So on new year’s day, I had the dumbest/best idea, springing from one of my barn mates. She had taken her mini out and had him pull her around on her skis! I don’t have xc skis, but I do have downhill skis, so I figured…If she could do it, so can I! I will just get Ian to control Oats and I talked it over with Oats’ half leasor and she suggested I loop the longe line through his girth, and use that as a handle. So we did it!
Ian dug my skis out from the netherworld of our stairs storage (not an easy feat mind you!) the day after NYE (and we weren’t even that hungover, lucky us!!) and off we went to give it a try 🙂 And how did it go? Really well! At first…
We cruised around, Ian suggested he NOT ride Oats in the field but instead run him, which turned out to be a very smart suggestion, lol. We cruised around, my barn mate rode her horse and took pictures and video for me, and we had a blast!
Until… The last go-around where I said let’s do it one more time! And Oats thought…yeah one more time WHERE I GO BANANAS And he took off bucking and bolting, and I was like oh fuuuuck first he’s going to kick me, or Ian, but then we let go of the ropes and reins and he bolted straight up the hill…To my barn mate’s horse, who lost her shit and bolted through the gate to the barn yard. FML. So, I got dumped with my skis at the bottom of the effing hill, and had to begin the grim march up, wondering if Oats had murdered my barn mate and her horse… But everyone was ok! They had a bit of a rough ride through the gate, eek, but made it with all tack and persons intact. PHEW! So, that was the end of that little adventure, hahaha. But it was fun! So that counts I guess 🙂
So we had the fun show this weekend and we were going to do it allll: Hack classes in the AM, and games in the PM!
Ok in theory…
What actually happened was the hack classes- and we did showmanship first! We got third in it! Whee 🙂 I had no real idea of what it was going to be like but I knew we had to trot in-hand, so I made sure Oats was trotting with me and it went nicely.
We then tacked up and warmed up in the postage-stamp-sized area, and it was ok. I figured he’ll have some ‘go’ but he’s getting worked a lot, so no problems right?
Oats chose this opportunity to become a raging, fire-breathing dragon/psychopath. He was SO out of control, wowza. He bucked, twirled, spun, spooked, launched and generally went completely psychotic.
He would trot fine, a little nuts and tense and then just GO FOR IT in the canter and generally try his hardest to get me off and scare everyone in the audience. I had airtime. It was pretty terrible, particularly since the other riders were trying their best to stay the hell away from our absolute shitshow and every time we cantered he’s lost his goddamned mind.
I managed to stay on literally by the skin of my teeth. He repeated that little fun maneuver EVERY. SINGLE.TIME. in the show ring. We did, however, place very nicely when he wasn’t being an absolute nutcase!
So I’d go back, and run him w/o stopping in the teeny tiny warmup in between every class. And he cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered fine in the warm-up, and then BLEW UP in the show arena. I was exhausted. My arms hurt the next day.
Good christ, this horse needs turnout something awful. He’s never been such a shithead as he has this year- don’t get me wrong, I am looooving our field jump lessons, the energy and presence, but GOD DAMN every show/event I have been to, he’s losing his mind and broncing with me. I have to ride him down for hours at a show- hours! He’s 20!
I want my hack/dressage and jump pony back, not just at home but like, for all times! sigh…
Anyways after lunch he was tired, ha thank god. We did the trail class and it took an absolute eternity- 2++ hours?! So many entrants! I was very pleased with Oats during it. His big flubs were his miserable backing (but we all know that is his weak spot) around the barrels in a ‘figure eight’ where he just backed into one and knocked it flat, haha.
Otherwise he rocked trail and came third! Out of maybe 30 riders??
And then it was 4pm! The show was supposed to end at 3pm! Eeek..
We were pretty tired but wanted to do 1 games (we were supposed to do like 4 games classes but I scratched to go home b/c it was taking too long, horse is tired, I’m tired, my hauler has to go).
We did pole-bending and it was a blast!! Oats is too slow to win, but he had fun anyways. Go Oats go!
Many thanks to the volunteers who did a marathon day out there- wowza. You guys are the real VIPS here!
Phew this was a super busy weekend, to top off a super busy and bummer few weeks.
I signed Oats up for a Working Equitation horse show! We have some experience with this discipline, but I was also taking lessons on Sundays to practice up, as well as working on our dressage with our trainer. We hauled out bright and early Saturday to Hi-Point in Glenora for our dressage day at 9:30am.
The test was quite simple, similar to a training level test? But no fear, I had a good warmup and then immediately rode pretty poorly soooooo it was still challenging for us. At first we went to warmup in the field (Hi-Point has the only x-c on the island) and Oats was AMPED. I was pretty sure he was going to buck me off lol. So a trainer suggested we move to a section of the indoor roped off for warm-ups and bingo, he settled right away.
After our dressage ride it was still SO early, ha. I knew Oats would need more work- a new place where he has done x-c and he was hot hot hot means he needs a lot more work to get him chill and used to it. After all, we had our two rounds the next day (Sunday), Ease of Handling and Speed Round.
So I hung out a lot, and watched the Intro class finish their Ease of Handling (they don’t do speed rounds). Then I got Oats out, wearing shorts again (haaa) and rode him. As I suspected, he WAS amped. Good at the trot, but power-trotting around and tossing his head excitedly. We cantered, and he was good, and then tried to buck, haha. He has a very powerful buck and just snakes his head down and humps up and woooof it’s hard to get back, haha.
So, rode that for awhile even though it was HOT out, like close to 30 deg?? I was hot, Oats was hot but he had a ton of ‘go’.
After our ride he chilled out and was sooo thirsty, poor boy! That would be the theme for the weekend- Oats is sooo thirsty!
After my ride, we went to the pond for a swim 🙂 I had my mango White Claws, and all was right with the world. I even had a bbq with my new friends that evening, and it was delicious. Early to bed, I felt very tired. A long day in the sun and around people?!! I have been a total hermit for like a year?! ha.
I did feel worried about the course, as it had several x-c elements that Oats was not familiar with (water, a bank). Turns out I was right to be concerned…
Which was too bad, because after dressage we were leading! To be continued…
No more heatwave so things are getting back to normal! I even rode in the field yesterday (and Oats got very excited at the canter and took off with me up a hill bucking…Thanks dude).
We were able to resume our jump lesson on Saturday and we even were able to ride outdoors – not a small feat since the footing is so unstable and deep, I had been avoiding riding out there for Oats’ and my safety, but decided to try it for a few small jumps.
We warmed up indoors (and man, Oats was SLUGGY) going kind of nowhere fast, ha. We schooled a few jumps, he had a meltdown at the backdoor again (sigh) and then it was outdoors to try our hand at a few safer fences located in areas where it wasn’t too deep.
It was good! I bigtime bungled a few of the fences by grabbing back on Oats, but he’s an old pro and was not really phased ha. He was like, if you stop riding like crap, I’ll go better also! Win-win 🙂
I am heading out for holidays soon too actually- just 2 more days to go….Ah…
So, due to the success of last week with my ‘motivator’ spurs I decided to try that one again- conditions were ripe for a very non responsive zombie pony. Hot, draggy, lazy and full sun (even in the evening, when our lesson is).
Oats’ mood yesterday: No.
Oats’ head was literally dragging on the ground. He was NOT having it yesterday.
I had my big spurs on and boy, he did not want to respond to them. He remembered from last week I suppose and was distinctly crankier and surlier about them. He responded well for the first few jumps and then a big F-U! Cranky, bucking, fussing and sucking back. Ahh…shit.
Well, the key to that is to get over with it! Sorry Oats, you are just going to have to deal.
He was very much cranky when I started using a crop for motivation as well, so this newest ‘tool’ is also eliciting a very ‘NO!’ response from him. Ah well, riding is always simple and never easy, eh?
We worked over the course and he was…not great but not horrible. It took a few jumps (like, 4) from the beginning of the course for him to let his drama-llama tendencies go and just get with the program. Of course with his drama-rama on the loose, my fear tendencies also tend to rear their ugly heads when he gets silly like this too…So it turned into a bit of me not wanting to let him have his head, him getting cranky and silly, and blahhhh…
But, progress is progress and I know this is something we can work together on.
So my dressage semi-private lessons with Oats have been pretty good, suspiciously good lately in fact. So it was only a matter of time before Oats had a big throw-down hissyfit ‘I don’t wanna’ lesson, and last night was kind of it!
Oats gets a haircut…
Luckily, he is also 17 and can’t buck as hard as he used to! Phew!
We worked a fairly difficult exercise- turn off the short end, and leg-yield at the trot. This will eventually turn into leg-yield and transition within the leg yield, and back to the gait. So we did trot-walk-trot (HARD), and then trot-canter and then canter-trot. Oats was fairly amenable on one rein- left rein to right leg yield and was kind of a disaster on the other!
He was like, umm…no. Instead of our regularly scheduled transition, he would LEAP instead of moving sideways. Like, actually just jumping in the air. Greeeat….
This escalated a bit into a leap-buck, but like I said he is getting older so his bucks didn’t really unseat me, thank god. Ha.
This lesson is one that we had done last year, but without the transitions. And the leg-yield was enough of a brain-melter for both horses! We could barely even get the leg-yielding so being able to ask just a ‘little bit more’ was a stretch for Oats, and he was learning (slowly and kind of nastily) but learning.
So there is progress, albeit very slow and kind of unpleasant for me when Oats really gets going. Oh well, I can manage! And it is nice to see how the exercise develops from one year to the next. Oats is also clipped, so I didn’t have to spend forever and a day cooling him out. YESSSS!
Actual Christmas update to come later- this one is all about the horses over the holidays!
Merry Christmas from our family!
As mentioned earlier, we had our barn party on the Saturday Dec. 19th and it was a blast! It was super nice to chat with everyone, and we opened our Secret Santa gifts. I loved mine- saddle soap that I truly needed, and some really fun extras like a small bottle of Baileys (that is done already, ha), chocolate covered spoons, and a mug with blackboard paint and chalk, that you can write on. Cute!
Sunday Ian and I went to the barn and he kindly agreed to take videos of me jumping! I had to include italics here because this is a rare event, people! Oats and I were jumping so-so (our trot fences were not bad, some lousy blips where we ground to a chip, and then crawled over the fence…trying to get away from doing that!) and some really nice fences! Oats was quite sassy, threw a small buck in at the trot too!
We also had an opportunity to take our annual Christmas photo with the family (aka Gidget and Mr. Oats).
And then I rode Monday and think we did some flatwork? I do recall that my energy lately for flatwork has been ‘high’ and Oats is certainly feeding off it…When I wanted some contact, Oats wanted to canter. Rinse, repeat.
And then Oats got some time off! I’m sure he appreciated it. He was off while I was taking a small Xmas holiday in Ucluelet and then at Christmas with family up-Island. When I got back into riding him on Saturday, he was not so full of beans…The opposite actually.
Saturday’s ride was fine, popped over a cross-rail, a lot of half-seat canter. Nothing demanding.
Sunday’s ride- now I wanted a bit more- popped over a small course a couple times, trot fence, and some bending/contact work at the trot.
Monday– a bigger (oooh) few fences set up and we jumped them! Only once each, but hey…My diagonal fence suuuucked so hard I almost saw my trainer yelling at me from the shadows. I have to get that one figured out. The one on the quarter line was great! Also some curving fence x-rails, and those were super fun!
Contact work at the walk, which was harder than Oats and I thought it had any right to be….
And dressage lesson tonight! Can only anticipate what it will be like….And I am back to work this week, which is totally and utterly non-awesome.
So, I’m back from my holidays. They were much-needed, not necessarily that relaxing (are holidays with family EVER relaxing?) and ended with some car drama, but I’m glad I had the time away from work.
Christmas with the family
I needed the perspective, quite frankly.
I also needed some time away from my ‘real life,’ an area that bogs me down in the details so much so that I become enveloped from what is ‘important’ and get stuck on the routine. And I can get obsessive about ‘the routine’ to an unhealthy point.
Colossal gingerbread house
But, family was stressful. We did a lot of great things, and I enjoyed good company, great food, and other fun activities. However, I also felt the strain of ‘try hard’ and a bit fakey, ‘let’s cover it up with fun and ignore the festering sadness underneath’ that I can be sensitive to…
Oh well, it’s over. Holidays aren’t always Hallmark-worthy, are they?
Buster shares a moment
And when I flew back, my car was making a weird stuttering on the highway and stalled out in a parking lot. I was like, how long has THIS been going on?
The remains of the gingerbread house
An entire week, $1,115 later and I think it’s pretty much back to being road-worthy, but jesus. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to me! (GAHHHH!!!!)
And my darling pony has been alternately good and bad my week back. Pissy and kicking out some days, relatively forward and willing others. Pissy yesterday in my lesson with 1 kick out briefly, but was nice to jump (tiny x-rails) and we did some interesting work on straightness and coursework. Felt nice to get back in the saddle, even if my old insecurities came rearing back at me!
Now I am kind of dreading my dressage lessons…If he is pissy and bucky doing my regular work, how on earth will the more-demanding work of dressage go for us?????? I am also trying to break in new boots, ouch they are not feeling super great either.
So, my day yesterday started by slipping on a bag of dog crap that someone considerately left in the middle of the sidewalk…
and then having a run in with the van at the crosswalk that I later called about,
and then work (enough said. It was a very very frustrating day)
and then on my way home, got into an altercation with an asshole cyclist,
and then my riding lesson- my dear pony spent a lot of the lesson trying to kill me, and I actually had to get ‘hulk rage’ on his ass.
and on the way home- drove behind someone who was turning left at an advance left on Hillside, who then decided to STOP in the middle of the intersection. I honked and honked, and they waved me, and I was going to go around them…And then they decided to start going again? We almost crashed.
I went home and was like….yeah.(actually was literally ready to throw something at a window).
Saw the scariest thing last night- it was accidental, as many horse-related incidents are, but my GOD it was incredibly dangerous and SO frightening.
I normally lesson on Tuesdays with another adult rider, we take a semi-private dressage lesson together with Karen Brain. Since I hurt my shoulder at the show (and it was feeling much better, but didn’t want to push it) I came and told my riding partner I wouldn’t be in the lesson, to please tell Karen that I was coming to hack today only.
So, I came down a bit later, and a lesson had just finished up. The adult rider was in the ring with Karen, and Nicole, our other trainer, and another student rider with her leased horse ‘Tim’.
I was at the gate of the indoor when I saw the student longing Tim, and watched for a moment- and then he went PSYCHO! Bucking, galloping, kicking out as high as the 6-ft jump standards?! I have NEVER seen him act like that and I was shocked!
The student lost her grip on the longe line and Tim bolted around the arena, that had the poor adult rider on her horse, Nicole, and Karen in it! It was sooooo scary! He was bucking, kicking out, going at top-speed. I was sure he was going to run into something and break his neck or crash into the poor adult rider.
I also thanked my LUCKY STARS that I had paused outside the arena for a moment. Good lord, I’m not even sure why I did but my intuition was bang-on right there. We were safe.
Tim galloped around like a dangerous lunatic for awhile, finally coming to a frantic stop near the adult rider and her horse, who also thank god, took all of this in stride and behaved perfectly.
Nicole caught Tim, and then the student leasor brought him up to the outdoor longe ring to get the ‘sillies’ out, and he was much calmer, from what she told me. We were both stunned. Just STUNNED by this nutso behaviour. SO dangerous, and scary as hell!
I got on Oats once Tim left the ring and I was freaked out. Nervous and anxious.
Oats was a total gem, willing, quite forward (for him, in the indoor at night= snooze-fest) and nice to ride. I kept it VERY short and just hacked him lightly, as my shoulder still felt a bit sore. Also, frig I was shaken. So shaken.
That was one of the scariest moments I have witnessed lately in horses.
The general consensus was that Tim was excited by the new horse in the barn, ‘Java’ and he basically just lost his mind at her, as she was there for his first-time freakout. ???? Oh and apparently the first time he lost it, he kicked out and got his leasor- the student- on the forearm. I’m going to check and see how her arm is feeling today…