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Archive for May, 2008

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks.  This past weekend I went to the Virginia Horse Trials to give out an award in Ozzy’s memory.  It was fantastic and it was hard, but I’m so thankful to all those that donated in his memory to make it happen.  I then went to my best friend from college’s house.  She owns Ozzy’s dad and because she is amazing, she offered to GIVE me another Devon baby that had just been born this spring.  I was so touched, but I’m not quite there yet.  Maybe in a year or two I’ll be ready.  All of the Devon babies have the BEST brain and attitude, I would love to have another in my life one day.

Now, on to Woody.  I have learned something FANTASTIC about him.  He VERY much prefers being ridden in the morning.  Even today, when I hadn’t been out since Friday, I hopped up on him and he was a good boy.  We only had one Scoot n’ Spin and he settled down pretty nicely after that.  I’m thinking the lack of bugs and lower pollen count in the morning is probably responsible.

I was really torn about which Woody in the morning joke to make, but there are just to many, so I’ll bypass all of them 😉

I also learned that the hairnet over Woody’s nose to alleviate the head shaking, is not, at this moment, an the answer.  I of course had to video it.  So here’s a video of Woody NOT coming when I call and him exhibiting his displeasure about having a hairnet on his nose.

I’m moving to DC on Saturday and Woody is going to have to stay here for a week or two until I get settled, so the blog is going to take a little hiatus, but don’t forget us!!!  We’re moving to the same barn as Allie and some other peeps so I’ll have LOTS of people to ride out with and LOTS of help documenting the love that is Sir Woods.  I’m really quite smitten.

See You Soon!

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Rogue Cows!

So today was a VERY exciting day out at the barn. The Cows that live across the street got loose this weekend, and we’re still finding them wandering around the field (It’s a big-ass field). Sue has called a number of times, and the farmer had, as of this morning, STILL not come to retrieve them. He finally did today at the end of my ride (that was exciting, let me tell you).

Anyway, after my ride (which I will summarize briefly in a minute), I wasn’t really even able to give Woody a once over with a brush as he was SOOOOO interested in going out with his friends to decipher the strange honking-mooing that was coming from the far west side of the field.

Everyone was at attention.

And Woody, per usual looks to me as if to say, “Mom, seriously, aren’t you going to DO something about this? There are COWS for crap’s sake…. in MY FIELD!!!!”

They finally all meandered out into the field, and I SWIFTLY turned on my video hoping to get some good theatrics.  That, of course, did not happen.  Totally boring actually.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to post it, however.

Here’s what the unimpressive fuss was about.

So anyway, I did ride today and Woody was a good boy.  I rode early so the bugs weren’t bad and we took it easy.  We started out in his paddock, but wandered (with a purpose) our way out into the field and then actually walked up to the ring, walked around for about 30 seconds, and headed back down the field just outside of the paddock.  I would say in all we walked about for about 20 minutes with only 3 mildly significant displays.  I was pleased.

After our ride I hand walked him back up to the ring for more desensitizing, and to stare at the dogs in terror some more (That’s right, it appears Woody has never seen a dog in his life.  I am basing this on the incredulity that he exhibits when one crosses NEAR his path).  I then walked him up some of the hills that were outside of the safety radius and called it a day.

It’s a slow process, and one that I enjoy.  Woody is a sweet boy and even with his mild neurosis under saddle, he’s a good egg.  I have to be honest, sometimes I wonder if I’m taking it TOO slow.  I mean some people would say I SHOULD just flood the little dude, let him freak out and deal with it.  And maybe I should, but I just don’t think that’s how I roll.  So for the time being we’ll stick to our leisurely rides, which will last a little longer each day, and go from there. 

Oh, and obligatory cute Woody picture.  I swear he looks like a yearling.  I think he’s the cutest.

 

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So Woody and I have begun our hand walking of the hills to get his stifles in order.  It’s good for both of us.  I get some good exercise and Woody, on top of walking up hills in tall grass, learns that being out of sight from his friends is NOT the end of the world.  We’re not quite ready to soar solo over hill and dale, but it’s a start. 

I’m out of town, so this is a short entry, but I did want to share the videos I took on our last outing 🙂

And here we are learning about water. 

 

Woody is certain that water is not to be trusted, and furthermore, He finds mud altogether unpleasant

 

 

 

 

 

I think he honestly looks kinda worried in this picture… totally cute

 

He’s a smart boy, not 100% brave, but he seems willing to learn.  He processes what’s going on, so it’s just matter of time.  He’ll figure it out!

So there it is.  I’m done with my internship, I’ve graduated and my last day of work was Wednesday.  I’m going to be spending the next 2 weeks packing for my move to DC, but my plan is to spend my mornings with Woody.  So I’ll have lots of good updates.

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OK, so no new pictures, but I I do have video of my and Woody’s last ride.

Matt came to see me this weekend and because he’s the shizzle came out to the barn and took video of our brief ride.  Our rides have been brief lately because that’s how Woody rolls.  Keep it short and sweet and he keeps his feet on the ground.  Of course we now realize that his “displays” are related to his stifles, cause holy crap are those some slippery stifles.

So to help with said stifles, I introduced Woody to some cavaletti.  He was suspicious at first, but he’s a good egg, and on our first (in hand) approach, he snorted, stood stock still, and then pressed his head into my chest, sighed, and then followed me over…

Here’s a video of Woody making those poles his bitch

He’s such a good boy.  He makes me smile.

We didn’t do too much that day.  I did try to canter (just to see if he could), but his stifles were just bothering him too much.  Matt’s commentary indicates that we may have taken a digger, we didn’t… not really.  Woody did, however, stumble while we were cantering (on the wrong lead) and there may have been a little bit of slippage… towards the fence.  There may have been some life flashage…but all was well.

The rest of the video includes some cuteness of Woody stretching.  He tries so hard.  Right at end of the first part of the video I patted him and got off.  We had a good day. 

The second part I asked Matt to zoom in on Woody’s stifles so I could see them… and, yeah, they’re slippy-slidey.  Matt said the time before when we walked over the pole it looked like he kind of drug his hind leg over it… which he didn’t do this go around, but you can still see that we’ve got some hill work to do.

So that’s what’s up.  Our weather is supposed to be shite this week, but every day that it’s not raining I’m going to go out and hand walk Woody up the hills in his pasture.  Eventually he’ll settle enough that I can ride him in the fields, but for the time being I’ll let him realize that being alone isn’t the end of the world.  And if he wants to fly around me like a kite whilst figuring that out?  So be it.  Once he DOES figure it out, then I’ll strap myself in.  In the meantime, I’ll get some exercise …  Although I think my stifles are fine.

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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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Woody meets the vet

He looks so sweet and innocent

So This past Thursday the vet came out to give Sir Woods a once over.  With the head shaking and the bucking and the hey-hey, we figured a check on the teeth, the back, and just a good once over would be in order.  Like I said in my last post, there’s no use getting into a serious discussion with a horse if they are tweaked somewhere.  As my momma says when she runs into someone who isn’t behaving like they should “Well, maybe they’re just doin’ the best they can with what they’ve got.”  Not a bad motto to live by.

Anyhoo, Much to our surprise, but to the delight of CANTER’s checkbook, Woody’s teeth were in fine form.  My vet is also an AMAZING chiro so she gave him a once over, and it turns out he was out in his SI, which I saw her adjust.  Totally Cool.  After that a rabies was given and a coggins was taken and we called it a day.  Well except for the pictures of course.

Woody's Great!

Now, as I mentioned i HATE having my picture taken.  Because of this I have devised certain strategies to give pictures scale even without a human in them.  This strategy had previously been missing in my blog entries.  Allow me to introduce Bo Duke.

My friend and I made a journey to the UK last summer, and took Bo with us.  You can see his journey here

My brother gave me Bo, and he is a welcome addition to any photo.  Here he is saying, “I give Woody the General Lee Thumbs Up!!”

 

Bo slowly introduces himself to the herd.

 

He doesn’t remain undiscovered for long.  Woody’s girlfriend finds his southern ways charming.

Bo moves in and hopes that Woody finds him at least partially appealing

 

I’m afraid Bo may have moved too fast… he appears to be invading Woody’s personal space.  Woody offers a poorly aimed kick… like a warning shot across the bow.

I introduced Bo to Woody’s Cat.  She wanted nothing to do with him, and as shown in this picture, judged him quite harshly.

Bo laid down and had a good cry.

This same day, Erin was out at the barn with me so I tried to set Woody up for a decent Conformation shot… I partially succeeded.  Woody was tired of being fussed with, and this was the best we got. 

This won’t suffice for THE before shot (of before and after comparison fame that must be done with all CANTER ponies).  He’s looking pretty good here.  Eating 40 acres of lush hay field is good for the soul of an OTTB.  Never fear, I do have a picture that will suffice.  It was taken on day 3 or 4 at the farm and It’s pretty pitiful.

But I think this is my favorite.

I don’t know where Woody’s sweet face went, but it’s apparent in this shot he’d very much like to bite the hand that feeds him.

We’ll end on this picture… it’s important to end on a good note.  I mean who couldn’t want to love this face.

So I went out and rode last night, and I’ll post about that this evening.  I spoke with Allie, and we’re pretty certain Sir Woods Stifle is popping and or locking (So You Think You Can Dance, Season 4 here we come), which we’ll work through.  I have a video of him trying to roll after our ride and it’s both hilarious and pitiful.

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