Devil like me: Dressage lesson recap!

This has been a crazy week. Crazy. Ugh.


Next week is looking equally nuts. Great…

Anyways, enough of my griping. Oats and I had our semi-private dressage lesson last night and it went fairly well, considering he was stiff as all hell when I was warming up. Seriously, he was so stiff and moving laterally that he almost fell over cantering a circle. Yeesh…

He is on Previcoxx right now to see if it helps with any arthritic changes/stiffness but it’s too soon to really measure. The biggest issue we have is when it is pouring rain, Oats sits in his shelter all day= not moving around and getting stiffer and more ouchy. It was HAMMERING rain yesterday, moonsoon-style for most of the day…

And boy did he feel it. So our exercises last night were focused on bending/flexing some moderate lateral work and more bending. YAY! …It was ok, Oats was moving better and better, he had one sassy buck-jump when I tapped him in the trot leg-yield. His response: NO!!

…then ok.

I am happy to say it did work to loosen up his stiff joints, poor old guy.

He was sweaty after. The countdown is on to his next clip job… C’mon c’mon!

Winning the battle = winning the war

So after my aforementioned war with Oats on Sunday about lateral work, and moving off my right leg with out a major hissy fit, I was …concerned about how Tuesday’s semi-private dressage lesson would go.

Good or bad?

Well, it actually went pretty well! Turns out that having ‘it out’ with Oats on Sunday and making him do his homework actually made our lesson on Tuesday much smoother. He was moving off my right leg (finally!) with minor disagreements, he was a bit locked up on the right throughout the whole ride but nothing terrible, he was just better on the left, haha.

So, we warmed up with head-to-the wall leg yields left first and then right, and then worked on some trot work with a big bend and a leg yield (we kind of sucked at this to be honest), and then canter work that loosened Oats up and let him move forward (much better at this). He was starting to get kind of balky and rude at the trot, and the looser canter sort of let him ‘let go’ of his attitude.

We ended on the left, with a squeezy trot and big deep low neck, to a canter transition, back to the squeezy trot. I was pretty impressed with his attitude towards this work, and as Karen noticed, his endurance is improving. Ie- his hissy fits and temper tantrums are more minimal, and start happening much later in the ride, rather than halfway through, which was more typical.

So, progress people! I’ll take it!

Good pony Oats.

A not-so-progress weekend

We all have these I guess. The grey days, in a funk, blah rides. Though check out this pic- even on his most blah days, Oats is a cutie! Taken on Saturday:

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Also, Oats got his vaccinations on Friday and he felt really ‘off’ on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, his canter felt terrible. He was scrambling, couldn’t keep the gait, felt like he had about 10 legs going at once, and was very unbalanced. I was like WTF? After our fabulous rides this past week, I was quite disappointed to have such a lousy ride…

Then I clued in that he most likely was feeling sore and out of it. Fair enough, Oats.

I let him graze for about an hour in the outdoor arena while I worked on it, digging up grass clumps. I do think he had the better part of the deal though!

I went for a fairly good 15k run with my husband on Saturday after I finished riding and working in the outdoor. In retrospect  I was running on legs that were already feeling tired. I was complaining on Friday that I felt tired, really tired. Like, I came home and lay down- on a Friday?! I was THAT tired, I guess.

So, running on Saturday after riding and digging in the arena was probably a bit much but it felt pretty good. AND I saw a seagull fish a crab out of the ocean and start smacking it around. The poor crab didn’t stand a chance, even when the seagull dropped it a few times!

Sunday, I tried again with Oats and he still felt very ‘eh’. His canter was improved, but his trot got worse. He could.not.bend.right. for the life of him! I tried everything, and he cranked his leaning to the left.

It was frustrating…And yet again, I figured it was stiffness due to the vaccination. I guess it was just hitting him harder than usual? So, two days of me feeling like I don’t know how to ride my pony, and don’t know how to run anymore either. Positive progress? It’s a bit of a game of snakes and ladders, haha!

Oats had Monday off, and so I did I. We normally take that day off to decompress, and give he and I, a fresh start to the week. We have our dressage lesson today and after the weekend, I am not sure what I’m going to be getting from him…

Long may you run

Return of the semi-private dressage lessons! My lesson partner was on holidays, so Oats and had the luxury (torture?) of two private lessons, and one week off when I was recovering from running the half marathon.

No fear, we were back in action this week and Oats was in rare form…

Flinging his head around and being fussy at any sort of lateral work. NO! I don’t do that anymore!

Good- offering up a LOVELY canter when he was being asked for:

  • more trot,
  • contact in the trot,
  • bend in the trot.

All seem to equal = Ok mom! I will canter! It will be the nicest canter, because I don’t want to do any more of those other things.

I actually even let him canter large, and into a pretty fair circle, when he offered it up so nicely the zillionth time. That is not a bad problem to have right now, haha. I did get pretty annoyed at his arguing about things like mild lateral work, or bend, or going forward with *gasp* any sort of bend…

It makes my lateral work look and feel like the biggest pain in the ass and hard work!

Well, it is a phase right now. Next week he may be more cooperative. And let’s face it- small victories here with his canter. It was just so good. Wheee!

Wild rabbit season

Wild rabbit season

It was good to have my lesson partner back, and never fear, we were completely soaked in sweat (me more than Oats, hm…) after my lesson. Oats gave Karen a good staring at when she was leaving, haha. And I saw three wild bunnies in the paddocks when I was riding Oats back up to the barn! Happy Easter to you little guys. 

Cool Rummings- Lesson update, and weekend plans!

So, Tuesday was our regularly scheduled lesson with Karen Brain. I was ready. Or so I thought…I’m usually ready to get my ass kicked around the ring by her, but I was feeling pretty tired by the time the lesson came around and my resolve started wilting…

But no matter! We did a lot of ‘controlled’ work, ie- controlling Oats’ every body movement, including bend and pace around a circle and over trot poles. Interestingly, once we were through the poles, Oats wants desperately to lift his head, and TANK off.

“Bend? How about FORWARD!” He said to me. “Wrong answer, but nice try. More bend, pretzel up, bend, curve, slower,” is what I said.

So, it was challenging. He looked like a giraffe. My arms felt so tired!

Oats protests bending at the canter

Oats protests bending at the canter

After each trot circle over the poles, we worked harder at maintaining more of a ‘shoulder-in’ bend. And we took the show on the road too- large around the whole ring. GOD that was tough- it was like left-right-left-right fall in-fall out, ARGH.

He was being kind of jerky about it, because it was challenging. That’s ok. I told Karen I felt like we didn’t have any real ‘good’ steps, and she said actually we did- but that this stuff is HARD for Oats. And did I feel tired? My arms ache? That means I was mentally present during the whole ride, and that is also a small ‘win’ for us. Building mental stamina and ‘staying present’ instead of drifting is something we really struggle with.

More cooperative over the poles

More cooperative over the poles

So, even if it feels ugly, hell, looks ugly, something good is happening.

Oh and my weekend update? Surfing in Tofino and quite possibly attending the Otalith music festival! Hells yeah! I leave tomorrow morning and won’t be back until Sunday. Looking forward to a fun weekend with friends, a mini University reunion of sorts. Love those guys.


Mom, Oats and ILesson update time! * This is a continuation of yesterday’s post on weaknesses- in a way*

I’m going to take today off riding because I am unbelievably sore from going nuts with the electric hedge-trimmer the other day, and Oats got worked Sun-Mon-Tues. He and I both deserve a day off!

(and my blisters, ouch, need some time to themselves)

I had my lesson with Karen yesterday, and my trainer Nicole (who is also Karen’s student) stayed to watch for a bit too. It was funny! I actually got pretty frustrated at an exercise. I felt trapped? Like, I was going to be stuck working on this exercise that we were pretty horrible at?

We worked on walking around a sharp turn to a straight diagonal line, to a halt. Walk to trot, then walk- canter.

First off, none of us were even remotely straight. So Karen set up parallel poles for us to guide us to the halt. It looked quite narrow…

Oats wiggle-waggled all over it, I started getting frustrated, until Karen gave me an ‘out’- if I felt like we were going to run out or go all over, I could halt in front of it, and then go through them. And voila! All of a sudden, we were trotting straight through, and then she said by 2 or so goes, we would be cantering through no prob. And then we were!

I was pretty surprised!

And then she started getting picky about our leads. Right turns mean you get right lead, left turn you get left lead. I was NOT sure we would get the right lead. And then we were getting them! (Not without some fussy/fighting on Oats’ part. He was not interested in bending, and wanted to do more giraffe-style head straight in the air, not bending). (She said I needed to get more proactive in my frustration, and use that energy to get him bending) SOooo…. We trotted large a few times- BIG steps- bending right, Short steps sit trot- bending right, and then go to the exercise.

And wouldn’t you know, each time improved more and more.

We can do it!!

(photo courtesy of my dad, of my mom, Oats and I)


Riding is always simple, never easy

Riding is always simple, never easy

Love this photo, it’s how I feel in the summertime! I want to do everything- and nothing- all at once.

My ideal day? Ride Oats, do some jumping outdoors, go for a good long run (10k again?) and then grab an iced coffee or a cider and relax at the beach and read a book.

I frequently fall asleep at the beach- though after looking at my idea day, I’m not exactly surprised haha. There’s something so hypnotic about the sound of the wave, ambient noise of people talking near, but not that near, and the smell of hot sand, cold salty water.

Had a lesson last night- moved back to the indoor b/c the outdoor was quite hard, and I was worried about making Oats sore and sour after doing two straight days outdoors. You have to work up to riding fully outdoors and we are not quite there yet.

So we worked on bending, canter bend/counterbend with lots of breaking back to trot- oops! And leg-yield at the trot- transition to canter when we ended the leg yield. Was not a fantastic ride, but it felt more ‘thorough’ like we had lots of sort of chew over, rather than a YEAHHHH jumping ride that you feel exhilarated about.

Sometimes I go for the ‘easy win’ of a rush of good feelings in a jumping lesson, because the leg-yield/bend/transition/shoulder-in lessons are tiring, and you don’t get that WE CAN DO IT feeling…It’s much more subtle, and can get lost on me when I’m searching for that endorphin rush.

Riding isn’t necessarily about endorphins though, haaaa. Well, I did ride in the outdoors on Tuesday and it was much improved, and we cruised over a fence that caught my eye- unfortunately it was set up just to have a jump ‘set up’ and not necessarily for jumping! There was a pole a few feet tossed behind it, that I only saw when we were like, over the jump. Ooops!~ Luckily Oats is a nifty little fellow and handily saw the pole, jumped the jump and hopped over the pole, only tinging it slightly with his hooves.

Apparently the jump we hopped over was almost 2’6” and I didn’t even really notice- it’s funny, but the jumps in the outdoors seem less intimidating that indoors. It’s like they seem less significant when placed in a larger arena? Not sure why that is.