Busy week & bad weather = bad

Got some kind of bad news, although it was not unexpected, it did greatly annoy me and it looks like I will have to start seriously look at making some changes in my life. SIGHHH…Well, to be fair I did kind of start wanting a change this year, but I didn’t expect to be forced into it!

That’s life, I guess?

I was also reminded that that, indeed, is life by this quote (from a poem by D.H. Lawrence)

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.

 

Anyways, despite my title, the gloomy-ass weather today (pouring rain, grey skies, 12 degrees?!) things are generally ‘ok’ this week. Been practicing hard at dressage with my two lessons this week, and my run-throughs of the tests last night in my usual jump lesson went better than expected! Ok, our overbending was an issue and Oats wanted to goggle mightily at ‘stuff’ outside the outdoor arena, but kept his shirt on and we made it work out pretty well! Also, picking up left lead canter going downhill in the outdoor= not happening. Ha.

I was in kind of a grouchy mood about the aforementioned life change, so I was extra glad my lesson went smoothly.

And for the busy week? I have something every single day this week- Mon- ride, Tues- dressage lesson, Wed, dressage lesson (a theme eh? ha), Thur- track meet! Fri, work drinks, Sat- Hopoxia (a beer fest), Sun- the dressage show!

Crazy eh?

Oh well, life is for the living and I’m gonna damn well live EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!

(I say that sitting my butt on my chair, doing nothing at the moment, oh well).

Now boarding the struggle bus

Jump lesson last night and woooow…I was just NOT clicking with Oats. I have no idea why (hmm, maybe the death of my friend’s dad, my car being an idiot and having to pay a repair bill this week, oh and feeling overwhelmed at work?), yeah I have no clue!

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So easy and yet so hard??? Why??

So anyways, we set up a small gymnastic and I absolutely flailed my way through it. Smashed my face on Oats’ neck when he went to canter it, as I awkwardly fell back, and then forward, and then BANG! Face meets neck. Ouch!!!!!

Well, I don’t know how to to ride today, was my immediate thought.

It got ok, and then worse, and then…well I don’t know.

We worked through the gymnastic w/o reins, because clearly I had relinquished my rights to riding normally with my idiotic display…Oats was also in fine form, wiggling, wobbling, taking off ridiculously early, heading for a chip, he even spooked?!! This is a pony who didn’t even blink an eye when geese were like, getting killed on the roof?!!

We had one really nice go-round, took a break to talk about cheerful things like death, and then I proceeded to go blow up another round. Greeeatttt….

Fumbled and tripped our way through the grid. Lovely.

Went to try grid again and fumbled and wobbled through it. Well, ok. Take a massive chip to the next fence. ARGH!

Single fence after that was good, and then headed back to the gymnastic. Oats leaps over, I flail wildly and pull him to stop, very narrowly missing the standards. Okayy…Take 2: We go over, I stay firmly planted in the backseat waving my arms..We make it over. Canter to the next fence, it goes well. Canter to a few more singles, also good.

I have a righteous fire lit within me, for some reason….You know grids are often easier for horses and riders? So, WTF is my problem?

Wow, it was kind of a rough ride. I have a headache today, thanks to my nose…I guess we need these rides to make us really appreciate the good ones??? Please tell me that is the truth!

Sidenote: I am making another appointment for a session with the equine counselor. It’s time for a tune-up.

Being comfortable with uncomfortable

Had a jump lesson yesterday and strangely, unlike last week, I wasn’t hyperfocused on the jumps themselves…I had some issues with my back being weird at work (still is, argh) so I guess that kind of took some of my attention away from…JUMPS!

That didn’t mitigate the level of suckitude though- oh man. Gymnastics, which up until this point this summer, I had actually been doing quite well at…Turned on me. And again reminded me about why I kind of hate gymnastics!

Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi.

Oh look, we can do oxers after all (from last year).

We worked over a four-jump gymnastic line of one-strides. All went well until Oats started being less generous with the last fence in the line- maybe he thought it was set a touch too far for him and decided, NOPE not gonna play that game today. And proceeded to slam on the brakes, and climb over the oxer. How that is easier than say, just jumping it, is beyond me…

But yeah we did that about four times, maybe 5 if you’re being generous. ARGH.

And funny enough each time Oats decided he would crawl over the oxer, he left it standing. How???

Gah, it was miserable. Uncomfortable, awkward, you name it, I felt it. I wanted to give up so hard. Nicole set the oxer in a bit, and dropped it down to a cross-rail with the oxer rail behind it, a bit more visually appealing for Oats. He still did it. gag.

But you know what? When I said no way did I want to do it again, Nicole was like, “What’s the worst that can happen? He slams on the brakes and crawls over. You’ve already done that a bunch of times, so what?” And I was like, yeah and it was the worst!!!!

But, she had a point. So we are sucking out loud at this today. Get it done and over with. We had another crappy go-round of the gymnastic, and moved on to a short course (that went really well, hah) and then tried the gymnastic again. One more failure, but I got proactive and spanked his butt over one of the jumps- he gave me quite the kickback for that, and one more time–and the message got through. Finally, we got it. Nice, forward, no crawling.

So, it took the whole lesson- multiple failures with the gymnastic- but nowhere did I really feel panicked or worried…Just kind of annoyed. I know that not every lesson can be flawless, sometimes you have to embrace the uncomfortable, shitty ride and know that if you see it out today, maybe next time will be better (or even the end of the ride will be better). Quite similar to my dressage schooling with Oats on Sunday- it was kind of a battle, but it was a battle worth doing and winning.

I see you, gymnastics from hell, and I raise you one successful go-around!

Oh and coursework remains one of our strengths….No wonder I’ve been having so many relatively flawless lessons lately, duh, no gymnastics in them! hahaha I’ve been fooling myself.

WW III on a few things: Lateral work, allergy season

UGH.

I feel like right now I am just a big ball of suffering. I am having a lot of trouble breathing, my ears are irritated (my ears people?!) and I am coughing constantly, constant post-nasal drip, running nose and sinus headache from hell.

Sometimes, I hate you!

Sometimes, I hate you!

I’m not sure exactly why my seasonal (year-round seasonal…) allergies are going completely psycho but I am having a SUPER hard time dealing right now. Suffer suffer suffer…I take two Reactine pills and they turn me into a balloon-headed zombie, and the steroids I also take DO NOTHING. Woe is me.

I rode yesterday (hence the WW III reference) and then came home and slept for 2 hours. WTF…

Oh and the riding. Well! Saturday Oats was super good, a bit pokey but generally had his game face on. We schooled some small x-rails to show off for my coworker’s husband and kids who came to say hi to Oats. It was cute, he was well behaved and a fun pony. A good time was had by all.

Sunday…

Oats vs dressage

Oats vs dressage

I was going to gallop in the field for a bit, but the wind started getting really nuts, my allergies were starting to get out of control and I was just.not.feeling.it.

The horses were kind of dingbats anyways, so I headed to the indoor to do some homework: read, lateral work, not the fun gallop Oats would have preferred. And he warmed up nicely, canter is still kind of a lousy work in progress, trot was good and his walk-lateral work off my left leg was lovely!

The right was HORRIBLE.

A battle. Like, a real struggle. I was pretty determined to not let him bully me, or scare me off, or get me frustrated, so I kept at it. He pulled every game out of his nasty bag of tricks- running backwards, throwing his head up and down, gnashing at the bit, yanking the reins out of my hands, running into the wall, hopping up and down, threatening to rear…

I grimly kept. At. IT.

I was talking to him the whole time, and I called him every name in the book, but was gently, consistently, persistently keeping at it.

I did not give up. I did not get mad and let him unfocus me.

It was going to take as long as it took, and boy, it really did. I was so done, but I also realized that in this little tempest in a teapot, if I let him get away with being a shit about this, next time I’d have double the effort to being a shit.

So, he banged his head against the wall, threw his head dramatically around, ran backwards into a jump standard, and was generally committed to being a giant dickhead.

All, rather than give in to my right leg pressure.

Yes, Oats is a freaking drama queen.

The ride that could have been short ended up being VERY long indeed. I was tired, pissed off and like…Really? This again?

When he (extremely grudgingly) gave me a few NICE steps over from my right leg, I went straight and let him stretch down long and low. He immediately snatched the reins and dramatically went to stretch but I let him go.

The whole ride took soooooooooooo long, but in the end, I was the one who won that day.

I hope Oats remembers it! I have no desire to repeat that little drama-rama.

And then as I said before, hopped up on too much allergy meds (which may actually have explained why I was able to zen my way though that miserable episode) I came home and slept for 2 hours in the middle of the afternoon…

Throwback Thursday: That one time in Vancouver…

Throwback Thursday to when I remember having a lot of fun riding a silly little pony- Starr!

A million years ago.

A million years ago.

I goofed off on her, ponied her off other horses, jumped bareback, rode in a horse show (??) raced another girl – on foot- and just had a all-around blast. I always said if I had two horses, one would be a show horse and one would be a tiny goof-off pony like Starr to bomb around on and just have FUN!

Go pony!

Go pony!

And how about my current pony? Well yesterday I did another equine counseling session and I relayed some things I have been struggling with (still). Fear of falling off due to a big spook in the outdoor, defensive riding, making better choices for both of us, having productive and GOOD dressage lesson and have fun galloping out in the field!

Pony jumpers with Starr

Pony jumpers with Starr

So, we took Oats to the outdoor and she demonstrated how to work him through the ‘spooky spots’ on the longe first, to establish a connection- this is key to what I feel I’ve been missing with him whenever he misbehaves or gets silly in the ‘spooky corners.’ He did fuss and fight a bit, but that got shut down really fast and the good, honest work began.

It was great to see, and productive for my poor overwrought brain to watch him behave in the scary corner. Now, to fix me and how I ride in the outdoor…A bigger challenge, perhaps?

Ego-crushing

Man, I’m really on a roll this summer eh?

Not so much.

I’m feeling fried, burned out, pissed off, frustrated, oh any other acronyms you can add to say unhappy? I’m not even really sure where this came from…My life is generally fine, no real ‘anything’ to be unhappy about.

And yet- in a cascade of doubt- lately I’m feeling piled-upon.

First of all, the horse. I had a MASSIVELY EGO CRUSHING and difficult lesson yesterday. It was HARD. Emotionally hard, unpleasant, challenging and I was almost in tears before it because of the way Oats has been acting, and I was DEFINITELY in tears at the end of it. WHy why why why why….I just felt like he’s been challenging me in subtle ways for weeks now, and it definitely came to a head yesterday. And I can’t find my way out of it again (will I?). We got through it but man, it was so hard. Every time I thought I’d ‘won’ ie- gained his acceptance of coming through the right rein, BLAM! Nope! Fighting allllll over again. And repeat. And repeat. We did get it in the end, but I was soo fried.

This, comes hot off the heels of another board raise notice.

Kind of double-whammied me into thinking why the everloving hell am I bothering? I pay the equivalent of an effing second mortgage for this stupid horse, who, I am not even showing this year and DEFINITELY not enjoying riding at this point?

So what is the point?

Board, lessons twice a week, anxiety counseling once a week, grain, shoes ($$$!), extra training lessons for Oats with my friend, all add up to….?? THIS? I haven’t had a fun or good ride since my last jumping lesson. WTF?

Yeah, so…

Work is like a grist mill and I feel like sometimes I’m in danger of falling in and getting ground up! I like what I do, but I’m feeling burned out.

My family (parental units) and a never-ending source of stress and I avoid them because I’m worried about how sad they will make me.

So…I’m tired. Of everything. Of everyone.

Leave no bridge unburned? Sometimes, I hate my pony.

So, back to dressage with Karen last night. Good and bad.

Summer Oats

Summer Oats

Bad: Oats is still being a weird asshole about everything in the outdoor. Balky, stopping suddenly and running backwards, when I counterbent, he just slammed on the brakes and refused to move, frightened, spooky, edgy, strange and not cooperative.

Good: Luckily, during our actual dressage lesson he toned down his crazy idiot behaviour and was great!

To be decided: What in HELL is making him act like this?

He is very relaxed, almost comatose, when we were cruising in the middle of the ring and then like when I try to push him to the outside of the arena he just gets super crazy, and tries to either scoot/spook or just slams on the brakes and starts running backwards. WTF??????

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Our dressage lesson was great though. So, we are in the middle of a change in our relationship that for the life of me, i CANNOT FIGURE OUT and I HATE OATS when he is acting like a moron. Seriously, I was so pissed off and frustrated before our lesson started I was almost in tears. TEARS! Stupid horse.

Anyways, I’m getting sucked into his drama and I really really hate it, and can’t seem to extricate myself reasonably.

The lesson itself was quite good- his lateral work continues to improve, he did stall out a bit but got out of it with minor shenanigans, we worked on walk-canter on very tight circles with minor success (it was actually hilarious) but also minor hissy-fits, so that was great too…And we did some work without stirrups (ouch my aching seat bonesssss) and Oats was very understanding about my bouncing and didn’t threaten to ditch me, he just went slower hahah. So, it’s weird- he was a total jerkface about going around in the ring, but in our focused and intense dressage lesson (mostly at a circle at the top of the arena) he was golden. Not perfect, but not an idiot- just trying, good and honestly trying.

I can appreciate that. What I can’t appreciate is the other side of him that wants to spook, bolt, slam on the brakes and then leave the scene. Even typing about it makes me MAD!

Sigh…Horses.

…to be continued, I suppose. I am taking tonight off – to watch Jurassic Park! And then jump lesson tomorrow. I can only imagine what that is going to be like?  He has been so good, and then SO BAD, and then good?