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Valleys and Peaks

Oats and I have been riding high lately (peaks) culimating in a fairly fun and succesful show season. Until…I noticed another rider getting championship ribbons, and my competitive streak has reared it’s head once again. And the ribbon was really pretty! Turquoise blue, nice big rosettes…Sigh. I asked my coach–so we’re in the show ring regularly now, so how do I start getting those lovely championship ribbons? (Nevermind I totally ate dirt last time..isolated incident!)

She said a few things–mainly we need to move up a level o/f because we are probably getting a little too comfortable doing 2”. A forest for the trees scenario.

Also, we need to majorly control our straightness. Our transitions, particularly in canter, are so crooked and it’s killing our landing on the right lead and the flying lead changes that are supposed to be happening…aren’t. Or are only happening in the front. Oops! So that is what is keeping us from being in the top rankings.

And so we enter our valley period. And coming down from on high is a spectacularly humbling experience. All of a sudden, I can’t pick up the friggin’ canter to save my life! Our transitions are horrible rushy awkward experiences, I feel frustrated and bouncy. Our jumps aren’t straight and horror of horrors, I am having to trot fences…Which I normally hate doing.

Ouch. It’s a real steep learning curve for both of us, after a particularly awkward lesson in which everything felt, so UGLY. Haha

Oh well..pictures don’t lie do they? And I’ve started jumping ahead, again. Damn. It didn’t even feel like I was doing it!

So we’re taking July to climb out of our valley and once again start the trek back up to another peak. I know we can do it!

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The further adventures of Mr. Oats! Part II

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Ouch!

Had another hunter show this weekend, and I was hoping for big things. Well, maybe not all first-place ribbons, but hoping to further develop on our great courses and havea  fun time! So, I did have a fun time, but our division was run 2 hours later (arghh), and Oats seems to thrive on chaos, so the quiet staging area we settled in had him pawing and restless. He was bored, I was hot and tired. They were also running a big jumper derby next to our humble hunter ring, so I frequently took Oats over to watch (he loved it, he loves watching people be busy).

We warmed up a few times- sooo hot and tired. I forgot my show jacket too. EEeek. Oats was great, listening, not bending fabulously but totally agreeable. Our hunter warmup was great, and into the ring! Courses rode wonderfully, we rocked diagonal lines and I was feeling super good about it. We did have to trot our simple changes, but I could get him down and pick him back up. Yeah!!

Yeah..I got cocky and tired. Going into our last eq.course, I got distracted, and reverted back to my old bad habit–jumping up my pony’s neck. I saw a long spot, he saw..? Something? And he hesitated, then jumped and I got bounced right off, and landed flat on my face. After spitting out sand, I got up and I was fine. Dear Oats was just standing there, like…What gives, mom?

What a dumb mistake! And Oats is such an honest pony, haha. I have been warned this bad habit that creeps up will catch up to us one day, and I can’t believe he still jumped the jump with me on his neck!

So anyways, I’m rubbing sand out of my eyes and have it all down my breeches, stuck in my belt, everywhere. Oats is fairly surprised to be done so abruptly, and for once it is not his fault in the slightest!

We did place 3rd and 4th in our other classes, happily. Oats was a champ. A friend of his former owner recognized him and was surprised to see him doing so well. She asked if he was still the devil pony she remembered him to be, and I was pleased to say that he has been a superstar, and how happy I have been with him. She watched our over fences classes and said he looked great! And then I ate dirt. Oh, hubris…

Month off from horse shows for us–Oats gets a much-needed break, and I get time to go on a holiday, enjoy some music festival and celebrate my birthday. Yay!

I’m happy to say Oats has exceeded my expectations this season, after attending 5 horse shows and placing at ALL the shows. Go Oats go!

Actually I can’t even remember what our placings lately have been, except for our 1st places in Dressage, and more recently, 3rd and 4th hunter o/f.

Next up in August…Sarah and Oats revisit the dressage arena. Will he remember how it goes? Will he find the arena as spooky as last time?  Only time will tell!

The further adventures of Mr. Oats!

Or should I be calling him by his show name, Honey Bunches of Oats? Because we have been rocking horse shows this season! My primary goal this year is to get out to as many shows as I can, and come home happy. Yes happy! No more getting bucked off during a jumping round, or having him flip his lid and self-excuse us from a flat class. Happy means happy.

So far this year, we have been to four horse shows. Three hunter shows and one dressage. And you know what? I AM happy! Very pleased with my little guy, who started off the season tense but do-able, and has only gotten better to ride. Now, that doesn’t mean we are getting first place ribbons right-left-and centre, (haha, yeah, no.) And that doesn’t mean he has been perfect at every show–that’s not realistic. What I have been noticing is when my goal isn’t necessarily competition, but fun, I take a lot of pressure off performing. We aren’t polished enough yet for the big ribbons, but we’re placing and having fun doing it!

So far, we have placed 2nd and 5th at our first hunter show (Westside), 5th,5th, 6th at our second hunter show (Appy), 1st and 1st at our first dressage show (SSC), and 4th, 6th, 6th, at our third hunter show (Appy). You know what? I’m having a blast!!

Oats was his most relaxed EVER at our show this past Sunday. And my own personal goal of not scratching any classes was also achieved–that’s right, I did 4 jumping classes, had fun, and didn’t scratch any of them! It’s kind of a running joke that I will scratch out of at least 1 of my classes at each show….I get too amped up, run out of steam and decide to scratch. Not so! Oh and we also entered the 2’3” class, as well as the 2” and I didn’t even notice there was a height difference…Haha.

Our upcoming goals? Taking July off for vacations/non-horse time, so Oats gets time off and so do I. Plus there’s only 1 show I would have ridden in anyways, and I’m out of the province at that time. Sooo…We’ll see what Aug/Sept has in store. But I’m super pleased and very happy with how our season has been going. Here’s to having a good time!!