A busy fall

After what feels like a year, going on two, of absolutely nothing now we have lots!!

Last weekend was so great, I got to do everything: Ride in a jump lesson in the field (Oats slammed on the brakes at the final fence, haaaa. Teach me to jump ahead when I see a distance, apparently!!) and the weather was GORGEOUS.

Soon we won’t have this, but I will enjoy it as much as I can now!!

I had Friday off (mental health day) and spent it doing everything I wanted to do: Go for a run (too full, urp bad idea after stuffing myself with pancakes), went for lunch with friends, went to the barn and walked Oats around in the field…. It was lovely and the weather was phenomenal.

Flying Oats!

Saturday I had the aforementioned jump lesson- great! And then I hoofed it home to get ready for The Bay Centre’s clothing swap!!! You had to sign up, bring 10-15 items and then you got a time slot to come and pick through everything. I had a blast! I would definitely go again and I picked up some great pieces.

Then it was straight off to a friend’s house party because….they moved into a MANSION?!!!

It was incredible. Huuuge historic house, 7 fireplaces, 8 bedrooms, two suites, an elevator? (that we crammed like 6 of us in a rode up….probably a bad idea), and it is just amazing. We had such a fun time!!! And then Sunday it was up to get ready for the arena raking pizza party- I worked hard, got a big ass blister on my thumb 😦 but the pizza and companionship was great πŸ™‚

I rode Oats after that, and on Monday and then I was freaking tired. We worked on some flatwork, transitions and a teeny bit of renvers at the walk (still suck at it…lateral work turns my brain into spaghetti…) and on Monday I dragged out the ‘reverse in an L shape’ exercise and we were ok but not great at it. It requires a lot of practice!

And now it is raining and the season has really turned, but I can relish in the fact that I enjoyed the heck out of last weekend. That’s a win, right?

Sooke Saddle Club Fun Show: Mr. Oats amps it up

So we had the fun show this weekend and we were going to do it allll: Hack classes in the AM, and games in the PM!

You would never guess how much of a crazy asshole he can be looking at this pic!

Ok in theory…

What actually happened was the hack classes- and we did showmanship first! We got third in it! Whee πŸ™‚ I had no real idea of what it was going to be like but I knew we had to trot in-hand, so I made sure Oats was trotting with me and it went nicely.

We then tacked up and warmed up in the postage-stamp-sized area, and it was ok. I figured he’ll have some ‘go’ but he’s getting worked a lot, so no problems right?

WRONG!

Oats chose this opportunity to become a raging, fire-breathing dragon/psychopath. He was SO out of control, wowza. He bucked, twirled, spun, spooked, launched and generally went completely psychotic.

I finally have video proof- thanks to Katie!!

Funnnnnnnnnn….

He would trot fine, a little nuts and tense and then just GO FOR IT in the canter and generally try his hardest to get me off and scare everyone in the audience. I had airtime. It was pretty terrible, particularly since the other riders were trying their best to stay the hell away from our absolute shitshow and every time we cantered he’s lost his goddamned mind.

I managed to stay on literally by the skin of my teeth. He repeated that little fun maneuver EVERY. SINGLE.TIME. in the show ring. We did, however, place very nicely when he wasn’t being an absolute nutcase!

So I’d go back, and run him w/o stopping in the teeny tiny warmup in between every class. And he cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered fine in the warm-up, and then BLEW UP in the show arena. I was exhausted. My arms hurt the next day.

Proof he can canter nicely, but even then I had to keep pulling his head up so he didn’t dump me πŸ˜‰

Good christ, this horse needs turnout something awful. He’s never been such a shithead as he has this year- don’t get me wrong, I am looooving our field jump lessons, the energy and presence, but GOD DAMN every show/event I have been to, he’s losing his mind and broncing with me. I have to ride him down for hours at a show- hours! He’s 20!

He did trot very nicely, was miserable to canter.

I want my hack/dressage and jump pony back, not just at home but like, for all times! sigh…

He was well mannered over the crosspoles in the hunter hack class, and threw a HUGE buck in the top right corner in the flat portion before it… Thanks dude…

Anyways after lunch he was tired, ha thank god. We did the trail class and it took an absolute eternity- 2++ hours?! So many entrants! I was very pleased with Oats during it. His big flubs were his miserable backing (but we all know that is his weak spot) around the barrels in a ‘figure eight’ where he just backed into one and knocked it flat, haha.

And we made a basket!! whoop!! Trail Class 1

Otherwise he rocked trail and came third! Out of maybe 30 riders??

Trail class 2

And then it was 4pm! The show was supposed to end at 3pm! Eeek..

We were pretty tired but wanted to do 1 games (we were supposed to do like 4 games classes but I scratched to go home b/c it was taking too long, horse is tired, I’m tired, my hauler has to go).

We did pole-bending and it was a blast!! Oats is too slow to win, but he had fun anyways. Go Oats go!

Ok this was just straight up fun!!! πŸ™‚ Thanks to Lindsay for videoing.

Many thanks to the volunteers who did a marathon day out there- wowza. You guys are the real VIPS here!

Tell me that you want me forever

Wow, so many things and so burned out. Where to begin??

Work continues to be a byzantine nightmare that I can’t escape from, like being stuck in a Escher painting or something.

Ah, my little psychopath cleans up so nicely

My own fitness- terrible. Potential leg re-injury after 8 months from my initial stress fractures. Not sure if I am going to come back from these anymore, given how frequently they reoccur and then STAY injured. Don’t you just hate your own body sometimes?

My potential hernia- Have an ultrasound next week and I kind of both hope it isn’t a hernia and hope it is. SchrΓΆdinger’s injury??

Riding- great! That is primarily what is going right. We had some awesome lessons last week, hmm let me think. For dressage we worked on NO STIRRUPS! That’s right, I did a whole lesson without them. Crazy eh?!! It went really well though! Oats was so good and calm, and we worked on canter-trot transitions w/o stirrups on a circle. Apparently no stirrups are my superpower πŸ˜‰

Jump lesson was good but we had to ride in the indoor due to the rain (blahhhhhhhh) and it is not nearly as thrilling as riding in the field, boo!!!

And then we had a saddle fitting that lasted for 2 hours and was quite comprehensive. I was glad of it, but also a tad skeptical as I have had two saddle fitters work on the saddle over the past year, with a check/re-check every year and how did it get so bad with them on it??? Riddle me this?!

And then I zipped off to watch Ian finish the Finlayson 50k!! I am always so drawn in by these events and I get SO jealous. I wish I could run again 😦 I miss it, and I am so envious of people that get to push themselves w/o breaking. When will it be my turn??

Winner winner! He did great!

But that was fine, because the next day was the Sooke Saddle Club fun show and BOY that was more excitement for me that I would prefer (in like, a year hahah good GOD). I have grey hairs now due to that show.

And Oats was nice to ride this week too, Monday was a bareback hack in the field at the walk, cruising and eating. Tuesday we worked on something tricky that we flubbed at the horse show- backing around two barrels in a figure-eight. It is HARD! We did a good warm up, canter, trot, and then focused on the barrels- he was better but still very much non-thrilled about the barrel exercise. Something good to work on then!

And as for the Fun Show? Well, stay tuned tomorrow! It is a doozy!

Some really lovely counter-canter

After a lot of strenuous trying, haha. Dressage lesson last night, and in the theme of our dressage lessons- I get SO much out of them! I feel like while I am spending a lot of $$$$$$$ on lessons, they have really strengthened my relationship with Oats. This can only be a good thing, right? πŸ˜‰

No dressage media so from an older horse show- we were probably schooling First here?

Last week we worked on me at the canter, not twisting. This week my lesson partner and I first tackled the infamous 3-loop serpentine from the First Level Tests. No joke, this serpentine was the BANE of my existence when I was showing in First Level (now haven’t shown dressage in like 2 years, thanks COVID and injury) soooo I wasn’t super thrilled to start off the bat with that challenging exercise.

BUT, ye of little faith it went super well!

We first schooled the exercise in the trot, because you can really work the angles here if you do it right. You don’t need to make it super round, you can sort of ‘straighten’ and then leg-yield casually back to the wall. When you get good, THEN you can make it round. But it can be tricky to hold that lead!

And you know what? Oats nailed it!! Right off the bat?! I was stunned. Then I was like, ok fine, that was his good lead (right), it’ll be worse on his left. But then he did it so perfectly to the left that we repeated the exercise twice and called it good. Who is this horse?!! I love it!

So then we upped the ante: Real counter-canter work. And this, friends was NOT easy for me- my brain felt like a tangle of spaghetti, it was confuzzling haha. But we persevered, worked through some things in a nice and challenging, but doable way, and we got it! We got it on the right, and then went back to the left, which was the harder lead to hold counter-canter in.

Go Oats!! Really loving our rides. πŸ™‚

The further adventures of Mr. Oats

Not only did we have a blazing jump lesson this past weekend, but we also had an adventure! This summer is all about fun and trying new things for old Oaty and me. I had a long and arduous summer/fall/winter/spring with Oats and his injuries that honestly, really burned me out of life. I didn’t feel eager to do anything anymore, ya know?

Photos purchased by Allusion Equine Photography and I think she did a really nice job!

And what is the antidote to existential ennui, with horses? Why, anything new!

So that’s why this summer so far I have gone trail riding, take Oats and friends to an obstacle course workshop, done working equitation (lessons and the horse show!) and this past weekend, we went into a trail class!

It was very casual, a fundraiser for a new riding ring at the Beaver/Elk Lake Equestrian Society, and we were like the first people there at 8:30am, hahah. The volunteers were great though and got us rolling very quickly, not a lot of waiting around. Just how I like it!! No warm up arena available, so it was going in cold! Not our forte, as it turns out, ugh. The course was flowing quite nicely, nothing too challenging or spooky and not difficult to remember BUT we just didn’t have it together early enough on-course.

We bumped the gate and almost knocked it down, haha. Whoops! And that was our first obstacle! And then he was great over the bridge and to the mailbox and then the dreaded L-shape backup…Was a total mess. We clobbered the poles, Oats put up a big fuss about backing up and instead put his head straight in the air and went sideways… gah!

Moving on, he was excellent for the pole bending at the trot, picked up an ok canter, and then proceeded to completely blow the next back-up request. Face=palm. This is stuff WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON and this just..eh. Sucked.

Go Oats over the poles. I love how focused his little ears are here πŸ™‚

He was then very good going over the uneven poles (though by Braille…He clonked every.single.pole.) and was nice over the tarp. Good Oats! We then picked up an ok left canter and halted fine, and then forgot what to do for a 360-degree turn on the forehand right, and then turn on the haunches left. My fault, whoops! He was great for it.

So, I knew what we had to practice the next day in my home arena: Backing up nicely through L poles. Also maybe I should refresh my memory of how to do a turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches NOT against a wall…My crutch as I learned.

But after our trail class we had a surprise: A trail ride! My friend who boards her horse near the venue/park rode him over and we rode back to her barn, where our other friend picked us up. Oats was THRILLED to be with his ‘big brother’ again πŸ™‚ so cute. He screamed the whole way back to our barn for Donato…Poor Oats!

It was a very successful day, and I did even go and practice the ‘L’ shape on Monday’s ride. Gotta get that turn in sooner, which is my biggest fault in this obstacle.

But I also have to say that I am really enjoying these no-pressure fun adventure outings. Horses are so fragile, life is so fleeting…Let’s do it all, guys!