Sunday, March 25, 2012

Amberley ODE

Today was the long-awaited Amberley One Day Event. I was at a slight disadvantage due to a mayonnaise jar falling out of a shopping bag onto my big toe from the height of the bench. The metal lid on the jar is dented on the edge, and my left big toenail is purple at the base. It hurt so bad I had to get up in the night to take painkillers. Fortunately my Doc Marten shoes didn't press on it, so I even managed to scale the big hill twice. Here's the view from the top down to the trucks and floats. Em's truck is the big maroon one. It takes six horses and has sleeping space for six as well. Today we had five horses to look after. Billy hurt himself last week and needed stitches, so he couldn't come. Rosie, Kate, Al, Taxi and Lewis were there today. Rosie and Kate both had their mums to look after them (Em rides them in events, but doesn't own them). I spent most of my time with Lewis, Al and Taxi. All of the horses are very inexperienced, apart from Lewis. 
 Here's Al doing the showjumping. He got stressed and was a bit naughty in the dressage and showjumping. He jumps so beautifully though.
 Here's Lewis in action. He is such a pleasure to be around. He has a lovely soft nature and loves scratches and cuddles. He's even taller than my boyfriend Chief. 17.2 hands approximately.
 Kate is wearing ear covers, and they seemed to work well, because she mostly had a good day, although smashed up a jump in the showjumping when she put on the brakes.
 Taxi was out for the first time, and he was such a good boy. He wasn't very well today, and will be getting blood tests this week. He seemed to be running a temperature, probably due to an infection in a scrape on his leg. But he still competed so beautifully. He is only four.
Sadly there are no photos of Rosie. She's a stunning girl. Her other life is as a show horse, but she comes out eventing with Emily to give her a bit of excitement. 

We've only got two weeks of school left- nine days to be precise. I have a feeling it is going to drag a bit. The holidays should be lots of fun. The Scarlett Oak Derby is on, plus the big three day event at McLeans. I'm planning to do plenty of riding too, plus gardening and sewing. Actually, that reminds me that if I get on with the school planning this week, I won't have lots to do over the holidays. Good plan! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beautiful Bessie Bear

Sorry, no photos. No big entry. Our dear doggy friend Bess, precious family member of the Crafty Neighbour clan became very ill tonight, and I went with The Crafty Neighbour and Miss B to the after hours vet. Sadly she had to be put to sleep. Darling girl. So gentle and sweet. Goodbye XXXXXX

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sad and proud

I have both sad news, and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself today. Firstly, my dear cousin's sweet pony Winnie had to be put down after a terrible bout of colic, which is like a terrible tummy ache, with nasty causes. She was only five years old. Colic can be extremely dangerous, and unfortunately Winnie was so seriously ill that she required surgery. Once inside, it became clear that there was no saving her. I am so, so sorry because she was a very special friend, and I know that she had so much potential. So I am sending lots of love to Ems, who is, no doubt, extremely sad and probably super angry at the unfairness of the whole situation. Unfortunately, in most cases colic just happens, and there's no way of preventing it.

I am also feeling proud today, thanks to Viv, Frank and Zanny. I have been planning a ride at Viv's for a wee while, and when I got there today, in perfect weather, Viv asked me if I wanted to ride the "big block." Now I must admit, my rides out and about have been very few and far between, and none inspired confidence. I had two scary incidents with Grey Sam in which he spooked like a mad thing, and scared me half to death. And then I had the fall on another ride out. But Zanny is a sweet girl, and Viv would never take me out if she didn't think I could handle it. I was pretty nervous for the first part of the ride, just getting used to Zanny's enthusiastic pace. She is a very forward lady for her age. Frank was a gentleman, strolling along, but Zanny was stepping out, her ears pricked with pleasure. We were a fine team. She is a really comfortable ride, and didn't start her head flicking habit until we were about halfway around, which was helpful. "Big block" is a bit of an understatement. Viv said we went about 16kms. We even went past the crazy chicken lady's house. She is allegedly a witch, and dresses and acts like one. She has junk, old trailers, chicken pens and loose chickens all along both sides of the road outside of her house, and behind the hedge are dogs with rattling chains. Zanny looked around, with her one good eye, and didn't bat an eyelid at the chickens in the bushes and grass verge. What a good lady! She'd never been past before, so it was very impressive. We even had several trots along the long grass verges. I was exceptionally pleased with myself for settling into the ride and really enjoying myself. So that is why I'm proud today.

Johnny hasn't been well, but seems to be coming right. His tummy is a bit rebellious at the moment. It was odd to both have dinner on Thursday night and for me to go to bed with no ill effects, and for John to be horribly sick for ages. Poor sweetheart. No one likes a tummy bug!

I'm planning a home day tomorrow. I hope to get into my work room for a tidy up and some sewing. We'll see. The garden always needs work, plus I've got the usual chores, like washing, to attend to. I'll see about some photos for tomorrow. And Viv was plotting future rides for us, now I'm getting to know Zanny, so I might try to take some photos from up on board next time. I think she was pleased with how I handled her. Zanny made me laugh when we got back to the yard because Viv stopped to talk to someone down the drive, and Zanny and I kept walking. She headed around into the yard and stopped dead, as if to say "get off now please." I had to ask her to be a little patient because my ankles needed a few rotations to get feeling back into them before I dropped to the ground. The sweet lady didn't even mind the extraordinarily decrepit manner in which I dragged my leg over her rump as I got off. Big kisses for Zanny!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend - over

It is raining Sunday night tears. The weekend is almost over. My feelings about that are the same as I feel about these things, caught on film (well, digital media):

Exhibit One: Jasper spraying on the lavender bush. You can't see his tail twitching and the unbelievable jet of piddle which made a big puddle on the paving stones. That's disgusting, Jasper!
 Exhibit Two: Miss Dog, tomato thief. If she's going to pick them, at least she could eat them.
Exhibit Three: Outdoor tomatoes, with no signs of ripening. Tragic. 
 Fortunately there are lots of positive things to enjoy currently. I had a wonderful ride on my newest horsey boyfriend, Chief. Celine said I rode so well, and managed to work towards getting him into a beautiful "frame." He is so comfy to ride, and does everything I ask of him. He is learning all the time, and so am I. He did a wee spook when one of the horses made a big clatter in the yards, but we both got straight back to business, and I hardly got a fright at all.

Miss Dog had her little friend Molly over to visit both days this weekend. She was very pleased indeed. She even shared her rawhide chews with the wee fluffy critter. We had ginger crunch, made by The Crafty Neighbour. It was delicious, and I ate way too much of it.
 I just finished this book. It was an enjoyable read. I could have done with more horse action. There weren't many "half broke horses."
 I'm reading this again. I love, love, love it!!!!!
 And the Wallace Cotton catalogue has some pretty things. Shame about the prices.
 Dahlias, bought for me at the big daffodil show last year. Thanks Mummy! So pretty.
 The colour isn't quite right because the white balance was wrong. I didn't know which buttons to push to fix it.
Cardies and floral dresses and tunics on the washing line. The string of colours made me very happy indeed. 
 Ripe red tomatoes in the greenhouse. I sent The Crafty Neighbour home with a bag of them today.
 Look- another reason why Miss Dog is smiling! Thanks Meg and Ryan for the link to the cheap trampoline dog bed for the deck. Miss Dog is nine now and we decided that she would benefit from some comfort when relaxing in the sun.
 I got this fantastic scarf for only $6.00. It is too fabulous to wear.
I got this very recently, and I am very pleased with it. Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfecter. I've got a very rare skin condition, plus rosacea, and sensitive skin. My skin really likes this, and the Aveeno tinted moisturiser. I use it instead of foundation, with a light dusting of powder over top. Both products cover as well as foundation, and my skin is happy, so I'm happy too. 
 Autumn roses. Just beautiful. Shame about the manky bushes with horrible black spot.
 Dear little pansies sneaking into a gap. I love the wee opportunists.
 My brown onion crop. I chopped up a big fat one for the pot of minestrone soup I made for tea. Mmm - my favourite home made soup.
So there are lots of wonderful things to enjoy about autumn. And weekends. I'm already looking forward to next weekend. I won't be having a lesson, but I will be visiting Zanny and friends at Viv's house, with fingers crossed for a ride. I'm working on tidying up the front garden, so there'll be more of that. Then the weekend after we have the Amberley ODE with some extremely scary jumps on the cross country. Johnny is keen to go too. And another date with my dear Chief White Cloud. 

Here's hoping for a fun week at school. XXX

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Chief and I

I had a real horsey weekend. The weather has been atrocious! Yesterday I was booked to groom for Emily at the ODE at McLean's Island. She had Billy, Kate, Rosie, Al and Frank (ridden by a young rider). All but Frank are young, inexperienced horses, very early in their careers. It was wet, squally and freezing. One day events are not cancelled due to inclement weather, as people travel too far to waste a riding day. Luckily Emily had the foresight to book some stables, so we were relatively cosy, tucked away indoors between rides. Somehow Emily was still smiling through the dressage tests, and each horse did his/her best in the conditions, rain dripping off Em's helmet, and soaking her thoroughly. The horses did not like the blasts of wet wind into their faces, but still managed to either win, or place highly in their classes. We were delighted. Em did one showjumping round, and said "let's go home" because she said there is no point in giving young horses a stressful, miserable day. The showjumping was on grass, and was a bog. Very dangerous. We all had muffins and hot drinks in the truck, then packed up. I was so cold by then, so I tucked my fingers into lovely Frank's mane and pressed my frozen cheeks onto his warm neck. He was very obliging. Then Frank and I joined the procession of horses to the truck and he was so keen to go home he practically loaded himself. I think he would have shut the door if he had hands instead of hooves. 

Just to show how dangerous it is to have young horses out jumping in bad conditions, one of the big name riders in Canterbury had his young horse out on the cross country course as I popped over for a little look before heading home. He had a terrible crash right in front of me. He jumped into what is called "The Sunken Road" and had to jump out and over a narrow, solid box, built to look like a house. The horse rammed straight into it, tipping the jump right over and flipping over it, crashing down onto his side, fortunately throwing his rider clear. It was hideous to watch. Rider and horse both appeared to be OK, but it was a close call. 

Well, that wasn't the way I hoped my Saturday would pan out. I think I almost had hypothermia, and ended up snuggled up in bed once I got home, because I was so cold. As I grizzled about last weekend, I was sick all of last week. Damn cold viruses. So, to bed I went, which is probably what I should have been doing in the first place, rather than slushing around in the pouring rain. 

Today did not look much better, but I had a date I would not break with Chief White Cloud, pictured with me above. I look rather demented because he would not stand still and kept swinging his back end all over the place and me with it. He's a funny boy. Last time I rode him he was super chilled out to get ready, but this week he was a pain. We got organised in the end and had a great ride. He decided that the ground in one patch was far too mushy for trotting, even though he loves to trot, and walked safely across it (his idea entirely) just about every time we crossed it. On the less mushy patches I had to hold him back. We did some turns on the forehand, which he could do beautifully one way, and got rather pissed off trying to go the other way, and kicked out. Racehorses are trained to run on a curve in one direction only, so are always very stiff the other way. Chief is as green as anything, and has done nothing except race or hang out in a paddock. So he has a lot of work to do on his flexibility. 

After my lesson I had to pick up my gummies from Em and Viv's place because their horse truck is my personal Bermuda Triangle. I'm always leaving things behind in there. I had lots of horse cuddles! Ben isn't feeling the best (Viv is very worried) and we spent ages giving him his favourite scratches. I was going to have a spin on Zanny too, but I couldn't bear to make her take her warm cover off to give me a ride when the wind was so bitter, and the arena all slushy. If it is fine Viv says I can head out next Sunday for a ride. 

Other stuff I've done this week. I cleaned my bike, Aggie the Aggressor, and Johnny helped me oil her chain and cogs. I made a fabulous chicken pie with leftovers tonight. I got four new tunics from Farmers as I was sick of wearing the same things over and over. I got two floral ones, a black one with red leaf pattern and one that has a blue and green pattern like paua shell sort of. Now my pants need sorting out because my jeans have holes in them and my other pants have little perished elastic bits poking out all over them. Oh dear. And my black boots have a busted zip and winter has come very early. Oh dear again. 

Sorry for the lengthy prattle about horses again. I keep this as a bit of a diary for myself, and I'm sure I will be interested in my horsey activities in the future, even if no-one else is.