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News from Vicki

2 July 2011

Plenty of rain on the Coast, so muddy paddocks and a few foot abcesses are the norm.  Not too many frosts yet, so everything still quite green.

Headed up to Gunnedah for their excellent jumping festival.  What a lovely show despite the cold, frosty mornings there!  Peter and Sandy Weinthal head up a dynamic committee that work their collective butts off to make this a great show.  Nice initiative is to have a 'foreign' Course Designer in the main ring for the last couple of years.  Last year it was Kiwi Gerrit Bekker who did a great job, and this year another Kiwi, Horse of the Year Show driving force Kevin Hanson, who like Gerrit last year, produced excellent tracks that got horses jumping.  Footing is also extremely good, and for the main arena there is plenty of space in both competition and warm up arenas.  Also a mention here to Edwena Mitchell, who does an outstanding job of marshalling, providing enough skills to keep competitors seamlessly flowing into the arena without too much drama.  Big deal here is that, like in Europe, we need to get used to having the next competitor in the ring ready to go while the previous competitor is still on course.  This produces many advantages; the show gets through the big numbers more quickly, riders can get their horses a bit accustomed to being away from their 'new friends' in the warm up ring and also show them any of the scarey fences (and learning not to get in the previous competitor's way!).

Keeping warm

Keeping warm at Gunnedah. Issie Whatley, Kath and Sara Ryan,
and me with my personal lap warmer, Pixie.

Nicholas Chaveau

New working student from France, Nicholas Chaveau,
with Kenny at Gunnedah.

Issie with Alf

Issie with Alf, who has not long arrived from N.Z. Alf belongs to Issie's mum, Rangi, but Molly had given herself a haemotoma during the week,
so Alf had to step in to be Junior horse for Issie, and jumped some great clear rounds. Kath Ryan and Chucky in the background, as well as the super new truck, Basil Blue

Great show for Team Roycroft.  Kenny and Casino jumped really well, Kenny winning both his classes, the 1.35 on Saturday from Sharon Slater and Ulixes, and the Grand Prix on Sunday from Andrew Inglis and Amira.  Casino was double clear all 3 days, culminating in a win (and another rug!) in the 1.20 Ch'ship.  Finally he is feeling confident and happy in the ring.  When he first arrived from Europe, he had a few spooky, confidence issues, as he is a careful, sensitive guy, but every time he goes in the ring now, he feels more bullet proof, which is a lot of fun to ride!  Willy still having some spooky issues, but I am now experimenting with more feed and less gear.  Maybe opposite to normal tactics, but the normal tactics haven't worked as well as they should have.  And I remembered the other day that Apache was a spooky, sensitive horse that went better with more high protein feed than less, so worth a try.

Benny went great, particularly on Nikki, who was placed all show, and his 2 chestnuts.  Although Benny had a hard act to follow on Ryles, as his dad Jim Scobie had won 2 of the Amateur classes at Camden Festival the week before!  But Ryles obliged with placings, as did Brad.  Sara and Steph also starred, Sara and Chucky winning their first rug in the final Junior Championship, with a super jump off round.  Steph and super pony Cy were back on good form after Cy had had a virus, and also won a rug in the 1.15 Ch'ship, so warm horses all round! James also won the first Young Rider on Todd, and a 3rd in the Final to Evie Buller from WA, who under Rod Brown's excellent tuition, is riding with a maturity beyond her years.

Toowoomba World Cup next major event, with maybe Tamworth on the way up there.

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