Saturday, July 31, 2010


The rain set in at home about 4am so I had my doubts about Paeon's first dressage start eventuating, cancellation, so I drove to the coast and into sunshine!
Emma had arrived at 7am to unload and prepare four horses, and was first on with Olivia Bunn's young horse at 8:30. Paoen had his start in the Preparatory 4 (walk-Trot)at 9:45 and he was just as steady "out" as at home. Needed to ride some straight lines between funny red cones and white polypipe dressage rings to get his bearings, but when he got into the ring he was very accurate and attentive. 62% and second: a red ribbon debut!! We were stoked!!
About half an hour later he presented for the Preliminary 1C test, which Emma had ridden once before on him, requiring canter srike-offs on the marks and transitions to trot on the cantre line, mid-circle. Perfect! And medium walk, on a loose rein stretching down into the bridle (he looked up and out to the highway before reaching down...but scored a 7/10) and then a trot circle, with 'allowing free reach into the bridle off the centre line'..another 7/10.
He didn't place in this, more experienced company, but acquitted himself very well for 55%.
He was unflappable!! and had a great day, yarded alongside his mates.
He loved it!
Emma had 3 other wins with very classy warmbloods; Paeon looked very fine and elegant by comparison!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"In the deep end"

Paeon had his first cross-country lesson today!
It's been so wet that the practice paddock has been out of bounds for some time, as the ground will get too pock-marked and is too slippery to introduce youngsters successfully to unfamiliar jumps, but today Emma found some shower-free time to introduce him to the wide open spaces and a few "Asks". First the bank, then a steep mound, then the water!!
She'd ridden him here about a month ago when she gave a lesson to a student from horseback and he was very steady; today he was on his own..which was a new experience. Coped with the bank, mound, ditch, fine. He took a LOT of pursuading to enter the water, but once he'd got his toes wet, it was as if there had been "no issue". What's all the fuss about?? He happily pottered about in the water as if there was nothing to it!!!
It'll be interesting to see what he does next time!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Support crew - Canine

With Maybellene back at work with Jeremy, needing to lose some "condition" to regain her prime athletic form,
Paeon getting set for a jump club training day with Emma next weekend
and self back to the chalkface (aka "Smartboard") at school,
it seems timely to post photos of the home support crew.

George the Airedale, Steffi the Schnauzer, and Rupert the Cairn terrier are the backbone of the crew...responsible for signalling the alert if there's any untoward activity on the property,
worrying the mice around the horse feed to death, (or drowning them in saliva if caught)
keeping snakes away by thundering up and down the fence lines,
greeting feed deliveries with endless delight
and generally maintaining an inexhaustibly happy demeanour.

How could horses or people be anything but cheerful with this crew around!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back to work

Maybellene went back to North Kaludah on Saturday and will start back with Christine Crawford this week.
Paeon immediately moved into number 1 position in the food queue, but he didn't put himself in a position where he'd have to contend with any of the others; he just got to the gate, and then the first feed bin, way ahead of the others, anticipating my feeding time. No-one's desperately hungry, so there doesn't have to be a fight over food...and once he was in the lead Gracie wasn't fussed about exerting her authority.
Paeon's a very thoughtful young horse, not just reactive, but planning a change of procedure from one day to the next!! Quite unusual!
Then I drove Paeon back to Heatherbrae today and Emma hopped on for a ride straightaway. He didn't bat an eyelid and went straight back to work, progressing from where he'd left off some 2-and-a-half weeks ago. It was as if the break had allowed him to consolidate his understanding of the previous work and look forward to the next stage. He LOVED getting back to work! The last few days I've felt quite guilty to see him standing in the paddock as if bored with the young ones, asking for me to do something with him: maybe he was sick of the wet weather, too!!
Emma asked him for some flexion on circles at the walk, shoulder-in and stepping-under/crossing-over with the inside hind, away from her inside leg; immediate response and relaxed, big strides! then steadily/elegantly forward into the trot and canter work.
All this in the indoor arena alongside 6 other horses (including 3 stallions), perfectly steady, as if he'd been doing it all his life!!
As Emma said, "you couldn't ask for anything better!"
Two working pupils then gave him a shampoo and massage before returning him to his paddock.
Next step..his first dressage outing at Alexander Park in a couple of weeks...then maybe Wagga for his first event.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Winter sun on July 4

Rugs off with the sun out and the mob had a good run today. Paeon is definitely having a growth spurt with the stimulus of training and he's feeling great.
Why Gracie decided she has to prove she's faster than everyone and can throw in a couple of handstands to boot, I don't know, but the foal is still "hanging on tight". Laddie floated around looking "cool" and the two girls, Maybellene and Cloud, teamed up for a mutual grooming session again.