Stuck under the surface

Dude, this week…For a short week, it sure hasn’t felt short. Work was an absolute shitshow. Everyone working flat-out all hands on deck style. While not physically tiring, I was SO.TIRED. by yesterday…brain tired I guess? Just fried. I know I’m not the only one, pretty much everyone feels like this.

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…To this day! 

I also had a dentist appointment, huge event, and riding lesson yesterday. I am mentally tired.

Dear god, this week!

Thankfully, Oats had his lessor resume lessons for November, so I was able to ride Monday, she rode Tuesday, and he had Wednesday off. That left me with time to stay later at work and not have to worry about trying to get to the barn. I had my lesson last night, and while my day/tacking up was clumsy (literally everything I touched fell into the dirt. EVERYTHING. Helmet, saddle pad, bridle, horse boots, my gloves…everything I touched fell on the ground)…The lesson itself was really good!!! 🙂

We worked on a series of x-poles in a bounce gymnastic and when that was going well, we moved it to NO HANDS people! I was terrified- even though Oats is a saint, I have a lot of trouble relinquishing control, particularly in front of the jump. I just want to grab! I ended up trying a few times and failing, until I finally managed to let go of the reins a good stride or two before the first x-pole and it went perfectly!

We then worked on a small course and all was well. What a little lovebug.

Dressage lesson tonight, and I hope it goes better than last week. He just felt really stiff and resistant on the left rein last week. UGH. It sucked, given our general rides/jump lessons have been so smooooth.

Good great fine ok: Jump lesson!

My jump lesson was not without some biggie mistakes- ie- really shitty screeching-to-a-stop chips (ugh!!) and my hands getting too high, and let’s not forget our fantastical fumbling through poles in a bounce exercise.

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Soon…

But you know what? I still had fun! AND this is big for me- got my coach to video it so I could watch it later (and still kind of cringe at my hilariously bad riding, but still…) I got it and watched it. Go me!

And go Oats!

We still had some really good jump efforts, and our work through the gymnastic bounce worked out really well in the end- in one direction anyways, jumping it through the other way was always kind of a ‘surprise’ for Oats until he recovered for the second and third element.

HA, silly pony!

I have a growing ear infection in both ears (yiiick) and was feeling really tired and crummy last night, so being able to carry myself to my lesson and ride through a lot of jumps meant a lot to me! They weren’t high, but hey, I did it!

🙂

Clinic of a lifetime- William Fox- Pitt!

That’s right, not only was I in Kauai for a holiday, but I had to rush back to attend the William Fox-Pitt clinic in Chilliwack the next weekend! (I am a hunter rider who dabbles in bad dressage, but hey, you can ALWAYS learn from an Olympian!).

See a bit about his story here.

William Fox-Pitt

William Fox-Pitt

I literally did rush back, took the red-eye flight from Kauai, hopped on the Skytrain, went to the station and got on the Greyhound. Rode the Greyhound into Chilliwack, called a cab, and cabbed to the Heritage Centre.

The first day- the day I missed the majority of- was dressage, and as much as I hate to say it, dressage in my view is more of a personal victory type of riding. Not so flashy, not so thrilling and difficult to describe to other people why you’re so excited about it…

So, the first day I got there around 2 p.m. and watched the upper-level riders work on their dressage and it was a bit boring. We left around 6 p.m. to head out for dinner – I was hungry- it was a LONG DAY and I needed a bellini or something to clear my head, haha.

The next day we got up super early (for me, ugh was still tired) despite my protests that I was SURE we didn’t have to get up to go that early…We didn’t, by the way. HAH!

Jumping was much more interesting. So interesting…Here’s what I picked up.

  • Horses need to ‘lock in’ to a jump. Ears pricked, looking interested.
  • By keeping them on their toes, they learn to anticipate the jump. This means doing warm up jumps at a trot and walk (eek), and doing strange things like all skinnies, and bounce skinnies!
  • Reins are pretty much always too long.
  • Rider bodies need to stay back. The bigger risk is jumping ahead or leaning up the neck. If in doubt, wait it out. Be still.
  • Hands mostly need to come down. I’m bad for this one jumping too, my hands raise up really high.
  • Watch the track- you mostly always have time in a line to turn, so don’t swivel your body to turn too early. Riders mostly turn too early than too late.
  • Jumping one handed-particularly on a tough track with tons of inside turns- REALLY makes you keep your body back!
  • Dressage is so important (I know I just said it was boring, yeah to watch, but the flexibility and bend developed there helps with the aforementioned inside jumping one-handed..)
  • People who look very impressive online seem to ride totally psycho horses that look extremely unpleasant to handle and ride. That was a real surprise.
  • A lot of horses in the clinic were pro rides and very tough looking to ride. There is a good reason I am an amateur!

If you’re interested in more clinic recaps by the riders, be sure to check out Eventing Nation’s article on it.