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!

Monday, August 27, 2007

A story for another day #3: The Devil Mare

Every summer I go to camp. This isn’t any camp; it’s a horse camp (surprise, surprise). Horse Camp is one of the highlights of my years. I absolutely love it! The people are amazing, and we always have tons of fun! In fact Camp is where I met Sarah-Anne; the camp is on her parent’s farm and all the horses we ride are owned by them. The camps are run by Scripture Union
and anyone can come. (The link takes you right to the Horse Camp page). Exciting things happen every year at camp and we always have the best of times.

This past summer I went to two camps Senior Girls aka Farmyard Fillies (they recently gave them these silly names) and Senior Co-Ed aka Hard Core. This story takes place at the first camp Farmyard Fillies ‘snigger’. At this camp I mainly hang with one group of friends (people come back year after year) Lizzy, Kimmy and Sarah-Anne. Lizzy, Kimmy and I came down a couple of days early just so we could hang with Sarah-Anne since we only get together once a year at this camp. We also wanted to get some extra riding in. So out we go for a first ride of the summer. It wasn’t just us four, Grace (the co-director of this camp) and her sister Christina were down helping break in horses at the farm so they came with us too. Now I can confidently say that we all love McLeods Daughters and on this ride we were joking about how we could totally be the McLeods Daughters characters. We decided to ride bareback just to make it authentic (even though the characters of McLeods Daughters ride with stock saddles).

I was on this little pony called Tosca aka The Devil Mare. Apparently Tosca had a problem with bolting which was why she was no longer with her previous owner (I’m not sure if I was told this before I got on), she also had a jump which was absolutely fantastic. Now off we go on this ride. We rode along one of the familiar trails when we came to a gate, while one of the others was opening the gate, Tosca decided to go AWOL and she went for a little gallop up a hill. We soon sorted this out and we rejoined the others. About 5 mins after this incident we reached a small ditch. We jumped it and kept on going (the ditch has significance a little bit later on). We rode about another 5 minutes when I decided it was time to take a photo of the group. My camera was hanging around my neck so I got the others to stop and turn around. I had one hand on the reins and with the other I picked up my camera and took the lens cap off. As soon as the lens cap tapped against the camera I felt Tosca tense. I took the picture but it was blurry, so I held the camera back up to take another. The lens tapped again… twice. Tosca tensed again, and then did a little dance on the spot. I managed to take one more picture and then WOOSH! We were off. She had to get rid of this tapping monster on her back. She galloped straight for a small but very vertical hill. I wasn’t worried, I just knew she would stop when she realized she couldn’t get to the top of the hill. So I just tried pulling her to stop with one hand and kept hold of my camera with the other, not really worrying at all. But oh boy I was wrong. As soon as she realized she couldn’t get to the top she spun and started heading back the way we came. She was at a full gallop down the trail, I felt so secure with her small, quick stride that I still wasn’t worried. I just kept hold of my camera so it wouldn’t set her off again.
Then I saw the ditch, now up until then I hadn’t done much bareback riding. And I defiantly hadn’t done any bareback jumping. Seeing the ditch I realized there could be the possibility of me falling off this quick little minx. And I had to make a hard decision… when I fell did I want to protect my head or my camera (I wasn’t wearing a helmet! And yes I agree, my pony club instructors would be all aghast). You think the obvious decision would be to save my head and sacrifice my camera but at the time I was quite afraid of any wrath of my mum if I broke the camera. But before I could make this decision the ditch was upon us! She took off with a mighty leap and somehow I managed to stay on her (WAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Go me! I was so proud of myself). And then suddenly she did one of those evil pony spins and BAM I was on the ground. Thankfully I didn’t fall on my head OR my camera… I fell on my butt. It hurt but there was no permanent damage (lol). The others soon arrived and I got back on and continued on the ride.

No more happened that day, but I never like her after that. I was put on her on another ride later in the summer and I was so worried about her taking off it was making her nervous (yes I know, if I had been relaxed I would’ve been fine) but it was all good because I got to ride Shelby who is my second favorite horse in the world and I cannot wait for her foal that better arrive soon! And that is the story about Tosca… she now has been bought by one of the campers and thankfully I will never have to ride her again.

PS. I just want to apologize for the two long posts I wrote today… I couldn’t help it.


Pic 1 is of Lizzy, Kimmy, Me and Sarah-Anne. Look at us! It looks like we are having fun doesn't it. We even have warrior soot on our face!

Pic 2 is one of the pictures from that ride. I'm in the back in yellow. Obviously this isn't one of the pictures I took on my little adventure. But that little biddy I am riding on is Tosca.

Pic 3 is Kimmy on Kimmy (actually the horses name is Lady Kim, but it is named after her) and Shelby. Thats right, the big hunk of gorgeous horse flesh is Shelby. Isn't she just awesome! I love her to bits! And Kimmy is just the cutest appy ever!

Some news...

So it was Pony Club sign up day on Saturday. I went along, paid my money and applied for grazing for Red and Phoenix. Things with Phoenix are just sitting on hold at the moment until I find out whether he can come onto PC grazing earlier then the rest of the summer grazers. Honestly I think the committee should let him considering they have let 4 other horses onto the PC land recently and I have a valid reason for Phoenix coming early. The committee meeting is this week so hopefully I’ll be able to give you some good news. If the committee says no Phoenix will go to graze at my friends house for a couple of weeks but its going to be a nuisance since I’ll have two horses at two different places with limited time!

We were also given a new PC key at sign up. We have had heaps of attempted break-ins and we think a few of the old keys are in the wrong hands. Its not like everyone has access to the club rooms. The key is just for the front gate and the toilets. In one of the attempted break-ins the people rammed the gate with their car and smashed it to pieces, they then tried smashing one of the clubrooms door down but didn’t succeed. There are some mighty big dents in the door though. The front gate had to be replaced. Also there has been a sneaky old man stealing our old arena turf! The bark has been piled up in a massive mountain to the side of the arena and we use it for heaps of the muddy spots around the grounds. Twice recently while my dad and I have been there in the early mornings a old man drives in with his white 4-wheel drive and trailer and starts shoveling the bark into his trailer. Once its full he drives away. Now my dad and I always thought he was ligit. I mean how many people would steal bark when someone was watching! But nope! That old man is a thief! I happened to mention it to my friend’s mum who is on the committee at PC and she was like “What?!” So I told her all about him, how he comes in after us and leaves before us. So she checked it out and he has no permission to do it! Luckily some alarm bells rang in both my dad and my own head and we wrote his number plate down… but I had to take it off this site in case he saw it and I got sued for defamation. So hopefully he’s been reported to the police!

In other news it was wet, windy and cold today which means one thing: Red did not want to be ridden. But sometimes we have to do what we don’t want. Luckily I’m so in tune with my horse that I know he’ll most likely spook on days like this because he’s a High Strung Horse . So I was ready. He spooked a few times but they were nothing to worry about. Except one time I was changing my stirrup length when there was this MASSIVE bang which gave ME the fright of my life. Red instantly felt my fear and he then spun but it was all good. He settled after that. I take all responsibility for that spook, the rest was his fault.

If you have been reading the national news in NZ, you’ll know that Equine Flu has broken out in Australia. All horse imports and exports have been banned in and out of New Zealand. The races have closed down, as have many other horse related sports and clubs. For those who don’t know New Zealand and Australia are the only two countries in the world with a large equine population that has not had the Equine Flu. That means all our horses have no immunity against it, which in turn means if it gets to New Zealand it will spread rapidly through the equine population. Other countries with large equine populations have annual vaccinations against the Equine Flu. I’m guessing that once this crisis is over it may start to become implemented here. I’m not going to tell you all about what the Equine Flu can do, but if you are interested you can read about it here . I’m praying it won’t make it to New Zealand. The horses that have been imported from Australia recently are being tested but it will be awhile before we find out if the virus is here or not. Let’s just hope it doesn’t arrive because it means many will have serious problems with our horses and also we won’t be able to compete! I am so looking forward to this season and I don’t want anything to stop Red and I having fun. And if any Aussies are reading this I’m sending all the healing warmth I can from here! I hope your horses get better soon!

Heres a pic of the happy, healthy Red. He better stay this way.

Until later!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A story for another day #2: Lost at Woodhill

Well Red and I are just in limbo at the moment. Pony Club season starts next month so we're just hanging about hoping it will come soon. As a result nothing too exciting is happening with us, we're just doing what we always do basically. So to keep all my faithful readers entertained heres a account of one of my past adventures.

Every year our pony club has an awesome 4 day camp at Woodhill Forest, about 30 mins from Auckland. We pack up our horses, tents and a couple of dogs and go camping on the grounds of Woodhill Endurance Club. Its truly an amazing time. When I first took Red last year he wen't nuts at being out of the pony club. I had a hard time controlling him the first day, all he wanted to do was GO GO GO! Needless to say I wanted him to just lumber along with the rest of the horses. The next day my friend Kate helped me do some work with him in the round pen and after that he was an angel!

So this year off we went off to another time of fun. Most of my friends have their C+ so we were allowed to go off without instructors or adults provided we had a map. We went on a lot of rides but one will always stick in my mind. It was the day before the last day of camp, the last day we could ride. I was going on a ride with Kelly, Jo, Chelsea and Emily. Kelly had to be back by 11 because her mum was taking her horse home a little bit early. So off we set. We didn't pay much attention to the trail markings along the way and soon we became helplessly lost. We had no idea where we were, or where to go next. We had no cellphone coverage and even if we did we couldn't tell anyone where we were. So we just kept riding. Eventually we found a large deer fence, the boarder of the forest. When we saw that we realised we were a long, long way from camp. And to make matters worse the horses were going crazy, it seemed everyone of them had a bad race brain. They were galloping anytime we gave them a little head, we had almost no control.

Jo was having trouble with her girth too, so we got the horses to slow down a little so she could fix it. One foot was out of the stirrup and she was bending down to fix the girth when the horses took off again. I was last in line, and Jo was directly in front of me. As soon as her horse went, the saddle started slipping so she sat up and put her leg out to the side trying to keep her balance. I could see she was almost falling so I tried calling to the others to slow down but alas it didn't work. Jo managed to keep her balance a bit longer when suddenly I saw the saddle slip to the side and suddenly Jo and Inky (her horse) dissapared down a bank. "Holy Crap! Guys come back!" I yelled as I slowed Red down a bit and jumped off him mid stride. I turned around just in time to grab Inky who came galloping towards me. I ran down towards the place I had seen Jo fall, I was really worried Inky had fallen on her. She was climbing the bank when I got there, laughing loudly. Apparently when they had gone off the bank Inky had missed her completely but she had fallen into a massive patch of cutty grass and had cuts all up her arms and on her face. Other then that she was fine. Jo was putting her saddle right, and had almost got on when the others finally arrived back. She told her story and off we went again trying to find a way home.

By now it was 12.00 and we were a bit worried about the wrath of Kellys mum. We finally ended up in a clearing, and we stood contemplating what to do next when suddnely an endurance rider appeard out of nowhere! We fell on her with shouts of glee and thankfulness, and after hearing our horrowing tale she told us we were about 2km away from the camp and if we took the path she showed us we'd be there in no time! We quickly set off and soon we were back in camp. Surprisngly Kellys mum was nowhere to be seen, but Kellys truck was still there. Someone told us she was still on a ride! So at least we weren't in trouble. Oh what an adventure that was.

So now I am impatiently awaiting next years camp! They are always great fun and I promise to keep you informed during it next time! But for now I'll just be waiting for the PC season to start!

This is Brooke, myself and Simone at camp. Observe my wild fringe, I didn't have access to a hair straightner at camp. Also observe my weird expression, I think that is the result of too much sun and little sleep. I would also like to add that I am actually not THAT short compared to Simone. She is tip toeing in that picture!

A little bit of loving

When I first got Red he grazed at a property in the Waitakere Ranges. Actually it was the same property that the infamous black Bank of New Zealand horse used to graze at. We first put him with a couple of other horses grazing in the paddock but he got bullied so we took him out (hes usually the dominant horse so this was surprising). Then those horses were taken by their owners to another place so Red was all on his lonesome. Most of you know that horses are herd animals. They rely on other horses for protection and companionship so Red must of been missing his equine friends sorely. I saw him most days so at least he was getting attention from humans.

He obviously liked having us around because one day he did something I'll always remember. He was in the largest paddock in the property... it had quite a lot of grass but also a small lake and a big patch of forest. I had gone out to see him and give him feed but when I got there he wasn't anywhere to be seen. If I had decided to walk to get him there wasn't much chance of actually finding him in that huge paddock, I could have been looking for hours. So instead I decided to try call him. I stood on top of the hill, "REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDD" I yelled as loud as I could "REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD". Then, from the depths of the forest I heard a loud whinny. Then the distant sound of hoofbeats. After a few minutes Red came galloping out of the forest whinnying all the way, and straight up the hill to me. He slid to a stop in front of me and nuzzled my hands (probably looking for food).

Oh that was a great day. The joy of my horse coming happily, even excitedly to me was incredible. Every horse-lovers dream I'm sure. But alas, it didn't last. Now that he lives with a herd he'll only occasionly come calling up to me, and he sometimes even turns and walks away when he sees me coming. These horses have no gratitude I tell you! After all I've done for him! Oh well when I see him walking away from me in I just try to remember the happier days when he actually wanted to see me.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hear ye, hear ye: I have an announcement to make!

There will soon be a new addition to A Girl and Her Horse... for I am leasing a sweet little pony called Phoenix until December.

Everyone meet Phoenix:

Isn't he just darling? He was broken in last summer and thats us on his first trek. He was great, so laid back and he did everything I asked of him. From what I understand the girl who he is leased out to now hasn't been able to ride him much and as a result hes getting a bit naughty. So hes coming to me!

I was sure he was the same size as Red (15.3hh) so I would be able to use Reds covers on him, then Sarah-Anne told me he was only 14hh. Oh well, I guess I'll be buying some stuff for him :)

I can't wait for him to arrive! He'll probably come in 2 or 3 weeks! And just to reasure all my readers who are thinking about poor Red, I will still be riding him as often as I did before and he'll still be loved. Because seriously Red is my number one!

PS. A girl and her horse might have to change to a girl and her horse and her pony :P but we'll see what happens

Monday, August 6, 2007

Shopping List

Its Pony Club sign up day this month on the 25th of August. So I decided to write a list of all the things I need for the new season. Lucky for you I didn't include all the items in the First Aid Kit otherwise we would be here for hours. I have included the price of some of the items and also where I am going to get them. Some of these items are purely wishful (like that $160.00 Bridle) but I can dream. So here it is…

PS I wouldn’t say no if someone decided to buy me a thing or two off this list.
PPS I'll probably add to this list a bit overtime as I know I've missed things off it.

  • Collegiate Hanoverian Bridle - $159.99 from Kumeu Grain & Saddlery or Tackshop or AMS Saddlery
  • Zilco Champagne /Gold Saddle Blanket - $69.99 from Clarkes Saddlery

  • White Jodhpurs x 2

  • Beige Jodhpurs x 2

  • Black Jodphpurs x 2

  • Assorted Jodhpurs x 3

  • Black Leadrope x 2

  • Event Shirt and Hat Cover (Sky Blue and Black) - approx. $60.00 from Trade Me

  • Event Boot Set - $99.99 from Kumeu Grain & Saddlery or AMS Saddlery

  • Saddle Racks x 2 - $19.99 each from The Saddlery Warehouse

  • Cover Racks x 3

  • First Aid kit

  • Washing Kit:
    - Sponges (Large) x 2
    - Ravishing Red Shampoo
    - Tail and Mane Conditioner
    - Equine Shine
    - Bucket
    - Bucket Cover - All from The Saddlery Warehouse

  • Grooming Kit:
    - Hoofpicks x 2
    - Body Brush
    - Dandy Brush
    - Sponges x 2
    - Face Brush
    - Grooming Box
    - Mane Comb
    - Thinning Scissors
    - Scissors
    - Thinning Comb
    - Black Mane Bands
    - Sweat Scraper
    - Shedding Blade - All from The Saddlery Warehouse

  • Red Pony Club Tie

  • Massey Pony Club Polo Shirt

  • Sheepskin Quarter Pad

  • Helmet - $164.95 from Tackshop (But I think you can get it cheaper at Kumeu)

  • Brestplate - $19.99 from The Saddlery Warehouse

  • Aigile Riding Boots - $174.95 from Tackshop

  • Saddle Cleaning Kit:
    - Saddle Soap
    - Leather Oil
    - Rags
    - Ice Cream Container

  • Hoof Kit:
    - Clear Hoof Oil
    - Hoof Brush
    - Container

  • German Dressage Girth - $29.99 (down from $59.99) from The Saddlery Warehouse

  • Fly Mask

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I'm back!

Well I haven't posted in awhile because basically I haven't seen much of Red. My Auntie and Dad have been going out to see him and feed them (bless their souls) because I have been very busy and tired. I went to Aussie last weekend for a thing with my work which was lots of fun and a few other things made me unable to go out but now I will get back into my normal routine.

I went out this morning, and I started to clicker train Red. I'm not going to go into clicker training because it would make this a extremely long post but you can read about it here . Basically you ask the horse to do something good and when they do it the click is the reward but you reinforce it with a treat. After a lot of training you can just give a click as a reward for good behaviour.

So I started that with Red today. Some people believe in 'charging the clicker' which means you start off by clicking then rewarding, clicking then rewarding etc until the horse gets that a click means a treat. I did it another way. I held up a cone and when he sniffed it, I clicked, then treated. Everytime he touched the cone with his nose, I clicked and treated. I think he kind of got it. He would touch the cone on purpose a couple of times but other times it kinda looked like it was an accident. But its supposed to take a few sessions till they really get it anyway so I'm not too worried. I also did a bit of lunging. There was a big crew of workers who were doing something on the PC land (which is also council land) who were watching me do it, and thankfully Red was responding very well to my cues! Hes such a good boy.

So anyway I'll keep you updated on our Clicker Training process. Hopefully he'll become a pro at it. I also did a quick training session with Red and the float. He always takes about 10 mins to get on because hes a stubborn old man that doesn't want to leave his nice paddocks. So I just lead him part way up the ramp, and when he was standing nice and calmly I gave him a click and a treat and then we just stood there some more. Hopefully he'll get the idea that floating can be nice and calmly done too. I'll keep on with that.