A jumping weekend, with wild weather!

I didn’t ride Friday, though I was slightly tempted as I got off work earlier due to my changed schedule for the two days- had a nap instead! Guess I wasn’t that tempted.

From BC Day- wish this weather could last forever!

From BC Day- wish this weather could last forever!

Saturday the weather changed for the worse- blasting wind, threatening rain and generally unsettled. The trickiest part was that it was also sunny and warm, and then a huge gust of wind?

I tacked Oats up in the outdoor cross-ties and a big gust came up and blew a ton of saddle pads into the air! He spooked and I went to go pick the saddle pads up that were strewn everywhere, and while I was reaching to grab them, slipped and banged into the fence.

To add insult to injury, I went to grab the railing to stop myself from falling smack into the fence and immediately got a splinter from a thorn on the blackberry bushes. SHIT! And it is STILL jammed into my finger, after a failed attempt by my husband to needle that sucker out of there…I was howling and shrieking, so I slapped a band-aid on it and continued on my way. Ouch, not worth it!~

Not an auspicious start to my ride…

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When I was riding, Oats was high high high! Very frisky and looky, spooky and on-edge. The man who has been cleaning up the paddocks with the backhoe stopped by to ask a few questions (very friendly) with his dog, and Oats was kind of losing it! The dog! The man! Wind!!!!!!!

So …yeah.

My goal became clear- live through the ride.

We actually had a pretty nice ride once I gave up the idea that we had to deal with his scary areas ”the corner” being one we just flat out avoided on Saturday. Schooled him over some jumps I set as low x-rails, and then did a figure-eight type pattern of x-rail, to road closed panel, to diagonal x-rail, back to the first x-rail to ‘road closed’. That was fun!

Ended it at that, as I didn’t want to end up on the ground…

And of course, when I had Oats back in the cross-rails, another saddle pad went flying and he spooked again. SIGH.

Turns out it was well and good I rode early, as the wind only got worse as the day went on. When I came in for my ride on Sunday, I had to pick up tree branches and the barn shutter that went flying in the windstorm. I could only picture a house being picked up with ‘Auntie Em’ echoing in the background!

Rode in the indoor on Sunday and felt kind of not enthusiastic. I wanted to gallop in the field, but figured that was off limits due to the rain…Blah. We worked over a tiny x-rail to establish pace and nailed our distances to it everytime! This is after I trotted him over it and he fell over it twice- fell! So, canter it was, and canter it went!

I then did some no-stirrups work that felt ok but still fairly punishing…

Wanted to save my legs for a run I had planned later in the day. The run itself went ok but I was SO PARANOID about my knee blowing up on me. I couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I wanted to, I didn’t have that ‘free’ feeling at all. Gah…At the turnaround I was so sure this was it, I couldn’t run anymore. But then we did turn around, and I was ok again?

Today my legs feel fine though, so….

Fingers crossed?!

More BC day

More BC day

Also of note- I tried Krema’s Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Spice flavour and loved it!

Also tried the new Strawberry Shortcake Frapp from Starbucks- and blah. Wouldn’t have it again. They don’t serve the S’mores flavour, which I am SO bummed about. ARGH.

Oh and we went to the Island’s Greek festival after Starbucks and our run, and enjoyed a nice gyros platter. Yummmy!

A non-jump lesson

I had moved my lesson time up yesterday as I am on a bit of a different schedule Thur/Fri, and was kind of surprised by the amount of machinery on the ground in the outdoor arena…

Yeah, so not riding in the outdoor and not jumping I guess?

There were dumptrucks, trucks, backhoe and everything- working to clear out blackberries from the paddocks. I’m all for regular maintenance so that was good to see but MAN was it distracting to ride with (even in the indoor?!).

So I told my coach I was ok if we did flatwork but I needed a tune-up so I could work it without stirrups! And I did! For pretty much the whole ride, hahah. We had to sharpen him up with lots of walk-canter transitions (with stirrups) and then moved on to running through a dressage test twice without stirrups, hahaha.

The tests themselves- well, they were ok not great but not terrible. At least I had an excuse- hell-o, riding without stirrups here, voluntarily!

Oats was fine, and we had a very reasonable ride. Enjoying my days.

“All acts of nostalgia are expressions of longing for a past that never was”

Didn’t have my dressage lesson yesterday- as board increases are starting to eat into my regular ‘horse budget’ I’m having to cut back a bit- and so my dressage lessons are going to every other week, and I didn’t show this summer (by choice but also by $$$).

Instead, I did another horse counseling session and we focused on setting SMART goals. This was hard for me, because I can see the goal part, and I have my start, but what about the middle stuff? How does that go?

Well, it goes something like this…

I want to ride in the 2′ and 2’3” divisions at a local show series.

I want to compete in the whole series.

I want to finish each division without skipping any classes.

Easy eh?

Well, I also want to do it without having a meltdown, feeling anxious, feeling ‘out of body’ and actually enjoying feeling competent in the situation.

Not so easy.

How do I do it?

Continue with my private jump lesson once a week.

Add in separate schooling sessions over fences focusing on relaxation- now this is going to be the tough part.

Continue doing my counseling sessions once a week until my first show, and then probably moving it to once every other week.

So…That’s my action plan moving forward. I hope I can make progress this way!

Oats was a lovey to ride yesterday, I didn’t end up riding for that long as the counseling session took about an hour. We had some GREAT forward canter in the outdoor, and some fairly reasonable trot. Overall, a fun ride.

Today I am taking off, and having drinks! Yeah! Tomorrow is the jump lesson- where I get to put my money where my brain/mouth/body is…AH.

Weekend Update: The fair, a mud run, and riding!

Ha what a fun way to start a race!

Ha what a fun way to start a race!

This past weekend, my husband competed in the Mud Mulisha run in Shawnigan Lake- I’ll write more about it later (he’s going to write a review!) but I stayed on the sidelines to take pictures and watch. I’m glad I made that decision, as I wrenched my shoulder going through the jump on Thursday and by Saturday, it still hurt! Plus I couldn’t chance my bad knee going through obstacles or up and down a giant hill, so…all for the best I was benched haha.

Up a big hill

Up a big hill

Then we headed straight to the Cobble Hill fair. I love fairs! While I may not want to take Oats in one – the atmosphere is way too electric for him, and he can be a total disaster in hack classes, he much prefers jumping – I really enjoy watching the riding and looking at the agricultural exhibits.

A new Mr. Oats..Mr. Moo

A new Mr. Oats..Mr. Moo

Ian’s mom won $100 for her quilt! What a prize eh??

The hack classes were really fun to watch, one horse in particular was a real class act and did SUPER well. And there was even a pairs class, so cute. It was very well subscribed, with like 5 pairs of horses showing. Nice eh? Ian’s dad was helping with the sheepdog demonstration and the funniest bit was when they showed ducks! The ducks didn’t really want to cooperate and starting running amok…

I am also learning to drive an antique tractor!

I am also learning to drive an antique tractor!

It was a hot day, that’s for sure. I was super glad I wasn’t showing myself!

We then picked a ton of plums (damson and Italian prune plums) from Ian’s parents garden. I ate WAY too many plums. Kind of a mistake, ha. But now we have a veritable bounty of plums to eat- damnson, Italian prune plums and like 6 squashes of varying sizes.

Yum!!

Sunday I rode Oats in the field and he was GREAT! We just walked, trotted and did canter sets. He was quite sweaty after, and I let him explore the field a bit on a loose rein. He didn’t want to go back up the hill (effort!!!) so he tried to leave the field going through a farmyard. Silly pony! We also kind of chased a mother deer and larger fawn-though he is a slow pony and was in no risk of actually catching them…

Yesterday he was in a weird mood. “Look at me, pet me, let me touch you, let me grab your ponytail, let me nuzzle your butt, look at me!!” All while I was grooming and tacking him up. It was kind of driving me nuts! Whyyyy with the grabby attention-seeking, Oats?

He also was an absolute terror to poor Feline- I was brushing his tail and he lunged forward and snapped at her! She jumped to the side and like, crashed into her elderly owner…Shit. That took me by surprise?!

He was good to ride though, we rode in the indoor arena to practice some dressage and I even did some lateral work (normally hate it!) and he was pretty honest about his effort! A+ for Oats for yesterday’s work, haha.

Life is something you do when you can’t get to sleep

One out of 30 isn’t so bad.

Being braver

Being braver

Had a jump lesson last night, and it did try my need for perfection quite strongly. I hate bad distances, crashing jumps, rails down, and chips (gah the chips!) and we had exactly 1 super bad jump- I misjudged and let my legs slip back a bit on the downhill, and Oats slid into the jump and took it out.

I kind of jarred my shoulder, but overall stuck it. We lowered it to an x-rail, worked through it again to the bending line oxer (it was kind of ugly), then rode it again to the oxer- much better!

I want this to look small to me.

I want this to look small to me.

I ended on that note, and it kind of took all of my courage to not completely wimp out when things went sour. I have a real tendency towards perfection, and when the rails start coming off the tracks, I backpedal and can’t seem to get going again.

My coach brought it home with this- so it was 1 bad jump-all the others looked pretty good! So what was I complaining about exactly? One out of 30 or so odd jumps isn’t the end of the world, and quite frankly, my need for ‘perfect rounds’ or flawless jumps is unrealistic and damaging – I’m saying this, she didn’t.

So we screw up and make mistakes- that is how we learn and how we change. Oats certainly didn’t hold it against me- he was a bit hesitant the next fence, but on the firm second try he was totally game. What an honest pony!

Sometimes he can be a saint and sometimes a devil- I need to trust him to make the right decisions.

And that brings me to today- not sure what kind of ride I might plan for tonight, but I’m going to take it a bit easier after our jump lesson last night. I don’t think it was particularly strenuous, but it was kind of a tough mental game for me- they always are.

I also worked quite hard on going into my jump lesson with a ‘neutral’ attitude – not grouching and not complaining about the jump heights- and did it work? Ha, sort of? I do still feel like i’m ”faking it” a bit but I am honestly trying to make changes in my mindset and my body. I also tried to make a real effort to breathe more (this happened in my warmup, not so much in my actual jump course, ooooops).

Though I did NOT say anything about the jump heights- even when they got bumped up to the ‘vaunted heights’ of 2’3”! OOohhh ahahhaha.

Go us!

Movie review: American Ultra

Woah…

After watching an advance screening of this flick, all I can say is that I did not expect Jesse Eisenberg to be in quite the hardcore ‘shoot ’em up’ movie, that was also a comedy?

Don’t be fooled- he’s still funny and the film has some very hilarious moments- also poignant ones- but the action/adventure is heavy at times, and the violence is of the super close up camera angles with blood splattering style. Which I am personally not opposed to, but I was just surprised at the over-the-top gun fights!?

I did find it interesting that Eisenberg’s character Mike suffers from phobias and panic attacks that leave him unable to get on an airplane, or drive beyond the city limits, and this is all due to government-implanted thoughts in his brain (so, brainwashing). It made me wonder that if it kind of washes out the real issues people have with those things, and real panic attacks/anxiety that people get, normal every day people who aren’t secret sleeper agents who have these phobias planted in their brains to protect them…They don’t get an ‘easy out’ quite like Mike did?

But anyways it’s a fun action flick, I kind of wanted to shake Mike when he started fizzing out at his ‘girlfriend’/handler when she tries to tell him the truth and he loses his shit. Why didn’t he want to hear the truth from someone who gave up everything to be with him?

That was a part of the movie I didn’t necessarily agree with, but it did play into his character’s latent paranoia.

If you liked Pineapple Express you’ll like this one- though I do think it is better! You have to be ready to watch some really splashy shoot-out scenes and unmitigated hand-to-hand fighting involving a frying pan, spoon, can of tomatoes and a bag of frozen hamburgers.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

“Don’t do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts.”

Dressage lesson recap:

In short, better than last week but still quite a challenge.

We worked on some brief lateral work to get Oats listening and get him to pay attention to my aids, rather than flipping his head around and fluffing up and down with me. It was only when I ‘got serious’ about it – and frankly, kind of annoyed and mad- did he settle and go, oh ok mom!

Calm

Calm

In his defense, I’m pretty sure he had a nasty bot fly basically hassling him my ENTIRE ride, because when I got off, there it was, buzzing around him and when I was brushing him off, he was freaking covered in bot fly eggs?!!

There must have been an effing thousand of them? It took a good long while to painstakingly scrape them off my poor horse. Jesus. I did manage to kill the freaking thing though- it was the only option, as it would not leave Oats alone!

I have NEVER had a problem with bot flies before this, and now, in the span of 1 lesson, he was covered in the eggs. SHeeeeesh!

Anyways, that may have contributed to his fizzy attitude towards work…He just seemed quite reactive, a bit sparkly and jazzy and he DID NOT want to cooperate at times. Hilariously, when we were doing a bit of side-pass, Karen said ok a few more steps and then straight- and Oats going fabulously! Until she said that and he immediately started flipping his head, and going backwards.

Sigh…

So, we had hit his limit for side pass steps, apparently!

We had to return to this exercise a few times when he felt like he could blow through my hands/aids at the trot and start being a little twit. It was a way to bring him down, get him focused, and then go back to the trot exercise, and for me, it felt like a good way to not ‘buy into’ his drama when he was getting antsy and prancy.

So, we did end up getting some really nice stretchy trot work, but not without a lot of work on mine and Oats’ part–though I have to say, it took less time and a lot less work than last week, sooo…Success?? Ha.

At least I didn’t have to canter/gallop him in a ‘must outlast’ test of endurance. Now that lesson, I did not want to have a repeat of, hahaha.