Wednesday, September 29, 2010

For Sale: Canyonleigh Paeon

Just the right time to create a partnership!!!
Paeon has been expertly and kindly started by Jeremy Janjic, (who started Brett Parberry's "Victory Salute", currently representing Australia at WEG) and initiated into the demands of competition by Australian eventing representative Emma Armstrong.
He has benefited from very empathetic handling and is a confident and talented young athlete.
"Pan" loves to please, has a good jumping "eye", and an interest, intelligence and willingness to learn. At 15.2hh (mature around 15.3hh) he will make a super responsive partner for a Young Rider, or a smaller adult, to do whatever they want to do, be it dressage/eventing/show-jumping/endurance....His genetic lines indicate that he has inherited the X-factor (large heart gene) so he has the stamina to do anything asked of him.
He has inherited the eye for a jump, and the athleticism and bravery to manage to extricate himself from any problem of his rider's making/misjudgement. He is super-cool under saddle ..and a great "sook" to relate to. He just loves to please!!!
Price $9000; 'working home' essential. ph. (02)49 383 129

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scone Horse Trials Day 2

This is a huge step up from Wingham. Scone is one of the elite 3Star competitions and draws all the best eventers on the East coast.(Except those off at WEG at the moment.)The Belltrees polo field is hosting top grade polo on the fields below the crosscountry course, and the flat area adjoining the Gundy road is transformed into what in the Old Days would have looked like an army camp with "horse lines"; 500 horses in 3 double banks of yards.
Pan definitely felt the atmosphere on Day 1 and was SOOO excited; couldn't wait to get started.
Day 2 dawns and he's very sober; don't know that he slept much last night, but he's eating very well and when called on for his show-jumping round at about noon, the adrenalin kicks in and he looks fine. One rail down at the first of the 'double'; a green-horse error, as he was looking at the second jump before clearing the first.
Emma's second horse, Don J'Amee ("Jimmy") did exactly the same, so Emma has since rethought how she should adjust their stride, next time around.
So Pan finishes mid-field, 13/34, in the IntroA. Jim came 3rd in the IntroB, the dressage making the difference this time around.
There were 102 horses in three Introductory classes; lots of stories to share at the end of the day. A few riderless horses ran the course after dumping their riders at the various levels; no great damage done on the day!
Emma was left to rue the day when her 1Star horse, Pendragon, (aka "Pigeon"), went clear and should have won his class....but she missed a jump x-country...and was eliminated. In fact, the top three horses in the 1Star after the dressage and show-jumping, were all eliminated after their riders missed a jump in the x-country phase!! A very rare occurrence!
And then my neighbour, up the road, was running 2nd in the 3Star and missed out a jump on the show-jumping course in front of the crowd at the Sunday afternoon finale!! Was he kicking himself..after missing out on some really decent prize money being offered by Mount Arthur Coal!!!
There are so many variables in this sport, and the top riders, who ride a number of horses, add to the level of difficulty.
Emma rode 11 (out of 12 possible) competition rounds over the 2 days. Her young sister, Annabelle Armstrong, also had 4 horses, and scored a 2nd place in the 2STar.
Parents, Winks and Cam, were dressage judging and x-country jump judging, in support of the event.
I had the luxury of being a supporter, this time around.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Scone HorseTrials Day 1

A Beautiful day for it! T-shirt warm, slightly overcast by the afternoon, and the Whites of Belltrees, have hosted another successful Horse Trials event.
This is Paeon's 2nd HT competition and he is definitely excited about it. Tied up at the truck whilst awaiting his turn, he showed the patience of a two-year-old kid. When he was on his own he was NOT HAPPY! "Pick me, pick me, it's my turn!!!" digging his way to China with impatience, he couldn't wait for Emma's attention.
When something was happening he was completely switched on, but very demanding of attention when he was supposed to be chilling out waiting before his first outing, the dressage.
Emma said he had worked beautifully schooling the dressage the previous day, so she hadn't worked him long; in retrospect, maybe he needed more 'flattening.' But once she was on him he was attentive; and after 20 minutes schooling he was settled for his test. Not as fluid as last week, and left canter strike-off was dis-united and took a couple of asks to get right, but everything else was fine and steady. The 56% score was a bit disappointing but there were a lot of horses in the Introductory class of 34 entrants sitting on about the same score! so he's still in the mix for the competition.
Emma had 4 dressage tests, show-jumping for Prelim and 1Star horses,and Pan and Jimmy to ride the Intro cross-country course. Only one unhappy the Prelim s-j, where her ride seems to have lost comnfidence, for the moment!!
Not Pan!! He was just so happy to be on course! Emma rode him to get the time and he galloped gently round the course to come in exactly on optimum time. No questions.
He was much more relaxed at the end of the day than in the early, waiting, moments.
Show-jumping to come, tomorrow!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Life is to be lived!

A sad day today! I went to the funeral of a friend, Leesa (Miles-)Robinson, who succumbed to cancer last Tuesday.

Leesa was a stalwart of Ryan's Equestrian Centre for many years. She had grown up at Anna Bay and both she and sister Jane learnt to ride as schoolgirls with Heath at his NSW Equestrian Centre at Lochinvar. Leesa was training and winning at Grand Prix level dressage before she finished school. She went on to work for Heath and Rozzie for some 27 years!

I first met Leesa when I trained at Lochinvar in 1997. By that time, she was a senior rider and coach. A dedicated, passionate rider, she enthused all she came into contact with. She rode Heath's Richmeed Medallion, dressage and eventing,and it was she who introduced me to the beautiful black stallion who has since sired two of my horses (Mai Ssandro and Maybellene}. She gave me dressage lessons as I worked towards my Level 1 coaching accreditation. She loved my palomino Top Cat's attitude and topped him up to have his first eventing start at Lochinvar 3DE.

Heath delivered a heartfelt eulogy, giving her credit for developing Medallion and Greenoaks Dundee to international level, to be on the reserve list for both Athens and the Beijing Olympics. He also introduced Leesa to the Thai team and worked with her to develop the Thailand team to win their first Asian games medals in equestrian sport.
Leesa lived her passions and shared her triumphs and despairs. She was a memorable character; her memory will remain with many who were inspired by her sucesses, teaching and sheer love of life.
Just 43 years old, her husband Grant admires her indomitable positive energy. He had supported her passion with the gift of a young horse, Jericho , which Lisa has developed to Prix St George level. A younger horse, Revelry, is yet to be broken-in.

Her smile and laugh and her generosity of spirit will remain etched in my memory! Hundreds (perhaps thousands)of others will share my memories as her influence spread far.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jump Club

Emma took Paeon to Jamie Inglis' place in the Yarramalong Valley on the NSW Central Club for a Jump Club training day today. She was later than she'd intended to be as Heath needed her to help serve 4 mares before her planned 8am start (!!!) so when she arrived with a truckload of 8 horses (4 of her rides) and 3 other riders, the jumps had already gone up past her planned starting height.

Paeon came off the truck looking very fit and excited; "ready to rumble". He shows he knows he has a job to do, but as soon as Emma is ready to mount him he switches into 'business mode'. Very focussed, listening, and 'ready for anything.'
Paeon was the most straightforward of her rides so she popped over 4 practice jumps and headed in to do a round at about Intro level, which he'll be starting for the first time at Scone next weekend.

He just rolled into canter and cantered around the course of 13 jumps without missing a beat. Another horse did his round and then Emma took him round again. He was absolutely businees like, happy and forward, just really enjoying the outing. It caught the eye of the onlookers,including reknowned Australian trainer (s-j and dressage) Rod Brown, seen in the foreground of the above photo.

So he'd had the experience mapped out for him and that was it! Switched off into chillout mode, really nice to be around, chat to, hose down, smooch with.
Emma says he is just a fun horse to ride. He understands the job he has to do, sets his own pace, has a great eye for a stride and height and all she has to do is pilot him. He switches on to any adjustments she needs, instinctively. She says he's quite different from all of her other horses. Trying to explain the difference, she says the bigger warmbloods are not so adjustable, not so quick-thinking at getting themselves out of trouble, and have to be schooled a lot more to gain the experience needed to gain confidence. She has to work hard to set their pace and increase the jump heights slowly.
Paeon is definitely looking a 'brave' type these days!! So off to Scone next weekend, the first weekend of my school holidays!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wingham Day 2:What a result!!

Cross-country Sunday!!
Haas went first and gave Emma an unpleasant work-out before retiring x-country. Next Pigeon in his first 1* and she rode him to consolidate the experience, clear, but with a few slow-time faults. Next Paeon; he looked SOO! happy!! motoring around the course, looking at everything but really enjoying himself. CLEAR! Stiil second in this class. I had walked down to the start with Emma and she was rehearsing the time she needed to ride, so as not to have time faults. Then Emma's No.1 ride, Jimmy, and as she passed me on the way to his start she apologised for going 'under-time' on Paeon!!! So he would probably have some time faults.
She then proceeded to ride Jim very conservatively to stay within time, but (in retrospect) probably gave herself a tough time as he wasn't moving happily 'forward' and had a "stop" at the water, which cost him any placing. (Tragic!!)
At the end of the day, Paeon was posted in 1st place, but the scorers hadn't given him time faults for being too speedy. Unfortunately(!!) the 2nd and 3rd placegetters noticed, appealed, and Paeon was re-figured with time faults for going 35 seconds under the maximum time of 5 min17secs, so, at 0.4 penalty points per second this added 14 penalty points to his score and he finished in 3rd place!!
A bit of drama to his first outing....but he didn't notice!! He had a great day, and was certainly a winner in my book!!
I'm supposed to 'sack the jockey' for going too fast, but this is where the trainer-rider has a dilemma: Emma rode him at the perfect pace to maintain his forward momentum so that he met his fences with forward impulsion and no second-thinking. His round looked great!!
Both the on-site photographer, Barry McGregor, and my friend and fellow Saddlebred breeder, Terry Inkson, got some great photos. Some of Terry's are posted here!
At the end of the day, Pigeon's carefulness wasn't a handicap and he finished ahead of the field in 1st place in the 1Star, Paeon won a ribbon and a brush for 3rd in the Newcomers, Jimmy slipped out of the placings, Haas had a stressful off-day and Ashley was happy not to come off DH after a stop on course in the class Pigeon won.
Young Abbie, a work experience pupil of Heath's from Tasmania, did a great job helping gear up the troups in time for their runs!

We were blessed with the weather! Gale force winds at home, but overcast-but-dry on Saturday at Taree, then beautiful blue skies and the bite taken out of the hard ground made for good running, x-country, at Belinda Bailey's Bellview Park property at WIngham on Sunday.Beautiful!!

Newcomers!! WOO-HOO!!!!

Emma took 5 horses to Wingham One Day Event this weekend;Firestorm (aka "HAAS") who has won repeatedly at Preliminary and Pre-Novice levels (for owners Sue and Michael),her own Pendragon (aka "Pigeon") who was stepping up to 1* level,an experienced 3* (schoolmaster)horse, Diablo Heart, which (Emma's) strapper Ashley now owns and competes at Pre-Novice level, and 2 Newcomers on their first Horse Trials outing: Emma's own Don J'Amee (aka "Jimmy") and my youngster, Canyonleigh Paeon (aka "Pan").
Saturday saw the dressage and show-jumping for all classes run at Taree Showground, and at the end of the day, Haas,(Usually brilliant) had an Off day, Pigeon was leading the One Star, and Jimmy and Paeon were runing 1st and 2nd respectively in the large (30+) Newcomers class with scores of 74% and 70% respectively; both clear showjumping.
Paeon was second on in the morning for his dressage, at 8:06am, but the judge was smiling (!!!) at the end of his test!! A great start.
Emma presented him beautifully and he did the right thing by starting and ending hid test with beautiful square, calm halts!! First and last impressions really do count; tempo was steady throughout, transitions were spot-on, (especially his right strike-off to canter just in front of the judge) and his circles were "circular". Always helps!!
The show-jumping got underway about midday. The bunting blowing in the gale-force winds was a bit of a concern, but Pan barely batted an eyelid; just asked a question, but accepted my reassurance it was nothing to worry about as he stood waiting for Emma to dismount form her dressage on Haas to pick up the jumping rounds on the Newcomers; first Pan, then Jimmy...both clear.
At the end of the day, only Haas and DH had caused rider angst!! and 3 of the 5 were at the top of their classes!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Genuine Sporthorse

Paeon had a dressage workout this morning, then doubled up this evening to have his last show-jumping session in preparatiion for his first "Newcomers" event this weekend at Wingham.
He has grown in stature and confidemce with this stint in work and coped very well with his indoor jumping rounds. Heath kept putting the rails up...and he kept jumping them, without 'batting an eyelid".
A genuine sporthorse! He will make a great partner for a keen young rider or smaller adult!.

Shown here waiting for his next round; 4 young riders were schooling in this session, with Heath leading the way on his young 5 year old stallion Prestige ("Percy". I filmed some good video clips but they're too big in size to post!! I'll have to learn about compressing files!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Calendar update

Jeremy advises that Christine will be back to take over the ride on Maybellene this week. With Sjef and Anky off to the US with 4 of their students/horses competing, Christine left Holland to visit Brett Parbery working with Edward Gal (& Totilas) before coming home, no doubt newly invigorated by her European experience.

I'm heading off to see Paeon's last jump training on Thursday evening before Emma starts him in his first One Day Event at Wingham this weekend.

Heath rode his Medallion/Salute gelding "Mystery Whisper" (aka "Moses") to his first 3* win at SIEC last weekend. Very exciting!!! The horse's first overall win after leading after the dressage in his last few starts, and Heath's best eventing result since his 'heart attack' after the Regardez-Moi's World Cup dressage competition. He's you would be!!!