I guess I was overdue?

For a truly shitty ride? UGH! Last night I probably shouldn’t have ridden- there were a few omens on my way out, like a man popping out in front of my car and me not seeing him until the last minute (it’s so dark out at 4pm now, it’s crazy), a car deciding to turn left into my car- I slammed on the brakes and horn at the last second and avoided an accident…

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Me this whole freaking week.

It was cold but Oats warmed up much fresher than Wednesday. I had his cooler on, and it took flight immediately off his back in…2 seconds? I didn’t even notice it was gone it flew off so fast! I had to go look for it after our ride, as it was pitch black out and the cooler is…also black.

Our ride started off promising- some nice canter work, moving better, still some stiff-headed resistance at the trot, but moving out. We worked over some poles and I noticed he wasn’t wanting to bend either direction, and wasn’t moving out off my leg very well, preferring instead to rush and speed off instead, so I slowed it down and started asking from the walk, for head-to-the-wall leg-yields.

He did his typical ‘ok this is fine fine fine fine and…NOT FINE’ hissyfit moments. Oats is like a horse at the mall- you put your quarter in, and you get only SO much time. After that? Your quarter is up, and STOP ASKING ME. So, yeah. It was fairly ugly and annoying. We worked through it on the left side, and one part of me reallllly didn’t want to repeat that struggle of wills on the right side, but anything you do on one side..YEah, I was in for a fun time.

Off the right, he moved over so fast. So fast. Like a butterfly! Zipping over…Until he started in with his big-time hissyfit moments, and he would NOT LET IT GO. I rode for what felt like hours, just trying to get him= sideways. He ran backwards, he gnashed his teeth, he threatened to rear, he pawed the air, he banged his head on the wall (multiple times?!!), he fussed, he fought, he complained, he yanked on the reins, he ran forward, backwards, he hopped up and down. UGHHHHH.

It was so horrible. And I was getting mad, too. Lose- lose.

I finally settled with letting him go forward, and then forcing his head over to the right using impulsion, and then pushing as hard as I could with my right leg. Sort of sideways? Done, reward him with letting him go forward again. Then repeat. Then repeat, and reward.

YEEEEESH. I have no idea what prompted his level of rudeness, but jesus he hasn’t been that miserable in about a year of lateral work. I have a real feeling he thought he was off the hook for ‘homework’ and took major offense to having to do it, after some fun times of cruising around over fences and poles.

Anyways, it sucked so hard. Let’s just take some brain-bleach and forget that shitty little episode…

It is easier to fool someone, than to convince them they have been fooled.

Pithy quote by our friend Mark Twain.

This is my week right now:

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Holiday spirit? Bah humbug!

By Tuesday- my dad’s birthday- I was saying it felt like a long week. Wow, little did I know…By Wednesday I was in full grouch-mode. Move over Grinch, there is a new Grinch in town! (It’s still Thursday today unfortunately.)

I blame a few things- it has gotten really cold here, very unusual for us. Windchill of -9? Usually it’s like 9 degrees. I am FREEZING. Work went completely off the rails and is starting to ruin my sleep with insane stress dreams. Greeeeat…Family engagements= more pressure. Lovely, lovely.

At least my horse life is ok?

Had my jump lesson last night, after an entire day of grumbling, stress, crankiness and more stress at work. I soooo did NOT want to go to my lesson, which is weird because I always want to ride and you pretty much have to drag me away from it! I was dragging my feet, in a bad mood, cold, tired, cranky. UGH. Jumping was the last thing I wanted to do.

But you know what? I gathered up the last tiny shreds of my shabby resolve and went, and rode in my lesson. I even warmed up a bit from the everlasting chill in my bones I had all day! Oats does struggle more in the cold- he warmed up stiffly again, and his canter was very short-strided. We made sure the jump efforts were not onerous, as pushing too much on a horse that is taking a long time to warm up just isn’t fair.

So the jumps were small, but the course was fairly twisty with a good bending line, and a trot-in line that rode really well, once Oats woke up and actually jumped it! No big fences, nothing too exciting, just some good old fashioned riding. And weirdly, I’m always the one that’s like, ok let’s stop here…I’m done…And I backpedal and wimp out. This time, after my third go-around on a course, my trainer suggested we end on that- not me, which is highly out of character for me. Who is this person?! Me? Keeping going, wow.

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This was last December!

Oats was in snoozeland in the cross-ties after. Poor guy, the chill is hard for him.

Snow?!

Yep it snowed here. Things have been insanely busy at work, coupled with a nice but fairly boring (ie- no big events) weekend, and some rides that are fine by themselves…Not much to blog about!

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The view today. Brrr.

I did bash the everloving hell out of my knee on Sunday- got too ambitious doing a turn to a pole and absolutely clobbered the jump standard and sent it freaking flying! Ouch I have two bruises now.

Every ride- the ride itself has been fine but then there is always just on THING that happens. I want one ride that is 100% uneventful- is that too much to ask?

Sunday- whang the hell out of my knee. Oats takes it all in-stride, no prob. While I am leading him back to the arena, the maintenance guy is working on the sprinklers to drain them (see cold weather/snow) and they go off in a terrific HISSSSS behind us. Oats is like WTF?!!! sigh…

Monday- Ride goes well, Oats feels stiff but works out of it well, and I think he was feeling cold-muscled and kind of ‘up’ because his trot was like Trot TROT trot TROT and very up and down, not so much forward.

Got a really fun ride in where we schooled poles like a jump course, Oats was steaming after! He had to be cooled out for a long time…When raccoons got in a fight outside the indoor arena, hissing and growing at each other. Freaked Oats right out! I hustled him up to the barn to cool him out in a more relaxing environment…

Just one ride? A non-drama ride?

Oh well!

The life pursuit

Yep, listening to Belle and Sebastian again!

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Want this again…

I worked on a very challenging exercise with my jump trainer Nicole yesterday. It was my fault- I suggested it in an online post on Facebook and bingo- we are doing it! We…failed kind of hardcore.

It was this: a zig-zag with looped circles that we desperately could NOT maintain for the life of us in the canter. I got lost sooo many times. Ha. I had fun though! Oats found it fairly challenging, and then got jumping super ‘blahhhh’ and almost killed us by rapping the back rail of an oxer really hard and tripping because of it. YIKES!

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This is more our reality…ha.

It was pretty crazy! I enjoyed the challenge though, and felt like I was really working on ‘letting go’ my anxiety-brain when I jump. When the jumps come up this fast (and you get lost this often) it’s impossible to think too hard about what you’re jumping, hahah. Plus we kept the jumps teeny-tiny anyways, so no biggie.

Oats did start getting tired and sloppy with his feet, so having the close call with the oxer really woke him up a bit! Scared the bejesus out of me though.

I feel like we did a zillion turns and jumped 10’s of jumps, hahah.

A fun exercise and a real challenge that showed us we have significant weaknesses…It’s easy to get cocky when things are going well (as they were last week) and then have this week take you down a peg or three. Ha.

 

Inch for inch, pound for pound?

Who needs boys when there’s booze around?!😉

Here is a recap of my dressage semi-private on Tuesday- lateral work, more lateral work, and yes, more lateral work.

Old barn with Oats.

Old barn with Oats. Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

It was hard. It wasn’t that thrilling or much fun? But, as Karen reminded me, we were working it in the trot and not that long ago, Oats would rather DIE TRYING to do lateral work in the walk. Like, hissy-fit city. A total no-go. So, progress is happening, it is just hard and not that joyful.

The work we were doing was bend the horse in a ‘c’ shape- inside bend, with haunches off the track, moving to both directions starting at the walk, then quickening the walk, then trotting.

Oats had a few things to say about this, mainly he didn’t like it. If I didn’t release fast enough from the bend, he’d bottle up and hop up and down. If I let him have too much head, he’d charge off in the counter-bend, instead of bend. Sigh.

Dressage days

Dressage days- looks better than it was!

We then worked to do a leg-yield along the short side, and then the ‘c’ shape bend along the long side. It was…interesting. Not particularly successful, but we were trying? And I had to reward that try!

When we finished, Oats was charging off at the trot at Mach 10. He had some energy to burn off and I let him charge around for a bit, snorting and letting it alllllll out. Karen said that was very typical of extensive lateral schooling- they feel very contained, and when you let them go, they go WAY out. So, go for it buddy!

A good learning lesson, but it was definitely a challenge.

A gala weekend!

I had a super busy, super awesome long weekend. Things kicked off right away with a gala night at the Officer’s Mess for a volunteer appreciation dinner that I attended as my husband’s date. He has been volunteering with the police department on van nights- they drive around downtown and look for expired insurance, valuables left out, and other things that they can flag for car owners.

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My phone sucks at taking photos…

It was a lovely night, good food, cheap-er drinks (my G&T was $4.50) and some dancing! I was very impressed by the brass- they hit the dance floor and showed everyone how it was done. Wow. Everyone was just so free and having fun, I was really happy to see that people like to cut loose, and relax, and it was so enjoyable.

I ate too much! (this is getting to be a problem for me…) and we did some dancing too. Overall a really fun night, and a good way to kick off the weekend. Unfortunately I had a killer headache that would.not.lift.all.effing.day. Seriously, it was miserable and not even two hardcore Motrin/Aleve would treat it. UGH.

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I loved this mirror- so stretchy!

The next day was my clinic with Norah Ross, so we didn’t stay out too late and I was too full to really drink much alcohol anyways, (not proud of this).

I ended up having a long weekend so I could get some shopping in on Monday…Stay tuned for the rest of it, other than the clinic recap posted yesterday.🙂

Big things

Oats and I went to a clinic this weekend–we went alone, and I can’t even say how big this is for us- it went FINE.

More older Oats pix from Avalon: photo courtesy of Jodie Wright.

More older Oats pix from Avalon: photo courtesy of Jodie Wright. This was from our disaster clinic- happy to say things got much better!

We’ve had a very rocky road when it comes to clinics- stemming from a 2-day intro to eventing clinic that we attended a few years ago (that’s right, it took me literally YEARS to get over it) that blasted our confidence into powder, and caused a several-months setback that even turned into years later with regards to training with other instructors.

My goal for the clinic this weekend was simple: Walk Oats to the neighbouring barn. Warm him up. Ride in the clinic with as little drama as possible. Walk him home safely.

The instructor- Norah Ross- was one I had heard good things about, and I reviewed with her and the host of the clinic that I wanted this to be technical, and not to be challenged with regards to boundary-pushing. I’m not at the stage yet where that won’t cause a meltdown for me (we are WAY better at horse shows, ha).

Older Oats pix from Avalon

Older Oats pix from Avalon: photo courtesy of Jodie Wright.

And I was assured that this was not the plan for the clinic, and she was right!

We did a LOT of flatwork, haha. Drop outside stirrup, no-stirrups, bending, circling, change directions, a lot. I was sweaty! Oats was a very good sport. A couple things Norah had me pegged for: Bad elbows, ie- chicken wing. Hands too far apart and too low. She really got on me about them, hahahah.

Also she dropped my stirrups 1 hole, and wow it felt weird! But good?

We moved on to jumping, and the wheels fell of briefly. We warmed up great over some x-rails, and then approaching a vertical on the diagonal, he threw one buck and I got immediately derailed…I ‘saw’ a bad distance, and tossed my upper body at him. He stopped. UGH!

Norah had me pegged straight away. She said my anxiety is causing that, and that my ride on the flat was great, so why is it falling apart jumping? Why so different? It’s like I am ‘abandoning’ my horse when things change so drastically from a calm, competent ride on the flat to somewhat panic-stricken over fences. The jumping ahead is something I had conquered, until it came creeping back when I was feeling a bit anxious…SIGH.

She asked us to change a few things- sit to the fences, no two-point. Counting- 1-2-1-2…all the way. And stay in the MOMENT! Breathe! Stay. This worked out really well, and I was very pleased with Oats’ effort when I made these changes. Clearly…I have some deep-seated issues, ughh.

Oats jumped around lovely. It was all very ‘baby steps’ and easy, but as we clearly demonstrated, we needed the baby steps…

We learned a lot, worked hard and walked home successfully without any drama. A good clinic and a big step forward for us. I even had some hot chocolate, and was able to visit with some old barn friends at the host stable too! Yeah!!