What will we be

Jump lesson last night, and dinner out with longtime friends. A great evening! It was such a lovely night that I couldn’t fathom going anywhere but out in the field. Luckily my trainer was onboard, so she dragged out the cavalettis into the field and we had ourselves a nice little jump session!

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How could you hate this cute face?

Marred only by one BIG spook where I swear I was going to eat it, Oats was really great! We schooled over the little cavalettis, and over the ditch too. Love that he was so calm and steady about doing stuff like that. And it doesn’t hurt that the jumps were teeny little cavalettis. Just my size, ha.

It was a gorgeous night to be out riding, and dinner with friends just capped off a lovely day. I had kind of a stressful afternoon, as I had agreed to join my family to pick blackberries and then make jam on Saturday, and when I got an email about the details, it ended with this phrase that instantly raised all of my hackles: ‘don’t bring your dog’

WTF

No. for one thing, my dog has a NAME. ‘Gidget’ is tiny, and if we’re going blackberry picking she is for sure going to be joining me. If there is a safety issue or something like, say a dinner party, then no she doesn’t come but give me an effing break. So, this is the stand they want to take now? After completely dismissing my sadness and grief after the death of my dear bunny Buster? They apparently now hate all my animals, who are my family.

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Gidget likes taking part!

Forget it.

So I sent a response that basically said my dog is my partner and she goes where I go, so thank you and good day to you.

And the plus side is, now I don’t have to engage is awkward family dynamics, which I was NOT looking forward to (husband was going to come as an emotional buffer). It is too soon, and I need my space.

So, yeah…

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It doesn’t get better. You get better.

Yeah, my race recap was a little self-pitying. Three weeks down, and the countdown is ON!

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To break up the gloominess, here is baby Oats! Photo courtesy of his former owner Jennifer.

To recap for riding, Mr. Oats has been super awesome and I have been…hanging on? Ha. I didn’t have a dressage lesson last week, and kind of couldn’t deal with life either, so my jump lesson was …less jumps, more angst. But, I’m ok with that. I knew going in that my head cold was making me feel absolutely miserable and so was work and just..just just couldn’t handle the pressure.

I made the decision to tone it down in my riding (ie- not jumping) and lessen the anxiety I have on myself. It worked, I really enjoyed my lesson with some jumps, just not ALL the jumps, and enjoyed my rides on the weekend too.

The only thing that was a thorn in my side was how scatter-brained, clueless, tired and sick I was feeling. Ha, only. I rode Oats, had a good ride (honestly, I can’t remember one ride from the next right now, my life is a blur), and groomed him, put tack away, cleaned up, made grain bags, packed up my purse and left…

…Went through the gate, looked back, and saw Oats. Still in the crossties, looking at me.

SHit!

Forgot the horse!

Wish I could say that was an isolated incident, but I also forgot that I had Buster Bunny out to play and brushed my teeth and went to bed, with him hopping up and down the stairs. Whoops! My husband came up for bed and saw rogue rabbit, scooped him up and took him back to his cage. Hahaha.

And then I locked my keys in my car on Monday at the barn.

Except I had also forgot to lock my car, so …SAVED~

And my weekend was spent riding, and sleeping/laying around on the couch cursing the head cold I have. I still sort of have it too, my ears are going nuts with pressure and I have been blowing my nose unsuccessfully to try and relieve the pressure. Still have tons of nose running too. SIGH.

Wish it. Want it. Do it.

Stolen from Brian on ‘Family Guy’ as a bit of an inside joke these days..Ha. You’ll not find me as an inspirational speaker (not my style!) but I do have to side-eye folks who are self-proclaimed inspirational gurus. What makes you an expert in others lives?

BUT I do have to say that my weekend was super-fant-astic! Loved it, all of it.

Friday, I had tickets to see Wintersleep, as we had missed them when they were in town last spring- a great opportunity to catch them again. And I would highly recommend them, they were just awesome. Good energy, came out for encores and seem to really appreciate their fan-base. Fun show all around.

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Me with long hair, Oct.

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And after my hair cut last week!

Saturday, I rode Oats and he was so great, I was goofing around over some small fences, and doing a little bit of homework: lateral work. Good pony. I did run with my husband- a tempo? run at 6k to see how my knee rehab is going. It was ok…Not great yet though. Sighhh…

Saturday night we hosted friends for some fondue and it was a blast! It was hilarious, it took alllll night to eat the fondue, but hey we had some great conversation and some laughs so it was all good.

Sunday, rode Oats and the fun and successful work we were doing over poles/small fences completely disappeared. I have no idea WTF was going on but we were just not on the same wavelength….He was supermanning over everything, just taking huge flyers. I know he has issues with small fences= kowabunga!! He does not respect them, at all. Jeeesh, it was so ugly!

I gave up on that and was like, well, maybe some flat work is in order before you land on a jump and kill us both.

He’s still fun to ride but man, he needs to get in another jump lesson to start hiking those fences UP!

I did a practice run after riding, to see how my knee would handle things. Ran just under 6k, and it was quite shaky and kept threatening to dislocate to the left. Hmm…So, I am stuck trying to rehab it still.

That evening, I went to Hillside Mall’s ‘Night of  Lights’ event. The tickets were $5, and you came and shopped and there were some deals to be had. Honestly? I wouldn’t do it again. The deals were ‘eh’ and it was PACKED. Swarming with people, and quite overwhelming. I don’t like crowds on a good day, and so it was too much for me. Also people who don’t really walk, more like barely crawl, drives me absolutely bananas.

No thanks, not again. The ticket prices do go to charity, so that is at least a nice thing!

A lovely weekend, and I am again lucky to enjoy the great weather here in the PNW.

Candy aftermath & a jump lesson

Ughh so much mini chocolate…Too many chocolate bars…I can’t seem to resist and nobody around me can either! Yikes.

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So much candy…

I had my jump lesson on Wednesday and I was kind of wondering how it would go…My legs were still quite tired, and Oats and I had a very thorough dressage lesson the day before. I noticed that his canter to the left was quite stiff, not as balanced as it usually is, when his canter to the right was fantastic, balanced and moving forward. What gives? The left is his good side?!!

Oh well. I think it’s due to him standing around all day when it was pouring rain…He’s not as young as he used to be.

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Got these, but did I eat any? NOPE!

We warmed up, and then worked on some canter adjustability. He was almost too soft to the right, and then the left-weirdness cropped up. Hm….We then picked up the canter and worked on a 5-stride line. A few times I forgot to ride (ha) and we came in very crookedly and wobbled through the line. Fixed that, and we noticed he has a real tendency to suck back in the line at stride 4- just before the takeoff!

We then worked up to a small course, using the line both directions. Mixed results- still sucking back the last stride, affecting my straightness. Harrumph.

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha.

Something funny- Oats got distracted by a horse coming down to the arena (it is very dark out) and slammed on the brakes at the letter ‘H’. HA! We regrouped, and I continued on-course where he proceeded to completely take out 1 jump with his knees (jumping flat) and then we had 1 stop where he again wanted to stare at the new horse. We re-jumped the line beautifully though, so I figured it was just him getting distracted. No worries!

A pretty decent ride, though my legs were kind of wobby and killing me by the end. I can chalk that up to my less-than-effective ride that kind of sprinkled throughout the course- I just wasn’t supporting Oats enough to get the jump and ride I was looking for.

Oh well, it was fun though!

Let me introduce my friends

Another stolen title from the Swedish supergroup I’m From Barcelona. I just love their titles!

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Mr. Handsome.

I am overdue a bit for a jump lesson recap. And the recap? I am getting my wings back! Nicole had set up a very twisty-turny jump course that we did certainly struggle with, but I felt way better than I have for a month and a half- my slump time apparently. My confidence grew even though it did not go perfectly. My trust in my horse is coming back- not 100%- I don’t think I am built that way, but it is coming.

We worked a few single elements of the course as a warm-up, and then approached the 10-jump course. I learned that I need to GO STRONGLY!! instead of kind of wimping out. The ‘GO’ button is a big one and it really helps me.

Also I noticed I am way more comfortable being allowed to add and managing a short distance vs a long distance. Phew!

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A snapshot of the course. We jumped allll of these and yes- it was very twisty!

It was really fun and I even wanted to do it a second time and strangely felt GOOD about doing it a second time. I even hit the gas so hard Nicole said I was riding it like a jump-off and I need to learn to moderate my pace a little better…not just GO! That is true, haha. It’s just that going fast felt so fun!

We bungled a few things but man, it was just..better. Much better.

I am seeing my setback in a few ways, and I am following a process to climb out of my trench. Here’s what is working:

  • Don’t try to jump back directly to the height/complexity you were before the setback. That is discouraging.
  • Take a lesson on another horse and jump that horse. It is so eye-opening and removes a lot of the emotional weirdness that you have with your horse and drama/issues jumping.
  • Don’t jump your horse right away after this lesson. Let it marinate for a bit.
  • Start jumping your horse again after and realize how much fun your horse is to jump. Make a series of mistakes where he saves you (ok, maybe don’t do this, but it kind of worked for me to see that he is still a solid citizen).
  • Jump your horse starting with low jumps, and work on a crazy twisty-turny course. Get pumped up!
  • Throughout all of this, continue taking dressage lessons, and every single ride- work on forward, and cantering over a pole to find your distance. Every ride.

So..Here I am, after six weeks of ‘weird’. Am I back on track? I hope so! Am I enjoying my ride? Yes. 100% yes.

It’s GO time!

Didn’t have my regularly scheduled jump lesson yesterday, as my trainer bumped it to Saturday- which is fine, because as it turns out, I managed to majorly wrench something in my back= back on fire for a few days…

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Photo courtesy of Nicole G. I love it so much! Big D and his mini-me.

Nevertheless, I gingerly made it out to the barn, feeling like a total hunchback with a raging headache that was creeping up from my sore back.

Every single vertebra hurt…I swear I could feel them all moving dis-harmoniously. Ouch…

Still, I rode Oats in the outdoor and actually had some fun. I was going to do some jumping, but I could NOT get in the groove at all. The jumps were small, but I just couldn’t seem to jump like a normal person. Stare at the jump until we are on it? Yep! Miss my distance every time? Yup! Crooked? Sure!

I knew I was riding poorly to protect my sore back, so I gave up on the jumping part (a wise decision) and went to do some flatwork without stirrups. Two-point, canter, trot, grab the pommel with one hand to situate myself…It was actually pretty good! My legs- inner thigh- were killing me. I ended the ride when I felt this huge knot in my thigh and thought to myself ‘If Oats makes one sudden move, you are definitely on the ground when you can’t hold yourself on.”

He didn’t though, he was a total saint.

He did have one BIG spook when a rider came out of the indoor and he didn’t hear them until they were behind him. Whoops!

I still have a bit of a sore back and lingering neck/headache today, but it’s not quite as terrible as it was yesterday. I’m sure being at work, sitting in front of a computer doesn’t help. Ow….

Busy weekend coming up, and busy next week too!

 

God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.

Another quote by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen).

Wrapping up my jump lesson yesterday, and my trainer was saying that was the best she’s ever seen Oats and I go. WOW! Crazy eh? It seems like only last month – and it probably was last month- I wasn’t there yet. And yet I still feel a bit like a fraud?

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No-hands screenshots!

Well not quite like a fraud and you know what? The jumps went from 2’6” in the course to 2’9” in the gymnastic and it felt TOTALLY FINE. Like, go ahead and do it again? Sure! Why not. Who is this person, and who replaced her with a pod-person who is totally nonchalant about both grids and big(er) jumps?

Both me and Oats are pod-people I guess, and I’m going with it!

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Screenshots from the last show! 2’3”

We worked on a brief gymnastic similar to last week, except it was a 1-stride and not a 2-stride x-rail to vertical. Then we circled left over the hay bales (that eventually got stacked one on top of the other, oooooh), and then over the diagonal fence, to a smaller corner (kind of like a weird oxer), to the other diagonal, and then back to the first diagonal. And this was our full 2’6” course. We did it twice!

Was it perfect? Nope! We got in too close to one of the diagonals and knocked it down. And once I got a bigger chip to the other diagonal fence. Oops! But otherwise, it was pretty damn flawless and I am proud of my riding, and my horse.

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More from the last show! 2’3”

I almost hate recapping my rides of late, because they are so fantastic and I’m so happy, I am thinking, when does the other shoe drop? But, it doesn’t have to. I’m progressing, after so long of doubting myself, stress, anxiety, fear, worry. Riding doesn’t have to be that way, and I’m learning that without a doubt, I – and Oats- CAN do it.

And we are doing it.

Funny, I wanted to jump on Wednesday but I was in a pretty terrible mood (thanks work, and car repair payments and life), got to the barn, warmed up, saw the jumps set up, almost jumped them but instead got off and went back to the barn. I decided that nope–I am saving myself to jump some big jumps on Thursday. And then we did! A good decision.