Oh, always killin’ it

I had my dressage lesson back (and on Thursdays, what the heck? Thursdays are usually jump lessons) and it was REALLY good. After COVID-19, all of our schedules got all jumbled up and mixed around. I had to move my jump lesson to Saturdays so that we could try and get our dressage trainer on 1 day, since she was not available on Fridays anymore. Couple that with my weird tension-building anxiety and I really felt like I was in need of some really basic building blocks, ridewise.

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See, this is NOT the frame I want- I want him to be ‘stretching’ down more, not so compressed with his head and neck. So, always more to do! And this is from last summer.

I wanted to be able to work with contact without getting rigid with my hands and arms. Easier said than done, haha. BUT I feel like we are really getting somewhere, a better place where I can ride and maintain contact without turning into stone, hahah.

So it felt very positive. It is a challenge, but given Oats’ advanced age, I need to start working him in a more responsible, and responsive way. I really appreciate the opportunity to modify my ride, and I have the time and headspace to make it happen. Oh, and a supportive trainer too! Can’t forget that. It’s kind of nice to not focus on horse shows right now, because I feel like this foundational work is really important and something I want to develop further for my personal riding education. šŸ™‚ Go Oats!

Except that rotten pony rolled in my saddle AGAIN!! I was raking on Wednesday and Boom!!! He went down so fast heĀ wrenched my damn arm and neck pretty hard. ARGHH he is sooo cheeky.

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Don’t you know what regret looks like?

It looks like the road not taken- but actually, things have been going fairly swimmingly on my end!

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Photo courtesy of Bonita Stables- this is at Fairlawn at the awards lunch last weekend. Beauty day eh?

Monday I had an equine counseling session, and it was kind of challenging in an emotional way, you know? But, something was coming up, and I knew I needed it.

Tuesday I had a casual hack with a friend and it was exactly what I needed. Oats and I were chill, things were just flowing- although I was noticing more in the outdoor arena that he seemed quite ouchy and footsore- particularly when we moved up to canter. I didn’t ride for that long due to that. Fortunately, he was getting front shoes on Wednesday, just in time for my jumping lesson on Thursday!

Thursday we warmed up and his canter felt…strange. Like he was coming up more, and pounding on the sand with his hooves? He felt unsure about his new kicks, and his canter reflected this- he lost impulsion throughout the corners and broke pretty much EVERY time in the top-left hand corner. He was also quite looky and had some spooks in the ‘scary corner’ where we had a gymnastic grid set up. Goof!!

oats

We had a grid (canter-in bounce grid, two bounces to two-two-strides. Ha, try saying that twice!!). We MAJORLY fumbled the grid more than a few times, like whoa. I don’t know how to ride kind of fumbles. Ahhhh…. Anyways. We schooled a faux-ditch with barrels and it went pretty well. Ditches and weird-looking jumps are no big for Oats.

Course time! Lots of jumps and some interesting features- a ‘rock’ skinny *(ooh) and the gymnastic, the faux-ditch, barrels, some natural planks, and a few oxers. I was like kind of wanting to freak out, but also felt like…Ok. We got this.

And we cantered it, and it went pretty well. Not fabulous- my eye was majorly off and I couldn’t find a distance to save my life, hahah. Oh well.

Then a few jumps went up, and we did it again! First jump, good, second, ok too and then the grid…Yikes. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to collect Oats for the grid while we were IN the grid. Newsflash- bad idea!! He crashed through the x-rail, and then stopped for a poop, ha.

We regrouped and I approached it with a better idea of wtf I was doing. Whoops, sorry pony!

Rest of the course was ok, I was still plagued with a pretty lousy ‘eye’ for any and all jumps, but Oats was cool with it so on we went! I am, however, having trouble making decisions in a line- for example, collecting his canter for the grid BEFORE the grid (???), riding a quieter 6 instead of kind of just riding 5+? and trying to collect or take back the last two strides before the jump in the line. I need to be making these decisions much sooner in my ride.

Argh, get with the program, me!

Ah, well. At least my position was better this week, with me ‘going with it’ for my terrible eye and lack of decisions.

 

Is this love? Or the love of the chase

Funny, two songs I’ve been hearing lately have this refrain in them:

“You never loved me, you love the chase.” From ‘The Stars’ newest album, ‘No one is lost’

-and-

“Is this love? Or the love of the chase…” From ‘Future Islands’ newest album as well.

So, there is obviously a theme. Why are they resonating with me so strongly?

I’ve been struggling with connections lately. Last year’s showing season with Oats had a lot of ups and downs (I fell off almost every show! what the heck!) and I couldn’t figure out why this was happening. I know how to ride, Oats knows how to jump so…???

I have been making progress on this by committing to dressage lessons and that has been good but tough. I want to make even more progress, want to go into jump lessons and horse shows ‘eager’ not backpedalling and wanting to get off, or freezing when we step foot in the show ring.

I even decided not to show at the Appy club shows this year becauseĀ I wasn’t looking forward to it! Ā Showing costs way too much $$$ to not have fun with it. At all.

So, my trainer Karen set me up with an equine wellness facilitator, to figure out what is going on in my head. And as it turns out, a lot of anxiety.

Anxiety

Anxiety- So, this seems appropriate.

The rushing, too-fast, speedy feeling I have all the time is my brain not connecting well with my body. I tend to have ‘out of body’ feelings when I step into the show ring, and I feel like I am ‘watching myself’ instead of doing it- riding, experiencing, anything. I don’t hear my trainer when I am like this, I hold my breath and end up gasping, and I rush rush rush through a course- my brain is moving too fast for me to keep up!

It’s funny- the facilitatorĀ ran me through a meditation exercise, and all I could think was how much I wanted it to speed up!!? That’s NOT the point, silly me!

Taking the time to align my poor brain with my body is a process. I am going to try and see how it goes. I’m trying to manage my anxiety, something I most likely have been cultivating forĀ years through work, family issues, horse issues, etc.

And I felt like, last year at this time, I was ready to try dressage lessons. Oats and I could take that next step.

Oats at Sooke Saddle Club dressage: Photo courtesy of Eila

Oats at Sooke Saddle Club dressage: Photo courtesy of Eila

This year, I am ready to manage my anxiety, and work to strengthenĀ my relationship with Oats.

So, this is a positive progression (even if the other side of my brain is like horses aren’t rocket science, why are you so worried? Anxious? What are you so afraid of?). I guess I’m not always sure- I’m afraid of getting hurt (see- the recent accident with my mom), and I’m afraid of looking stupid and screwing up my horse.

I’m not sure how I got to this point, but I do feel like it is manageable, and the next logical step I can take to have a more positive relationship with my horse, and my trainers (maybe my husband, family, and my work? Better not get too greeeeedy)…

Runing wild

Run wild

I am still doing positive jump course visualizations every day while I walk to work- I pick my most recent jumping lesson and try to ‘see’ how I rode it. I think it is helping as well.

My rides on Oats this weekend were fine, Saturday was better than Sunday (was a bit distracted Sunday, had friends visiting so was chatting instead of paying attention! bad me!).

Other than that, this week started with a real BANG of bad vibes. Sick bunny (he is doing better already, pheww) Work flying off the handle……eeeek!

Bath & Body- Crafty time~

Not only do I love riding, like running and being active, but I love crafts. Normally my crafts involve glue guns but I have been maturing in my skills…

So, earlier in the season I experimented with lip balms. I made peppermint ones and they were a success!

Now I’m combining my lip balm skills and adding in a lip scrub, so now people (friends, family, loved ones) can not only have a nice pepperminty lip balm but also a smoothing scrub to start things off!

Bubblegum lip scrubs and lip balms

Bubblegum lip scrubs and lip balms

This makes great little gifty things for Christmas.

I call my lip scrubs ‘Bubblegum’ lip scrubs and dyed them pink!

It’s so easy:

  • I used 1/2 cup white sugar,
  • 1 drop pink food dye,
  • 1 tsp vanilla (white),
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, and
  • 1 tsp cocoa butter (melted).

Mix the whole shebang together, add your pink food dye, and voila! Bubblegum lip scrub. Parcel it out into cute little containers. I used jam jars, with the labels removed and the lids spray-painted blue. Just boil them first!

Gifts

Gifts

This also feels super nice on your hands, if you want to make a bigger batch to use as a really nice gelato-type of hand scrub.

Next up- I am going to try my hand at making a peppermint foot scrub with salts. Should be good!