Know Better Learn Faster: Jump Lesson!

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All my swag from the past weekend! 

I was both looking forward to and feeling anxious about my jump lesson on Thursday. I was really happy with how the horse show went, (coachless! but with some hand-holding) and wondering how I could keep the good vibes rolling!

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Remember this from a few weeks ago? Make it almost completely dark out..and then do it. Coop set in the middle of the arena, rail at same height!

Sometimes this means I shut down, because I would rather not mess up a good thing than try and have it kind of blow up in my face. Not a good impulse and not one I am proud of. (see- why I can never play darts again…).

BUT I am learning – year by year- that I can try, and fail, and still have a lot of fun and learn tons. It’s not a one-and-done thing! I can keep going! 🙂 We were back in the outdoor to grasp the last bit of remaining daylight, and it was the last semi-private I will have (gonna miss those!).

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Oxer on diagonal, so festive! (Photo by Nicole).

We worked over a small x-rail, and then the x-rail to a small vertical both working off the diagonal. Oats was…unenthusiastic. I felt like the jumps needed to be higher to get his focus!!  Mine too maybe? He blahhhhed over the jumps. I was kind of annoyed, but like, with some fire in my belly.

Let’s DO THIS

Coursetime: Not complicated, but would require me to sit up (after a stop going into the one outside line, hahahah I decided I would jump first and Oats was like yeah, no.). And key? LEG LEG LEG even on the slow fade 3-strides to the jump. Not just sitting there like a stuffed dummy.

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This ‘Halloween’ line ended up being an oxer set further back. So fun! (Photo by Nicole).

And how did the course ride? Pretty well! The bending line gave me some trouble both times, but overall quite nicely. I got some good distances, not too much ‘stop and crawl’ over the fences, remembered to use my legs in the last 3 strides even! There were a lot of oxers, traditionally something that wigs me out, but I felt pretty good last night.

Course was: vertical on diagonal, oxer on diagonal, ride the outside line in 7, back to the first vertical on the diagonal bending line to 1st fence in outside line, oxer on second outside line to oxer on diagonal (rode well!), ride along and then turn right across the arena to jump the coop, turn left and ride the outside line of 2X oxers (7 the first time, 6 the second. Oats was on FIRE!).

We had 1 more stop the second time we rode the course, honestly it felt like Oats didn’t see the second rail set up in the oxer until the last minute- we bumped the fences up 1 hole and added an oxer. It was really dark out by this point. Re-approached and he was a-ok. In fact, the was golden.

What a great, kickass ride!

 

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Cowichan District Riding Club: Jumper day!

Saturday was jumper day (my classes were all Match the Clock) and boy did we have to get up early! The show started at 8:30 a.m. with cross poles, and I was registered for the 2′ division (wanted to have a warm up) and the 2’3” division, two classes each for a total of four. I figured that was plenty for us, and as it turns out I was right–likely maybe even a bit too much for Oats!

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We got up at around 5:40 a.m. to get to the barn and…Drama. Donato caught his eyelid on something, and injured it. It was purple and swollen and just..NO. Crumbs! We have had some bad luck with this horse show in the fall- last year Oats almost died and I had to cancel our attendance the week before. 😦

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But this year was OUR year, I am proud to say! So we brought Donato with us, even with his bad eyelid, to see if he would improve and my friend hacked him quietly around the warm-up ring. He was a good boy. I was riding in the show solo, as my trainer teaches lessons on Saturdays and couldn’t leave the lessons to come and coach us. No biggie, as the heights are well within my comfort zone and I can’t even remember the last time I rode with a trainer for a dressage show?!

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This jump always rode well, even if I rode it on an angle every time.

We warmed up for the 2′ and Oats was pretty good, a little sluggy but my spurs helped him in the right direction. We went into the 2′ and had some very sloppy jumps where I hesitated and should have made a better decisions over the small jumps, but overall it was fine. Then they announced the ribbons and I was 6th? WTF? Ok, we were going too fast?!! Wha? Since when is Oats too fast? The horse that won trotted the entire course. Wth?

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Anyways, I was pretty flabbergasted by that, ha. My next round at 2′ I vowed to make better decisions and go slower. Kind of 50% of that actually happened, hahaha. My ride was better but again, too fast. ???? 6th for us.

Ok now I was on fire! I was going to fix that time thing, this time for good in the 2’3”. We went in, and were a tad quick but overall a really super round. Again a bit quick, but sooooo close. We had nice big loopy turns, a quiet round. I watched a few others go and they had some troubles- rails (they came down SO EASILY) and some refusals.

We were in 1st! Yeah!!! Lindsay said she knew it was going to happen, haha.

And then for our last round, we BLEW the first jump. Like, Oats stopped, and crawled slowly over it. Just not awake! Ha. It was a very sloppy round and I was tired, he was tired and we should have gone over a few more warm up jumps to wake up before the round. I fully own that, haha. But anyways, our time was much slower and we still placed 2nd?! YAH!

A great day, with my buddies and husband helping me out. Oats was such a good pony!

 

Time to come home: Crazy horse show weekend! Dressage day.

This past weekend Oats and I participated in the Cowichan District Riding Club’s jumper and dressage days (Sat jumpers, Sun dressage). Wow, I am tired! And I bet Oats is too, ha.

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I really like doing these shows because they are very reasonable, cost-wise and the people running them  (all volunteers) are lovely people and offer a very relaxed atmosphere. That being said, I was a bit anxious for dressage day as I was trying my hand at a level above where I normally show (Level 1 test 3, as opposed to just trying Level 1 test 1). Actually I am pretty new to Level 1 in general! Not an expert here!

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We warmed up and Oats was okay…Kind of dragging me around a bit, and getting strong and kind of downhill. My hauler and friend was really helpful in getting me to find a way to fix it, instead of just getting annoyed, haha.

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We went in for Test 1 and it went okay but it was a little rougher, above the bit than I would have liked. Our first lengthen was pretty weak too. Oh well!

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Then it was time for Test 3 and before it, when we were hanging out in the warm up ring, I watched a horse literally rear its rider off. Scared the daylights out of me! I find that kind of behaviour really triggering, and rattles me to see it. The rider was fine, but landed pretty darn hard. It was very frightening, but they rode a nice test regardless.

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Anndd overbent…

Test 3 I felt physically ‘rode’ better than Test 1, but it did not score as well, the judge was definitely tougher and expecting more from us (which we kind of didn’t have at this point, but hey it was a fun experience!).  The canter loops went went well until Oats kind of had a minor hissy fit about it and broke the second loop. Shit!

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Our geometry was off, but that’s a work in progress too, and the judge was very kind and commented that if we fix that, our scores will be MUCH higher. There is hope for us after all! 🙂

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Leg yield- a bit resistant. 

So this is how we scored (and I am happy with it, I know we have lots to work on), but I feel grateful to have this experience with Oats.

First Level test 1: 65% for first place

First Level Test 3: 63% for third place.

None too shabby!

Thanks again to my dear husband for braving an entire weekend of horse showing, my hauler and friend, and my other friend who’s horse had to cancel because he hurt his eye. Shoot! Bad luck.

Clocks and Hearts Keep Going

With a busy few weeks, you’d think that my riding has taken a hit, but it hasn’t! I am happy to say I have had some great jump lessons lately, taking advantage of the outdoor arena while it is still open for the season. AND I had a dressage lesson this past Friday with a new trainer! Yeah! I have been dressage-trainerless for quite some time since our previous trainer Karen Brain moved to Vancouver.

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Doesn’t this look just like Oats? An artist in our community does animal portraits, and while this isn’t mine, I love it! 

Cue sad face, arghhh now what?

I worked with another trainer who was just lovely, but she too moved! Man!

So on Friday I rode with Samantha, who owns a really amazing facility in the Saanich Peninsula. It’s gorgeous! I was a bit nervous, I had a stressful day at work, was planning to go to my family’s place for dinner (stressful on its own right), and a new trainer? Plus was feeling anxious about the level (First Level test 3) that I signed up for next, and quite frankly a bit overwhelmed?

Yeah…Not the recipe for success. At this point, I wanted to cancel all of my plans and toss it up and go for a glass of wine at happy hour after work!

But, I sucked it up, and you know what? Things went well. The lesson went super, I was happy with the techniques and tips offered to us, the trainer listened nicely and was very encouraging and positive about Oats and I and our partnership. It felt really cool, and the exercise (a movement in the test I was freaking out about) turned out to work really well! No problems! And the dinner meet-up didn’t have drama, thank god.

Now, I just have to replicate it on the day. But if I don’t? There’s always another show, another day and another ride.

I was fussing about time last night (had a chiropractic appointment, my first ever) and was running late to get to the barn, and trying to figure out when I’d be home, when my husband said to me, instead of my fussing about time: How about you just go and have fun?

He was right. Early, late, middle ground= all that matters is fun. And so, I had my relaxing walk-trot ride around the field last night, in the fading light. The long shadows took over the grass, and for 30 minutes, I didn’t think about anything at all.

And that, friends, is true luxury.

SKOOKUM!

Wow what a blast. So much so that it took me a week to process it! (ha, ok but true, things were crazy at work and I ran out of time/energy to do much more than work and ride last week. Life stuff, man..).

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Friday:

I went up on the Friday and my awesome friend picked me up at the ferry and we went to stay with my other equally amazing friend at her place in Vancouver. We prepared by having lunch, pre-drinking and then heading out to see the evening Friday lineup.

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Sitting on friend’s shoulders at Chromeo!

We were NOT disappointed. Highlights include Chromeo (sooo fun!!) and Matt Mays. Wowza, he can rock! The Arkells were the headliner of the night and they were ok but to be honest I’m kind of spoiled now and I have seen them so many times it doesn’t feel as special anymore??

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Things that were dumb about the festival- no food allowed in? WTF? So we of course snuck granola bars in, and then went to The Nam for a 1am dinner. It took FOREVER! I was falling asleep in my Dragon Bowl! Hahahahha.

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Saturday:

We sat around in the apartment until like…2pm. We were tired. Plus my husband was meeting us, so we wanted to go down to Stanley Park with him. We  hit up happy hour dtown when he came and it was pretty good! Then we bought some drinks for the road (walk) to Stanley Park and rocked out in the park. Standouts include…

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  • Metric – good but I don’t love her new stuff.
  • St. Vincent- rocking it with a translucent pantsuit?? Wow.
  • The War on Drugs- alt psychedelic rock. Slowjam, all smooth. Loved it!
  • Headliners Florence + The Machines were so awesome. She seems just like the loveliest person!

Evening it rained on and off, but not enough to chill the mood! We went to pizza-by-the-slice at 12am or so, ha.

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Sunday: We did NOT get up early, yet again. These late nights are killer, haha. Speaking of which, this was the lineup not to be missed!!! We did our usual get up late, play videogames, and then straggle downtown to happy hour (and it did NOT disappoint!) and the grab some drinks for the road for our walk to Stanley Park.

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The lineup was incredible, just stacked:

  • Whitehorse- great, but I wanted them to play a few songs that they didn’t! bummer.
  • Greta Van Fleet- wow. these kids could rock!!
  • The Bahamas- amazing. Just the chillest guy, and when he came onstage and was like, ok we’re going to have a chill time you guys…I was thinking- yesss this guy gets it!
  • Mother Mother- Now I have seen these guys a few times and they’re always fun. Did not disappoint.
  • Father John Misty- the only disappointing thing about his set? TOO short!
  • The Killers- WOW. Brought the house down. Just a blast, all around!!
  • Blue Rodeo- Only caught a few songs, because there were too many other good acts on at  the same time- oh poor me eh? ha. IMG_0709

Night time, we went back and gorged on snacks at my friends apartment.

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Hug from a spaceman.

A great time with great people.

 

So many things! Horse update

So, in between my crazy schedule lately of holiday- work trip up North- music festival in Vancouver I had a jump lesson! And I wasn’t 100% pleased with Oats (his effort to my effort ratio does NOT always match up) I was pleased with how it rode in the end, and in my anxiety levels.

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I was riding in a semi-private with another young rider – just for the month of Sept- but I’m really enjoying it! It’s fun to watch another rider negotiate the same course and see what challenges they face, and how their horse jumps as well.

Oats was stuck off my leg, sulky and kind of rude about it for oh, the first 2 or 3 jumps in the course but we figured it out and he got with the program. AND the jumps went a little higher and we didn’t wig out (Oats knocked a rail off one, dammit!). That will cost us in the hunter/jumper ring…

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Weather was great, and we had some nice jump vibes. Bonus- the other rider’s mom was there and took some photos. YES! I never get media, so I am just loving it. 🙂 It started raining this weekend (and basically didn’t stop in Vancouver) so our time in the outdoor is sadly limited. I will enjoy it while I can.

Another busy week coming right up!

Harvest season at Mile End Farm

Harvest moon hanging high
Watching us Gods ancient eye
Poets write you distant cold
While i observe your core
Behold i see a heart of gold

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Gidget is helpful!

Although the end of summer is BY FAR my least favourite part of summer, I do love the opportunity to reap the harvest at my in-laws farm. They have a really lovely farm and have all sorts of things in the garden (currently- squash, zucchini, tomatoes, blueberries, garlic and grapes) and fruit trees (shiro plums, damson plums (none this year though!) Italian prune plums, apple trees, a pear tree, and a quince tree).

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We went up this weekend when I got home from my deployment (early!!!) and harvested a whole bunch of things. I shared some with a friend and colleagues, and my husband processed a bunch over the weekend too. Yes!!

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A fruit salad I made- 100% fruit we picked ourselves!