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. 

1 comment:

Meg said...

Hi there,

Glad you had a good day today. Chiff is lovely, I love his big white face!!
I saw some nice tunics in Farmers last week, one was floral and I said to Mum "I bet Fiona would like that"...I wonder if it was one of the ones you got??
The weather here was lovely today..bracing ourselves for another work week.
Love to you both,