Monday, October 1, 2012

Cleveland Bays

Cleveland Bay, I have always loved the breed but never thought I would have the opportunity to own one. I am lucky to have a Cleveland Bay stud locally and I visited them about 4 years ago, where I met and fell in love with a little yearling by the name of David. The stud is now closing down and all youngsters, broodmares and stallions are for sale.........

On Sunday my other half and I decided to go for another visit and see what youngsters they have. We were greeted by Impeccable Marksman, one of their stallions , who enjoyed racing us down the driveway.

We went to have a look at the rest who had been bought into a smaller paddock near the house. Who should be the first face we see..........Little David, all grown up!

His legs forgot to grow but the rest of him didn't! I don't think he is very tall, 16hh but very wide and solid!!!!! He is 5yo now, halter broken and basic handling. Friendly fellow and could do with loosing a few kilos but OOHHHHH so cute!

The next familiar face was Hilda. She is the same age as David and I remember her as well from our last visit. She is now broken in but hasn't been ridden for well over 12 months.

She has the same colouring as her dad, Marksman and such big ears!!!! She was very much in your face and wanted to know what you were doing and if she could help.
There were other beautiful babies and mums but one other caught my eye. A 2yo by the name of Magmus. He didn't want to come in with the others so was left out in the big paddock by himself but such a handsome fellow........
All the horses were in very good condition, maybe a little too good :)
This was a young filly
And another filly
There was weanling but I couldn't get a clear photo of him.
So the decision begins. Who should come home with me!!!!!!!!! I am tempted to take David, Magmus and Hilda home........................................

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tony the Pony

Those beautiful pictures were of Tony the Pony. Tony came to stay with me to be bought back into work to be sold. He arrived on the Sunday, sold on the Tuesday and was picked up the following Sunday. Great for the owner but a little disappointing for me. He was a cracker of a pony, quiet but not dead. Forward but not out of control and could handle a kick, jab in the mouth, rider being unbalanced. He has done pony dressage and showing and pony club. He has gone to a lovely home with a little girl who really deserves him. It was great to have him for a week and to have fun with!!!!!!!
The photos don't do him justice.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



We have had a visitor for the past few days, Roger. A friends horse that I have been trialling to purchase. Roger s a Warmblood gelding 16.3hh, 6.5yo. Handsome fellow and a real character to have around. He loves smooches and scratches and cuddles! Very important!!!!!

Unfortunately Roger requires a LOT of motivation to stay forward, he is a very exhausting ride. My friend eventing him to prelim level but he just doesn't have the want to jump so that is why she is looking for a new home for him.

I am not a strong enough rider to keep him going so unfortunately Roger won't be coming to live with us permanently but I have learnt a lot all ready!

I have been looking actively for a new horse for a now for 18 months. I have been looking for an educated ride to teach me. What I am finding are heavy in your hand horses that are behind the leg and are reasonably dull to the aids. Now I am by no means a great rider, I have a long way to go and a lot to learn but all my horses have always been light in the hand, I can ride them with my ring finger and if I have to close my hand on the reins I am not happy. Yes Sam is a little lazy but not like these 'educated' horses. So what I have decided is that I will look at a green, sound and quiet horses and start again. It takes me a long time to train the basics but at least they have always been light and forward while sensible. I have always gotten horses off the track so I think I will start looking there again.

It was my best friends birthday last month and she requested a pony cake and this is what I made her!!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And we're back!

And we are back!

Sam and I had a holiday over the winter break. It was lovely but I also eventually did miss riding.

Sam met a lovely man, Dr Rob Willis who is a vet but mainly does acupuncture. He spent 1.5hrs with Sam, looking, watching, feeling and pointed out a few different things. Sam has lower back pain due to the left fore issues and he tries to hold himself on the offside hind to help that. This is what is causing him to have trouble when travelling to the left. At least we have answers! So he gave him 4 injections straight into that area to see if that would help. The effects for the next three weeks were interesting. I had one pony who was in a lot of pain. In fact Sam was in a very bad mood, did not want to be touched, patted, talked to. Just fed and left alone. At first I was extremely worried as you could imagine. I mean, Sam would see me and canter to the back of the paddock and keep his bum pointed to me, if I grabbed his halter it would take a while to catch him and even if I bought the float out. But after 3 weeks Sam finally felt better and I was able to bring him back into work slowly. So he has been back in work now for about 10 days and is feeling really good. He wants to stretch a lot more, he is working over the back a lot more. The canter to trot transitions are a little icky but he is still very weak behind from his holiday so I will slowly build up his fitness and strength. We go back for a second visit about mid September.

I had to have Sam's left fore re x-rayed and things are deteriorating rapidly. He now has a spur, the side wall has increased and thickened and the joint disease has progressed. The vets could not believe that Sam was still able to be in work. They recommend having him put down or retired on bute. Of course I felt like the worst mother on the face of the earth and rang Dr Rob Willis for his opinion. He was surprised that the xrays revealed something so bad. He agreed that Sam was not sound but that he could be managed. Sam enjoys being in work and I am very careful on what surfaces he is ridden on and how he is managed.

Sam's tootsies are getting better, back to landing heel toe and he is much more sounder. My farrier comes back from over seas next week so we can get back on track.

I have been looking at horses for sale and I really have a good horse I just wish he was sound. I went to look at one mare and the poor thing was in so much pain. You could see she was sore from head to tail, also needed her hooves tended to properly. She could not hold a light round frame, she could not stretch down. If they didn't have so much money on her I would have saved her! You could see the pain in her eyes and occasionally when she would soften her little face, it was so beautiful! They just needed to drop her price by say $8000!!!!! I guess we can't save them all! So the search is still on...........

Friday, June 22, 2012


My farrier has headed off to Europe for 6 months to spend time with Boyd Martin the number one Aussie with Carriage driving. This left Sam and I (and many others) in a predicament. In my little town we have a shortage of good farriers. The one other good farrier is refusing to take on new clients. So last time Sam was due for shoes we packed him up into the float and travelled 2.5hrs down the road to see another farrier. He works with one of the Equine hospitals so I presumed he would be good. Wasn't I wrong. I should have listened to Sam. He hated him. All farriers love Sam because he stands still and quiet with no complaining unless you take over an hour then he gets restless and bored. Right from the beginning Sam wouldn't stand still, snatching his hooves away, rearing at times. I didn't know what else to do so I got that farrier to finish the job.

Today I went to a new farrier, only 1hr down the road. He took his time and looked at Sam's conformation, the way he stood, walked, his angles, everything. He asked questions and actually listened to the history that I gave him about Sam and his hooves. He took the first shoe off and when he cut away the excess hoof we were in for a shock. The white line at Sam's toe was RED!!!! He was like that in all four hooves at the toe. The previous farrier had changed Sam's gait so badly he had changed it so Sam was landing toe first!

Sam didn't show any lameness between both shoeings only a slight shortness of stride. I thought this may have been due to the fact that it was getting colder and that he was stiffening up.

So Sam now has better angles, was straight away a lot happier to stride out in walk and trot. This farrier created a lovely break over at the toe, my usual farrier always did this but the previous farrier took this away.  I wish I had taken photos but it was so cold and wet and windy I didn't want to slow the process down.

The importance of a good farrier, no hoof no horse!!!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Betsy and Grass Seeds!

Yesterday morning I woke up as normal and went out to wake Betsy up (yes it is a tough life when you have to be woken in the mornings with sweet nothings being whispered in your ears). She started to sneeze. Big sneezes. Sneezes that were so big she would hit the ground with he little nose! She would squish up the right hand side of her face and sneeze so hard. Poor little poopie! They soon settled down but would start up again. After about an hour of sneezing fits I decided to take her to the vet.

Yep they thought there was something up there so she had to go into surgery.  I got the call about 2pm that she had woken up and they found a few long grass seeds stuck up there! Poor little Betsy!
These were the culprits!

When I picked her up she seemed ok but when I got her home it was obvious she was still very groggy from the anesthetic. She went to the toilet and then slowly followed me inside where I helped her up onto her bed.

She was up and down a bit, something to drink, something to eat but it wasn't till this morning that ol' Betsy came back to us. A lot happier and sneeze free!!!!!!

Oh she was a sad sight when she was still groggy. You really just have to love them too bits!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our First Dressage Competition!

Well we did it. We did our first dressage competition on the weekend!

The weather leading up was terrible, freezing, raining, windy. I was only able to ride Monday night, Wednesday night, Friday I floated out to the local uni who has an indoor arena. That was an interesting ride. There was already 3 riders in the arena, I mounted up expecting Sam to be a little forward and interested. We started walking and after a bit he couldn't hold it anymore, he lept a bit, I was able to bring him back but I thought I would lunge him first. He had a good buck and twist and then settled. I mounted again and put him straight to work. We rode for about 30min and the other riders left. Poor Sam had a minor melt down. I didn't want the argument so I finished up as well.

Saturday was freezing, drizzling, just plain depressing weather. I was going to head out to the uni again but I decided to ride in the back paddock instead. I think Sam preferred this and we did mainly fitness work. So we trotted and cantered around on a loose rein and just worked. I then washed him (the blessing of having a hot/cold wash bay) rugged him up, gave him a warm breaky and let him be.

I headed into town to help set up the arenas for the competition. The ground was terrible and we all wondered if we should let the competition go ahead or not. One of the judges had already flown in and the cakes had been made so we decided to go ahead! Our main man who knows how to measure out the arenas first go wasn't able to help us so instead off taking 1.5hrs we there for about 3!!!!!! Never mind it looked great at the end!

When I got home I got all my gear together and plaited up Sam. He is such a good boy, he fidgets for about the first 10min and then gives up and stands quietly going to sleep. It takes me a while to plait up, generally about an hour and that is only the plaiting part, rosetting I do the next day! I packed the car and float, fed my special boy and headed in for a goods nights sleep.

Sunday came, I was up at 5.30am to finish plaiting, have a milo, get my hair done, load up and we were on our way by 7.10am. It was a pea souper! The fog was so thick!!! The drive was slow as I could only see about 30m ahead. When we arrived (only about a 30m drive) I unloaded, let Sam have a walk around and then gave him his breaky. Sam hadn't been to these grounds before and I was wondering how he would go. He was fine of course. Ate his breaky, happy to stand and watch the other competitors arriving.

I allowed a warm of about 40min. The warm up arena was nearly unrideable. We had about 15m wide and 20m long and that was even pretty boggy. We were both travelling along well so I went to have my gear check and warm up near the competition arenas. We have an area about 40m x 50m that you are able to ride in just before your test. This is where I started to come undone. My nerves really set in and poor Sam fed off that. Luckily it was my friend who was the gear checker and she could see what was starting to happen so she helped me through it. Telling me to ride forward, BREATH, and to trust my horse. Sam became very looky and a little horse shy. At one point I thought he was going to show us his acrobatic abilities but I was able to push him through.

Finally it was our turn. I said hi to the judge and headed on down. Our first test was a prep test so only walk and trot. Sam was a super star! About half way through I finally relaxed slightly and we did a pretty good test. We scored 69% and placed 6th out of 13 competitors. Not to shabby!!!!!

Rest time! We had about an hour which was lovely. Sam had a munch, I learnt my next test and caught up with friends!

Our second test was a Prelim test so this one included canter. I tried to have a canter in the warm up arena but that wasn't going to happen. I waited for the area where the arenas or to clear a bit and to let a crazy leave. One poor girl was having a lot of trouble with her horse. Straight off the track I'd say! I felt a lot more confidant this time. I had waves of nerves but on the whole I felt good. Sam cantered nicely both reins. We headed up to the judge and then we were on. We entered, trotted up the center line and our halt was great, forward into the transition and it was square!!!!! I felt we travelling really well, we were late with our canter but I managed to do an ok transition so I was still happy. We were just about to transition down from our last canter to trot when Sam lost it. I didn't even feel it coming, no swish of the tail, no flick of the ear. He bucked, lept, plunged. I stayed on pulled him up, burst into tears and decided to finish what we had started. Our ending was terrible, wobbly centre line, crooked halt but we finished which meant we would get a score.  If you would like to view our test here it is!  Yes we needed to be forward and to be more active but that is what we can work at for our next one!

We still managed to receive a score of 60% and placed 13th out of 28 competitors. I was very happy with this!

We loaded Sam up, Scott took him home while I stayed to help scribe and to help with the scoring and generally help out for the afternoon.

So now full steam ahead for the next comp in August. We have a training day in July which will be good practice.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Great Lesson!

Just got home from a great lesson!

I travelled into Wagga, we haven't had a lesson there this year I think, or if we have it would have been very early in the year. Sam is generally a little spooked at this venue and today he held it together really well. Yesterday's ride he was very forward outside of the arena and played up a few times on our trail ride so I was expecting Sam to be quite spooky today.

I mounted and walker him straight up to the arena end that normal gives us grief. He was looking but listened to me and stayed forward and moved off my leg when asked. We walked around and then moved into trot and worked on keeping him focused and forward. He was lovely and round with out much asking and Jodie our instructor was very pleased with how he was travelling so early.

This lesson  I felt very balanced and in control of my body and it obviously showed as at the end of the lesson we were complimented by Jodie as she remarked she could see improvement in both horse and rider!. I think Sam appreciated it as well!

Sam and I have figured out shoulder in as well it looks like. We have been practising for a few months now and I have been having a lot of trouble. Getting the wobbles mainly. Today we were able to keep it a lot smoother and straighter and I was even able to ask for some roundness as well and was given it!

After a walk break Sam came back upset. Not sure what was wrong so we kept him on a circle in trot and asked him to relax and reach down. We went large and coming across the diagonal he decided enough was enough and decided to have his say. It was a jump and a leap and shake of the head. We turned him on to a smaller circle and really asked him to work. He decided it was easier to work.

Our canter is improving all the time. Sometimes I don't feel the improvement at home so I guess that is why it is so good to have regular lessons, too improve of course but to know that you are on the track at home!

Next weekend is a big one. Sam and I are competing for the first time in 2 dressage tests. A Prep and a Prelim. Jodie is very happy that I decided to do a Prelim as well. She did say not to expect too much in that test but it will be good for my nerves to have a go. I just have to remember FORWARD!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

And we are spoilt rotten!!!!!!!!!

And we have a new saddle! We now are the proud owners of a Keiffer Ulla. Very exciting! It is off having the gullet widened ever so slightly so I have to wait until next week to get it back and I can't wait!!!!!

It really helps put you in a good position, my legs are under me and where they should be and it is hard to lean forward. I felt very centered and balanced and canter is to die for!!!!!!

I think Sam liked it as well!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

To Clip or Not To Clip! and a very clever pony

Now that it is cold again in my part of the world I have to decide if I want to clip Sam or not. I have never looked after a clipped horse in the real cold. We get to about -2 degrees (about 28 fahrenheit) at night and up to about 20 degrees (about 68 fahrenheit) during the day.  I know it will make life easier after I ride but do you think it could possibly make Sam a little 'fresh' as well? He lives out but does have access to his stable and if during the night if it is raining and really cold then I can stable him and keep him dry. I definately will keep his legs and face on. These are some what I am considering -

I am leaning more towards the middle look I think.
So the Pros: Easier to keep Sam clean and dry after I ride. Just a sponge over with warm water after I ride at nnight and he will cry in next to no time.

Cons: Am I able to keep him warm enough with rugs?
His shoulders will really rub
Will he get a little 'fresh'?

Your thoughts? Do you clip your horse through winter? Are there things you don't like about it?

I have a clever little pony I think. I normally let Poppy out in the house yard while I ride so she can have a pick and gallop around if she feels the need. Usually she makes a nusance of herself by galloping onto the arena and off again while I am trying to work Sam. (It is very cute though - she gallops on kicking up her heels, squeals, spins and gallops off again or trots in front of us right under Sam's nose!!!) Sometimes I close the gate so she can't annoy us or I have a small little paddock next to the arena where I put her as well at times. This afternoon I just closed the gate so she couldn't come onto the arena. After I rode I tried to catch her as Sam and I made our way back to the wash bay but she refused to be caught. She still followed us around and just grazed near by while I prepared Sam for bed, made up dinners and did all my evening chores. I finished everything and went to catch little Poppy to put her in her stable for the night, once again she wouldn't let me catch her but she trotted straight into her stable, turned around looked at me and waited for me to come and rug her! She normally doesn't get her dinner till I do the final check/feed at about 10pm. She is such a good little girl sometimes!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Warm up exercise

I found this warm up exercise that I am going to set up tomorrow and try -

Form of Warm-Up Exercise
One of the most beneficial warm-up routines is to lightly massage the neck, shoulder and hind quarter muscles for 10-15 seconds on each side.
Then walk the horse on a lead (already geared up) over 3 parallel jumping poles spaced 4 metres apart on a flat surface, at an angle of 450 to the poles, in a figure 8 pattern for 4-5 laps.
This exercise helps to flex the upper body and spine, strengthen the sacroiliac and lower back area, stretch muscles on both sides on the figure ‘8’ turns and encourages the horse to lift its legs and lightly flex the tendons.
Then a walk to the arena, mount and walk 60 metres up the centre line in a zig-zag pattern, turn at C and lightly trot in a zig-zag, shoulder in movement back to A to warm and limber up for the day’s training exercises.
Lateral movement pattern to strengthen sacroiliac ligaments to assist
recovery and reduce overall risk of sacroiliac sprain.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No Gillis

Gillis won't be joining our family. My instructor was able to do a little more research on him and his previous training. She was able to speak to his current instructor as well who believes he is a great horse to learn on but is only really a prelim/novice horse and I am looking at reaching higher levels. So I have cancelled the second vet check, cancelled the horse transport company and will start searching again.

I am glad we were able to find out more but really disappointed. I really liked Gillis, his personality, he made me feel safe, I always had a smile on my face when I rode him both times but I am also looking for a partner to learn from/with and to move up the grades with and if Gillis wasn't going to go on that journey with me then it is better not to start I guess.

But more about the star of the blog.............................

Sam is a show jumper!!!!! On the weekend I set up a small jump in the back paddock to shake things up a bit. The ground is very soft at the moment due to our rain so I was happy to do this even with Sam’s pedal ostitis. We jumped about 50cm high and of course we felt very professional! I warmed Sam up by starting with trotting over the trot poles, then I made it into a cross rail so I guess it was about 30cm high and then straightened it up to make it 50cm! Sam happily cantered into all of them, although not very straight – a lot of left leg was needed to help keep him straight and our judging of distance isn’t very good but we made it over! On the right canter lead he would pick his hooves up but on the left canter lead he would forget to pick them up and struggled more with the distance.
I have no idea how to help them with distance so I keep them forward into the jump and let them figure it out. I figure I am not going to compete or jump great heights so I shouldn’t over whelm him too much. I few times he started out a little early so the jump was huge and long but I found I was very good at my release so not to catch him in the mouth. 

The main difference I noticed was that he was listening a lot more, sharper to my aids, and tracking up! The tracking up thing thrilled me because that is what I have a lot of trouble with in the arena. Now I know it was something different, in an open paddock but how do I get that in the arena!!!!!
On Sunday I rode in the arena and we were back to not tracking up – I tried to ride like I did the day before – asking for things assertively and trying to be more precise but this didn’t help. I did get some foaming on the left hand side though – THIS NEVER HAPPENS! I took him back out the back paddock and wow Sam was tracking up so much I thought – I wish I had but bell boots on! The canter transitions were fantastic. Our down transitions were a little abrupt – I wasn’t riding them forward enough but he would listen to go straight back up a gait again. So nice! Now I need to be able to sit to it! Sam really isn’t all that comfortable at the sit trot, even when he does give you his back!

It has turned really cold here. Temperature wise it isn't too bad but the wind chill factor is freezing!!!! Sam has blown his coat and is now a fluffy pony! We really need to get the hot water organised to the washbay!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gillis's vet check

I haven’t posted about Gillis because I am a little unsure at the moment. He was vet checked last Monday. The vet who checked him is very high/well known rider and judge in Australian dressage and I have heard she is very picky and really takes her time and checks everything – fantastic! I told her who the first owner was and who had really set his foundations and she knew them and agreed they were very good with cementing the basics well into a horse. She really liked his temperament and thought he was a nice horse. In the flexion test he failed on his left hind. Trotted out lame, improved on the way back. When she did the flexion test on the right hind he trotted out sound on the left. She then put him on the lunge and he showed up lame in that left hind again. Only at the trot. Not major, just stepping a little short by about a hoof length. She couldn’t tell me why without nerve blocking, xrays. She couldn’t palpate anything. She wondered if because he is not in full work he had some muscle soreness.

 I then had a look at my videos. The first visit I had I couldn’t see anything. On the second visit I think I can it on the video. Have a look here and what do you think? Am I just searching for something because I was told he was off? I feel bad for now riding him for as long as I did but I honestly couldn’t feel it. A couple of times I thought he may have taken a bad step.

I thought long and hard about how I wanted to proceed. The owner is devastated and swears he has never had a lame day with her. I have requested for him to have a week off and then he will be seen again on Thursday. If he fails again I will let the owner decide on how they want to proceed with investigations. It is so slight I wonder if I am being too picky for a 13yo, very heavy set Warmblood but Sam is already a little scratchy and I really didn’t want another ‘scratchy’ horse. If it is a muscle thing I have an absolutely fab chiropractor but then I don’t want to spend a lot of money on purchasing Gillis, having him treated by the chiropractor to find out that it wasn’t a muscle/out of alignment thing at all. 

Lucky I have a Super Sam to keep me sane!!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Last night was the longest night of my life! I was awake before the alarm went off. My stomach was doing somersaults, I felt sick, nervous, unsure. I was on my way to see the beautiful Gillis again!

We arrived early and waited with anticipation. Finally Gillis turned up and I was able to see how well he travelled in the float and unloaded. He happily came out and stood tied to the float as he was tacked up. I rode him from the beginning this time. He seemed to have a spring in his step and was a little 'looky'. So we put him to work. Within half a 20m circle he started to concentrate on the job at hand. His work ethic is amazing.

I got the walk forward, round and loose so we had a fiddle with leg yielding, shoulder in, renvers. If I asked correctly it was a breeze, if I didn't, nothing happened! I found him a lot easier to get going this time and felt that I didn't have to 'ask' as much to keep him going. The trot work was better and I was able to get him working in a nice frame quicker. I did quite a few walk trot transitions and found this really helped get him up and going and motivated.

The canter was harder to keep this time and I found it really strung out. I tried to do a few across the diagonal and change the canter at 'X'. This was hilarious. The transition down to trot was huge and threw me around that much I couldn't get my seat back to ask for the other canter lead and I was laughing too much to ask as well!!!!!!!

At the end of the ride I took him for a walk around a grassed area and to areas that he hadn't seen before. He took it all in his stride. I gave him a warm hose down, cuddle and helped get him ready to go back on the float. I was able to load him onto the float which he did with ease.

The long drive home was spent discussing do we or don't we add another addition to our family. Weighing up all the pros and cons. Gillis ticks just about every box I have, except for the cosmetic things which really aren't that important. He has:
Great temperament
Solid foundations
School master
Good education level
Rhythmical in his paces
Great manners
He can help me move forward with my riding by helping me ride correctly
Sound? - Only a vet check will determine this

So I have made the decision to buy Gillis, pending vet check. After about 6.5 long years of looking, I have made a decision. So fingers crossed he passes the vet check. I have confidence that he will. I only have one concern and that is on both his front knees there is a small soft movable lump.

So soon hopefully Gillis will be on his way to his new home!!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I think I have found him!

I think I have found him.
Last weekend I met Gillis. A Warmblood, 16.3hh (a very big solid 16.3hh), 13yo, bay gelding. It was love at first sight. He is not pretty or handsome but I thought he was beautiful! His head is huge!!!! His cannon bones are huge!!!!!! He is huge!!!!!!

Gillis is trained to Elementry level dressage and I found him very difficult to ride. I don't like how I look on him - I look like a beginner rider because I don't know his 'buttons'. After a while I all of a sudden got a light, forward, up in the back trot and OMG it was amazing.

We are going to have a second ride on Saturday. This time I am going to do a lot more transistions, leg yeilding and have a go at shoulder in. I hope I will be able to ride him better. There are a few other people interested so I need to make a decision on Saturday!!!!

This is his ad:
Gillis is a 13yo bay 16.3hh Warmblood gelding of Contact & Grannus breeding. I bought him when I was coming back into riding after 10+ years off and having had children. He has been the best confidence builder and has competed with me in Prep, Prelim and Novice and training Elementary. We won Shoalhaven Dressage Club reserve Prelim HOTY 2009 and he was Novice Champion with previous owner. Good on trail rides and can jump. Great to CSF. No vices. Selling as concentrating on daughter's riding

This is the link to me riding Gillis.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Our Lesson

I have been having a lot of trouble with my saddle since the saddle fit so at home I have been using my all purpose saddle so at least I am balanced in the saddle.

Yesterday we travelled down to Albury (about an hour away) to have a lesson and my instructor was very kind in letting me try her saddle a Keiffer Ulla. OMG it was so nice and really let you sit deep and drive with your seat.

My lesson on the other hand was certainly hard. Not that they are ever easy but boy did she work us. About 45min of sitting trot! I have been having a lot of trouble at home and it certainly became apparent pretty quickly what it was. Every lesson I am told 'forward' 'get him more 'forward' but it wasn't the speed it was the activity in the hindquarters that she was after! DUH! At least the 'forward' that I had at home meant that Sam listened a little more when we asked him to be rounder and more active!

It took a good 45min of hard riding to get Sam to relax a bit more through his back and really let himself swing.

His canter was so much better, the activity in his hindquarters was amazing. He can be very ‘rocking horse’ like and it was great to feel the forward impulsion!. I think this was because we worked so hard on the trot it really helped the canter. As my instructor says at the moment we are ‘pretty good’ but we want GOOD! So more to work to go on with but we are slowly improving, each month we are getting it a little more together!

At the end of the lesson I went rising and I slowly let out the reins and Sam stretched down, his back came right up and that little engine from behind powered on! It was just fantastic!

The Keiffer Kurr that I mentioned in my last post, they didn't have it in black in stock! :(

I have found a new demo Keiffer Ulla in my local saddlery so I am off to see them tomorrow to line up a deal I think. Saddle shopping is expensive and a pain but it was really good to have a really decent ride in a saddle to really get a feel for it. Sam was happy in it and didn't seem sore after at all.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Saddle Problems

Saddles. You have them right they are wonderful but when they are wrong they are a nightmare!

I currently ride in Keiffer Wein and while it fits Sam well I am struggling. I had it fitted in January. They had to add more padding at the front which at the time didn't click to me that it would change my seating position. I know that sounds dumb but I guess you have to learn the hard way sometimes.

I have been finding it hard to get comfortable since and my instructor even commenting on how awful my position now is. She advised to put a folded towel under my saddle at the back. I tried this this afternoon and wow what a difference. I felt in a more balanced position, more even in my seat and I felt that I was able to sit straighter.

I will contact the people who did the saddle fit and let them know of the problem I am now having so hopefully they will be able to set things straight next time they are in my part of the country.

My instructor has suggested I look at a better dressage saddle - maybe the Keiffer Ulla. I stumbled across the Keiffer Kurr tonight. Brand new, the saddlery store is closing down and selling it for HALF PRICE! HUGE saving. My problem is I have never ridden in one! Dilemmas!

Our ride this afternoon wasn't too bad. I am just having a lot of trouble getting Sam motivated and forward. We will get there and he is a lot better out than at home but it gets very frustrating!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Training day, Injury, Floods, Colic, Killer Mozzies and flies

Sam and I made it through the training day last month. We managed a Prep and Prelim dressage test. Lets just say it is really lucky that I have a horse that can hold himself together while his rider is having a nervous breakdown! We arrived the day before and camped over night. I was able to ride Sam around the grounds and get a feel for the place and figure out what arenas we were using. The morning of the big day I rose early to give Sam his breakfast and I couldn't see him!!!!! There he was flat out having a snooze - guess I didn't have to worry about him not feeling comfortable!

My first test was the Prelim at 8am. I started to warm up at 7.15am. I wanted to calm myself down and try and get Sam nice and supple. Well I was a mess. My OH came over at 7.50am with my jacket and I decided that I wanted to give up and go home. He was awesome and basically told me to get on Sam and do what I came to do! The judge was running about 20min which of course didn't help the situation! I was so tense that the test was horrible. Poor Sam was extremely tense because of me but we made our trot canter transitions where we were meant to and I was so proud of Sam.

We then had 15min of training with a coach and she was marvellous. Helped calm me down more, helped me relax which of course helped Sam and we went back and had a second go at the test. It was much better. More supple and free. I had about a 30min break before our next test which was the Prep test. By this stage Sam was starting to tire so I took him back to the float to have a rest, drink and quick snack.

Our Prep was good but this time we were the opposite from tense we were flat. I think we were both tired and it was starting to warm up. I didn't take the opportunity to use the coach on hand. I wanted to save some of Sam's energy for the final test. I decided to put spurs on to see if that helped. WE DID IT!!!!!! Please find a some footage of our last test
here. I was extremely happy with this test. I thought we were pretty good! So it was a fantastic weekend. I learnt that Sam holds it together extremely well while I am having a nervous breakdown, he works well with other horses, a 40min warm up will probably be suffice!

After a very good lesson the other week Sam injured himself yet again. We have been having a lot of rain lately and Sam must have been walking very close to the back of the stables. When the stables were being built one of the holes was dug in the wrong spot so they filled it up and dug it in the right spot. Due to all the rain the ground is soaked, it can not hold anymore water. Sam sunk in the hole that had been filled. As he pulled it out the top of his hoof has caught on the corrugated iron
Off to the vet to make sure all was ok. I had to keep it bandaged for about 10 days. During those 10 days The Rock and Wagga Wagga flooded. So Sam was stabled for about a week. By that stage I had a very grumpy horse on my hands who I had to turn out during the day or my stables weren't going to survive. (Sam loves his stable when he can come and go as he pleases, not to be locked in day after day after day!) I was able to keep the bandage on during the day which was lucky. He wasn't lame at all during this time but in the beginning didn't want to stand with all his weight on it, he would rest that hoof a lot.

We are on top of a hill so our place doesn't flood, but The Rock didn't fair so well. We had floods in 2010 where many people in our little town had their homes damaged. This was meant to be once in 100 year flood, and in 2012 it happened again but worse.
This photo was at the bottom of our road.
At this stage it was still rising. The creek that is flooding is behind those trees in the distance the township itself is on the other side of those trees. Luckily it went down that night and we were able to get out and get into Wagga Wagga but many residents in Wagga Wagga were effected as well.

The day we were flooded in, little Poppy had impaction colic. I rang the vet who advised just to watch her. She was spasming a few times through out the day where she would just sit down and look at her belly. I took her for a small walk around lunch time which picked up her spirits which was nice to see. By the evening still nothing had passed through but she had her appetite back. I found an old timers solution for impaction colic - feed epsom salt. So I gave Poppy a very small feed of white chaff and added a teaspoon of Epsom Salt to it. She ate it all and by 1am she had left me a nice little parcel of manure! I was so happy! I hate seeing your horse in pain and being able to do nothing. Since then I have heard that quite a few horses came down with colic the week of the floods.

Now we are dealing with monster mosquitoes that are huge and bite hard. During the day the flies are driving the horses nuts. They are really biting as well. There seems to be a shortage of citronella oil concentrate. I can not track any down anywhere and normal human aeroguard is not helping combat the flies.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Listen to your pony!

I waited until it was twilight last night to ride due to the heat. I could Sam wasn't into the whole training thing but we have our training day next weekend so we still need to practice. We started out with a lot of walk, long and low, stretching, moving the shoulders and hindquarters, I was trying to help supple him up a little more being that he wasn't in the mood. Up into trot and the groaning started! Sam was actually groaning! We did a few quick walk/trot transitions to help wake him up - nope more groaning!

I decided not to push the point and we went out for a hack in the reserve. That perked him up. Sam trotted out nicely, very forward but listening, I got him to stretch his back and his little ears were forward and he was having a great time. We hacked out for about 40min and when we got home I popped back onto the arena to make sure it helped. Yep he was still lovely and forward and we did two canter transitions both directions. They were great so i left it there.

I felt there was no need to push him in the arena. He worked well out on the trail and did as asked in the arena at the end. I think he also appreciated the fact that we finished there.

So listen to your pony!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

By George I think We've Got It!

By George I think We've Got It!

Sam and I have been working on transitions, flexion and canter transitions. I have been riding! When I saw that I mean I am not just sitting on board and hoping for the best I have been riding and thinking about what we are doing.

With the training day coming up I have been practicing parts of the tests. Usually I canter after I have him really soft and round and forward on a 20m circle and if need be doing a 10m circle and cantering from that - helps with the flexion and bend. But today we practiced canter in the corner. He did really well! To the right he wasn't quite as rigid and stiff and to the left he didn't leap anywhere near as high - as long as I really tried to keep him relaxed.

Things are falling into place and for the first time in my riding life I can feel the improvement and I feel like I am doing an OK job!!!!! It does help that I have a wonderful pony!!!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tomorrow was/is better!!!!

After a good nights sleep and some thinking into my riding and what I am asking for from Sam I woke this morning ready to ride again. Sam wasn't very impressed that we were going to work before breakfast but today was/is meant to be another scorcher and I wanted to beat the heat.

First I lunged. I am not a fan of artificial aids but I remembered something that I used many years ago on Jackie and it certainly helped us then so I figured I would try it on Sam but on the lunge first. The name of the piece of equipment - I do not know. It is all elastic that basically goes from the bottom of the girth up between the front legs through the rings of the snaffle and around the poll. It is all one piece. I hope this makes sense. Anyway basically the idea is that when they put their heads in the air they feel pressure and need to lower it again to release the pressure. Sam figured it out on the lunge pretty quickly and his transitions from walk - trot - canter and back down again were all a lot smoother once he figured it out. I would not use this equipment often as I do not want him to learn that he could in fact lean against the elastic and pressure.

I then went and saddled him and asked for long and low and stretching walk straight away. Got it! Moved into the trot and the first transition wasn't too bad - no big leap. Still tension in the neck area but his head didn't come up as high and his first stride was from behind, Yes! He stayed pretty good in the trot in a prelim frame, soft, round, forward off my leg. I was on the left rein and I took sitting trot and he accepted this. I made the circle a little smaller and asked for a little more bend than normal and asked for canter - WAHOO no leaping into it! The left rein has generally been our really big leap into it rein. Now don't get me wrong they certainly weren't going to get an 8 in the dressage ring but compared to what we have been getting for the past few months - yes bloody fantastic. Another interesting point - I didn't put my lower leg so far back.

(Trot - canter transitions have been my bug bare nearly my whole riding life. I have no idea why but I have always pretty much well just sat there, given the aid and hoped for the best. Hoping like hell the horse didn't buck. Has a horse ever done this too me - yes but it certainly was never huge and I have always been able to ride through it. I don't know why I have always been so scared of these transitions. This time I really concentrated on what my body was doing and what I was asking for and RIDING the transition and look what happened!)

So we cantered a circle transitioned down to trot and did it again, and again it was good! and then AGAIN it was good! I changed the rein and tried to the right. On this rein he usually would stick his head out straight and stiffly canter off. Once again I took up sitting trot and put him on a slightly smaller circle, asking for a little more bend than usual. Give and take, give and take on that inside rein, inside calf on and off with the rein. Outside leg on slightly behind the girth and boom we were in canter. No where near the amount of stiffness that there usually is. We continued to canter for a circle then back to trot to try again. Again it was better and the 3rd time it was better!!!!!! I had to stop there, I figured he gave me 3 fantastic transitions on both reins - lets not push the matter and wreck what we got.

I cooled him down by taking him for a quiet walk down the road and into the reserve, around the dam - watching the little fish catching the insects on the water and having a munch now and again. I think he enjoyed the long relaxed walk home. We were about 40m from the front gate when his back shoe half came off. I was able to pull it off safely and I am glad it happened so close to home. Now I am begging that my farrier can see him tomorrow!!!

So I am hoping that we have started working out that canter transition!!!!!!!!

Sometimes a good nights sleep is all you need!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I hate those frustrating rides! I had it all planned to work on transitions today. Halt - walk - trot and back down again. I wanted us to be forward and a little more off the aids than what we usually are. I visualised them in my head and what I would try and do with my body.

It was hot, still and yucky but sometimes it is going to be like that when we compete so I figured we have to be able to work in any weather. Sam was looky and more forward than usual. That will help I figured, nope, we had trouble even staying rhythmical at the trot.

I could feel myself getting worked up and I tried so hard to stay calm and not apply aids harshly. I had to give up. I had to dismount and go for a walk. I did some ground work with Sam - asking him to move his hindquarters, shoulders and to back up. I only did this for about 5min, hoped back on and could feel the difference. While he was still more forward than usual he was listening a lot better. By this stage it was dark and I was unable to get my lights to work for the arena so had to call it quits after about 5mins but I was happy where we ended. He was stretching down at the trot and a lot more rhythmical.

Tomorrow - tomorrow will be better!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Right on track!

So much has been happening!

I'll start from the beginning. I don't really do New Years Resolutions but this year I decided to set myself some goals.

Be more focused with my riding
Try to ride Sam x5 times a week
Attend x2 training days through out the year
Attend x4 dressage competitions through out the year
Have at least 1 lesson a month

So far this month I have had my lesson, entered a dressage training day for next month and I have tried to focus better during my rides. Due to our very hot summer so far I haven't been able to ride x5 times a week. I am generally exhausted by the time I get home from work, we try to have dinner first and then I go out to ride.

Sam is working well and we have started shoulder in. I think I am trying to make it more difficult than it really is but we will get there! I had a saddle fitter come yesterday to check my saddles. My Keiffer fit the best and only required a little more packing at the front. My Anky doesn't fit at all so I will try and move that on. He was very thorougher and explained things well. He also said as politely as possible that Sam is obviously very well looked after and does not need to put on any more weight! I was also concerned that he may be a little sore in his back but he assured me that Sam was fine and he could tell that he has been working correctly with the muscle that is developing along his back - YAY we are finally getting ourselves into gear and working properly!

I also registered myself and Sam with the EA - Equestrian Australia. This is the organisation that helps organise our international events, the Olympic teams etc. I need to be part of this group for insurance when I compete or attend certain training days. Sam also had to be registered and so we had to come up with a competition name, what other name could we have chosen but SUPER SAM!

So we are on track with our training, fitness, health, and I think this year is going to be a good one!!!!!

On another note we have a new addition to our family. Betsy! We met Betsy at our local pound. She had been there since Boxing Day. No history is known, we don't know her name, breed, age, training but we are getting to know her and she us. (We gave her the name Betsy) She came home about 3 weeks ago and has settled in very well. She is only little - 17kgs and is now a very happy dog. He tail doesn't stop wagging! She is a little slow with the horses - has no fear which can be a little bit of a problem but she is slowly learning to stay out of their way.

She was checked by vets before we picked her up and they aged her around 8 years old, no idea on her breed but we are throwing around the idea of beagle, staffy, cocker spaniel. She has certainly been loved in the past so it is a mystery why she ended up in the pound - very sad.


Surveying her new home

The face that is constantly looking up at you!!!!

We were a little unsure about getting another dog as we only lost Jack in November last year. I didn't/haven't posted about that yet as I am still not strong enough or ready to share that story. He was part of our family for 13.5 years and we think the best dog ever!!!!

Betsy is a very good girl and we love her already. She gives good cuddles and when her whole body wriggles with excitement you can't help but smile and laugh with her!