Monday, January 18, 2010

Belated wargames #4

I'm slowly catching up to myself... maybe. We had one last wargames before the christmas holidays. Mum got time off work to bring me back to Eve's. I was a little bit worried when I turned up there because there were only Eve's horses and Anna's horses, but fortunately more people turned up later! In the meantime mum put me in with some of Eve's horses and Autumn - they weren't very nice to me :( But I'm starting to learn to stick up for myself! Really, all I wanted them to do was leave me alone so I could EAT!
As more people began to show up, mum got me out of the paddock and saddled me up. We didn't have any swords this time, so we used Anna's spears instead, and Mum also had T's shield which she has been using to get me used to it. We rode past the shield, hitting it with the spears, but despite all mum's work, I still didn't really want to get close to it - they also rode us past the cones in patterns, and sometimes our silly riders would try to pick up imaginary things with the spears - they looked kinda silly!
To help me get over my shield phobia, Mum had me walking into Anna as she backed away, with the shield in front of her, until I touched it with nose - then they both praised me - I liked the attention, and I must admit it made the shield a lot less scary. In fact the next time I walked up to the shield at home I tried to nibble it just to see if it was edible, seeing as it wasn't anywhere near as scary as it had been!
We also did a lot more riding in formation, I'm learning to deal with having other horses come up close to me and ride beside me. I do however have a tendency to fall apart at the canter - it's just soooo much fun and I want to run and run and run!! Whoever said Haflingers were lazy? I would much prefer to EAT, but then the second best thing is running!!
It was a lot of fun, and it is a shame that we now have to take a holiday from the wargames for the christmas and new year holiday, but hopefully we'll do more in no time :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Parade Time

Hi all, sorry I haven't written for a while, but Mum has been keeping me pretty busy. I don't know what the big idea is with her making me work - doesn't seem fair to me! But some of it has been fun. It goes something like this...
One evening back in early December Mum loaded me up into the truck and we headed out to Eve's. This seemed rather a weird time to go to Eve's as we always go there on a Sunday morning, so I knew something was out of the ordinary. When we got there there were all these strange horses there - some I had never seen before, not even at the war games. And the humans were putting on all these funny clothes. Something about a dress rehearsal - what's a dress rehearsal? Some of the humans got dressed in the funny clothes and then undressed again, some stayed dressed, and then they put funny clothes on us horses. I got to wear my lovely green and gold caparison again, but with a red saddle blanket from Anna - I must say I did look even more lovely like that :)
Then us nine horses and our riders went riding out in formation. It was all slow stuff, walk with a very little bit of trot. I didn't mind Dune, the little palomino beside me, but the big tall chestnut on the other side was kinda scary - especially when he started kicking out at something - I thought he was after me. We'd walk and then halt and stand around for a while before starting to walk again. We did get to do a little trotting in formation as well.
The whole evening was kind of interesting, but I wasn't sure at the time why we were doing it - it wasn't like a wargames at all.
I got the next day off. Something to do with mum working on a costume. I thought I had all my costume, but I guess not because she was working on some more. She came out in the evening and put my bridle on me, but the reins were different - they had dangly bits on them with little bells on that jingled when I shook my head. I quite liked the sound, and kept tossing my head around to hear the bells ring. It was fun :)
On Friday she loaded me up in the morning and took me up to the forest for a ride. Anna and Ra were there as was Margaret and Anja and three of the games ponies, and Tania on Max. We had quite a tiring ride through the forest, even though most of it was at a walk - there was a lot of uphill and downhill work for me there!! It made a nice change to be out riding somewhere different where we didn't seem to be doing any training for anything. And I'm getting used to those horses, so it wasn't as scary as it would have been once upon a time.
After the ride I got a complete cleaning - shampoo and all. I looked lovely and shiny, but I did hear mum comment that she wondered why she was bothering to clean my body when it would be covered by the caparison. Cathy and Cookie turned up at washing time too, so there were quite a group of us getting made sparkly and clean.
After that we went home again, and mum put me in the paddock and disappeared inside, apparently to finish off the costume. I thought that was me finished for the day, as it had been a tough morning, and she did give me dinner when I got home, but later in the afternoon she put me in the truck again. I didn't know what was happening - I never go out twice in one day - it was just wrong!!
We drove through Kumeu and Huapai, and stopped at a winery on the north side of Huapai. When I got out of the truck, I noticed that Cruise, Ra and Murph were there, and then while I was tied up to the side of the truck Max, Cookie and the games ponies turned up - what a turnout. There were also big trucks around with funny trailers on the back of them. Why would someone dress up a trailer, I was wondering. Apparently they are called floats, and we were getting ready for a Santa Parade. Whats a Santa?? Is it edible??
After a bit of last minute sewing, mum came over and started dressing me up - saddle blanket, caparison, red saddle blanket, saddle, and a new cover that went over the top of my saddle so it wasn't as obvious that I was wearing a western saddle. Then my bridle. Mum kept putting the bridle on, taking it off again, changing something and trying again, trying to get the different type of browband to fit. She had taken Tammy's old bridle and covered it in green velvet and sewed it up with gold thread. It looked pretty fancy. And then she had attached some bling to the headband, and my new jingly reins. I also had a red breastplate that jingled too - I love to jingle!! I like to prance and dance and toss my head just to make the bells ring!
Then all the humans got dressed into their funny clothes. I'm just glad that mum wasn't wearing armour like Dave and Matt were. It was quite hot enough thank you very much without that extra weight!
Murph was being horrible once he was dressed up - they had put something on his head called a plume, and it took us a while to work out that it was Murph. He kept looking at us and pulling faces, and with the plume there it was very threatening. But after a while we got used to his plume and started to ignore him.
Once everyone was mounted up we walked around the grass area in formation and then stood on the road waiting and waiting and waiting. I spent some time watching the beginning of the parade head down the main road through Huapai, and the train as it went past too.
Eventually we began to move slowly, though it was almost a case of walk five steps, stop for five minutes. Kind of frustrating, but other than tossing my head and pawing a little, I was a good girl.
We were getting closer to the road when we had to stop again. Oh well, when you've got to go, you've got to go, so I did, and then pranced up the road to catch up with the other horses, only to stop again. Oh boy I thought - this isn't fair - my public is waiting out there to see me - I need to get to them so they can see ME!! I was getting a little impatient by this time, so I pawed and pawed and pawed. And it worked - we started moving again!
Once out on the main road, where people could see me I was happy. People were there admiring me, from both sides of the road, waving and yelling out merry christmas and saying they wanted that horse and pointing at ME :) I was happy following along behind Max and Cookie, and I kept a close eye on what they were doing, so that if they stopped, I stopped, before mum could even tell me to. Especially since sometimes she was too busy waving to people and calling out Merry Christmas. What a sight we were with T, Vic, Anakin, Tommy, Rowan and Adele on the ground in their fighting gear, then Murph and Matt, Ra and Eloise, Cruise and Dave, Max and Tania, Cookie and Cathy, Me and Mum, Shards and Margaret, Big Blue and Francis, and Findee and Anja. Also Eve and two of Anna's nieces dressed as fairies, and Anna's brother pushing Anna's other niece in a push chair, and Sue with Anja's dog Roxy the Whippet, and Anna with the wheelbarrow as the pooper scooper.
Even around the pub I wasn't concerned, even though there were lots of people on either side of the street - after all, what was there to be concerned about when they were out there to see ME :)
It is quite a long walk through Huapai and Kumeu, and you know, after all that I still don't know what a Santa is. I must remember to ask Mum one day.
Once the parade was finished, all the people from the parade started going in different directions, and we left our ground crew behind and went down the back roads to get back to the trucks. There were cars going past us in all directions, and some big trucks and floats too. Generally the other drivers were very considerate and slowed down a lot to go past us. Unfortunately though not everyone was that considerate, and we had at least 3 cars going speeding past - don't people realise how dangerous it is not only for us, but for them?
By the time we got back to the truck, I was very very tired, and my feet were a little tender after walking all that way on the hot tarmac, but it was good to go for a little canter along the grass while I was all dressed up - it was nice after going so slowly all the way along the road.
I really enjoyed my first parade, and I looked soo pretty (but then again, I always look pretty :) ), but I was glad to get home to my paddock for a rest!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Belated wargames #3

Hi all, it's been a while since the last post and in fact since the last wargames - has something to do with the fact that mum has been running around a lot doing stuff, and also keeping me busy. In fact Tuesday we had a practice day doing Steve Brady stuff (Mum played a cruel trick on me by changing my bit so I can't do all the little naughty things I have been getting away with in my old bit), and then on Wednesday the Demon Dentist and Vampire Vet came out. Well they aren't really that bad, but having that file rasping against your teeth does make your head feel rather funny, and the Vet also takes my blood every time - though at least this time he didn't pull my hair out (for a DNA test mum said it was). However him and mum were talking about getting rid of my Cindy Crawford beauty mark. At least mum said no to injections and operations for now, but then they were talking about putting marmite or lipstick on it. Hmmmm. I might not be pretty without my beauty mark... who I am I kidding, I'll always be pretty :D
Oops, I got a bit sidetracked there, now back to the wargames from last Sunday. The truck was all fixed up by Sunday, so in the morning Mum loaded me into the truck and we headed back to Eve and Matt's for another wargames practice. When mum was saddling me up she put this fancy thing on me - apparently it is called a caparison, and it made me look even prettier than normal. As you can see from my picture though, it is a shame that mum isn't spending any effort on her costume - those daggy tracksuit pants certainly detract from my brilliance.
For the morning session, we horses ended up riding around in formation - it was fun trying to keep up with everyone else, especially when I was on the outside with my shorter legs. I know Murph used to chase me away, but now I feel like he is my only friend here - at least I have one I guess - I feel safe close to him, unless Matt isn't paying attention and Murph reaches around to take a bite out of me - hmpf.
We all tried walking, trotting and cantering in unison, and some backing and lateral work as well - wheee, it was fun.
In the meantime the ground crew practiced their sword skills over in the corner - as long as mum doesn't make me ride too close, I can ignore the sounds now - unless it appears one of them is coming towards me - that still startles me every now and then!
We had a little bit of a break after this, and mum took off my caparison - it was getting rather hot under there - and she was muttering something under her breath about not being very good at sewing and needing to do more work on it. It did look pretty though.
In the afternoon, we had to ride round people with spears and shields and swords and big axes. Our riders were collecting swords off the ground people, hitting others on the shields and giving swords back to ground staff - mum ended up cheating, using her whip as a sword - but at least when she is holding it that way she can't use it on me... I think. I even got to give a ride to a proper knight - he had a tabard and sword even, unlike mum in her tracksuit pants and tshirt. Though he was so little I hardly even knew he was there!
We didn't get to do a charge, but still it was another great day for a warhorse in training (W.H.I.T). Thats me, I'm a WHIT and a wit :D

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wargames day 2

Hi all, sorry it's been awhile, but I'm currently having internet access problems - why? Well, me and Mum went to the wargames day on Sunday... and she left me there - here I was thinking she didn't love me any more, but she did come around today for a ride and to give me DINNER!! But I guess I should start from the start. Sunday morning Mum comes and takes me out of the paddock and loads me up into the truck, and we head off for the wargames. But heading into Riverhead the truck starts acting funny - Mum's thinking it is either the gear box or the clutch - wuh woh. We get there safely though.
When I get out of the truck, I smelt something really weird - I didn't realise my neck could arch in such a way, and boy did I start snorting. Mum thinks it was the sheep hides in the shed that set me off, but I don't know. What did the poor sheep do?
Once we were saddled up, we all went into the paddock and did some Steve Brady patterns, while the ground crew fought each other and made lots of noise. It was interesting to watch, but I wasn't too sure when the fight came a little too close to me some times. Eventually I had enough of watching, and when mum asked me to walk around, I decided it was time to play up a little, every time I had my back to the racket, I tried to use it as an excuse to take off - it didn't work, and then she made me start working round in circles and in figure 8's changing direction all the time so I actually had to listen to her - it was much more fun pretending I was scared and trying to run away. She takes all the fun out of life!!
Then we rode the gauntlet between two lines of warriors, hitting their shields with their swords or axes. I'm sure I came pretty close to doing a piaffe there when mum wouldn't let me run forward, but in no time I was walking through there pretty calmly for mum, or trot or even canter when she decided it was going pretty good. I had to keep to one speed though - she wouldn't let me gallop through there.
One time they were even yelling out "KILL KILL" but I went through. I can be a good girl when I want to be. Mum kept threatening me that I would be the best horse there for them to have for dinner - what could a girl do but behave!
After a bit of that, the rain started, so we took a mid wargames break (or some of the horses got to - mum wanted me to do some canter transitions - I'm tired of doing my Steve and Shar homework, especially when she won't let me rush).
But she didn't keep me at it too long before taking me back to the truck, taking my bridle off and loosening off my saddle. Then I waited while the humans talked for a while.
When the weather changed, all the humans were back up in the saddle, though Cruise, Ra and Autumn got to give other people rides - Daphne looked soo happy after her ride on Cruise.
I then stood and watched while Anna put a funny cap on her head, and then a big metal helm - she looked funny in the cap, but I didn't recognise her once she had the helm on. I think they also handed a helm to my mum too, but I didn't get to see what she looked like. She sounded funny under there though, and it kept hitting on the zip of her jacket making a funny noise, which had me a little jumpy.
Mum then walked me up to a cabbage on a spike, but she wouldn't let me eat it - that wasn't fair, I'm sure it was there for us horses to eat - why else would you put a cabbage out in the middle of a horse paddock? Apparently to swipe at it with wooden swords, a mace or a real sword (though mum didn't use the real sword - she was frightened enough that she might get me with the mace). We then we ridden at the cabbage while our riders took mock strikes at the cabbage with the wooden swords, which wasn't too bad, except from the metallic sound that sometimes came from on my back. But then they took swipes at it for real - though mum's hand eye coordination isn't the best... at least I know she won't hit me... I hope!
Once the mace came out, there was cabbage blood all over the ground - that made it an entirely different kettle of fish - it was much scarier then, and I know mum was distracted with the helm bouncing around too (and only having one hand on the reins because of the sword), so I made the most of any opportunity I could! Some people got some good swipes in at the cabbage, even mum got one or two, and then they changed the cabbage for a watermelon.
First Anna took a swing at it, and then Matt came charging up and split it in half with one stroke - pretty impressive! The poor watermelon was pretty cut up after a little bit of this, and Lady T went round handing out bits of melon to all the humans - she didn't give any to me though :( So unfair. Didn't she know I was STARVING??
After that came the charge - I was having a good time running with the other horses, until I realised that I was running towards two human warriors. But mum kept urging me on - I showed her though, I did my bouncy I'm about to stop canter, but still she made me run through them - I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight however - lol.
It was then time to finish the wargames for the day. I had my cover put on and headed out in the paddock with Autumn, Ra, Cruise and Murph, where I got to polish off the cabbage leaves that had been left lying around, even if I didn't get any watermelon, I could still enjoy the cabbage!
The humans finished off with a barbecue, and after that was finished, mum came into the paddock, took my cover off, and next thing I know I see the truck driving out the gate without me?!? Apparently she didn't trust it to get home with me in the back, so I get to keep Murph company until the Steve Brady practice day here on Tuesday. He still doesn't really like me though - he just can't get over how pretty I am, I'm sure!
Mum told me my truck is in the driveway at home, up on a jack, where her dad is trying to get the clutch out to get it fixed. The main thing though is she hasn't forgotten me, and she came out today for a ride, and most importantly she brought me DINNER!!!!
The fact that I am currently not at home has made finding a computer much harder, but SHHHHH, don't tell Eve I've snuck off to do this. More later.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

DIY warhorse practice

Well, mum's finished work for the shift, so I guess she decided it was time for me to do some work... how inconsiderate.
It was weird though. First off her dad came out and hammered something into the ground in the paddock that us girls have been using. After a little bit my mum came out and started putting poles on the ground in funny patterns, and got out these big orange cones and put them all over the place, and hung one of those round shield thingy's on the post that had been hammered into the ground.
Then mum came and got me and saddled me up - after a good brush to get rid of my loose coat. I just can't get rid of it! After my brush there wasn't as much chestnut 'snow' lying on the ground like there has been though.
When mum was up in the saddle she was riding one handed again - I could tell, but she didn't have anything else in the hand that she wasn't using, so sometimes she cheated and used two - it wasn't fair, I couldn't get away with any of the mischief I had planned *sob*
She had me doing all these patterns between the poles and going around cones at walk, trot and canter, and then she would stop and back up. She kept telling me what a good girl I was :)
Then I walked up to the tall thing with the shield hanging on it, and I had to stop beside it while mum hit it with her hand - that wasn't too bad. Then she went and picked up a stick (this certainly wasn't a sword, just a stick) and she would ride past the shield at walk and trot and hit the shield, or she would get me to stop beside it while she hit it. Then she had me riding round the outside of the paddock while she hit the fenceposts with the stick - I didn't mind that, but I did jump a little when the stick made the fence go twang, but after a bit even that didn't bother me.
She kept mixing it up too, some one handed, some two handed work - loose rein, with contact, turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, shoulder in. I never knew what was coming next, but it was certainly fun!
The other girls were out on the grass verge, but I don't think they were eating much of my GRASS I think they were watching and being very impressed by my brilliance don't you think.
After mum finished the serious work, she decided I could help her tidy up - hmpf - that's her job isn't it?!? Apparently not, because she would ride me over to one of the big orange cones and pick it up and make me carry it and her over to the fence. I'm very helpful though, and in no time all the cones were lined up along the fence, and then mum could go and give me a wash and let me out into the paddock where I can go and eat some GRASS with the girls. Now where's my DINNER?!

Warhorse in the one

It was a rather relaxed, late start to the day, with mum loading me into the truck just after 10am. Then on the road again... from the feel of the road, I thought we might be heading back to the place we have the Steve Brady course, but after going through this little town we went straight ahead for a bit... maybe I'm going to the arena to go riding with Petra, Simon, Rose and Restless? No we turned too soon - hmmm somewhere new.
When I got off the truck I recognised two of the horses I had seen at Steve Brady - they belong to a lady called Anna - those two boys are called Cruise and Ra - they are big and grey - I don't like them too much - they are the wrong colour - why would anyone make a horse any colour other than me?
Ra and Cruise were dressed up all funny like, and so was Cruise's rider - he was wearing something called armour. I'd never seen anything like it before, but what do you expect, humans do some silly things!!
When it was time for a ride, we started off riding towards another horse... those greys are scary - I'm sure they are going to try and bite me each time I ride past. I think they are mad at me for being so pretty!?! We kept riding towards a different horse each time, and sometimes there was a horse coming at me from the side - it was kinda a weird thing to do.
Next we played this game called 'tag'. Apparently someone is 'it' and has to try and tag the other riders on their left shoulder. I showed them all how not to be tagged - for one thing I don't really want to let another horse into MY personal space, and then that stuff that mum had been teaching me through the Steve Brady clinics and as homework kicked in, and I kept turning my butt around (don't I have a lovely butt) so the 'it' person couldn't tap my mum on the shoulder. Fun stuff.
The time to ride a pattern through cones like we have done at SB clinics before (sorry, hooves are getting sore and don't feel like typing the full name anymore). Then Anna decided to take things up another level and had these warriors in chain mail standing in the centre of the cones banging their sticks (swords? - whats a sword for) on big things (shields apparently), making all manner of strange noises - especially the one in the helm that I met earlier - I don't think it can be human, though mum assures me it is. We had to ride past these warrior things. Those shields are scary though - especially the big red one. And then our riders picked up one of those stick sword thingys and we had to walk past while our riders hit the shields with their swords. It was funny feeling mum trying to make me do things when she only used one hand on the reins - hey mum, you need to practice that!
The last thing we had to do was a charge for the cameras. They said only a charge at the trot, but where was the fun in that - especially when mum had a sword in the other hand. How about a nice in hand canter? twice even :) Though the second time made me paws errr slow down... when mum wanted me to trot between two of those big warrior things.
It was a fun day, and then I got to spend some time in a paddock with GRASS!!!! Though I did have to share it with those 3 grey boys. Cruise and Ra are okayish, even if they are grey and boys, but Murph doesn't like me. Oh well.
I didn't really want to get in the truck and go home when the day had finished, but it was good to go back and see the other girls and get DINNER and more long GRASS. But boy was I tired!

Hi, I'm Lee

Hi there, my name is Lee and I am a 9 year old Haflinger mare, living just out of Auckland NZ. My mum/owner/slave imported me into NZ from Australia when I was just one, and since then, I've been living with my pals Tammy (an anglo arab mare), Trillium (a stationbred mare) and the most recent addition, Oolala (a mean ass grumpy Haflinger mare).
Since my mum started riding me, I've done fun things like going trekking in the hills around KatiKati, Steve Brady Horsemanship clinics (I enjoy showing up those larger horses - and the response from people even when I do something norty err I mean bad is really funny). I've been riding through the forest with my pal Tammy and another grumpy haflinger, Rose D'Amour (I think she's only grumpy when I'm around though - don't think she likes me too much - must be cos I'm so cute :D ). I've had a dressage lesson and also been ridden in an arena with my mate Restless (another Haflinger) and Rose. I've been out to some ribbon days as well, but mostly mum and I have fun at home. Sometimes people come over and ride me which is fun - but the day I gave pony rides was kinda frustrating. Each time I got back to the fence thinking we were finished, someone else would climb on my back... if I could have rolled my eyes at mum I would have! I also go to the North Island All Breeds In Hand Horse Show every year. Thats kinda fun going and seeing all of the haflingers again - though Lorelei and Rianna don't come any more. They came over on the boat with me from Australia, but I haven't seen them for ages... my mum tells me they have gone down to some place called the South Island... I don't know where that is - sounds cold though - we came southish from Australia and it is much colder here than back home in the Hunter Valley, so I guess a place called the South Island must be even colder still.
My mum's latest idea of fun is turning me into a war horse, so I've decided to sneak up here and provide you all with the details. I must admit the first day was fun - especially seeing what mischiff err trouble I could get away with when mum had her hands full with this wooden thing that is apparently called a sword. So now you know about me, my next blogs (next time I can sneak up the stairs onto mum's computer) is about my effort to become a warhorse :)