The World is a Loud Place: Jump lesson recap!

Thursday was just miserable here. It was hammering down rain, windy, cold and just so very blah. I walked home and was frozen by the time I got home, and just not feeling it. After a fairly mild week that began with the horrible weather at the race, I was so over it!

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I am a good boy!

But…Jump lessons are calling.

So I bucked up, grudgingly pulled on my breeches and left for my lesson. I was assuming Oats was going to feel as ‘enthusiastic’ as I was (ie- not) so yeah, good times. Rained on and off on the way to the barn, dark as anything, and I learned that most of the horses on Thursday night jump lessons were total psychos. Greeeatttt…

Needless to say, I was a tad apprehensive. My trainer even said that close to none of her lessons went according to plan that night. Lovely. However, I was on Oats- who is a very consistent pony now, and if he acted up, it would be 1000% out of character for him. He’s a laid-back dude.

(Though he was a total turd and a half for many years!)

We worked over canter poles that eventually went up to a grid-type consisting of one small vertical pole, canter poles to a small oxer. The name of the game here was to COMMIT.

Then we worked up to a small course, a vertical on the long side (kept small the whole time), to a vertical on the diagonal, to an oxer on the other diagonal, to the grid, back to the diagonal vertical, oxer, and finish up with the vertical on the long side that we began with.

We had some awkward jumps BUT we noticed that every time I kept my butt out of the saddle, Oats felt empowered to take those leaps! We finished up with some really nice efforts from him, and I was very happy with how the canter pole grid line went, each time.

Good pony. And I was SO glad he wasn’t a nutbar like the other horses last night. Winter fever???

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Back on track and back to the grind.

Christmas holidays came and went and I was blissfully away for TWO whole weeks of it!! It was very worth it, and I had a great holiday. Highlights include…

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Barn Christmas party featuring the best Secret Santa ever!!

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Taking the horses up island to Hi Point to take part in the Christmas by donation Jump Day for Cowichan Therapy horses, and the Hoof ‘n’ Woof that I had a BLAST at!

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Going to Ucluelet for a little downtime with my husband and dog, and we enjoyed a cool wood cabin, wood-fired pizza, wine, a hike and some running trails.

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A massage at Bear Mountain’s Sante Spa. Worth it!!

A movie- we had free tickets to go see Molly’s Game. Recommend, even if it was a bit long for my liking. All movies are though, ha.

Christmas eve at my in-laws farm in Cobble Hill featuring- SNOW! That’s right, a white Christmas on the island. We never get that!

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Christmas day party at my parents, where I was the designated driver- went well, better than I thought it would actually.

Jump lesson with Oats- pretty fun!

Dressage lesson with Oats- toughhhh workout!

Working equitation- ease of handling- clinic with Oats. We had a great time and Oats was really good at it! I want to do more of this!! Everyone was really interested in the Working Equitation after we posted a video of it to my Facebook.

Hiking at East Sooke Park- New Years day, and a fun activity to do with the husband and dog.

Seafood for New Years Eve- a classic!!

And I loved all of my presents, I got some great ones even if my husband went wayy overboard on my gifts this year (Blundstone Boots, cool horsey socks, Back On Track knee brace, winter gloves, a neat book) I got everything I could have possibly wanted. I even have my SAD lamp plugged in at work now.

 

If you’re born on an island, the ocean heals you

Another jump lesson recap!! Oats and I warmed up really nicely last night, so nice in fact that I am wondering how I can capture that magic for our next jump lesson? He was soft, forward, responsive and very fluid. It was just lovely.

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Last winter was very snowy.

I was feeling confident after that warm up, more confident than I usually feel about jumping! Lucky me because last night was the night to start being challenged with height a bit more (it was not a complex lesson, compared with the last few weeks of very technical coursework).

We did a trot-in one-stride gymnastic (x-rail to oxer) and by the end of the warm up over the gymnastic, the oxer was up to 2’6” with nary a peep from me! I did feel a bit anxious about it but you know what? It was riding fine.

We then made a small course of 6 jumps, incorporating the gymnastic into the course. That rode fine, so the jumps went up (another panel jump went to 2’6”) and we worked up to a course of 12 fences total. Oats was a tad surprised by the bigger fence and was like wait, woah and had to really lift his hooves to clear it. Good boy!

In the course we did the gymnastic twice and the 2’6” fence three times. That’s a lot for me, hahahah. The course rode quite well though, and I was very pleased with Oats making the effort.

I have been saying it’s time to be challenged and here I go- it’s time and I am ready!

All is too much: Weekend recap

Funny, for a not-busy weekend it sure ended up being busy!

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The weather was horrendous for most of the weekend. Winds of up to 90km/hr at my house, sideways rain, just so shitty. I went for a run in the AM on Saturday and after 2km of getting blasted backwards and sideways, I gave up after something hit my ear and hurt! I ran more interior routes and then headed home.

Friday we were lucky enough to do some fun Halloween-y activities, like pumpkin carving and making candy apples- the candy apples didn’t quite turn out like I thought (the candy slides off them and puddles on the tray…) Wouldn’t make it again but nice to try once.

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We were going to do the big corn maze on Saturday after riding, but the weather was so awful that I ran horse errands instead (hay nets, grain, MSM for Oats). We are rescheduling for next Saturday as the weather has improved significantly this week. Oats was fun to ride on Saturday, can’t even really remember what we were working on (transitions? Probably transitions. It’s always transitions now.). Saturday night was board game night at the Board Game Cafe with the barn girls. Always a great time! 🙂

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Sunday Ian helped me move jumps at the barn, a quick ride for Oats focusing on straightness at the canter with ‘small’ canter and ‘big’ canter, and going across the diagonal STRAIGHT (again, a big weakness). We were then off to Cobble Hill to Mile End Farm for his birthday lunch with his parents and a hike and a hot tub.

A nice end to a nice weekend. Couldn’t ask for more.

Teeth for days

Not a busy weekend, but a good one. Friends dinner out on Thursday, games night with the barn girls on Friday night, and nothing but hanging out with the husband on Saturday night. Just the way I like it- balanced visits/hangouts with friends and some quiet time.

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Fun in the field from last week!

Rode Oats Saturday and Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves riding in the field on Sunday (or at least I did, Oats seemed more interested in taking me back to the gate, ha when we were cooling out).

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Oats jumps an imaginary jump (aka a ditch, haha).

No dressage lesson tonight, and I skipped riding last night to let my legs hopefully recover. They have been having a hard time with recovery- I keep getting a big knot in my inner thigh muscles and it’s threatening to spasm prettttty hard. I have recurring issues with charley horses, quite severe ones, so I’m trying to make sure that doesn’t happen!

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I also went on a fairly long run on Sunday and was pleased with my recovery on that. I just need to be careful balancing riding and long runs, or else I will burn myself out physically!

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Being appreciative

Rode Oats a lot this past week/weekend (Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun/Tues) and while I can’t even really remember how my rides went, with the exception of a fun jump lesson and some small jumps/polework on Saturday, I remember one thing:

I love riding him! I feel very appreciative to have him in my life, eating $$ and all.

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Photo courtesy of Nicole G. I love it so much! Big D and his mini-me.

I saw a photo my trainer took of Oats and his buddy Donato (Big D) being reuinted in the field and it made my heart sing with joy. He was so happy! The photo was sooo cute! I don’t always have these feelings and to be honest mostly take old Oats for granted (it’s like I’m afraid to acknowledge how much of an influence he is in my life, just in case). But, I heard some tragic news this past week about one of my trainer’s horses passing suddenly with a twisted-gut colic, and wow…I would be heartbroken if that happened to Oats.

So, my rides were unremarkable but you know, unremarkable is a good thing these days. I didn’t have my lesson yesterday b/c I skip every other week now for $$$-saving purposes (HA yeah right), and I will have it next week. But, we had a very solid ride focused on circles and straightness down the quarter-line. Easier said than done!

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha.

Also, with more daylight and warmer temps, I’m wanting to actually BE at the barn more now, and my barn friends have moved back so it’s a win-win for all of us here.

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More screenshots- jumping the weird jump!

 

Poles are the worst–Or: Oats learns to take a flyer!

Jump lesson last night and I was loudly moaning about how bad my pole work on Monday was (it was terrible) so that inspired my trainer to re-enact some of my worst moments- live on screen! Ha, sort of, but yes she was interested in seeing what was going wrong with one simple exercise: 1 pole, taken on a circle at the canter.

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I’m not always terrible at poles, but I quite often am!

Simple right?

Yeah, no. Always simple, never easy.

We flailed wildly over the pole at the canter, and I got tossed around, cursed, etc. Wow, I am bad at this. Interesting note- Oats was taking the long spot EVERY TIME. Wha?? This is the pony that loves to chip!

We moved on to a jumping exercise, and Oats showed his newfound love of flying by completely bombing an x-rail…We had to move it up to a vertical because he was not respecting the fence, at all! Again, WTF?

So, we worked over a small course that involved- you guessed it, a pole on a circle, to a small haybale fence, to cantering our prior nemesis- the green box, on a circle to the right, and then through a 1-stride line, then to the jump on the outside (rode very nicely), to jump the green box again on a circle to the left, and then back to the haybale fence.

Oats went quite well, until we got to the 1-stride line and he flew into it. We barely managed to scramble out! It was quite shocking…His latent disrespect for the fences now has him like, flying at them.

That one went up to a vertical too, to back him off them a bit and stop taking such ridiculous chances!

That, however, didn’t stop Oats! Not yesterday, oh no! This time, he LAUNCHED at the haybale fence and made it like, 3’3” over…It was a small 2′ jump at best. I was like “what the eff….”  echoing as we hauled ass over it. Interesting to say the least! Oats is getting bored??

We then proceeded to cruise much more leisurely around, with me making a real effort to half-halt before the fences–a light one, he’s not going crazy here, but still doing it so he doesn’t get it in his silly pony brain to start flying the fences. He was much more workmanlike, with only one dumb mistake of mine at the green boxes so we had a re-do for that one.

So, me having to half-halt Oats, him getting bored and not respecting the fences, all very interesting progressions to me. Hmmm…It was a funny lesson though, jeeesh, I think I was laughing half the time!

Silly pony wants to be challenged more!