Saturday, June 26, 2010

Time Out

I saw Paeon jumping on Thursday night, under lights, indoors, at Ryan's at Heatherbrae with Emma. He was waiting in crossties outside the arena while the dressage training finished when I arrived, and it was obvious he was excited in anticipation of the evening's workout. But he was immediately cool and responsive when he was being geared up and taken to work.
He has quite a different action to Rocco, but then again, the work is quite different to Rocco's starting exercises. Trotting pole grid work to start with, and he's very dainty, fast and light off the ground, readily adjusting his length of stride to meet the requirements. Then poles to vertical to poles to oxer, first in trot and then the same line in canter, really encouraging the horses to pick up their feet and be careful. This then extended to an off-centre cross-oxer on a diagonal line to a flash-plank upright, then around to a straight line 3 stride related vertical to oxer.
This was the first time he'd approached any jump on an angle, rather than straight-on, so the first diagonal line was a bit 'wobbly', but very clean thereafter.
He was quite fast, but very direct; not heavy in the hand at all, says Emma, and giving her a feeling of being very light off the ground.
He was satisfied, tired at the end of his session and was happily hosed off and returned to his paddock.
Emma's going away on a 10-day break, so today I brought Pan home for 2 week's "down-time" before going back to work.
He's been in a paddock on his own for the last few weeks so I was interested to see how he'd fit back in with the mob. It's always fascinating to see the shifting dynamics!

I put him in the dam paddock on his own to start with. He was super cool! No running around at all. The other four all huddled around the gate wanting to get through to check him out, so I let Cloud and Maybellene through to start; they went past him, looking like they were ignoring him, so I let Gracie and Lad in as well.
Then Gracie and Cloud teamed up and did the Saddlebred prowl and snort about 20 metres up and down in front of Pan, while Maybellene and Laddie gravitated together; the four then raced between paddocks, in pairs, a couple of times. Pan wandered through into the front paddock and stood quietly. So Maybellene and then Gracie had to come and talk to me; Maybellene having to get closest for ear rubs etctera, as if to say, who's he, where's he been, I'm still your best girl aren't I, whereupon Laddie had to come for the same reassurance. Then Paeon went up to the hay and Maybellene, Laddie and CLoud all wandered behind some bushes to peek at him!!! Pretending to be shy???
Then they just stood about and went about their grazing! Paeon's just being super sensible so as not to offend anyone!! It'll be interesting to see who he's chatting to in the morning.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Paeon's first outing

Paeon had his first ever excursion today.Trucked, with three other 4 year olds, to Maitland Showground jump club. The intention was to have 2 or 3 training rounds, but the day turned out to be a 'competition day', to make up for one postponed due to wet weather. So the youngsters just had the opportunity to warm up surrounded by lots of other horses, and experience the arena, lots of unfamiliar jumps, start bell, wait time, etcetera and have one jump round.

Amazing coincidence: Emma took Pan to the edge of the jumping rink so as to get her eye around the order of jumps on the course, and who should be in the ring at the time??? None other than my friend Miranda Moore, with her new young horse, so Pan's first view of a competition round was of Miranda!!

Pan acquitted himself well; very "lookey" over the first three jumps, but settled into stride smoothly and even handled a 2-stride vertical to oxer combination.
Looks like he really enjoys it and Emma was amazed at how well he coped! She enjoyed him!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yellow saga

The tractor works!! At least, it did yesterday!
The genie Dylan materialised with a battery and some jumper leads and some mechanical nous and got it going!! So I spent a couple of hours chain harrowing the back paddock while he felled a dead tree and chopped it up for firewood.
It hasn't held the charge overnight, but I know it works and he's vowed to "keep in touch" to maintain it. (In another six months???)
Ken has put the battery on a slow-overnight-charger, so we'll see tomorrow if that works or I need to buy a new battery. (It's a 2nd hand battery apparently, because the 'new one on order didn't come in')
I think the saga of the tractor may have reached some sort of ending.

Meanwhile, the mob enjoyed the dry weather today but it was too cold to consider leaving the rugs off for a while. I'll have to check them tomorrow , though, as it looks like Laddie may be growing out of his.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Paeon progress update

Drove down to Heatherbrae to see Pan and Emma this afternoon and drove into a gale on the coast! Luckily the indoor arena is angled to avoid the swirling winds and the duo had the good fortune to be the very first to ride on Heath's new indoor surface, a springy compound of sand and "felt"? In fact we had to then move to the outdoor arena so the surfacing crew could "Roll' the and laser-level it again.
Outdoors the trees were taking a battering in the gale which had been blowing for about 4 hours already, but Paeon wasn't reacting to the conditions at all.
This was his first experience in this arena and it's interesting to note that, in any new circumstance he's very steady; I think he hands over his trust to his rider and getting on with the job is his 'comfort zone'! Anyway, it was impressive to find him very steady in the conditions whilst the two older, more experienced horses also working outdoors, spooked at whatever they could find to spook at!!
He's maintaining good progress; the canter work is almolst as regular as the trot, and he's responding well to the suppling exercises, moving off the leg, switching flexion from renvers to travers in trot, holding some shoulder-in in canter.
The cancellation of last Sunday's jump club has changed plans a bit: Denman event in a couple of weeks, may be too big an event for a first outing, so Jump Club at Maitland on Sunday 20th looks to be his first outing.
Hopefully the rain will stay away!!
Emma gave him another jump, at night, indoors, on Monday, and says he loves it! I'm going to try to see a jump training next week...but it will probably be about 10pm..after the dressage schooling is finished and the jumps can be set up!!!
Back home, about 50km inland, there are black clouds overhead and there's a bit of a wind just starting to get up. The first snows have fallen in the time for the June (Queen's Birthday) Long the temperature has plummeted!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


The saga of the yellow tractor inches forward: I started this blog some 10 months ago, recording my suspicions tht the new ride-on mower tractor I'd bought was in fact a 'lemon'. I'd purchased it, courtesy of Rocco, so that the girls who were helping me when I went into hospital would have a reliable feed carrier. The engine blew up some 3 days after I'd bought it! But it was under warranty, albeit 'on a handshake'. Sure enough, the seller took it away to rebuild the engine. I got it back about 3 months later, just before my second surgery in December. It ran for about half an hour then stopped. The mechanic/seller came back, said it needed running in and the battery needed replacing; he removed the back tyres to bring me some more heavy duty ones for the paddock. That was in December! He came back last Sunday and put tyres back on, but the new battery was due to be delivered to him this Wednesday. He hasn't been back this weekend. The saga continues' long running, but little action.

I was hoping to see Paeon jumping at his first outing today, but though Saturday and Sunday have been rain free, the Maitland showground was considered too saturated to allow the event, so it was cancelled. So I took his new rug over to Heatherbrae; the Combat canvas/wool which I use at home is fine in the paddock where there is plenty of tree cover and a stable, but it isn't water-proof enough in an open paddock, so he scored a new Weatherbeeta, and new jump boots, today. He was very happy to see me, totally 'sooky'; I think he liked the new rug which replaced one loaned by Heath and Rozzie.
Heath filled me in on his progress; he'd had another jumping lesson on Thursday evening and is coping well. Interestingly, Heath says it's not what he's doing, that's very interesting, but what he's "not" doing. Lots of exercises trotting over poles to consolidate paces into jumps, and it's usual for horses to get careless and tap/roll a few. He didn't touch any!!!!a point to be noted by the professionals.
No photos of Paeon jumping as yet, but I've posted a couple of Gracie as she progresses towards an August foaling date, alongside young Galahad trying to smooch!

Late news from Rocco: Kaden Weaver rode for Lisa in a Novice Rider class at Rubicon Horse Trials yesterday and they finished on their dressage score, 4th out of 18! Well done boys!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pan Progress

Winter starts and after days of rain and mud it dawns clear....with a little relief from the cold. So I took the opportunity to catch up with Pan,(Canyonleigh Paeon), working with Emma Armstrong at Heath Ryan's establishment at Heatherbrae. He'd had his first jump, indoors, Emma riding, under Heath's direction, on Tuesday night. Heath's comments, "he looks good, very snappy pick-up in front and careful; learnt quickly"!Emma elaborated: trotted over poles, then to cross rails, then vertical, then raised vertical, then poles to vertical, then vertical to pole; coped very well."
This is an impressive progression for a horse that had only ever seen a jump once before (when trialled on lunge with Craig Barrett.)
Emma anticipates giving him a couple more 'pops' over the next few days and then taking him to Jump Club at Maitland Showground for his first real outing on Sunday next.
On the flat, he's working forward, into the bridle, flexing readliy off the inside leg at trot, cathching into the rider's outside leg to straighten and go forward and looking very balenced in a regular tempo at trot. Canter is a bit rushed as yet; the next "ask" is to maintain the regular tempo with flexion to the rider's leg as already attained at the trot. It's great to see such obvious development in such a short time.He's only been back in work for three weeks!!
He's already growing, with the stimulus of work, and changing shape; changing from 'baby' to 'real working horse', and totally enjoying his work, surrounded by other horses in work; (Dressage star and super-sire Regardez-Moi, Rozzie Ryan's upcoming superstar Jive Magic, baby superstar Fiji, Emma's 3* veteran Voortrekker, and others.) These guys are great visual learners, as well as kinaesthetic partners to their riders.
He's got a great opportunity to learn from the best and I'm delighted he's showing the talent I expected from a cousin of Rocco and nephew to JP!!