98.25" Show Stopper     
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Best Rank  22  | Best Jump  98.25"  | Winnings  318,900
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Best Rank  1  | Best Jump  98"  | Winnings  367,360,579
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Retraining a Racehorse - Moonfire (Week 1)
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I am going to type up, in detail, all my experiences with retraining Moonfire. I'm going to tell you what I did and when, what the results were, what my thoughts were, what Moonfire's progression is and so on. I hope to ...
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Moonfire - Fixing a Rearing Problem - Part 1
29th Feb 2012   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
It all started around November 2011 – I couldn’t tell you what caused it. Sometimes there is no cause – young horses are constantly going through phases, which are seldom triggered by anything at all – and this was just one of Moony’s phases. At the time, his flatwork had come ...
Life Lessons Learned From Horses
2nd Feb 2012   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Carrot ownership laws. 1. If it belongs to your rider, it is yours. 2. If your rider wants to give it to another horse, it is yours. 3. If it is in a bucket, it is yours. 4. If you like buckets, that is yours, too. 5. If there is another horse's head in the bucket - that is ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 6 Happiness The Perks of Being a Work Rider If Horses Went To School
The Nature of the Crazy Eventer
26th Jan 2012   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
Those of you who event, or know somebody who events, will surely agree with me when I say that the sport defies all logic. It’s like trying to take a convertible around a 4X4 track, or going skydiving using a plastic packet as a parachute. It is completely nonsensical, no matter ...
The Nature of the Not-So-Sane Show Rider
19th Jan 2012   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
Anybody who has done showing must know that you can’t be completely sane to choose to wake up at 4AM, and work for a good three hours getting your horse to look its best for a few boring minutes, just so that somebody else can judge it. There is absolutely no chance that it is wo ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 7
21st Oct 2011   |   Horse Stories   |   Polo the Weirdo
It was toward the end of 2006 that Bronze started graded jumping. I managed to convince him that he could in fact keep more than one hoof off the ground at any one time, and he began to jump his fences properly, rather than stepping over them. Unfortunately, with this improvement ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 6
13th Oct 2011   |   Horse Stories   |   Polo the Weirdo
He was nearly five years old now – a late age to geld – so he was left with the thick neck and muscular build of a stallion, which of course was delightful. He was always an eye-catching horse, and attracted attention wherever I took him. Many people stubbornly refused to believe ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 5
6th Oct 2011   |   Horse Stories   |   Polo the Weirdo
Fill a plastic bottle with stones, and shake it. This, according to our neighbour, would make Bronze ‘Go’. So, the next day I mounted Bronze – bottle in hand – and hoped desperately for results. I booted him into a walk, then tried to make him trot. When he wouldn’t, I raised the ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 4
29th Sep 2011   |   Horse Stories   |   Polo the Weirdo
With the horses, we were given some old poles, tools, a wheelbarrow and a hay feeder – just a few useful items to help us out with building paddocks and looking after the horses. The same groom who led me around on Bronze also came along, and became our groom – and a truly fantas ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 3
24th Sep 2011   |   Horse Stories   |   Polo the Weirdo
I looked into his gentle brown eyes, and I knew that I had found my horse. Or rather, I suppose, that he had found me. This was my first meeting with Bronze. My mother was besotted with him from the second she saw him, so we hurried to Alfie’s office to ask who the stallion wa ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 2
16th Sep 2011   |   Horse Stories   |   Polo the Weirdo
Suddenly, from amongst the herd of stallions, one came charging toward me. He was a huge, bright bay creature – standing at least a hand over any of the others, and double the size of most in bulk. He hardly seemed like a Thoroughbred at all. Seeing this tank of a horse bearin ...
Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 1
9th Sep 2011   |   Horse Stories   |   Polo the Weirdo
So you all remember the stories of Polo, Choc and Finola, and I’m sure you’ve all been thinking "But what about Bronze? Doesn’t Bronze also deserve a story?" Yes, he does. This is a story I have been planning to write for well over a year – but I have been biding my time and w ...
National Junior Championships – Part Six
20th Aug 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
I closed my legs around her sides, waiting for the beautiful feeling of harmony I’d felt over the two previous jumps. At the last minute, Finola seemed to lose heart, and she slammed on brakes. She skidded into the base of the jump – hocks nearly touching the ground – and ende ...
Retraining a Racehorse – First Dressage Show
11th Aug 2011   |   Dressage   |   Polo the Weirdo
On the way to the dressage arena, he was rather excited by the unfamiliar atmosphere. He considered spooking at the dressage letters, but decided that watching them warily would work just as well – since I decided not to let him behave like a silly baby-horse. We trotted up to ...
Retraining a Racehorse – Preparation For First Dressage Show
4th Aug 2011   |   Dressage   |   Polo the Weirdo
On 5 March 2011, I caught my Moon-horse, and tossed him into the horsebox beside my tank of a Bronze-horse for his first dressage competition. Both horses traveled well, as they always do – good boys. Thus, we arrived in good time for our dressage – early for once – and all re ...
Retraining A Racehorse – Moonfire – Cross Country - Part 3
28th May 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
I stabilized my lower leg to get my hands looser and softer and keep my balance in my seat, then rode Moony up and down the hills again. He was certainly more forward and eager uphill now that I was riding properly, but still hesitating on the downhill. So I set my weight back ...
Retraining A Racehorse – Moonfire – Cross Country - Part 2
19th May 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
On 26 February 2011, there was an open day at one of the nicest show venues in the Province, and also one of the few that is never available to rent for public use – it is used for shows only, as is the rule. Thus, it was a great opportunity to go here and jump the cross country ...
Retraining A Racehorse – Moonfire – Cross Country - Part 1
14th May 2011   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
On 17 February 2011, I began preparing Moony for his eventing debut. After his Third Place in his first jumping show of the year, I decided it was time for him to start eventing and see if he couldn’t achieve similar results. We boxed Moony and Bronze to a nearby venue that we ...
National Junior Championships – Part Five
8th May 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
After these fantastic results, we faced our first hint of a problem. I felt a strange choppiness in Finola’s stride, and suddenly placing her became difficult. The stride I saw didn’t seem quite as good as before, but Finola still made a plan and kept jumping, though perhaps not ...
Surviving The Warm-up Arena
9th Apr 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
Have you ever taken a moment at a show, to pause before entering the warm up? Do you ever look into that deadly hornets’ nest of an arena and think, 'Holy doughnuts, I’m going to get crushed in there!' If you haven’t – good for you – but those of us with any sense of self preserv ...
National Junior Championships – Part Four
1st Apr 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
It was the day after the cross country, and though the weather had improved slightly, the sky was still smothered with clouds – which looked about fit to burst with rain. As usual, we arrived at the show grounds early to feed the horses. Both Bronze and Finola looked perfectly ...
National Junior Championships – Part Three
22nd Mar 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
In a pathetic lapse of concentration that I am still kicking myself for, I went ahead and ‘showjumped’ the fence – getting my weight off his back and leaning forwards, rather than keeping my seat in the saddle and leaning way back on landing like I should have, seeing as the drop ...
National Junior Championships – Part Two
14th Mar 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
This was our first day competing, and our third day at the championships. Finola, of course, was still not starting to compete, since she came only for the jumping. As such, this was Bronze’s moment, and all attention was focused on him. On this day, Bronze would perform for t ...
Retraining a Racehorse – Moonfire – First Show Of The Year
6th Mar 2011   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
With 2010 well behind us, the time soon arose for Moony to make his 2011 debut – heading off for his first show of the year on the morning of 5 February 2011. He loaded without a problem, and arrived at the show safe and sound and raring to go, which is just as well, since we ...
Retraining A Racehorse – Moonfire – Show Preparation
24th Feb 2011   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
On 3 February 2011, one of our show venues was having an open day – allowing riders to pay to use the arena for one-hour sessions. This was the perfect opportunity to prepare Moony for his first show of the new year! ...
Retraining a Racehorse – Moonfire – The Jumping Clinic
20th Feb 2011   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
On 28 January 2011, Moony and I attended a clinic by Andreas Hollmann – An international rider and course designer, and a professional coach. We were supposed to take part in a group lesson, but there was only one other rider in our 80cm group, and she never arrived – so by a ...
Five Very Good Reasons To Learn To Use English
7th Feb 2011   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
I hope all your brains are overflowing with this new knowledge, and that your enlightenment has brought you not only amusement, but motivation to improve your own language usage. Nobody can be perfect, of course. In fact, I daresay I made multiple errors in this article alone. Bu ...
Put A Sock In It!
27th Jan 2011   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Have you ever had a sock go missing? Have you come across that little, lonely, lost sock in your drawer, and never been able to find its partner? Well, I don’t doubt that you have – since this has been a problem faced by all sock-wearers since the beginning of Sockstory. It is a ...
National Junior Championships – Part One
21st Jan 2011   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
We were up at the crack of dawn. Packed and ready by 5:30AM, we hit the road and drove off to pick up the Bronze horse. Finola was driving up to champs in a float with my jumping instructor – so we had only one horse to prep for the journey. Knowing that we were late and not c ...
Retraining a Racehorse – Moonfire – Back by popular demand
20th Jan 2011   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
As many of you might remember, I began publishing weekly training articles on my work with Moonfire as soon as I got him. However, I chose to discontinue these articles after about the 6th one – purely because I had written all I could about the methods I was using with Moony, an ...
Getsu - Chapter 2
2nd Jan 2011   |   Horse Fiction   |   Polo the Weirdo
"What’re we gonna do with ‘em?" One man asked, turning to the rider beside him with a sneer. "The mare’s a goner, just leave her there." Came his companion’s callous reply. "Take the colt, though. He’s sure to fetch something." "Right you are, Sir." The first man replied, tipp ...
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