Saturday, April 30, 2011

The New Addition

Ooh- what's out here?
Let's take a little look...
Hmmm- back inside I think.

Introducing Jasper. He is about 17 years old, but doesn't he look great! He keeps gentleman's hours- sleeping most of the day, and wandering a bit at night. He moves at a sedate pace and is very cuddly and friendly, except when he sees Miss Dog. Fortunately they haven't crossed paths all that much. He has an assortment of foul language and threatening faces in his arsenal. Because he is rather self-sufficient it seems very natural to have him here and he has been no bother at all. Kittens are fun but they do need a lot of attention and training.

I started riding lessons again but have moved to Scarlett Oaks Equestrian. Celine, the owner and head instructor, bought Sam for her new riding school and I followed him. Celine is very experienced and has been taught by many top riders. Exciting to be learning off her, and she was very complementary about my position and transitions. She seems to have a real passion for horses and quite a gentle approach which I really like. Hopefully I'll be able to get some photos of her crew of Shetland ponies who are delightfully plump and furry. One of her Shetlands is a dappled palomino in summer and has grown a chocolate coloured winter coat with pale spots. Very unusual I thought. Celine will be doing lead rein lessons once the ponies have had some serious work.
Here I am on my darling Sam getting some instruction.

I was surprised how furry Sam has become with his winter coat since I saw him last. It is getting much colder at night, so I'm pleased that he has a good fur coat. Thoroughbreds have such fine, sleek coats in summer. I'm thrilled to be able to see Scarlett Oaks developing as an equestrian centre because Celine has some amazing plans including two arenas (dressage and jumping), plus cross country jumps, and riding holidays.

Congratulations to Catherine and William on their wonderful, beautiful wedding day. Kate looked so beautiful and the service was understated and elegant. We had a great time dressing up and celebrating the big day with our neighbours. We had corgis (doggy doorstoppers), royal family photos (from the newspaper), a delightful pizza wedding breakfast and wedding attire all around.

Today we did some vigorous outside work. Out came the tomato bushes and lots of weeds and Johnny did some gate painting. Left over sausage rolls and pizza for tea.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Yesterday was the last day of the Three Day Event. Unfortunately we could only stay for part of the day but we did see Laura and Max compete. He did really well but did have a couple of rails down. I don't think he has quite developed a consistent jumping style yet, but he will with time. He doesn't flow over all of the jumps and sometimes kind of "pronks" over them- hard to describe. He does get good height but it must be a bit of a rough ride.
He's a beautiful boy who has a lovely nature. He is lovely to cuddle and has gorgeous silky fur.

I hope he gets an amazing new home where he can have lots of opportunities to meet his potential. He is on Trade-me at the moment. I can't think of any of my readers who have an interest in training a talented young eventing horse. He's a lot more challenging than I could ever take on.

I was sad that we didn't see our other special horse friends competing. William wasn't allowed to compete in the showjumping because he was retired from the cross country. As it turned out he went lame so that must have been bothering him. He is a talented jumper and would love a career in showjumping. Unfortunately he is not keen on dressage and even though he is a top level horse he needs to be talented in all 3 disciplines to go any further in eventing. I think he will be looking for a new home.

On the fantastic news front, both Oscar and Johnny won their classes. Yay! Johnny will be moving up to 2* events and Oscar is now qualified to enter 4* (international) events.

I'm resuming lessons later in the week on my special man Sam. I hope it goes well with a new tutor. I really hope she has got a great sense of humor and lots of patience. At least I know what Sam generally gets up to during a lesson and that I can handle him if he plays up a bit. He enjoys the drama of shying but if I keep him working on the bit he doesn't mess around.

We had the Crafty Neighbour and family around for afternoon tea. We made the mistake of going to the supermarket. It was a mad house with people milling around everywhere. We got stuck behind a couple that had a hideous stench emanating from one of them. I was already feeling a bit claustrophobic and wanted to shout at the idiots blocking my way. I know you know what I mean!

The weather is very chilly today and we haven't got as much done as I planned. Never mind, I blogged and Criminal Minds is on tonight.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cross Country

I had an amazing day. It was cross country day for the South Island Three Day Event and some of my horsey friends were being very clever and competing.
Here's Max with his rider and owner Laura. He's for sale, in case you are after a lovely up and coming eventing horse. Laura wasn't pleased because he had two refusals but I was just glad they finished in one piece.

Oscar had a clear round. Isn't he divine. There are only two 3* horses competing. His rider is Emily.
Oscar has the prettiest face when he pricks his ears and looks hard at things.
Here's William in the 2* class (Emily riding). Unfortunately he wasn't settled, the had a refusal and the final straw came when his breastplate broke. Emily retired him. When we left he didn't seem himself so I'm really hoping he wasn't unwell.
And finally, Emily riding Johnny in the 1* class. He is so cuddly and sweet on the ground, but is a spirited character to ride. Emily seems to be made of superglue, thank goodness. Not such a good photo but there was a car in a bad place on the water jump where I was standing.

I had a great time taking photos and have lots of great ones that will look super with a bit of tweaking. I haven't got a photo editor on my laptop so have to get one. Tomorrow we'll be checking out the show jumping. Fantastic!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Super Special

Excuse my absence. We've been on a wee holiday to visit my family. We wanted to meet the newest babies in the family, and catch up with our dear little nephew now that he can walk.
Here's Rupert.
He is such a busy boy it is hard to capture his beauty. He has a gleaming chocolate coat, and is super nosy and loving. He likes to be picked up for cuddles. He isn't so keen on being a photographic model, and does his best to look huffy about the whole business. I love his dark, slender body prowling around in everyone else's business.
His brother Percy is a natural show-off and loves the camera. I've got hundreds of photos of him posing inside and outside. He has a more independent personality, and has a worrying tendency to go exploring.
He has a lovely soft, wistful face, which doesn't really reflect his mischievous character. Percy's feet have long toes that gleam silver in the light. He will probably be a bigger adult than Rupert as the difference between them is very noticeable already. Percy prefers not to be picked up, but tolerates it with good humor.

Unfortunately I didn't win Lotto so was unable to purchase this beautiful gentleman, who is competing in the South Island Three Day Event this weekend. You've met him before- Oscar (Dambala). He is competing in the top class. He looked so gorgeous doing his dressage. He has had his coat clipped for the event and doesn't feel as silky as usual. It is exciting watching horses you know well competing in the dressage. The tests seem so long when you are anxious that they won't make any errors.
I got to look after Southern Ben after his dressage. He is not allowed to jump as he has a heart condition, but was allowed to do 3 different dressage tests as the non-competitive trial ride. He went first and the judges compared notes to make sure they were all judging the same. Ben hasn't been clipped and got super sweaty (and deliciously horsey smelling) so had a big sponge down. He and I hung out together while he had his celebratory snack. We're getting to be good friends.
I told his mum that I wanted to adopt him, and she said she'd remember that the next time it is pouring and he wants his dinner. It is a shame he isn't a quiet ride.

I've been working on some new ideas for little projects and came up with this lavender heart.

I used vintage lace, buttons and beads, recycled fabric, ric-rac, and the fancy stitches on my sewing machine. I'm working on a big one with embroidered roses. These are much quicker to make than my usual embroidered hearts. I don't think the will be much time for sewing over the next couple of days as I'll be watching the jump phases of the 3 day event. Exciting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My kind of weekend

I was really looking forward to this weekend, and it was great. On Saturday we were invited out to the Eventing Canterbury training day at Hororata. I'm really finding the horsey world much friendlier than I expected, probably because of who we hang out with. The Eventing Canterbury organisers are lovely and we like to help out. I had a fun time watching and got to look after Southern Ben for a while. He is the horse that has been to Badminton. He frowns a lot, but yesterday, after doing his two dressage tests (the 2nd one was great- the first was marred by a couple of unseemly bucks and some directional errors) he and I grazed and watched the other horses. He loved lots of pats and strokes.
On the lesson front, my darling Sam has been sold, but that's not the end of our relationship. He has been sold to a girl who is starting a riding school and I am to be her first client. I really hope it goes as well as the lessons I've had so far. I'm a bit nervous about changing instructors. She has another horse that will be suitable for me to ride too. So until Zanny returns to the farm I'll be riding in Yaldhurst.

Today we went on our first shopping trip since the earthquake. We are looking for an upright freezer to store my produce and to make it possible for us to prepare food ahead and store it ready for easy weekday meals. I was out and about in the garden today. I planted leeks and cabbages for winter/spring eating. The garden is full of colour at the moment.
Feijoas. Just a few. I hope they ripen up nicely as the feijoa tree down the road has been cut back so hard I won't be able to get any on dog walks.
Rainbow chard. Beautiful.
I found this specimen lurking - delicious tonight in salad. I've been very pleased with the cucumber production off my single plant. I'll plant several early next summer.
Raspberry surprises - autumn raspberries.
Time to harvest the pumpkins. I made one into soup last weekend.
They mystery plant- actually a globe artichoke seedhead.
Outstanding celery crop. Celery can be such a menace to grow but I've been using this and it is perfect. Apparently shop-bought celery is highly sprayed.
And the piece de resistance of the weekend. Johnny's bacon and egg pie. Yes - free range eggs and NZ bacon. If you use imported bacon and battery eggs I want you to seriously consider the state of the poor creatures that produce them. Yes, free range eggs are lots more expensive, but the thought of chookies in horrible little cages makes me shudder. Don't get me started on the piggies.

We have one week of school left before the holidays. Five days of hard, hard work then freedom.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


We had the daylight savings changeover today. It is now 6.49pm, but yesterday it was 7.49pm. We had a nice leisurely start this morning and still had plenty of day to go. We did a supermarket shop, and I did some gardening, plus I went for a bike ride with the crafty neighbour and the twinnies. I picked some pear shaped cherry tomatoes and froze them. Then I made some pumpkin and tomato soup for lunches. I put in some more celery today as the first lot I planted is doing so well in the fancy raised beds. I cleared out the brassicas as they were looking like some kind of mutant vege plants and were (actually still are) infested with those powdery grey aphidy things and white butterfly caterpillars. Yuck.

I'm doing my yearly read of The Lord of the Rings. Last night we watched The Fellowship of the Ring. The three films are masterpieces - the incredible detail in the production is absolutely amazing. Ever since I found out what a foley artist does I've wanted to be one. I love the idea of making all of the sounds in a movie and matching them to the visual effects. There isn't much call for foley artists in Prebbleton. I was thinking about my pledge to try to live life to the fullest and I said to Johnny one of the things I'd love to do is get to know Peter Jackson. I am so incredibly thankful that he is doing The Hobbit. I found the book of The Hobbit a little too simplistic and childish compared to the dark and dramatic tale of The Lord of the Rings, so I'm hoping that Peter will imbue to story with drama and adventure. I'm sure the attention to detail will be as impressive as his previous productions.

Hmmm, how does one go about getting to know one of the most incredible directors the world has ever known. I'm still considering that one. I did get to meet Te Radar through a burst of assertiveness and that was fun. Just meeting someone interesting is not really living life to the fullest though, is it?

What else have I got on my "bucket list"?
  • Visit Monet's garden.
  • Go to Britain and Europe.
  • Touch a snake.
  • Canter successfully.
  • Do a dressage test.
  • Lose two dress sizes and stay that way.
  • Design and make a fabulous dress.
  • Get fit.
Those are all do-able. A little more challenging:

  • Visit the pyramids and the museum of Cairo.
  • Learn how to scuba dive and explore a coral reef.
  • Own a horse.
  • Own a car with personality.
  • Own a little holiday cottage by the beach.
  • Be in a movie.
  • Enter a triathlon.
It could go on forever- I guess winning lotto should be number one so I can do what I want to do.
Tonight's list of stuff to do- sort out the soup for lunches, get my gear ready for tomorrow, watch House and go to bed.