Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A story for another day # 1: Those Ostriches

For those of you that have/had horses you'll know that they are always handy when a good story is needing to be told. Horses make good stories happen, they bring to life to an otherwise dull situation and inject a bit of humour when things aren't really that funny. And so I shall tell you one of my more memorable horse stories.

It all started when I was at my best friend Sarah-Annes house. We set out on a trek with Murray (SA's brother), Cameron (a boarder), Heather(SA's sister) and possibly Richard (a friend) but I can't rightly remember. I had been given a little pony called Cocoa to ride and no one seemed to think that the fact she was scared crapless of ostriches was a thing to tell me. This wouldn't really matter in many other situations as ostriches are not wild animals that roam New Zealand freely. But you see Sarah-Anne and her family breed ostriches. Most of the ostriches were kept in ostrich pens at the front of the farm, except for one cutie called Ozzie (Aussie?). Ozzie had free reign of some of the paddocks and she happened to be in one of the paddocks that we were riding through. As soon as Cocoa saw Ozzie she went crazy, I can't remember all that happened apart from the fact the Cococa was backing up on the edge of a very steep bank. I managed to get her to start moving forward which she took as a cue to get away as fast as she could from the scarey demon bird. She bolted up a hill, while the others tried to scare Ozzie away from the gate we were trying to get through. I managed to turn her around, which was no easy feat, and get her through the gate and away from the scarey ostrich.

We kept on with the trek and nothing happend until we had almost finished. We were coming through a paddock called the Burn which happened to have all the yearlings and other young horses in it. As we rode along singing (oh yes we were singing) the young horses were galloping mindlessly around us. We were having a great time singing a round robin when suddenly Cocoa jumped up onto a bank that the young horses were milling about on. I kept singing, utterly proud of myself for sitting that very unexpected jump, when all of a sudden the young horses took off. Cocoa obviously was feeling young at heart because she bolted too. I was galloping along in the middle of this wild (ha!) herd of horses trying to gain control of my free spirited mare when I realised that my singlet top had slipped down my arms and was exposing my bright aqua blue bra. Needless to say I was quite embarressed. I could hear the laughter of my friends behind me and I could imagine what they were saying. I managed to pull my top up with one hand and pull her to a stop with the other. We shamefacedly walked back to the others, well I did, I dont know how Cocoa was feeling. They were all cracking up making jokes about the incident as we made our way back home. I remember Murray saying 'wouldn't it have been so funny if you had fallen off with your top like that'. The others found that hilarious, but I didn't.

We made it back home and I unsaddled Cocoa and went to put her away, unfortunately I didn't realise that Ozzie had been put in the pens close to Cocoa and upon seeing Ozzie walking close by Cocoa pulled back hard. It felt like she ripped my arm out of my socket. I put Cocoa away and then declared that I hated horses and never was going to ride again.

As you can see I did ride again, although I don't think I've ridden Cocoa since that day. But that story has gone down in history and I don't think I'll ever hear the end of it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A little bit of camera action

After some delays we made it out to Red a bit late yesterday. So I decided it was time for a good grooming. I was brushing his face when I realise the light was really nice for some pictures. And here they are... we didnt get much grooming done once I started taking pics.

This is my attempt to take a picture of Red and I... it was quite hard. Oh look Reds halter is twisted.

Mum took this one... its my fave.

My horse is a cutie, I'm sure you'll all agree.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Horse Gear Review #1 Rhino Flexi Tub

At the awesome Pony Club camp I went to in April we had a massive storm on the last night. Tents were falling down, branches were breaking of trees, and horses were running through barbed wire fences (but thats a story for another time). In all the chaos of the night my trusty little feed bucket blew away, never to be found again. And so I was on the hunt for a new feedbucket.

Now most of you horsie people in NZ, and I suspect in other countries, have heard of, seen or used a Rhino Flexi Tub. Lots of the people at my PC use them and I've borrowed a few in my time. These little buckets are pure genius. They are made out of this great flexible plastic that makes them convenient to carry around, and also to wedge into small places (like the boot of my car). They are also a good shape for horses to get their little mouths around those last tasty morsels and they can't get stuck on a horses head like some of the other feedbuckets I've tried. They also come in a variety of awesome colours, and some of them are scented. Thats right you can get apple scented buckets. My best friend has one and she says they are pretty cool.
So after seeing the wonders of this bucket I decided this was the bucket for Red and I. So off I toddled to the Saddlery Warehouse to pick up the new addition to my horses luxuries... but alas! They didn't have the Sky Blue that I wanted (Reds colours are Sky Blue and Black) and so I resorted to getting a black bucket which isn't as exciting. But I must say Red loves his new bucket and I'm pretty happy with it myself.
So the next time you are looking for a new feedbucket... I would definitely recommend a Flexi Tub.

Going in circles

Well today I dragged myself out of my new (yay!) double bed and went out to see Red. I didn't visit him yesterday because I was soooo tired. I had been to my cousins party on saturday night I didn't get to bed till 2, and then I woke up at 8. I went back to bed at 12 and slept till 3 and then I had to go to church.

So today I got to try out my new lunging gear... dang I just remember I left my lunging whip in the middle of the paddock, oh well hopefully someone has found it. Anyway I've only ever free lunged Red in a round pen so using a lunge lead was a whole new experience. He picked up on most of the cues pretty easily. Especially the upwards transitions. The downwards transitions were another story. He listened to my downward transition cues perhaps twice in the whole time we were working, the rest of the time he just kept going until I had reeled him in closer to me. But I'm sure with a little more practice he will get it. He's a smart GG. I lunged him over a little log which he seemed to enjoy, I tried one of the bigger jumps but he just stopped in front of it. No suprise there though, he doesnt like jumping that jump even when I'm on him.

I'll keep you posted on our lunging progress... hopefully there will be progress lol. Btw you can tell I didn't do my hair when I got up this morning :P Until later...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My horse is high strung

Every weekday morning my mum and I get up and drive out to see my beloved horse Red. He grazes about 25 mins away from us so we endevour to have everything ready the night before so I can have maximum riding time. Today we left later then usual, and mum needed to get back early so as a result I didn't have much time this morning. I decided that some nice, quick groundwork would be in order to save all the hassle of saddling up.

So I took him into the 'plum tree paddock' to work on commands. I got the point where he would follow after me nicely and listen to what I was saying with no leadrope so I went over to the car to tell mum to watch how wonderful he was going. I proceed to say 'trot on' and he did, then mum suddenly got out of the car. Well Red got a fright. See Red is a very high strung horse. He gets frights easily, and often spooks at nothing. He took off and we watched as he cantered away back in the direction of his herd mates. This usually wouldn't be a big deal but his herd mates were at the other end of the property and all the gates along the way were open. We jumped into the car and mum dropped me off at the gate by the 'staircase paddock' where the herd was. Sure enough Red was in front of the gate, his tail held high, calling to his friends. I snapped the leadrope back on and walked him alllllll the way to the clubhouse. That was enough for the day I decided so I fed him, put his cover back on and then walked him all the way back to the staircase paddock.

Oh the joys of owning a high strung horse. But its all good because I love him. And love is all about forgiving :)
PS: The picture is one of Red not being high strung... my compliments to the photographer (my number one reader) Isla

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Very Beginning

I am Katie.

I'm 17 and I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I have a gorgeous chesnut thoroughbred call Red (whoever gave him that name had no imagination). Hes 17 too, and is farrr away from retirement. He is the 2nd grumpiest horse I have ever met. The first is my best friends eventer Toby who has a vendetta against me and regularly tries to kill me but thats a story for another time. Red and I do low level eventing at Intro level (when I said low I meant it) through Pony Club. I've had him for about three years now and we have done 1 complete season at PC. I have learnt much in that one season and have made some incredible friends along the way. We've done about 4 One Day Events (ODE's) in that season and basically we had little success. Looking back on it, entering those events was not the smartest thing to do as I had noooo idea what was involved and we were no where ready to compete but they were great learning experiences. And so here starts our story... our journey to become the best we can be.