So as I mentioned on my blog yesterday, Woody was given the A-OK by the vet. So Monday night I adjusted the tree on my super fantastic Albion dressage saddle and went to work…
And proceeded to almost get thrown in the dirt. 😉
Woody was really good for like 20 minutes, and I was getting ready to call it quits. Note to you, gentle reader, when you think it’s time to call it quits, it usually is.
I made the (poor) decision to cool Woody out by walking him around for about another 5 minutes. See, lately I’ve been ending our rides rather abruptly. Not abrasively mind you, but if Woody has held it together for a certain period of time, or if he has done something particularly fantastic I’ve pretty much told him good boy, given him a pat, and jumped off before he had the opportunity to do something less than good*.
*Woody’s usual repitoire of “less than good” behaviors include, but are not at the moment limited too: Severe and prolific head shaking, flipping, and/or tossing, a series of mini rears which transform into leaps, and Rucks (Woody’s special talent of bucking with his head straight up in the air… like a rear-buck hybrid).
So anyway, I’m walking around happy as you please and then Woody started the head tossing and the jigging and the speediness. This turned into a LOVELY bucking/rearing/twisting fit. It didn’t last long, but it lasted long enough that I couldn’t end the ride there. So I walked him for a minute and then put him on the longe line.
Now this is where I sing Allie’s praises; everyone with an OTTB should have one. All day yesterday I was looking through the camera lens, which appeared to make it impossible for me to see what was RIGHT in front of my face. I called Allie this morning to give her the Woody update, and before I even finished telling her about the longing display she said “Oh, his stifles are bothering him, that’s typical for a LOT of OTTBs”
Then I thought back to the videos I took and felt 1) like an idiot for not seeing it right away, and 2) bad for laughing at Woody when he couldn’t roll. I mean it’s kinda funny, and he’s obviously not in TERRIBLE discomfort, but still. The boy does love to roll.
So here is the video of Woody TRYING (and failing) to roll. While I appreciated not having to curry him for 20 minutes this afternoon, I still feel bad. I’d rather have a happy dirty horse than a clean one that hurts. Also, as the video is titled, this is why I end up being at the barn for like 4 hours. I screw around and before I know it, it’s like midnight.
(The youtube embedding machiney thingy isn’t working, so you may have to click on this link)
Pitiful? Check. Funny? check. Guilt-Inducing? Double check.
So yesterday, after my talk with Allie, I headed out to the barn to introduce Woody to the world of poles, cavaletti, and hills. Now, the hills require some exercise on my part. See, Walking Woody in a big open field is not, at this point in time, a terrific idea.
Woody and I are still getting to know each other, and I have not, as of yet, figured out what sets him off. He’s got a trigger, and when that thing is pulled being in a big open field would be like the worst carnival ride ever. The problem is, there is NO telling when it’s going to flip. Also, since I don’t know him very well yet, I don’t know how far these manifestations of surreal athletic ability will escalate.
That’s what’s hard about getting to know a horse. See, it’s not the bucking and tantruming that I have a problem with, it’s not knowing what his limit is. I’ve always told myself “Ride what’s happening now, not what you think MAY happen next.” Which is all fine and well if you have a general idea of what may happen next. With Woody, I don’t know that yet. I may have seen the extent of his ‘excitability’ or it may be the tip of the iceberg.
Plus, I’ve always followed the school of thought that giving them the opportunity to succeed is the best course of action. So why would I WANT to put him in a anxiety provoking environment if I don’t have to. So we’ll do our cavaletti work in the paddock, and I’ll hand walk him up and down the hills; which I did yesterday.
That was not without suspense either. I decided to leave him tacked up for our walk, cause we were still working, and it seemed like as good an idea as any. That was until, at least, I got to the very top part of the back field, Woody lost sight of his girlfriends and hollered. This was a kin to saying “here kitty-kitty-kitty” to a bunch of saber-toothed tigers.
I then had a flash-forward of the mares stampeding, woody getting away from me and running amok around the 40 acre field, tacked up while slowly and methodically tearing my brand new bridle to pieces. Luckily, the mares, upon arrival just gave Woody a reason to rear and squeal and he was quickly gotten back under control.
So, this entry is long enough, I’ll write about our cavalletti experience later today or tomorrow. He was a good boy. Confused, but by the end of our (short) ride, he was walking over a white 4×4 easily, and even trotted over it a time or two.
And because I’m always out at the barn by myself, you will have to deal with yet another “day in the life” video of Woody and I. I was given some free Corta-flex at Rolex. Woody thinks it tastes like crap. Then I added a bute to the mix to see if that would help during our next couple of rides, and you would have thought I covered his food in hydrochloric acid.
Link to the video (you can click the link to “Watch High Quality” found directly under the video)
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