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OK, I’ll tell you!

The one wherein I proposed that I stayed in my house until January. Woody and I are still alive. Cold and bitter, but alive.

Every year I inadvertently end up taking between Rubicon and New Year off. I think it’s probaly good for us both. I have a long post in my head about why, but as is rampant in all areas of my life right now, motivation lacks. I assure you it’s insightful and brilliant.

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Season Two: It Happened!

So, it is the end of my and Woody’s second season eventing together.  Just the mere fact that we made it through without any disruptions (other than me being the consummate amateur) makes it heads above the seasons of some of my friends. For this I am thankful.  There is actually so much to be thankful for, but I’ll show you a video of me eating fence one in Rubicon Stadium instead.  I mean that’s more fun to watch, right?

So as implied, we finished off our season at Rubicon this weekend.  I was a little nervous about going seeing as the Spring Rubicon was where Woody and I completed our first Walk of Shame together, and my first Walk of Shame since 1995.

Fear not!  There was no Walk of Shame! *cue cheering crowd.*  I did almost fall off in stadium warm-up though.  My friend Dana was there helping me (stadium warm-up makes me want to barf, and she was helping me by making all the fences teeny…that’s right! I rock the 2 foot warm-up!).

Anyhoo, one of my favorite things to do to instill confidence in myself, my horse, and those looking on, is to come up to the cross-rail, see nothing, miss like it’s my job, THEN get way ahead of my horse.  This way when he jumps it like a 3-legged alpaca I almost fly off on the other side.

It happened in slow-motion, and I actually heard Dana yell “Hold On!”  I had the presence of mind to reply “I think I got it!!!!” as I pushed myself off his neck, unwrapped my hands from underneath his throat latch and catapaulted myself back into the saddle.  All at the canter mind you!  I think it was this that inspired the nice man helping to set warm-up fences to look at Dana and say “THAT?  That was AMAZING!”

I aim to please.  Again, please reference the lack of pride that is scattered throughout this blog.

Anyhoo, dressage was good.  We’re still having some steadiness problems, but it’s coming together.  We were in 9th with a 34.5.  However, the scores were CRAZY close and 1st place was standing on a 31.

Had we finished on our dressage, we would have ended 2nd, but I decided to make a sandwich out of the first fence and we had a rail.  I was admittedly a little frazzled about our warm-up and it took us a bit to get our inattentive and impulsive ducks in a row.  Besides that one rail we had no other time or jumping faults for the rest of the day.  I was pleased.

So there it is.  I’m not sure how our spring season is going to work.  Getting married can kinda make spending all your money and weekends at competitions difficult… but I’m sure I’ll find a way.  As it is now, Woody will get the next week or so off and we’ll pick some goals for the winter and maybe actually be focused enough to reach them.

Or, I’ll sit in the house until February drinking mulled wine and thinking Woody deserves a solid winter to reflect on the season 😉

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So, we went to MDHT III this weekend, and I am so glad we did.  We had a great go of it and FINALLY, for the first time this year, finished on our dressage score.  It wasn’t a great dressage score.  We were tied for 7th with a 36.5.

Woody likes to see how much he can get away with, and i’ve let him get away with some minor transgressions in the way of consistency/steadiness.  He’s always pushing JUST a little.  It’s like he’s saying “if I wiggle my head around JUST X amount, I can get away with it…”  I just realized this within the past week and REALLY started working on it.  I’m hoping we’ll have made some improvements by Rubicon (If I go to Rubicon…I really WANT to go to Rubicon, why am I not entered?).


Stadium was EATING people!  I had had some sangria that my friend Erin brought, and I wasn’t skeered.  That’s right.  As I’ve always surmised, Booze really IS my spinach.  We had a nice forward round and while we didn’t find all of our distances perfectly (as if that will EVER happen), we made all of our mistakes going forward and out of stride.

XC was a BLAST!  The first fence was a not small rolltop and was relatively close to the start.  He was a little slow off the ground, and per Liza’s instructions, I SENT him forward upon landing, and he was a champ the rest of the way around.  I love how you can see him wring his tail in the video when I goosed him after fence one.  He still peaked at the first water, but there wasn’t any genuine hesitation.

We ended up 5th, and I don’t know that I have EVER been as happy to get a pink ribbon in my whole life.

I’m not signed up for Rubicon, and I don’t know why.  I’m going to see Daniel Tosh at the Lyric that Saturday night, but that’s not why.  I don’t think anyone else from the barn is going, and maybe that’s a little bit why.  I think I’m just going to suck it up and enter.  I can’t do Waredaca because I’ll be in Kentucky helping Liza, and I can’t do VHT because I’ll be stalking Jon and Stephen…

OK, while the videos were uploading I entered Rubicon.  I wont be skeered!

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(I’m behind again, this is from the weekend of 10/3)

I guess I’ll take you’re technical elimination and eat it.  You don’t have to do a damn thing with it.   mrgreen

Long story short.  During Stadium, I heard the dressage whistle, started, judge didn’t stop me (as I was told she did the rider who went right after me, but I’m not bitter cool), blew the whistle at me after my round and told me I was TE’d.  I explained what happened (to her, in her truck that HAD had the windows rolled up, and was parked behind a tree), but there was little to no sympathy.

Helmut let me run XC and we had an AMAZING go.  A couple of sticky fences, but I didn’t choke and the 2nd half of the course (which was the big half), was fantastic.

We were 2nd after dressage, and if we hadn’t had a rail (and a TE) we totally would have won.

We have MDHT this weekend and I am feeling REALLY good about it.  Let’s see if both Woody and I can’t keep it together at the same time.  What a wonderous plan.

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I have been working my ASS off. Woody is so funny, everytime I think “There, I’ve got him figured out. If I keep down this path, steady eddy straight ahead, everything will be blue ribbons and big smiles.

[image]

Then I find out Woody wanted me to take that left we passed 2 miles back.

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Liza came up for a lesson on Monday and Woody was a bit of a douche. I was feeling all competent after finding all of my fences well at Maryland, and then [image]

It had cooled off a good bit and Woody had (temporarily, lets hope), been rehired by Don’t Touch My Freaking Face, Incorporated, and taken back his position of Vice President in charge of Over-Reactions.

[image]

That horse can go fast without going forward unlike ANY animal I have ever encountered. So we ate some oxers, but then both of us finally got our shit together. I keep telling myself that lessons are ugly so competitions don’t have to be.

Our flat work has been STELLAR though! Who would have EVER thought that this horse:

would make dressage his bitch… Although looking at that I’m not sure who has come farther, Woody or me.

Olney Times aren’t up yet, but it’s supposed to be a beautiful day on Sunday!

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So, per usual, Woody and I have a “plan” for the fall season. This “plan” is multi-phased and began today with me taking to the MD Short Course. The first time I’ve competed him since we imploded Rubicon. :P

So, to ensure Super Happy Fun Time for all I entered him in the Beginner Novice Division, and Super Happy Fun Time was obtained. I’ve realized it’s not the size of the fence that matters, or at least that is not where my and Woody’s issues live. So we might as well get out sh*t together (rhythm, focus, forward) over smaller fences.

We finished on our dressage score and won the division, but more importantly (wait, there is something more important than taking ribbons from children?) I have my XC machine back. He was AMAZING! I also got my head out my ass, which was nice.

We have video!

I’m apparently determiined to lay Woody down on XC at Maryland. I was expecting the water to slow him down, as it ALWAYS has in the past. Yeah, it didn’t and that turn came up a bit faster than I had expected.

So, I think I’m going to do the unrec at Olney in a couple of weeks and then Liza’s taking him to Morven, then he’s mine for the rest of the season.

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So, first.  Liza has moved.  It’s a WONDERFUL thing.  She has a great opportunity in Charlottesville, and the people there are lucky as hell to get her in their backyard. and I already miss her like whoa!  I would be remiss if I didn’t spend the majority of this post singing her praises.

It’s no secret that Woody is a strange bird.  He’s an amazing horse, with a work ethic that is beyond reproach, and has talent that I will probably never be skilled enough to tap into.

That said, he is also a TOUGH horse.  He is sensitive and has little to no ability to take a joke.  Me?  I tell a lot of jokes.  Woody thinks few of them are funny, but as an amateur, making mistakes is how I roll, and unless I become independently wealthy and can take lessons everyday I don’t see that changing.  This is why Liza is worth her weight in gold.

I don’t know where to start, so I’ll summarize.  Without Liza?  Woody and I would probably BOTH be ruined.  Some OTTBs are not for the faint of heart nor the unassisted.  I have always considered myself a decent rider, but some skills HAVE to be taught.  Liza taught me how to wait, and be QUIET and patient.  She taught me how to ride the VERY fine line with Woody between forward and running away, and before I could ride it, she had to teach me how to feel for it.  She taught me to balance, not grasp, and she taught me when to fight/press and when to allow.

These lessons on a horse like Woody are NOT easy.  Yet Liza’s way with him is exceptional; I call her Woody’s Xanax.  Not only has she turned me into an exponentially better rider over the past 2 and a half years, but she has turned Woody into a horse that can be touched, and bent, and pushed and WORKED!  Neither of these were a small feat.

She has also taught me how much more I have to learn, without making me feel like an idiot.  Which if being heuristic is your game?  Well, Liza’s your gal.  So, if Liza Horan is in your neck of the woods, and you have the opportunity?  Jump at it, because she knows horses and will work you and teach you and you will be better for the experience.

Woody and I are getting ready for our fall season.  This included a couple of unrecognized events and then Liza is taking him to Morven.  Should all that go well, he’ll be mine for the remainder of the season.

Before Liza left on Friday, I had a flat lesson on Thursday (Liza gave me 5 pound weight loss-lesson as her going away present) and a jump lesson on Wednesday.  She was kind enough to video some of the lesson on Wed.  So I’ll share that here!

We’re getting it together, and I’m looking forward to the fall season.  Liza is an amazing training and a dear friend, and if you’re lucky enough to get the change to ride with her, take it!

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