Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Father's Explanation of Why He Had Horses for His Children (borrowed from a facebook posting)

My daughter turned sixteen years old today; which is a milestone for most people. Besides looking at baby photos and childhood trinkets with her, I took time to reflect on the young woman my daughter had become and the choices she wouldface in the future.

As I looked at her I could see the athlete she was, and determined woman she would soon be. I started thinking about some of the girls we knew in our town who were already pregnant, pierced in several places, hair every color under the sun, drop outs, drug addicts and on the fast track to no-where, seeking surface identities because they had no inner self esteem. The parents of these same girls have asked me why I "waste" the money on horses so my daughter can ride. I'm told she will grow out of it, lose interest, discover boys and all kinds of things that try to pin the current genera-tion' s "slacker" label on my child. I don't think it will happen, I think she will love and have horses all her life.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has compassion. She knows that we must take special care of the very young and the very old. We must make sure those without voices to speak of their pain are still cared for.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned responsibility for others than herself. She learned that regardless of the weather you must still care for those you have the stewardship of. There are no "days off" just because you don't feel like being a horse owner that day. She learned that for every hour of fun you have there are days of hard slogging work you must do first.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned not to be afraid of getting dirty and that appearances don't matter to most of the breathing things in the world we live in. Horses do not care about designer clothes, jewelry, pretty hairdos or anything else we put on our bodies to try to

 impress others. What a horse cares about are your abilities to work within his natural world, he doesn't care if you're wearing $80.00 jeans while you do it. -
Because my daughter grew up with horses she understands the value of money. Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of feed or farrier visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times can mean the difference between feed and good care, or neglect and starvation. She has learned to judge the level of her care against the care she sees provided by others and to make sure her stan-dards never lower, and only increase as her knowledge grows.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to learn on her own. She has had teachers that cannot speak, nor write, nor communicate beyond body language and reactions. She has had to learn to "read" her surroundings for both safe and unsafe objects, to look for hazards where others might only see a pretty meadow. She has learned to judge people as she judg
es horses. She looks beyond appearances and trappings to see what is within.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned sportsmanship to a high degree. Everyone that competes fairly is a winner. Trophies and ribbons may prove someone a winner, but they do not prove someone is a horseman. She has also learned that some people will do anything to win, regard-less of who it hurts. She knows that those who will cheat in the show ring will also cheat in every other aspect of their life and are not to be trusted.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has self-esteem and an engaging personality. She can talk to anyone she meets with confidence, because she has to express herself to her horse with more than words. She knows the satisfaction of controlling and teaching a 1000 pound animal that will yield willingly to her gentle touch and ignore the more forceful and i
nept handling of those stronger than she is. She holds herself with poise and professionalism in the company of those far older than herself.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to plan ahead. She knows that choices made today can effect what happens five years down the road. She knows that you cannot care for and protect your investments without savings to fall back on. She knows the value of land and buildings. And that caring for your vehicle can mean the difference between easy travel or being stranded on the side of the road with a four horse trailer on a hot day.

When I look at what she has learned and what it will help her become, I can honestly say that I haven't "wasted" a penny on providing her with horses. I only wish that all children had the same opportunities to learn these lessons from horses before setting out on the road to adulthood.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Floors BE100 report :)

Hi All

Entered the BE100 with J as a sweetener to his first Novice run at Burgham. I am hoping to alternate between Novice and BE100 over this season to keep him feeling positive with the aim that perhaps we could think about doing Blair CCI 1* next August 2014 .

Anyway my aim for Floors was to get inside the time XC, we have always picked up a few time faults.

Anyway set off in Trudy (the truck who has been sick recently) and she drove like a dream to get us there in plenty of time before Dressage. Unfortunately it rained the whole way there, and all day long. Luckily for me the occasional dry spell happened when I was riding so J and I were lucky!

Dr was in front of the beautiful castle, what an awesome venue, and although I tried to ride more positive we still get a pants score of 39.0 which left us 24th out of 35 after Dr , there were loads in the early 30's.

Video here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151892127218998

We had a few hours to wait until after Dr so went to walk the XC. Unfortunately it monsooned it down and despite being in waterproofs i was soaked to the knickers! The course was a bold galloping track, with alot of non-portables, due to the rain the water jump was getting deeper, the BE100 only had a run in and step out so I wasn't worried.

Went back to the lorry to get changed and ready to do SJ, tacked up and headed over to find they were running behind and still had a course walk. Still it stayed dry while I kept him walking around and watched a few go - didn't walk the course but could see it was slippery on the turn back to fence 3 and 6, alot of people had major problems on the course. The warm up was a bit tricky, due to slippery ground so i only jumped half a dozen times before going in.

Video here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151892896423998

Fab Hubby took his camera to video me for the Dr and SJ and took some photees of the XC. He's great considering it was extremely wet and he is not horsey at all.

In the SJ I used the corners to stay wide and balanced, very pleased that we jumped clear but my upper body was like a sack of potatoes, very cross with myself for that although J jumped well! We normally have one down when jumping on grass so I was chuffed - perhaps he likes the wet!

Off to XC, due to the time delay SJ they were taking people as you arrived, as it was very soon after SJ didn't need much so as I only had one before me I popped the warm up a couple of times before heading to the start box.

So off we set and what a round, the boy just locked onto every thing and flew. The hill beyond a fan fence at fence 7 was slippy but I just asked him to steady and he slowed! came down the hill to pop fence 8 with ease.

The only slight hitch we had was in the water, we cantered in and he locked onto the intermediate jump had to pull him off it to step out - think he would have jumped it for fun though , flew the last fences to home. It felt faster than normal so I was hoping we would be inside the time, there wasn't a single problem with the ground despite the weather and he had his ears forward the whole time big pats for the grey pony.

Went to collect Dr sheet which says on forehand for most of it so need to work on that. End result was 39.0, Clear SJ and Clear XC........INSIDE THE TIME.... Woop Woop!! We climbed up to 12th place with our final score so very pleased with that result.

The beautiful venue

Fence before the coffin - thanks to Grossick Photography

Coffin - pic taken by hubby

Monday, 13 May 2013

We tried our first Novice!

Hi all,

As you know I had planned on running at our first BE Novice. It would be a first run for both of us so a decent step. I was determined to try and get ourselves ready for it – last season was a washout so we had stuck to running at a couple of BE100’s. Early season runs at Eden Valley BE90, Kirrimuir BE100 and Hunwick 100 meant that I knew we were fit enough but time faults would be the norm as we always get them!

Prepared for our first run for Burgham and went to a two day camp at Park End last Monday/Tuesday and a flatwork lesson on Thursday with my weekly instructor with the event then on Saturday. Thought we were very prepared for it and I had planned to work him in for Dr well as his trot and canter work has come on a lot recently. SJ warm up planned to get him in front of my leg and going forwards over the practice jumps making sure we jumped the oxer at full height before going in to get him in the air. XC warm up was just to get him going forwards and try to ride him away from the fences properly to save time and my aim was to try and get into a rhythm before the 3rd fence.

Anyway Saturday dawned, got up at 5am, fed and plaited him up then loaded up to leave at 6am. The journey would take 2.5 hours and as my Dr was late in the section at 10.50 I wanted to get there to walk the xc before I started. Collected hubby on the way out along with chief coursewalker (my Lab) and headed off on time for 6am.

Then disaster struck…..

About an hour into the journey the EDC light came on and the lorry dropped to half power. Creeped for 10 mins like this, even stopping and starting the lorry to reset it but ended up having to give in and turn for home. Called the secretary who said that they could move me to the end of the section at 11.46 so I worked out that if we got back we probably had 5 minutes to unload, and load everything into the car/trailer we might just be lucky enough to get there in time but there would be no time for warm up or to walk xc. I decided I’d worry about that later!

Cue calling my friend who owned the trailer, she kindly saved us 10mins by driving to my house, collecting hubby’s car and taking it to the yard where her trailer was kept – it was 5mins closer for us. We arrived just as she pulled in, so hitched up, chucked everything over and gave her a very quick low down on how to drive my lorry back to my house. Big thanks to L for all her help.

On the road again, hubby was driving so I could get changed and all tack ready to have all systems go when we arrived. He also drives the trailer better than me anyway! Headed down the long road and managed to get there for 11.46. The secretary called me to say the judge had kindly agreed to have a break then judge me so I had a small amount of breathing space. HUGE HUGE thanks to AM the Dr judge. Was also told to go straight to the SJ warm up as the class finished at 12.30 and they wouldn’t wait for too long for me. Decided to jump in my dr bridle, and gave OH his boots, martingale and whip as well as mounting block to carry over which he left with the secretary while bringing my number bib over to the DR.

Anyway warm up was tense and not very good! Poor horse had been in transport for 5 hours by this point, literally had 10 mins warm up then into DR for a 41.5 score. Our average Dr score for tests is between 33.5 and 38.5 so not bad for a level up and a rubbish start.


Cantered straight to SJ, jumped a few then went straight in. Had two down but I would say they were pretty unlucky, he was jumping really well, fence 3 pole rolled inwards and the second part of the second double was perhaps due to being too forward going in.


Finally poor J managed to have a rest and a drink as I chucked him at hubby and went off to run the xc. As I was also feeling a bit under the weather (grumbling cold) I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I then found out that I only had 20mins to get to xc warm up! When the organisers found out I hadn’t walked it, they offered to drive me round so I was given a quick tour of the course and was back at the trailer in record time!

Hubby had put his XC boots on and changed his bridle so he was ready to go – with the exception of his studs which I had no time to put in – was a little worried about this but didn’t need to, the ground was hard but grippy and he had good footing the whole way round.

Set off out the startbox and he backed off the first one and needed a slap of encouragement on the shoulder, headed off to fence two and it was a similar experience. He then started to become more confident but still needed lots of positive riding. We came down to fence 5 which was a jump into water – never having done this before, I wasn’t sure what to expect but he jumped in beautifully and popped out over the step to skinny brush – a jumped that shared the intermediate course! Headed off over the next few single jumps and over to a double of logs which he flew and onto a tricky skinny tight turn to corner – some riders had had problems at this and there was an alternative but he did it textbook! Jumped over the skinny, beautiful 5 curving strides and over the corner. What a fab pony off down to the skinny to trochaner, which I rode badly and he really could have stopped there if he wanted to. We got really deep to the trochaner with no impulsion but he just popped it and headed off ears pricked onto a skinny before water splash then over to skinny water skinny and up the the rugby ball skinny to goal post – again flew them without any issues and onto the 3rd before last. It was such a simple skinny that I didn’t ride it properly – kept my stick in the wrong hand and reins a bit long, just as he was about to take off the plant pot on the top fluttered and he leapt sideways off the fence boo, 20 penalties, circled round and he popped it perfectly on second attempt and flew the last two home.

3b -

Just out of the last water

Skinny after last water:

So our XC record now shows penalties but I’m super thrilled by my boy, I’m totally gushing at how amazing he was after such a rubbish day. We did end up with 22 time faults, probably only 8 of those were due to the run out so still too slow but I’m not bothered, lots of time to work on it.

Big pats and polos to him and a MAHOOSIVE thanks to the organisers at Burgham for their awesomeness