You Won’t: Jump lesson update!

I’ve had kind of a mixed week- some personal-life drama (ughh) but in other news, my ligament injury seems to be making a real turnaround with treatment, so I am VERY pleased with that!! Man, it hopped on the healing train once I started treatment. Part of me is kicking myself for not doing this sooner, but hey you learn the hard way sometimes?!

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Cuddlebugs. Photo courtesy of Katie H. 

Jump lesson last night and we were in a real cold snap. Oats warmed up very stiffly, like he was running with a flat tire, ughh. Kind of like how I begin any race, as my husband said 😉

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Photo courtesy of Katie H.

So, we had to manage his stiffness in the cold, and kind of ‘work up’ to the level we needed. Luckily, after cantering and then going over some x-rails, he was moving much more smoothly. Yes! We then worked on a very basic, looping hunter-style course with 1 3-stride line in it, focusing on letting my hands go forward instead of taking back (god, this was harder than it sounds…very vulnerable position for me) no matter the distance. The problem being: When I see a distance, things are awesome! When I don’t, things get distinctly…less awesome. Meaning, they suck, I pull back or try to manage him with my hands and/or upper body. Not great.

So, I just had to ‘let go’ a little more. Mixed success on that, but overall I was fairly pleased with Oats’ effort and my effort to be a little more vulnerable and willing to get go, and also to work through the ‘push hands forward’ and take them back when I need to steer, and let them go again on my way to the jump. Riding- always simple, never easy.

Also having to rely more on my legs vs hands as a support for the jump. Hahahha yeah, this remains a work in progress… All in all, a good lesson and a good ride.

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Know Better Learn Faster: Jump Lesson!

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All my swag from the past weekend! 

I was both looking forward to and feeling anxious about my jump lesson on Thursday. I was really happy with how the horse show went, (coachless! but with some hand-holding) and wondering how I could keep the good vibes rolling!

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Remember this from a few weeks ago? Make it almost completely dark out..and then do it. Coop set in the middle of the arena, rail at same height!

Sometimes this means I shut down, because I would rather not mess up a good thing than try and have it kind of blow up in my face. Not a good impulse and not one I am proud of. (see- why I can never play darts again…).

BUT I am learning – year by year- that I can try, and fail, and still have a lot of fun and learn tons. It’s not a one-and-done thing! I can keep going! 🙂 We were back in the outdoor to grasp the last bit of remaining daylight, and it was the last semi-private I will have (gonna miss those!).

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Oxer on diagonal, so festive! (Photo by Nicole).

We worked over a small x-rail, and then the x-rail to a small vertical both working off the diagonal. Oats was…unenthusiastic. I felt like the jumps needed to be higher to get his focus!!  Mine too maybe? He blahhhhed over the jumps. I was kind of annoyed, but like, with some fire in my belly.

Let’s DO THIS

Coursetime: Not complicated, but would require me to sit up (after a stop going into the one outside line, hahahah I decided I would jump first and Oats was like yeah, no.). And key? LEG LEG LEG even on the slow fade 3-strides to the jump. Not just sitting there like a stuffed dummy.

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This ‘Halloween’ line ended up being an oxer set further back. So fun! (Photo by Nicole).

And how did the course ride? Pretty well! The bending line gave me some trouble both times, but overall quite nicely. I got some good distances, not too much ‘stop and crawl’ over the fences, remembered to use my legs in the last 3 strides even! There were a lot of oxers, traditionally something that wigs me out, but I felt pretty good last night.

Course was: vertical on diagonal, oxer on diagonal, ride the outside line in 7, back to the first vertical on the diagonal bending line to 1st fence in outside line, oxer on second outside line to oxer on diagonal (rode well!), ride along and then turn right across the arena to jump the coop, turn left and ride the outside line of 2X oxers (7 the first time, 6 the second. Oats was on FIRE!).

We had 1 more stop the second time we rode the course, honestly it felt like Oats didn’t see the second rail set up in the oxer until the last minute- we bumped the fences up 1 hole and added an oxer. It was really dark out by this point. Re-approached and he was a-ok. In fact, the was golden.

What a great, kickass ride!

 

Back to the barn

I took two weeks off from riding when I was in Peru, but Oats had the lucky opportunity to have a few rides by my friend and her friend. Yes! Unfortunately, his canter sucked. It’s time for him to have a chiropractic adjustment, because a big tell for him is swapping his canter leads when asked for anything remotely more challenging that his ‘one canter’…

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I tested this when I got back and yep. High time for him to have a tune-up, as he was swapping right, left and centre! ARGH. He has an appointment this Wednesday.

But, the good news is that he was raring to go when I got back on-board. Yay! He’s still moving and feeling fine, and I had some fun rides back. I even rode the day I got back (very much NOT recommended, I was a zombie), but I missed him so much I couldn’t resist.

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We had our jumping lesson last night in the outdoor- first time for us this season and it *just* opened. I told Nicole to temper our expectations, ha because I wasn’t sure how it would go after taking two weeks off, and our first time in the outdoor. I should have just kept my mouth shut, because it went great!  Oats was super, and once we got through the course he started really flowing. He started off sticky and backed off (due to the change in footing I believe) but I was quite happy with how the course rode.

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Bonus: We now have rocks to jump, thanks to Nicole and Brenda buying jumps from the other trainer Karen. And Oats jumped them without any issues! Yessss!

It feels so so good to ride again. I always miss him when I am travelling 🙂

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!

“First you take a drink. Then the drink takes a drink. Then the drink takes you.” F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I had a jump lesson last night- I wasn’t 100% sure how it was going to go, as this week I did have my ‘surgery’ of sorts and underwent anesthesia…So I figured, just go with it!

And you know what? It went GREAT!

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I am a good boy!

We worked over a small course that had a 1-stride x-rails, 2-stride bending off a sliced skinny, and TWO oxers. Gasp! I know, oxers make a reappearance…But don’t worry we worked up to it, haha.

And Oats was going great, he was jumping kind of flat but very honest and eager, and with every new crazy thing (slicing so many skinnies) he didn’t put up one fuss. Just calmly and honestly cruised over everything. I could tell when he was thinking about chipping (and yes the two stride didn’t always ride that well…gulp) but overall I was super pleased with his attitude, how fun the lesson went, and how brave I managed to be?! Who is this girl?

At least one of the oxers and one of the single fences went to 2’6” and I didn’t even notice? I did think the oxer looked higher, but wasn’t really sure. Oats really had to start thinking about ‘jumping’ and less about ‘cruising’ over the fences. That meant I had to tighten up my core, focus more on packaging his canter so I could get more power, and less strung-out pony.

We did have some ugly spots where Oats was surprised by the increase in height and we fumbled over them, so Nicole made us do just the oxers on their own- the rest of the course rode great. I squawked about doing just the oxers- scary!! But sat with that for a minute, drank a bit of water, Oats and I caught our breath, and  just…did it. Nicole said if we aced it right off the bat, we were done–but if we bungled it, we had to do it again, haha.

With that on the line, we cruised up to the first oxer and just flew over it! And then sliced the skinny, and headed to the next oxer- effortless! We were done! It was as perfect as we’re gonna get, and I was so pleased with the lesson, and Oats. 🙂 What a nice ride.

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.

 

 

Friday fun: Let’s go to the beach!

 

And swim with a good ol’ Nemo jump! kuna

Due to a new WordPress change, I am having difficulties loading any photos into my blogs, so you will just have to imagine a big inflatable Nemo, that we all jumped our horses over! Stupid WordPress! ARGH.

The awesome Nemo jump was courtesy of friend Sarah, who has a very unique eye and a talent for creating fun, crazy and freaky jumps for our ponies to play over! 

I had a lesson with my trainer Nicole yesterday and I had a GOOD TIME! Yes!! I felt like Fuck yeah!

Finally! hahah

We schooled canter circles outdoors, it felt kind of hot and god, I wanted to ‘wimp’ out, but I didn’t. I felt like, I have to start taking responsibility for my pony’s actions. I have to get him going and get him ‘angry’ ie- kind of on fire! 

No more making excuses. I can start pushing his buttons, and mine too!

So, we schooled a warmup, and then cantered over the little red panel fence. Then, we did a small round of 7 jumps, including a few lines and the Nemo jump. My goal for yesterday was to pretty much jump the Nemo jump. I’m so transparent haha. 

Went well! So well that we had to do it again! But this time, there were 12 jumps. Eeeek! I don’t think I have ever voluntarily jumped that many in a row, haha.

We jumped the flamingoes, the Nemo jump, a small two-jump combination, the red and white striped panels, the ‘road closed’ jump (and almost had a stop at it, holy..I thought he was over until he wasn’t! tricky!) and the ‘brick wall’ jump.

The entire ride, I had ‘periods of intensity’ echoing through my brain. I can do intense for this long..

And it was good! We had the 1 icky jump- the ‘road closed’ but recovered. I did get a bit left behind during the combination (couldn’t remember if it was a 1-stride or 2? Oh well!!).

So…I have to step up to the plate. For both of us.