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Archive for August, 2010

So Phase three consisted of Liza taking Woody to MDHT II. It was a TOTAL success. Liza and I were SUPER pleased.

Dressage was nice. Liza still commented that he needs to be a bit more ridable (For example see the free walk:working walk: trot transition [image] ), but he’s come SUCH a far way.

THAT earned them a 34.4 and solidly in 12th place (only in Area II [image] ). I was totally happy with it regardless. My goal was for him to finish on his dressage score.

Which he TOTALLY did!

Yet one more way that Woody is weird. Liza said at the end of the day she’s ridden few horses that were greener XC than stadium. That usually once they got going they’re right as rain. Woody, went around clean, but he still took some work on the XC. His Stadium however, was FANTASTIC.

Liza came out of the ring smiling and said “he’s a GOOD horse!” He was super willing and eager, and Cupcake his face KILLS me when he’s cantering down to a fence!

Then XC was up. the were clean and WELL inside the time. I was able to walk the course with Liza and learned a LOT about how to do things better. She had him REALLY forward the first half of the course to get him going and then was SUPER relaxed and worked on some ridability on the last part. I do love watching him go around.

I’m a pretty proud momma. I’ve been having some internal struggling as to what to do with Woods. I’ve always told myself that eventually I’d be willing to consider selling him. I’ve been feeling pretty downtrodden about how our spring season ended and we DeHarts sometimes like to rationalize the lazy way out of a hard situation.

Then, last week I decided I was going to make this shit work. I’m just not ready; I love him like a 12 year old loves those stupid vampires from the Twilight saga. I’m not soooo hard on myself, I’m not a total up-downer, but I have beat the SHIT out of myself over how difficult this horse is to ride. Instead of kicking myself in the proverbial nuts I decided on Friday that I’m going to get better, and he’s going to get more willing to take a joke/more seasoned and our nauseating middle school love will live on. I’m just too in love with him. We’re gonna come out fighting this fall.

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Good news to share and it’s taken me TWO WHOLE DAYS! I was super busy on Sunday at Waredaca with Liza, Liza’s 4-year-old-Windfall filly (who is AMAZING!), and Woody.

THEN, Sunday night I celebrated both Woody’s strong finish (he totally won) and the first sunday night at our favorite bar that I didn’t have to go to work on Monday.

and THEN on Monday, I had the cocktail flu. I would have posted videos, but that would have required me to get out of the fetal position and off the couch.

Neither was a viable option. 

So, Woody was GOOD! Finished in first place on his dressage score (32.5). He gave Liza the middle fingers a couple of times in the beginning of the test, but it was STILL good.

Stadium was great!
And XC was GOOD and penalty free.

Liza said he actually feels more anxious galloping between fences, which in hindsight is where we would start to become unwound. After I sat and tried to figure out which amateur mistake I made to bring this about Liza put me out of my misery. She assured me, even more so after riding him out, that she didn’t even really think it was a jumping issue, that he’s just ANXIOUS and shutting down.

So today, I decided I was going to take him out on a proper hack. Not just the short loop around the creeks, but a PROPER hack. I admitted to Liza and myself that I had not been doing very much hacking. I was obsessed with practicing my circles!

This is what Woody thought about our hack.

Yet one more place where I assumed he’d retain some of his learnin. We used to hack ALL the time, and while it’s never a TOTALLY relaxing experience, by the end of our first year at Southwind, he was pretty brave.

Today? It took us ten minutes to walk through some ferns that were apparently the Lord of All Things Evil. I wish I was kidding. I also wish I could say that was the ONLY thing that Woody was convinced was going to be the end of him. Like I said, he IS a spooky horse, but this was loco.

So, Things we have learned about Woody this spring? Don’t assume that he’s got anything down pat until he’s a bit older. He’s careful and anxious and a little “special.” Admittedly I haven’t ridden him out much since last fall, and it’s apparently SUPER important for him in order to feel confident. Man, horses are hard. If nothing else Woody is teaching not to take ANYTHING for granted, no matter how simple, automatic, or natural it may seem to me.

So, that’s what we’re doin. I’m of course going to keep working on everything else, but there is going to be at least 3 significant hacks per week. He’s a smart boy, he’ll find his balls again sooner rather than later.

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Phase one of get Woody’s shit back together began on Tuesday when we took him to Rubicon for XC Schooling a’la Liza. As mentioned, there was a incident wherein Liza and Woody parted company.

That was towards the end of the school, and after Addie and Sheri galloped over hill n’ dale and ponied him back, Liza got back on and finished the fixing. It might have been close to done before if Woody hadn’t spooked at the edge of the water (at NOTHING) jumped straight up in the air, squirrled around in a pretzel, and landed straight legged. They were SO doing nothing, that Liza was sitting on him all relaxed, one handed on a loose rein. This was precariously close to tadpole filled waters and Woody then high tailed it back to the trailers. Liza said it was adaptive behavior, cause she probably would have murdered him had he stayed around

I will admit to enjoying Ozzy’s penchant to stand, stare and judge after there was an involuntary dismount.

Ozzy–> [image] ::)

Woody – -> [image] [image] [image]

The day began with her jumping him over 2-3 fences, galloping by me and saying, “Yep, Lisa, he’s being kind of a douche, don’t know why, don’t care, but it’s going to stop today!” I’m sure I HAD to have done something to create the monster, but we can’t pinpoint it. She also told me that it feels NOTHING like it looks and she understood why I was getting so frustrated when she’d tell me to do one thing, I’d try it, and it wouldn’t work.

He’s SUCH a weird little horse. I mean genuinely weird. Liza LOVES him but every time we have to suss something out she marvels in his bizarreness. He’s this unexplainable combination of brave and chickenshit and cocky and needy. I’m still trying to find a character from a TV show/movie that describes him and I’m failing.

By the time the day was over Woody was looking more like the machine I had last year. Liza is just the perfect balance of firm, patient and calm that Woody needs to engage his brain.

I of course took video.

I bought Liza lunch on the way home.  She was unscathed from her tumble, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve a burger from Fosters.

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I was pretty happy with his test.  I’m such a 12 year old.

[image]

Stadium
[image]

And fence three…sad to say, but he was even green and slow off the ground to THIS tiny fence.  This is one fence before the stopapalooza began.

[image]

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and then live some more.So, our weekend at Rubicon started out SWIMMINGLY. Woody was a solid citizen, remained sane and we put in a kick ass dressage test (ifidosaysomyself). We scored a 30.4 and were in second place. This was short lived.

Stadium was good. Liza showed up and warmed us up and while he got a little wild when we first went in, he was ridable. We had 2 iffy fences. One in a forward 4/holding five line. I went for the 4, Woody went for the five and we had a rail. The other one I just saw NOTHING, slipped the reins and got a little left (as is the way of my people).

Then XC. Woods was WILD waiting to go in the start box, but if I walked and walked and walked we were fine.

We were eliminated by fence SEVEN!!!! That’s what I get for being in 2nd place after dressage. :P

I was horrified. I haven’t had to do the walk of shame since 1995. I was convinced my horse was broken, either psychologically or physically and possibly by my doing.

Long story short, Liza and I have BOTH given it a lot of thought and feel like we’ve figured it out…it’s pretty simple. Woody’s still green. We finished the season like gangbusters in the fall and Woody was a XC machine. Although he was a VERY carefully managed machine. Unlike last season, Liza didn’t take Woody out for his first couple of outings, cause well… we didn’t think he needed it.

We were wrong. He’s a tough ride, and he’s sensitive little freak, and even thought I’m giving him a MUCH better ride this season than last, he still needs a little more. He can be a pro’s ride. I am decidedly NOT a pro. I screw-up and I do so on the regular.

However, I’d improved so much since last year an have become SO much more apt at getting the goods out of Woods, I didn’t see the forest for the trees. What I read as hesitation was still a little uncertainty. I pushed when I should have waited, and Woody said :o and we slowly digressed. I’m not a monster by any means, but Liza is more equipped to give the quiet supportive ride he needs when his eyes bug out of his head.

So we’re going schooling tomorrow (with Liza Riding) and then Liza is taking him to Waredaca’s unrecognized and then MDHT II. We’ll take the fall as it comes. I was pretty pitiful on Saturday, but after talking to Liza today (who knows the horse almost as well as I do), and us coming to the same conclusion helped a LOT. I no longer am equating myself to a mooper up-downer.

So, now on to the good stuff. I do have videos! I also got a new video camera and some of these are in HD if you go to the youtube site.

Our short lived 2nd place dressage ride this past weekend.

Waredaca Stadium

Woody demanding Allie’s attention at VHT.  Redonkulous

VHT Dressage.  We actually got a pretty good score here too, 33.0  Which is even better considering he WAS SKEEEEEERD!

Woody’s XC at VHT

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So Yesterday we went to the Unrec MDHT and it was a LOVELY time.

Dressage was distracted but obedient if that makes sense. It was cold and windy and there were sandbags on the letters. I was actually pretty pleased that he kept ANY composure. Not to mention we hadn’t practice circling for a couple of days. It was NOT a good test, but whatevs…. Got a 35.

XC we had a stop, but it was NOTHING and a perfect manifestation of what happens when Woody and I get distracted at the same time. The second Water involved you cantering through and then jumping a fence about 2-3 strides out of the water on the other side. Woody CANTERED into the water and was taken surprise by his own bravery. Here is where the perfect storm of ADHD happened. These two conversations were taking place simultaneously.

  • Woody: WHAT? There is water EVERYTHWERE! I’m going to pick my feet up REALLY high to try and get out of it. Holy Crap! I can’t believe I ran STRAIGHT in here like that. This is TOTALLY unlike Me! What the HELL is that fence doing there?!?!?!?
  • Me: Wow! That was really brave of Woody to canter into the water like that. Mmmmm, Water. Holy CRAP am I thirsty. I can’t believe I didn’t ask anyone to bring any water to stadium. I should know better. I canter around smiling like an idiot and my teeth get all dry and I get f’ing PARCHED! What the HELL is that fence doing there?!?!?!

We represented and hopped over it like, well like we saw it sitting there. The rest of the course was great. It was a really good first outing. Not HUGE and forward thinking and gallopy.

Finally, Stadium? Honestly, Woody probably could have thrown himself in the ditch on XC and I wouldn’t have cared for being so pleased about my ride. The course was POOP. It was the least intuitive course I have EVER ridden. Basically, when you landed off a fence, the direction you thought you SHOULD go? Chose the other one. And it was ALL off of turns, basically the letter “U” over and over again.

There were only TWO clear rounds and Woody and I were one of them! The gray oxer at the short side of the ring was eating people ALLLLL day.  I’m still really proud of us both and was thanking Liza in my brain the whole way around. Anytime I had to make a decision I made the right one and realized how much Liza has helped me. I’m not saying it was a perfect round by ANY MEANS, but there were a number of places that would have ended in a disaster spiral just a year ago.

I won’t blather on, but Woody is NOT an easy ride, and it’s still a learning process, but yesterday I realized just how far we have come. It takes a lot of trust to push your hands forward and get up and out of the saddle on a horse that feels like he could take off looking like a giraffe on crack at any moment! But I did, and I’m pretty freaking proud of myself!

There is of course video.

So that’s it! Weekend after next is VHT and I’m SUPER excited! I love my little man so very freakishly much.

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So, it’s true.  I totally won our division.  Sure it was beginner novice, and I just went to get the first outing out of the way, but still!  Winning is nice and I will admit that it was a nice way to start the season, which was the plan to begin with!  Hey!  Look at me using psychology!

Anyhoo, Dressage was good.  The first part of warm-up was nice.  Then we moved to the top ring where they send you when you’re on deck to finish our warm-up.  It was at this time that Woody decided to go to the zoo.

We went really fast.  There was no walking or even trotting.  Cantering was the only option.  It’s hard to look all dressage-y and proper when your horse is Lord of the dancing all over the place.

We had a little time up top and he calmed down a bit.  The judge gave us a 28.4!!!!  I thought it was a good test, but not that good!  Hell, I’ll take it.  Unfortunately I have no proof.  I would have liked to see it, but whatevs.  I did get an 8 on rider which made me happy.  Maybe she saw his Micheal Flatley impersonation before the test and was giving me props?

Stadium was good.  The beginning of Warm-Up required some tevis cupping but not much.  I jumped the x-rail 4 times and called it a day.  Sheri (the barn owner who I went with), thought that perhaps the x-rail wasn’t QUITE enough.  She does know my warm-up crazy, but suggested maybe, just maybe, I jump the oxer.

I did.  Once.  It went well, and we both agreed we could stop there.

I gave my camera to a boarder who was there (Sheri was riding her Pony in my division in addition to riding Toga in Prelim).  She got some of my warm up, random and strange 5 second videos of us wandering around waiting to go in, Woody being a little more enthusiastic than I would have liked cantering to our first fence, and the last three fences of our course.

So here is that random montage:

I was really pleased with our course.  When we first picked up the canter I harbored some concerns.   He was more up than forward.  But when I showed him the first fence he was focused and I rode well.

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