Introducing the New Addition

New Addition

Well, now don’t I feel a little rude. I’ve recently purchased a new addition to the stables and I haven’t even formally introduced her! By recently, I mean just over 8 weeks ago. In my eyes, time flies when you’re having fun!

Formally welcoming ‘Minnie’ to the family. She is a beautiful just turned 4 year old Arabian Warmblood mare by Negro. You might be thinking, she isn’t a Standardbred? No she certainly is not, sired by the wonderful stallion Negro, who is also the sire of Valegro (Olympic Gold medal winner London 2012 and Rio De Janeiro 2016, record breaker and possibly one of the best international dressage horses of this time). Out of a beautiful Arabian mare.

New Addition

Minnie is a future prospect for myself to campaign in pony dressage and possibly the young pony classes, fingers crossed she stays under height for pony dressage. At the moment, she only stands at around 14.1 hh.

While I was casually looking for the next prospect for the last 12 months, I always found a reason to be too chicken to pursue. It was only after my experience while I was on holidays I realised, you only live once. I first saw Minnie’s for sale ad on one of the Warmblood Facebook groups a few days before I left on holidays. As soon as I saw it, I instantly saved it and hit that turn notifications button on. I showed my mum, who  just rolled her eyes thinking, not another chestnut mare!! Then I showed one of my friends who instantly replied, oh I saw that ad. How beautiful is she and by Negro!

New addition

While I was recovering from my injuries in Maun, having no WiFi for almost two weeks. There was lots of Facebook notifications to catch up on. One I wasn’t surprised about was all the notifications on Minnie’s post. As I scrolled through them expecting to read how she was sold to a wonderful home, I was most surprised to read she was still for sale. Instantly in my injury state, tell my mum she is still for sale! I must have been quiet convincing I was well enough over the following weeks, as it wasn’t long until I was on that flight up to Queensland.  I already fell in love with her, but when I saw her in the flesh I instantly knew she was the one. 4 days later Minnie arrived at the property.

new addition

Before Minnie and before Arnie came into the spot light, I had a beautiful chestnut Arabian Riding Pony Mare (another chestnut! No, I don’t think I’m crazy! ? ). Who I have retired from competition approx. 12 months ago due to an injury. I have my fingers and toes crossed to hopefully put her in foal this coming breeding season, I’m so indecisive, I have 3 stallions on my list and I honestly can’t choose which one to go to first. They are all equally as beautiful and what I feel will complement her well. Minnie will be ‘filling her spot’ so to speak.

New Addition
Miss Lily

No need to stress, I have NO intention to retire Arnie from riding. As long as he is, fit, happy, sound and enjoying my company day in and day out he will be with me as my number 1 on the team. I will always have a Standardbred on my team for a riding horse, I already have my eyes on Kiwi Jak when he finishes racing! He is only 5, I have plenty of time to convert him when he finishes racing! Arnie didn’t start his career until he was 12/13 years old.

Here is just a small selection of the many photos I have of Minnie. I’m so smitten with her, I’m looking forward to working with her down the track and watch her grow into a beautiful dressage horse.

My Time on the Side Line

It’s not very often I sit on the sideline, to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever sat on the sideline due to my own injury. I’ll rewind back to April this year, I had the most amazing holiday planned in May to Botswana. Unsure what to do with Arnie during this time, I decided to send him down to the AquaGait at Menangle along with one of our race horses for some cross training.

My time on the side line

Arnie was most upset that I had left him! I had this horrible image that kept replaying in my mind on the other side of the world, that look he gave me when I dropped him off. That sad, bottom lip, long face look.  I knew deep down I didn’t have to worry as he was in the best hands. But it was still replaying in my mind over and over again.

my time on the side line injury

The 1st of May rolled around quickly, and I was boarding that Qantas flight to Johannesburg, sparkling wine in one hand and a smile on my face ready for that 14-hour journey. Once we landed in Johannesburg it was time to refresh ourselves for a good night’s sleep before our flight the next day to Maun, Botswana. Excited was an understatement, I’ve been on safari before in Botswana and absolutely loved every minute of it. In another life if I didn’t have horses (which mind you is totally hard to imagine!) I could honestly pick up and move to that part of the world.

on the side line

One of the things I love about being on safari is the small planes, flying to and from the airstrips into the different camps is an experience in itself. In total we had 12 nights on safari, 6 of these nights were at two different camps. The last one we were out on a mobile safari for 6 nights, which is honestly the best experience. Bucket showers, no power, tents. Amazing. Truly back to nature, well, as close as possible. With a glass of bubbles to finish the days journey.

on the sideline

We saw so much wildlife, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, hyenas, wild dogs, honey badgers, baboons, kudu, impalas, jackals, leopards, lions, hippos, mongooses, sables… and soo much more including an incredible amount of bird life. Which I feel is a little hidden interest of mine! I could honestly write pages upon pages about my holiday in Botswana, but I might make that a totally separate post.

injury

Very much into the safari groove with only another 2 nights left in the amazing Okavango Delta is when I fractured my collarbone, I’m thankful it was towards the end of my holiday not the beginning. A little mishap at approx. 4:30 am when a tree decided to fall onto my tent and give me a little squash! Enough to scare everyone that’s for sure. I am incredibly lucky to walk out of it with what I did, but I’m also appreciative for all the help and support from the people on safari helping me that morning and the days after while I was recovering in Maun.

When I arrived home a fair few days after the incident, sore, bruised, stitched up and perhaps feeling a little sorry for myself. The first thing I did when I arrived back at the property was to go and see Arnie, I still had that horrible image floating around in my mind when I dropped him off at the AquaGait. He was excited to see me, which was a massive relief. As if that weight was lifted from my mind. He was a bit concerned what was wrapped around me, I’m lucky he is definitely a sensitive kinda guy and didn’t knock my shoulder.

While it has now been just over 6 weeks since my little accident, stitches out of my ear, CT scan being cleared of any fractured skull, X-Rays showing I’m going to live, but its healing on a very slight angle. My appointment with the orthopedic surgeon assured me I could start riding again in another 2 weeks time after another X-Ray. If feels amazing to be able to do ‘normal’ things again,! Look out horses, 2 weeks of lunging and I’ll be back in the saddle again soon!

It’s so easy to get deflated, become unmotivated while sitting on the sideline. And frankly easy to get unfit and a little chubbier!

injury on the sideline

My Trip Across The Ditch

My trip across the ditch

 

Earlier this year the family purchased 3 lovely fillies from the Yearling Sales in Christchurch, all 3 lovely fillies and 3 very different fillies! Making our latest team 5 Kiwis in total, sounds like we have an addiction! I was fortunate enough to hop back on the plane across the ditch and see how they were going after the breaking in prep. With New Zealand winters not favouring the horse training, a little too cold and wet. It was nice to see the fillies back in work after their winter holiday, still a little scruffy with their winter coats.

trip across the ditch

Friday

I arrived in Christchurch on a beautiful Friday afternoon, sun shining, spectacular clean crisp New Zealand air. We are so fortunate to live in this part of the world, especially when Middle Earth is only a 3-hour flight away.

We were in for an absolute treat on the Friday night with Addington races having a table in the members room with beautiful food and watching an action-packed race night. It was a spectacular experience, especially witnessing the running of Heat 3 for the Sires Stakes series. It was amazing to see Chase Auckland get the win in the heat, who went on to win the final. You can see Chase Auckland’s Heat win here on Harness Racing New Zealand website.

We retreated for an early night after the ninth race knowing we had a jam-packed Saturday!

trip across the ditch addington

Two reasons for the trip across the ditch, first one was to see our fillies and how they are developing after their breaking in prep. But also, to have a peep at Equidays NZ and to sit in on an incredible masterclass with Kyra Kyrklund. You can read all about the recap here with Kyra in my earlier blog post here.

Saturday

With Christchurch weather still on our side on the Saturday morning, it was time to drive some fillies! We watched Spider (Betterthencheddar) a nice little compact filly with a striking part white tail- workout first. At this point with her training she can be a little head strong and is a little opinionated!

trip across the ditch spider
Spider

Next, it was Libby (Sportswriter) and Misty (Shadow Play) turn to work out, I managed to steal the drive on Misty. I became rather attached to this big black girl this trip. I had an amazing experience driving Misty first up on Saturday, pushing her through a few gears with Libby. Who might I add was exceptional to watch, Libby has an amazing turn of foot. She really does look impressive when she finds that next gear!

trip across the ditch misty
Misty

I defiantly chose the right horse for me, managed to get the phone out for a quick snap on the way back in!

 

Trip across the ditch Misty Shadow

 

 

We also had a treat to see a filly who was only born several hours earlier! This stunning little girl is half sister to Spider.

 

To top off a wonderful horse day in Christchurch we visited Equidays, a pre- visit to Kyra’s Masterclass on the Sunday and to do a little shopping. I purchased a snazzy new Spooks vest and bought a matching pink one for my mother who was unable to join us on the trip. We finished off an amazing day with an absolute feast at the local Tai Tapu pub! If anyone is travelling to that area, I highly recommend the pork belly. ?

Kyra Masterclass

 

Sunday

As it was only a short trip across the ditch, when Sunday rolled around, yet another beautiful clean crisp day. I knew it was going to be a jam-packed day. First up we attended Kyra Kyrklund’s Masterclass at Equidays, full details can be viewed here on the previous blog.

I was excited to take the reins on Misty again on day 2, she is such a straight forward filly to drive. Leading the way out on the track with Libby on my tail we pushed the fillies through the gears. We were extremely impressed how the fillies worked today. I was very chuffed with Misty, we both performed better together today over our first drive together on Saturday .

 

trip across the ditch
Misty and Libby

I just can’t believe how wonderful Christchurch’s weather can be, we were incredibly fortunate to experience sunshine over the weekend. Some of our previous visits all we have had is rain, wind and more rain!

Can’t wait for the next trip next month to take the reins with the fillies again! 🙂

How did Dressage Dreamers come about?

I was tossing up the idea of having a Facebook page dedicated to my horse Arniwho, as there are several similar pages out on Facebook people have created to share their own journey with their Off The Track Standardbred, from track to hack for example. However, I’m not follow a trend – more hang out in the background watching and listening to what is going on!

So, I thought honestly is had come a time to break into the Facebook crowd, show off my Standardbred and our dressage journey. Because we all feel like we are all that little bit different from each other but share the same goal in promoting our special horses to that big wide outside world.

I can admit it, I’m so happy I decided to take that leap to create my page “Dressage a Standardbreds Tale to Success” to promote MY dressage journey with MY Standardbred. Since creating the page back in October 2015 we have slowly built up our audience to just over 1,130 followers – which is amazing! Honest to god I never dreamed of having anywhere near that amount of people following our journey, the support shown through messages and on posts is incredible.

As I’ve opened our little world to everyone through the Facebook page I decided to go that one step further and have a website. It wasn’t until mid 2016 once I had the website running a little more I started putting thought to keyboard and writing about our training, competition and just everything in between. This is how my blog developed and I named it Dressage Dreamers… for the pure and simple fact I’m a dreamer! But hey, dreams do happen am I right !?!

As the months carried on I became a little more tech savvy in the website department and make the quick decision I need to revamp the website, I need it to look a-maz-ing, it needs to be A1! I must admit there were a few touch and go issues, a few “pour another wine to get me though” moments but I can proudly say the website is awesome. I still have a few things I would like to add and change over time to make it that little extra bit extra special. But for now it’s something I’m proud to have on display.

As I continue this wild dressage dreamers journey not knowing where it will take me, I have (like most things I do) slowly developed an image for Dressage Dreamers. My aim (for the moment) is to transition the website into a directory to have boutique, one of a kind, support small Australian businesses listed in all areas in the world of dressage. It is important to support our local equine industry, I suppose you could say my aim is to create a “hub” of information, from businesses, information, articles and everything else in between.  After all dream big, right?

For the moment I’m enjoying the journey, the website making, the positive meme sharing and creating on Instagram and Facebook, the training, sharing my dressage journey with my Standardbred, the writing, the competition riding, beginning of my EA Coaching course, the designing shirts and rugs to show off! Because this dreamer likes to look professional ?

 

Happy riding 🙂

It’s not about being the best, it’s about being better than you were yesterday

I always feel super my first ride at home after a lesson, I have that “don’t worry, I’ve got this” feeling when I get on. Honestly I’ve been having so much fun working with Arnie lately, time literally passes so quickly in the morning.

My day usually starts out jumping out of bed energetic around 5am knowing I have enough time to ride Arnie before I’m off to work. Best way to start the day.. Am I right !?! Don’t worry some mornings are a real struggle. I’ve put it down to these are the days Arnie has off and therefore not motivated to get out of bed. Arnie and I are most defiantly creatures of habit, we have a set time in the morning that we work. We are usually all over the shop on a weekend when our rides are in the afternoon, it’s just not part of the routine! We are both a bit lazy I guess you could say 🙂

One of the advantages to working Arnie straight out of the stable early in the morning is he has energy and lots of it, I just have to direct it! Without a doubt I have a bit of a laugh to myself when I ask for our first walk- trot transition its huge, it’s a power lift off see ya later moment. So, since my lesson it’s been great confidence boost to keep playing with the tempos. I have to be honest he pretends not to register what I’m asking for the first dozen strides. Then he soon comes back and listens.

I feel like we are in a good place at the moment with our training, I feel slowly we are getting everything together bit by bit. Can’t rush these things right!? The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, Arnie and I are going to be part of the life after racing display on Miracle Mile night at Menangle Paceway. Can’t wait I’m super excited! I got interviewed as part of an article coming out in The Land this week too! Oh My Gosh! I was so nervous I honestly cannot recall what I even said, so I’m a tad nervous to read the article when it comes out. I just hope I answered all the questions the best I could, I kept playing the questions back over my mind a few days after thinking geez I could have had such a better answer to that! It was my first interview I’m pleased the way it went, if I ever do another interview I have some great answers lined up now – lol!

Not only have we got the promotion of the life after racing happening at the moment, I decided to bite to bullet and enter for Equifest.. Why? Honestly I have no idea, I’m probably going to get the biggest wake up call. But the other side of my brain is saying, well why shouldn’t we enter. Arnie and I have been working super hard and everything is falling into place bit by bit each ride, each week I feel like we are getting stronger and getting somewhere, getting closer to achieving those scores I’ve been visualising about.  Nevertheless, it’s going to be a huge learning curve one way or another!

I just have to remember each day. It’s not about being the best, It’s about being better than you were yesterday. Such true words.

Happy Riding 🙂