Aug 08 2016

Mildura 2016

Mildura 2016


Where to start…? Been a couple of years since we have been back to Mildura and wow were we impressed. A quick walk down memory lane.. Mildura horse trials were actually starts approx. 10 years ago as a year 12 project, it was such a huge success people have been getting behind it ever since and it has done nothing but grow. When we were there in 2013 we were the only large truck in the recently raised and leveled area behind the club rooms, this year, 2016 the cars, trucks, goosenecks continued far into the distance with approx. 190 entries!!!! We are so thrilled to see the efforts of so many hard workers paying off and from the bottom of our hearts we appreciate what you guys do for us (the competitors). From our standpoint it is a great event for us to bring our Kirby Park Babies along to, Fridays dressage day, the show jumping area, the warm up areas, the ever growing CC course (with new water jump I might add) why wouldn’t you make this the first stop on the calendar for the 2nd half of the year!?


On board this week we had KPI Zinc, KPI Snow, KP Harrison, KPI Muskateer, KP Northern lights and a huge hole in the truck where the one, the only Horseware Pav ‘would’ have been. He was all entered, he was begging his strenuous preparation for his first event (being ridden twice before the dressage day) and in his second ride Heidi noticed he was a little off. Sure enough my Blonde bombshell of a wife was correct… again… HW Pav had a nice juicy abcess brewing in his left front foot. Our resident Bachelor heart throb of a farrier ‘Sir Bradley’ was unable to find the unwanted guest in HW Pavs foot, this meant wrapping him up and leaving him behind for him to recover and build his strength for the Mount Gambier Horse trials in a couple of weeks.


We set off with heavy hearts as the big man remained behind, destination Mildura. Arriving at 6pm, the truck and float were cleaned and washed out, horses stabled, bandaged, rugged and fed. We piled into the truck for dinner and a movie and awaited direction from Heidi on tomorrows schedule of dressage. Mildura Horse trials run a totally separate dressage day (championships, with champions and reserve on points in each level) on the Friday. For us it is brilliant as we can bring the babies and get them used to the atmosphere, loudspeakers, cars, and lots of horses in a warm up area.   KPI zinc, snow and KP Harrison have literally never done a dressage test or left Kirby Park in there lives!! So for these youngsters were were so happy we were able to do this.


They day was underway before we knew it with warm up times, ‘horse ready by’ times, lunge times, dressage times all noted and approaching fast. The day flew past for us. Zinc who has been giving Vicki (supergroom in training) somewhat of a ‘spirited ride’ in recent days managed to keep all the beans in the can and worked though his test.  Heidi Piloted Snow around the test in a lovely baby fashion and he was able to show his maturity and work ethic. Our OTT KP Harrison put in a super effort for his first non race day outing.  Northern Lights and KPI Muskateer were able to do 2 x tests each in different classes which was great for Heidi and the horses in the lead up for the actual event dressage the following day. All horses performed well (even though we did grit our teeth through some movements) Boss was happy and we were ready to bunker down for the night.

For many of you out there you are aware that I am from Victoria, in 2010 when the interstate free trade agreement took place Heidi had been keeping her eye on the different players and was deep into negotiations with my former employer/partner. Now I am not sure what the amount was that they settled on but I do know that a player with my skill, my extremely young age, my excellent bone structure (thanks mum) and the fact that I need little or no contact/maintenance to keep me performing were all aspects Heidi wanted on her team moving forward. Completely unaware I had been lined up for the job I felt like a 14 year old boy walking into an arranged marriage with some one I had never met. With the new rules of the free trade agreement stating that all players (young men) will have completely little or no say in who or where you get traded to I had no choice than to pray my future employer would be as loving and as soft on the eye as my previous… Before I know it I was plucked from the arms of my previous employer, handed a stable fork, shown the cab of a truck and told to ‘Git er Done’. All of this being said I have left behind a family asking ‘why?’ and now 6 years into my sentence hmm hmm sorry, what I meant to say was 6 years into my new contract with Heidi I had gained certain privileges. I was able to walk on grass instead of concrete floors, I was permitted 40 mins of sun light per day, I was also permitted the use of a phone (phone calls only, no internet or facebook) where I had re-established a relationship with my father Barry.


‘Ole Man Deacon’ (Barry) had recently travelled his long time hunting companion ‘Cooper’ to Kirby Park where he had been focused intently on getting him fit and working towards his first EA official event in some time for both Horse and rider. Nothing new for either member of this combination eventing was a passion that they both had planned jumping back into at some stag. Recent years dedicated to Polo and hunting had left Cooper in the paddock saving his strength where he would once again be piloted around a CC course. Barry and Cooper had their times, wake up, horse to be equissaged by, fed by, rider ready by etc etc. knowing the ‘MO’ of one ‘ole man Deacon’ we were awaiting the 30 minute -1 hour lateness and all hands were on Cooper making sure he was turned out perfectly. Before we new it Cooper and ‘OMD’ were plaited, tacked up, dressed and already walking around the dressage warm up!! Todays test would be a tougher for the combo so Heidi Skills were called upon to gently whisper in her sultry feminine voice to the rider in the ring. Today was totally acceptable for Barry to have a caller in his test, and call she did. Although I hear rainbows and butterflies and all things yellow when she talks, some other people (in neighbouring suburbs… such as MELBOURNE) were calling the Mildura horse trials to ask them to turn down the foghorn. I didn’t care what they said, my angel was expressing herself through the majesty of dressage test 1.2 and it sounded lovely. More to the point Barry could no.1 hear the test being called and No.2 knew where to go and what to do when he got there…..well…. most times, Heidi did forget a couple of movements and maybe add some others.. but that’s just the joy of being Heidi.. she does what she likes and any opposes will be interrogated and shot.  Cooper and Barry sailed around their first dressage test in over 10 years to finish 16/25 a very respectable position, I would go as far as saying that would be classed as a win!!!


With Friday under our belts Saturday was the business end, horses were plaited, sponsors saddle cloths were out and it was show time, Fridays dressage day had gotten most of the nervs out of the way for the babies (and OMD) so today should have been more focused on the job at hand. Zinc handed in a much better test landing him in 18th position after dressage, Snow also had more improvement finishing in 8th position after dressage and KP Harrison was also much more relaxed placing 3rd after dressage. KP Northern lights would also hand in an nice test, enough to place 4th after dressage, last out of the KP Cannon was KPI Muskateer.  Last but not least were the stars of the show. Barry and Cooper warmed up in perfect fashion Barry remaining calm and putting together a good test and Barry didn’t even get lost….. that’s a win!! Then it was straight into the SJ warm up,  nice and slow and controlled saw all fences jumped with confidence and control then………….. we entered the SJ arena. Most of what coach and student had just discussed had gone out the window with Cooper turning into half a lowered drift car with slicks on! Thank god for the sand arena which saw the pair remain on 4 legs. A poor approach to fence 4a on a curving line saw the stately gentleman have one down behind which would prove to be a small victory. Cooper would jump up the ranks after SJ into 15th place with his sights firmly set on tomorrows CC phase!  The babies all were very ‘interested’ in the SJ ring, super slow rounds with plenty or trotting and popping. So happy they weren’t scared or naughty, they all listed to Heidi and Vicki and a huge positive can be taken away from it all. Harrison and Snow were now out of the placing sliding down the order  due to time faults, but were were here for the experience for these youngsters.


The last day would see our hopes of this professional outfit laying firmly on the shoulders of elderly couple of the group. Cooper and Barry were in a position to crack the top ten but would have to wait for Heidi to set sail on the youngsters before he could let his steed loose on CC. Snow, Harrison and Zinc were all out of the gates first, Zinc and Vicki came home safe and sound (Zinc even Cantered which he is a little unsure of) to clinch 13th position Well done little Zinc and Vic. Snow was a little unsure of the water as was Harrison which saw some time incurred but great runs by both very pleased with the day. Northern Lights jumped a lovely Clear round of Show Jumping (one of his best yet) but unfortunately the thousands of natural oranges in and around the water jump was enough to throw up a flag for the black warmblood and his round ended there. Not because he wouldn’t jump in but because he got such a fright by the thousand he spun around at the drop in and literally spun Heidi off. Landing on her feet with airvest inflated around her.  Muskateer was awesome in her best SJ round to date, a recently changed bit seems to be offering more control to Heidi which the pair seem to like. CC was no different, a lovely jumping round saw Heidi and Muskateer home safe and sound and ready to load up and head home! Last but certainly not least was ‘Ole Man Deacon’ and his trusty steed Cooper. Usually this combination would be blasting across the countryside jumping fences twice this size but today we were hoping for a nice and easy introduction back intot he world of eventing. OMD had walked his course twice, had the jumps memorized in his head and was ready to warm up… or…. He could jump one warm up jump and then go out directly on course… (what ever works)…. The combination were out of the starters hands and over the tricky fence 1, on to fence 2 and out of sight. Back into view after fence 3a, b the combination looked like they were full of running, and run they did… Cooper was intent on going as fast as he could and Barry was not, some minor discussion had between horse and rider on several approaches to jumps so an overall solid round, Clear on jumping and Clear on time. Barry and Cooper placed 4th in the training 60 at the Mildura Horse trials!! Congratulations dad, was so proud of you out there, watching you together with Coop made me so happy seeing you together out there doing what you love! All the Kp crew, Megan and I are so proud and can’t wait for Mount Gambier!!!


So besides the highest placed MJET member having a combined horse and rider age of 147 years old, we got there and we got the job done. Was good to be back on the road and we are looking forward to Mount Gambier.


As always thanks to Our home base support, thanks to our family and friends who we barely see, thank you to our sponsors, thank you to the team that keeps our horses going, James Gardiner, Anton and Brad our farriers, and Emma, your magical fingers are always welcomed. (yes James I am always happy for your magical fingers to touch me as well).


Until next time,


Peace out

Hedi, Jd, Riki and the BOB.