Sunday, 11 October 2015

Hello again!

I can't believe how long its been since I posted an entry on my blog. It's been a long winter and I think I started to run out of things to say! Then, of course, lots has happened, meaning I got all procrastinatey about writing because I imagined it would be a behemoth of a post! So, strap yourselves in....

The last post I started writing was about Uno. I made the decision to put him to sleep a few months ago. He was in chronic pain and would never get better. I will finish the post devoted entirely to him and post it soon - the photos of the joints we dissected are unbelievable. I knew when I saw those photos that I had made the right decision.

On to happier things. Annie and I finally broke through our depressing bout of coming dead last in every event by coming a rather amazing 4th in one of the EvA95 classes at Canberra Horse Trials last weekend. After a great clinic (perfectly timed, I must say!) with Manuela Mclean a couple of weeks before, we finally scored a top ten dressage test. Annie was great and it was one of those weekends where everything just came together.

Showjumping was a little hairy but I think the main problem is I let her get too long and flat as the round goes on - that, and I need to ride her in the Peewee bit! She gets so heavy and dead to the hand when she's jumping. I think she genuinely enjoys the jumping and cantering - she certainly feels happy about it!

One of these days I'll drop some money on a decent photo of us at a comp and post it. :)

We've had some interesting hoof issues lately, though. Annie had to go almost 8 weeks without a trim as our current Wonder Trimmer Shelly went overseas on a much-deserved holiday. While Shelly was away, Annie's feet got a little long, but not too bad, and even more interestingly, she developed two small splints on the inside cannon bones just below the knees. They are gradually shrinking now she's getting her monthly trims, so I am confident the splints developed as a direct result of unbalanced hooves and long toes. Just goes to show how important it is to keep the trimming very regular in our performance horses.

I've got a lovely little Quarter Horse type staying with me at the moment while I ride him and sell him for our local Riding for the Disabled. He's been barefoot probably his whole life (he's 14 and from the Kimberley in Northern Australia where he was a station horse, we're told), but is the most sensitive of all the horses at my place with his feet. He is very short and mincey over gravelly or hard earth while Annie and Andy the dressage pony are quite happy cantering around on gravel. Particularly Annie who now has true 'rock-crushing' hooves after a year without shoes.

I will be very interested to see what Shelly thinks of his feet and what we might be able to do to improve his comfort-level.

Some pics from the last couple of weeks:
Hay-high was a feature of our winter and you'll note both horses standing square and engaging their backs as they eat their hay. This contributed to both horses' strength under saddle.

Annie about a month ago looking fit and shiny as we headed into an unseasonably warm spring.

Annie's dainty hooves post-trim. The near fore appears to be a little later than the off fore and we're keen to see if this will balance up over the next couple of trims. Might be a consequence of the long lapse between trims over winter.

It could just be the way she's standing, but the near looks very different to the off. Might be a bit of both!
So, next comp is Goulburn next weekend - hopefully our last EvA95. We're looking to make the step up to EvA105 at Silver Hills in three weeks. Our super showjumping coach Ben Netterfield managed to slam himself into the ground at speed while paragliding a month ago and will be out of action for the forseeable future (love ya Ben!), so we've been taking a bit of an ad hoc approach to jumping training for the last month. Will see how that pays off!