Monday, 18 September 2017

Ailbhe aka HRO (His Royal Orangeness) and his adventures




I  thought it was about time to share a big orange bouncy ball highlights 'reel'. Some long-time readers of my blog may remember that I sold Ailbhe as a foal to the far north where he stayed for approximately two weeks before I purchased him back and thus he became my big orange bouncy ball because he bounced right back to me! After that experience, which was pretty full on for a six month old baby, I told him I would never sell him again, at least not unless the very perfect home came along. Fast forward three years and that home appeared thanks to an online chat and a good dose of serendipity. 

Juliet drove down from Tauranga to meet me and Ailbhe in February 2016. I had begun the starting process by this time and Ailbhe had been ridden, by me, at walk trot and canter. He was never any trouble at all - I basically got on and went. Within 3 weeks of arriving in his new home, Juliet was riding him and she has been the only person to ride him since early March 2016. 

In April 2016 he had his first competition - an in hand outing where he came away with Supreme Champion. Not a bad start! His first ridden competition was an unregistered dressage outing where he came home with 2 x 4th place rosettes. These were training tests. The following month he did his first Level 1 test (again unregistered) at Te Teko and brought home a yellow frilly (3rd). At the Bay of Plenty Area PC Tournament in December 2016, Ailbhe scored a whopping 80% in one test and a more than respectable 74.2% in the other - These were training tests. Another outing, this time to the Wendy Richards Memorial Show and Ailbhe, over 2 days, came home with Champion best average score for a Rotorua member in the  unregistered horse section.


Overall achievements for last season saw Ailbhe take away the BOP Dunstan Accumulator Champion Unregistered for 2016/17 and he was 3rd in the Rotorua High Points Unregistered 2016/17 season.


Ailbhe is now registered with the ESNZ and had his first start in August this year with a 3rd placing in his first ever registered test. Since then he has consistently had marks in the low to mid 60's and has amassed 31 points in four competitions - He has also been talent spotted and won the Prydes Easi Feed 'one to watch' at the Rotorua Spring Spectacular!


In all of his many outings since he began his competitive journey, Ailbhe has only twice come home without a prize of some description - Not half bad for an overgrown/giant jumping bred pony with one leg on backwards!



Now if I could only convince Juliet to jump him!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Tempi has a jumping lesson

Today we took Tempi down to Otawa Equestrian to have a jumping lesson (she has done a tiny bit of jumping already but this was her first focused jumping lesson). A few baby moments but she was super good, especially on a windy day in a brand new place. She even loaded on to a strange float with a strange horse already on board and traveled to the location like a wee star. Proud mummy moment. Laura rode her really well and handled her green moments beautifully but apart from the odd shy at random things around the arena and a super green leap over some fill (oh yeah, there is definitely some scope in there!), she behaved like a pretty experienced pony. Very exciting!

Tempi's rather green moment over the fill!

And Tempi being all pro and getting on with the job!
















Thursday, 7 September 2017

Tempi

It's time to get serious about preparing Tempi for sale so she has come back into work and gone to Laura at Woodlea Farm for professional schooling and mileage/competition experience. I popped down to see her today as I had booked a dental for her this afternoon and got some photos of Laura's ride. Such a nice pony, someone is going to be very lucky!











Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Drafts do Dressage!

So we've gone racing, we've gone eventing and most recently, on Sunday Meg and I ventured out to our first dressage competition in 6 or possibly 7 years. The first time we tried dressage Meg was just a baby horse at her very first competitions and we did the training tests but this time we pushed ourselves all the way up to the giddy heights of Level 1, haha! 

Meg was, as always, a star! She was SUPER tense and felt like she might explode in the warm up for the first test so we did a LOT of walking. By the time the rider before us was in doing their test, we had managed a couple of reasonable canters and settled down enough so as to feel vaguely under control so into the arena she trotted as I smiled and tried to remember to breathe! Meg tried her wee heart out but was super distracted by the horses and riders in the big arena or perhaps it was all the cross country jumps she could see? I don't know what it was but SOMETHING to the right as we headed up the centre line grabbed and held her attention for 75% of the test but the 25% that I felt like I had her, felt amazing! We still managed to get a pretty great score of 64.62% and points on the championship table, which is hugely promising as I know she has a MUCH better test in her - Makes me excited for the future.

Second test was a bit of a disaster. It was on grass and I felt her confidence slip along with her feet on the first corner and it was basically downhill from there. I wasn't sure how to ride her and so opted for conservative riding and just trying to get through the test in one piece. She was tense and hollow but she did try and even though it wasn't pretty, we still got both our canter leads, maintained the canters, didn't fall over, didn't leave the arena and get eliminated and did manage to score over 55% so not a complete disaster. I think we were 16th in the class of 23 so we also weren't the worst. I do think we will probably always struggle on grass. She is such a lot of horse to contain in a small space and she really does work better on good footing. Another good reason to get out of the lower grades and in to L2 and above where we are pretty much guaranteed an arena on the available all weather surface.

I'm just so proud of her! Next competition is in 2 weeks and it is the second day of the dressage series and then, a week later, we have a Hickstead Day (dressage followed by a combined cross country and show jumping course) - Exciting!















Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Cart Horse who went Racing

The Castlepoint Races took place a couple of weeks ago and Meg, along with 7 of her 'kind' took part in a demonstration race. What fun! I rode Meg on the beach the day before to give her some time to become familiar with the waves and sand and then my lovely friend Francesca took the reins on race day. Here are some photos that Nick took of Meg and I on the beach on the Friday evening:


And here are the raceday photos:















 The impressive shy at the finish flags that probably cost her the win, lol!






She ran third! Can't wait for next year!!