Tempered, not tamed: Riding updates!

I had a lesson on Friday  (dressage with Sam) and while I was pondering what I wanted to focus on in my lesson, I realized that we (Oats and I) were so bad at the rollback exercise in my jump lesson the day prior. Bingo- that’s what we needed to work on!

IMG_1320

So I told Sam, and we experimented! I really enjoyed it actually, because it provided me with an opportunity to really distill the prior lesson down and play around with it a bit more. What works? What isn’t working?

We broke it down from a line of two jumps, to a single jump, trot-in. Get the lead!! That was the key. Once we did that, I learned that we could influence the correct lead by asking for canter ‘just’ in the step before the jump. Newsflash- that’s your lead.

This wasn’t quite so simple with the canter-in approach. I was getting pulled past the x-rail, and dumped down on the landing= picking up left lead instead of right. Shoot. How to fix? Change the positioning I have coming in. Instead of two-pointing and sort of floating above Oats, sit more and influence, holding the contact all the way through. And you know what? This ‘more contact’ approach did the trick! Neat eh? I’m glad we took the time to really experiment, keep an open mind when things didn’t immediately work.

How cool!

And then we worked on seating positioning influencing the canter. It was…Hard. Hahahah. But we got a lovely canter from both me AND Oats. Oats really is very happy to keep going, providing I give him the correct feedback 😉

Advertisements

Going by: Fri/weekend update

After a period of busy weekends, the past two have been fairly quiet- and that’s ok. On Friday I had a dressage lesson and it was tricky! We worked on canter leg-yields, and positioning for the counter-canter. I am SO not good at positioning for that, and found it really difficult to get my legs/body to cooperate= Oats fininding it equally difficult…SIGH. Oh well, something to practice on for sure!

15350705_10157898338810603_7613009583249070564_n

Last winter and the winter before was very snowy.

Saturday I rode, and worked on myself: 4X 3 minutes on/1 minute off two-point. Was it hard? Sort of? I did expect it to be harder actually! What was hard was when I was gearing up to jog home (my husband had to attend a funeral, so he dropped me off at the barn and I was going to run home). My legs were like, nahh, no.

It was kind of a slow slog home, but to be honest I was prepared to spend the time. Got nowhere really to be, so why not? The weather wasn’t bad either, just kind of chilly and blustery.

_MG_1952

We’ve been having a nice fall so far! Just rainy now, but not overall too cold. 

I’ve been having on and off again ligament pain and it flared up  badly on Sunday. It was bearable for my run, but again I can tell my injury has not healed up yet.

We went and watched Suspiria on Saturday at a theatre that is licensed! Yes!! It was so wild, crazy off the wall. Hah, I highly recommend it. It’s nuts. Sunday I was in no rush, had a nice breakfast, rode with friends (pole work) and hung out talking for a bit. The weather did take a turn for the worse- rainy and cold. I even went on a run later with my husband and went fast for me! My hip pain came back with an absolute vengeance though, yiiiikes. Ah, I miss going fast!!

Back to work today.

Wordless Wednesday: Show photos

I bought three photos from the show photographer, and I am really happy with them!

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”– Jim Bishop

_MG_1942.jpg

Photo taken by Christian TW Photography.

_MG_2017.jpg

Photo by Christian TW Photography.

_MG_1952.jpg

Photo by Christian TW Photography.

Show report: Mid-Island Cadora Halloween Haunt Dressage Schooling Show!

I signed up for this show hot on the heels of my last show, exactly a month prior (CDRC in Sept 20-21). I wasn’t super sure about how this was going to go- a new venue, a bit further, 2 hours away in Nanaimo, hack classes (our very real nemesis for awhile) AND dressage tests? Phew!!

IMG_0729

Winner winner!

But, you know what? We had a GREAT time! I had a good feeling when we went to pick up our numbers from the show office, and they let me know I had won the early bird entry prize- some cash back from my entry. YES!! Plus swag bags for the entrants- Purdy’s chocolate pumpkin and apples for the ponies. Sweet eh?

We didn’t have to load up too early, thank god. We were all in the same hack classes (command and dressage seat equitation), my friend and I were in the costume class- purely for fun, and then we were all in two dressage tests.

42393945_10101010056022656_7596555780816371712_n

He was moving better at Sept CDRC for sure…

That made for a very busy day. We were hauling ass back and forth from the trailer, to the hack ring, to the dressage ring alllll day. Phew, I was tired! So was Oats! First up was command class (which I got confused and thought we had just ridden dressage seat equitation, hahah). There were not many horses in our class, which made me feel relieved because I just watched a rider all off their horse in the class before ours…

It went well, Oats got a little jazzy at the trot, but he kept his hair on and was very well behaved. We did a turn on the forehand, and change of direction through the trot, and probably some other things that I can’t recall. We were first!

Next up was dressage seat equitation- a rider scratched, so it was just me and my two friends. This got held up, because an ambulance came with a firetruck. We later learned a young girl had gotten kicked in the head, and had to go to the hospital. Jesus. 😦

So the class was delayed due to the emergency, and the judge cleared it with us that the horses were ok with the ambulance/sirens coming through (Oats and Donato could care less, haha). This class had a few more interesting tests, sitting trot, drop stirrups, pick them up again, collected trot, extended trot, collected canter (we broke, whoops) and extended canter (fun!!). Oats again was a superstar and we won this one too! Next it was a quick change for my friend and I to do the costume class, which was super fun.

My other friend had to hustle to the dressage ring, and had to find someone to read her test for her, haha. Lucky for her, and me, we found someone! She rode her dressage tests, and then I hustled over and got changed back into my show clothes, and onwards to the dressage ring.

They were lovely about helping us out with reading the tests, I mean I know mine but still… My first test was very ‘eh’…Didn’t have that round, bouncy pony that I am used to having. He was stumbling a bit on the footing, and just felt kind of flat. Like, the minute I went for a downward transition, he’d just flatline you know? Eh.. And our canter transitions? HAHA yeah he flung his head up, hollowed and didn’t want to. Ohhh well…My test 3 for First Level was kind of similar, but he broke before doing the canter serpentine, not during it, weirdly. We actually got them this time?? Hm.

Curiously, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but I scored higher on my First Level 3 test for first place (with a 63%, the judge was good but NOT super generous, apparently with everyone) and I got a 62% on my First Level 1. Now that’s funny, a full swap from last show? Ah, I’ll chalk it up to him struggling a bit with the footing and move on!

And the day even got better- I would up with high point in the hack classes courtesy of our two red ribbons. A brand new dressage saddle pad!!! And I pocketed a few mini chocolate bars from the office. YUmmmm… Thanks you guys. A great day with fantastic weather out with my horse buddies? There is truly no better. I am so lucky. 🙂

 

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.

42390190_10101010055942816_4780641871414165504_n

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!

42526373_10101010055982736_5359431591208681472_n

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.

42393945_10101010056022656_7596555780816371712_n

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!

42446447_10101010056062576_4079687437587054592_n

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.

42482612_10101010056097506_2197117247850283008_n

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!

42369939_10101010056132436_6251531843737223168_n

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! 🙂

42399297_10101010056167366_7120107400744402944_n

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.

41755232_2039674076063317_8028718508286148608_n

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.

The one to wait: Sooke Saddle Club Dressage Show and Tell #2

Going into this show (only a mere month since the last one) I had a goal of riding a cleaner, more competent test. I wanted Oats to be more through his back, balanced and listening. I didn’t want his tense, head-flaily test of last month.

_29A8843 edit-2 (1)

From the last show- photo courtesy of Lois Burton.

And the scores? Yeah, well those can wait. We have other fish to fry.

I had a dressage lesson on Thursday instead of jumping, so I could prep our mindset for the show- and it went quite nicely. I was very pleased with how Oats was responding and felt like maybe this was a good omen for the show? A softer, listening and more responsive horse? Could be!

_29A8874 edit-2

Also from last show- happy to say there was improvement this time! Photo by Lois Burton.

Saturday the show was hot hot hot! I, in my infinite wisdom (thank god, b/c it usually only goes one way with me, ha) had decided to only sign up for 1 test. Good idea, me! Oats warmed up okay…But his canter was resistant, high-headed and draggy. I wasn’t super impressed with it, and quickly got annoyed. I asked Christina, who hauls us and is an experienced dressage rider at third level, for some advice.

She suggested I throw in some shoulder-fore at the canter to really work on more straightness and solidify the half-halts. So that’s what we did, and wouldn’t you know…it worked! Got him off my hands, listening better and more engaged. (Note- he sometimes flails into a flying trot while doing this exercise, but hey, baby steps).

We went into the test and wouldn’t you know, it was awesome!! Things we mucked up- my 15-metre circles were WAY too big, and my lengthens did not show enough differences…But otherwise, a really solid test and an improvement for both Oats and I, markedly, from last time. I could feel it!

The judge was very complimentary- she said didn’t I tell you to move up last year? And I said, but I did! This is my move-up! And we had a laugh at that. She ran us through the circles a few more times to work on my geometry, and we did a few lengthens in the canter- very exciting!

And then get this- she ran us through a Level 2 test! Just for fun, to play around with what is being asked at a higher level. It was hilariously bad, but super enjoyable to play with it, and see what happened! It made me feel fired-up and excited 🙂 Even though we kind of sucked at it. And our score for the level 1 test? A very generous 70%!!