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Archive for April, 2009

First, I want to give props to Marlborough Unrec Horse Trials.  I sent them my concerns about Woody’s XC time penalties and they handled it wonderfully. 

Obviously, since it was past the 30 minute protest window they couldn’t change the standings, but they did change the website and offered me some support in return for thier typo.  They did the math and to come in at 2:00 I would have had to tackle the BN XC course at 740 mpm.  In the Cold-Ass Stinging Rain.  Dear LORD.

Anyway, they’re Super nice people and I can’t recommend the event enough.

So the past week has been all over the place.  I’ll summarize:

I rode Ozzy for YEARS.  I bred him and trained him for all 8 years of his too-short life.  He was an Appendix QH.  Mostly TB, but the QH desire to conserve energy is STRONG in his people. 

To call him sensitive would have been obtuse.  There was no whispering to Ozzy…You had to TELL Ozzy.  Unless it was about dinner.  You could whisper “dinner” from 3 acres away and he’d hear you.  Heaven forbid he miss the two handfuls of grain he needed in order to look moderately pregnant.

Woody? Not so much.  There is Whispering.  There is nuance.  There is THINKING about something and it happening.

Then there is me, trying to figure it all out.  I had a lesson last week that made me feel CERTAIN the ASPCA was going to show up at my door.  I could make a bunch of excuses that might border on potentially valid explanations, but while they would make me feel better?  You rarely learn anything from listening to excuses.

So, I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself and to miss Ozzy.  And I DID miss Ozzy.  And that missing Ozzy made the feeling of inadequacy EVEN more intense.  I didn’t miss Ozzy because I don’t love Woody (Man do I love that red little freak).  I missed Ozzy because he’s gone. 

That’s it and that’s all.  While THAT part of it was genuine “come by it honestly crazy”, it in NO WAY made me less thankful for Woody.  They’re different, and we learn from different.  When I spoke to Allie about it she of course, worded it perfectly:

“But look at it this way–he’s a totally different ride, and you get to learn TOTALLY different skills, so really, him being a bit tough and not what you are used to is really good for your riding ability!  You’re going to be like a ninja!”

So THAT’S what I focused on and you know what?  Yesterday and today I harnessed my inner Ninja and Woody and I had two REALLY good rides.  Even WITH him being in for 2 days due to the rain. 

And there you have it.  The barn is my happy place.  It’s my therapy.  It’s where I KNOW I can go to get away from everything; where everything but the barn and all the good stuff it entails, melts away. 

But you know what?  NOTHING is a totally void of the crazy, it seeps in everywhere.  The Crazy is like a ninja.

I’m going to beat that Ninja’s ass.

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Because Allie is a saint she took Woods and I too the Marlborough Starter Horse Trials yesterday.  I don’t know where you were yesterday, but if it was somewhere in Maryland you were cold and wet.  And I don’t mean like 60 and a little misting.  I mean Cold Ass Rain and wind.

So sure, let’s take Woody to his first competition of the year 🙂

We got there early so I could walk the course…which turns out took like 15 minutes, but whatevs cause we got to hook up with Jess and the always impressive Dixie. They had an AMAZING day (you should totally go and read all about it).

Woody warmed up well.  He was relatively calm and forward and I dare say moderately obedient.  We put in a decent test.  I vacillate between decent and good.  It was decent by others standards (earned us a 37.4) but GOOD by Woody standards.  Good because he picked up both leads, there was NO head flipping, and I he did not at all resemble a whirling dervish.

For the most part, he rode at the event like he rides at home.  Granted, at home we’re not spending quite as much time above the vertical as we did at the show, but again, he was CONSISTENTLY above the vertical, so I’ll take it. 

Oh, and did I mention we got BOTH LEADS!!!!?!?!  IN THE ARENA?!?!?!  You know why?  Trainer realized that I, as is my wont, was doing TOOO MUCH!  So in our lesson the other day (Oh, how I’m glad she’s back from Florida), she said “Lisa, I want you to ask for your canter depart like and idiot would.  For real, like think of the most dumbed down request you can, and do it.”

So I slipped my outside leg back, just barely, and ta-daaaa! 

So I was pleased with our test.  We went back to Allie’s LOVELY rig, stood around in it’s warm dryness with some lovely friends who came out to see us, and chilled out.  After about 20 minutes, Jess told us that as long as you were riding within your level, it didn’t matter what division you were in; if you were ready you could go.

So we tacked Woody up again (Have I mentioned how cute he is yet? Cause dear LORD he kills me) and headed out again in the wind and rain to tackle stadium and XC. 

Stadium warm-up consisted of jumping 2 cross-rails and an oxer.  He was jumping like his freaky little self and we headed in.  He was LOVELY!  Rideable, adjustable, calm.  He also totally told on me.  Little red vertical, I saw the long one, he said “Um, pretty sure Trainer said I shouldn’t make-out with the long spot anymore, I’m going to do the add if it’s all the same to you thankyouverymuch.”

Like trainer said, If you just sit chilly, and sit up, and wait for the add, you make it look like you MEANT to get that close.  Yeah, there is NO doubt that I did not mean to get that close, but Woody took care of it and was a super star.

On to XC.  The course was small and only 12 obstacles, and Woody handled it like a pro.  Even trotted into the water like a real live event horse.  Jumped the weird fake ditch (which was scarier than a real ditch if you ask me), and finished up in fine form.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at the results last night and it says I have SIXTY time penalties.  I looked at the detailed XC results and they said we came in at TWO MINUTES!  Now the course was short, but I’m pretty sure that if Woody could have finished it in two minutes, he’d still be racing and winning a bazillion dollars. 

I contacted the event to let them know about the error.  I came in right around 5:00.  I don’t care about the ribbon (for real, we were 4th after dressage and would have ended up 3rd), but it does look like dangerous riding, and it’s inaccurate.  No biggie, but still, maybe they’ll change it.

So that was our day.  Allie, per usual, was an amazing friend (as is the way of her people), and took right good care of Woods and I.  Oh, and not only did she stand in the wind rain and cold all day, but she took video.  I’ll update with the evidence of Woody making the right decision and teaching ME a lesson when it’s uploaded.

I can’t say enough about what a good job Marlborough did.  The footing held up in the rain, the volunteers were kind and helpful, and it was a VERY well run show.  They have a recognized event in the fall, and I would recommend attending.

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NERDS!!!!!

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We headed out for some XC schooling yesterday and I couldn’t have been MORE pleased with how the day went… yes even WITH me busting ass and falling off.

As Jess and I were discussing my inability to defy gravity we decided sometimes you need to bust your ass to get it in gear. I fell into my old habit of CRAWLING down to fences that decidedly should be approached at something other than a western lope.

Anyhoo, Woods, cause he was being a superstar, jumped it. I have a hard time staying with his hind end when he’s NOT compensating for having to jump a training level oxer at a crawl.

So there you have it. I came off on the other side. For a minute I thought I was going to be able to make it. Which was unfair to Woods, cause it led to me HANGING ON HIS FACE! Something he did not soon forget as you can tell by THIS lovely video which was taken after I ate dirt.

I decided to do nothing. So I grabbed the martingale strap. I can’t tell if the twisting is because he doesn’t have enough slack in the rein or he’s compensating by saying “Bitch, you just hung off my face for 10 seconds trying not to fall off (didn’t work). SO I’m going to now protect that side of my face by pulling it away from the offending hand.”

Probably a little but of both!

He’s such an honest willing egg. So other than that display of amateur action, we had a great day. Woody CALMLY cantered down to every single thing I pointed him at.

See, like the big log wagon in the woods!

And the big log into the non-existent water!

Woody thinks while dropping into the water.  His Face!  It kills me!

A picture of Woody’s Butt!

Here are some additional super cute pics.  The day was FILLED with Canter Ponies and they were ALL amazing.  Kelly rode her ass off, adn her and Klondike were AMAZING. 

For Cereal, Kelly and Klondike are too cute. :
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Check her blog for more pics and Videos!

And then there is Parker!
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What it looked like from his perspective… Or Pants’ I guess ;)
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I’m sure Allie will write about his outing, too.  He was terrific!

 

And then, DIXIE!  Be sure to check all the CANTER blogs!  Lots of stuff went on yesterday!

So now that we’ve had a schooling, I’m feeling pretty good about next weekend!  Woody will have his first outing at Marlborough Starter Horse Trials!  I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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And the roadblock to our spring schedule and been replaced with a Mini-Donkey.

Woodys undoing.
Woody’s undoing.

So Woods was out of work for about a month due to the Phantom Menace Abscess.  But Magical farrier came out last monday and he’s right as rain.  He was sound but still moving a little stiff through his back (So Allie and I surmised).  I was of course going over the expensive chiro bills blah blah blah…

Yeah, all he needed was a fleece on his girth.  NICE!  He is a sensitive sort.

So anyway, Woods is NOT a crazy beasty.  He his, as mentioned above, sensitive.  He is also a horse that after not being ridden for a month is capable of some acrobatics.  But we’ve worked through the past week and were getting back to work.

Then the mini-donk showed up.

So today, day two of Mini-Pops stay at the farm, they turned Little-Pop out with Pete the game pony. Pete didn’t really LIKE Little-pop. So Little Pop Houdinis his way out of his field and G.I. Joes it into … Guess Who’s Field?

Woody, I am NOT kidding, has PTSD. He has lost his EVER LOVING MIND!

I wont even go into the ways that Woody was a maniac today. At first it was genuine fear. I turned him out in the indoor so he could run off some of his insanity. He would not (and I SWEAR I am not making this up) go anywhere NEAR the windows of the indoor. Because, you know, the Werewolf/Mini-Donkey might jump through a window and get him.

Even as terrified as he was (I couldn’t get him to walk out of his field not psychopath-like) all he would do is trot 20m of the long side in front of the mirrors…pause… LEAN against his reflection and (I’m guessing, here) say “I am SOOO glad to meet someone else who is terrified. Why does everyone else seem so calm???? Can we spoon?”

Because Team Bad Decision reigns supreme I rode anyway.

He was Insane in the membrane!  Insane in the brain!  Again, I can’t do it justice, but it involved spooking, spinning, bolting, and acting like a schizophrenic for the first 5-10 minutes of our ride.

I am a sympathetic girl.  Like for real, I’m all “I can understand why that tennis ball laying on the ground next to the ring could cause you stress.  Here let me comfort you while you process how you were wronged by a tennis ball in a previous life.”

Yesterday, we wore that out. Yesterday, I went German. Yesterday, Woody said “DAMN, she figured me out.”

I rode for a long time. I jumped a couple of fences. I went to the Pirate bar directly from the barn and met some friends who had called me on my way home.

Yesterday, I decided I am NOT going out to the barn until they tie that freaking mini-donk to Woods and we complete our Prolonged Exposure Therapy.

I am Woman, hear me avoid.

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