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Archive for November, 2009

It’s true!  Not only did woody and I meet all of our goals (dressage under 40.0, and finish on said dressage score), it earned us a ribbon!  A shiny red 2nd place ribbon and a Rubicon Saddle pad; which conveniently is KIND OF Red and Black, which are my colors, Many people have now assured me it wouldn’t be cheesy to use it as my new stadium/XC pad.  I’m just a little proud of it.

The only thing that COULD have made a day like yesterday any better was my quality Allie time, and I got it! I so miss Allie.  She and I at a competition is my happy place.  We’re too spastic  for me to get nervous, and she’s my xanax.  Her being there yesterday meant the world to me.

Our dressage was good.  Again, no 20 minute Tevis Cup warm-up and AGAIN a couple of “Too Low” comments (which I agree with).  I also didn’t have him as steady in the reins as I would have liked, but still I’ll take it.  I mean for crap’s Sake to go from this almost exactly a year ago:

to this weekends test and lost points for being too low, ain’t that bad  ;D

Our Stadium was fun, and I can’t tell you how happy my cheering section made me.  Towards the end, after I jump every fence I would hear cheering.  Holy Crap, it was funny.  We still had a couple of sticky fences, but the difference is this week we got through it. 

For example, the 2 stride line.  You can even hear Allie say “Oh this is going to be adorable!”  I too thought it was going to be lovely.  I saw a nice forward distance, woody saw the chip  😎

But unlike at Waredaca where we both kind of shut down, we powered through (and got 3 in the two, but powered through none the less).

XC was even more fun.  I’ve never been to Rubicon before and totally understand why it is the favorite or a lot of people.  I was a little concerned about the coup/tent/civil war reenactors, but I didn’t need to be.  Woody was a freaking super star.  Up the bank, down the bank, handled the half-coffin well.  He still needs a solid ride to the water, but he goes.  In this case he pounced in a little, I lost a stirrup and had to crawl out over the little house.  But we made it!

Allie got some of it (cause she rules).  It’s kinda far away (well, besides the water of course where I stumble over the out, natch), but I’ll post it anyway 🙂

So there’s our season.  I’m in the midst of cleaning up all my competition stuff and packing it away.  I’m not going to lie, I’ll be happy to have my weekends back, but I’m already looking forward to the spring.  I’m awfully proud of my little man.

Oh, and it’s possible that we’re trying to find a way to get down to Aiken, even if it’s only for a week or two this winter.  Fingers Crossed.   But until then, we’ll be working on our circles and looking for some jumper shows.  I already have some plans for next year but am, of course, too suspicious to talk about them 🙂

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I don’t know if that judge realized how happy all of her “Poll SLIGHTLY lower than should be,” and “Long a Low is a great training tool, but not helpful in competition,” comments made me.  This was a welcome change from the “Lovely moving Giraffe, I hope he can jump” comments we’ve received in the past.   

Waredaca was yesterday weeks ago and I am pleased.  As mentioned we had what I thought was a GREAT dressage test.  Was it perfect?  No.  Woody’s Mudder was definitely not a mudder and dressage is on the grass there, but I can’t express how pleased I was.

He was focused and RELAXED and so workmanlike I couldn’t stand it.  Our Tevis Cup warm-up was almost non-existent.  It’s like he FINALLY was like.  “Oh, this is the part where I do circles.  It’s not so bad.”

We got a 39 on the test.  Was he a little too low at times?  Possibly, but I see it as a midway step to where we want to be.  He had to accept the bit, maybe even lean on it a little, before we can put in a test that does his movement justice.  ;D

Stadium warm-up was goooooood.  The barn owner helped me (Liza was riding).  She dropped the vertical and the oxer 2 holes and then slowly raised them back up.  Woody was calm, flat footed and getting to the base of all the fences.  Again, a total gentleman.

SURE we had a stop on course, but it was not dramatic at all (read:  Woody’s Hi-Ho Silver impersonation was not present).  I cut the turn to the in and out too short, and he didn’t get his eye on the front oxer in time.  AND, while no one likes to have a stop the way we BOTH recovered was impressive.  Galloped down to it a second time and he acted like nothing happened.

My friend Jen took some pics:

XC was THE BEST!  The horse I had underneath me was a freaking MACHINE!  Waredaca was also holding the Novice Championship this weekend and I’d say 80% of the course was shared.  Some big tables (which I didn’t walk all the way up to, cause that’s how I roll), a pseudo coffin (5ab: rails, 3 strides that went down and up a gully to a big brush out), water filled ditch (thanks mother nature), 9ab two tables that you could angle for three or bend for 4, a log/mini drop into water, blah blah blah. 

Woody was a little wiggly to the first fence, I sat back and popped him with my crop (which I think Jen has evidence of 😉 ) and after that, there was NO stopping him.  5ab he handled like a champ, he took the angled direct route at 9ab; it was ridiculous. 

I came out of the woods to the second water which was the log drop in and brought him down to the trot.  Let’s face it, our issues in the past have been 1) water and 2) drops, so I was ready for a little bit of convincing.  We were still trotting 3 strides out and WOODY made the executive decision that trotting was for losers. He picked up the canter and charged right in without hesitation.  Again, my face cracked.  I wanted to kiss him on the mouth right then.

I took the long route to the last fence (I don’t know why) so we were a smidge over the time, but I couldn’t care less.  He was forward and jumping everything thing out of stride.  I might have been grinning a bit.

So, that’s our Waredaca report.  We have a weekend off (SO excited about that) and then we end the season with Rubicon.  I can’t express how in love and proud I am of my little adorable bundle of neurosis.  I get happy-weepy just thinking about it.

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I actually don’t have any photos from Loch Moy which makes the denial easier.  I  mean the pro photos are there, but whatevs.

So here’s the abbreviated story.

Dressage was GREAT!  I liked it better then the judge did, but who cares.  He was focused and manageable.  I seriously started to get weepy during my 1st canter circle I was so proud of him.  However, I realized that would have made me a crazy person, so I kept it together.

Stadium, DISASTER.  My warm-up was horrible.  Woody was crazy, the jumps looked big and I rode like an ass.  We had two stops in warm-up.  History on me:  I HATE HATE HATE Warm-up.  It makes me nervous, and the less I do the better.  With Ozzy I’d jump the x-rail, the vertical and the oxer, if those went well I called it a day.

So the HORRIBLE warm-up broke me.  We had TWO stops in stadium, after one of which Woody went STRAIGHT up on his hind legs… twice.  The look on my face is NOT a happy one.

XC was GOOD!  It wasn’t a gimme course.  He started off sticky, and I was mad!  Mad at both of us.  So I rode my ass off over the first three fences, introduced Woody to “The Persuader” and we finished clean.  This included the down bank, both waters, and the Trakhener.  He wanted to stop at the trakhener, but The Persuader had done it’s job in the beginning of the course and instead her just popped over it sideways like a deer.

So that’s Loch Moy.  How bout we pretend the stadium didn’t happen, shall we?

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Morven Park-October 4th

Dressage in the indoor at Morven?  NOT Woody’s favorite thing.  I thought the test was ridiculous.  I vacillated between shushing under my breath (because if you’re gonna ACT like a baby, apparently I’m gonna TREAT you like a baby), and trying not to laugh.  I seriously thought it was like a 60.  Turns out the judge liked Woods, and gave us a 37.9.

Our warm up was LOVELY!  I went in there all confident and forward thinking.  Then we passed the window as we went around the outside of the ring.  Then Woody went to the zoo.  THEN about 1.2 second later and before Woody had returned from his little trip, the judge blew the whistle.     Thanks HUGE!

Afterwards… I’m not gonna lie, I was disappointed, but pleased (that it was over). 

Stadium warm-up was worse.  He was WILD!  Bucking during warm up, jumping the cross-rail like it was a 4 foot fence, doing his Michael Flatley impersonation.  I thought I was going to barf.  In my head I was trying to figure out how much it would cost to change the rest of my entries to Open Novice so Liza could ride him.  It was THAT bad.

While I was on deck, Liza gave me my last instructions, “Keep your weight even in both heels, push your hands forward, and LET HIM TRAVEL.  Oh, and Lisa, you’re going to do great, you can do this.”

That last sentence eased the nausea-fest a bit.  Funny how kind words can do that.

We went in the ring and Woody was WILD still.  But I sat back, took my time getting my rhythm and headed toward the first fence.  The round wasn’t perfect by any means, but I was SUPER pleased with it.  I rode well, and Woody handled the craptastic course well.

I’ve REALLY been working to get used to Woody’s pace, and I’m finally getting it.  More so, I’m starting to LOVE it.

XC was FANTASTIC.  However after I walked it I never would have thought it would have a happy ending.  When I walked the course I came back and said to Allie, well, besides 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 we should be set. 

5 was a down bank off of a sharp turn (where I almost ran over my friends, pics to follow), 6 was a decent sized pseudo trakehner (the ditch wasn’t riveted), 7 was a brush fence that was big enough I didn’t walk all the way up to it, 8 was a ditch, 3 strides to a roll top, and 10 was the water.

Who would have thought we would have our stop at 16?  It was 50% greenie stop, 50% me spacing out.  It was a grey bench, and I didn’t think anything of it, we were 3 from home and I guess I was grinning so huge I forgot to ride.

But we finished and the difference between M’boro and Morven was amazing.  He’s still a little maniac, but on course he was a machine.  A little sticky at the water still, but the other stuff he ate up.  I almost peed.  I’ve never felt anything like it.  I know it’s only Novice, but Woody was having a blast and I’ve forgotten what an amazing feeling that is.

I never get tired of his gallop

Without that stop we actually would have finished FOURTH! 

Anyway pics n’ stuff.  A bunch of my non-horsey friends came, it meant tons to me.  So Richard, Carolyn, Jess, Erik, Matt and my brother, showed up with picnic blanket, and a serious spread.  Carolyn and my brother took a bunch of pics.

They don’t screw around

It turns out for a second there all my peeps thought they were in immediate peril.  See, the turn to fence five (the drop, we had 2 stops at the drop at M’boro), was tight.   They saw a couple of horses go before me. 

I’m guessing by the line THEY took, THOSE horses didn’t have to stops at M’boro.  They didn’t HAVE to hug the tree line to get a good “This is where you’re going and we’re going to get good and forward before you get there” kind of line to it.

So Anyway, I had to hug the tree line (See M’boro XC results), which is where they had set up shop.

Before I ruin their picnic.  They’re lookin’ for me… 

 

They’re starting to get a little nervous   (You can see my by the rim of Matt’s Hat).

Chickens! afraid of a little red OTTB  

Woody did not appreciate the mass exodus.

I told them that their quick movements could probably had been considered unauthorized assistance.  Woody was so spooked by them jumping up and THEN picking up their blanket that there was no WAY he was going to stop at the down bank.  There was scarier business back at the treeline.

And a totally cute picture of my brother and I… I know it’s cute, cause my MOMMY told me.

So we have Maryland Horse Trials this weekend.  I’m cautiously optimistic.  We’ve been there a number of times, the dressage is in a ring AND outside, and we schooled the XC this summer.  That doesn’t mean Woody wont be a wildman, I’m beginning to realize he’ll always be a wildman.  I’m also beginning to realize that I’m not only learning to manage it but enjoy it.

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The season is over and Woody and had had a LARGE time.  Not that you guys would know that, because I suck.  So I’m going to post an entry per competition (Marlboro, Morven, Loch Moy, Waredaca, and Rubicon).

First, the scope?  Woody has the stomach of a professional eater!  One TEENY pin prick of an ulcer.  But the vet said he looked great.  I give him some tummy stuff before competitions as a preventative, but he got a CLEAN bill of health!

Marlboro:

Abbreviated version, we finished.  It wasn’t clean, and it wasn’t pretty, but we finished.  Sometimes I forget that Woody is only FIVE, and a developmentally delayed five at that.  I don’t know HOW I forget that, what with him spooking at the same tomato plants everyday, but forget I do.

He reminded me for the first time on Saturday morning by refusing to stand on the trailer for ONE MORE SECOND.  He demonstrated his vexation by bucking in place.  I was by myself, and NOT PLEASED!!! 

Dressage:  Not as good as it could have been, but better than it used to be.  That’s progress and I’ll take it.  Our best score yet with a 39.0.

Stadium was actually not so bad.  We were clean.  Again, I had to work for it, but we only had one gasp-worthy fence.  This is of course the fence that Matt was standing directly in front of with the camera. 

Anyhoo, here’s the video of our stadium ride.  It’s the raw file, but if you have high speed you should be fine.   Regarding fence 5.  It had a downhill approach.  I thought I can take the shorter turn, avoid the downhillyness and therefore gravity’s nasty effects.  Instead I just surprised Woody.  I for once saw a LOVELY distance.  Woody was contemplating his navel, and well, you’ll see what happened.

Then there was XC.  I should say, turns out Woody sprung a corner of his shoe on course somewhere which didn’t help our cause.

I now know what Liza meant after his first Novice.  He felt overwhelmed; not over faced, just overwhelmed.  I had to ask (read: beg, plead, demand, steal, etc., etc.) for everything.  The course also didn’t help with all it’s turn jump turn jump turn jump.  Regardless, the majority of our issues were green in nature.

The first 6 fences were doozies.  Six was a ditch in a tree line surrounded by children.  It was at this fence that I thought I was going to fall off…. for the second time.

Then the water.  Woody galloped down to it, and then said WHAT THE HELL????  I smacked him and he leaped into the water and proceeded to just stand there.  I said “You’re in it now dude, you have to get out!”  Here is the pic pre leap.

The next problem fences were all in one field and were the letter U.  12 left turn 13 left turn 14ab.

Then the bank down (12), the site of our first two stops.  The first two times I let him trot it.  The first two times he stopped.  I refused to make the walk of shame… so I went faster.  Woody said OK and launched off of it from the canter like Superman.

The next fence was a rather large grouping of Whiskey Barrels(13).  I think Woody was still traumatized from hitting his head on a satellite during his bank landing and he stopped.  Went over it fine the 2nd time.

I have now amassed 3 stops.  One more and I’m out.  I haven’t had a stop on Cross Country since 1995.  I’m a little light headed.  The next combination was a bank up then a couple of strides to a log.  I say a couple because I don’t know how many you were supposed to get in it.  I myself got about 15.  I encouraged Woody up the bank, he tried to run out at the log and I said hell to the no.  The pictures of this effort make me laugh out loud.

Anyway, the last two fences were lovely.  However ,12, 13, and 14ab were all in one field so I’m pretty certain everyone in that final field wanted to give me a yellow card.

So, there it is.  M’boro served it’s purpose and he had an outing before Morven.  I have two weeks to prepare, and hopefully there will be a cross country school in there.  All in all I was proud of us both.

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