Hold onto something

After a disappointing week (ok, weeks!) of freezing, tons of snow, ice and blah leading to some serious cabin fever, I was OVERJOYED with how awesome the weekend was. And it was a long weekend to boot! Yes!!

I was able to zip out and ride Oats really fast on Friday and I so needed it! 

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Photo courtesy of Sarah C. 

I was also under a tight timeline because on Friday I took my husband out to dinner for our Valentine’s Day (I was supposed to have a jump lesson the actual day, and we all know how that turned out…) so our dinner was scheduled for the Friday. We went to Camosun College’s ClassRoom Restaurant and it was lovely! I highly recommend it- supporting the students and program, great food and very reasonably priced. Win-win-win!

Saturday was back to riding as per usual. There was still a lot of snow at the stables and the trip down to the arena was slippery and treacherous. I basically waterskiied off my boot heels all the way down, clinging to Oats’ mane. He was not loving it.

He was good to ride though, just lovely and even though he was irritating me when I was mounting up (grabbing at EVERYTHING ugh) he was focused and down to business for our ride. I also had another idea up my sleeve- begged my friend to come out to the outdoor arena with us to take photos! Basically the only good thing to come out of the massive amounts of snow.

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I loved it! Hahaha.

I also got a lot of running as the snow and ice melted and the sidewalks were safer. Yay! Went out for drinks on Saturday, and met up with a work friend for a run on Monday. Just overall loving life this long weekend. 🙂

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The machine that made us: Jump lessons!

Yesterday. Wow. So, the day went pretty seamlessly- work was good, it was fairly pleasant to run home and I was heading out to enjoy a walk with Gidget. I had my headphones in, and was listening to my favourite podcast at the moment (Casefile, check it out!) until my good mood came to a screeching halt thanks to an insanely rude, entitled neighbour.

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Dirty details don’t need to come out but protip: Confronting someone with ‘are you deaf’? pretty much NEVER goes well, you old crank. God, it really brought my happy mood down and raised alllllll of my hackles. Don’t mess with me. 

Anyways, I was amped and angry and then spent over an hour driving in traffic to the barn, leading to me rushing around and literally running to grab tack, horse, boots…Yeah. I was in an awful mood going into my riding lesson. Pissed, running late, angry, etc etc the proverbial black cloud was hanging over me.

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This sadly bled into my ride. I felt awkward, clumsy, not connecting well, Oats felt sucked back, tenderfooted and his canter? Ha, what canter. He could not hold the canter, warmed up feeling like a piece of cardboard…Yeah. So, success??

We worked over a few elements of the course in the outdoor and they went ok, until we strung them into a course. Ugh, horrible. I was getting left behind, riding defensively, you name it, I was doing it. I could NOT get in the ‘groove’ per se.

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We regrouped, and then went to tackle the course again- and Nicole suggested I let my body ‘flow’ more and focus on a big, exaggerated two-point bend/release instead of my stiff, defensive, ‘sit’ position. This would help Oats jump better too, as he would feel me committing more to the jump and not riding from the backseat (one of my bigger flaws at the moment).

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Brenda kindly gave Oats her old flymask after his other one got destroyed last week. Wonder how long this will last?

And wouldn’t you know, it worked! Our second course rode really well! Some bobble fences, but overall it flowed much better, we met the fences together, rather than Oats and then me, and it was overall just much more pretty and positive. A great note to end on! AND my friend was there, so I got video + screenshots from it. YES! Plus- I matched with Oats (on purpose this time) so we look pretty too.

So, from good, to really bad, to good again. A rollercoaster of a day!

 

Tell me how I’m feeling

Ended up at work yesterday feeling just horrible. Bone tired, sore throat, incredibly thirsty – and yet water could not quench my thirst- and just feeling terrible.

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Back to the indoor…

I lasted until about 11:00 am and then went home sick. A good decision, as it took me forever to drag myself home, took Gidget out, and went to bed. And slept for hours. Not a super great or restful sleep, I was sweating like crazy, my heart was racing, and obviously I wasn’t doing super well, but I needed it!

Gidget loved it though, ha. Her favourite thing is sleeping and naptime.

When my husband got home at 5pm, I couldn’t believe it. Where did the whole day go? Did I sleep for all of the afternoon? Yikes! I did end up going riding later, I was feeling better and less exhausted so I could make the trek out there.

Oats was great, we puttered around doing some flatwork and transitions. Mostly it was an excuse to watch my friend Mitch ride my trainer’s horse Query. She is having him ride while she is laid up with a concussion this week, and it’s been very educational to watch him ride the horse. He is a very talented rider who used to put rides on Oats and I was always very impressed with his soft hands, and very positive focus with the horses.

Last night was no exception, they looked great and even popped over a few x-rails. Nice to see!

I am back at it again today and feeling a lot better. I guess I needed to sleep for an entire afternoon??

Mr. Oats has an angry day

Oats was just…bizarre last week. I haven’t ridden yet this week (took Monday off because I was in a terrible mood and tired, felt I really shouldn’t bring that negative energy to the barn) so we shall see for my lesson today..

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Pretty much how Oats feels about life.

But yes, for Saturday, he was just…awful. Thursday he was cranky and grouchy, tired and phoning it in. Saturday he was SO ANGRY. Fine in the cross-ties, and then a nippy dragon in the ring! I went to tighten his girth and he tried to bite me, repeatedly. He swished his tail in the angriest horse way. He refused to let me get on. He wouldn’t walk forward, and when I asked, kicked out>??

Yeah, your guess is as good as mine? He wouldn’t trot, only hop angrily and pissily.

I gave up on the trot, and we went for a good, very forward, sitting & working canter. He was lovely during it! And then our trot work was pretty nice after too? So wtf Oats? Why the attitude? He dropped it once we had our good canter warmup but wow, he came out ready for a fight. This is definitely unlike him, easy-going Oats.

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Oats harasses his buddy Jim.

He is very perplexing this month. Last week was kind of an ugly week. Is he just feeling stiff, or is it something else, since he seems to work out of it ok?

Sunday, I decided to warm him up a bit before I got on by walking/trotting, turning circles, stopping and backing up in-hand, just to sort of see how he was feeling. I then tightened the girth very carefully, respectful of his feelings, haha. And he didn’t show any of the crazy snarkiness and anger of Saturday. So far so good.

I hopped on and he was a bit slow in the walk, but listened well enough to my leg with not so much tail swishing and I’m pleased to report- NO angry kicking out. He trotted nicely straight off the bat, no real hopping…And when he went to hop, it wasn’t as dramatic and pissy as before. Hm..

We cruised over a few x-rails, but mostly focused on the one thing I am struggling with: Straightness over the diagonal. His canter was fine, I actually didn’t do any ‘dressage’ canter with him (the super forward upright sitting canter) because he didn’t seem to need it like he did the other day.

It was a good and calm ride. Now, where is this horse all last week? I could use him back!

Oktoberfest at the Victoria Public Market

Last year we went to Stein & Dine at the Victoria Public Market and had a blast! It was a lot cheaper last year ($35/tix) and this year the price practically doubled 😦 at $50/tix but we went anyways and it was still a really fun time!

There were beers, ciders, the world’s smallest sausage- a micro-sausage? And fairly reasonable portions of pork schnitzel. I enjoyed ciders from Spinnakers (the pear cider was ok but boring, the raspberry-apple was great) and a Pumpkinhead beer from Fernie Brewing Company.

Our friends came and we all really liked this year’s entertainment- it was definitely beefed up from last year. The German dancers did the traditional log-cutting dance, the slap-dance, and this crazy move where they linked arms and swung these more petite German female folk dancers in this insane centrifugal force move. It was nuts! And VERY popular!

Hahah.

Not a late night but certainly a fun one!

Saturday I went to see how Oats was doing, and his nose had completely cleared up, though he still had a cough…He was quite lethargic though, and maybe I will chalk that a bit up to it being unusually warm out for October- it’s been 19-20 degrees everyday! Isn’t that crazy! I rode a little, nothing too much just to feel him out a bit.

Sunday, I went back and Oats had a lot more energy. I noticed that the evening feeder had both not seen my note on the dry-erase board about Oats having his dinner grain already in the feed bucket (it was his last day of meds, and I wanted to make SURE he got the right baggie of grain) and also didn’t look inside his grain bucket when she was feeding…So he got double-dinners that night.

I was kind of annoyed but I bet Oats was NOT complaining!

He had a lot of energy on Sunday. Tons! He still had a cough, but he was zipping around like his tail was on fire. We cruised over a few of the jumps set up in the outdoor a bunch of times, five max I believe, and did the barrels once too. I didn’t want to push him too hard, good mood notwithstanding, because he was just coming back from his infection…

He was very sweaty after the ride, big fur coat coming in with very unseasonably warm temperatures= white foam sweat on his chest???

He got a sponge down and some apples, and I’ve called the vet to tell them that he still has a bit of a cough – they recommended wetting his hay for the duration – so that’s my next course of action.

I’m glad the infection has cleared out of his snout.

And next weekend, weather and knee injury permitting, I am thinking seriously about running to the barn. Nuts? Maybe!

“You will have to go slowly. You will have to learn everything all over again.”

Just finished Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights Big City and the headline above is the final lines in the book.

And, I really liked it! The character at first didn’t call to me at all. I didn’t have sympathy for him at all…Until I did. As he says, there is a certain shabby nobility in failing all by yourself. It was then I could identify with his character, in delayed mourning and not dealing with life, at all.

After my frustrations of recent, I was in a bad mood yesterday. I was feeling lost, adrift, feeling like I was paying through the nose to either stay where I was or even move backwards. And don’t get me wrong, it is a TON OF MONEY. Horses=$$$$$$ eating machines.

But, as I was grousing and cranking at my husband about all of it- Oats suddenly being a total dink to ride in the outdoor arena, the spooking, the running backwards, the being an asshole in my dressage lesson, all of it…He was like well, that is not a bad problem to have.??

And I was like, well, what? I HATE riding my horse right now?! We’re not even showing and I like riding him LESS. WTF?

He said good, you’re not showing. That takes the pressure off! Do what you enjoy doing, leave the bad stuff behind. Don’t deliberately engage in fights or pressure or stress. So the outdoor is causing you trouble? Don’t ride in it, ride in the field and have more fun. He didn’t say this also, but I am going to get some more gutsy, capable riders to do a few training rides on Oats, to kindly ‘remind’ him about who is the boss here too…I feel better when I have more support and help. I’m not alone in dealing with a tricky pony.

And so, I thought you’re right. I’m not showing. What’s the big deal? I can ride in the field too and have fun!

Whee!

Whee!

So, yesterday I took Oats and we cruised up and down the field. Still the right lead was not pretty, and not happening much, but that wasn’t a biggie for me anyways. We cantered long, we cantered up a hill, we trotted around, up and down the hill, and everywhere!

I was actually grinning. Yeah!

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Run wild and having more fun

I have a jump lesson tonight, and you know what? We will just have to see.

Quiet Nights- A better ride & perspective

So- Jurassic World was fun! Not as good or as ground-breaking as the original, but hey, these days what is? I quite enjoyed it. Pizza, a beer and a movie- what’s not to like? I just wish I could have my pizza and beer with my movie, but that is a rant for another day, ha.

I had my jump lesson last night and it turned out to not be about jumping! I told Nicole about my frustrations with Oats- how we have been struggling with him being weird and spooky in the outdoor, and how I felt like I didn’t know how to RIDE anymore. How it was escalating, and I needed someone to run me through a ride there to just ‘deal with it’ and not let things get out of hand.

Because if there’s anything I know how to do, is escalate with Oats…UGH!

So, we promptly left the indoor and headed outdoors- it was drizzly but hey we’re not gonna melt. We dealt with the weird behaviours (I think what was rattling me so much was that this was SO unlike Oats?! It felt like someone replaced my normally unflappable pony with another, more terrible one?) And I did NOT like that feeling!

And we manged just fine. In fact, that issue very quickly turned into a non issue and then we were on to another issue (yes me trying to get Oats into a canter using only my hands…which is EXACTLY what I was dealing with in my dressage lesson on Tuesday..eeek!) We were also dealing with him breaking down to trot the long side on the right rein and this is chiefly due to him being unbalanced and wanting to break. Greeeat…

But, at least it felt nice to know I DO know to ride, I WAS riding, and these things pop up.

Phew! It felt like an alien had taken over my pony’s brain?!!