Oats is Oats

After all that running, I bet you think my poor pony is being neglected!

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Oats, looking as impressive as always.

Well, not so!

I rode him Saturday, and while I was determined to try some ‘collection’ work, I was equally determined to NOT drill the pony into the ground. And how did that pan out? Well, not so much on the collection, but he did get very sweaty and it was a fairly physical ride, but overall I was pretty ok about it.

We didn’t really get any collection, but I did figure some stuff out. Something I figured out too late- to really ask for that type of work, I have to start my warm- up very differently, ie- my hacking for a jump school warm up does NOT work if I am going to be asking for more ‘dressage’ type work later.

I needed to do more sitting trot, smaller circles, lateral work, transitions.

Hm. Ok.

So, yeah that was that. It wasn’t Oats’ fault- it was mine, on a expectations vs. reality type gig.

Anyways, I also rode after my race on Sunday to kind of ‘trick’ my legs into cooperating. I tried to ride last Monday after racing and wow, did it feel horrible. Burning legs, jello-o, wobbly…Not good. So, Sunday it is!

Our ride was very short as I also realized I was totally exhausted after the race, but I think Oats likes it when I’m like that…He’s very cooperative and fairly gentle with me. Puts up with me anyways! We did a light school, hopped over two small fences (left long to one, and short to the other. sighhh!) and did some brief transitions- walk/trot/collected/tiny trot/canter/walk…And that was it!

He was great, and I sure didn’t want to ride any more than that to be honest.

Riding on Tuesday and I’m SO glad I took Monday off this time. My legs were throbbing alll day yesterday, wow it was so painful.

Oats was good on Tuesday- the old problem of ‘no contact in trot= dolpin leaping’ reared it’s ugly head but I worked through it, in a way I am feeling more comfortable. Oats got SO sweaty though! Poor guy, it was running in rivulets down his face! I did try breaking in some new boots (Treadstone Tuscanys) on Tuesday and it made me feel like I didn’t know how to ride…Haha. On the bright side, they seemed to be MUCH easier to break in than my previous boots.

Riding tonight, and jump lesson on Thursday.

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No lessons, but still learning

Rescheduled my lesson from Thursday again to Saturday, due to coach time changes.

No prob, I thought I’d go early on Thursday, and see what kind of horse I had with me- well, I didn’t factor in that I was rudely interrupting Oats from his dinner (grabbed him to tack up before he had dinner and boy, he was pissed). He was antsy in the cross-ties, fidgety, snatchy and irritated.

When I went to ride, he was GOING PLACES.

I actually appreciate that on him, as most of our rides are me convincing him to get his pony butt in gear, but wow…He just kept on it. Our canter transition in the warm-up was a buck!

Not an obnoxious buck, a very enthusiastic one. He was like the Energizer Bunny of horses last night- going, going, going, going. I was getting tired?! We schooled over some (very low but fun) fences, trot a x-pole, canter the hay bales, canter the lattice jump, canter the x-pole and he was not tiring a single bit. Apparently angry Oats is energetic Oats?

I got tired of jumping and he was literally still raring to go. Need I remind you of how extremely unusual that is? His preferred movement is ‘stop.’ We worked on more canter, and then worked over tiny x-pole on a canter circle, both directions, starting with the left.

I know, me doing circle jumps on my own, voluntarily. Who is this person??

We switched to right, I wanted to try it at the trot and he would NOT trot. Only canter. Okay then…We cantered, and it was at times great, and other times, very awkward.

I then continued to work him at the trot, a bit of spiraling in and out – I know, it was A TON of work to ride him last night, just very physical- and he was okay but not really tuned into me at the trot.

We did some deep bend left and right, and big trot- he continued in big trot, which was surprising. He was much better at it on the right, which is not his good side.

I finally walked and even his walk was very motivated. I hopped off to cool him out, because by this point, he was so sweaty and needed a good long cool-down time.

I was tired! Wow! I do wish I had this kind of energy when I really need it- like during my jump lessons or in a horse show.

 

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.

Throwback Thursday: Sooke Saddle Club Dressage

Yes, this was us at our very first dressage show last May! 

I guess this is a sort of throwback too? Funny how we had just started dressage last year. We did W/T HCBC tests and then in the fall moved up to Training…And then hit a big speedbump (bucking) in the spring, and kind of gave up dressage after that. (Or gave up dressage shows, not sure exactly where I am with that right now).

ARGH.

Then again, I am sensing a common theme here…Going well, don’t push any buttons, and then BLAM! Buttons get pushed! It gets ugly! Back outta there!

Sigh…

The learning process continues…

Had a nice, very FORWARD ride yesterday on Oats, and then hacked in the field to cool out. I thought he was being a bit of a drama queen tossing his head with the flies, until I hopped off to get the gate, and his poor eyes were covered in flies! Oops sorry Oats! 

Lessons (hard learned)

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So, Oats had Monday off while I stewed.

Actually, I had a spectacularly grouchy day and cranked at everyone all day, and then went to the beach in the evening with my Kobo for some Zen time…and of course my Kobo was dead. Excellent.

Tuesday, I had another group lesson with Karen Brain. I almost didn’t want to…I felt stupid, frustrated, embarrassed. Falling off AGAIN at yet ANOTHER horse show? WTF? How do I tell people- who think I am a fairly decent rider- that no, I really do know what I’m doing, and at home, I am actually pretty good? 

(my coworkers think all I do is fall off my horse, by now!)

But, I sucked it up and went. It was hot, we rode in the indoor. I went in complaining. I told Karen what happened, how weird I felt, and how I knew Oats was taking advantage of me being out of it. And when I got angry, and kicked his butt, how great he responded.

And her insight was VERY helpful. I felt kind of emotional even! 

She said that my symptoms of dealing with horse show anxiety (even though I want to be there) is ‘checking out’ and the time I spent ‘checked out’ Oats responded negatively (stopping at jumps, slacking off my leg). When I was forced to ‘check in’ when I was FED UP enough, bingo! Got the results I wanted/needed.

She said I probably get in the habit of checking out with Oats because it is SO EASY to do. He lulls me along at a gentle pace, nothing too forward, doesn’t really misbehave…Until I ask for something. I don’t have enough ‘him’ to check myself in.

That is also why I find her lessons so challenging- I am made to be ‘checked in’ for a solid hour. 

Oats responds very positively to Karen.

So, she said we need to work on staying checked-in throughout a ride- building on smaller ‘stressors’ to gradually bigger ones, like a horse show.

And I need to work on staying present- bending, more leg, leg to the fence. It’s easy when a trainer is yelling at you, but in a show ring? You can yell at yourself- Go legs! Sit up! Sit Deeper! 

Honestly, none of this is new to me. The sliding, slacking ‘out of it’ feeling I have always had…I just need to hear it again, and again, and again. From multiple sources. Oats is not a horse I can ride ‘checked out’ anymore.

And have a horse show that I royally embarrass myself at. That is a good incentive too.

So, Karen set up a exercise of ‘leg leg leg!’ short gallops, checking-in at the canter, bend left/right, then cruise of a 1ft jump, then gallop, then circle, bend-counter bend-gallop…It was exhausting but good.

She said that I may not want to hear it, but the horse show was a good lesson (but a hard one) to learn. 

(Photo credit to the talented Christi Kay)

The Good/Bad/Ugly

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Oh man, where do I start?

I couldn’t have written this post yesterday or Sunday. I was too pissed off, confused, steaming!

Even now…ARGH.

Let’s start with the good: Had a really nice week with Oats. He did some pony riders for my mom, went in a jumping lesson with me and was GREAT! And we got some great shots out of it! And then we had a fun ride in the rain on Saturday, and then..dun dun dun…horse show on Sunday.

Just a small Appy show, but this is where the Bad/Ugly started:

We warmed up fine, he was moving out nicely until we hit the ring. He refused a warm up oxer TWICE! That is already unusual. He was slacking off behind my leg and lulled me in…

There were like 20 riders in my division, and so we sat, and sat, and sat and got bored and sleepy in the holding pen. Our round came up, and it went okay…I tried for a solid 5 in a line and blew it…got a chip to an ugly 6. Oh well, shit happens eh?

Boy, does it EVER.

My next round, I felt anxious…Underpowered. I didn’t feel like I had him WITH me, you know? He slid to a stop at the FIRST FENCE and I fell off over the jump, and pretty much landed on it.

Yes, I fell off AGAIN at a horse show. That makes two in a row, and my fourth fall off Oats since March. WTF>>>

I felt airheaded, fluffy and out of it. I couldn’t focus? It was so weird. I just kept saying I felt strange.

It’s true, I did. Couldn’t get my head in the game, you know? And boy did Oats feel it. 

We went in for our last round and he stopped AGAIN at the second fence in the line. This time? I got ANGRY. That is ENOUGH of you (and lets me honest, me too) sleepwalking through the rounds and taking me down the freaking daisy path here.

I spanked him, HARD.

Turned around in quick circle, and blasted him over the silly little jump he neatly ‘declined’ to jump over. Then I kicked his ass all around the course. Hesitate? BLAM! Slow around the corners? KICK! I rode him like I was on fire, and damn, if it didn’t go MUCH BETTER.

He is not a stopper, so I have no idea why he was riding like shit.

JESUS.

Let’s not have a repeat like that ever again. SHit! How does it feel like I’m getting better (more effective rider, my position is improving-you should see the pics!!) and getting worse at the same time? WTF is all I can say right now. 

I might take a break from showing for awhile. Clearly, I have some issues that need fixin’

Photo credit to the talented Kourtney Anne.

Summer loving

So I took Oats out to run in the field (read: canter very slowly, break into a trot at the top of a small hill, trot down the hill) and had a BLAST!

He was so good! Ok he was kind of a dick about going in and out of the gate, but otherwise? Lovely in the field. I love summer!

My ride on him in the ring went fairly well too, Sarah reminded me I was getting too ‘handsy’ and to let my hands drop down more, instead of pulling UP and HIGH like I have a habit of doing…I feel like it’s a bit ingrained, since Oats can be a little shit and buck on occasion. High hands= security?

But yesterday, I didn’t need security, he was good and we were cruising. I love the photos from it, be prepared for more of them! Yeah~

Took 3 days off due to family visiting/activities so no hard lesson Tues, just rode yesterday, have a lesson tonight, and then ride Sat and maybe horse show Sun. Yesss!

I am also posting TWO in one day because I have a feeling I will get too busy to do many more until Monday or so. Please enjoy!

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