February Competition


Robyn Targa and Furst Fling

Robyn Targa and Furst Fling

The weather gods were kind to competitors at Shoalhaven Dressage Club’s Competition on the 16th of February.Overcast conditions and some light rain kept the temperatures down and made riding pleasant for our opening competition of 2014.

The new year saw some new combinations making their test debuts and some well known combinations stepping up a level for the first time. Sandra Steward decided she was not just going to support her talented daughter Jess, but stepped into the ring on her own horse ‘Curly’. They won the Prep A with 55%. In the Open Preliminary tests mother and daughter competitors Robyn and Alycia Targa swapped 1st and 2nd places on their young horses.Robyn won the Prelim 1.2 with the high score of the day on her 18hh youngster Furst Fling on 74.230%, whilst Alycia won the 1.1 with Neversfelde Sachin on 66.931%.

Sue Rayner stepped up to Novice level with Vincent Van Gogh and won both of the closed restricted classes.

Test of the day had to go to Kim McDonald on her gelding Warburton Regatta. They scored 70.142% in the Advanced 5.2. This was a truly beautiful test with Regatta staying in a very correct uphill frame with lots of energy and swing. His trot extensions are truly world class and stayed powerful for the entire length of the diagonal. His canter changes were big and expressive and he showed a real ability to sit in the canter pirouettes. I really look forward to seeing how this combination continue throughout the year. If they continue this form they should be in the placing at the National Championships.

Shoalhaven Dressage Club’s next competition is on the 13th of April 2014


Alycia Targa and Neversfelde Sachin

Alycia Targa and Neversfelde Sachin

Kaleena Mattews and Tibby Barbour on Angie

Kaleen Matthews and Tibby Barbour on Dancing Angelina Ballerina

Carolyn Heron and LV X Factor

Carolyn Heron and LV X Factor

Michelle Miran on Ruby

Michelle Miran and Elengowan Rosie

Dressage With Altitude, Bradgate Park

Jim Collin and Southerly have been up in Orange this week competing in the CDI 3* event Dressage With Altitude.

On Thursday they competed in the Darlington Stud Prix St George coming 13th in a strong field.

Friday was the first of the Advance tests the Brighton Saddlery 5:1 and Jim placed 8th with 64.75%.

Saturday saw Jim and Southerly compete in 2 tests, the Gidgee Eyes Advanced 5:2 where they placed 5th with 65.76% and then the Edinburgh Horse Rugs Advanced freestyle where they placed 8th.

I watched the Advanced freestyle on live stream through the Local Horse Magazine website. Jim’s test was full of beautiful extended trots, very balanced and expressive, however mistakes in the trot half pass right and the 3 tempe changes cost them dearly.

Jim is continuing on from his success at the Australian National Championships 2013 where he and Southerly placed 7th in the Advanced Freestyle.

2013-10-26 15.50.14



Fitting a Bit

I bought some new bits over the summer and did a bit of research on correct bit sizing to make sure that my expensive bits did actually fit. There are lots of tools on the market for measuring a horses mouth but probably the cheapest and easiest way is to get a piece of dowel, roughly the same diameter as the bit you want to use. Make a mark on the dowel and then put the dowel in the horse’s mouth. Try to get it where the bit should normally sit, with 2 creases in the edge of the horse’s mouth. Wait for the horse to stop chewing and hold his lips still. Then line up the mark with the outer edge of the horse’s lips on one side and draw a mark in the same place on the other side. This is the width of the horse’s mouth.

Remove the dowel and measure the distance between the 2 marks. If you are using a fixed ring bit such as an eggbutt snaffle then this is the size you would get. However if using a loose ring snaffle, add an extra 1 cm to the overall length. This will ensure the rings are not going to pinch on the horse’s mouth.

If you are using a bit and bradoon, you size the bradoon as above. However as the bit (curb bit) sits lower in the mouth, it should be a 1/2 cm less. If it is also a fixed ring, as many curb bits are, then you take away the 1cm allowance for loose rings.

A bradoon bit can be the same as your snaffle bit, however the rings are normally smaller than a typical snaffle, 50mm as opposed to 70mm. This makes the horses head look less crowded when using a double bridle.

There are lots of other things to think about when getting a bit for your horse, width, type etc. But at least make sure you get the right length.