Working Equitation: Day 2

Ah, the most exciting day! I was very anxious. Oats had been pretty amped the day before (hence the need for two rides, ha) but I was most worried about the two natural obstacles in the course: water, and a bank.

And I was right to be worried ­čśŽ

We went in for our first round and I immediately got DQ’d, lol. I ‘crossed my line’ on my way to start through the gates, whoops! But it went ok for the first obstacle (barrels) and then we went straight over to the bank for obstacle 2 and the wheels came off Oats’ brain. He was TERRIFIED of the bank. Would NOT go near it, at all. Well-meaning folks were like, well if you tried walking up to it slowly? Hahahahhah yeah, if he would stop rearing and running backwards, maybe I could…But I couldn’t get near it. Not one iota.

Speed round, video courtesy of Shelly Donaldson!

He was stressed and amped as hell, and we got permission to move on, having been disqualified already. He felt very tense and rigid, and was thinking about bucking me off. We went over to the garoccha line and he was good until we went to the bull for the rings and he spooked at the bull and I dropped the ring, and almost my pole! Hahaha.

The rest of the course was edgy and very tense but manageable. He didn’t really want to go through the water but then he did! I was surprised he did, when the bank was such a major issue?! I then messed up the entry to the double slalom (missed going through the cones the correct way) and got confused, ha. DQ number 3 or 4??

And then we hopped over the jump, got the jug, and cantered through the finish lines, where Oats started building up a head of steam and tried to buck me off going through the finish gates!! I had to pull him up, roughly, and then salute to the judge. They were laughing! hahaha.

Then for the Speed Round, same course (ARGHHHH) but no jug, only single slalom and one way through the cattle pen. Still the bank ­čśŽ So I knew we’d get DQ’d and I was thinking about scratching, to be honest.

But, we took a break (Oats was SO THIRSTY allll weekend, poor dude), untacked and then chilled out. It was quite hot out too.

Afternoon, we tacked back up for Speed Round. I was kind of dreading it, but also thought who cares? This is all for schooling. And boy, was it! We went in for our round, and I took special care to NOT cross my lines hahah. We started well again, the barrels and then had a different idea for the bank- a trainer there suggested we go up above it, and then down to it. Did it work? A resounding NOPE! He danced, ran, spun, reared and generally freaked out.

So……DQ again.

And we skipped it, and he only had one ‘gonna buck you off!’ moment immediately afterward heading to the Garrocha line (where he was good but I missed the loop, shit!). Otherwise he was even a real trooper about going into the water, slightly hesitant but good! ­čÖé

We did get permission to school the bank after the competitors were done. I had someone come with me (my trainer who is helping me practice the obstacles at home) and I led him up to it in-hand. He snorted bigtime, but then happily followed me up the bank. And then down and then back up. I hopped back on, and we walked up to it and over on a loose rein. Easy-peasy! ­čÖé How I WISH we had been able to do that in the competition…It would have saved him and me a lot of tension and angst eh?? Five minutes of introducing it to him and done! Good Oats.

It was a challenging weekend but did help me get out of my own head for a bit.

Comeback kid?

So I deliberately haven’t been updating my blog because I wasn’t happy with what I was writing (read: ALL ranting). Gosh, it was too much even for me! I don’t like being a black cloud. And it felt like my entire summer leading to fall was just so…Disappointing.

70883091_721799574986993_4100466510839939072_n.jpg

Dressage day. My friend did the braids, aren’t they cute?

But, as my counselor says, the path to enlightenment is long and sometimes hard. And once you’re on it, you can’t really get off it!

So, here is a recap of my season-ending horse show. And as a tale of two horse shows, it went well, and badly! Ha. I had two kind of lousy riding lessons the week before, back-to-back. They were technical and I just felt…Like I didn’t know how to ride anymore. That was a marked difference from my last show (CDRC that is) when I felt like I was on top of the world! Nothing could bring me down!

And now, I’m down. I felt deflated and uninterested in going. But I also didn’t want to bail on my friend, who I really enjoy showing with. Sooooooo…My headspace was kind of ambivalent. And I am not really an ambivalent person.

Saturday was dressage, and I was a bit anxious about it, because our last dressage outing, Oats was tense, anxious, gassy as heck and acting strangely. It worried me a lot! It was terrible. This time? Our first test sucked, he was distracted and tense through his neck/poll, but ok, fine. Our second felt lovely, enough though I forgot how to ride the counter-canter loop on the second pass and he swapped! Shit!! BUT the rest of the test was lovely, and I was super happy with Oats. We won the class with a 67%, which was very reasonable, and we were third in our first class with a 64%, which was fair. The judge was pretty tough, but I found my scores to be right in line. The classes were quite large! About 13 rides in Test 1.

Our jumping the next day, well…I was ambivalent as I mentioned, and it was pissing down rain the whole time. UGH. I so did not want to be there, getting soaked. Oats felt the same, I guess, because he stopped at SO many jumps. Shit!! Needless to say, we’ve had better, and quite frankly, been better prepared. I should have left my ego at the door and gone down a level, but I didn’t. So, I learned something more about myself and my horse- if in doubt, knock one down. There’s no harm in it.

Lessons learned, all!

Here’s to a more productive, learning September and fall. I guess it can only get better from here?

Tell yourself the truth about who you really are: Foxstone horse show report!

What a crazy weekend- it was jam packed with horsey activities!

Yeah Oats! Photo courtesy of Nicole.

Yeah Oats! Photo courtesy of Nicole.

I also felt a bit run off my feet (I’m still trying to get over my weird on-again-off-again malaise that just keeps hanging on, not actively sick enough but just not feeling great either. Sigh…).

I had the Dave Freeze clinic on Saturday night, and then the Foxstone horse show on Sunday. Seamless, right? Well, I’ll be doing a separate blog post about Dave Freeze, as I took lots of notes, but today we will focus on Foxstone. I was in a big rush Saturday, trying to ride Oats, clean my tack, pack up my stuff, fill grain bags and hay nets for the show, and ┬ánot be late for the Dave Freeze clinic in the evening.

Everything got done but man…It was busy. And I was out late at the clinic, slept fairly well but intermittently before getting up at 7am for the show, and was back home that night at 7pm. EEK!~ Crazy eh?

It was…But it was also (to borrow from Dave’s Big Eight)- an opportunity to practice being calm, patient, focused, grounded, centered, positive, exert appropriate effort, and relaxed. Kind of a big deal for me.

My goal on this started way back, with my equine counselling–I wanted to sleep well the night before (I tried SO hard at this) and feel appropriately hungry the morning of- which I actually ate almost all of my breakfast w/o my stomach turning into knots! And then actually ‘feel’ my body as I was warming up, instead of this weird muscle weakness, numb out of body feeling (50% achieved on that…I did start wanting to drift, but managed to pull myself back together!).

The warm-up was ok- I got a bit distracted as one girl was having a tough time with her horse and fell off a few times…Oats was slow. Very quiet, suspiciously quiet. We bungled up a line a few times due to this sort of distraction, and then pulled ourselves together and went very quietly to the arena. There, I was almost thrown off my game when they said we didn’t have time to do any warm-up in the arena.┬áWHAT?

I wanted to start worrying.

And then they said we could do our first jump as a warm-up if we wished, which was very gracious of them, and I decided, you know what? We were going to be fine without it. I was doing ok.

So, we set off on our rounds, and you know what? Wonder of wonders, they were fine, consistent, and┬áboring. The jump height was ‘eh’ and the trouble spots I encountered were 100% because Oats was a bit backed off and slow off the leg, so we got a few ugly chips unfortunately. But, I did kind of feel like that was due to him perhaps being a bit ouchy, not like lame ouchy but a bit unsure on his feet due to having no front shoes…A bit┬ásensitive┬á maybe not as willing to be┬áenergetically┬á‘forward’?

Even though the jump height was not an issue for us, the forward yesterday was. Also, I noticed I was still gasping a bit after my rounds. So, I’m making the executive decision to keep myself and Oats at the boring height of 2′ divisions for this season. Keep it boring until I’m bored to tears and begging to move up???

And my other goal was to be 100% comfortable just ‘being’ on Oats. That was definitely achieved…We cruised around, hacked all the way around the stable yard, up and down the road, everywhere. Oats was so cool he was comatose?!! This did lend him well to being SO GOOD in my flat class–I have never had him so chill in a hack class, usually he is the┬ápsycho┬ápony who is scaring people, racing other horses, bucking or rearing.

He was like an old hunter pony pro. And was generously rewarded with a first place! Go OATS!! I ┬áhave to thank my trainer for sticking by me for all my long, panicky horse shows in the past, and maybe in the future–there is a reason Oats now has a better reputation.

One goal I’m still not there yet with is weirdly…Not super interested in watching and analyzing the videos my friend took (which was amazing of her to take them, so appreciative!!). This is one area I can improve on–I need to accept that this division is where I am right now. I am a 2′ division rider, this is my truth. I think that’s why I like having video, but am reluctant to take a deeper look at them. I almost think “this is me, jumping such low jumps?”

A brief monkey bar break...Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

A brief monkey bar break…Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

But if I am honest with myself, yes that IS me, and yes, I actually rode well, had a very enjoyable, consistent show with Oats, and I should be happy to critique myself after.

Oh and I need to spray-paint my jointed stirrups- I got non-judged/DQ’d in the equitation over fences class because of my black stirrups. Curses!!! Well I also seriously bungled the trot fence so if there was a class to blow, and also get disqualified in, well…I’m not crying over it, hahah.