Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 in Review

I came onto the computer intending to review 2008 in terms of horses and riding. Before I started this post however, I updated myself on some of my favourite blogs including The Eventing Percheron. It turns out that Daun has had the same idea as me. Check out her "The Year in Review" post because it really is amazing to see how far she has come.

I started off the year with my old horse Red. Good old Red. We had our problems but he taught me a lot (read: stickability). At our last ODE together Red finally clicked what Cross Country was all about and he was a hooning monster. I could barely control him, it was exhilirating (although I was swearing the whole time). A great way to end a ride on a beautiful horse.

Then I moved to Taumarunui where a lot happend. I started off riding the little pony called Ghost. After only a couple of rides with her, and had never jumped her in my life we competed at my first Pre-Training ODE. We came dead last in dressage and were eliminated in Cross Country but it was amazing.

Soon I moved on to the gorgeous Toby. He was fantastic and I spent many fun hours going for long rides on the farm with him (often bareback and without a helmet) by myself and with friends. I did my first real release on him.

Then it was back to Auckland where I decided to give riding a break but then couldn't handle not having a horse. I acquired an awesome horse who almost immediately went lame. Finally he is ready to go and I'm looking forward to a very succesful relationship with him.

Goals for 2008
  • Compete at Training Level - Well that didn't happen but I did compete at Pre-Training which was one level down.
  • Learn how to release - After years of not being able to release and having to hold onto the mane, I finally did it. It just happened one day.
  • Get Red to canter consistently on the right lead - He didn't canter consistently on the right lead but he did canter on the right lead in our last dressage test which is good enough for me.
  • Get fit - Well I went running on and off throughout the year but now I'm consistently doing it. My thighs, abs and arms are toning up beautifully.

Goals for 2009

  • Compete at Open Level
  • Compete at 1.10 Show Jumping
  • Compete at Pony Club North Island Show Jump Champs 2010 (its not 2009 but you qualify for it in 2009)
  • Compete at my first Horse Trial
Happy New Year to you all. I pray that you have an amazing year and that it will be your best one yet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photo Fun!

Dad came to take some pictures of Jack and I riding today. He has an awesome new camera and I wanted some good photographs of Jack and I since we don't have many decent ones.

We were going to get some jumping but Jack was acting up quite badly and I wasn't willing to risk it so here are a few dressage pics to show you. The colour photo is one of Jack doing his crazy thing. I'm not really sure if he is bucking or not but whatever it is, it is naughty.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finding my canter

I've been getting up at 6.30 recently to go riding. I figure it is nicer for Jack to ride when its cooler since he attracts the sun so much, and it also means that I have the rest of the day to do whatever else is needed. If I ride in the afternoon it feels like my whole day has been taken up by Jack which really annoys me.

We're mostly doing fitness work at the moment. A little bit of trotting and cantering with lots of long walk breaks in-between. Yesterday I took him into the arena for the first time since the accident. There was no spooking and no silly business. I don't know what set him off on Monday. My good friend was watching and she says Jack's trot has improved at lot (YUS!). Instead of his mincing little steps he doing much bigger ones.

Today after a good long warm up in one of the paddocks I took him into the arena again to start some schooling. He has no clue what leg-yield is so we started off with lots of serpentines and figure 8's and I was able to get a couple of steps of leg yield from him which is good enough for me for the first day. We also worked on transitions. Jack has been running into the canter and so today it was all about precision. Lots of transitions got him listening to me. He started collecting himself and was very light in my hands which I was pleased about. By the end of the session his transitions were beautiful, even the downward transitions which usually are all over the place. I noticed towards the end that when I ask for a canter I kind of jump into the canter. Instead of sitting and letting the canter happen I kind of stand in my stirrups a bit which gets me out of balance and then takes me a couple of strides to get my position back. Its hard to explain but the next time I asked for a canter, I sat quietly and it was stunning! It was the best canter of the day and I was very proud of myself for noticing my fault and correcting it. It can be so hard schooling by yourself since it can be hard to see whats going wrong.

I've been tossing the idea of setting up a video camera on a tripod so I can tape my sessions and see whats happening. Has anyone done something similar to this before?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jack's Christmas Wish List

Jack wants to get himself all kitted out before he heads down to Palmerston North with me next February. This is is Christmas Wish List. (I must admit I influenced him a bit with a few of these things).

TC Stud Guard Girth
Jack tends to tuck his hooves nice and tight into his chest when jumping and he wants a stud guard to protect himself.

Dublin Two Tone Silverline Helmet
Jack knows I have been wanting one of these for a long time and he thinks I should get it soon since he dumped me on my head today.

Zilco Leather Gaiters

My long boots are getting pretty worn out now. I've worn them for about 4 years now and Jack agrees that these gaiters look pretty awesome.

Zilco Crusader Lit
e Combo
This horse here looks pretty cool in this rug but Jack thinks he'll look way better. Plus it will keep him dry and at a good temperature on those in between day. He likes the Zilco rug range a lot since he is a tough guy who likes to test his rugs to the limit and Zilco tends to stand up better then other brands.

Once Jack has got these he'll pretty much be set to head of to Uni with me. Hopefully Santa will drop these in his stocking. Personally I think he might be getting some coal.

When Mr. Murphy strikes

It always happens when you least expect... that silly man Mr. Murphy strikes. And when he strikes, he strikes hard. You may know him better as Murphy from "Murphy's Law".

The day started out fine. I had a nice grooming session with Jack and even got all the knots out his tail. I don't know about the rest of you but I find grooming a horse a tad boring. I'd rather just hang out with a horse in a pen or in the paddock then spend ages grooming. That's not to say that he gets neglected. Once a week I'll have a big grooming session and I'll go over every square inch of him. Usually I'll just pick out and oil his hooves, check for cuts (of which he gets many) and brush where the saddle and bridle goes. I noticed that he had some rubbing on his chest where his breastplate goes so when I saddled him up I decided to leave it off to give him a chance to heal. I thought I wouldn't need it since I would only be walking around the paddock. This was mistake number 1.

One of my many names for Jack is Fidget McFidgety Monster because as soon as the saddle and bridle comes out he starts to fidget. Doing up the girth is always a mission as he moves constantly and I really need someone to be standing at his head to get him to stand still... that or I need 4 hands. He always puffs out when I do the girth up so I have to tighten it up about 3 times before I get on. I forgot to do this just before I got on. Mistake number 2.

I got on and we started out 35 minutes of walking. I decided to stay close to my car since I had left it unlocked and a random guy has been stealing from cars at the pony club. Keeping this in mind I walked around the nearest paddock for about 20 minutes and then decided to move into the arena for the last 10 minutes. Jack always gets spooky in the arena, I'm unsure why he does because he is fine in the paddocks but the arena really gets to him. Taking him into the arena where I knew he would spook was mistake number 3. He spooked a couple of times within in the first 5 minutes but his spooks tend to be in slow motion which are easy to sit and deal with so I wasn't too bothered.

But then it happened. He spooked at a chair that we had already walked past 1/2 a dozen times and spun. He then bolted. He's taken off before and I can get him to stop relatively easily but this time he took off straight towards the edge of the arena. He galloped towards the arena wall and jumped. The wall is only about 60cm high so it was easy for him but as he jumped my saddle slipped to the side. He landed in a full gallop on the gravel drive way but by now it was a blinded-by-fear bolt where nothing can stop a horse. I could feel the saddle and myself slipping to the right and I tried with all my might to pull him to a stop but he was out of his mind. I remember calling "woaahhh Jack" to him but it was no use. I knew I was going to fall but I didn't want to hit the gravel. I stayed on as long as I could, hanging off the side of him and then I let go. My head and neck took the brunt of the fall and I skidded for a couple of metres. I saw stars but I was on my feet within seconds. My head pounded as I watched Jack gallop around and around the paddock, straight through the wash bay and back onto the driveway. He was out of his mind with fear as the saddle flapped under his belly. He finally calmed down enough for me to catch him. Both the stirrups had fallen off so I retrieved them and saddled him back up. I got on for about a minute and then got off. I just needed to prove to myself that he hadn't scared me from riding again. He hadn't.

Since no-one else was at Pony Club I called my parents and asked one of them to come get me since by now I was feeling nauseated and had a bad headache and I didn't think I should be driving. My neck and shoulder was aching a lot as well. While I waited to be collected I fed Jack and settled him down. He had a small cut on his hoof but it wasn't bad. Once Jack was settled back into his paddock my dad took me to my doctor. Since I was still coherent and could remember my name and address I didn't need to go to A&E. The doctor did some tests on me to see if any of my nerves were damaged or if I had a skull fracture which thankfully I didn't. I only had mild concussion thank goodness. He dressed the nasty graze on my arm and sent me home to rest. I managed to get a appointment with my chiropracter and he had to do quite a few adjustments. He also found that I had torn a muscle in my right shoulder.

It could have been a lot, lot worse and I thank God that it wasn't too bad. I'm not allowed to ride tomorrow but I will be back on Jack on Wednesday. This time I'll triple check the girth and make sure he's wearing his brestplate. I would have been able to stay on if either of these had been used correctly. But I'm alright and can't wait to get back in the saddle.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I am FINALLY back in the saddle! Thank God! D, the farrier, arrived right on time and had Jack fixed up within half an hour.

First he fitted the shoe to the hoof. But that was a tad too big so he had to go a size smaller.

Contrary to what I said last week about Jack having 3 size 4 hooves and 1 size 3 hoof the farrier actually found that he has two size 4 hooves and 2 size 3. His right side is smaller then his left.

Then he cut the pad to the correct size.

He then pasted the underside of the hoof with a concoction of special things that help heal and harden the hoof and keep all the naughty little stones that like to get in there out. I can't remember the name of the stuff but it has eucalyptus and pine tar in it. It smells really, really good and is incredibly sticky.
He then positioned the pad and nailed the shoe over top.

D's dog Cruise "as in a Cruise Missile not Tom Cruise" hung out with me (between my legs) while I held Jack (dad took the photos).

Once D was finished I finally got on to ride. 30 mins of walking, walking and more walking. Actually Jack decided to have a bit of fun with a few rears but most of the time we walked.

You may notice that Jack is looking a bit on the heavy side of the scale at the moment. He's put on a whopping 30kgs in the last 2 months! I know! Until we weighed him, I didn't think he looked fat at all bit now when I look at him I can see the massive crest on his neck and his huge belly. And its not like any of the weight is muscle. He's been sitting in a paddock for the last month and a half. Its pure fat. What a chubster! Hopefully it will all tone up fast now that we can ride again.

Jack is also a master at ripping and demolishing his cover so he went for a week without a cover and he's faded a bit. I got him a new cover today and as soon as I put it on my friend's horse Rocky, started trying to pull it off. I shooed him away and then put Jack's fly mask on. I ended up tying it to his cover so I would be able to find it easier if he managed to get it off. He looks like a donkey cross mouse with this thing on. Thats Rocky at the side, waiting to pounce.

A couple of minutes later, as I was driving past the paddock on my way home, I saw this...

I had always wondered how Jack got his mask off so quickly and now I knew. It was Rocky. The little mongrel. I yelled at him from the edge of the paddock and he dropped it instantly, looking innocently over at me like he hadn't just been caught in the act. (You can see the peice of bailing twine trailing from Jacks cover to the mask on the ground. In hindsight it doesn't look very safe haha.)

Rocky then picked the mask up off the ground and ran off with it in his mouth. That rascal. The elastic snapped on Jack's mask so it was no longer attached to him. I didn't get any pictures of that as I was too busy laughing at him. I went and recovered the broken mask and then cut the bailing twine off Jack. I'm going to have to come up with a sure fire way to keep that mask on Jack. Any ideas?

So now we're starting from day one with the fitness regieme. For the next three weeks it will be mainly walking with a few trots thrown in the third week and gradually building up from there. I hoping to compete in a Show Jumping competition on the 4th of January but we'll see what happens.

I am FINALLY back in the saddle.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I can't believe it...

The farrier cannot come to until Wednesday next week.

I'm quite annoyed.

Please Wednesday... get your butt here fast.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And so it continues


Well the abscess saga is still not over.


It keeps going on and on.

D, the farrier, arrived nice and early to shoe my horse. I was hoping to get Jack' s hooves clean and dried before he arrived but when I got to pony club I discovered that my halter and leadrope had disapeard from my boot. I searched my whole car and then the pony club but I couldn't find them anywhere. I found someone elses halter and leadrope but the halter was far too small so I ended up catching Jack with just the leadrope. A friend who lives close by saved me by bringing me a halter. But unfortnately Jack's hooves were muddy and wet when D arrived.

I already had the two front shoes from Jack's previous owner so all he needed was two new back shoes. D did the first front hoof fine and then moved onto the back hoof which had been causing all the problems. He soon found that the abscess was not completely healed and had in fact spread towards Jack's toe. So he dug out the rest of the abscess.

This is a picture of Jack's hoof.

The white arrow indicates the hole that the vet dug out when she first discovered the abscess. The yellow arrow on his heel shows where the abscess popped out a few days after the vet made the first hole.
And the red arrow and outline show where the abscess travelled downward towards Jack's toe. This is also the part the farrier dug out.

When D pushed the sole down near the abscess little bubbles of pus seeped out from under the sole. D's opinion was that we should leave the abscess to 'dry' out over the next couple of days and then on Thursday if it looks to be dried out sufficently he will put a pad on his hoof and then shoe over that. Once the shoe is on he'll be fine to ride.

He then moved onto the other hooves. The other back hoof was fine but the front hoof was a shocker. One side was flared out and the other was chipped and broken. He filed it but when he went to fit the shoe on (the one I had been given) it was completely the wrong fit. He showed it to me and we both couldn't believe that who ever had shod him previously had forced that onto his hoof. It was far too small for him. He got a new shoe from his truck and fitted it correctly. It turns out that 3 of Jack's hooves are size 4 and the other one is a size 3 (the first front one).

So currently Jack has three shoes on and is barefoot with his bad hoof. Hopefully it will dry out by Thursday because I really, really want to start riding again.

6 Things About Me

I've been tagged by SolitaireMare at A Good Horse with the "Six things about me" tag. I've already done this twice but what the heck... I can always do another one.

Here are the rules:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know your entry is up.

Hmm, let me think

1. I'm a self-confessed book worm. I love books and would read one a day if I had the chance (and if that silly thing called life didn't get in the way). If I'm in the middle of a really good book I will read whenever and where ever I get the chance i.e. traffic lights when I'm driving, when I'm watching TV etc. And when I was at school I would often get kicked out of class for reading a novel instead of working (of course I would only do that in the more boring classes). It's probably not suprising that my mum is a Librarian.

2. Cadbury Mint Chip Chocolate and Cadbury Mini Eggs (Easter) are my all time favourites. They both happen to be hard to find.

3. I've got a red birthmark hidden under my hair at the back of my neck.

4. I want to write a novel one day, a good one.

5. I'm a optimist.

6. I am addicted to the energy drink called V. I'm trying to break the addiction at the moment but it is proving difficult.

Since everyone in the blogging community has already done one of these, I leave my tag open to anyone who wants to do it! If you do decide to do it, leave me a comment so I know and can read it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Whats in store for me?

I spoke earlier on this blog about my plans for next year. I had pretty much decided on going to a place called Kyrewood Equestrian Centre to do a horse management course. Beckz from I will Jump Sweet Jumps soon talked me out of it. Basically it sounds like more of a money making scheme then anything else. So I was stuck with what to do next year.

I knew I didn't want to be working full time. I'm utterly sick of being stuck in jobs that bore me. I wanted to study. But what? Because I left school half way through year 13 (the last year of school in New Zealand) I didn't have the qualifications to do any of the diplomas I would be interested in. So I looked into Foundation Studies Courses. These courses basically bridge you into University if you don't have the qualifications to get you there in the first place. They have Foundation Studies Courses at most Universities and I checked them out but none of them seemed to be the right fit for me. So I prayed. I'm a christian and I believe God can help if you ask Him. So insted of stressing over it anymore (which is what I've been doing for the last year or so) I gave it up to Him. And the next day I discovered that Massey University has a Certificate in Foundation Studies. I researched it and was really excited. Massey University has campuses in different parts of the country. Theres one here in Auckland, two in Palmerston North and one in Wellington. I wanted to go to Palmerston North since I have friends who live there and they also have an awesome Equine facility at the University. And so I applied. My plan is to graduate from this course and then apply for the Diploma in Vet Nursing. I feel really, really good about this plan. I'm finally at peace with what my future is.

My enrolment for the course is still being processed but I'm sure I will be accepted. I've also applied for my accomodation in the Baptist Youth Hostel and for grazing for Jack at the Massey University Equestrian Centre. I'll find out about all these really soon but it looks like we'll be ready to go in late February. Now I have to figure out how to get Jack down there.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Abscess saga continues

It has been a hard week but we're finally on the road to complete recovery. This past week has seen me working in the city which meant I couldn't make it up to Jack until about 7.30pm. This in turn meant I wasn't home until 9.00ish and since I am unable to handle late nights I would collapse straight into bed. I would be up at 6.30am the next morning to start it all over again.

His right hoof is by far the worst of the two. On Monday and Tuesday he tolerated putting weight on it but on Wednesday he was obviously in a lot of pain and refused to let his right hoof touch the ground. This meant I couldn't treat the abscess in his left hoof and so I had to leave it alone for a few days. He was walking with a strange clicking motion in his ankle which seemed to be caused because he was trying desperatly to keep the weight off his heel (where the abscess was). I decided to pen Jack for the night and my friend Simone offered one of her horses as a room mate for him so he wouldn't have herd seperation issues. The next day he was much better on that leg.

I’ve been having problems with the bandage staying on his hoof. Since I’ve never done this before so it’s been a bit of a ‘practice makes perfect’ situation. First I used bandages by themselves and they came off very quickly since the sharp edges of his hoof cut through them. Next I tried using tape on top of his bandages, just around the edges of the hoof but since it was electrical tape it didn’t stick for long. My next plan of action was to get a boot to place over his bandage but the type of boot I wanted was unavailable in his size. So we used another type of boot but it was much too big and he hated it. That was a no-go. Next I used the classic fix-it-all commonly known as duct tape. Although his bandage still comes off, I’m pretty sure it lasts a lot longer then the bandage by itself.

Yesterday I noticed that a strange opening appeared on his heel, straight above where the abscess was positioned. I had a quick panic attack, thinking that something else was wrong with his leg. I then realized that the vet must have not dug the complete abscess out which would have caused his extreme lameness on the Wednesday night. So now that the abscess has burst we are almost in the clear. I just need to keep the holes clean and hopefully we’ll be ready to ride next week. I’ll get him shod next week and we’ll be ready to get fit and get started on our eventing career. Please God, let our teething problems be over.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Simple Arithmetic

What happens when you add the fact that rain has pouring down for the last two days, plus the fact your horse's cover has no stomach straps, plus the fact your horse likes to roll in the mud continuously and plus the very limited time you have to ride, tack and un tack?

The Answer?


Un-surprisingly I didn't end up riding that morning because my friend who was competing at her first show was running late and her horse was almost as bad as Jack. So I started on his bath for her.

Two's company

You can imagine my shock when I arrived to re-bandage Jack's hoof yesterday only to see that the vet had treated the opposite leg to the one that's been giving us the problems. I couldn't believe it. All this hassle with that dam leg and then the bandage is on the wrong hoof. I went to catch him and he decided to be a prick and try to get away. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for me, he could only hobble away and I easily caught up to him. It was quite a sad sight to see him limping like that. He was defiantly favouring the hoof that I thought was the bad hoof. I rang my dad to get an explanation and he assured me that he had given the vet my note about what had happened to that leg. He had even trotted him out for her. Obviously she saw something wrong with his left leg and not his right. I called the Vet Clinic but she had already left for the day and they said she would give me a call today.

She rang me about 10.00am this morning and came down to check his right leg. Yep, there was an abscess there too. It was in the same place as the abscess on the other hoof but this one was a bit bigger. She also said that it was more than likely that the previous owners had left the shoes on longer then they should have been and as a result the shoes had pressed down into the corns and left a bruise which then developed into an abscess. I couldn't believe it. All this trouble because his previous owners couldn't be stuffed to get his shoes re-set or even just taken off.

Anyway, he now has two beautifully bandaged hooves wrapped in a very fashionable yellow vet wrap.

The pus should drain within the next few days and he should be alright to be shod next Friday. My bank account is looking very, very empty. The things we do for the animals we love huh?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Once, Twice, Three times a... whole lot worse.

I rocked up to Pony Club on Tuesday about 2 and half hours early. I was (as to be expected) the first one there and spent an hour messing around with Jack until other people arrived. That’s the problem with living quite a bit down the motorway when your rally starts at 6’oclock. You’re either stuck in traffic for hours if you want to get there at 5 or you have to leave early so you don’t get in the traffic and consequently hang around pony club for a few extra hours. It comes down to whether you want to wait in traffic for a couple of hours or wait at pony club for a couple of hours. I know what I would rather do.

It was the Dressage and Show Jumping night at Pony Club. I tacked Jack up all nicely in his white saddle blanket and white boots. I’ll have to post a picture of him in this gear because he looks great. One of the instructors who teaches some of the younger kids commented to me on how beautiful he was (we get this a lot). It turned out that she was to be our dressage judge and when Jack and I presented ourselves to her she said “Oh I can’t wait to see this horse! He is so beautiful” to her writer so hopefully we started off on the right foot. Our test wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was sure he was going to do his tiny mincing steps but he actually had quite a reasonable trot and canter which I was very happy with. His circles were wonky and he always came late into the canter but I took him deep into all the corners (except one) and collected him back into me. It wasn’t a beautiful test but it was much better than I anticipated, especially since we have done no dressage schooling at all.

I took him to the show jumping next. My friend Simone and her horse Rocky were jumping when we arrived (clear round) and she wandered over to talk to us. Since she had finished she decided to go back and un-tack. Jack tried to follow and we I told him not to, he reared. A big rear. In the middle of quite a large group. I threw myself forward and he came back onto the ground. He tried it on a couple of more times but I told him off good and proper. I decided after that not to do the show jumping. It sounds like I’m wimping out but it seems when I’m getting close to my... er time of the month (sorry TMI) I tend to get more nervous on horses and find it harder to deal with their antics. It usually only lasts for a couple of days but If something happens during those days I don’t deal with it calmly and easily like I do the rest of the time. It happened a couple of years ago when I didn’t want to canter. I had been riding for 3 years and had cantered and galloped hundreds of times but suddenly I was too scared to canter on a horse. Again, it only lasted a couple of days but it was still there. So I didn’t think it would help either of us if we did the show jumping. I’m not ashamed of my decision because I really think that if something else had gone wrong I wouldn’t have been able to handle it and we both could have ended up getting hurt.

The next day I went to see Jack with the good intentions of working on refining our transitions. He had other plans. He was dead lame in the same foot. It was really bad this time. He could barely walk and obviously it hurt a lot. He didn’t want to put any weight on the heel of his foot. Since the stone bruise should have been healed by then I thought that he must have an abscess close to his heel. It was already getting quite late so I opted to soak his hoof in Epsom salts and call the vet today. Unfortunately I had to work so my awesome dad said he would go out to see the vet. The vet confirmed my suspicions. He had an abscess in his heel. So she cut the abscess out and drained the whole. She wrapped it up with poultice and bandages and gave him a tetanus shot. He is not on antibiotics at the moment because she thinks that if we let the hole drain and change the bandages daily he shouldn’t need them. She estimated that he would be alright to ride in a week which falls in nicely with when the farrier is coming to see him. So hopefully this will be the end of his lameness saga in that leg. I was hoping that our first official competition would be at the end of this month but I doubt he will be fit enough what with all this time off. I will have to find another competition for us to make our first. I’m just thankful it wasn’t a major problem and didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. Because really I need both of those limbs to ride.

I promise to put more pictures up!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lameness, Show Jumping and more

Again, I am very sorry for being a bad blogger. I promise to be better in the future.

A couple of weeks ago Jack went un-explicably lame. I was warming him up in the arena at a walk and he was fine but as soon as I put him into a trot I felt a hopping motion. I got off him straight away and trotted him out and there it was... a big fat limp. Something was obviously wrong with his right hind leg and as I walked him back to un-saddle him it got worse. He was really lame at the walk when just minutes before he had been fine. I searched his leg up and down for an obvious problem but I couldn't see anything. There was no cuts, swelling or heat and no muscle pain when I pushed and prodded. I decided to give him a day and see if it improved since he was still eating alright and I couldn't see an obvious cause to his lameness. The next day he had improved a lot and it got better everyday after that. I gave him a week off just to make sure and then started riding again. We did Show Jumping at Pony Club a couple of days after coming back into work. We started off with flat work which Jack hated and told me so in no uncertain terms but I did manage to get him to do a nice big trot when I over exagerated my rise. He also took the contact which I was very happy with. Usually when I ask for a large trot he bowls along with his neck scrunched into his body and his head in the air. When we went on to jumping he was just spectacular. You could tell he loves it. We flew around the course and his listened to me the whole time. I was really proud of him. I didn't work him too hard though due to the fact he had just been lame and he is still unfit.

The next day Jack was lame again. It was the same leg but this time his whole leg was hot and he refused to put any weight on it. It happened that a nice (and rather good looking) farrier was shoeing a horse at the Pony Club so I asked if he could take a look at Jack's hoof. He did some pincher tests and came to the conclusion that Jack had a stone bruise. So off I went to the supermarket to get some Epsom Salts. I soaked his hoof once a day for 20mins for about 5 days and now he's back to being sound again. Jack is currently un-shod. He arrived that way and his previous owner assured me that he had very strong feet. So i didn't get him shod immediatly thinking that I would do it when I started competiting and doing harder work. But it seems Jack does get rather ouchy when walking on stones and two lamenesses in as many weeks seems to indicate that he needs shoes. Unfortunately the earliest I could get him booked is the 14th of November (my birthday) since the Farrier Nationals are on this weekend and according to my farrier anyone wanting a farrier this week will find it very hard. I've never used this farrier before but my friend who is a great eventer uses him and I really like his work. Hopefully he'll be right for us. He was also very friendly and assured me he wouldn't be late. In fact he said "I am never late. If I don't show up, watch the 6 o'clock news and you'll see that a farrier has died in a fiery car crash." He seems like a decent bloke and I have high hopes for him.

Unofficially our first competition is tonight. We're having a show jumping and dressage night at Pony Club. I only found out about this last night and I distinctly remember this same thing happening last year. So today I'm going to be learning a very difficult dressage test and getting ready for it. Jack will probably need a bath too.

As I said earlier my birthday is in a couple of weeks. I'm not really feeling like a big birthday this year. I'm thinking of going to Woodhill Forest with my riding friends for an awesome ride and then a picnic once we're finished. It will be Jack's first outing with me so it will be interesting to see how he goes. I have no idea what I'll do with the rest of my friends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am a bad blogger

The title says it all. I haven't posted in a long time. So heres the gist of whats been happening with Mr Jack and I.

Jacks ground manners were well and truly sorted out by S who came to help me with him. Basically she showed him that she was more dominant (which apparently was hard and tiring since he is a very, very dominant horse) and then re-taught him to lead. She then got me to come over and she talked me through getting him to see me as the more dominant one and at the end of the session he was standing relaxed next to me, licking his lips. He now walks beside me watching for my every move which means I have to be on my toes so I give the correct cues. Hes much more relaxed now and is a pleasure to know. I'm really starting to love him.

Hes a bit naughty under saddle. He's reared a couple of times but after a few good telling offs he hasn't done it again. He also jig-jogs a bit but will stop if I ask him to. I suspect hes just testing the boundaries. I took him into the water jump the other day and all was well until instead of stepping into the jump he decided to leap. I was totally unprepared and although I tried with all my will-power and strength to stay on his back, I fell in. The water in the jump is quite gross as horses poop and pee in there so I knew I didn't want to go fully in. I managed to grab onto another jump as I fell and I landed on my feet. I staggered a bit but managed to stay mostly upright. My thigh ended up hitting the jump really hard as did my arm and I have some nice big bruises to prove it. The water splashed up from below wetting my legs and butt. Jack stopped dead still so I grabbed him and jumped back on. We did the jump again and I held on really tight It was a really hot day so the fall into the water managed to cool me off a lot. Once my friends realised I wasn't hurt they laughed and laughed and then proceeded to tell everyone they came into contact with. I'm just thankfull I didn't fall in during the summer. The water gets barely any movement so theres this gross film that lays on the top of it and its quite stagnant. At least with all the rain we've been having it was a bit nicer.

Anyway I'm just working on Jacks fitness at the moment. I'm hoping to be able to compete him in December.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Good and The Bad

Jack has been here for 5 days so far and we've already been through a bit of this and that. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were great. Jack seemed to be settling in well and I was looking forward to getting to ride him. Unfortunately my saddle fell through (again) so I had to put off riding for a couple of days. I decided we would just hang out a bit, get to know each other some more and generally just have a relaxing few days but Jack had other ideas.

On Wednesday night I got him out of his paddock. Well actually it was another paddock from what I had put him in the night before because he decided he liked the ponies better and jumped the tape. As soon as I took him out of the paddock the whinnying started... and it didn't stop until I put him back. That itself wasn't too bad. I'd figure he was allowed to have some separation issues since his two paddock mates at his previous owners had been put down on the same day rendering him companion-less. Then the barging, pulling and general bad manners started. His had no regard for me what so ever. He pulled me along on the lead while I struggled uselessly to stop him walking. He basically ran over me a couple of times and when I put him in one of the pens and went in to groom him he swung his butt on me continuously. Basically it was like I didn't exist. I couldn't get his attention on me at all. It was everywhere and anywhere else. It started getting dangerous so I quickly fed him and put him back.

I knew something had to be done. The behaviour was dangerous and totally unacceptable. So the next day when I went to buy his feed I also picked up a rope halter, a lead rope with a tough clip and a crop. I went to Pony Club and went to catch Jack bringing the crop with me. He was in the pony paddock again. I haltered him and starting leading him towards the club rooms. He tried his moves on me pretty quickly but a well timed whack on the shoulder made him think twice. Soon he tried it again and another whack followed. He lead pretty well after that. I put him into one of the pens and fed him. He still whinnied and didn't end up finishing his feed because he was too interested in what else was happening around him. He got pushy on the way back to his paddock but soon stopped when I corrected him again. When I let him go in the hacks paddock he trotted off immediately along the fence line. He then circled out and came at a canter towards the tape. I brandished the whip and yelled at him and he swung at the last minute away from the tape. He tried a couple more times but I yelled and waved the crop at him again and he soon settled down to graze. When I went to get him today he was in the hack paddock so I guess that worked yay!

So today I took him down the club rooms again. He was quiet most of the way and led pretty well. When we got to the club rooms his whinnying started again but again theres not much that can be done about that. He acted up a bit when I tied him up to be groomed etc but settled down when another horse was tied up close by. I groomed him and saddled him up quite easily. He wouldn't let me bridle him and in the end an instructor came over and showed me how to do it another way which he seemed to like more. I took him over to the arena and got on for the first time. Since his ground manners had been worse since coming to Pony Club I was wondering if he would be as bad under saddle. Thankfully he wasn't and we had a pleasant ride around the arena for 20 minutes or so. He whinnied a couple of times but I got his attention back on me and we kept going. I trotted him a tiny bit to show the same instructor how terrible his trot was. He made me a liar by doing a reasonable trot. She laughed because I had just given her a big description of what his trot was like and how horrible it was. I finished the ride, unsaddled him and had an awesome grooming session with Rita who owned Rose, the horse Jack liked. He actually seemed like a normal, calm horse instead of the hyper demon horse he had become for the few days before hand.

One of the instructors at Pony Club, who have dealt with horses with bad ground manners before, is coming to give Jack and I a lesson on ground manners on Sunday which should help me sort him out completely. I actually was scared of him on Wednesday only because he just wouldn't give me his attention at all. He could have run over me and he probably wouldn't have known. So although his manners have been very, very bad at least his riding was good. Also, I put his deterioration in his ground manners down to his excitement and separation issues he's experiencing since the move. He's only been here a few days and I'm sure once he settles in more and calms down he'll be more willing to give me his attention but because he was getting dangerous I couldn't wait for that to happen.

I got contacts today which hopefully should help my riding improve just a tiny bit. I'm short sighted and up until I've worn glasses for driving and watching movies etc but as you might imagine it can be difficult to ride with glasses. Up until now I've just made do but I suspect it hasn't be helping me judge distances correctly when I'm jumping. So contacts is the answer. I wore them when I was 15 but lost them pretty soon after I got them so I will be taking super care of these. I wonder if it will help at all.

Anyway sorry for the very long post! The pictures in this post were taken the second time I rode Jack. I really need to get some more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Murphy's Law and Horses

Murphy's Law. Everyone knows of it. That phenomenon that if something can go wrong, it will. Well its true with horses too. Here are some of good Mr Murphy's Law that relate to horses and their slaves aka you and I. Enjoy!

1. There is no such thing as a sterile barn cat.

2. The least useful horse in you barn will eat the most, require shoes every four weeks and need the vet at least once a month.

3. A horse's misbehavior will be in direct proportion to the number of people who are watching.

4. Clipper blades will become dull when your horse is half clipped.

5. If you fall off, you will land on the site of your most recent injury.

6. If you need to take your horse somewhere in a hurry, he will not load.

7. If you are trying to impress someone you will fall off.

8. The very week you start your horse on a conditioning program for the show season, the biggest flood of 30 years will occur and you won't be able to get out to the barn for at least a week.

9. You will make a stupid mistake saddling in front of a guy you want to impress.

10. You will get bucked off a new colt in front of the same guy.

11. If you're wondering if you latched the pasture gate, you didn't

12. Wind velocity increases in direct proportion to how well your hat fits

13. Horses that hate each other at home become inseparable when you try to take a 'potty break' out on the trail.

First Rally of the Season

It was the first Pony Club rally of the season last night. Our Pony Club had a huge influx of new members this year and to accommodate all the new members the committee made the decision to divide the one rally into two which means the two top rides will be riding on Wednesday and the rest of the rides will be on Tuesday. I happen to be in the third ride which means I will be riding on Tuesday. Unfortunately all my friends are in the top two rides which is pretty annoying so it’s my goal to get into one of the top rides ASAP. The top two rides are also getting some really awesome instructors in so I really want to get up there with them. I think I should be able to do it soon. Here’s hoping.

Because it was pouring we had an un-mounted rally. Our instructor came prepared to give us a very informative theory lesson, she also gave us homework! I haven’t homework since I left school a year and a half ago. I’ve already lost it! I know! I can’t believe it. I put it in my back pocket and when I went to get it out last night it had gone! I think I’m going to have to get one of my fellow riders to let me borrow theirs so I can photocopy it. I’m going to get my C+ certificate this season so I need to know all my theory. She also introduced us to the double bridle which I have never really bothered looking at before because I haven’t needed to. She showed us how to hold and reins and explained everything about it. I’m glad I won’t need one for awhile because I don’t think I would be able to get my head around all the reins.

Jack was moving into the herd last night. Up until now he has been with three other newbies. I went to move him after the rally. It was pouring with rain and the wind was wild and freezing. Two of the other horses had already been moved out and the third one was just leaving when I arrived to move Jack. He came running up to me as soon as he saw me. I think he was more worried about being left behind rather then being excited to see me. He was impatient to go and I had to work to make him stand still so I could buckle his halter. Finally we were off. He was pretty well behaved the rest of the time. Standing when I asked and not dragging me (too much). I gave him his feed and then put him with the hacks. He was more interested in the grass then the other horses in the paddock so hopefully I won’t find any big cuts on his legs when I go to see him today. I had my big Kathmandu goose down jacket on during the whole thing which kept my upper half warm and dry, unfortunately it has no hood so my head got cold and freezing as did my legs.

Fingers crossed the weather will hold out the rest of the day as I would like to get to know Jack in better weather. I’m getting a saddle either tomorrow or Friday so hopefully I’ll be able to ride him soon. I’m impatient to be back in the saddle.

Also, this Saturday we are having a Waitakere Push Play day where we provide quiet ponies and hacks that kids from the local community can come and have a ride on (actually its just a lead). They also have an opportunity to groom and pet them. It’s basically a way show our community spirit and encourage kids to get into sports. I volunteered to help and I’ve been given the role of talking to parents and children about our club and what we do using my “people-person” skills. I’m actually quite excited as I love our club and I really want to help give back to our club since they have done so much for me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jack has arrived

Jack arrived safe and sound yesterday at about 1pm. He came off the float no worse for the wear which was predictable considering he is a good traveller and it was only a 20 minute journey. We put him in one of the newly built pens while we tied up the loose ends and I signed the purchase agreement. Once he was signed over and his previous owners left I took him for a walk around the grounds. He was pretty well behaved; he grazed a bit but spent most of the time looking around at his surroundings. After our walk I put him back into a pen and went to get my grooming gear. When I opened my grooming box I found that my first aid spray had opened and spilled through everything so I had to rinse it all out! At least any bugs on the brushes would have been killed. After I groomed him my friend Melissa and I took him for another walk around. Everyone who saw him asked all about him and commented on how gorgeous he was.

He went back in the pen for another little bit while I rode Summer, one of Sue’s (my old instructor) horses. I just took her around the arena a couple of times for fun. Soon it was time for worming. Jack resisted a bit but not for too long. He really has no ground manners though. This showed more and more as the day went on. I did know about it when I bought him. I will have to work on them quite a bit. He spent a lot of his hand grazing time trying to drag me along. I backed him up every time he tried. At one point when I was taking him to his paddock he got pissed off at me when I wouldn’t let him get in front of me so he did a few nice bucks on the end of the lead. I quickly got him to stop and backed him up some more and he settled down. I don’t accept behaviour like that so I will be working hard on his ground manners.

When I put him into a paddock with one of the other newbies he gave her a few sniffs and they soon trotted off together to the hay at the end of the paddock. When I left him he was eating happily.

So I’m off to see him again this afternoon. Tomorrow is the first rally of the season but I want to give him a couple of days to settle in so I won’t be riding him until Wednesday. I didn’t get any photos of him yesterday because I was too busy trying to do other things and since the weather is appalling today I don’t think I’ll try but hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Counting Down

Jack arrives on Sunday! The first pony club rally is on Tuesday but I won't be riding because I want Jack to have some time to settle in. I am so excited! Unfortunately the saddle I had set up for him fell through so I'm rushing around trying to find someone who will lend me a saddle with a changeable gullet before next week. I think I've got one sorted!

I ordered some new grooming stuff which arrived yesterday since most of my stuff got lost when I was in Taumarunui. I didn't really know what size brushes to get since you can never really gauge sizes on the internet. I ended up with a huge dandy brush and a small body brush (its like child size) which is annoying! I can do with the dandy brush but I'm going to have to get a new body brush.

Anyway here are some pictures of Jack and I last time I rode him. I can't wait till I get him into work and get some muscle in the right place. Yes that is mud on the side of his face.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Little Pony 25th Birthday

You remember the days when the closest you could get to having a horse was owning a 'My Little Pony'. You would brush her long, glossy pink mane and tail and have fun adventures trotting and galloping her around your back yard.

Well My Little Pony has turned 25! My Little Pony became so popular in the 1980's it even outsold Barbie!

To celebrate My Little Pony, some well known names have designed some new ponies. Here are a few of my favourites!

Designed by Junie Moon

Designed by Jon Burgerman

Designed by Catalina Estrada

You can check out the rest of them here

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Horse Records Take II

Late last year I wrote a post about Horse Records and how important they are to anyone who owns a horse. You can read it here. I strongly recommend that you read this post as it has a lot of useful information in it and can really help you and your horse.

After an influx of emails and general interest requesting templates and originals I decided it was high time to re post the Horse Information File Template. Instead of using Google Documents, which I never really liked and though looked totally unprofessional (not that I'm a professional at all but I like to take pride in my work), I hit upon a new hosting site called Scribd which has a much better system for uploading Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, Plain Text, HTML, Powerpoint, Excel, JPEG and other documents.

You can access the Horse Information File Template by clicking here which will take you straight to the document and you can download it by clicking the download button on the toolbar once you get there.

If you would rather me email it to you, click on the "Email Me" button under the Contact header on the sidebar and I'll get it off to you as soon as possible.

I've also made the template available on the sidebar under the "Horse Resources Section" along with a "Day Before Show Checklist" and "Horse Show Checklist" which you may find useful.

I hope this helps you all. Let me know if you use it and what you think about it as I would love to hear feedback.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Meet Jack

This is Jack getting all excited because he hasn't seen his friends in awhile

Yesterday was the day I met Jack. Unfortunately M, his current owner was unavaliable to show him to me as she had to put her other older horse down and didn't feel like she would be up to the task. Instead D, his former owner, took the time to talk to me and show me him. My first impression of Jack was great. He came cantering up to the fence when D called him and was super easy to catch.

She told me a bit about him as we got him saddled. She had rescued him off the track when he was a lot younger and he was in bad condition. Thankfully after a bit of TLC he came right. She had always been a show jumper (up until recently) so with her most of his experience was in jumping. She said she just loved his jump but sometimes he was a bit looky and would jump higher then he needed to (at this point he was sounding supiciously like Red). She's done 1.20m show jumping on him. He's done one ODE but has done a few cross country clinics where he was sailing over the Open jumps easily. He's an easy keeper (i.e. not like Red who fluctuates between being practically obese in the Summer to under weight if hes not fed daily in the Winter). His hooves are strong and she only used shoes so she could stud him when jumping. He's never been lame. His ground manners aren't the best I've ever seen but that can be worked on. She had also taken him to her dressage friend and had him schooled. Once they got over the trot situation (see below) he was great. Unfortunately Jack was always the horse D rode last in the day. She had another horse which took priority plus she schooled horses for other people. She said she was always having "first rides" on him and she never liked him enough to want to put up with his trot. Which is why he was passed onto her friend M.

Jack is enjoying a good scratch on his withers. You can just see the pleasure on his face.

Before I got on him she warned me that his trot was sticky and fast... more like a pony trot then the hack that he is. M had also told me about it so I knew that I wouldn't be getting beautiful extensions out of him. I mounted up and took him for an amble around the paddock on a loose rein. Soon I gathered him in and asked for a trot. He went into it straight away and it was diabolical. His neck came up and his steps shortened so much that we were barely moving. His body was bunched and I kept thinking he felt like a colied spring (not in the sense that he was going to suddenly start bucking wildly but just that he was so bunched up). I worked on getting him softer and he slowly started to un-wind and I managed to get a few resonable trot strides out of him. As in trot strides that any normal horse would do immediately. I did a bit of canter and some more trot and walk and then we put him away. Being a trainer herself D said she would be happy to come and give me Dressage lessons since she knew Jack so well. She also offered to float Jack down to Pony Club for me so I can take him over the jumps there. She did warn me that he had been out of work for awhile so for the first few weeks I would get a lot of thoroughbred crap out him until he came back into work. Also apparently he's much better with flat work if you take him out and do some jumping with him first. She stressed the point that because of his trot this was a horse you would have to love otherwise you would just get pissed off everytime you asked him for a trot.

This is Jacks impression of a "too-cool-for-you-cool-guy" as he ignores the other horses. He really just wants to be loved.

Once I got home I gave Sue, my instructor, a call and told her about him. I was going to do this earlier but when I called she was in the middle of a meeting with the Pony Club instructors and I was on speaker phone so I got to say hey to all of them. She said she would give D a call soon and we would go from there. I really think that Jack is the horse for me. Especially with my limited funds. I think his trot can be worked on and that he could be an awesome horse with some work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Once a horse woman, always a horse woman

When I told people I wasn't going to be riding in Auckland many people commented that they were sure I would start riding again one day because you know "Once a horse woman always a horse woman". I agreed with them thinking I would start riding again when I was in my late 20's or something but a higher power decided differently for me.

Since leaving Taumarunui and not being able to ride I've gotten kind of depressed. My zeal for life vanished you might say. I'm not a naturally depressed kind of person. I've always been happy and upbeat and depression has never touched me. But since "giving up" riding I've been down in the dumps. I felt like I had lost a part of my identity. Because I had always been a horse rider and now I wasn't. It all came to a head one day when mum came home with the latest Horse and Pony magazine. I refused to look at it for a couple of days because I wasn't riding any more and what was the point. But that shiny magazine sitting on my desk just beckoned me over. Finally I opened it and promptly burst into tears. It was then I realised I just couldn't give up riding with out a fight. It was my passion.

My good parents had said they would pay my Pony Club fees if I wanted to start riding again. And then a Pony Club friend offered me one of her horses for the season. I went to look at him on Saturday but still quite hadn't made up my mind when I went to a party for her that night. All the rest of my PC friends were there as well and I got to talking to one of them about coming back to Pony Club and how I was looking for a horse. She told me about a great horse she knew about that was in my price range (not very much) who would be perfect for me. The owner was looking for someone who would make him their "No.1" horse.

Anyway I got onto the owner last night and she told me all about this great horse. His name is Jack. He's a 15.2, black thoroughbred gelding. Hes also only 10 years old. He's a been there done that horse but has been out of work for the past few months hence the good price. She has had him for a year but has only done bits and bobs with him because her first priority has always been University and now that she is getting a full time job she just wants him to go to a good home where he will be the "No.1" horse. He sounds perfect and I'm going to see him on Monday! I am so excited. I really have a good feeling about this horse so hopefully things will work out with him. Wish me luck.

Also I've been struggling with what to do next year. I knew I didn't want to go back to full time employment and wanted to study... but what? I had been thinking about going to Telford Rural Polytechnic to do Equine Studies but the accommodation costs would have been beyond my budget so that was a no-go. Thankfully I found another course in Palmerston North at Kyrewood Equestrian Centre. I've applied for the Sport Horse Course and everything looks like its a go ahead at this point in time. So hopefully everything will work out and I'll be studying what I love best next year!

So that's it. I am back for good! Since making the decision to come back to riding I have been feeling a million times better and I can't wait to get back to Pony Club! Now to find a job to fund my passion.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Well a lot has been happening in the past few weeks and its led me to make a very difficult decision. I've decided to move back to Auckland... this coming Tuesday in fact. Its been on the cards for awhile mostly due to financial problems but a recent health scare pushed me to make the final decision. Unfortunately I won't be bringing Toby to Auckland with me as he is needed here for camps in the Summer and it would mean bringing him back from Mid-December to Early February. This cuts into the eventing season which I dont want to do and so he stays here. Since Red is retired (and thats where I think he should stay) I won't be riding when I go back to Auckland. I'm neither in the right financial place or state of mind to look after a horse at this stage.

I didn't make this decision lightly but I believe its the right thing to do for a lot of reasons. And so with the end of my time as an equestrian, so comes the end of this blog. I may raise it from the dead one day if (and I hope I do) I get another horse.

Thank you to all those out there who have supported me throughout this endeavour by reading my blog. I really appreciate it. I enjoyed the time I spent getting to know you and your gorgeous mounts through your own blogs.

May God bless you all.

Happy Riding and Happy Trails.

Love from Katie, Red and Toby

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Out on the farm

For some reason the gods have decided to grace us with nice weather on two sundays running (why they choose not to do it on a saturday I'm not sure). Anyway we took advantage of the break from the rain and went for some nice hacks out on the farm. My friends took some pics and video of Toby and I doing our thing. The video will be published in the next post since I'm having trouble with Blogger uploading it. You can see in the video that Toby is fighting the whole way in, he was full of beans that day and he just wanted to "go go go!" I even got a few bucks out of him which was suprising.

Anywhere heres a picture of us doing the little log. Toby is a mess at the moment with his yellow tail and shaggy fur but he still looks cute.

Jumping the Log

And one of us doing one of the big log


Monday, June 30, 2008

A Glimpse of the Past

Just thought I'd show you some awesome pictures of Toby and my best friend Sarah-Anne in action at Timberlands 2007. Don't they look great?! That will be me next season.

Toby & Shran



Monday, June 9, 2008

I Ride a Wooly White Mamooth

Winter officially arrived on the first of June. It unofficially arrived here early last month. I'm an Aucklander, I come from the warm north. We have cold winters but its nothing compared to Taumarunui winters. Its already been colder here at the start of winter then it ever gets in the dark of winter in Auckland. We live 45 minutes away from Mt. Ruapehu. An active volcano, its also the site of one of the biggest ski fields in New Zealand. Snow started falling on it last month and on Sunday the snow went to the foot of the mountain. The mountains due to open to skiers and snowboarders in three weeks. Reports are that this winter is going to be earlier, colder and longer then other years. It would happen the year I move down. I didn't get much of a chance to acclimatise. At least the skiing is going to be awesome, not that I can afford to go skiing with the petrol and feed prices the way they are.

Toby's coat has grown full pelt even though I've had him well covered since last April. Hes become a shaggy mammoth and I've affectionately dubbed him Wilbur the Woolly Mammoth. Hopefully I'll get him clipped soon.

Somehow he got the memo about the harsh winter before I did.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Say hello to Toby

Well my laptop still hasn’t arrived so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and continue my blog by using one of the local cafĂ©’s computers. It’s going to be hassle. But I’m committed. Anyway.

I’d like to introduce to you a very special friend of mine…

This is Toby.

Toby is my new eventer. Well I don’t own him. But I take full responsibility for him, and I’ll be bringing him with me when I move away from Taumarunui (whenever that may be).

Toby is a 16.1hh flea-bitten grey, ¼ Arab, ¾ something else gelding. He’s the grand old age of 18. Toby is a seasoned eventer with lots of the big pony club competitions under his belt. He’s grumpy, he’s mean but he’s really just big softy at heart.

I started riding him after I turned Ghost out for the winter. He’s the best bareback ride I ever had and I would spend hours roaming the farm with only a halter to control him. In a bridle he can be hard to stop, but bareback and with the halter I would just use my seat and a little hand to bring him back after a gallop. I took him to the last pony club rally of the season. We did flat work and he rocked! The instructor even used us as an example of a balanced canter. Two weeks ago I show jumped him for the first time. Previously I had done a few of our logs bareback but they weren’t much. I started small with the jumps so we could get a feel for each other and by the end of the session we were jumping 90cm easily. I didn’t realise it was 90cm until Sarah-Anne came home and I told her that I had done some small jumps on him. Later when we went to feed the horses we measured the jumps and I was flabbergasted to see that they were that big. A couple of months ago I would have been scared to jump something that height without an instructor. Obviously Toby has been great for my confidence.

Since its Winter Toby and I are just moving along slowly, getting to know each other before the new season which starts in September. We might be doing some Winter Dressage and some dressage lessons but nothing too challenging. Next season I’m hoping to do my first training on him, and also get to Masterton and Timberlands on him (which are two reasonably sized Pony Club competitions).

Sarah-Anne is going to give me a lesson tomorrow if it’s not too wet, so I’ll get her to take some pictures while she is at it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm back... but only temporarily

I'm back!

But not for long since I still have very limited internet access in Taumarunui but I'm in Auckland for the weekend as a suprise for my mum for mothers day... and boy was she suprised when I showed up on the doorstep tonight!! It was great!

I'm riding Toby at the moment (he features in the photographs in this post). He's a flea bitten grey cross breed thats a pro at eventing and so is awesome for me to learn on. I'm concentrating on getting him fit at the moment since he's been out of work for almost a year. He's a grumpy old man (much like Red) and I love him lots! I have lots of fun rides with him.

Anyway here are some pictures from a photoshoot I did with Sarah-Anne and Toby last weekend... enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Going into Hibernation

Hey guys,

Just a quick note to say I’m going to have very limited internet access over the next couple of weeks and so my blogs will be having a temporary break! But I will be back, so check back here in early May!

Stay safe and happy riding!

Love Katie!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


A while ago I mentioned that my Massey Pony Club friends and I were going to have a photoshoot with our horses, photographed by the wonderful Peter and Rosemary at

Well the day for the shoot came and it rained and rained and rained. So we decided to move the shoot into the studio (minus the horses of course).

These are some of my favourites:

Katie 055bw_pp

Katie 069bwsf

Katie 089

Katie 120_ppsf

Katie 123

You can view the rest at or on my general flickr account which is on the sidebar.