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.