Forever is a long time: Jump lesson update

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Jump 2 in the combination.

And spoiler: It was probably the worst I’ve had all season- even worse than the one I almost fell off in? And here’s the other shocker- while I was annoyed it was going badly while I was riding, I also felt…Fine. It was like, ok this is how it is going to go. I can deal. I’m glad I got media because my friend has been coming to take videos and I LOVE seeing her! She is so cool. Just a blast to be around. 🙂

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We conquered the combination! One small win.

So what went down? It started pretty well actually! We schooled over a few x-rails (and I have to say, trotting bigger jumps really helps Oats and I to rock back, so maybe I should ask for that or practice it on my own next week…I hate it though!), and then schooled over the combination.

A few weeks ago, the combination was my BIGGEST bugaboo. HA. Now this week, we were crooked as all hell (coming out of the left is tough for us…the drift is real!) but we could buckle down and like, ride it? Rather than sitting and freezing up, ha.

So, the combination. Good! Check.

But when we went to ride the course, Oats got spooked by our friend in the field and slammed on the brakes at the first jump (the rocks) and then I looked down and stopped riding to the second jump (every time, as it turns out…the planks), and I started losing focus.

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This one rode fine for the most part- off a bending line (generous) plank jump.

The rest of the course rode pretty well at the lower height- no complaints there.

But then, I started losing touch of ‘soft’ and out of the saddle riding and basically every time I tried it, I disconnected and Oats stopped. Argh! So, that’s something to work on. He felt me disengage and he was like, nahhh…

Every time I buckled down and RODE he was like oh yeah no problem! So, clearly my ‘being soft’ is the issue here.

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This line was a yawn, but it’s also where I started losing my shit…Ha.

And then when we went to ride our second course, a few more people joined and were hanging outside the ring, with a few dogs in the shadows. Of course Oats could NOT handle it…And I mentally had a lot of trouble regrouping, and adjusting my ride and my mindset. I guess I couldn’t handle it either? He wasn’t even being that spooky, hahah. I was frazzled!!! Jumping is hard enough for me without added distractions, though in hindsight, I do value them. If i can maintain focus in the ring for my jumps, that can only be a good thing for horse shows eh?

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I love that we match this jump perfectly!!

But…Yesterday I let it get to me.

We got around, and funny enough it was at the most boring, non-interesting jumps that we had the stops at (because I thought I could stop riding at them, obviously). Hah!

Oats is a saint though, and while he will definitely call me on my bullshit, he’s very honest and forgiving. He’s like, oh ok let’s do it! Literally doesn’t really notice from jump to jump. And let’s face it- I need to be more like that myself.

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You do what you want (as long as it’s what we want)

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Ah the rolltop. I don’t think I ever jumped this straight… 

Jump lesson! Yeah!! I actually have been having a hard time getting my head in the game this week. So many sad, emotional, bummer things have been happening and it’s just a huge mindfuck actually. A horse broke his leg at my barn on Monday, I got there as the vet was coming to put him down. It was horrible. Needless to say, I didn’t ride Oats (he got treats and some hand grazing), and he had his beginner lessons on Tuesday, Wednesday he gets off, and I had my lesson yesterday.

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Riddle me this- why do jumps look SO BIG on the ground/when you are jumping, and so…small in videos and photos?! Unfair! 

Yesterday I also learned more work news that sucks, basically the end of an era. So, I’m struggling right now with perspective and change and all that fun stuff, with the added bonus of stark realization that horses, pets and people aren’t forever and the fleeting moments of greatness we have with them is just that- fleeting.

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Isn’t this a nice jump? Brenda’s new lattice and standards! 

It was also psychotically windy yesterday- about 70km/hr winds at my house when I got home. I was antsy beyond belief, fidgety and anxious. I couldn’t settle at all. At the barn it was quite windy too, but not so bad as at home. I was freezing at home. The wind blew a few jumps down in the outdoor though!

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Into the four-stride line.

But you know what? Despite the total shitstorm that this week has turned out to be, riding was really good. I just love riding my pony! He’s such a good boy. 🙂 He makes me really happy.

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Into the in-and-out.

Our coursework was pretty good, and FOR ONCE my brain didn’t fall out when the jumps went higher. That, friends, is success. And that’s all I wanted. Of course our leads sucked, and our straightness could use…some work…but hey, I’m just so happy that for once it feels like I rode competently, forward, straight and focused. Plus I got to visit with some friends and that always makes me happy. The barn should be my happy place!

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And out of it! 

Small wins this week, sadly. But I needed it so, so much.

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Oats knocked this one so hard, it went FLYING! Lazy! 

Resist much, obey little

My husband clued me into Walt Whitman last night and darned if I’m not really enjoying delving deeper! This has been a difficult week, not for work reasons but just for life/physical reasons. I’m still holding out some hope for a better conclusion, but in the meantime, the sage words of Walt Whitman hold some consolation.

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I have an excellent weekend to look forward to at least!

And I had a good (but definitely challenging and not great) riding lesson last night. My physical struggles this week manifested in my ride- I could hold things together for a bit, and then BOOM! Forget how to ride. I rode a very good first course, and then when the jumps went up, my brain fell out. Sorry Oats!

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Why do the jumps look big when you’re jumping and then small in video??

This meant we had some stops, about 3-4 jumps where Oats rode magnificently and I just…Didn’t ride and got left behind, spectacularly.  I was having a brain-body disconnect.

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Oh well, you can’t win them all and this week? I got out alive so I’m winning. I was fortunate enough to have my friend use her Pixio, and she let me borrow it to videotape my rides. It is SO COOL!!! Like having a robot film you the whole round! I am very impressed- how neat is that technology? It’s amazing!! And the quality/picture quality is so good, considering how bad the light is at that time of night (sun glare all the time).

 

Hot moment: Week update?

So this week. Yeah….

Not much riding happened- 1 ride on Tues where Oats was hot to trot, and I loved it! And then it blizzarded again on Wednesday, so I walked home and didn’t leave the house all night…

And then a jump lesson Thursday after all the snow melted and it was a slushy mess everywhere!

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So, my week and my winter…

My lesson was pretty good, some big oops moments (like, disunited canter and me turning Oats too fast and him slipping so badly I swear I thought he was going to FALL ON ME) he saved my freaking butt!).

We worked on a gymnastic- canter-in bounce to four strides, and then coming around to a single fence on the outside line, and then the gymnastic, but we then did a bending line the second time around to a small oxer. That’s where I screwed up a bunch of times, grabby hands on my left hand pulling Oats’ face around. Shit!

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…

We then went from the small oxer to the angled fence, and then angled it the other way, and then to a small ‘step’ type jump, back to the oxer, and to a single fence on the diagonal.

We made some big mistakes, Oats got surprised by the angled jump and slammed on the brakes but it was like, oh hey no big deal, let’s try that one again. And he jumped it totally fine, phew!

So, even though my lessons aren’t perfect or necessarily really nice looking, I am working through some things and enjoying the process. I didn’t want Nicole to put them up though, so that’s my next goal- be ok with the course, be slower through my turns, rein in my rogue elbows & left hand, and BE BRAVER about jumps going up. The jumps themselves? Totally fine, not a problem.

So, do it, ME!

Also work has been a nightmare this week and I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping. UGHHH.

What are you doing with your whole life? How about forever?

Oh man, this winter is just dragging for me. In excruciating detail: the wind is insane, it’s been unseasonably COLD for about six weeks now?! It’s dark. Work is insane. I miss my friend who moved away. My family is…a work in progress…shall we say?

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This is about the third time I have used this photo to illustrate how awful the wind has been. I was scared for my life!

Needless to say, I’m so over it. I have been struggling over the past oh six weeks or so with feelings of intense unhappiness. It isn’t really every day, but it’s been frequent enough to make me seriously wonder- why can’t I find joy in things I love? In the everyday? Is is seasonal affective disorder?

I have been taking vitamin D, and making sure to get outside, but still…It’s honestly super difficult.

Anyways, that whine preamble was to start my ride week in a nutshell:

Fell off Oats on Sunday after my race when he spooked lightly at something.

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At least Oats has his best horse friend to play with every day!

Tried riding Tuesday because I was too stiff and sore Monday to ride. There was a windstorm on Tuesday with wind gusting up to 90km/hr. It was TERRIFYING. Thank god I was on Oats,  who allows me to do the dumbest things with him. I wouldn’t trust any other horse. Still, I was scared out of my mind and ended up riding for 15 very tense minutes and I jumped off and thanked god I was still alive. NOT doing that again. Just terrifying, 100% alone in the pitch black with hurricane winds. Nope…

Wed: Actually a good jump lesson. I was in a bad mood all week, and so wasn’t expecting greatness or anything. I thought Oats was going to feel stiff but he was moving out quite nicely! We worked on a gymnastic- my nemesis- to a small course with a skinny on a circle, and another skinny on a straight approach. Oats was a very good boy, and I quite enjoyed my ride!

Today: Planning on riding. It is -5 and feels like -9. To give context, it’s usually around 8 deg Celsius and rainy here in the winter. I am so sick of it.

Is this the part where I get all I ever wanted? Who said that? Weekend update!

Yes, a weekend of so many updates- chiefly because SO much happened!

Friday night my husband and I finally went out to use our gift certificate to a fancy restaurant- Il Terrazo, and it was amazing! We had been meaning to go there since September, can you believe it? I had bread, tapenade, we shared an appetizer of grilled scallops, tuna, seaweed and cucumber salad. For my main, I enjoyed a very fulsome ciopinno. I couldn’t finish it!

I remember Friday night as the first night all week I felt like I actually slept.

Saturday was the big day. I was a ball of anxiety. I ended up dragging my poor husband around with me for the whole day (this would also be true for Sunday as well…). We first got gas, I went riding, we went to the feed store to buy grain, then he provided moral support for me as I went and had coffee with my parents, launching what was probably the most difficult discussion I have ever had with another person in my entire life.

It was hard. It was unpleasant. It was important. It was cathartic. It was necessary.

Telling your parents, firmly and honestly, that you are not having children and therefore they do not get grandchildren is so hard, but I needed to be heard, and they deserved my honesty- not to get ignored, get swept under the rug again, put off for another time. No. This time it’s for real.

They were sad, and cried. I wasn’t. I finally felt free.

I went home and bailed out on my friend’s birthday party- it was just going to be too draining, and I also had my VIRA 8k race the next morning even! I needed some time to recover (oh, and drink wine…oops). My nutrition that day consisted of pancakes for breakfast, pancakes with smarties and peanut butter for lunch, and wine. Oh and chocolate too. Dinner was better, a stir-fry…with two peanut-butter cupcakes for dessert. Whoops!

Emotional eating for the win!

At least I had a stir fry?

And on Sunday, after racing, enjoying a beer at Category 12, falling unceremoniously off my horse, I went with my husband to go see La La Land. I liked it, and enjoyed watching it more than I thought (I have a notoriously difficult time watching movies. I can’t sit still for that long, get fidgety, need many breaks, etc) so getting me out to a movie is kind of a big deal, haha.

It was still about 15 minutes too long, in my opinion.

And that wraps up my insanely busy wknd! I sometimes feel as if I live enough on weekends for most peoples weeks 😉

Rust buster for real: Prairie Inn Harriers 8k race recap

First off, thanks to the volunteers and race organizers. This is a VERY smoothly run race, and I absolutely loved the post-race food options (great soup, hot dogs! pizza?! wow!!). A super effort by all involved and made my recovery that much more fun.

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7th place!! Photo is courtesy of the Prairie Inn Harriers.

Now for the race recap: Wow, this was a lot harder than I felt it should have been, and it was 100% my fault- I went out FAST in the beginning (first downhill km at 3:55? No way can I run that fast, and I was just getting caught up and silly). It was then a strugglefest for the rest of the race, thanks to my poor planning.

My next km was still very fast for me- 4:16. Then I dropped rapidly and started losing my will to live…

4:46, 4:35, 4:39…eeeeek.

Basically my race was a textbook example of poor pacing efforts, combined with another perfect positive split. So, don’t do what I did- ha. I honestly felt like I would have paid someone to let me quit midway through, it felt that rough.

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Well deserved (until I fell off Oats shortly after).

I wanted to puke, pass out and collapse. I had the distinct pleasure of getting passed right left and centre all throughout the race, which made it tough to ‘run my race’ instead of feeling like I was getting caught up and passed constantly. The ‘hurry scurry’ feeling just never left and I couldn’t achieve that ‘flow’ that I try to during races.

Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice for taking a few months off racing, and the 8k, while a fine distance, is just not my distance.

It was a very chilly day and it actually started snowing like crazy when we finished. Thank god we missed that though- a stroke of good luck. I was happy with my time (36:06 net, 36:11 gun time) which is a slight improvement from last year (36:20), but I do still feel like if I ran a better, more competent race I would have fared wayyyy better. hahah.

At the finish, I wasn’t sprinting, I was struggling. I was huffing and puffing and trying to catch my breath, reeling and staggering at the end. I sat down on a retaining wall and felt dizzy. Yuck!

I was coughing heavily for the rest of the day, thanks to my incompetent lungs being slightly damaged- yuck again.

With my time I received 7th place AG, which is fine for a fairly competitive race.

And after the run, my husband and I enjoyed a very nice beer taster at Category 12, which is nearby, and then we headed to the barn so I could get a quick ride in on Oats. He spooked during my ride, and I promptly tumbled off. Not my day I guess? I was fine, landed on my feet and hopped back on and continued but yeeesh, I guess I was just tired, and not ‘with it’ haha.

Oh well, a lesson to learn for that day.

I am stiff as heck today though!