Is it too much to ask? Dressage recap!

So my dressage semi-private lessons with Oats have been pretty good, suspiciously good lately in fact. So it was only a matter of time before Oats had a big throw-down hissyfit ‘I don’t wanna’ lesson, and last night was kind of it!

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Oats gets a haircut…

Luckily, he is also 17 and can’t buck as hard as he used to! Phew!

We worked a fairly difficult exercise- turn off the short end, and leg-yield at the trot. This will eventually turn into leg-yield and transition within the leg yield, and back to the gait. So we did trot-walk-trot (HARD), and then trot-canter and then canter-trot. Oats was fairly amenable on one rein- left rein to right leg yield and was kind of a disaster on the other!

Oh Oats!

He was like, umm…no. Instead of our regularly scheduled transition, he would LEAP instead of moving sideways. Like, actually just jumping in the air. Greeeat….

This escalated a bit into a leap-buck, but like I said he is getting older so his bucks didn’t really unseat me, thank god. Ha.

This lesson is one that we had done last year, but without the transitions. And the leg-yield was enough of a brain-melter for both horses! We could barely even get the leg-yielding so being able to ask just a ‘little bit more’ was a stretch for Oats, and he was learning (slowly and kind of nastily) but learning.

So there is progress, albeit very slow and kind of unpleasant for me when Oats really gets going. Oh well, I can manage! And it is nice to see how the exercise develops from one year to the next. Oats is also clipped, so I didn’t have to spend forever and a day cooling him out. YESSSS!

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Canter leg-yields?!

Yesss! We are back in action with our regularly scheduled dressage lesson on Tuesday. We practiced leg-yields with correct rider posture (elbows in at your side, leg yield using the LEG and not pulling/opening the rein. If the leg yield didn’t happen, that was ok. It just meant you had to sharpen up the leg aid more next time).

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And Oats was so good! I was quite pleased with him, the little goofball.

We worked our way up to canter leg yields, and while these were a tad more ‘fraught’ with challenge, it still went quite well and I was pleased with with his effort, sense of humour and ability.

The leg yield left-right was tricky and he got fairly heavy on the right rein at the canter, which made the leg yield harder to get, with less ‘jump’ at the canter and more ‘dragging freight-train’ but still, he was definitely trying. One thing we learned was that to keep the horse packaged up at the canter, you need leg and hand and some very minor bend, but you shouldn’t feel like they will fall apart if you let it go- they should carry themselves at some point. You don’t want the ‘canter canter canter SPLAT!’ feeling.

Also I learned that a slight bend is important because without it, Oats gets confused and wants to swap leads. Fair enough, horse!

The leg yield right-left at the canter went quite well! 🙂

Good boy Oats, I was so glad to have my guy back in action doing some good dressage work with minor hissy-fits.

Mixed thoughts on dressage (stressage?)

Jumped into an impromptu dressage lesson last night (I was going to take the night off, but got super tempted so I joined in last-minute. I know, I know but hey I was on time for once?!) and we worked on similar stuff to last week with one exception- I was kind of sucking at it this time.

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We worked first at the walk, then at the trot and were going to move it up to canter except we didn’t quite…make it successful at the trot. So we stuck it there, ha. Honestly it felt rougher than last week BUT also not terrible? Just that it was hard, and we were trying. His trot was really great, super amped and really ‘moving ‘ but getting him to reach down into contact was kind of not great aka a big work in progress.

He’d be in contact, I’d slowly (and my timing was off..) start giving him rein, he’d reach down, and then immediately pop back up out of contact. Ugh! I would go back to trying to get contact back, and rinse, repeat. It takes a lot of work to maintain the contact through a lower head/giving hands.

Still some pretty solid work. Just makes me feel like urghh the canter is going to be verrrry interesting if I am struggling this much with the trot!

No polo tonight, it’s getting too dark out too early now (sob). So I will just zip out the barn and do some field riding with Oats, he needs the mental break after our fairly strenuous dressage lessons.

I can’t tell what the time is telling me

Yes, back again from a busy-ish weekend…My husband ran in the Finlayson Arm 28k on Sunday (crazy!!) and I rode, did some mild running, and had my ‘take the horses to the beach’ trip cancelled due to constant rain… 😦 boo

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Canoeing with Gidget on the long weekend.

Oh well we are going to try again for this weekend. Fingers crossed it actually happens!

And I had my jump lesson on Thursday and it wasn’t…great. I am now noticing that Oats gets quite sticky and stiff off the ground later in the summer (Aug-Sept) and it does greatly impact his desire to jump outdoors. He just isn’t forward and is quite reluctant to leave the ground!

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This is something I will need to start addressing- either with Previcoxx or hind shoes or both. I want him to feel great jumping again so I will focus on his maintenance going into the spring.

I did have a good ride indoors on Saturday (rain) and he was QUITE frisky on Sunday- outdoors was soft and still wet so I think he quite enjoyed the footing!

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I watched the LIEC dressage show after riding on Sunday too and it made me feel still kind of anxious about going up a level in dressage with Oats- what am I doing? Do I even know? Yikes…

Monday I was volunteering at a work event and was not allowed to have my phone or computer with me all day= busy busy busy. Back to the grind this week though…

The girls went to school at High Point yesterday and I was beyond jealous. Mannnnn.

Labour Day Blues

A great weekend, followed by some intense strangeness and disquiet.

A death, crazy smoke covering the sky, blocking out the sun and raining ash on us, crimes, big and small.

It’s strange! I feel strange and smothered.

But anyways, let’s focus on the things that went right:

  • Rode this weekend (no polo though, was up-Island) and Oats was good! We even jumped the scary ‘skinny brush jump’ out in the field in a blazing hot day.
  • We canoed, probably for the first time in a hundred years for me- and took Gidget! She actually really enjoyed it. 🙂
  • I enjoyed many beers, cocktails and wine- always a good time.
  • We picked plums! Carrots! Beets! Chard!
  • Had happy hour with a good buddy on Friday AND got off work early.
  • Went swimming (floating) at Thetis Lake and hurt my neck paddling. Turns out I am older than I thought. Ha. It still hurts today though, which is not so funny…two days and counting.
  • Rode in a pretty intense dressage lesson last night, despite my sore neck. Not technical, but more like focusing on the elements of ‘lengthen’ strides. It was pretty good!
  • I ran! Lots of running and am happy with how my legs are feeling on the weekends- not so much during the week, they suck then, but hey weekends are awesome!

Here’s to more fun and adventure, despite the oppressive feelings that are threatening to crush us these days. It seriously feels like the apocalypse with this eerie red-grey sky!

Taking what’s not yours

Ride/life update- all good!

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Slow chukkar- not me, but it’s a general idea. Photo by the Victoria Polo Club.

Dressage ride on Oats on Tuesday, to make up for my rather schedule-less week (no lessons, whaaat?). Transitions up to a ‘big’ or extended trot, and back down. Still not interested in listening when we are at the ‘spooky’ corner but overall a fairly good ride. A longer one, because on Wednesday…

I played polo! In the beginner’s slow chukka. And it was fun! I committed a huge foul (crossing my stick in front of another horse, which is dangerous because I could trip the horse if we were playing at speed) BUT I also got a goal- my first! 🙂

So, learning experience all ’round eh?

And after polo (it is short, 15 mins practicing and 15 mins of play time) I hop back into my car and drive to the barn to ride Oats. No rest for the wicked! We just toodled around in the field, my goal for Wednesday.

Today no jump lesson, so I was planning on schooling myself a bit in the jump ring outdoors (small fences) after work. Weather got chilly last night, and cool this morning but it’s looking pretty good for the weekend so fingers crossed.

After my very busy weekend last week, I am looking forward to a long weekend with fun times to relax! (ha, what is relaxing…I don’t think I know how to do that).

Every night you’ve got to save me

So, polo not happening tonight- can’t get off early enough for it. Luckily there is a Sunday opportunity that I will be taking advantage of 🙂

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Had a challenging but fairly decent dressage lesson last night, where we worked on transitions and MAN it was hard. HARD. Transitions upwards were great, but our collection sucked out loud and my transitions downward were…special. To the point that we are going to have to devote a good ride to only downward transitions. Oh well! Kind of does burst my ‘we’re moving up!’ bubble by feeling fairly incompetent during a basic ride. HA.

And I had an excellent equine counseling session on Monday- I had been trying to manage some strange emotions/feelings of anger, angst and disappointment when Buster passed away. I wanted my family to acknowledge my loss and my grief, and they didn’t. It made me very angry and I wanted to explore why, and why that was coming up so strongly in the wake of his passing. It was a good session that made me experience/feel the need for acknowledgement and be able to *mostly* let it go. (I say mostly, because I need the emotional peace it brings, but know myself too well to let things go entirely, ahh).

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I’m a natural (wallaby) mother!

Anyways, it just made me realize that the only communication I need to have with family can be talking about my own very lovely family, which consists of (GASP) animals! My horse! My dog! (and the other animal, my husband, hahaha). And since they don’t care, I don’t have to care either= a natural limitation on our communication. It’s a relief.

They have made it very clear that once I came out (they forced my hand in the most ridiculous, emotionally abusive way) as childfree by choice, they could also choose to hate my animals.

So, feel free! I am living the life I always wanted- or close to it, I could always have a guinea pig farm with a mini donkey, and a mini horse to pull a cart; some riding horses, maybe chickens for my husband…Yeeps!

A life well lived requires no apologies.