Sunday, 11 November 2012

Where to begin?

I must apologise to those of you who actively follow my blog. I have just been so busy these last couple of months that my blog really has fallen by the wayside. I now manage a wee shop in town called Bow + Arrow, opened by friends and neighbours Peter and Danielle. Here we sell vintage designed leather bags and jewellery and accessories suited for both men and women that draw influences from nature, folklore and contemporary style. It's a neat wee shop and the products are lovely and it is becoming a very popular place for gift shopping in Masterton - Something the town has needed for some time! I am also helping my amazing friend, Veterinarian Louisa Gleeson, with her new equine only Veterinary practice, Wairarapa Equine. It's an awesome experience being part of two new businesses as they build  from the ground up and I feel very privileged but it is also a lot of work ... hence my fall out of the blogosphere!

We had an awful winter and this also did not inspire much written creativity nor did it encourage me to get out and about with my camera. The mud, it seemed, was never ending and at times I felt it was going to suck me under, suffocate me and then spit me out, a bedraggled miserable sod, lifeless on the ground. Really, it was that bad! But spring is here! Hallelujah! The paddocks are struggling to recover and some areas that were particularly bad have dried into massive craters. Not sure how to deal with those - think the horses are just going to have to trample them flat over the summer.

Our breeding season did not start particularly well with the realisation that two of the mares had lost their pregnancies over the winter. Sabrina was in foal to Hamish and Hooty to Brennan. I am undecided as to what to do with Hooty. She is twenty now and looks magnificent but she was difficult to get in foal last year and with the pregnancy not holding, I wonder if this is nature's way of telling me it is time for her to retire. She has also been quite lame in the last couple of months (she has always had an intermittent lameness, this is how I got her as a broodmare). I need to make some decisions about her future soon really. But Bernie (Rei-Huia Bernadette) and Maddy (Biwmares Madonna) who are both in foal to Brennan have held their pregnancies and are looking beautifully round and well. Both were bred on the same day so have the same 'due date' close to Christmas. Maude who wintered so exceptionally well has gone to run with Hamish for, we hope, one last foal. If not, she and Hamish are blissfully happy being re-united as husband and wife and Hamish will enjoy her ongoing company.

To add to the dramas of the breeding season, Brennan had his first date with the phantom for the season on Friday. All went swimmingly (pardon the pun) and the semen was sent on its merry way to Southland. Or so we thought ... I got home yesterday afternoon to a message from Victoria to say that it had not turned up and was basically still 'in transit'. In other words, the idiots had lost it! Gnarrr! Stressful for everyone and such a waste! We are now hoping that the mare can hold until Tuesday as we are collecting again tomorrow to send up north so can take that opportunity to send another dose down to Southland. If it is still required. So, NZ Courier Post you are so NOT in my good books right now!

Photography wise, my hobby has had a bit of a boost by being asked to photograph officially for the Wairarapa Spring Horse Trial. This was two very long and very tiring days but I got to practice with my new camera and captured some nice images for the competitors. I also had photos published in the NZ Horse & Pony, The Bulletin and Show Circuit magazines (Show even have a three page spread with 15 or 20 of my photos!!). The photos can all be viewed HERE if you would to take a peak. I also have my Facebook Page, which is slowly gaining a little momentum. I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to the photo taking these days but am happy to find time for people wanting private sessions or at the odd competition. 

Speaking of competitions. Yesterday I went to my first horse show in what must be years, as a rider! I don't think I have done any ring classes since before Amy was born 9 years ago. How did that happen? So, I took Meg! The Show was the Young Farmer's Show in Masterton. Not particularly high brow but well attended and popular. We entered six classes (Walking Style & Pace, Trotting Style & Pace, Novice no wins, Paces & Manners, Hunter Suitable for a Lady & the Unit of Horse & Rider). I figured it would be a good thing for Meg having to cope with horses in front and behind her, line ups and the overall experience, especially if we do, one day, want to have a crack at that Horse of the Year Title. I had NO idea how she might behave as she can be such a sensitive girl and here have been a couple of occasions at the dressage where she has felt almost explosive. Turns out I need not have worried at all as she was the consummate professional and her manners were impeccable all morning. She made lots of new horsey and human friends too and she stood between classes and watched EVERYTHING so intently, it was quite hilarious to see.

I went to the show for the experience and did not expect to be even remotely competitive. because, lets face it, Meg is a draft horse, not a show pony! So, when we were pulled in for the trotting class, I was thrilled! I expected that to be the highlight of the morning too. We were not placed in the class (ribbons in all classes to 3rd) although there were 14 odd in the class and 6 pulled in so a top 6 placing for my clompety was pretty awesome I thought. You can then imagine my surprise then when we actually placed 3rd in the Hunter class (again, a pretty big class of 14+). I went out to do my in-hand gallop with the aim of showing everyone that Clydesdales can really cover some ground when they want to and Meg and I grew wings and we flew around that paddock! I think we may even have returned to a round of applause, hehe! The judge complimented us on the gallop saying it was just what she wanted to see on the hunt field and how impressed she was with how calmly and easily Meg pulled up to a halt at the end. Not sure who had more fun out there - me or Meg! I so wish Nick had been there to take photos of that moment as I think we both had grins a mile wide on our faces.

The Paced & Mannered class was tough! The judge started pulling riders and horses in when we had changed rein and as the class went on, more and more were pulled in and I was beginning to wonder why we were still out there. It turned out that it was by process of elimination. Eeek! My darling girl was so good and tried SO hard that she even nailed the walk to canter, something we have not even tried at home! I don't think it was all that pretty but she did it and we were both pretty tired by that stage too. So you could have knocked me down with a feather when we came away with another 3rd place ribbon! I am just SO proud of her. 

Meg(looking less than impressed about having her photo taken) with her ribbons

More soon, I hope :)