You can have what you want

Another jump lesson (finally!! I missed it last week when our schedules were thrown out of whack!) and another good ride to report on. This week we focused on some cavaletti work (3 cavaletti, 2 strides in between each). We did it in two ‘bigger’ strides, and I did a compressed stride of 3 strides in between and it was wayyy too easy for Oats. He is a fan of the ‘slug’ stride, apparently!

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Here’s my schoolmaster! 

So we decided to keep him at 2 strides, because clearly the bigger stride was more challenging for him than compressing the stride!

And then we moved on to a small course, incorporating the cavaletti work into the course. I was actually kind of tired doing the cavaletti work, it feels more ‘physical’ than just jumping jumps, weirdly. Nicole says it’s because you have to keep riding through it, rather than kind of like, ‘jump’..coast… ‘jump’! Oats was also having to work hard, and he was getting tired through the end of the last course, haha.

In the course we had a small 1-stride, and I bungled it a few times before figuring it out. He was going in boldly, and I was getting left behind and kind of jostled. Not to my liking! So I came in quiet, and asked for a closer takeoff and it worked out great! Until…I took too much back and we bungled it, haha. So, I needed to be conservative, but then ‘LET GO’ in the 1-stride. Easier said than done? But we did it well after!

I did feel vulnerable really releasing over the second element of the 1-stride. It feels weird!! But Oats was jumping great, so I had to, hahaha. Good boy 🙂

And I also feel weirdly proud that his Tuesday rider is having such good rides on him- almost prouder than what I have been able to achieve on him myself. Yay Oats for being a good boy and a schoolmaster. It makes my heart feel so happy!

Ugly doesn’t always mean bad.

Had my jump lesson last night, and I was in a touch better mood for it- I still went home and ate too much chocolate and junk food (UGH this is a habit that HAS to go) but I managed to pry myself out of the house at a reasonable hour and there was very minimal traffic heading out, so that already put me in a better mindset.

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Last year- a very eager Oats.

Oats was kind of lazy, but not super behind my leg. He is handling the cold better this week than last week. Maybe he was surprised by it last week, and found it really tough on his joints?

This week our exercise was a grid- and it went fine, nothing exciting, to a canter raised-pole/cavaletti exercise that we bombed quite spectacularly. I think I was feeling quite smug with our previous attempts at this type of exercise, because it really took me by surprise how lousy our yard-sale attempts were!

It was pretty ugly- breaking to trot, flying through, coming in long, coming in short, you name it, we did it. Yikes!

Compared with the grid, this was technical stuff. I really enjoyed learning, and though it was quite hideous and we looked like complete amateurs, I felt like we were working through some stuff and it got me out of the funk I’ve been feeling lately. Oats, as usual, was a good pony who is trying! We even went through the raised-pole exercise with reins flapping in the breeze to try and make him ‘figure it out’ and he did start getting it. I started getting tired, haha, and was told to stop – helping- him so much.

I am getting a lot out of this type of work, and look forward to trying it even more in the future. Good pony. 🙂

Taking a breather

So, after our challenging- but then good- dressage lesson on Tuesday, I decided I didn’t want to overface myself and take Oats for round #2 battle in the outdoor and I would have a ‘fun day’ in the field with him on Wednesday.

A spunkier Oats on the weekend. Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

A spunkier Oats on the weekend. Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

I find myself often wanting to ride in the field- I guess because I feel freer, less constrained and less ‘trapped’ into pushing Oats for a workout in the ring? More freedom, I guess, and a lot less fighting, as it turns out! And I have to learn to re-train my temper- as my trainer said, work first on me, then on Oats, and then bring both of us to the challenging situation. Don’t jump right into the challenge, because it will kind of blow up in our faces…

So, with that knowledge, I deliberately set out for a fun ride, not a fight.

And it WAS FUN!

We rode in the smaller field that has a hill, and some cavalettis. I dragged out a cavaletti- they are light because the wood is completely dry-rotted through, but a mega pain the butt to wrangle, ha. Oats was patient here.

Put your butt into it! Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

Put your butt into it! Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

I set the cavaletti up in the middle setting, friendly and low, and we warmed up and then trotted and cantered it both directions a bunch of times. I got bored by it after awhile (things were going very smoothly!) and decided to take Oats up to do some hillwork.

Newsflash- the hillwork was so hard for Oats. He was tired! It was hard work! I noticed a real weakness in his right hind while cantering up the hill and trying to maintain the canter. He swapped a few times and broke into trot the rest.

I left the canter alone and we trotted up and walked down the steepest part of the hill, focusing mostly on getting his right hind to step up the hill. It was definitely hard but good work for the pony. You should have seen him after, in the cross-ties…He was exhausted! Poor guy.

So tired.

So tired.

Until we get there

I was feeling pretty blah this week (ok, REALLY blah) and down and bummed and crabby.

So, I tacked my darling Oaty-pony up, who was typically thrilled to see me, and showed his great pleasure at seeing his loving owner by running away from me in his freaking pen…Horses…

Runing  wild

Run wild

But anyways, since there is nowhere to run in his pen, I nabbed him quickly. Tacked him up and took him to the field. And this is where I may have gotten a little run away with myself…I thought, fun ride in field, easy ride. So did Oats!

What it turned into: Fun ride in field, school cavalettis in field (must let go of grabby hands pulling to a distance, rather I should be LETTING GO to a distance. And that his how, friends, I got a trot in six-canter to a five, and then immediately screwed it up the second go-round with a six-six…due to my weird pulling back and adding a short stride to a distance). Hah.

Oats was game though, so game. We trotted over the ditch and he gave it a BIG jump! yeeeah!!

And then I immediately got too focused on getting a canter that wasn’t a big, giraffe canter. Strung out, breaking, blah blah blah. We cantered for AGES. Like the band Ages and Ages, we were going, going going….At one point, I sat tall (something I am not good at) and went tap! tap! tap! tap! with my crop behind my leg as we were negotiating a particularly tricky ‘downhill’ section of the field. Oats needed a bit more ‘encouragement’ to stop breaking and flying into a crazy-big-legs akimbo trot.

Focused

Focused

So, it was both good and bad. Good that we worked solidly on something we suck at, in fairly challenging terrain, and a bit bad because I thought I was going to just do a quickie hop over cavalettis, canter, ditch type ride. And now Oats probably hates me. Hah well more than he normally does….?

He was a sweaty beast after that ride. I felt good about it. Better than I have for quite awhile. No lesson today because I have to drop stuff off for the Saanich fair!