A really good lesson

Had my weekly jump lesson last night, after a looong day at a workshop (which I enjoyed but wow, it was like getting information through a firehose. Too much!). I was looking forward to a good ride, fingers crossed.

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It was. You know? Just really good. Oats was still sticky through the transitions, so we spent quality time schooling those before moving on to the jumps. And the jumps, I requested we keep them small so I could focus on the technical aspects of the course, and it rode pretty well!

The course: Tricky! Two ‘slice’ jumps to a bending line on both ends, a small gymnastic two-stride x-rail to oxer, and then rode it back the other way oxer jump-in two strides to the x-rail. Exciting!

And I was very pleased with how it rode. If Oats got sticky, I schooled the transition right then and there, and then proceeded to the jump/course. Get it done right.

There were quite a few jumps on course, 13 efforts total. And we were schooling so well that I immediately wanted to go jump it again! And we did! Though with that, I am starting to realize my fitness is starting to outpace Oats’…He was huffing and puffing and I was feeling totally fine. Hm.

I did notice that last weekend as well, when my Karen Brain lesson usually leaves me huffing and puffing and sweaty, I felt totally fine. This is a good thing, let me tell you!  It means my fitness has improved at a rate that I can actually start to feel. And it makes me feel like a confident and strong rider. Yes!

 

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The messenger began to believe that the message was him.

Quote I found (I believe it is a lyric from a song?) but I liked it!

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Jump lesson recap this week- MUCH better than last week. Oats was more consistently forward, though I came into the ride with a plan. Get him off my leg, the walk in the warm-up is NOT lollygagging around, and I ride with purpose, every step. Jump lessons are too precious to half-ass the beginning!

So I marched him around, got some pissy leg kick-outs, dealt with them and moved on.

Was the lesson perfect? HAHAH no. But, it was much improved and it helped me ride with ‘my horse moving underneath me’ rather than me pushing, pulling with my body moving too much. I am particularly guilty of this when I am not sure I have enough horse to ride!

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The exercises were very simple this week: Jump a line of skinnies 4-strides apart (an easy four, which of course we biffed and got a choppy FIVE sometimes…ah Oats), and a small course with some oxers. The focus was more on flow, and we got it!

I was much improved with my upper body, staying in two-point most of the ride, back with my shoulders through the corners (still had some blips but hey…better) and Oats was riding quite nicely.

It just went so much better. I was happy with Oats, and left on a real good note. Yay!

Mr. Oats drags ass

Had my jump lesson last night and quite frankly I was expecting much more from dear old Oats. He was dragging ass, cranky about going forward (kicking out when I ‘reminded’ him about it) and just so BLAH.

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Pick up your feet! So yeah this was not happening yesterday…

So, not so fun. I was unimpressed and annoyed at having to ride him so hard for what was basically a low level jump lesson. Did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed that morning? He had Wednesday off, and even still on Thursday he was just sulky, behind the leg and lazy.

Needless to say I had to work very hard to keep him going over our jump course. We worked on 1 circle jump, and a small course that included a two-stride that we almost NEVER made in two strides except when I got mad enough to MAKE IT HAPPEN!!>!?! And then it did. Phew.

I was tired after that ride for sure, and my eyes were watering like crazy.

I heard also that Oats was spending a lot of time playing like a fool with his horse friends, so I wonder if that is where allll his energy is going. My trainer said it sounded like I was a jealous girlfriend- “Oh so that’s where you’re spending all your time now? With your horse buddies?!!” Instead of saving some energy at night for ME!?!

But I kind of did feel that way. Lacklustre and blah.

He wasn’t bad or anything, just very tuned out. Oh well, we live to fight another day! hahah.

Say yes for another time

Jump lesson last night and I admitted my rides this week have felt kind of blahhhh….But I was hoping to turn that around. From uninspired to inspired? We’ll see!

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Another throwback to the race a few weeks ago. Photo courtesy of Ken D’Ell. 

Actually Tuesday was a good quality ride, but not for physicality- more for mental progress, so there’s that 🙂 So we built upon my work from Tuesday and I did a LOT of jumping with one hand!

We worked over a small grid (two-stride trot-in, X-rail to a small oxer) and I rode it one-handed most of the time! And then we worked up to a small course, of which I alternated steering with two hands, and jumping the jumps with one hand. Not gonna lie, I almost felt paralyzed by indecision and fear for a bit in the beginning, and I felt frustrated. Why is this so hard?!

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…Throwback to a few years ago.

BUT it got better, and my body responded. I was figuring it out, and the frustration I felt slowly ebbed and went away. The jumps were small, I felt bolder. I re-did a line that was riding poorly (ok, I did say things got better but YEAH not amazing, and boy did I have some screw-ups, ha) of my own volition!

But you know what? I was able to accept the mistakes graciously and here’s the big one: move on from them.

I said I wanted to ride the course again, and yes it wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t paralyzing either. So go for it! Get what’s yours and just try it. I didn’t feel the heart-pounding exhilaration that sometimes accompanies big ‘tries’ of mine… I just felt like yes, let’s go for it, and I can do it. Maybe not well, but I can.

And Oats was a good pony, with some really truly sloppy jump efforts, and some really good ones too. He had no stiffness, so I am sure the Previcoxx is working for him! Yes!

Never Worked So Hard: Jump lesson update~

Actually the title isn’t so true. I wasn’t working THAT hard, it just felt…difficult. I have admittedly been struggling a bit with my two-point, specifically the part of the jump where I fade out on approach and we grind to a slow halt. Ha.

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The face of a 32-year-old with her 17-year-old pony.

I am having trouble with the difference between ‘soft’ and ‘frozen’ rides….I want to be a soft rider, but still effective- not frozen in place. I want my arm to come up, use the crop to encourage Oats when I need it…Not spend most of the approach thinking about using my crop and then NOT doing it.

Ugh.

Arm paralysis? Mind paralysis?

This is something that I am going to have to work with my equine counselor about. I set up a session for the upcoming week unsure of what I needed, but knowing I needed something. Well now I know at least!

The lesson itself actually wasn’t bad- had some really fun moments and some good jumps, and the gridwork (which I was dreading) went quite well except for some very awkward bobbles, haha. No biggie.

It made me think- how lucky am I to have Oats, who I can ride one-handed, without hands and he won’t try to kill me. He is literally the safest pony to ride like this and jump too. So why do I have the hardest time?

Ah, well.

As I reflect on our relationship, and how much work it has taken me to get to this stage in our game, I see another horse/rider pair that are NOT working. And it scares me, because it has resulted in serious injury- more than a few times- for the rider. Don’t lie to yourself, because that’s when you get hurt. And this rider, despite more than a few quite serious wrecks, just isn’t getting the message and I fear for her safety.

You can’t tell someone a relationship is bad. They have to figure it out themselves. But what about when they seem bound and determined NOT to? Ugh.

Ever on your mind: Jump lesson~

And it was…humbling. And hard. For the past few weeks, we have been working on ‘two point’ alll the way to the fence, rather than two-point up to the fence and then me sitting 2-3 strides in.

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Blurry screengrabs are all I got. But hey, at least I have that!

Well, I am trying the two point all the way and mentally I am struggling. It’s like I freeze and can’t commit to a distance or pace or anything when I am in two point? WTF? My eyes aren’t connected to my distance, so why can’t I do something? It’s like I don’t trust the two-point yet.

Hm…

My neural pathways are telling me ‘watch out, danger!’ and my body is like nah we’re fine I got this. How do I retrain myself to be ok with this?

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Pick up your feet!

Repetitions I guess!

We were also jumping a titch higher than I usually do (cuz yes I am a weenie) and it was fine, I’m just trying to figure out my body/brain connection right now…Leading to some VERY humbling moments, ha.

Figure it out brain!

Plus I have taken the week off from pretty much all activity (ie- cardio/running/running to work) and disappointingly feel no less TIRED. Blahhhh. Also maybe getting a sore throat? Ah.

I still think everyone needs an Oats though, he is a good pony. 🙂

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???