Le me be mine

No jump lesson this week, as my trainer wasn’t feeling well and had to cancel. Bummer! But oh well, I used this opportunity to tune up Oats, and again kind of wished I was riding with a friend or in a lesson- I let his kind of ‘blah’ reactions colour our ride, and I wasn’t super thrilled with my personal riding, OR how I was reacting. UGH! Why do I have to keep picking at him?

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Who doesn’t love a good Oats?

I know my counselor has mentioned that these weird perfectionist drives will still resurface for me, but I always think I’ve got it licked…And then it bubbles up and ruins my ride. I want a strong relationship with my horse- NOT an angsty one. So I can’t continue to ride like he owes me something–he doesn’t. He’s a horse, and I love our partnership.

I’m looking forward to my lesson tonight, just to regain some perspective under the watchful eye of my trainer (dressage tonight). I think it’s crucial that when we ride, we do so without emotions–and for some reason, I was feeling edgy and tense last night. Oh well, I have to move on from it, and understand that this CAN bubble up, but I can choose to not engage- like I unfortunately did yesterday.

Also a friend of mine got¬†slammed through the x-tie boards yesterday, thanks to the horse she was leasing- he had a ‘moment’ ??? No idea what happened, but he violently swung his butt and basically pushed her straight through and she broke the board with her stomach. OUCH.

I checked in with her today and she is okay- no internal bleeding, just some impressive bruising. Jesus! Maybe that was why my ride went from ‘ok’ to ‘tense and angsty’…I know I am sensitive to accidents and have anxiety/fear about them. Yikes, it was just awful.

 

Horsey Beach Day!

I am so, so happy that Mr. Oats is back in action. I can’t even believe how frightening and stressful the past few weeks have been, for me and him ūüė¶ His cough subsided by Friday, and I zipped out to the barn to test him out. All clear!

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Ok so Oats looks a little unimpressed…But I was so happy!!

The only thing I was MAJORLY angry about was when I finished up with Oats and was putting him back in his pen, I moved his haynet and got stabbed with thorns. WTF? I pushed him away to investigate, and saw that to my absolute horror, his hay was FULL of  blackberry thorns. All weaved into the hay. For a horse just recovering from life-threatening choke and a horrible cough. I was seeing RED.

I put Oats into the barn’s crossties and pulled apart his hay. It was EVERYWHERE.

I pulled the flakes apart, and removed all of the blackberry thorns. I then texted the barn manager to let her know, and let the feeders know that if he eats blackberry thorns, he could die. This is serious.

But on a happier note, I caught it when I was there- weird because I’m not even usually at the barn on Fridays, but I couldn’t wait to see how his cough was. Good timing??

I do still feel angry that potentially his choke was caused by the shitty hay with blackberry thorns in it. Like, what the everloving hell?

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Anyways…I had to cancel my dressage show because his cough was so nasty, but my friend suggested we try a beach ride instead? And so on Sunday, that’s exactly what we did! And I had BLAST!!!! Oats was a little freaked out but settled well (deep sand will do that, ha. It tired them right out). I am so lucky to have another chance with old Oaty.

Life is showing me to take any opportunity. There may not be a second chance.

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Snow?!

Yep it snowed here. Things have been insanely busy at work, coupled with a nice but fairly boring (ie- no big events) weekend, and some rides that are fine by themselves…Not much to blog about!

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The view today. Brrr.

I did bash the everloving hell out of my knee on Sunday- got too ambitious doing a turn to a pole and absolutely clobbered the jump standard and sent it freaking flying! Ouch I have two bruises now.

Every ride- the ride itself has been fine but then there is always just on THING that happens. I want one ride that is 100% uneventful- is that too much to ask?

Sunday- whang the hell out of my knee. Oats takes it all in-stride, no prob. While I am leading him back to the arena, the maintenance guy is working on the sprinklers to drain them (see cold weather/snow) and they go off in a terrific¬†HISSSSS behind us. Oats is like WTF?!!! sigh…

Monday- Ride goes well, Oats feels stiff but works out of it well, and I think he was feeling cold-muscled and kind of ‘up’ because his trot was like Trot TROT trot TROT and very up and down, not so much forward.

Got a really fun ride in where we schooled poles like a jump course, Oats was steaming after! He had to be cooled out for a long time…When raccoons got in a fight outside the indoor arena, hissing and growing at each other. Freaked Oats right out! I hustled him up to the barn to cool him out in a more relaxing environment…

Just one ride? A non-drama ride?

Oh well!

When bad things happen to good people

I don’t want to write a lot about this, mainly because it’s not my story to tell. But I can’t just let it go on and leave everything ‘sunshiney’ and happy, because that’s not life and it’s not reality. My friend’s parents were recently involved in a tragic accident and her father passed away.

I found out shortly after finishing my race up in Cedar, and was in shock when I found out. These were great lovely people, who I knew through living with my friend on and off over the years. Fun, adventure-loving parents who meant the world to their daughters. They had retired and were living the life! And then this happens.

I have been sharing what happened with others close to me (my sister, my parents, my husband) because I feel like I can’t shoulder this news myself. I need others to hear it, hear what happened and understand. It’s so very sad, and sudden, and horrible.

It feels like these things happen in waves, and it seems so strange to me that the people close to me are caught in this wave. My heart goes out to my friend and her sister, who are facing this heartbreaking reality day-to-day. In just one day, one moment, their lives were changed forever.

I want to help, want to make a difference, but don’t want to interfere or anything.

A moderate change of plans

Jump lesson got cancelled last night, last minute, because my trainer got hurt in a pretty serious fall. I’m in touch with her and she managed to escape with a concussion and some bruising, which is great, but still scary as anything!

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Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi. Wish we were outdoors now!

I knew something was up when I was tacking up Oats and the girl that rides before me didn’t come back up to the barn. So, I checked my phone and found out why…The accident happened at the stable that my trainer teaches at before she comes to our barn.

So, Oats and I were 100% alone for the evening. I was feeling a bit leery (Nicole’s accident was VERY fresh in my mind), it was nighttime, dark, and nobody else was riding with me or even at the barn.

But…

I was also aware that Nicole is not me, Oats is a very dependable fellow, and I could certainly lower some jumps and do a very non-threatening jump school, safely. So, I did! And it felt pretty darn good actually.

We cruised over the three small fences that I had lowered, and Oats was great. I had a fun time, and we got pretty sweaty doing the little jumps. It was just plain fun!

The footing is still a big issue though- clay continues to pull up from the boggy/mushy part of the arena, and it’s tough to avoid those sections as they take up a bit part of the ring. Man…I wish we could ride outside too. ūüė¶

I finished up with some no-stirrups sitting trot, focusing on some more deep inner bend from our dressage lesson on Tuesday. Oats, while a bit confused about why we weren’t jumping, was fairly amenable to this. I do want to make sure he doesn’t completley ignore my aids when we are jumping–he has to remain flexible and listening at all points, not just when it’s ”dressage” time.

We have rescheduled my jump lesson to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and I’m interested to see what Oats brings to the table. And also I hope my trainer recovers well from her accident and takes it easy the next few days!

Life is something you do when you can’t get to sleep

One out of 30 isn’t so bad.

Being braver

Being braver

Had a jump lesson last night, and it did try my need for perfection quite strongly. I hate bad distances, crashing jumps, rails down, and chips (gah the chips!) and we had exactly 1 super bad jump- I misjudged and let my legs slip back a bit on the downhill, and Oats slid into the jump and took it out.

I kind of jarred my shoulder, but overall stuck it. We lowered it to an x-rail, worked through it again to the bending line oxer (it was kind of ugly), then rode it again to the oxer- much better!

I want this to look small to me.

I want this to look small to me.

I ended on that note, and it kind of took all of my courage to not completely wimp out when things went sour. I have a real tendency towards perfection, and when the rails start coming off the tracks, I backpedal and can’t seem to get going again.

My coach brought it home with this- so it was 1 bad jump-all the others looked pretty good! So what was I complaining about exactly? One out of 30 or so odd jumps isn’t the end of the world, and quite frankly, my need for ‘perfect rounds’ or flawless jumps is unrealistic and damaging – I’m saying this, she didn’t.

So we screw up and make mistakes- that is how we learn and how we change. Oats certainly didn’t hold it against me- he was a bit hesitant the next fence, but on the firm second try he was totally game. What an honest pony!

Sometimes he can be a saint and sometimes a devil- I need to trust him to make the right decisions.

And that brings me to today- not sure what kind of ride I might plan for tonight, but I’m going to take it a bit easier after our jump lesson last night. I don’t think it was particularly strenuous, but it was kind of a tough mental game for me- they always are.

I also worked quite hard on going into my jump lesson with a ‘neutral’ attitude – not grouching and not complaining about the jump heights- and did it work? Ha, sort of? I do still feel like i’m ”faking it” a bit but I am honestly trying to make changes in my mindset and my body. I also tried to make a real effort to breathe more (this happened in my warmup, not so much in my actual jump course, ooooops).

Though I did NOT say anything about the jump heights- even when they got bumped up to the ‘vaunted heights’ of 2’3”! OOohhh ahahhaha.

Go us!

Baggage (the fun emotional kind…)

As I mentioned in my ‘Derailed’ post, I have a real tendency to get thrown off track easily and then have a devil of a time getting back in the groove.

So, funny enough, my primary concern for my ride on Oats Saturday was wondering how his feet were going to be, after his run-in with stones in his feet and the potential stone bruise. He does have sensitive feet, you know!

Well, I didn’t have to worry…

He was rocking it. On fire! So much so that when we were warming up, casually walking and trotting (and I NEVER let my guard down in the outdoor, NEVER), he spooked and¬†spun so hard at the ‘spooky corner’ that I came flying off and landed on my back and bad right shoulder.

SHIT

So, my ride went from ”hmmm wonder how his feet are going to be” to BLAM on the ground.

Within five minutes of getting on. ARGH.

I was on my back, but then I was back on my feet and didn’t feel that bad…And it was only the beginning of my ride, so I hopped back on and continued. Funny enough, he wasn’t spooky really at all- it was just that one freak thing? He was full of beans though, cooler windy weather will do that, so I took advantage of his energy and worked over some small fences.

Later that day, I went for a 15km slowest, most terrible run with my husband. My god, I felt sooo slow and soooo drained, but we kept going. That maybe should be a sign for me, since during the night my back was KILLING me and I could barely get out of bed in the morning the next day. I am clearly a genius…

And because I am a genius, I still rode on Sunday too. Eek. I did mitigate my risks though- it was windy, blustery with a chance of thunderstorms so I rode indoors (and of course it was beautiful)… Wish I could say the same for my ride. I was still edgy and anxious, and pissed off at Oats. I took my pain out on him during my ride.

My back didn’t really hurt while I was riding, but boy, it sure hurt before and after! He was a fairly good pony, a bit confused about why I was riding him so edgily and angrily, but I softened, (not much though) and we worked on a pole exercise.

It was another lesson to me – one I learned when my mom fell off Oats in May in the outdoor and broke her arm- that I really, really, really shouldn’t get back on the next day to either tempt fate or challenge myself or challenge Oats. Why, why why do I do this?

Well, anyways I did it- It wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible. It just was NOT a shining display of how I can normally ride, in a nice partnership with my horse.

I need to not get into it like this. I thought I was getting better about not picking a fight the day after when I’m feeling hurt or emotionally upset, but apparently I’m not 100% perfect about it yet either…

I just feel disappointed in my fall, a fluke accident, but it almost works to confirm my belief that YES, there IS something to be worried about riding in the outdoor, in the scary corner. After all, my mom broke her arm there a few months ago! He’s always bad and on-edge there, and this most recent accident works to concrete that fear in my mind. Shoot.

I hope I can get past that, and get back to the positive progress I was making- both with my horse, and with my mind.

Danger

Saw the scariest thing last night- it was accidental, as many horse-related incidents are, but my GOD it was incredibly dangerous and SO frightening.

I normally lesson on Tuesdays with another adult rider, we take a semi-private dressage lesson together with Karen Brain. Since I hurt my shoulder at the show (and it was feeling much better, but didn’t want to push it) I came and told my riding partner I wouldn’t be in the lesson, to please tell Karen that I was coming to hack today only.

So, I came down a bit later, and a lesson had just finished up. The adult rider was in the ring with Karen, and Nicole, our other trainer, and another student rider with her leased horse ‘Tim’.

I was at the gate of the indoor when I saw the student longing Tim, and watched for a moment- and then he went PSYCHO! Bucking, galloping, kicking out as high as the 6-ft jump standards?! I have NEVER seen him act like that and I was shocked!

The student lost her grip on the longe line and Tim bolted around the arena, that had the poor adult rider on her horse, Nicole, and Karen in it! It was sooooo scary! He was bucking, kicking out, going at top-speed. I was sure he was going to run into something and break his neck or crash into the poor adult rider.

I also thanked my LUCKY STARS that I had paused outside the arena for a moment. Good lord, I’m not even sure why I did but my intuition was bang-on right there. We were safe.

Tim galloped around like a dangerous lunatic for awhile, finally coming to a frantic stop near the adult rider and her horse, who also thank god, took all of this in stride and behaved perfectly.

Nicole caught Tim, and then the student leasor brought him up to the outdoor longe ring to get the ‘sillies’ out, and he was much calmer, from what she told me. We were both stunned. Just STUNNED by this nutso behaviour. SO dangerous, and scary as hell!

I got on Oats once Tim left the ring and I was freaked out. Nervous and anxious.

Oats was a total gem, willing, quite forward (for him, in the indoor at night= snooze-fest) and nice to ride. I kept it VERY short and just hacked him lightly, as my shoulder still felt a bit sore. Also, frig I was shaken. So shaken.

That was one of the scariest moments I have witnessed lately in horses.

The general¬†consensus¬†was that Tim was excited by the new horse in the barn, ‘Java’ and he¬†basically¬†just lost his mind at her, as she was there for his first-time freakout. ???? Oh and apparently the first time he lost it, he kicked out and got his leasor- the student- on the forearm. I’m going to check and see how her arm is feeling today…

Yikes.