Discipline

To my extreme frustration, my leg is totally fucked. Like…I can tell the delamination has started and that was something I SO wanted to avoid. I started having trouble walking this week ūüė¶ and it hurts going up the stairs, going down the stairs, and riding. YAY.

All that shockwave and strengthening exercises? Five WEEKS of them? Did shit all.

So I’m headed back down the road to having 6 months off. Yay me.

On that note, I’m stopping any attempt at running for a week, no more walk-jogs, nothing. If I can’t walk anymore, it’s gotten so much worse than how it started. ūüė¶ Funny I have to have the discipline to NOT do anything???

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!

 

 

 

Mr. Oats, a non-genius

Had my dressage lesson last night and it definitely came with some frustrations.

Item 1: Oats, not wanting contact at the trot, hops into canter. Repeatedly.

Item 2: This makes our exercise, going over trot poles, hazardous and irritating.

Item 3: I was tired!! It was a very physical lesson. They always seem to be right now.

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he was not this sweaty, but close!

So…We attempted the exercise- a good, bouncy trot over poles in a circle. Many times. To the left, he was actually getting it and I had some connection through my right/outside rein. To the right? Trot-CANTER-trot-CANTER-trot-CANTER

We bumbled up/over/through/crashing/rolling/jumping over the poles.

GAK.

We’d go large, attempt to establish some sort of semblance of connection and even then, it just wasn’t happening. It was still trot-HOP-trot-HOP.

So, the next time he went to canter w/o me asking, I hauled his pony butt into a¬†very firm hand gallop of a canter. VERY firm. A ‘no joking, no hanging out, no easy-going lope’ canter. A hell of a canter. And I had to repeat this little message more than once. It was tough! I wanted to trot! I wanted to take a break!

We went back to the poles, and wonder of wonders, after oh, the third time of really spanking him into a correct canter, he ‘gasp’ trotted~nicely too! I was too slow to let him stretch, which Karen reminded me was important. So, I tried to be quicker about rewarding his efforts in the trot, which were very nice when he did give them to me.

This work- particularly on the right rein- exposes a lot of my and Oats’ weaknesses. It’s pretty ugly sometimes and I was complaining about the hop-canter ‘phase’ we seem to be in, and Karen was saying well, it’s part of the process and it will take you as long as it takes you to get over it, eh?

Also- he is getting much better about a nice forward canter when I am in the canter, something that we really struggled to achieve last year.

Progress?

And the non-genius part- I was grabbing my water bottle and drinking from it, when Oats gave a very vigorous shake…Shaking half my water bottle all over the both of us and almost dislodging ME! ARGH.

That pony!

What you imagine, you create

Weekend update- rode Oats on Saturday and he was SO BLAH! UGH.

Yummy cookies!

Yummy cookies!

Just…not rude or anything scary or dangerous, just ‘blah’ and completely phoning in his ride. I was bummed, because he was literally ‘sparkling’ with energy Tues/Wed, and I felt his energy decline in my lesson on Thurs- though he was still cooperative, and then Saturday? He just felt like, ‘yeah yeah yeah whatever’ and that’s how my ride went. Fell over a few crossrails¬†because¬†he couldn’t be bothered to pick up his feet. Blah.

Maybe Oats does best when he gets to spend 12 hours at a horseshow on the weekend? Because it seemed to *really* liven him up for some of the week! Hm…

Thursday was a good lesson- not without it’s bobbles- me forgetting to ride to one x-rail and us kind of landing in the middle of it, me trying to push him through a short gymnastic at the canter and bailing out halfway through, him having a coughing attack in the middle of our course…But you know what, it actually rode pretty well after our ‘bobbles’ and I felt pretty fine about it.

So, after his VERY unenthusiastic ride on Saturday, I decided that I would *gasp* take him out of the arena on Sunday and attempt some weenie trail riding. I mostly hate trail riding, it scares the bejesus out of me. I have had MANY bad experiences, and the roads around the barn are so so so busy- motorcycles, buses, big trucks, tons of cars, bike races, dogs, kids, etc etc etc. NOT relaxing.

Well, the good news is that we didn’t quite make it to the road, hahah – we rode past the ‘scary barn of terror’ that Oats was petrified of (wind chimes, flag flapping and going nuts, creaking doors, farm equipment?!!!) and made it like halfway…And then he refused to go forward, and started thinking about rearing, so I made an executive decision and hopped off, led him past it- with 1 big spook! And got back on…And had to repeat the ‘get off, lead past, get back on’ procedure a few times.

We made it to the end of the road, and then Oats didn’t want to go home! He tried to charge off and take me to the road, which is NOT where I was planning. So, hopped off, led him back, hopped back on and managed to ride safely back to the arena. The girls were in the outdoor stomping on ice that had frozen in the puddles, so Oats and I joined it and stomped some ice too! Me on his back, and him enjoying himself, haha.

So, we tried. That was that!

It was still incredibly nerve-wracking. UGH.

And what else did I get up to? Some cookie making & decorating, and preparing my items for the craft sale a friend is having this weekend (at her house). Check it out! I’m looking forward to it, I have bath/body items that I like making for fun, so I figured why not see if I can sell any?

Craft sale goodies- nice enough to eat!

Craft sale goodies- nice enough to eat!

Apple chips and other fun!

So, this is kind of an alarming day- if anyone follows the news, it’s frightening over in Ottawa, where I grew up and where my family still lives and works…

But the good news, is that they are fine and things are contained. I’m very glad.

To keep my mind off things, I thought I’d recap my lesson yesterday with Karen (good!) and also I made some tasty apple chips on the weekend with my mother in law’s dehydrator and they were great!

apple chips

apple chips

So the lesson yesterday- we worked on getting the bend and if it wasn’t working on the left, we switched gears and worked it on the right- switched to left- switched to right back and forth.

We then trotted a straight line through two cones (that got bumped and banged out of place SO MANY TIMES haha) and eventually worked up to leg-yielding left and then right, and then back to left and then back to right. We did this on both sides, and leg-yielded from both sides depending on what bend we had (inside bend- leg yield left, outside bend- leg yield right)/ It was good, we worked HARD!

We then worked on the exercise at the canter and I did feel anxious- he felt balky, felt like he wanted to do his prop-buck exercise- but we worked around it. So that was good! It just feels like when he gets tired and the right lead starts feeling like too much work, he goes WAY OVERBOARD in his reaction. Like, get off now! Instead of, this is tough! We also focused more on ‘letting him stretch’ his neck down at the canter instead of propping and getting high-headed and ready to launch- with some success.

And frankly it intimidates the heck out of me, how would you like getting bucked off?

But- we are working through it. It never escalated to that point yesterday, and Karen said we got some great leg yield work out of him, probably the best we’ve gotten yet!

So that part is indeed a work in progress. Sigh. Like all things in my life…

Life and other stories

So, where was I? Oh yes, that lingering feeling of disillusionment with Oats, my life, my work, everything.

It all kind of came to a head this weekend (a long weekend, Thanksgiving of all things!) I wanted desperately to enjoy it- the kind of desperation that means you’re going to get screwed in the end…)

I wasn’t feeling well on Friday, so came home after work and crawled into bed for a few hours. Went out for some drinks with a buddy which was really nice, a high point of my weekend, and I also made some great salad rolls.

Saturday I rode Oats and he was really good actually. Can’t say a bad word about him right now- not yet anyways!

Sunday didn’t ride- went to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. Had a nice time, but was feeling kind of eaten-up by my husband’s business venture that was slowly sliding downhill…and picking up the pace as it went down. Blah.

And then I got a call from a lady I ride with, saying that Oats had rudely knocked her down when she went to get him from the field. ARGH!~ I was very upset to hear this. She was fine, nothing big there, but JEESH. When it is enough?>!!!!

I felt really down, really upset. Like….I was hoping for a nice relaxing weekend, and mine is filled with business-drama, Oats drama, and nothing fun. (except I did see two movies-Gone Girl and We Are What We Are- both excellent, recommend highly).

Went out Monday with some steely resolve to sort his shit out. He was fine, again. I didn’t even have a chance to get after him, or ‘fix’ anything. Ah…so, that was good. But the real test would be my lesson with Karen on Tuesday…

Tuesday: Work was a nightmare, this strange, lingering tired draggy sick feeling is sticking around bigtime. Nevertheless, I persevere! Rode Oats in our lesson and MANNN WE WERE ROCKING IT.

Felt a bit like cheating, as we didn’t canter right rein- but we got probably the NICEST work we’ve ever had on the canter, to the left. Nicest. Hands-down.

He was good, so good. And we worked HARD. He was coated in sweat, my legs were all trembly, but it felt really righteous, thorough even.

So- is there a rainbow on the other side here? Or more grey clouds? Not sure, but I’m actually pretty impressed with how mature Oats’ work has been getting. Hm…

Wanting what others have

I had a really lovely long weekend- riding, no pressures of showing, no getting up early, just enjoying some pony time with Oats and hanging out with the critters and husband.

We went up to watch some showjumping at the local SSITS show on Sunday, and that’s when I felt it…A slight twinge of jealousy.

Do I even want to show jump? Not really! But what I do want is to compete Oats at bigger venues (even if sometimes the atmosphere trends to the rude and snobby, but let’s not go there right now) and I want to do well! UGH. Summertime is always the time of why not more? Higher? Better? It can be an ugly time of my expectations- wants- desires vastly outstripping my ‘actual’s…ie- ability, time management, money management, Oats behavioural skills, show nerves, anxiety.

I enjoyed watching the showjumping and went home, but can’t get the green-eyed monster of ‘what ifs’ out of my head.

So, I think my eventual goal is to try a hunter derby with Oats- and have fun with it! Do it at 2’3” if anything else scares me. Seek out that one fun class and try it out. Also, keep competing at the Appy shows until we’re bored at the 2’6” level, which is the highest they go to- it’s not a ‘real’ 2’6” as they are set a bit lower anyways. When I’m finished with those, I can¬†re-calibrate¬†my wants and desires, and see how they measure up to my real life.

This might mean bigger shows, but fewer of them. It might mean a switch to a different discipline at the same time, or keep doing a few different disciplines- dressage, baby jumpers, hunters/equitation.

I’m not in a rush, so why do I feel like I am every spring/summer/fall? Why can’t I be happy with what I have?