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News from Vicki

9 August 2011

Nice to be back home, even though we were only away for 10 days.  But it sure is great to have the super comfortable Basil Blue to live in, even though I miss the power of the Scania up the hills.  However Basil is excellent to drive, and even better to live in, and the horses also seem to travel very well, so all good. Also being a bit slower gave more time for our French resident Nic to see the scenery, and look out for kangaroos!

Tamworth was a lovely show, with the indoor as I have stated before, being one of the best in the country.  Outdoor arena surfaces still need more work on them, both practice arenas having footing that was too loose over a hard surface, but indoor generally great.  Jane Kibble headed up this enthusiastic committee that worked very hard to put on a super show.  Greg Backhouse designed very good courses all weekend, and all Roycroft horses jumped well.  Kenny was 2nd in the Grand Prix, beaten by a whisker by Jamie Winning on Alpha Centauri, who jumped a lovely smooth round first out.  Willy and Casino overcame spooky starts to be 1st and 2nd in the final 1.25 class.  Benny went great on the two greener girls, Nikki and Pamelet for clear rounds and placings, as well as Brad.  Ryles has now found a super home in Victoria with Ricki Milne, so looking forward to her having fun with him, and gaining the valuable miles that he gave Ben. We also had Harley, of Erica Kelly's, who had been down with us on schooling, as they both had some confidence issues with each other, and he also jumped well, with me riding him on Friday and Saturday, then Erica rode him on Saturday and Sunday for some good rounds.

Monday we headed further north to Toowoomba, and had a couple of easy days before the show commenced on Thursday.  Another great Committee to work with, small and hard working and worth their weight in gold!  It had been a bit of a hard slog for them, as with the devastating floods earlier in the year, there weren't a lot of sponsorship dollars around.  But a good program with great jumping.  Graeme Watts designed his normal wonderful tracks in the main ring, with his World Cup track, which was of a sufficient size to be deemed a Certificate of Capability class for Olympic Qualification, was tough enough to bring the cream to the top, but most of the 28 starters survived very well, considering we don't see 1.60 fences that often!

Kenny gave me a big fright on Thursday.  He had been working well and feeling great, but when I got on him to ride him on Thursday, having decided some time before not to start him that day, he was a bit unlevel.  Jamie Kermond kindly agreed to look at him a little while later, and by that time he was hopping lame on his near fore.  Kermo pulled the shoe off, and thankfully almost immediately found an abcess in his toe, which on discussion with him, and also my excellent farrier back here Sandy Parker, we embarked on a program of hot tub soaking in Epsom Salts, and poulticing to try and draw all infection out.  Saturday morning Kermo put the shoe back on, and amazingly he was 100% sound again.  But Sandy had said that when they go lame that quickly, once the abcess is found they can also come good quickly, which seemed to be the case.  So he started on Saturday, and pulled my arms out, then Sunday in the World Cup class I tried an American gag that I thought would give me better brakes, but the opposite was the scenario, and I had very little control all the way round!!  Scarey stuff, but miraculously stayed clear til the very last 1.60 vertical, which he dragged me to the base of, and had it down behind.  So second round was back to the sweet iron Pessoa gag, and was much more rideable.  Kermo, I was pleased to see, rode two superb rounds to win on the classy mare Colthaga, only double clear round.  Andy Inglis on the big, scopey mare Amira was 2nd, just 1 down in the first round, and fast, beatifully ridden clear the second.  Clem Smith engineered two great rounds on his long time partner, the Neville Rose owned and bred Dark Ages, for 3rd, with Robert Goodwin on the cute stallion Warrego Sandon 4th.  Kenny and me 5th, and a great performance by young Tom Mc Dermott, who was the pathfinder for the class, to be 6th on the not so easy SL Limerick.

Casino chillin'

Casino chillin' at Toowoomba.  Such a cruisy stallion, I like the horses to be stabled in the cattle yards, which are quite big, but are separated by metal grid fencing.  Most stallions would go nuts in this situation, but Casino is the most sensible one I have ever had, in that he is quite happy to cover a mare when required, but if there is not an in season mare around the place, he is quite happy to sleep instead!

In other classes Casino was a star, stepping up to new levels and gaining lots of new fans on the way.  He was 4th in the David Overton Memorial Futurity, traditionally a tough class, to Sheri Manual on Congranda, with Robert Moffat on the impressive Finch Farm's Vidulka 2nd.  Brook Dobbin on Marjorie was 3rd.  Casino was then clear in his first Mini Prix, won very impressively by Evie Buller in a 16 horse jump off.  James and Todd were in great form to win the Tekna Young Rider Selection Series class, from Jack Maunder on one of his new imports.  Benny great on his three, Brad having the odd rail, but jumping well at this level, and Nikki and Pam getting good placings in the competitive 1.15 classes, with Nikki also stepping up to Young Rider classes, and being clear, with Ben.  Willy tackled the 1.30 and 1.40 classes with not too much spooking, and feels to be at last getting used to fences being bigger, and that all the stuff around them (not the fences themselves) may actually not leap out and bite him, which is generally his thinking....

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