Showing posts with label Woody. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woody. Show all posts

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Track love

First thing, Equestrian Journey has done a great list of her favorite blogs. Check her awesome blog out!

I don't really talk about the mornings at the track that much. The best explanation I can come up with of why I love racing and why I can't imagine ever being away from it can't be really be told in words. My favorite part about the mornings at the track is watching the horses train. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a horse running. The athleticism and heart of these animals is absolutely amazing! So, here are all of the reasons I love it summed up in a few videos.

Gigantor aka Sandy and Woody blowing out down the lane.

Look at the stride on Gigantor! Woody is a good sized, long striding horse. Sandy makes him look little. One of the things that sold me on her when we claimed her was the length of her stride. A person can do a lot with a horse that covers the ground like that. In theory anyways. We'll see. There's a few minor physical things to fix on her still, but we'll get there. And Woody, I'll always love that horse. I will also always have faith in his ability, no matter what. The talent is there.

Gigantor jogging back. She seems pretty proud of herself.

So, hopefully this gives you an idea of why I am so drawn to racing. It's the feeling that a running horse gives me. The work that the man and I put into them.  The pride when they do well. That feeling is absolutely everything.

*Bonus-Cute little kid riding ex-racehorse/pony-horse Gunner

He wasn't quite comfortable riding alone yet, so Ty rode with him. The kid got the whole steering thing down pretty well! Gunner was awesome, other than the one time he pulled the reins out of his hands to eat grass.

The kid's victory dance :)

So cute!

Good boy, Gunner!


Gone. Wherein, I had to walk over and save them both.

Gunner with his stolen, quick bite of grass. He was pretty proud of himself for sneaking that in.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Riding, Racing Recap, and Random

I couldn't just post about one thing today, so you get a little bit about a few things.

I'm going to pretend that everyone is this excited about that fact....


Beefs had laser therapy yesterday and he felt REALLY good today (thank you H). He started out much more relaxed and even though we didn't get those moments of huge impulsion, he was more consistently active in the hind end along with using himself better. The good moments are coming more and more frequently.

What I focused on today:
1. Riding the hind end
2.Getting him to reach for the connection more consistently instead of curling up
3. Transitions (however slight) within the gates.
4. Sending him more forward into my hands when he wanted to back off, hallow his back, and get above the bit.
5. Getting him to use his hind end, top line, and the base of his neck better.
6. Keep his neck from shortening in all three gates.

*I was too lazy to edit, so you get it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Feel free to judge, I ride better after I've been criticized :) Also, yes I know that shirt looks horrendous to ride in, but I'm trying to fix my polo tan.

Apparently my left wrist decided to join my left foot in being spastic. Whatever.

I'm not going to say I accomplished all of these things, but there was general improvement. In short, you can see a fairly good difference between the videos from a few days ago (click here) and today. He may look a little more inconsistent in the connection at times today, that is because I was riding him into the connection instead of messing with my hands to keep it (hopefully, that makes sense). I still feel the work was a lot higher quality.

I guess I should mention how well behaved this is for him being at the track. Especially since the bugs were really bad (he doesn't typically have helicopter tail). If he does this well here, he is going to really rock away from the racetrack.

Harley and Dennis-win #2 at the meet
Harley won her second race in a row here yesterday. Everything has just kind of clicked with her these last two races. We drew to the outside for both, Dennis (the jockey) fits her really well and she relaxes well for him out there, and she is doing well as far as health and training in general. These last two races she has run very professional, doing everything Dennis has asked of her. Good girl!

Woody (#7) heading to the gates

Woody ran 2nd yesterday, out nodded and beaten by a nose. This meant that we were a nose away from winning our last four races in a row. Not that I'm complaining, but crap! Anyway, after having one mishap after another for his last three races, I was just happy that everything went smoothly and he put in a really nice effort. BTW, if you ever want to see a really pissed off jockey, go talk to them after they get beat by a nose. What mattered to me was that Donnie gave him a smart ride. He made all the right choices with where he put Woody in the (very weird run) race. Shit happens, hopefully next time.

Random (photos and video):

It's a man's world...

I'm not sure who is babysitting who.

"I think he's full."
Looks at his mouth
"Yep. He's full."
Kid is hysterical!

More dark clouds coming our way. Shocker.

H working on the mare we just claimed. I call her Gigantor or Sasquatch (the horse, not H).

Apparently Beefs prefers his lunch over grazing.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A horse I adore

It's funny how there are certain horses that you just want to ride. Correct that: HAVE to ride or it'll drive you insane.

Me and Woody last year.

Woody came to our barn October-ish of 2012. He was such a friendly horse with a great attitude and I instantly adored him. I watched, practically drooling, as my fiancé rode him all last year.

Total blogger fail, reusing a picture, but I wanted to show why I was drooling and couldn't access my pics of him.

I wanted to ride him SO BAD, but I figured he was probably just a little too much for me to handle and it was probably better for the horse if my fiancé kept riding him. Then the meet was over here and his owner wanted to bring him back to Golden Gate for the summer (he lives in that area and enjoys watching his horses run in person whenever possible). We ended up getting him back in Phoenix, as the owner had said we would.

Yesterday, I was watching my fiancé track him AGAIN and decided I could do okay on him. Due to a tragic experience with a moronic shoer (not ours), he is just coming back from a layoff and is only jogging right now anyway. So, I asked the "boss-man" if he thought I could track him. He said yes without even hesitating. Woohoo!

So, I have to interrupt my story really quick to explain how I feel about tracking racehorses. It's not necessarily my favorite thing to do. I don't mind being on the horse, I'm not scared of falling off. Getting run off with, though I don't love it, doesn't really scare me as long as they aren't rank about it. It's the things I can't control.

A picture from when I was learning to gallop. Not sure what the hell I was doing....

There are very good riders at the track. There are also some very bad ones. There are also some very crazy horses. Combine the psycho horses and the bad riders out there and anything can happen. That's the part that freaks me out. Put me on a track with just a few other horses and I'm fine. Add fifty horses and so begins my hyperventilation stage. The hardest part for me is just getting on. I think too much. I've seen too many bad wrecks. I worry too much about what can go wrong. Literally, my hands are shaking by the time I get legged up. On a good note, once I'm on their back, I'm fine. So, If I actually ask to track a horse, you know I must REALLY like them.

Today I tacked up the horse my fiancé was going to take and then I tacked up Woody so we could get them out at the same time (sorry I didn't get any pictures, my photographer was on a horse). It was weird, I didn't get nervous at all. For some reason I just felt like I would be okay on Woody. No matter what happened.

How Ty reminds me to put the blinkers on.

He walked to the track with his ears forward on a loose rein. Totally relaxed.

I've learned a lot about riding just from watching good riders. Trying to immitate what they do has gotten me a long ways. My fiancé had been riding him with a long cross (longer reins, into contact, with the reins crossing between your hands). It's not hard when you're sitting down (racetrack term for posting). Doing it while standing up makes it a little harder because you can't use the contact for balance like when they are pulling you around with shorter reins. The main problem with this is if they throw their head up and try to take off, you're scrambling for the reins or you fall back and hit them in the mouth. A long cross is all good when you're in shape, have good balance, and are confident in your skills. Me, the balance part is okay. The other two, not so much. In any case, if that's how my fiancé rides him, I'm going to also. I'm competive that way.

Woody galloping out after working.

Fortunately, Woody was AWESOME! Since we are letting him gain strength by carrying himself instead of holding him together, there were a couple of times his head came up. Not very bad, but just enough and just quick enough for me to lose contact for a couple of strides. Thank goodness for having all those dressage lessons of sending horses forward into the connection being hammered into my head. When he did it, I just put my leg on and he went forward dropping his head back into a nice contact without me having to shorten/adjust my reins. Woody did the last lap staying loose over his top line and using himself well. He got into a really nice rhythm! I didn't have to do much other than soften him a little bit here and there.

We pulled up and he just stood there while I watched our other horse go for a minute. Then he walked off of the track and back to the barn like a perfect gentleman. (One of the worst parts about galloping can be just getting them to and from the track.)

In the whole scheme of things, jogging a horse a couple of laps isn't a big deal. For me, it was since it was Woody. I think I would have been heartbroken if I hadn't gotten along with him. Why it should even matter, I don't know. Maybe it's because I like him so much or because I needed to prove something to myself. It probably doesn't really matter why. What matters is that riding him completely made my day!

For some reason getting on Woody today felt like it brought me back to the rider I used to be. The one that had confidence in her ability and complete faith in her horse.

See how loveable he is?

The bad part: now I want him for a dressage horse even more than I already did. Crap!