Monday, December 26, 2011

Work in Progress

Xmas greetings from North Kaludah: shown above is Jeremy Santa entertaining the crowd
 on Tashkent Friesian's Django of Cacherel dressed with red nose, antlers and jingle bells.

With Jeremy back from competing at the Victorian Dressage Championships just before Christmas, I took Victor and Maybellene back to work at North Kaludah.I floated them separately just to be on the safe side, doing the loading etc. solo, and both loaded and travelled with ease. Took Victor first, and Maybellene then couldn't wait to "dive" onto the float and urge me to get going. Thought she had to be missing out on something as her half-brother had headed off ahead of her!
Jeremy got straight on for her first ride in 15 weeks (!) and she behaved as if she was just picking up from the previous day!!
Most impressive!
These Saddlebreds don't forget a thing and love progressing with their learning.
Victor, also, has stepped up to the mark. He has now had some 3 weeks dressage training and is working happily into a contact on the bit, responding with increasing understanding of his rider's leg aids, though he hasn't previously been asked for such flexion. He's absorbing his lessons like the proverbial sponge, as well!!

Oh, to win the Lottery!! My Christmas gift scratchies didn't help!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Comparison Paeon-Victor

Victor has settled to work with Jeremy, showing heaps of potential. Will he get the opportunity to follow Paeon's path?? He certainly has the paces and stamina for eventing. Paeon has one white stocking, Victor 4 stockings and a Star.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Summer coats

Harry's rich gold is coming through as the last of his winter-white sweats out in the 30degree temperatures of the last few days. The dogs were glad to shed their winter coats with the aid of my new clippers; then had a great walk along/in the Hunter River this morning!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

When Harry met Maybel

Farrier came midweek and trimmed all and removed Maybellene's front shoes. Just in time for Victor to float (no fuss!) off to work with Jeremy, and allow Maybellene to (safely)meet Harry for the first time. Lots of prancing and posturing and a few squeals from Maybellene as she shielded her best mate, CLoud, from her half-brother Harry. He was super cool, stood his ground and didn't he may indeed be tough enough to become an eventer somewhere down the track! Galahad and Gracie kept out of the way, very diplomatically, until one Act in the drama when Maybel decided to collect her girlfriends for a tour of the place. Cloud and Gracie spent the evening separated from the rest, while Maybellene queened it over the boys. I hope Cloud can settle down to a new role as first-time mum in the next few weeks. Lots of calling out at the moment, as Cloud and Maybel keep up a long distance conversation!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fit and trim

Harry and Laddie are back from 4 weeks of work with Jeremy.
Both made good progress and are looking very fit and trim in their summer-ish coats.

Quite different characters; Laddie is very confident and benefited from Jeremy's experience in giving him a challenge, allowing him to get his head around it and then find the next stage easy.
Harry has been much longer out of work since being started as a 2-and-a-half-year old, so he's not so confident, and will benefit from another short stint in work in January/February to allow him to consolidate his lessons in working calmly into the bridle, off the rider's leg aids. Very quick thinking, like all Saddlebreds.

Funny to watch Laddie get his head around the notion of "working"! He has a very rhythmic, natural trot stride which he can carry on with ad infinitum on the longe, and needs to be pushed into a canter...which has the same rhythm and sustainability. He was perfectly happy 'bludging along' with these paces and looking very acceptable. When asked to bend around the rider's inside leg and take the outside rein through a corner, his mind had to click into gear to adapt to a new ask. Once he got the message, his frame changed, and he really started to work with understanding! He clicked into thinking mode!! and made really fine progress!

Both can do with some 'down time' now, to grow again and get their heads around that experience.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bloomsbury Sir Galahad

Maybellene's 3 year old gelding, happily back in work, beginning to be a serious partner. Three weeks back in work, he's working beautifully forward into the bridle and really understanding what it's all about.

Very pleased with him today...and he was very chuffed with himself!!! Very funny boy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Showcase: Canyonleigh Sirecho ("Rocco")

At Rocco's first Dressage outing, at Alexander Park with trainer Jeremy Janjic, he caught the eye of photographer Peter Stoop.
He started his eventing career with young Aussie 3-Star eventer Kate Chadderton and caught everyone's eye with his exhuberant jumping style, clearing Intro and Prelim jumps by the proverbial mile. (Onlookers protested that he was in the wrong class, as he cleared all jumps with ridiculous ease; huge power off the back end!) At his first Prelim outing, at Coffs Harbour ODE, 2007, he came 3rd, close behind Boyd Martin and Silva Stigler! At his 2nd Prelim outing, he came 2nd, at Anambah ODE... at the outbreak event of EI.
Kate then purchased a partnership and took him to the USA to set up her training/riding business in Maryland.
He went to the American Eventing Championships at the equivalent of our Pre-Novice level in 2008. The cross-country was rained off so the event, in Chicago, became a Combined Training Event, at which Rocco was the fastest clear in the show-jumping phase.
Then to FairHill International CIC1* where he was, as usual, clear show-jumping and cross-country; shown above in the vertical drop and at the trot-up before the S-J phase.
He was then sold to Lisa Kurr who has proceeded to develop a partnership, under Kate's guidance, which has taken her from Beginner Novice classes through placings in Novice Rider, Senior Novice, and now Training level classes, Preliminary to 1Star level.
Kate's comment "he's the best horse cross-country I've ever ridden"; honest, game, finds it easy, loves it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Storms and consequences

Last weekend started well. The Hunter Valley Dressage competition ran on the Saturday, with a few scratchings due to riders'inability to prepare their horses in rainy times. I was pencilling for the Dressage on the Sunday and we got underway at 8am in between light showers. Then the grey mist cloud lowered, and the wind picked up. The first horses coped with increasingly driving rain, but the riders were soon soaked to the skin. By 9:15 the thunder was rolling in from the north-east, and most riders were loading horses and leaving! When lightning flashed on the horizon, the competition was abandoned in torrential rain, with the Club tractor having to be used to tow trucks out of instantly boggy ground!!

I was home by find that Schnauzer Steffi was no-where to be found! Must have been a thunderstorm at home, too! Fortunately she found her way back for breakfast the next day; I've no idea where she went...she was frightened away for 2 days once before, so I now know she can recover from her panic and get back home!

I caught up with Laddie and Harry working with Jeremy on Wednesday. Next major project at North Kaludah is construction of an Indoor area for schooling as the work has to continue despite the weather!! Both youngsters are progressing well. Jeremy is impressed, again, by the fact that these Saddlebreds come back into work and can be started just where they left off.

Laddie (3.5y.o)was 'backed' in January over two weeks and then turned out to think and grow. Some 9 months later he's lunged, remembers the procedure, mounted then walks trots and canters on the aids! No re-training needed! Now progressing to working in the outside arena and round the farm, and gradually working more directly off the leg aids and into the bridle.
I had in mind that Dressage was his natural career, but Jeremy thinks Eventing might utilise both his paces, great quarters & jumping bloodlines and strength of mind!

Harry,(5.5y.o.) was started at 2-and-a-half and then turned out, so he's really at the same stage as Laddie,...but not so confident. He's very willing and wants to please; very responsive to his lessons, but a bit worried. He'll need longer, steady work to consolidate his trust with a variety of people. Looks like he has a great work ethic, endurance and balance.

Both are coping well with whatever the weather throws at them.

The North Kaludah team were gearing up for another big competition weekend at Singleton Dressage Club this weekend. After more rain has not allowed the grounds to recover from recent usage, it has been cancelled!
If the weather allows I might see the Boyz in work again this weekend!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Warm-up Run

The rain stops for a half-hour so the youngsters decide to have their afternoon exercise and warm-up. Rugs are surviving so far!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sooo Wet!

The birds are coming in for food and shelter, the dogs are "lying doggo" on the couch, and the horses (Gracie and Victor, shown)are dripping in their rugs.
It's Wet!!! again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Top Girl

"Top dog (/girl)"

With Harry and Laddie happily back to work with Jeremy, Cloud has taken over the prime position at dinner time, so she can keep an eye on feeds being made up and lay claim to first to be fed.
Interesting that Victor has allowed this. Perhaps out of consideration for a pregnant lady(??). He's aligned himself with the other chestnut on the place, Gracie. Gracie herself is full of beans, now confident in running around with both hind soles healed. She even turned on a half-rear canter pirouette on the spot, yesterday! Very impressive!!
Maybellene isn't fussed about playing with the pecking order. She knows she's the "Queen bee", and has her personal feeds in Her save her from having to get cranky!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One step at a Time: Step one!

The "teenagers" have been itching for action increasingly in the last month! Laddie (3y.o.) has been becoming increasingly irked by Harry's (5y.o.) assumption of dominance and has been testing the boundaries.
The feeding pecking order of Victor first then Harry, then Lad has been 'fraying at the seams' as Laddie stands his ground for longer each day,and Harry has to exert himself more (swinging the quarters, kicking towards Lad) to maintain his Number 2 position. It's only an issue at feed time; they 'arm-wrestle' normally about twice a day, just for exercise/fun!
Victor just assumes he's Mr Tough, and Harry concurs (no argument; after all they're 'Mates'!) so it's the young uns that have an issue!

So, Today they're off to work. Cessnock Horse Transport were incredibly obliging by arriving before 7am, to allow me to get to work on time! I'd organised for colleagues to cover for me if I was late...if the boyz were not cooperative....but I needn't have worried! Loaded Laddie first, his 3rd truck ride so he's a Pro now; walked straight on...despite Col's misgivings about "dumb-bloods". My explanation of 1/4 Saddlebred was "proof of the pudding" of intelligence; mind you, his Warmblood genetics are all brains and performance!! (World Champions Mai Sheriff and Gullit)
Then I led up Harry, with no prior experience with me loading him, but a couple of trucking experiences on the trip from Canyonleigh to the Hunter. What a beauty!

Straight on the truck and the boyz were up and away within 15 minutes!! How great is that!!

I followed them to North Kaludah and Megan took Harry while I led Lad to his yard. Well-mannered at that end of the trip as well, so another 'deep breath taken'!

With youngsters, every positive experience is a 'box ticked off', giving feedback about how they cope, and their attitude to change and challenges.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ready to go

Spring is sprung...and the Boyz are looking for action.
Laddie is very laid-back usually but he's growing bigger all the time and is beginning to test the pecking order; the daily rumbles with Harry are getting a bit more serious as the two rear and "chest" each other, then whirl and chase.
It will be good to get them back to work.
The two of them should be off to see Jeremy mid-week, all being well!

Victor can do with some mature company, too, staying at home with the ladies!