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!