Horsey Beach Day!

I am so, so happy that Mr. Oats is back in action. I can’t even believe how frightening and stressful the past few weeks have been, for me and him ūüė¶ His cough subsided by Friday, and I zipped out to the barn to test him out. All clear!

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Ok so Oats looks a little unimpressed…But I was so happy!!

The only thing I was MAJORLY angry about was when I finished up with Oats and was putting him back in his pen, I moved his haynet and got stabbed with thorns. WTF? I pushed him away to investigate, and saw that to my absolute horror, his hay was FULL of  blackberry thorns. All weaved into the hay. For a horse just recovering from life-threatening choke and a horrible cough. I was seeing RED.

I put Oats into the barn’s crossties and pulled apart his hay. It was EVERYWHERE.

I pulled the flakes apart, and removed all of the blackberry thorns. I then texted the barn manager to let her know, and let the feeders know that if he eats blackberry thorns, he could die. This is serious.

But on a happier note, I caught it when I was there- weird because I’m not even usually at the barn on Fridays, but I couldn’t wait to see how his cough was. Good timing??

I do still feel angry that potentially his choke was caused by the shitty hay with blackberry thorns in it. Like, what the everloving hell?

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Anyways…I had to cancel my dressage show because his cough was so nasty, but my friend suggested we try a beach ride instead? And so on Sunday, that’s exactly what we did! And I had BLAST!!!! Oats was a little freaked out but settled well (deep sand will do that, ha. It tired them right out). I am so lucky to have another chance with old Oaty.

Life is showing me to take any opportunity. There may not be a second chance.

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Baggage (the fun emotional kind…)

As I mentioned in my ‘Derailed’ post, I have a real tendency to get thrown off track easily and then have a devil of a time getting back in the groove.

So, funny enough, my primary concern for my ride on Oats Saturday was wondering how his feet were going to be, after his run-in with stones in his feet and the potential stone bruise. He does have sensitive feet, you know!

Well, I didn’t have to worry…

He was rocking it. On fire! So much so that when we were warming up, casually walking and trotting (and I NEVER let my guard down in the outdoor, NEVER), he spooked and¬†spun so hard at the ‘spooky corner’ that I came flying off and landed on my back and bad right shoulder.

SHIT

So, my ride went from ”hmmm wonder how his feet are going to be” to BLAM on the ground.

Within five minutes of getting on. ARGH.

I was on my back, but then I was back on my feet and didn’t feel that bad…And it was only the beginning of my ride, so I hopped back on and continued. Funny enough, he wasn’t spooky really at all- it was just that one freak thing? He was full of beans though, cooler windy weather will do that, so I took advantage of his energy and worked over some small fences.

Later that day, I went for a 15km slowest, most terrible run with my husband. My god, I felt sooo slow and soooo drained, but we kept going. That maybe should be a sign for me, since during the night my back was KILLING me and I could barely get out of bed in the morning the next day. I am clearly a genius…

And because I am a genius, I still rode on Sunday too. Eek. I did mitigate my risks though- it was windy, blustery with a chance of thunderstorms so I rode indoors (and of course it was beautiful)… Wish I could say the same for my ride. I was still edgy and anxious, and pissed off at Oats. I took my pain out on him during my ride.

My back didn’t really hurt while I was riding, but boy, it sure hurt before and after! He was a fairly good pony, a bit confused about why I was riding him so edgily and angrily, but I softened, (not much though) and we worked on a pole exercise.

It was another lesson to me – one I learned when my mom fell off Oats in May in the outdoor and broke her arm- that I really, really, really shouldn’t get back on the next day to either tempt fate or challenge myself or challenge Oats. Why, why why do I do this?

Well, anyways I did it- It wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible. It just was NOT a shining display of how I can normally ride, in a nice partnership with my horse.

I need to not get into it like this. I thought I was getting better about not picking a fight the day after when I’m feeling hurt or emotionally upset, but apparently I’m not 100% perfect about it yet either…

I just feel disappointed in my fall, a fluke accident, but it almost works to confirm my belief that YES, there IS something to be worried about riding in the outdoor, in the scary corner. After all, my mom broke her arm there a few months ago! He’s always bad and on-edge there, and this most recent accident works to concrete that fear in my mind. Shoot.

I hope I can get past that, and get back to the positive progress I was making- both with my horse, and with my mind.

Oats is afraid (this happens every year at this time. Shoot!!)

…Every year the same struggle for old Mr. Oats. Him, versus the haying machines!

ARGH.

It started Saturday, innocently enough. Haying out in the field, and he was eagle-eyed watching the process (and all the horses were running like insane lunatics and I had to get help from Nicole to get Oats out of the field so I didn’t get stomped in the process. Fun fun…).

He was fine to ride in the indoor, and I took Sunday off to run the half marathon.

Monday, and the haying/baling was out in full force. Greeeaaat….I get Oats and notice he is absolutely COVERED in dried sweat. Everywhere. He has a ton of messy poops, and seems unsettled and very salty/sweaty.

We head out to the arena, and it’s a beautiful day. Hot, sunny, gorgeous. I am 100% alone at the barn, not a soul around- which I was not thrilled with. Oats walked around well and was responding nicely and seemed fairly relaxed. Until…

WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP

Hay baler starts up behind the indoor arena, out of eyesight but definitely not out of pony earshot…

Oats starts thinking about losing his shit. He’s in between meltdown stages…

I jumped off before he tried to exit the scene stage right. We walked around and around, and he didn’t chill out really at all. I let him graze and he is definitely a nervous eater. When the sounds seemed to abate a bit, I got back on and walked/trotted in the ‘safe zone’ away from the baler. He was okay, but certainly very on-edge. The baler stopped for a bit, and we were able to canter at the top of the arena, which was nice.

He spooked HARD a few times, and was scaring himself, but we were able to end on a decent note of walking large around the arena out of the ‘safe zones’ once each way.

So, that was ok but kind of more than I really wanted -or- bargained for the day after running the half marathon…It was hot, I was tired, and not really looking forward to dealing with Oats in alarm mode…

He was very sweaty, he is an anxious sweater. So, I hosed him off and he was edgy and quite alarmed, looking and looking for the scary hay baler. Sighhhhh….

I let him sit for a bit when I was putting away my tack and he was scraped off and cooled out, and when I came back he was like OH THANK GOD YOU’RE HERE and was licking my arm?! He was definitely looking to me for reassurance.

So…yeah.

I texted a friend about it and she said he was better today when he got turned out, wasn’t racing blindly around like a maniac and wasn’t frothing into a lather…

And I am taking today off to finally take it easy after the run. It’s harder than you think!

You don’t love me, you love the chase

Man oh man, how do I describe my ‘relaxing’ few days off while my mom visited?

The aftermath...

The aftermath…

Well, they were NOT relaxing, at all. Jesus.

Things started off well, with a nice visit to my in-laws farm, using up some grocery gift cards and a good hike through the woods. The fun vibes continued into the next day, when my mom and I went for a run at Thetis Lake with the dog. She accompanied me to my jumping lesson and then all hell broke loose.

Up to 2'6''

Up to 2’6”

We had a great jump lesson, and I had my mom on for a pony ride to cool Oats off. She was wearing a helmet, and we were half asleep…Just chatting, having a nice time. All of a sudden, Oats¬†spooked!¬†And BLAM! My mom fell right off, onto her arm.

Started off well

Started off well

She started shouting that her arm was broken right away. I ran Oats up the hill as fast as I could drag him, threw him to my friend and shouted for my coach to help us. Thank god they were still around. Nicole ran down to help my mom, I drove my car around the block and into the arena through the field to pick up my mom and drive her to the hospital. Nicole helped my mom into my car, and we slowly drove to the hospital (a 2-minute drive, luckily).

In the backseat!

In the backseat!

There, she got an x-ray and I zipped home to wait for her to call. It took a few hours and she called- a broken humerus. Apparently the most painful break you can get. No joke her. She spent a long night in pain, and then we regrouped in the morning. I helped her get dressed, have a shower and we picked up her pain med prescription, and also went for lunch. When she was having a nap, I wanted to leave the house quiet- so I went to the barn, and it was kind of a bad idea.

Leaving looooooong!

Leaving looooooong!

I went in a bad mood. I felt angry, upset, betrayed. I felt guilty and mad at my horse. Mad at the world, really. I fall off Oats all the time, and nothing happens. My mom goes for a pony ride and breaks her arm? And this is the SECOND time she has broken that arm with me, visiting me in Victoria? What gives???

I was also afraid. When I rode Oats the next day, I wasn’t riding because I wanted to. I was riding because I felt like I had something to prove- to myself, to my mom. It was definitely fear-based. My ride was very aggressive, and I was acting¬†defensively. Oats even got pissed off and threw in a baby buck at the canter, to show me he didn’t like how I was behaving (he hasn’t done that in aaaages).

It was hot, sweaty, hard. I felt rough, tired and unhappy.

I wasn’t happy with how I handled Oats then.

I hopped off, and let him graze for a bit, and then walked him back up the hill. I vowed to not let that happen again- losing my tempter, riding with fear like that.

The next day, I had a better game plan (I went riding while my mom was napping again, wanted to make sure the house was completely quiet for her). We rode in the indoor and it was quiet, calm. I had better control over my emotions and I didn’t feel afraid- but, I had scheduled a lesson for Monday, and I knew that would be a better test of how I was handling the trauma. My ride was very calm and quiet, boring even!

Monday- I had scheduled a private lesson with Karen Brain, as she couldn’t make our usual Tuesday ride. I immediately felt anxious.

But I wanted to push myself- I didn’t want to let my fear or anger rule the day. I felt nervous warming up by myself, but also like, oh you want to look at the corner? Sure, let’s stop for a bit, and look. Oats then started grazing and I was like…Hm…nope. Clearly, it wasn’t an issue for him- it was an issue for me, the ‘spooky side’.

We worked hard, and I told her what had happened. I deal with more fear in the outdoor, but I also like being in the outdoor- I have to be able to manage my fear, physically. And I am. Well, I am learning to. I still deal with fear, and I don’t like Oats lollygagging and staring outside the arena, but I am learning to deal with fear proactively.

So, we worked on lateral work and he was GREAT! And then we worked on picking up right- or -left lead canter through some cones (not quite as good) and then some seriously bone- jarring trot work (ouch ouch ouch). It really helped me work through some of my issues and allowed me to focus on the task at hand.

I needed it.