Can’t get enough of myself- dressage update

So I signed up for a dressage show (yes it’s been a few years, yiikes) so I figured in my lesson last night, we should work on some elements of the tests. HUMBLING. Wow.

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What Oats would rather be doing. Also, why isn’t it summer anymore here? Godammit!

It was a tough, tough ride and I had to get ‘real’ with Oats, who thought he could outlast me. He was wrong! But I got tired, bigtime haha. He fussed, he fought, he threw a small hissy fit, we had to go back to the walk to confirm him, and then back to trot, then back to walk when he started fussing too much and protesting, then back to trot…rinse, repeat.

It was pretty exhausting, and my hip started to cramp up. I’m noticing more charley-horse leg episodes in my dressage days on Tuesday, likely due to the amount of work I am putting in on my legs from the running/longer run days on the weekend. It shows me that with the increasing amount of physical exertion, I need to adapt and get better about using electrolytes instead of just forgetting and then getting a major charley horse in the middle of my ride, AGAIN.

The last one I had really hurt, and it damaged my leg muscle for over a week! WTF?

Anyways, so the lesson was long, and tough and kind of an ego-killer. But you know, Karen said it was one of the first lessons where I was able to get firm, and fairly tough with Oats, and KEEP doing it. I didn’t give in, get upset (though it was certainly frustrating) I just kept.at.it.

So, yeah to sum up dressage= very hard and tiring and now what am I doing signing up for a dressage show? So I can show off my mediocre work and lack of progress?

Well, I do want to show off my fancy new dressage boots. So, there’s that!

Oats did get an apple as a treat from my barn friend, which was very nice of her. Also he was offered some really lovely fresh-cut long grass from my other barn friend. Greedy pony gobbled it right up!

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Race Recap: MEC Race #3 The Tape Breaker!

I ran this one solo, no friend, no husband to join me but I was fine with it. The race moved from last year, the Sooke Potholes location. I really loved the Sooke race–I was fairly new to half-marathons, and found it quite difficult and hot, but the track, the scenery, the weather…so gorgeous!

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So when they announced a new venue I was kind of feeling crabby about it.  One of my favourite races was Sooke even though my time kind of sucked last year, just because of the lovely memories of it. So how was Royal Roads going to measure up?

Well! I can say I am very glad this was was changed when I was more comfortable with running the halfs, that’s for darn sure. It was quite a bit tougher, in terms of terrain to negotiate and the hills. Oh, the hills…I assumed it would be hilly but doable, but when you start with 2k of sloping hills, and then run up Wishart Rd–kind of kills your will to live!

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I’m not gonna lie, the first 10k I was feeling pretty surly at myself. My pace sucked sucked sucked, my legs felt really dead–I looked at my watch at the start and it was saying paces like 5:37, 5:40–at the START of a race? WTF was going on? Why so slow? Well, the slow was due to hill running, genuis! hahah.

It was a combination of gravel, pavement, some road running, then hill/road running, more trail running (roots) and back to gravel. A more technical half than I am used to, but you know what? At 12k a volunteer shouted to me–”Hey you’re half way there!” And I smiled and felt instantly better. Sure I am! Funny enough, having to muscle my way up a really long/steep hill made the time pressure much less for me. I was not going to get my goal time that I got at my last half- 1:45. So I might as well enjoy the process!

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And I did! It was still very hard, I was running dead alone for most of it–not many in the middle ground like me, some very fast runners ahead of me, and slower runners behind me, but nobody with me. It could have been very lonely, but I was fine. It was a hot day, I was sweating so much it was splashing off my ponytail 🙂

I made sure to stop at every water station and drink Gatorade too. I wanted my race to feel SO much better than last time, when I felt like dying and it was horrible. And you know what? I finished STRONG! Happy! FAST! *well, you know…

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My time was 1:50 and you know what? That is totally ok. I know I am capable of faster- on a different track- but on Sunday, that was good for me. I ran a race I am happy with. Congrats to MEC for putting on another affordable, well-run race for everyone, and I love the photos too!

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A strong finish. Thanks to MEC for another great race.

Mr. Oats, a non-genius

Had my dressage lesson last night and it definitely came with some frustrations.

Item 1: Oats, not wanting contact at the trot, hops into canter. Repeatedly.

Item 2: This makes our exercise, going over trot poles, hazardous and irritating.

Item 3: I was tired!! It was a very physical lesson. They always seem to be right now.

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he was not this sweaty, but close!

So…We attempted the exercise- a good, bouncy trot over poles in a circle. Many times. To the left, he was actually getting it and I had some connection through my right/outside rein. To the right? Trot-CANTER-trot-CANTER-trot-CANTER

We bumbled up/over/through/crashing/rolling/jumping over the poles.

GAK.

We’d go large, attempt to establish some sort of semblance of connection and even then, it just wasn’t happening. It was still trot-HOP-trot-HOP.

So, the next time he went to canter w/o me asking, I hauled his pony butt into a very firm hand gallop of a canter. VERY firm. A ‘no joking, no hanging out, no easy-going lope’ canter. A hell of a canter. And I had to repeat this little message more than once. It was tough! I wanted to trot! I wanted to take a break!

We went back to the poles, and wonder of wonders, after oh, the third time of really spanking him into a correct canter, he ‘gasp’ trotted~nicely too! I was too slow to let him stretch, which Karen reminded me was important. So, I tried to be quicker about rewarding his efforts in the trot, which were very nice when he did give them to me.

This work- particularly on the right rein- exposes a lot of my and Oats’ weaknesses. It’s pretty ugly sometimes and I was complaining about the hop-canter ‘phase’ we seem to be in, and Karen was saying well, it’s part of the process and it will take you as long as it takes you to get over it, eh?

Also- he is getting much better about a nice forward canter when I am in the canter, something that we really struggled to achieve last year.

Progress?

And the non-genius part- I was grabbing my water bottle and drinking from it, when Oats gave a very vigorous shake…Shaking half my water bottle all over the both of us and almost dislodging ME! ARGH.

That pony!

Newsflash- Mr. Oats is no longer a lateral superstar

Yes, he’s had to relinquish his crown, as he was definitely on the tougher side of shoe leather yesterday to get to ‘move laterally’ as it were! ARGH.

Looks can be deceiving!

Looks can be deceiving!

Karen remarked that Oats had a sparkle in his eye and I was like, yeah I bet…A sparkle of naughty behaviour! Ha! He was pretty jazzy at the walk, like pushy and rude and didn’t want to go-over in the against-the-wall leg-yields. He pushed, he pulled his head up, he tried to charge off, oh Oats.

And then we worked it off in the trot and this is the thing I really liked about the lesson- we didn’t spend too long getting worked up about anything- it was leg yield at trot, come into a 20-metre circle at ‘A’ for some light canter work (mostly transitions because frankly our track SUCKED OUT LOUD for some reason, hahah) and then back to leg-yields using bend and then counterbend, and back on a circle, etc.

So, it was very productive even if Oats was a tad…obstinate and a tad wiggly. My foot got banged against the walls of the arena ALL LESSON! I was starting to feel like he was trying to scrape me off on purpose, jeeeeze. Karen assured me he wasn’t trying to bang me into the wall on purpose though, even if I had my suspicions- he was just wiggly trying to find his balance and ‘rocking’ around a bit against the wall and my foot!

Weak points include keeping the track at the canter to the right- definitely still not where we want to be at this point, as I was keeping him counterbent just to make the outside track happen. Also our lateral work can generously be defined as ‘in progress…’ left lead canter was better, as was his attitude towards group cantering, meaning I didn’t get charged off with or bucked off when we had to canter in a circle with our fellow lesson-mate.

I am canceling my dressage lesson next week as I have an evening with David Sedaris coming up! YEAH!!

What we know now

So, I took a step back this weekend and just sort of mucked around on Oats, didn’t canter and didn’t push for the canter- obviously, because I’m a big chicken who is afraid of getting smashed into the ground when I ride alone…

And I wanted to kind of see how his chiropractic appointment played out- not gonna lie, I was pinning some of my hopes that this was what was causing his absolute shit-ass behaviour.

So the appointment was today, I gave him yesterday off (I don’t normally ride Mondays, he and I both need time off) and what was the verdict?

Not really sore anywhere and nothing extensive to work on.

WTF?

So….

His absolute, shitty, horrible nasty behaviour is…Not pain related? Or at least, not his back?

What gives? Ugh. Now this leads me to think of 1 thing- this is definitely attitude related and now I have to, *shudder* work through it? UGHHHHH. NOO.

Seriously, I am ready to kill him.

Or at least, subject him to a serious ass-kicking, Karen Brain style. That’s right, I wrote my lesson friend and said I was cancelling my lesson this Tuesday because I wasn’t sure how things were going to go with Oats and chiro, and I didn’t want to push him too hard if it was pain-related (I’m not a terrible person, you know!!). But now, this changes everything. EFF THIS.

I pay WAY TOO MUCH to deal with getting my chain yanked around by a bratty, rodeo punk.

So, I’m going to suit up, and just see what she recommends given I have done at least some of my due diligence. I’m just having flashbacks of last weeks’ lesson, and how it ended in my crying my freaking eyes out and feeling miserable…Well, I just hope that I can keep a positive mindset and work through this issue.

So I figure I will bring him down, and bring a longe line too. Just in case.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH this is NOT better though.