Sure Sure

Jump lesson recap! When I last left, I was feeling blah and uninspired…But I’m here to say, that’s not really the case anymore! (sort of?) ha.

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A beautiful summer.

Running-wise, if I was a horse I would say I was definitely Not Quite Right (NQR). My ‘gait’ as it were is choppy and stilting, up-and-down instead of striding out. My legs burn and ache when I run, and they feel full of lead, sloggy and slow. I assume this is because I am still recovering from running myself into the ground with the silly half marathon?

But riding-wise, Oats was pretty good last night! I couldn’t ride to save my life, felt hot and kind of dizzy, had the WORST dry mouth and just felt sloppy and clueless. BUT Oats is a trooper, so we rode through some prettttty long courses (15 jump efforts) twice, including a small gymnastic. I did get to make some decisions (for the gymnastic, a short quiet 5 or go big for a 4-stride. I tried once for the 4, didn’t make it, and elected then to let the very short/quiet 5 ride from then on and it went fine!).

Other than that, it was jump up his neck! Get left behind! Don’t make any decision at all! Kind of sloppy jumping. Whoops! What happened to my seat, legs and eye? Oats was hot and lazy, taking a TON of leg & crop to keep going and was resorting to the ever-lovely stop, big chip, crawl over the jumps so I had to ride ride ride ride to get to the base nicely, not poorly, and jump from a reasonable spot.

But the jump efforts were tiny, so I felt pretty ok about screwing up repeatedly. Oh well, if you can’t make mistakes in practice then when can you make them?? I did enjoy the sun though, mannn it feels nice (when I am not so cotton-mouthed that I can barely speak). I also coughed heartily after my ride, something about the combination of lagging cold symptoms + dust + dry air= coughing? Ah, life.

 

Every sport involves packaging energy

I weirdly came to this realization yesterday, when I was riding Oats. We were just hacking around, my trainer was riding her horse. I was tired, not feeling super energized and just kind of ‘blahh’ but my ride was quite lovely- Oats is a fun ride no matter how I am feeling!

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Working on energy!

We hopped over some x-rails and then I did some more work over the 1 pole- packaging his canter so it is ‘tight’ and ‘bouncy’ so I can control the take-off spot to the pole. I started noticing that with this ‘bouncy’ canter, his take off for the pole was far more ‘up’ and explosive than his usual blahhhhhh canter, where he launches from a long spot, very flat and strung out.

Packaging his canter= gathering up energy. Who would have thought?

Ha, it’s so obvious to everyone BUT me! The work I did with him over raised poles last week has cemented in my brain that Oats needs more than one type of canter. I never knew how to achieve that, or capture that feeling, until we did that exercise and now…Now I know what I am going for.

I am planning on working up to that tight ‘packaged’ canter to fences. It is hard work for Oats, so I don’t want to burn him out on it. That’s why when I have been playing around with the exercise, we do a few jumps at a regular ‘easy’ canter, and then collect it for the pole, then let it out again.

And I was talking about this with my husband, who was saying that essentially every sport involves directing energy- and the way you do this is through becoming more efficient, technically and mechanically. Without technique, you can’t just raw-power through it. This reminds me of when I am asking Oats to go forward, he just gets flat and strung out- and we get poles down- when I package the canter, we get a much more powerful ‘up’ jump.

Hmm…

A very solid jump lesson

Last night we were back in the indoor, this time for good. It’s too dark for me to jump outdoors in my lessons, and Oats got his shoes off and immediately began to pussyfoot everywhere. Ah, well.

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Just a cute pic of Oats this summer with his buddy Joey.

I was still in my trainer’s saddle as my friend is picking mine up for me today (yesss!).

I always start off my ride by feeling awkward and slow. I wonder how I can possibly jump, and feel like it’s just not going to happen–I wish this wasn’t the case, but it’s true–I seem to start off with some negative self-talk and doubting.

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In this case, I had to be ok with this feeling and really let myself ‘feel’ uncomfortable. It was fine, things were going well, I just had to sit with it, and work through it. And you know what? My lesson worked out super!

We started by trotting a x-rail, focusing on straightness. Oats literally trotted it, w/o actually jumping. A spank for him then and he got with the the program. The small ‘x’ was then cantered, and then made into a small oxer- which we cantered a few times. I managed to hit a very awkward distance every time to the oxer, so Nicole asked me to change my approach to it–so instead of going straight to the wall for a long distance, I chose to leave the wall early and curve the approach. This worked out really well! I decided to stick with that decision for our coursework.

He was jumping VERY nicely. Actually using himself (they were small jumps) and felt far more engaged than when we were jumping outdoors.

I had to spank him pretty hard when we started the course, as he started off with a very sluggish ‘make me’ kind of attitude. One big whack and he bucked, and then ‘Yes ma’am!!’ and away we went, with a much more forward ride. Good pony!

The course itself was not exciting- the usual diagonal-outside-diagonal-diagonal-diagonal-outside-outside, ha. But, it rode really well, I was being proactive about things like pace, my approach, straightness (except for a wicked right drift on the outside line..whoops) and things worked out awesome.

Good pony! A fun, very focused ride. And I managed to overcome that weird awkwardness we felt initially. Hmm…a good learning opportunity for me, trying to manage my feelings and just be fine with how I am feeling.

 

 

A good horse

Had my jump lesson last night, and we even took advantage of the tiniest bit of light left in the day to hold it in the outdoor arena- lucky eh?

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Jumping can be fun!

I borrowed my trainer’s saddle, she had generously lent it to me for my lesson and we checked the fit- and so far, so good at least until my saddle gets fixed (no word on that yet, how many times should I be calling the saddler until he comes out to my barn?!! I am at twice so far…argh).

We worked on quite a technical exercise–canter-in gymnastic, starting with a small x-rail, to a series of (6?) poles at 10-ft canter strides, working our way up to a small vertical to a half- x-rail bounce.

It was definitely a mind-challenge!

We worked our way up from the x-rail, to a few poles, to all the poles, to raising the poles, to adding in the vertical at the end, to making the vertical into a bounce with half an x- at the end. I was sweating! So was Oats! And huffing and puffing, haha.

The raised poles made every stride matter. I had to come in with a ‘very’ close, collected canter rather than letting Oats go SPLAT through the series of raised poles. We did have a few rounds that he kind of slammed through them, until I learned that at the first pole before the x-rail, I had to be holding him in, and keeping him very tightly between leg and hand…Rather than just pushing him over the gymnastic and leg leg leg, which is what I am used to doing.

It was very educational, and I feel like I learned a ton from it.

I hope Oats did too!

We ended by going through the gymnastic-canter pole, and then circling and heading through 1 line set up on the other side of the arena. The goal was to get five strides. We sure didn’t…The first go-around we jumped in well, and then…wha?? He got 6 strides and stopped and painstakingly climbed over the last fence. Eeeegh!

Time to go around again! This time, we nailed those strides. It almost felt like Oats was surprised by the jump? Haha oh well, at least he jumped it?

Good pony, and a good lesson.

Avalon Derby-Cross photos!

Because my rides have been fun but very boring, instead I am going to share photos that I purchased from the professional photographers at the Derby!

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This one was cute so I bought it! Oats looks so keen. All photos were purchased from Eventus Photography.

I was so happy to see photogs there, that I was definitely going to support them. Win-win!

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Loved this jump photo!

Lately my rides with Oats- jump in the field, flat in the other field, do hill work, do transitions, have fun! I’m enjoying my week with him, no lessons this week as i am preparing to go on vacation. Oats will get a small vacay as well. 🙂 After how busy I have been and he has been, I am SO looking forward to getting some time away. I need it so badly!

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A little paint effect for some fun! Pretty eh?

 

At first, you go with them. Then, they go with you. Then you go together.

A lovely saying by Tom Dorrance about horse training. It’s so true, isn’t it!

So for my jump lesson, we were back in the outdoor arena- WOW it’s so early to be there, I can’t even believe it. I’m not really that prepared to ride outdoors (when not at a horse show) yet. Oats needs his front shoes, he is very ouchy on the sand in the ring, and my riding fitness and balance need a fair bit of work…Feel very different outdoors than in.

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The course- setting and design and photo courtesy of Nicole and Sarah! (the jumps were not this high when I was jumping them, except for maybe the polka-dot planks!)

We warmed up and there was an excellent course set up, courtesy of my trainer and friend who worked to design and set it. I was both excited and kind of nervous to be back outside in the big ring. Oats felt a bit stumbly, and off-balance. He was decently forward, but I could tell he was having some trouble with his feet- first time outside- and going downhill (the ring is slightly sloped), he was having more difficulty maintaining the canter/balancing. He broke several times into a big runny trot.

So, managing these issues, we warmed up over an x-rail to a small vertical. It felt weird being in the outdoor! I felt kind of off balance too! Oats was backed off during this exercise, so we worked on getting him thinking forward- understanding too that he is challenged by the new footing, etc.

We then schooled a few lines, and repeatedly bungled the one outside line that is set slightly downhill into the sun. I just felt like Oats was unsure about it…Well he surprised me by slamming on the brakes when we came to the line at first!~ I’d forgotten than he hadn’t jumped the bridge in a year and he was surprised by it too, hahah. Oh well. We schooled it a few times, and every time we got to the pink oxer, it just felt really…blahhh. He just never felt that comfortable over that line- I believe it was a footing/balance issue.

Then we moved on to an equitation course. It wasn’t set very high, but had a few challenges- like a bending line, a broken line, a two-stride and that infamous outside line that we never rode very prettily.

The course went well, great actually. I was very pleased with Oats’ go-forward attitude!

Time to put it up!

And the wheels kind of fell off here- primarily due to a steering issue with me. Oops!

After the outside line -that STILL rode very ugly- we came in to the two-stride set higher, and I was pulling to the left…Oats went in long, and we came into the middle of the second jump. I almost fell off- because he is such a trier!

That was 100% my fault- pulling, wrong distance, steering all over the place!

We pried ourselves out of the oxer, and re-approached. This time I focused very hard on the second jump, and counter-bent Oats on the approach. We flew over it! YES!

The rest of the course rode fairly well, not so much that I can even really remember it…Oh wait, yes he seemed to get disunited on both bending and broken lines, and I believe that was due to him being a bit confused about our direction and the footing. Something to fix!

For our first go-around in the outdoor jumping, I was very pleased with Oats. He is such a trier, and he was very pleasant to ride.

Horse show recap: Inaugural Cedar Vista hunter show!

So, the horse show season is upon us and I was kind of wondering what I was going to show in this year. In past years I have shown at the Appy shows (Vancouver Island Appaloosa Horse Club), and Westside Stables shows. There are also the higher-rated and higher-cost SSITS shows that I have NOT ventured out to yet- too much $$ and we’re not polished enough.

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Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

All in all, I was feeling pretty blah about the show season. Like, I want to show and feel confident out there but was bored by my options: Appy or Westside. Yawn…

Enter the new show season at Cedar Vista! Close-ish, new, with great footing and some really snazzy jumps. Offering a fairly reasonable series that would be brand-new to everyone. Sign me up!

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Pats for a good boy. Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

They had jumpers on Saturday and hunters on Sunday, we opted for hunters. Loaded good old Oats up and away we went!

I entered him in the 2’3” hunters and one 2’6” class, and the division included one equitation on the flat class. We warmed up in the ring and Oats was a tad looky, but overall very well behaved. The open schooling was set low, but we marched over everything–like a pro!

Then, we waited a little bit- entries were low- until my division. We were able to warm up over the new height and then start. I was feeling a strange combination of sort of nervous, but overall quite blasé at the same time. The jump heights were fine, but I wanted to get more nervous?

Then- in we go! Our first round was great, second was fine, and my eq was kind of terrible. Chip-city. UGH. Also we botched the right lead change to one line every.single.time. Ouch…

But in good news, Oats is getting his skip changes more consistently if you don’t count that one line, and my pace was pretty good, I didn’t feel too nervous! The wheels kind of fell off in my equitation…I got too ahead of myself, and anxious. Oh well. There was always the 2’6”… More warm-ups at this height (Oats and I did a LOT of jumping at this show). He was rolling so smoothly- it felt effortless. We called it quits and got ready to go in for good this time.

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Yay! Good pony! Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

And we chipped the first jump and I was SOoooo not straight. Gulp! I could hear my trainer yelling at me to calm down and breath! Right–got it! The second was better, and then the course just flowed from there…What a great way to end my rounds! Go Oats.

It was a lovely one to finish on, and the increased heights didn’t bother me in the slightest. It was just 1 flat class left- and we have historically either done really well (top 3) or horribly (crowhopping, bucking, rude, rushing, excused) in our flat classes.

Oats managed to keep his hair on and only had one goofy moment when a horse passed us- he started shaking his head, ready to crowhop at the canter. We even had a few small ‘tests’ from the judge- drop stirrups at the trot, posting trot w/o stirrups, and then pick them up again. AND sitting trot! I know, crazy eh?

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Accepting ribbons. Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

Second for us! Woop!!

Good job Cedar Vista- friendly people, niiiice prizes, good company, great footing and fancy jumps. What more can a girl ask for?! I will be back!