It started off as a ripper of a year- only 2 days in and Pippa was born. She is my miracle foal that we weren’t even expecting until 9 months in- after the death of my first ever foal (premature) and about 8 further failed attempts to get Fire (Pippa’s mum) in foal. I was very lucky that I had fire in my garden and had been lent a Foaling Alarm that I did not miss the birth. Pippa needed a tiny wriggle in the shoulders, then slid out like a slippery little worm (or foal). Of course being the annoying YouTuber that I attempt to be I filmed the whole thing….pretty great memory.
Jan we got out schooling and to some local jump comps. Midi- finally got out showjumping and was super well behaved despite jumping a little enthusiastically. We then got prepared for the first event of the season at TEG- Tamborine. It was to be Foxy’s first ever event in teh 80cm, I also had a client’s horse which I rode for the two weeks prior. Jet was starting back at 1* again and was feeling great.
Jet did a fabulous test for 66.7% to sit 7th after dressage (wanting to break the 67% ) he then showjumped brilliantly but tapped a rail. Foxy did a bit of a shoddy dressage but to be honest she wasn’t really ready and handled the warm up like a pro. Danny- the newbe was a bit frazzled in the warm up but then pulled out the 7s. Both Foxy and Danny took a rail SJ but cross-countried well despite it being very wet before their rounds.
Jet- well the week before TEG we did some xc schooling- Jet felt mega but suddenly forgot how to jump a skinny- I was a little concerned heading to the xc as they had the evil double of skinny arrowheads (VERY skinny take off on one). So, day of the xc in the warm up, Jet was great. There was a very skinny arrowhead- likely a 2* and we probably shouldn’t have been jumping it. I had a quick toss up- jump it and get the practice out the way or cause a problem and not sort it before heading out. So I decided to give it a crack, and dammit, ran out. Quickly went around to go again- as the stewards called me to the start box and a girl stopped and fell on top of the jump- ah god damn. (sorry those that are religious)
So the girl dragged herself off the jump, while I impatiently half sidestep trantered towards the jump, as the girl then walked behind the jump to retrieve her whip-gahhhhh. So off to the start box I had to go. Greeeaaaat. No surprises that we had issues at the arrowhead, despite me taking a very long route to get a nice straight line, Jet just uh no. We stopped and had a look, Jet got a smack and we tried again. (Last year0 Jet’s first 1* he got eliminated at the exact same jump). This was not going to happen again. thankfully it didnt’! We finished with only the one runout. Foxy finished clear with a lot of time faults as we walked the slippery muddy parts. So not the ideal first event but areas to work on.
March brought Toowoomba and Jet hit his new PB at 68%, unfortunately we knocked down the double which after xc left us in 10th which was a bit rubbish but I was still on a high after how amazing he felt after his clear xc. Next step was 2*.
Then…..COVID!!!! Bloody covid.
The world was shut down.
Suddenly there was a different schedule- no events to aim for, clients losing their jobs, everyone losing momentum.
I started concentrating on social media and training the OTTBs I had a home.
I had Biscuit, the brumby breaker- she was fun- she had mare attitude in buckets, but really it was a lack of her trust in humans and hence her acting defensively. Once she realised she wasn’t always in trouble and that working with people wasn’t a threat or fight, she became a lot happier and cooperative. She is now back home enjoying life trail riding and going to pony club.
I free jumped my Contenda colt- Storm to see what he was made of. Fell more in love with him, if that is even possible.
Mid year- after I had lost motivation, then seemingly gotten it back, I had a few horses in training and Jet was going great guns. Typical, while there weren’t any comps!!! We were concentrating on our showjumping and coming on in leaps and bounds- excuse the pun! Midi, Theo and Woody, my Ottbs were back in work and I was keen to get the hours in that are sometimes hard with event season and no help on the yard.
Theo- a horse I took on from a client due to him being overly anxious and throwing in the occasional buck was concerning me. Despite him being a lovely mover and scopey jumper he was so difficult to get him to relax his back, it felt as though he was a bomb about to go off, he would literally hold his breath until you walked. He would also disunite and bunny hop in the canter. I thought it was time to investigate the reason-> X-rays of his back revealed some kissing spines. We injected his back with some steroids as well as his hocks and waited to see whether there was much improvement.
Pippa continued to grow and not be such a baby! Being a pro with the farrier and all other aspects of life. She was still living with her mum, Fire, in my garden and we had to start feeding Fire over the gate so little miss fatty Pippa wasn’t stealing both her mother’s food and all her calories through milk. The plan was to wean at 5-6 months as Fire was quite light on and Pippa seemed big and independent.
Foxy was stepping up her training and finally seemed to be feeling stronger in her hindend to train her canter more effectively. She is not, my dressage coaches favourite student ha ha but unfortunately she needs the help. Chevvy, my pally QH x Arab got pulled out the paddock after a 6 month break and didn’t put a foot wrong. He is such a cool little dude. Jet’s dressage was really coming on and getting harder- introducing renver and flying changes- super exciting looking towards the end of COVID.
I had one fabulous cross-country schooling session in my Custom made Country Extreme jump saddle- for it all then to suddenly go wrong.
I was ran a few clinics for local clubs, had more OTTBs in for training, for various problems as well as ponies needing miles under saddle. It was a busy time despite no competitions, minimal travel and no help. Midi was going great and had a couple of his own dressage lessons and became my coaches favourite.
When my year really started to go downhill….
Jet was no longer happy jumping, he was getting very upset on the landing side of the fence and going rather silly, rushing and bucking which then resulted in him injuring himself. This then progressed to resisting to canter altogether. I was devastated, stressed and wanted to get him sorted asap. Foxy was suddenly having to step in as numero uno while I figured out what to do with Jet. After multiple trot ups, flexion tests, nerve blocks and injections of hocks and sacroiliac we ended up having to x-ray his back and found he also had some impinging dorsal spinous processes (kissing spines) 😦
We blocked Jet’s back to see if we could get rid of his lameness and get him cantering, but on the first attempt we didn’t. We went through it a second time a week later after not enough response to having his sacroiliac joint and both hocks injected and success! Suddenly the resistance to canter disappeared and he didn’t buck. To really really check, I even jumped a few jumps, including ^1m as that is when he would usually be upset. I didn’t die therefore we decided to book him in for surgery.
This- of course was all vlogged and can be found over on my YouTube channel- don’t worry it isn’t too gorey for the faint hearted out of you all. It is super interesting for those of you that are the same horrid predicament or just a bit of a nosey parker (ha ha don’t worry- me too)
About the same time this was all going on, my mum was diagnosed with Q Fever- we have no idea how she could have caught it. As the antibiotic course was nearing the end she developed a Salmonella infection and got rushed to hospital for a few weeks. Just as she was finally feeling a bit better at home we had to go into hospital for a precautionary heart scan as a follow up to the Q Fever. Of course, it wasn’t going to be a simple quick in and out was it? They found a mass!!!! At first it was suspected to be a clot and an overnight stay to dissolve it then suddenly mum was in for 3 weeks with a little flappy tumour that could break off and cause a stroke at any time! Well thank you Q Fever for bringing it to our attention.
Thankfully by this time I was allowed to visit – unlike with the Salmonella- gosh I cannot imagine what it would be like n the countries where their families are dying from covid in hospital.
Jet started his recovery and then rehab program and mum had open heart surgery then left hospital. We don’t do things by halves.
Foxy was jumping like a legend and had started to settle with her head flinging, her dressage was really coming on- not quite to the standard I would really like it but in the right direction. Traci, my coach, normally disliked Foxy and dreaded our lessons- things were starting to look up.
After a pretty crappy few months it was time to welcome a new Working student to the yard in the lovely Amber- thank goodness!!! Then head to some events…
Second event of 2020 for JEDS Equine was in November- how ridiculous is that? If you really really think about it? Foxy was entered for her second event and second 80cm- and she didn’t disappoint. Despite the fact she had won her local comp dressage test a few weeks before, she didn’t kill the dressage. I thought she had done fabulously but had obviously been a bit tight in front and over the back to not sit great after the first phase. Buuuuuut she followed up with the most amazing double clear. The showjumping I was mostly worried about because although she is very scopey she can be a little stong minded and tell me where she take off. However, she was amazing. On xc I wanted to make sure I did not get time faults- she flew out of the start box and never stopped being a legend. She actually came in a litte under time to finish 9th all up.
Storm, my first surviving foal turned 2!!! Who can believe it! By the eventing stallion Contenda and out of the talented mare QEB Cocktail bred by Glenn Pearce.
Then it was off to the last event of the year-> Warwick. This would be Foxy’s 3rd event and 3rd and hopefully last 80cm. I also had a client’s horse in tow which I got to run around the 95cm. (It was great, seeing as though I didn’t have Jet.) Ben has competed at 1* and it was so fun to ride him and I so wish we had been doing the 1* instead, he felt brilliant. He hadn’t competed since the beginning of the year and had had 3 weeks with me prior to this comp- his flat work was a work in progress but really improving and he really is such a gun jumper. Foxy again gave me a double clear, despite the show jumping being very hard work and not feeling too flash. Two events in a row where we came in a little too quick…. whoops! I’m just thinking about prelim tee hee.
Jet’s #kissingspinesurgery journey continued- he was doing fabulously with the lunging- walk and trot. It was time to introduce the canter work.
Foxy went for a spell in November and I practically broke my 11 month filly in in 1 minute. (Being sarcastic…just in case you’re unaware)
At the end of November I travelled with my partner Johnny to the Toowoomba Cutting Futurity. We went up to his trainers and stayed in the Caravan, which was a luxury and felt like a mini holibreak… it was fabulous watching all the quarter horses and riders work the cattle- in what is usually our eventing * classes indoor Dressage arena. I was itching to have a go and thankfully for me Johnny, who was a little unwell organised for me to lope for him. This effectively means working the horse down/ warming them up before their go. The riders often lope for hours. I would be on for 2 hours, walk, trotting and loping around in a 30m circle with all the others. Wishing they would change the rein. I initially was told off for not wearing a cowboy hat as I had on a cap, Johnny’s head is far bigger than mine so we had to bend back the inner band to hold it on, thankfully it worked. I have to say, Evermore, Johnny’s colt was far better schooled than everyone else’s by the time it had finished loping ha ha. John did brill and just missed the top 6 after his 3rd run didn’t go as well as the first two- its a little bit different when you’re not only riding an animal but also moving around a second.
I am so keen to have a go at some low level cutting in 2021, but it is hard enough to fit in all the event horses and young ones let alone getting a ride on the quarter horses, whilst we remain on two separate properties.
Soooooo……getting near the end of the year was time again to start thinking about breeding some future champion eventers for myself and perhaps other people if I decide to share. Fire, mum to Pippa was to go back in foal but I have wanted a second broodmare for a while. Otherwise if there is only ever one youngster coming through, I want to keep them to produce myself, hopefully to sell or otherwise to sell once they’re up and going. So the plan was to try and have two broodmares so that I could have the potential to keep one of the foals and sell one….lol, we will see how this goes.
Anyway the search was on for another nice OTTB mare. I was specific about the lines I wanted- Mr Prospector, Sir Tristram and Biscay. I bid on a couple of mares on Bloodstock Auction but was pipped at the post by some meanies at literally the last minute. But, it was meant to be!!! It lead me to finding Matilda, known here as Tilly. Her racename was “Waltz In Flight”, see where she gets the Matilda from?!
She is by Ticket’s (By Redoubte’s choice), out of a NZ mare Vinzky. On her Dam’s side she has both Sir Tristram and Mr Prospector and although she doesn’t have Biscay, on her sire’s side she has Bletchingly twice and he is Biscay’s sire- so I feel that is fairly good all the same. Anyway, 2 out of 3 is pretty good. She is a tall, leggy bay mare with a stripe and she is ever so sweet. She had had 30 starts, retired and has had one foal. it is obvious she had been well cared for at the stud as she is very sweet.
Both Tilly and Fire went for a stay at Cushavon Stud to visit the sexy Irish draft A.I. (artificial insemination) straw.
Fast forward to 2nd December 2020——–>>>
Jet’s rehab was increasing the cantering, we started doing raised trot poles and Jet was rather excited about the whole thing, deciding they were actually a row of bounce jumps.
10th December was Tilly’s time to be scanned for her 15 day pregnancy check. This time it was in our makeshift crush.
So that was two pregnant mares to Spud, Cushavon Khalin Ri. Very exciting!! Any of you that have had much to do with breeding, know that often getting the mares pregnant is the easy part. I envisage to share more of their journey both on here and on YouTube.
Fire is the problem child- having had her first foal prematurely and losing it- her pregnancy is stressful.
Jet had his first ride- what a milestone!!!
Storm was finally gelded Since he has been gelded, he has grown like a weed. Below is a photo of him shortly after turning 2. I am very very proud of my first homebred and plan to start the groundwork of his breaking in soon.
Well that was pretty much 2020. Amber headed off home for Christmas and I stayed home to do the horses, however managed to be kicked in the side of my abdomen a few days before Christmas, breaking one of my ribs and straining my muscles. By jove it was painful. It didn’t make doing the horses very enjoyable and all I could hope for was that I wasn’t going to be out of riding for too long!!!
So long 2020
And bring on a COVID free 2021