Hold on, hold on

So…After my exciting, energy draining weekend I was looking forward to settling down and working on some good stuff (like, not falling off jumping is a big one that I am apparently incapable of doing right now…).

And I had a great ride on Tuesday- no lesson, just cruising around in the field. Oats felt great, I was chill, everything was nice. I had some high hopes for my lesson on Wednesday, looking forward to it and feeling like generally, everything is pretty fine. I spent the day loving photos of Oats from the Derby and feeling pretty much on top of the world!

Except I wasn’t.

I came into my lesson not feeling angsty, or strange or stressed or anything…And then it became immediately clear that this was NOT my day, or Oats’. He started off spooky, looking at everything and ‘startling’ constantly. I don’t do well when he is like this- it sets me off in a really BIG way- and I started having trouble managing the situation. We warmed up okay nevertheless, and he kept startling and being spooky and looky. Sadly, this only got worse as we continued on…

It started pissing me off, more and more. We went to work over trot poles to eventually build a gymnastic (not something new in our world, pretty ho-hum) and Oats COULD NOT GET HIS SHIT TOGETHER. He trotted, fumbled, tripped, stumbled, fell and just fucked around, adding in some startles that literally set my teeth on edge.

I couldn’t manage. Like, I was riding and shouting ”I HATE this horse.” UGh.

Normally, when he’s like this, we can deal and get through it. But this time? Oh, no.

We slowly worked our way to a small x- rail to another x-rail, and Oats bizarrely managed to trip on the last pole, catch it hard between his hind hoofies, almost fall and sting himself so badly with this weirdness that he was limping?!!!!

I was ready to jump off- I was worried he’d really hurt himself! But Nicole convinced me to keep walking him out and eventually he worked out of it. He was just surprised. Still, wow, WTF is going on with me/my horse? I just was crying in disbelief.

So, back to the drawing board.

He trotted out okay, and then we went back to poles. Poles are ok. Then, the small x-rail…That was ok too. Then add in another x-rail, to a small vertical. The wheels immediately fell off again- Oats stumbled, tripped into the vertical, and my whole arm went through the reins. EFFFFF!!

I lost my shit. I yanked him up,  and burst into tears.

I was in the middle of probably the biggest horse-related meltdown I’ve had since…Oh, maybe a really bad dressage lesson last year, when I got off and cried?

Weird, so weird. I just couldn’t cope, or manage the situation with Oats at all. I wanted to yell, shout, scream, cry and just freak out. We ended up walking, walking, walking and breathing. Oats seemed not fazed at all, but wow, I was. In a big way.

Finally, when I was able to calm down and manage my emotions, we cantered over a few small x-rails, which were totally fine and rode great. He was still looky as hell, but it was ok.

SIGHHH

I cried a bit later, telling my friend about the ride. And then when I dismounted and was walking Oats through the gate, I went to latch it and he spooked so hard he almost fell into the gate. WTF? He is not a spooky horse…So yeah, not sure what was going on with him yesterday, but whatever it was, it sucked out loud.

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This week

I haven’t particularly felt like blogging much…I think it’s a combination of a few significant stressors like my friend’s devastating news, my car being a total jackass and having to pay to get it fixed so it was safe to drive, and a freaking crapload at work= making me feel harassed, overwhelmed and just OVER it.

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Apparently Sleeping Beauty snores too! Photo courtesy of Nicole Gibby.

Maybe the weather?

Anyways, my husband said yesterday it was very easy to feel annoyed and overwhelmed and over it…But to remember the things that are going right even if your brain likes to dwell on things it hates. Funny eh?

Things that are going well:

My health, family health, animal health.

My running- I am totally GETTING IT this year and woo!! so good!

Oats- He was a total rockstar for my friend in her lesson on Saturday (confidence-giving even!) and he has been fun to ride for years now. Good pony.

I have a job

So these are all things that are going well right now, I must remember to count my blessings while grouching and grumbling. Funny how it only takes 2 days to feel really crabby…

I didn’t have a lesson on Oats on Tuesday because I need to stick to my 2/month schedule (aka it’s too much $$ and I had to pay for my car repair bill on Wed. too..gag). But, I did some hard work with him, and I think it paid off!

Monday- the holiday- he did get quite the workout too, and I was super happy with how he was coming along…I can’t really even remember what we did (it’s been kind of a stressful week), but I recall it was strenuous and good.

He had Wednesday off and it was snooze-time for Oats then. Jump lesson tonight.

Don’t tell me what you are going to do. Tell me what you’ve done.

In a nutshell, my blog.

There’s a reason this blog posts recaps, not ‘pre-event’ details. I don’t love sharing what I am planning to do, primarily because I haven’t done it yet and it is not a guarantee I will do it!

I find there is an inherent risk in telling everyone your plans (want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans…or something like that, given I do not believe in any gods).

That’s why my horse shows are recaps, my races are recaps and my riding lessons are details after they happen. Because, there is always the risk they won’t. And I am not the type of person who makes grand plans, tells everyone about them, and then just…doesn’t follow through. I am the person who makes those plans, doesn’t necessarily need to share them, and then follows through – and provides a recap! 🙂

I don’t like telling people what I am going to do. I tell them what I’ve done.

Obviously, I do plan things out (signing up for races and horse shows definitely requires advance notice with my trainer, husband, friends, etc). But, there is a difference between planning things out, and kind of staying on the down-low, and bragging. The bragging can happen after the fun event! Hahah and of course there is always bragging- I try to keep humble but hey we are only human. Usually I am no superstar at either horse shows OR running, so the bragging is limited to a ‘hey I completed this event! Yay!’.

I’m finding these days, that I’m even *gasp* looking forward to running? How odd! I feel twitchy and needy when I don’t do it. Last week, I was edgy and kind of wanting to get a longer run in (who is this person??) because it felt like ages since I had run. Ages eh?

I ran a 10k race on Mother’s Day! It hadn’t even been a week?!

Funny how that happens, eh?

Sleeping lessons: Oats update

So, Wednesday and Thursday I rode Oats. Because we didn’t do our dressage lesson on Tuesday, I decided that Wed. would have more of a dressage focus, and we’d save the jumping for Thursday.

Blast from the past- 2011

Blast from the past- 2011

Because we did a TON of BIG STRONG canter on Tuesday, I focused on getting a bigger trot on Wednesday, with more connection, more ‘go’. We were able to ride with a friend, which was really nice- she’s lovely to ride with, super respectful of ring space and very arena-savvy. Oats was interested, but still responsive. I noticed he’s kind of clanking on his bit when I ask for more contact, so I think it might be time to get his teeth done!

Flashback to 2011

Flashback to 2011

Thursday, we did our jumping lesson. I’ve been having kind of a tough week, emotion-wise. Family problems are bubbling up, and it has been DIFFICULT. Work was also kind of insane this week, and I kind of felt like I was on the verge of a meltdown yesterday. I just felt sad, helpless, hopeless, depressed and anxious. Yeah, a perfect combination, eh?

Actually, Oats was a star for my lesson! Despite me feeling out of control emotionally and kind of a wreck the whole week, he has been solid as a rock. Good pony.

We worked over a two-stride x-rail to a small oxer, and then built it up to a small course. I only did the course once, after we schooled the two-stride a bunch of times (I was feeling overwrought but VERY pleased with his performance and decided to end it at one, before I fell apart.) The two-stride rode fairly ugly for a few times, then we took a break, and ACED it! It was sooo perfect.

We then worked over the course- the two-stride line, to a big x-rail on the diagonal, to a 5-stride line, rollback to the first jump in the line, back to the big x-rail, and then over a small oxer on the diagonal. Eight jumps total, and I was really happy with how cooperative Oats was. Go us!

It helped shake me out of my intense funk for the week, although I do have a bad habit of using riding, and running, to ‘escape’ from the overwhelming sadness I feel. If I’m busy, I don’t have to ‘feel’ quite as much.

Throwback Thursday: Thanksgiving 2013

Yes, because I’m in a strange mood today and am throwing back only a few years to Thanksgiving!

I love you this much!

I love you this much!

Also- I had an interesting ride on Oats yesterday. It was good (working on practicing with a neckstrap) and bad (losing my temper at some brief lateral work, Oats contemplating being a shit at the gate). It taught me that when things are going well, don’t push it so hard! Jesus! Haha, well I have been getting much better with ‘letting it go’ and yesterday was just a reminder of what happens when I forget, and start pushing him too hard…

Cutie Oats

Cutie Oats

Anyways, some photos of Oats and I- circa 2013~

An evening with David Sedaris

I was lucky enough to have my husband buy us some tickets to go see David Sedaris do a reading the other day and I LOVED it.

His insights (crass, gross, gentle, loving, heartfelt, funny~) really spoke to me. I heard the most bizarre stories I have ever heard, and probably will ever hear in my lifetime. I also had the opportunity to share some pretty dirty jokes with coworkers the next day (shhhh!).

He’s so funny, but plays it off in a well-intentioned ‘aw shucks’ kind of way. Like he says, when he’s asked why he has an obsession with picking up trash outside his home in the UK- “People think I’m crazy for doing it, and it’s true it has become my hobby. But this hobby is taking me to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen!” (He also had a garbage truck named after him, for his service in cleaning up the area).

Fabulous night, and having him read those stories, and some new ones, was a great time. I could NOT believe the story about his fatty tumor  a ‘lipoma’ as he calls it. He wanted to get it removed, and then wanted the tumor, once excised- so he could feed it to his favourite snapping turtle in South Carolina.

The doctor, humorlessly  said anything removed from Sedaris’ body was kept by the facility and would not be given to Sedaris.

So, David Sedaris left, tumor intact, and shared that story at a reading. A tiny lady came up to him after the reading and said she could remove the tumor and he could have it afterward. She did add that she was a doctor, of course.

He took her up on the offer.

They went under cover of darkness to a medical clinic across the border to Mexico, and the procedure was done. David was accompanied to her sister’s house, where he got some pain meds, and then at 4am, was on his way to another reading via airplane. His tumor was frozen, and shipped to his South Carolina house, where it could stay frozen ready in time for a Thanksgiving day feast for the snapping turtle.

Sadly, when he went to feed the frozen tumor to the turtle, there were only the smaller ‘slider’ turtles left. The snapping turtles were likely hibernating until spring. It didn’t quite ruin Thanksgiving, but it did leave it feeling rather anticlimactic.

I believe he said he was going to wait until summer, to feed the tumor.

OMG!

Weirdest story ever. Woah.

What could have been?

Scorched earth policy

Scorched earth policy: Art by the famous Robert Montgomery

As I indicated yesterday, Oats and I are at a crossroads. I want to make sure he is a happy, willing partner who likes being with me, and respects me.

So, that leaves me with a puzzle. How much of his behaviour is Oats’ attitude (and boy, he has TONS of ‘tude), and is there anything else underlying that I should be aware of?

What changed?

I literally see two paths before us right now:

1. Push through it with more work- groundwork and others. Get my ballsy friend on him to sort out some of the under saddle stuff.

2. Don’t do anything under saddle and let him take a bit of a break for awhile, until he gets his chiropractic visit. Re-asses, but with time off- a few weeks off from lessons and serious under saddle stuff?

I am leaning a bit more towards course of action #2 at the moment.

We literally NEVER take time off. I am not good at downtime, unfortunately. Does that mean my horse has to never get downtime either? It just scares me, this long stretch of …what?? No goals? Progress? Etc? To be completely fair, I am bad about this with myself. I have a nagging knee problem that got really bad last year when I was running 10k regularly. It was extremely painful, and I ended up not being able to run that distance anymore- physically at all.

I did everything- went to a physio, ran shorter distances as recommended by them, bought a knee brace, ran shorter trail runs, did more stair runs, broke up my runs, stopped running 10ks (except when I did run them, oops!).

Everything except…Take a break and stop running.

And what happened? Over a year later, my knee is still messed up and I can’t seem to really stop running, but the knee thing is still stopping me from really ‘enjoying’ my run and I can’t do 10ks unless I commit to limping at least half of it. I am getting a referral to a sports medicine doctor in a few weeks so that is that I hope!

BUT

As a life lesson, I don’t want my relationship with Oats to become a nagging knee injury, limping along a year later. I want to enjoy being with him, riding him, without worrying and with more trust. And I just feel super bummed about it too, because things were going WELL with him. I feel like I’ve been riding him more consistently and more thoroughly than ever??

I ran this conundrum by a not really horsey coworker and they thought that step #2 was a wiser course of action. I find that interesting, and they are really just coming to the scenario not really knowing me or Oats, but knowing that animals can be tricky sometimes, and we really just want what’s right for them.

Hmmm….Waiting to hear back from Oats’ chiro!