We were wild

I had a really decent long weekend, and jump-started it by having a really solid dressage lesson on Friday. It was TOUGH! But excellent. You know that feeling of having worked hard, really hard, and gotten exactly what you wanted? That feeling!

58784918_10161795809255191_1172811712902987776_n

Not to say it was perfect, but after the sort of angst on Thursday, I told my trainer that we didn’t have a good ride, that my expectations of ‘perfection’ were ruining my ride and I wanted to get past it, over it. These weirdness spells sort of come and go, and I was ready to focus and not dwell!

We spent basically the whole lesson in canter (with plenty of walk breaks) focusing on building Oats’ lateral flexibility in the canter, leading to canter haunches-in. It was really good! And very much highlighted the difficulties I have in ‘riding’ his canter, rather than being ‘taken for a ride’ in the canter. Can I influence his canter? Or do I just sit there, like a passengers, helplessly?

video-1557207742_Moment

It was an important lesson for me to realize just HOW much I am needing to do and ride. I’m at the point where I can’t just sit and tune out, and expect Oats to read my mind and do ‘something’…I have to influence it, ride it, and ride every stride.

Good to know! It was a very cool lesson. Eye opening!

Advertisements

Putting the work in: CDRC dressage show recap!

I forgot that I was too busy to update on my  jump lesson (last Thursday) but it was a very good, solid and workmanlike lesson. Oats was stiff and sluggy for it when we were warming up, so I was reminded by my trainer to limit my expectations for the warm-up and deal with the horse I have, in the moment and on the day. So true! Fortunately he warmed up and was moving better after a slightly longer warm-up.

58784934_10161795809045191_8932787610602962944_n

All screenshots courtesy of Nicole G.

Dressage lesson was on Friday with Sam and it was very encouraging! One thing I wasn’t so sold on were re-visiting my canter loop F-X-M. We kept swapping in the past, and I felt very unsure about it. We worked on it, and nailed it! And then I promptly forgot how to ride the transition to trot at ‘x’ and then pick up the right lead…Yikes. These tests involve much more ‘riding’ than I am used to (I find the intro to dressage a lot more ‘sitting pretty’ which I and Oats are good at. The actual physical riding part? Not so good, and needs a lot more work).

59368430_10161795809130191_76868021833957376_n

Anyways the day of the show, the weather was horrendous. In Victoria I heard it was sunny, gale-force winds, hailing, and raining. Up at the show in Cowichan, it was 1 weather- tornadoes. Small dust devils were whipping up in the ring, and it was just chaos. I had sand in my teeth, hair, eyes, ears. Everywhere. It was just so awful and distracting. I wanted to leave!!!

But hey the show must go on?

We warmed up and Oats was feeling good, pretty jazzy considering how miserable the wind was. His left bend wasn’t very good though, and he was leaning heavily on my hands in the trot. His canter felt a tad rushy and unbalanced, but no worries, we could work on that…It was just hard to canter left, because you got a face-full of sand every time. I couldn’t really see where I was going. Poor horse too, yikes… And my friends came to watch! I felt awful for them, dealing with the insane sand and wind in their faces for hours. Troopers, all of them!!

58443739_10161795809200191_2734501262413266944_n

I was feeling good about putting front shoes on him early though. Score one for me!

We went in to the test and we had a good centreline halt, and then botched the  pattern (First Level Test 1 has a 10-metre turn to the centreline), where I left early and just sort of turned…at will. I honestly couldn’t see, so I think that had a bit part of it.

58543767_10161795809100191_8423442946434531328_n

The test rode pretty well, I was happy with Oats’ canter, his turns and some of the transitions were a bit sucky as I let my reins get way tooo long at the end.

We finished, and then prepared for my bigger challenge- First Level Test 3. Counter-canter loops, here we come!

58784918_10161795809255191_1172811712902987776_n

I am VERY pleased to say that we conquered the canter loops! I rode them too conservatively, making the too shallow, but I think that is an easy fix for sure (again I couldn’t see very well at all), and Oats tripped over part of the dressage court fencing (it was on the ground because it kept getting blown over!). Whoops!

I also flat-out forgot to ride my transition to ‘x’…yes even though I knew that was a tricky one that I had to ride more strongly. I tuned out for it, and Oats broke. Damn! 100% my fault though.

Otherwise, the test flowed nicely, I kept my reins (mostly) shorter and we did what we came to do- conquer those canter loops! 🙂 Yay! We wrapped up and I couldn’t wait to get the hell out. Good god, the wind. I don’t know what my scores are, but I’m happy with the efforts and with how saint-like Oats was while dealing with challenging weather conditions. What a star!

Tempered, not tamed: Riding updates!

I had a lesson on Friday  (dressage with Sam) and while I was pondering what I wanted to focus on in my lesson, I realized that we (Oats and I) were so bad at the rollback exercise in my jump lesson the day prior. Bingo- that’s what we needed to work on!

IMG_1320

So I told Sam, and we experimented! I really enjoyed it actually, because it provided me with an opportunity to really distill the prior lesson down and play around with it a bit more. What works? What isn’t working?

We broke it down from a line of two jumps, to a single jump, trot-in. Get the lead!! That was the key. Once we did that, I learned that we could influence the correct lead by asking for canter ‘just’ in the step before the jump. Newsflash- that’s your lead.

This wasn’t quite so simple with the canter-in approach. I was getting pulled past the x-rail, and dumped down on the landing= picking up left lead instead of right. Shoot. How to fix? Change the positioning I have coming in. Instead of two-pointing and sort of floating above Oats, sit more and influence, holding the contact all the way through. And you know what? This ‘more contact’ approach did the trick! Neat eh? I’m glad we took the time to really experiment, keep an open mind when things didn’t immediately work.

How cool!

And then we worked on seating positioning influencing the canter. It was…Hard. Hahahah. But we got a lovely canter from both me AND Oats. Oats really is very happy to keep going, providing I give him the correct feedback 😉

Don’t let it get to you: Riding fieldtrip!

So this weekend we had our rescheduled trip out to the fancy environs of Fairlawn, the stables owned by a trainer and her family. I ride with this trainer regularly, but we wanted the whole meal-deal- a ride in her fabulous indoor with all the works! And we were NOT disappointed! It was lovely 🙂

52970899_10101068335305506_5049338620339552256_n

They still had a lot of snow, but the driveways were cleared enough to be able to get the horse trailer (my friend hauls for us, it’s her rig/truck) onto the property and the horses off and tacked up.

The place is gorgeous! We had soooo much room, we didn’t know what to do with it! Oats and I worked on the counter-canter loop and boy did it feel different with so much space to play with. Not gonna lie, we struggled a bit but when I figured it out, so did Oats and he was happy to comply. I still feel a bit like the loop challenges me personally, and so it’s something I want to ‘finesse’ a little more until our next horse show…

53201018_10101068335335446_4769723192669372416_n

Synchronized waiver-signing 😉

Which is counting down! Our first dressage schooling show will be later in April 🙂 I can’t wait to take my guy out more. We had a really nice time, and it was great to be able to practice in a bigger arena.

Put the days away

Had a dressage lesson last Friday and I was feeling sooooooooo tired, low energy, blah, you know the draggy fatigue I’ve been complaining about for oh, 3+ weeks now? It was kind of a hard sell, particularly on a Friday night (hello hang out on my couch time!) PLUS I was dog-sitting my friend’s dog, so he came over just before my lesson.

42399297_10101010056167366_7120107400744402944_n

Mr. Oats learns some fancy moves! I wish I was sitting up more…

But anyways, despite the myriad excuses of why I didn’t want to, I did. And it was great!! Not perfect, ha are they ever? But just genuinely good. I learned some really interesting exercises and have since practiced them on my own with Oats.

I have been wanting to improve his counter-canter and work towards flying lead changes- clean and proper ones, not grab-and-leap ones. So on that note we worked on canter-walk transitions, which have historically been a challenge for us. Walk-canter? Sure! Canter- walk? Nope!

We developed the canter-walk by coming in on a circle, using a touch of shoulder-fore and then spiraling in to the walk. Like, circle, coming in using shoulder-fore and 1-2-3 WALK.

It was cool! On the left he was super! On the right= struggle bus. Ahhh well.

We used the basis of that exercise to then go large and focus on walk- pick up counter canter- go straight along the long side in counter canter and then walk, pick up true canter for the short side, back to walk, counter canter and rinse, repeat.

It was really neat! We were getting it!! 🙂

So pleased with how Oats is really learning his stuff through these exercises. And we’re not like, drilling him to death on it- a few run-throughs, he gets the idea, more importantly ‘I’ get the idea, and we’re good!

I even practiced it a bit yesterday and was quite happy with how our amateur fumbling went. Whee!

Going by: Fri/weekend update

After a period of busy weekends, the past two have been fairly quiet- and that’s ok. On Friday I had a dressage lesson and it was tricky! We worked on canter leg-yields, and positioning for the counter-canter. I am SO not good at positioning for that, and found it really difficult to get my legs/body to cooperate= Oats fininding it equally difficult…SIGH. Oh well, something to practice on for sure!

15350705_10157898338810603_7613009583249070564_n

Last winter and the winter before was very snowy.

Saturday I rode, and worked on myself: 4X 3 minutes on/1 minute off two-point. Was it hard? Sort of? I did expect it to be harder actually! What was hard was when I was gearing up to jog home (my husband had to attend a funeral, so he dropped me off at the barn and I was going to run home). My legs were like, nahh, no.

It was kind of a slow slog home, but to be honest I was prepared to spend the time. Got nowhere really to be, so why not? The weather wasn’t bad either, just kind of chilly and blustery.

_MG_1952

We’ve been having a nice fall so far! Just rainy now, but not overall too cold. 

I’ve been having on and off again ligament pain and it flared up  badly on Sunday. It was bearable for my run, but again I can tell my injury has not healed up yet.

We went and watched Suspiria on Saturday at a theatre that is licensed! Yes!! It was so wild, crazy off the wall. Hah, I highly recommend it. It’s nuts. Sunday I was in no rush, had a nice breakfast, rode with friends (pole work) and hung out talking for a bit. The weather did take a turn for the worse- rainy and cold. I even went on a run later with my husband and went fast for me! My hip pain came back with an absolute vengeance though, yiiiikes. Ah, I miss going fast!!

Back to work today.

Won’t let you down

Riding this week has been in the distinctly ‘ok’ camp- nothing amazing, but nothing bad either. Rode lightly Monday (FREEZING), worked on no-stirrups on Tuesday (much more reasonable temperatures), had a jump lesson last night where we worked on adjustability by my request over poles/small x-rails (it kind of sucked, but yeah that’s clearly where I need to improve haha), and have a dressage lesson tonight.

Wait-Here-Tim-Etchells-Neon-2008-Image-Courtesy-of-the-Artist-72dpi

Where I will likely be working on…canter adjustability. Hah.

Oats wasn’t even sweating last night, and the work is tiring for him. I guess since he is clipped and in pretty good shape, he just doesn’t sweat? He has had a recurring poopy butt though, UGHHH that is a lot of fun to deal with every day. The hay is too rich for him, and he’s been having gastrointestinal effects for about two weeks now. I had hopes that it was improving this week, until I got to the barn on Thursday and nope…Still gross. Poor pony!

He was also kind of in slugville, ha. I am putting him back on Previcox this winter, to see if it helps him move more freely when it gets cold. On Monday, he moved like the Tin Man. Stiff, uncomfortable and just awful! My husband joked that it’s like me starting a race- stiff, awkward, slow and super uncomfortable. Takes me a good 10-20 minutes to warm up into it…As for Oats I guess?

I am hoping the Previcox helps him when it gets colder out. As it is, the weather has been very mild! 🙂 Since the deep freeze on Monday. Also it’s raining a lot, sooooo yeah. Otherwise I’m just trying to put the training in on Oats, but still maintaining good perspective with a mix of easy rides, beach rides and the girls are trying to get him out on a trail ride with them one day…We’ll see about that.

I am also still focusing on rehabbing my ligament injury, which is kind of a back-and-forth journey most weeks- I can barely feel the injury anymore, except when I run too much or too fast, then it swells back up into a lump of scar tissue on my lower hip/groin. Lovely.