Archive for July, 2008

than seeing this?!  Woody tackling every fence along the driveway like a super star.

Well, I could also show you this, which is me, in my dressage saddle, with TOO long stirrups, jumping a horse eating coup.  Like I said, riding (and the documenting thereof) leaves no room for pride.

I was able to put my stirrups up without getting off while on the trail between the coup and driveway videos… hey every milestone is an important one 😉

Rosey, the other super fantastic CANTER pony also had a great day!

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think Woody may go to Loch Moy next weekend to spectate!  His first field trip!


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and we had So.Much.Fun.

My original plan was to free jump Woods on Wednesday, jump him over some small stuff yesterday, and school today.  However, I’m not going to be able to make it to the schooling today, so I decided I’d just work on the flat and the Allie and I would go on a nice trail ride.

But then when I got to the barn, a PERFECT tiny little course of fences was set up in the little ring.  How could I NOT jump them.

My willingness to humiliate myself is one of my finer qualities:

I joke about not having any pride, but I do have to offer up some disclaimers.  I don’t have a jumping saddle that fits Woody, so I’m using Allie’s, which fits him a little better, but is still too wide and drops us too low in the back, then I’ve got to struggle to get up off his back (Which is NEVER a pretty struggle).  Combine this with the defensive riding that puts me a little in the back seat to begin with and you are about to see some less than flowing equitation.

If anyone would like to purchase me a Frank Baines Enigma, I’d be happy to give you a shout out every day on my blog.



So without Further Ado!

Woody loves a cross rail

Here we have a little stop.  One of the things that seem to be the trickiest with a horse like Woody is giving him a soft ride while still demanding he follows directions 😉  Watching this video, I could have shortened my reins and gotten after him a little sooner, but then I worry that HE’LL worry about the fences.  I know there will be more tiny stops, and I feel confident in the ride I’m giving him, but it’s a delicate balance to say the least.


And then a little baby course!  Ending with my boyfriend… the oxer.  (The vertical is ALWAYS calling me, and I keep telling him I’m not that in to him… despite my penchant to lean in so I can get a better look at him)

After our ride we went out on a LOVELY hack and went through streams and even took some small XC fences (baby coup, tiny tire jump, logs).  We ended the ride with us taking EVER fence along the driveway!  Even the dreaded tiny horse eating log… We totally cantered it!  I was beaming.

Woody is a good good man… and smart too.

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Woody Jumps!

yet I seemed to get most of the workout.

So yesterday I headed out to the barn, hoping to beat the storms that our (apparently drunk) weatherman informed me would be arriving ANY MINUTE!  They did finally show up, at about 9:00 last night.  There were some sprinkles while I was at the barn, but nothing flood watch worthy.

Anyway, I decided that woody needed to learn about jumping, so I set up a jump chute and set to putting him through it.  Now, this wouldn’t be such a difficult feat if I wasn’t SO determined to video he progress for the blog.  Enticing Woody to go through the chute and filming turned out to be a pretty big job, and I feel that I spent a good bit of my time doing things like this:

But we were, eventually, victorious!

You guys are going to get tired of my going on and on about what a good and willing boy he is, but I just can’t say it enough.  He has such a good attitude, I dare say he maybe having ALMOST as much fun as I am.

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Quick Update

Sup!  No pics, but a quick Woody update.  Yesterday I took him on his THIRD solo trail ride and it was QUITE impressive.  List of accomplishments:

  1. Walked past pony clubbers (on actual ponies) practicing for Games (they were going VERY FAST and Woody was VERY CONCERNED for their safety… but forward we marched).
  2. Walked past the nefarious looking groundhog that spouted out RIGHT after we had gotten past the pony clubbers.  Admittedly this took a good pony kick and a little tap with the crop, but we squiggled past it
  3. We took the trail that is not in the woods, but goes through BIG OPEN FIELDS!!!!  We trotted and cantered in said fields.  I was grinning so big I honestly thought my face was going to crack open.  Woody was a little on edge but SUPER willing (per usual).

Woody is getting today off, and then Wednesday AM I am going to go out and see what he thinks about some free jumping.  And then Thursday Allie is going to set some tiny fences for us.  All of this is in preparation for… wait for it… Waaiiiiit for it…


That’s right, as of now we’re planning to head to Loch Moy for Woody’s first field trip and XC schooling.  I’m SOOOO excited.  Wish us luck!

Later Taters

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Woody goes it alone

So yesterday was a RED letter day.  I took Woody on his first solo trail ride.  To say it was a relaxing stroll through the woods would be misleading.  To say that it was made me super happy and proud (of us both) would be spot on.

Things I learned about Woody yesterday (Or things that were already knew, but reinforced):

  • Woody can be a bit of an alarmist
  • Woody is honestly one of the cutest horses I’ve EVER known
  • Woody will spin or back up VERY quickly when faced with the unknown, regardless of it’s actual level of threat
  • Woody, when faced with said perilous situations WILL eventually get past them with a little growling and, (this was previously unknown), a running start.
  • I can ride difficult horses, a fact that I had forgotten.

So, we headed out yesterday evening and Woody was up.  Not dangerous by any means, but he was CERTAINLY on high alert.  He HATES the outside jumper ring at the farm, a fact that will put a REAL damper on our eventing career until it is ironed out.  We have to get past this jumper ring to get to the trails.  There was some jigging and actual snorting, but he powered through.

We went through the woods, we went over logs and ditches and divots.  He wasn’t relaxed, but like I said he was willing.  I was singing to him, which made me look like a crazy person, but it seriously seemed to chill him out.  I guess he’s a fan of The Beatles and Neko Case (For the record, me singing Neko Case is like me trying to paint the Sistine Chapel, but whatevs)

There were a couple of things that caused Woody to say Hell to the No!  Strangely a root on the ground with some turned up earth around it was reason for great concern.  After about 5 minutes of conversation, he got over it (literally and figuratively).

So we wandered through the woods and Woody was terrific.  He handled me getting lost and having to turn around a number of times, and besides being a little nervous, seemed to be A-Ok with the situation.  Until we headed for home and had to pass the lumber and the bulldozer.

This is where Bullet point #4 was realized.  The lumber pile was in a pasture that ran along the 10+ foot wide trail that leads up a hill heading back to the barn.  Woody got half way up the hill and went a little loopy.  There was the spinning, and the backing and the head flipping. 

Then, a light went off for both of us (after about 3 minutes of the aforementioned shenanigans).  We needed MORE forward (as is usually the case).  So with a growl and a tap with the crop (also the first time carrying a crop, he didn’t care) we started trotting up the hill toward the lumber.  Woody got RIGHT next to it and said “Nope, still TOO scary.”

So I thought “OK, maybe we need a LONGER running start.”  So we walked all the way to the bottom of the hill, and with another kick and a growl we started on our way again.


He was TOO funny.  I swear I could see those eyes bulging from where I was sitting.

Then we had to pass the ring to get home.  I honestly thought since it was heading home we’d be OK.  I was wrong.  But employing my new found strategy I went to the bottom of the hill, picked up a nice forward trot and past the ring we went.

He’s like a wind up toy.

Now for the last bullet.  Before Ozzy, my previous two horses (which can be read about here) would be considered ANYTHING but an easy ride.  My judgement was frequently questioned just for throwing a leg across them.  Ozzy was born fearless and curious.  I took him out on hacks by himself when he was two.

On one such hack a squirrel actually fell OUT of a tree and landed on Ozzy’s neck.  After the Squirrel and I exchanged a look that was a perfect physical manifestation of WTF, the squirrel ran UP Ozzy’s neck and leapt off his poll to safety.  Ozzy didn’t seem to notice.  If he did notice, he simply didn’t care.

This was life with Ozzy.  There wasn’t a stop or a spook in him.  He went in the direction he was pointed, and answered any questions posed to him by going over, through, or past them.  So it had been a LONG time since I had to deal with anything else.  Yesterday reminded me that I am not just capable of dealing with difficult situations, but I can actually help a horse get through them, and I enjoy the challange.  I needed that.

I was also reminded how SATISFYING these little victories can be.  I was beaming while I was untacking Sir Woods.  It was a good day for us both.

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Woody Tries…

And succeeds.

One of the MANY things I love about Woody is his attitude.  He’s a trier.  No matter what I ask him, he at least considers it before saying:

  1. That’s really hard for me, but OK
  2. What do you think I’m an invalid?  That’s easy!
  3. You’re high, right?  I mean that log is TERRIFYING!  Make me.  (which I do, and he does)

This especially true for his flatwork.  Since we moved to the new barn I have been giving Woody lessons about the phenomenon that is inside leg to outside rein.  It’s hard for him, and he’s not TOTALLY sure what the hype is all about, but he gives it his best effort.  In my head the dialogue goes something like this.

Woody learns to bend, a play in one act:

Lisa:           OK, this here is my inside leg, it’s TOTALLY important.  How about when I put it on you maybe bend around it a little. 

Woody:      I feel pressure on my side, I’m gonna go straight.  I’m really GOOD at going straight!  I can go straight REALLY fast!

Lisa:           Aw Woody, you’re making a lovely effort, but here, look, it’s just ONE leg, and I’ve slid it back a bit.  Maybe you could bend laterally a little bit?

Woody:      (Wheels Turning)  Hmmmm…. This is strange.  The answer I’ve given isn’t quite right, cause that inside leg is STILL irking my side (who KNEW they could work independently, humans are pretty impressive).  I’ll move away form it.

Lisa:           Good Man Woods!  Now, look this outside rein is here, so instead of just moving sideways how about we bend a little.

Woody:      Damn!  I thought I had it.  That inside leg is SUPER annoying, and that outside rein is keeping me from moving sideways.  OK, I’m going to try something else…maybe if I actually bend THRU my body a little.  Man this is HARD

Lisa:           (Pat with inside rein, ease up with inside leg) Good Boy, Woods!

Woody:      That must be right, cause that inside leg is not quite as irritating.  I’ll keep bending for as long as I can… feel the burn!!!!

(Rinse and Repeat)

Annnnnd, Scene!

Lucky for y’all, Allie was at the barn last night and was able to get some videos and pictures so you can see how His Cuteness is coming along.  As you can tell from these pictures, my inside leg was less than subtle last night and working overtime.

Warm up is cute.

Here is a series of photos showing the inside leg lesson.  All my previous horses had been a pull ya around kinda horses.  Ozzy was a push along kinda horse.    I was thinking that Woody might give my gambs a break from all that work.  Turns out he is also kick along quiet.  At one point I actually had to pony kick him.

“See here, this is my inside leg, maybe you could bend around it?”

“just a little?”

“Seriously, I’m not kidding.  How about some bending?”

“PLEEEAAASEEEEE?  Maybe if I stare REALLY hard at your head and shoulder?”
Then, he starts to get it.
Then he tried TOO hard, which resulted in more pony kicks to get him up in front of the bridle.
Not quite that bendy, Thanks.
And THEN he gets it…I must be grimacing here because my inside leg was about to fall off.  Or maybe I’m smiling… that’s more likely, actually.
Taaaaaaaa-Daaaaaaaaaaa (he’s a little low in the poll here, but it’s all good)
And there are videos too!  I’ve made these links incase you want to go to the You Tube site and watch the higher quality versions (click on the “Watch in high quality link just under the clip)
Woody Works a bit!  (and yes, I spelled Chagrin wrong, I got home from the barn late, and was super sleepy!  It’s driving me crazy, but I’m at my temp gig and can’t get to my raw files to correct it… please don’t judge)
The sunsets at the barn are ALWAYS lovely.  Like I said, no better way to end the day.

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We had an emergency dismount the other day.  I don’t blame Woody, it was Just.Too.Much. 

I went out to the barn on Sunday and they were practicing games for the barn party next weekend (Have I mentioned how much I love my barn?)  Anyway, Woody and I had a lovely ride in the small ring in front of the barn.  Woody has never ridden in the back ring with the jumps and I thought that since there would be other horses back there, it would be a good time to go check it out.

I was VERY wrong.

I don’t know WHAT I thought they’d be doing back there.  I mean I know how mounted games work.  There’s ready set go, and there are horses trotting and cantering about, and there’s cheering and general Mayhem.

He was super tense but walking around well, and entered the ring willingly.  That was until he saw a couple of horses on a trail ride over yonder and for some reason that just BLEW HIS MIND.

I tried to keep it together through the head flipping and the mini bolts and blind jigging, but then he kinda bounced his way to the end of the ring where my friend Jen was cantering in on her lovely CANTER pony Cally.  She was on the way back from her attempt at getting the cup on the correct pole and I realized that two relatively out of control OTTBs were about to collide.

So I bailed.  I guess I thought I could get Woody’s attention better on the ground, which was true, but in hindsight it seems like a weird choice.  Perhaps it was Darwin whispering in my ear.  Who Knows.

The dismount was rather lovely if I do say so myself.  Woody was confused but after he tried to jump in my lap settled slightly.

Poor thing was just having a panic attack, and like people who are having panic attacks there is NOTHING you can do to convince them that they are not dying.  Ideally I would have liked to ride him through it, but in this case, that simply wasn’t an option.

So I walked him around in hand for a few minutes which did not go a whole lot better.  Bless his little heart, it was just too much.

The good news is I took him back to the ring so we could end on a good note, and he was fantastic.  As SOON as we got back down into the lower ring he was calm and trotted along like the level headed boy he actually is.

I’ve been heading out about 5 mornings a week and he’s coming along really well.  I’ll write more later this week, and maybe I’ll get some new pics/videos.  Until then, here is how he looks every morning when I go get him.  Based on the filth I have to deal with each day, his stifles are obviously feeling better. 

The cool kids don’t actually let him in the run in, but they let him NEAR the run in.  Poor thing, why don’t the other ponies recognize Woody for the Love that he is.


There are very few things cuter than a sleepy Woods.

 Sleepy Woods

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