I got a call from her. Apparently they had been trying for two hours to get him on the float and he utterly refused to go near it. They had some experienced horse friends helping them and even they hadn't been able to get him on. One of the friends ended up having to go to hospital because Phoenix ripped a rope out of his hand and cut it to the bone.

She said they were going to try for a little while longer and then get back to me. So I sat at home and then about 1/2 an hour later her mum rang to talk to me. She told me basically the same thing but she said they were going to call it a day and maybe try later on in the week. So yep thats about it.

I don't know when he's coming and even if he'll come considering they can't get him on the float. So we'll see what happens.

Now for some good news: My Cross Country event shirt and hat cover arrived on Wednesday! Its sky blue and black (my colours for those who dont know) and its awesome! I'll get mum to take a picture of me in it tonight and of course you will see in featured during the cross country phase of my competitions. Now all I need is some black boots for Red to complete our Cross Country outfit haha :)

Also if you remember in my post Shopping List I wanted a Hanoverian Collegiate Bridle... we'll I got it last week. I felt a tad guilty about spending that much on a bridle but I love it! I even brought a bridle bag to protect it so it dosen't get ruined in the back of my car. Reds not quite excited about it as I am.. he wouldn't stand still when I was fitting it to him.

So thats it in the news of Katie and Red. A story for another day will be coming soon (if not in the next hour or so) so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A story for another day # 4: The Choice

One day Sarah-Annes dad asked us to help herd some sheep to another paddock. So we jumped on two of her horses bareback and set off. The sheep we're wayyy down the road so we rode all the way down to their paddock and rounded them up which was no easy feat, especially since I had to go along one track that had a lot of thorny bushes head and arm height. Finally we pushed them out onto the road and we took them down to their new paddock.

When we arrived at the gate we saw that one of the male ostriches had gotten out and was on the road in front of us. Now I don't know if Ive mentioned this before butI hate and am totally scared of ostriches. Espcially males. If I could choose one animal on the planet to die it would be the ostrich (horrible and mean I know, but thats how much I hate them). Its mostly an irrational fear since Ostriches have never really done anything to me (except for Aussie) but Sarah-Anne has told me many a tale about her parents being attacked by ostriches and how they almost died (ostriches can kill). Also ostriches have this revolting mating call which sends shivers down my spine.

So anyway this ostrich was on the road in front of us. Sarah-Anne and I decided the safest thing to do would be to move over to the side of the road and not provoke it in anyway. So we turned around and started moving off to the side of the road. I looked back and saw the ostrich running down the road straight for us. I didn't know what to do! I had no chance of galloping away and out running the ostrich because they run faster then horses. But there was really no where to go! It came closer and closer... and then just ran past us. So now the ostrich was behind us on the road we decided to move the sheep into their paddock, Lance , Sarah-Annes dad, was at the gate. He told us just to hold back a second because Zee Zee, one of the stallions on the farm, was by the gate and was trying to get through. Suddenly, and I don't know how it happened, Zee Zee was out on the road!

Now I really didn't know what to do. Here I was, standing in the middle of the road next to my best friend with a dangerous Ostrich on one side and a dangerous stallion on the other. To make it worse, we were both on geldings. The ostrich was further away then the stallion so we slowly started moving towards the ostrich, trying to give Zee Zee some space. I was looking around, hoping an escape route would present itself, but alas I could see nothing. We really only had two choices, move towards the Ostrich and risk the claws of death or move towards Zee Zee and risk his wrath, hooves and teeth. I really didn't know what to do, I mean it was like choosing my death! But then the choice didn't need to be made because Zee Zee turned around and cantered off down the road in the opposite direction.


Lance jumped in the car and went after Zee Zee. He managed to herd him back and into his paddock. The sheep went to the cprrect place and the ostrich was established back in his rightful paddock. And we walked alllllllllllll they way back.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'm still here... really

Well its been awhile since my last post. Basically nothings really been happening with Red and I, we're just moving along waiting for Pheonix's arrival and the new season to begin.

The first PC rally is in 2 weeks! Its going to be great, I'm in a ride with two of my good friends so it should be a fun season. We have a new instructor so hopefully shes as nice and as fun as Sue was.

Almost every wednesday for the past few weeks a few of us have been going along to C certificate theory lessons. Our head instructor Sue wants to push us through our certificates as soon as possible because we're behind for our age. I don't know why the other girls don't have higher certificates but I only started PC last season so I have an excuse :)

Red's putting on weight with the Spring grass! I'm sure he's loving all the new grass and the warm sun we've been getting!

Well anyway coming up in the next post is 'A Story for Another Day'! You're excited now aren't you?!

Till then :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Horse Records

I'm a big advocate of keeping up to date records of your horse. I consider it an important part of horse ownership. I keep records about Red. Not just medical records but records on what he eats, his dental work, his farrier work and a lot of other information. As well as showing me when things like his next dentist visit must be it also can provide important information to my vet if he suddenly falls ill.

Almost everything about Red is kept in this file. And its readily accesible to anyone in my family. I keep one copy in my personal records, one in the telephone box at our house and one A5 size record in the car. My auntie also has a A4 size copy and a A5 copy for her car. I update it anytime new information comes in and I print it off once a month.

I also include pictures of Red in the file. Pictures of his markings, his brandings, a side on shot and also a head shot. I also ensure someone from my family is standing in one or two of the pictures so that if he gets stolen we can prove he is ours. These photos are updated every 3 months.

I encourage everyone to create a file for their horse(s) if they haven't already done so.

Blogger doesn't support PDF files so I'm unable to post a link to my records here but if you want to see how I do it, you can email me at and I'll email you my file and also a template of my file so you can work off that.

Here are also so good links that I found helpful when doing my file:

There are also a few programs that you can purchase off the internet that are desgined especially to help horse owners. I can't reccomend any of these as I prefer to make my own but if you have a huge stable full of horses it might be worth looking into.

So good luck to you and your horses! It really is a good idea to keep up to date records.

Happy Riding.

The cold windy days

When my annoying alarm woke me up this morning I realised it was raining outside and I though to myself "Red will not be a happy boy today" and I was right. He was the grumpiest I have ever seen in him in my whole 3 years of owning him. First he gave me his evil eyes and angry ears when I walked up to him in the paddock. He then turned and walked away. But he soon stopped and I was able to get him. Then as were walking all the way down to the wash bay he went as slow as he could. Honestly I could not get him to move out. And he wanted to stop to eat every few metres.

When I finally got him down to the wash bay it all went bad. Aparently everything I did annoyed the heck out of him. If I was undoing his cover he would try to nip me, if I picked up a brush he would try to nip me, and sometimes if I was just walking past me he would go in the for the kill. After telling him off a few times he finally got the message that nipping me was not on, so he decided to take his anger out on the air instead. His teeth nashed, his tail flicked and his ears were laid against his head at anything I tried to do. He was not a happy boy.

Then when I went to mount him he would not stand still! This horse just did not want to be ridden. But once we rode around a bit he settled down and got on with work. It just took us awhile to get there.

Last night I got the call that Pheonix can come onto grazing early!!!!!! Wahoo! Its going to make life so much easier. He'll be up in the next couple of weekends. I'll probably find out the exact date tonight! I'm really excited. Reds going really well at the moment, and Pheonix will be a great new challange so I'm in for a exciting 3 months while hes here.

Well thats all for now!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Freestyle Dressage

This is Andreas Helgstrand riding at the World Equestrian Game 06 in the Freestyle Dressage Competition. He came third (if I remember right) and Anky won but personally I liked Andreas' routine better! I'll never get sick of this video. I thought you just might want to have a look at what the pros are like :)

Its getting closer!

The season is almost here! I can feel it coming! I can even smell in the air. No, honestly I can. I went to Reds paddock this morning and all these Summer smells hit me and sent my mind straigh back to riding in the hot summer sun! Ahhh bliss! The PC grounds are even starting to open up! I am soooooooo happy! The plum tree paddock and the Reserve have opened for 'light riding' so I guess it means no galloping around wildly lol.

Anyway theres been a change on A Girl and Her Horse. If you take a look on the left you'll see that I've added a new feature to the site! You can now click on the links and go to pics of Red and I. Throughout the season I'll add pics of the ODEs and ribbon days so you now have easy access to my photos. Also a new blog has been added to my horse blog list... A Moment in Time. My friend Michelle is the author and its all about her gorgeous horse Gizmo! Check it out sometime!

In Red news... we had a lesson yesterday with Sophie. Sophie is an awesome eventer herself and she regularly gives lessons at PC. Red and I did a bit of dressage with her and some jumping. We worked on getting Red to lead with his right leg for ages! He got it about 4 times out of 30 which is a start! Sophies given me lots of raised trotting pole homework and she wants me to me vigilent about trotting on the right diagonal. Up till now I haven't paid much attention to it but as a result Red has more muscle on his left side. Yes its my fault. But I plan to get it sorted ASAP!

We did some jumping too! It was great fun. Red was awesome, Sophie said he was "Full of beans." He jumped really well and I kept out of his way :) Peter was there so he got some nice photos of us which you can check out on the link marked 'Lesson with Sophie - 02/08/07" at the side. Not all the photos are there at the moment because my email is down so check back. The picture at the top of this post is my favourite! I love it! I'm thinking of getting it blown up to poster size for my room!

Oh also when I went to get Red from his paddock this morning there was a dog that was chasing and attacking two of the horses! When he saw me he ran off, although I didn't see where. The horses he was going after were fine, I checked them over but they were upset. They both wanted lots of pats to be reassured. I called the grazing manager and she told me to call Animal Control because theres been other reports of a dog chasing the horses around and tormenting them. Hopefully it will get resolved soon! I don't like the idea of Red being chased around by a mean dog. Also the dog is putting itself at risk, a horse could easily double barrel it!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Red is Racing Royalty!

You wouldn't believe it would you? But he is!

His great, great grandfathers were........ Nashua! and Native Dancer!

And his great, great, great grandfather was Nasrullah!
And then his great, great, great, great grandfather was Nearco. Now if you were anything like me before I delged into Red's history, you would have no clue who these horses are. So let me tell you. These horses were some of the most influential and sucessful horses in Thoroughbred Racing History!

Anyone who grew up in the thoroughbred racing industy during the 1950's will know about Nashua. He was incredible. He won dozen of high stake races, was named the United States 2 year old of the year in 1954, the United Sates 3 year old of the year in 1955 and also in that same year he was named the United States HORSE of the year. His progeny went on to win huge races such as the Kentucky Derby! Nashua also was the FIRST horse ever to be sold for over $1 million dollars! He was 24th in the top 100 horses of the century. Guess who was 25th... Seabiscuit! Red's great, great Grandfather was better than Seabiscuit!
Native Dancer aka The Grey Ghost was the 7TH in the top 100 horses of the century. This makes him bettter then Phar Lap! He was the first horse to be made famous by way of television. In his first season as a racer he won every race he entered and apparently 'thrilled' the crowd with his come-from-behind running style. Native Dancer has heaps of honours and awards and won lots of big races. You can check them out at the link at the top of this page.

Nasrullah was a pretty amazing horse also. He was known to be a temperamental and unpredictable horse. I'm sure he passed those traits right through to Red lol. He was known as one of the most important sires of the 20th Century, sireing a number of winners :)

And Nearco was great too! Thoroughbred Heretige said that he was 'one of the greatest racehorses of the 20th Century'. He raced 14 races and was never defeated. His grandson was Northen Dancer who was another amazing horse although hes not related directly to Red.

WAIT theres more! Red's Grandfather was Mr. Prospector AKA Mr. P. He wasn't a great racehorse himself but he sired some amazing horses. One of Mr. P's most remarkable feats was siring one winner of each of the Triple Crown races.
But then the big names stop there. Red's Sire was Pat's Victory from the USA, his Dam was Lighting Bay from New Zealand. We found some half brothers of Reds, out of Pat's Victory who did quite well as New Zealand steeplechases but thats about it. We figure that the couple that bred Red would've paid a lot of money to have him bred with such an impressive lineage. Which makes us wonder why Red only raced once. I don't know much about Racing but you think someone who had a horse with incredible lineage like Reds would give that horse more than one race to prove himself. Perhaps he had a injury? Or maybe they had to sell him for some other reason? I guess we will never know.
I do know his breeders names so I tried looking them up in the phone book but unfortunately none of the people I found were the right ones. One guy just hung up on me when I told him why I was looking for a guy by that name! Rude!
Anyway here are some pictures of his famous forefathers:

This is Mr.Prospector, Reds grandpapa. Hes American.

This grey fellow above is none other then Native Dancera aka The Gray Ghost. American born and bred.

This is Nashua racing his little heart out! He is an American too.

This is Nasrullah his great, great, great Grandsire. He was British.

And this is Nearco, the Italian Stallion (yep he was Italian). Red is truly foreign.

Yep so thats it! Reds part of a famous racing line! It was incredible finding out about him. I feel I understand him a little bit better! Until next time!