Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wet Ears!

Three pairs of very wet ears on a walk around the racecourse block yesterday evening!

Mystery lameness seems to have gone away, I gave Oscar a walk, trot, canter on both reins in a small paddock and he seemed happy enough - if slightly bored and unmotivated. It's okay, it's nearly Friday.

So to perk things up we went on a hack with our two favourite riding buddies.

It's very cool that N, T and I all have very similar goals with our horses and we had a long chat about next season. We're all busy adults too, and so have all experienced how life gets in the way of competitions, which is great as now we've made a pact to push each other to achieve our goals next season!

Both N & T were keen show jumpers, but I may have enticed N to the dark side. She owns a Thoroughbred after all, and her horse has a very cool attitude for eventing. He's scopey, honest and is a quick thinker in a tricky spot. Very excited at the thought of having a B2 next season, and Oscar seems to enjoy Spook's company.

Since my horse is currently sound, our lesson this evening gets the go ahead. One of my small goals to pre novice is to win/place in a dressage series. I'll talk to C tonight about which level will be appropriate, I'm secretly hoping to compete level 3, but it's been a good four years since we've done a dressage test and so it might pay to be conservative.

We shall see!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tielcey Park Fun Day

The last time I rode Oscar at home he was a troll and kept running through the bridle and refusing to listen to me. No matter how long I rode him for, he wouldn't tire. I just kept riding and riding, thinking that as soon as he softened I would stop and bring him in just to finish on a good note. 

He didn't soften, instead he got stronger and stronger. Reaching my wits end, I just rode him on over to the racing yards and paid one of the jockeys to gallop him on the sand race track to make him really too tired to pull. Although he was strong for the jockey to eventually pull him up, he did walk nicely on a long rein for me afterwards, and I jumped on that as a good place to stop. He was pretty hot and sweaty as you can imagine, so I gave him an iodine bath with epsom salts to cool off and kill any bugs from the racing track pads.

The following day I gave him a good 90 minutes in the back on track rug and planned to have a flatwork session the day after that. However I got really sick instead! So sick I was off riding for two weeks and missed uni. Here's a tip from experience: when you have the flu, give yourself enough time to recover properly! The moment I felt like I was improving, I jumped onto house work and cleaning. That night I was back to square one, crook as a dog!

So, when I saw that Tielcey Park were having a 'fun day' with some round the ring classes, I initially thought it wouldn't be a good idea after yet another holiday for Oscar, and that I should look at the next one. Then I realised I am chief procrastinator, so decided to just do it anyway!

Oscar warmed up didn't really warm up. He was super excited and fresh and happy to be out with so many other horses. Another lady had quite an excited horse there and we joked about how us humans just did not understand just how eeeeexciiiiting it was! Oscar just wanted to buck, buck, buck in the warmup ring. Past experience told me that you've just gotta sit tight and keep cantering and he eventually bucks himself out, so I didn't really react to it at all. Glad I left him to it because L told me he thought I was a really good rider after that, and he never talks about riding at all so that was worth more than a ribbon even. Haha, easily satisfied! People may think I'm not fazed by Oscar's bucking, but after I got bucked off that Appaloosa, I'm a little more hesitant!

Over in the main ring was a similar story, but we got tired of bucking and just wanted to go faaaast. Faster than all the other ponies - vroom vroom! Oscar was having the time of his life.

Within five minutes the classes had started, starting with turnout. We didn't place in that class at all, obviously I wasn't going for turnout as I hadn't even put on one of the white 'at home' saddle blankets or light jodhpurs. I did wear gloves and put my hair in a bun though haha.

I don't want to stand here for a photo.... I'll just wriggle over here away from that camera...

No photos please.

Fine! You can have a photo but quick I want to race everybody!

Second class was best pony club mount. We didn't place here either because somebody still wanted to go fast. You can see below just how eager my horse is. Yeah... he doesn't get out much lol.

Leaving the ring without a ribbon, yet again (only because there was no class for cuteness ha)! 

Third class was the rider class, and he had started to settle. I think the judge felt sorry for me because she let me win first place here. Despite my apparent inability to control my wildebeest, I must have been sitting quite pretty. You can see below though I had that sit-back-legs-forward-and-off-slow-the-f-down seat going on.

We moved into the indoor arena for best walk, best trot and best combination. Oscar has never been in an indoor in his entire life, he's an outdoorsy type and doesn't even like warm cosy stables. However, he was a darling and proceeded to win the best walk class. He must have been super happy to be in the ribbons because he wanted to rub all over the judge to say thanks. Of course I didn't let him, but he gave it a good try. Proud mumma to embarrassed mumma in 0 to 30 seconds.

He surprised me yet again by coming second in the trot class. The judge said there were just one or two sticky moments (when coming past the mirrors) where he wasn't quite consistent. That was true, it seems my horse doesn't take kindly to his twin popping up for a few seconds here and there.

In the best combination class we came third. To me he actually felt the best in this class, a horse took off past him bucking and bolting just as the judge asked for a canter transition, so I was late to do this. Oscar didn't seem to mind the other horse though and he did some really neat upwards transitions and for the first time settled in his canter. A cute little paint pony won this class, wearing a bright teal saddle blanket and his owner was wearing matching coloured hair ties. They were such a cute combo, I want to match my horse next time!

 Overall it was a fun morning, we were only there for a couple of hours after arrival and Oscar had a blast. There's another fun day next month and I think we'll go for the jumping instead of the flat. For $2 you get to do a practise round, not judged or anything. I think that will be super useful to help me overcome my show jumping nerves before the winter series kicks off. I doubt I'll do the winter show jumping anyway, but just in case!