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 đŸ™‚

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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…

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Synchronized waiver-signing đŸ˜‰

Which is counting down! Our first dressage schooling show will be later in April đŸ™‚ 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.

Growing up is for trees

What a lovely long weekend- and judging by how much sleep I got this weekend, apparently long overdue? It was pretty busy, nevertheless!

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High-five!!

Friday the weather dawned grey, drizzly and cold so I rode Oats first in the indoor, and then in the outdoor when I forgot they were turning the sprinklers on and had to vacate- my mistake haha. He felt very forward in the indoor- so much so I was having trouble with my steering- but funny enough, when I moved back outdoor the huge trot I had? Felt totally normal.

That’s the space issue I think- it plays tricks on you! He was good to ride though and we worked through some more trot-canter-walk-trot-canter transitions. I went for a short hill run (5k of hills) after my ride, and we attended a friend’s Canada Day party in the evening. All in all, a fairly good day.

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Mr. Oats mid-sneeze

Saturday, we had something special planned- a gallop in the field photoshoot! And the weather finally cleared up, so we did our photoshoot, and it was a BLAST!!! Galloping Oats in the field is one of my most favourite activities. Soooo fun. I think Oats enjoys it just as much as I do, because he doesn’t have to do any boring flatwork haha.

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Running in the field is my favourite says Oats!

We then packed up from the barn and headed off to the Cowichan River- it wasn’t as warm as I would like, so I didn’t swim, but it was a nice hike in and felt great to be close to nature again. When we got home, I was pretty tired but I laced up my runners and jogged out for a brief 4k or so light run…In preparation for our 7-year anniversary dinner at the Keg!! Yum! We went all out for it- I had a fabulous cocktail- the NY Sour, and Lobster Sirloin. Mega $$$ but worth it man, worth it.

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Gidget hitches a ride.

Sunday was a sunny day again but chilly and breezy. We zipped up island with our dog in tow and our runners and decided to make a good day of it at my in-laws farm! We left our dog with his parents and jogged up Cobble Hill/Mountain, not a big one but there are lots of twisty, steep-ish trails to explore. It was a fairly tiring run, and I even made us go a bit further to make it an even 9km.

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It’s hard being a purse-dog

Then it was time for garden picking- it took like hours actually! Croquet, dinner, and Bocce ball. It was late when we got home that night, and we sure made a good day of it. Oats got the day off because I’d ridden him 4 days in a row and we both needed the break.

The good, the bad, the terrifying

Had my dressage semi-private lesson last night, as per usual, and I was kind of riding on a high from my one last week–it was so cool and Oats was being great, and just..ahhh…

fancy dressage Oats

fancy dressage Oats

And was last night the same floating-on-air feeling?

Well, not quite. But not in the ways you’re thinking- Oats was a little snippier about following direction, in his usual ways: wanting to pull down/yank the reins, hopping and anticipating, having a bit of ‘energy’ when I was asking for a good contact trot and he was trying to strike off in canter…

That’s all fine and good, not a problem. But the anticipating was kiiiind of wigging me out. We sorted it out fine enough and I was pleased with his attempt to try.

So what went so wrong in the lesson? At first, nothing~

We got a pretty reasonable haunches in, and then haunches out, for Oats. I mean, he was still trying to go horizontal, and then too vertical, but hey, he is TRYING! YAY!

We then worked on some deep bend, and then deep contact, and leg yielding at the walk, then trot- going back to walk when he got fussy about contact. He did get pretty fussy, and a bit hoppy. This made me anxious, and I kind of started reverting back to my ancient fears…

And then…

My riding partner was having a heck of a time with her mare. Things just didn’t seem to be going well, and they stayed on a circle to work while Oats and I were doing the leg-yields, etc. Oats and I were at one end of the ring, when her horse, Chanel REARED STRAIGHT UP!

It was horrifying.

She jumped off the back of the horse and kind of landed on her butt/back. She was ok. The horse just stood there.

I was just in shock.

That is probably the most dangerous thing I have ever seen- other than when Jim lost his shit and galloped/bolted and bucked super high.

I immediately wanted to get off, to not ride, and to scrape that image off my retinas, where they were permanently seared- to say nothing of what kind of fantastical disaster-scenarios have been running in my brain lately!

They got back on, and the rest of their lesson was conducted with a longe whip in Karen’s hand- appropriately so.

My lesson also continued, and it was very non-dramatic. We worked up to canter transitions from our leg yields with less hissy fits from Oats, and then got a fairly nice, forward on-the-contact trot to end. It was nice, and he was a good partner.

So, alls well that ends well, right?

Well, for me- I am having problems letting these incidents go in my head. When I ride, I replay potential disaster scenarios- I can barely manage to stop from envisioning them! When I run through my jump sessions, I am VERY careful to make sure they are good, nice scenarios. But when I’m actually riding, other things creep in…

Because lately it seems to me like there are a lot of accidents:

  • My mom breaking her arm on Oats- a freak thing
  • Older lady at the barn falling off a horse she probably shouldn’t have been on and breaking her collarbone and rib- in Aug.
  • Nov- same older lady then falls off her horse and lands on her feet, and breaks her leg so severely it will be next year-this time- before she can do anything!
  • A young mother get seriously injured on a hack with her horse this summer- and she’s been on the news a lot lately, in an sad insurance fight. I tangentially know her.
  • Nicole got bucked off last week and broke a rib and got a concussion
  • And now, Chanel rears so high it looks like she could have flipped over in my lesson last night.

Just, these things are starting to add up in my head, and NOT in a good way. In a very anxiety- making way…