That’s right, on my last day before holidayyyyys…!
And some bummer news, I no longer have a jump trainer 😦 I knew this day was coming, and fair enough: She now has to travel a great distance due to owning a farm up island. I was kind of surprised she lasted this long~ but with the increasingly bad weather making travel on the Malahat a dangerous proposition, combined with a lot of her students either not riding due to lame horses or varying schedules…I totally get it.
Just a bummer, overall but a very fair reason.
Here’s to the many years we shared- it was great! 🙂
And a video from our last real jump lesson- it was very fun. As I step Oats down from most of our competition jump lessons, it’s nice to look back at the great things we’ve done. I love our partnership and how it has grown and progressed over the years, much like my relationship with my now-former jump trainer.
Went a touch radio silent due to a lot of different factors all colliding at once, unfortunately:
Major stress at work/burnout
Bad flareup of my chronic disease, ruinining an entire week of my life again
Oats went lame and I had a total meltdown over it
Gidget had a really bad flare up of her reverse sneezing and went into dog-shock for a few days. It was really hard to see 😦
So yeah…It was a very challenging period of weeks for me, Oats and the family.
Some bright sides: Oats lameness was temporary! He had a small abscess (in the same spot as his 2018 big abscess that summer) and now he is good to go. We even had a working equitation lesson on Sunday and he was a champ though I definitely felt quite rusty.
Work is ok for now and I am counting down the days until I am off on holidays!
My disease is back in remission until the next flare-up, and Gidget has a vet appointment today to figure out our next plan of attack. I don’t really expect that they will have any answers but…We made it over 3 weeks ago when we desperately needed it, so I still am hoping for some kind of solution or treatment for her symptoms.
I guess even through the blackest days, there is still hope?!
Also a bummer, but one I really knew was going to happen: My jump trainer who I have been with for over a decade (?!!) is not travelling to coach us anymore. I totally get it, no issue from me but it’s also a bit sad to see the end of an era.
I’ve reassessed mine and Oats relationships after his serious injury and jumping for competitions just doesn’t seem that worth it anymore? We’ve shown for so many years and it’s not always about ‘higher/faster/stronger’ for me– it’s about enjoying the journey and our relationship these days. I still love horse showing, but it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be, you know?
And things have been a total zoo, so yep updates now!
We rescheduled our jump lesson to Mondays (thank GOD) because Saturdays are just too busy, and truly the trainer needs a break on Saturdays too. So Monday is just better for everyone 🙂 We started last week and worked over a very simple exercise of four jumps, two in a line and the other two on the diagonal as bending lines.
Simple? Yes! Easy? Ha not really. I felt very rusty? And Oats did NOT respect the poles, so he ka-blanged them and sent them flying through the simple line until we set them up as real jumps, ha. He is kind of annoying in that aspect, just doesn’t get excited…
But I wore my spurs, and he perked up- a lot. It helped that we now have a lesson partner so he and his partner horse are definitely more engaged and interested.
I was still feeling kind of rusty, but we did better and better turns (still hard to wrap my brain around those) and the jumps went up and I said it was ok!! Even though I felt anxious, ha. Been awhile since we jumped anything of substance, really.
So the jumps went up and we flubbed it HARD three times in a row, and then finally made it ok into the line. And you know what? It sucked, but it didn’t suck the joy out of the exercise for me- sure, we were failing, but we could still figure out and do it ok. And we did! So, I am still learning this lesson: Progress isn’t perfection, at all. Sure we flopped, but we picked ourselves up and finished and it went nicely.
Go team!!! No jump lesson tonight, we were away all weekend at a multi-day horse show and I am tired, and Oats is too! Phew!
Another busy weekend for old Oaty and I! We started off strong with a jump lesson in the field (my fav- I bust my butt each summer hauling jumps out there so I can enjoy them and lol- it is ALWAYS me doing it. I was going to have help this summer but circumstances prevailed and I had to drag Ian out to help me!) 😉
I even dragged another jump out there so we could have more options- they are scanty because it’s just me and those standards are HEAVY to drag all the way out there, so I am a bit limited.
But, it’s always fun and this past weekend Oats really agreed with me hahaha. He started off a bit sluggy, and I was a bit anxious because we had one jump on a ‘hill’ of sorts (tiny) but next to the owner’s house, where he finds it spooky. So, double whammy for me- hill? Spooks?
We worked up to it slowly and carefully, and he was really good about it. A touch looky but not bad.
We then started cruising over the other jumps and I was a bit all over the place at first. We took a break and worked over our first course and WOW Oats came ALIVE. He was amped!! We cantered the fences, and then he got lazy and dropped a hind hoof over the small xrail on the hill and stung himself a bit and BOLTED?! Haaaa. I know right, Oats? Fast? Nooooo way. This is the slowest pony on the planet.
So we got him back, and on to the next fence! He was feeling it. Ha.
And then on to course #2, and woooow, I haven’t had this much horse to ride in like, ever??? He was charging around, going for it, I was just along for the ride! Go Oats go!!! He is in the best shape of his life, according to him?! Hahahha. Nice to see him with so much forward energy, even if it did really surprise both me and my trainer lol.
Which was good, because I wanted him to burn off some energy- we had a trail class event to go to on Sunday! Stay tuned…
Had a dressage lesson last night and it was just so good! Not perfect but man, I feel like Oats and I are really reaching a deeper understanding via how I am twisting my body?! So the problem is ME! hahah.
We worked over trot poles, looping around them and then cantering them and trotting juuuust at the last second- which, whoops, Oats jumped over the row of poles one time when I didn’t transition in time, hahah. Good boy 😉
We worked on leg yielding into the poles which was cool and then we took away all the poles but one, and then worked on cantering up to them STRAIGHT and managing the turns without my body twisting in the air. It was much harder to do than I realized?!
Oats was very steady and very focused on this exercise. His canter felt really awesome! While we were certainly not perfect, it felt like a very thorough and excellent learning exercise. Now to actually do this when we ARE jumping….Is the real challenge!
And last week we had a really cool ‘zen’ lesson as I call it, where my lesson partner and I were pretzeled into many different shapes, hands off the reins, legs off the saddles, in an effort to find our real centre and straightness- and wow, the horses LOVED this. They were so relaxed, and we focused on deep ‘square’ or diaphragm breathing. I could even see Oat’s ears relax when I was going into the canter transition. He got a bit tense, I sat straight (which still feels like scissoring, ha) and breatheeeed…And he relaxed immediately and we got the nicest left lead canter we’ve gotten in forever!
And I think this intensive bodywork is paying off- he felt fantastic last night, and we had a really fun jump lesson the previous Saturday as well. Just loving all of these lessons, it costs mega $$$$$$ but wow I am getting so much horse and so much physically out of them 🙂 it is awesome! Plus, I want to do ALLLL the things this year. I know how fleeting horses are, and how fragile the situation can be. I just want to do this forever!!!
A bit later than usual as I was away on holidays, but we’re back in the field! I am seeing a big difference between Oats who gets turnout (he is not allowed for 1 year after his injury) and the Oats who isn’t turned out….The Oats of this year is HOT HOT HOT in the field. He was amped, so amped that all he wanted to do was bolt straight up the hill, all the time lol!!
I am not used to riding hot-spicy-butt on fire Oats, haha. We ended up doing a lot and I mean LOT of work in the field to settle. Almost 1 hour straight and it was quite warm out. I don’t know where he gets this energy? I may have added to his excitement by jumping the hay bales that are literally everywhere, hahah. He was on fire about it! Got so excited that he started bucking afterwards, and then almost bucked me off going up the hill. Crazy Oats?!
In his fairness I did get left behind a few hay bales and he really didn’t like that, so he threw a few bucks on landing. I get it Oats, totally get it- ride better!
We rode a few more canters (controlled in a circle, thanks very much) and then trotted more, up and down, and then called it quits and walked around. His nostrils were flaring even! I hopped off and walked him to cool out in the farm yard, and then hosed him down. He hasn’t worked that hard in over a year, I don’t think?!
The Oats who gets turnout is never that hot to trot, so this Oats certainly is jazzed up and has energy to move his butt.
No more heatwave so things are getting back to normal! I even rode in the field yesterday (and Oats got very excited at the canter and took off with me up a hill bucking…Thanks dude).
We were able to resume our jump lesson on Saturday and we even were able to ride outdoors – not a small feat since the footing is so unstable and deep, I had been avoiding riding out there for Oats’ and my safety, but decided to try it for a few small jumps.
We warmed up indoors (and man, Oats was SLUGGY) going kind of nowhere fast, ha. We schooled a few jumps, he had a meltdown at the backdoor again (sigh) and then it was outdoors to try our hand at a few safer fences located in areas where it wasn’t too deep.
It was good! I bigtime bungled a few of the fences by grabbing back on Oats, but he’s an old pro and was not really phased ha. He was like, if you stop riding like crap, I’ll go better also! Win-win 🙂
I am heading out for holidays soon too actually- just 2 more days to go….Ah…
A good weekend! Though I was right about Oats’ incredible energy being…Time limited. He had a few backing up moments in the indoor before my lesson, but then gave it up and wasn’t hot or spooky or anything. In fact, he got quite ‘blah’…Ha, so back to old sedate Oats I guess? I should have appreciated the energy more when I had it! Boo.
We worked on the limited jumps in the indoor, as most were moved to the outdoor, though I am not jumping in the outdoor currently because the footing is too deep/shifty, soooo not many jumps to choose from!
We made it work though with some circle exercises using the green box fillers, and Oats did it! He finally nailed his right lead on a CIRCLE instead of this awful swap thing. He wasn’t a ball of fire, sure, but he was steady and very nice in his efforts.
The course felt long, ha so I guess it really has been like 3 weeks since we had a jump lesson and worked on a course- on my own I generally school a few xrails and stuff but nothing like a full course. We did it twice and I called it at that, Oats was getting a bit tired since he suddenly didn’t have his power and energy anymore, ha.
On Sunday I met up with a friend and she tried Oats out for a half lease, and I’m happy to say I think it will be a good partnership! I’m glad to see that and I think they will have fun together 🙂 And then it basically rained…Blah. Hoping for some good weather/the weather to turnaround, it was SO COLD last week. Brrrrrr. Wearing sweaters and jackets again. In June?!! UGH.
I hate Mother’s Day. Hate it. I do not have a great relationship with my family for a variety of reasons, and also it just…Sucks. It is performative and angsty and I have little tolerance now for the demands ($$$$$) my mother likes to place on us for her birthday, M-Day, Xmas anyways…Just hate it.
So what do you do when you hate that day? Make it better, and make it your own 🙂
We had our own fun day and it did help relieve some of that existential pressure I felt seeing everyone with happier families and sincerity that I do not have. Ian came with me to the barn and helped me do a jump school! I haven’t done one on my own yet since he has recovered from his injury, so it felt pretty big to me, yay! Plus we have to miss our regularly scheduled Tuesday lesson because Oats has a dentist appointment, so I wanted to do a little something on our spare time, to keep sharp.
Oats was a star, a good boy and the bestest pony. Nothing fancy, just hopping over a few fences and calling it a day. Nothing better, I think!
We then took our dog out for a walk to the water, and then swung by Moon Under Water brewery for a beer on the patio. I was FREEZING. Ha. Not patio weather here, basically ever?
We then headed home and had lunch and then went to play some kick-around soccer at the park. We both failed miserably at ball juggling hahaha and it got frustrating so we gave it up and played goalie instead. My husband said he admires the fact that I am not afraid to hammer the ball home from 1 ft away…Not really intentional, I swear it!
It’s a nice way to make what is traditionally a miserable, pressure/stressful day for me even better. Plus it makes you feel happier going into the (extremely busy) work week!
Oats has been a star this week! I was a bit freaked out because after I rode in the outdoor (it is deep and the sand is harder on his aging joints), w/t only, he presented the next day with some bigtime swelling in his injured leg region. EFFFF….Except it’s windpuffs. He is sound, and the swelling lump went down after the ride, basically deflated. Oh Oats!
It’s not amazing, but it’s also not a biggie really. He has now presented with them on and off all week, since I basically triggered them by riding in the sand 1 day. Oh well!
Otherwise, we had our jump lesson and it was pretty thrilling for me. We’re still JUST getting back into it, and we jumped…TWO FEET! whee! I swear to god it looked like 3ft to me until I moved the jumps back and realized how…small they really were. Hah. Fooling me for sure. I had adrenaline! I also wore my ‘big boy’ spurs and kind of overused them once and Oats was mightily offended. Sorry dude, he was such a good babysitter for me 🙂 What a sweetie.
Wednesday we walked around the big block with his horse neighbour Mercury. It was very pleasant, and the boys were as good as gold. Yay Oats!
Thursday we had our dressage lesson and I am happy to report that not only does Oats look like he’s gaining his weight back (a struggle!!) but he remembered how to counter-canter!! Amazing! We did some light counter-canter work and he was a STAR! Ok, we did struggle on one rein in particular (going right) but to be honest with how rusty we were, he was fantastic. I had to wrap my brain around it too, I mean it’s been over a year!? Great job Oats, what a superstar 🙂
And he has today off. Well deserved I think! He has also enjoyed over 10 minutes a day of hand grazing on the nice new lush grass, as he is not allowed turnout for a year due to his tendon injury. It’s a really big bummer, but we’re trying to work with what we’ve got at this stage and I absolutely DO NOT want to risk another really serious injury for the old boy.