Just Give In/Never Going Home

Dressage semi-private (I know, what am I doing stacking them back-to-back?) last night. I’m stacking them because I have a dressage show up in Cowichan on Sunday, and need the practice (hah) and also because I have two events on upcoming Tuesdays and will be missing both riding and lessons.

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Totally us right now. So, where are the next Olympics?

Yesterday was actually a really good, solid and enjoyable lesson. Typically my Tuesdays are grinding, tough, sweaty and incredibly physical lessons- I have gotten serious Charley horses in my legs/hips in them the past two weeks! But this week, we focused on getting the horses listening, straight, and then reaching down and ‘calm’ through the walk, trot and canter, and a touch of counter-canter.

It was really nice! Oats enjoys this type of work and finds it very easy, for him. I think stretching down really speaks to his way of going normally, and he could dig in and really get it going last night.

Counter-canter was funny- I didn’t expect it to happen, and it did perfectly. And then I thought too hard about it, and it didn’t. How does that work? Well, I was trying to ‘manufacture’ it and trying too hard, obviously! When I let my expectations and effort -go- I was able to let it happen.

It was a really nice, calm and thorough lesson.

We interrupt this Olympic broadcast to say…

I love my pony! We had our first real jump lesson- with tiny jumps- back since our vacay and Oats came back great, if a little half-assed haha. He could NOT be bothered with tiny jumps, so he sauntered over them the whole time.

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Me from literally three years ago.

We worked over a small gymnastic (remember our last gymnastic experience- it did not go well- and this one was great) and then over a small course a few times. He was lovely! My eye kind of sucked and I made a few ‘non choices’ when it came to distances (yes-no-yes-no…go!).

Oh well! I have work to do on that clearly. The positives include my dad watching Oats go in a lesson for the first time in forever, and he remembered when Oats was a total shithead. Now, Oats looks like the easiest pony in the world to ride, and it’s nice to have people see him go completely nonchalantly…Ah…

Also positives- the jumps were tiny, rode tiny, and didn’t excite me at all. Hmmm!

So far, so good for our days back in action. Whoop! Two great lessons in a row, I am a greedy girl (a nice but extremely tough dressage lesson with Karen on Tuesday, and then my jump lesson with Nicole on Wednesday). Oats gets a well-deserved rest day today and I get to go shopping to the Sitka sale. YAY! *after work, of course. Blah…

And we’re back!

After that strange and disturbing blip on the radar, I’m pleased to say that apparently Oats and I were having an off-day together…And my ride last night was fine, no drama. Strange, isn’t it?

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Get this feeling back!!

Oh well, I will accept it for what it is, and move on. A new day is a new ride.

We didn’t even end up doing too much last night, worked over a small cross-rail a few times, and practiced my eye over a pole on a circle- with mixed results. We finished up by working on my ‘100 trot-canter transitions’ (ok so not even close to 100, but I’m honestly trying hard to incorporate that work into every ride, no matter how much I kind of hate it…).

Oats was fine, I had a bit of a feeling like if I let him have any leeway, he’s get silly and looky, but we stayed focused and had no issues. Back to good ol’ Oats, the horse who was literally sleeping in front of the loudspeaker at the horse show- and it was LOUD! ?!!

Ah, horses. They make you crazy!

This weekend I think might be quieter- I have my parents moving to the island officially, and sadly, my friend’s father’s memorial ceremony on Saturday.

Ghost on Ghost

So, this weekend. A lot of good and not-so-good things happened. We had a relaxing time at the beach on Friday with my dog, enjoying life as the sun went down on another work week.

We bought a townhouse this week too! Crazy!?!

Saturday my husband was up early to volunteer for the annual Quadra Village Day. Gidget and I joined him for some pancake breakfast–which was great, as we got there early enough to not have to wait in line for very long! Sometimes the lineups are crazy. The only thing I’d recommend is that the music they have- live bands, which is super awesome and generous but SO LOUD. Like, nobody sits in the audience because it literally drives people away it’s too loud. I feel like an old crank for saying so, but still…

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The course except for the gymnastic. That darn two-stride!

I headed home after and got ready for my jump lesson, moved from Thursday. It was pretty hot, so I was wondering how Oats would be at it. Turns out, I should have been wondering more about how I would be at it! We worked over a gymnastic, and I struggled- again- with the third fence in the line. I didn’t trust Oats through it. At all.

Why? And why now? I’ve been rocking gymnastics in the indoor- short ones- and then kind of blowing it outside. Curious. So, we worked on developing more trust through the gymnastic with Oats that basically culminated in my not being allowed reins and riding through it without hands! Hahah.

I just wanted to jump jumps, not mess around with gymnastics! I complained kind of a lot about it, haha. Then, finally we move to coursework. This, I can do! (We still had to work in the gymnastic though). Went through the course and it went fairly well, with only 1 mess up moment of me fighting with Oats through a turn to the outside line. We recovered in time to catch the outside oxer (it was 2’6” which EEEK I didn’t realize!) and it went fairly well.

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No-hands screenshots!

Took a break, and Nicole set the fences to 2’6” for the most part- some were still 2’3” I think, except the gymnastic now had an oxer at the end of the four jumps.

Still, it was looking fine to me for the most part. Oh, hubris and overconfidence…How you take me down a big step.

We hopped over the first fence, cruised to the gymnastic with no problems, and then headed to the two-stride. It rode great the first time and then this time I…jumped up Oats’ neck and CRAAASH. I took out the jump by myself.

SHIT.

Messed up my bad left shoulder- I honestly thought I was gonna stick this one, until I didn’t…

Got my shoulder back in place, got back on, and rode it again. It was ugly (3 strides instead of 2) but we did it. Oats was a bit backed off. We headed to the next diagonal jump, and rode it fine. Then we went for the outside line, that rode so nicely, and bombed it with a stop at the oxer. SHIT again!

I was frazzled, and not relaxed. It was pretty obvious.

I re-approached, and calmed.the.fuck.down. Loose shoulders,  low calm hands, leg on, back relaxed. Smooooooth….We got over the first little fence great, and over the oxer – a little messy, but ok. Calm….We circled over the liverpool, and then zipped off to our last fence, a cut-away through the gymnastic. It went very lovely.

And then Nicole asked me to circle back and re-approach to the two-stride! Could we pull it off again? Yep, as it turns out, when I don’t anticipate and jump up his neck, we’re fine.  It rode great, in and out!

So, some things to think about eh? Not an easy or totally smooth lesson. I’ve been cruising in the past, and this would 100% make me not want to jump like at all. But this time, I got frazzled and a little hurt actually, but managed to re-assess and something MADE ME want to try it again. I didn’t even ask Nicole to bring the jumps down? I guess because it didn’t feel to me like the jumps were the issue–it was my steering and anticipation that was making it a problem.

Interesting.

 

 

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!

A moderate change of plans

Jump lesson got cancelled last night, last minute, because my trainer got hurt in a pretty serious fall. I’m in touch with her and she managed to escape with a concussion and some bruising, which is great, but still scary as anything!

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Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi. Wish we were outdoors now!

I knew something was up when I was tacking up Oats and the girl that rides before me didn’t come back up to the barn. So, I checked my phone and found out why…The accident happened at the stable that my trainer teaches at before she comes to our barn.

So, Oats and I were 100% alone for the evening. I was feeling a bit leery (Nicole’s accident was VERY fresh in my mind), it was nighttime, dark, and nobody else was riding with me or even at the barn.

But…

I was also aware that Nicole is not me, Oats is a very dependable fellow, and I could certainly lower some jumps and do a very non-threatening jump school, safely. So, I did! And it felt pretty darn good actually.

We cruised over the three small fences that I had lowered, and Oats was great. I had a fun time, and we got pretty sweaty doing the little jumps. It was just plain fun!

The footing is still a big issue though- clay continues to pull up from the boggy/mushy part of the arena, and it’s tough to avoid those sections as they take up a bit part of the ring. Man…I wish we could ride outside too. 😦

I finished up with some no-stirrups sitting trot, focusing on some more deep inner bend from our dressage lesson on Tuesday. Oats, while a bit confused about why we weren’t jumping, was fairly amenable to this. I do want to make sure he doesn’t completley ignore my aids when we are jumping–he has to remain flexible and listening at all points, not just when it’s ”dressage” time.

We have rescheduled my jump lesson to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and I’m interested to see what Oats brings to the table. And also I hope my trainer recovers well from her accident and takes it easy the next few days!

“All acts of nostalgia are expressions of longing for a past that never was”

Didn’t have my dressage lesson yesterday- as board increases are starting to eat into my regular ‘horse budget’ I’m having to cut back a bit- and so my dressage lessons are going to every other week, and I didn’t show this summer (by choice but also by $$$).

Instead, I did another horse counseling session and we focused on setting SMART goals. This was hard for me, because I can see the goal part, and I have my start, but what about the middle stuff? How does that go?

Well, it goes something like this…

I want to ride in the 2′ and 2’3” divisions at a local show series.

I want to compete in the whole series.

I want to finish each division without skipping any classes.

Easy eh?

Well, I also want to do it without having a meltdown, feeling anxious, feeling ‘out of body’ and actually enjoying feeling competent in the situation.

Not so easy.

How do I do it?

Continue with my private jump lesson once a week.

Add in separate schooling sessions over fences focusing on relaxation- now this is going to be the tough part.

Continue doing my counseling sessions once a week until my first show, and then probably moving it to once every other week.

So…That’s my action plan moving forward. I hope I can make progress this way!

Oats was a lovey to ride yesterday, I didn’t end up riding for that long as the counseling session took about an hour. We had some GREAT forward canter in the outdoor, and some fairly reasonable trot. Overall, a fun ride.

Today I am taking off, and having drinks! Yeah! Tomorrow is the jump lesson- where I get to put my money where my brain/mouth/body is…AH.