Kismet Kill

Ugh, so on Friday I wrote about getting stuck in a big traffic jam due to accidents on the highway? Well, apparently last week was Groundhog Day, because the EXACT SAME THING happened on Friday also. Just as I was walking home, to get dressed and go to the stables for my riding lessons. Thankfully my friend got caught in it, and immediately called me to tell me to cancel my ride and not bother heading out- it was THAT bad.

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You are never so good that you don’t need to practice. 

For what seemed like a minor incident (all persons were fine, car went off the road into a ditch), traffic was at a totally-jammed up standstill until around 7pm. SEVEN?! Ugh.  No way. Not after literally getting stuck for 2 hours the exact day before…And I knew my trainer was not going to wait around another hour ++ for me to get there, get tacked up, warm up Oats and then ride. Nobody has time for that!

So I texted and cancelled, steaming mad at this happening for two freaking days in a row…And sat around home and watched TV. Which is fine, but like… What GIVES? Last week it was the bad weather/snowstorms, this past week it was major traffic jams two days in a row. Cut me some slack, world!

Plus I took my parents out for a lovely good bye lunch on Thursday, had a nice time, and then get this emotionally-hostage taking email from my dad, on Monday of course. Seems that if you give him too much time to think, he writes these insane 15 paragraph emails about how he wishes the lunch didn’t feel so sterile, that I treat them like strangers (no shit!!!), and that it felt like a going away lunch you have with coworkers. Jesus god, give me strength.

Anyways, rant over. I am resolutely NOT buying into this drama-rama that they alwayyyys pull with me.

They absolutely exhaust me.

Anyways, I didn’t ride on Saturday because Oaty’s leasor had a make up lesson and boy did that feel weird! I was all out of sorts and anxious because of the lesson I cancelled on Fri due to the traffic jam, and no riding until Sunday? But I miss him!! Instead I cleaned the deck, and took Gidget to play with sticks on the beach, where we saw a ton of cop cars…There was a wolf in James Bay!! In the afternoon where I was! Crazy eh?

I then finally got to ride my dear Oats on Sunday after my race and we did our ‘homework’ rides (jump xpoles until the cows come home..) and he was a superstar!! I noticed I am becoming too ‘rigid’ with my arms, so I wanted to make sure I made time to practice my homework again. You can never work on it too much, I think. Plus the weather was fabulous this weekend- lucky us!!

Now I’m not so young and looking for a fight

I feel like I held it together really well this week, up until oh…Thursday? Then, everything kind of broke loose and I had what felt like a slow-moving meltdown. I guess I’m glad it took until Thursday?

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Last weekend was pretty beautiful and not that cold! 

Our first full week and work was BANANAS. Events every single day (and into next week too, natch!), my trainer received some really terrible news and had to cancel jump lessons last night (probably good, because I was in a truly horrible mood), my mother decided to make an issue of me not attending a cousin’s wedding (in Feb, in the middle of nowwhere, and by the way I’m not close to them, though they are lovely people), I hadn’t gotten paid yet for Oat’s lease, and when I got to the barn, my jump crop was missing, and when I got home, I ripped the mailbox off the side of my house. LOVELY.

Sooooo yeah.

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I really liked the festival of lights! 

Anyways, I brought this awful mood to Oats in my warm-up, something that I am not happy with myself about, but the good news is that my friends were doing some jump schooling anyways and I did a few jumps and YES that always improves my mood!! Oats was a star and good boy as always 🙂 and the funniest part was when we were cooling out, I dropped the reins and let him go on ‘pony cruise control’ following his friend horse. It was so funny! It definitely improved my mood. What a little sweetheart…

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Friends! 

We are also facing a real bout of nasty winter weather, with wind gusts this AM up to 80 km/hr, snow?? and rain. So far just rain and it’s not cold enough to snow here, but yeahh…Next week is looking VERY ugly- a high of -2? In Victoria?? Noooo! But I won’t get too angsty.

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Very cool! 

I did have friends to hear me out about the work/family situation, which I really appreciate. God, some people just get under your skin, and stay there like a piece of glass! Mostly family! Ha.

Dressage lesson tonight- and I hope Oats feels a little more flexible through his neck, but I’m not holding my breath- we will see what horse we get on the day, right?

Don’t let it get to you

I will fully admit I was not in a good place yesterday writing my blog. I wrote that post out as a cry to help for my counselor (who I reconnected with yesterday and I already feel better about that, I am going to set up a session when I get back from horse camping). I felt like I needed someone to ‘trigger’ an emotional release with me, physically if that makes sense?

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Week 2 of shockwave. Ouch. 

I know when I was crying just thinking about it, that I was far overdue for an emotional release.

Everything seems to set me off, and I honestly think that dealing with a few harsh realities from the weekend (the show that went horribly, still being injured and in pain) were just…Too much to bear on Monday. Any Monday, really.

Anyways, I did my treatment yesterday, cried about it for awhile (it is absolutely EXCRUCIATING), felt miserable about the physio saying it could take another THREE WEEKS?! and downbeat about things for a bit, reached out for help and support, and felt comforted by what I can do.

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It’s great to have friends and colleagues who support you! 

I rode yesterday, and the arena was freshly dragged, and clean of all jumps. I rode on a loose rein, and let Oats dictate his headset and basically didn’t even steer. I let him make some decisions, and I walked, trotted and cantered. Around, around and around. Looping, moving, flowing. I didn’t practice anything. I just rode.

The freedom felt incredible. I felt open, not so scared, worried or frustrated. I was smiling. Sure my leg really hurt (it looks like a bruised banana today…So raw yesterday) but I was out there, and I was riding. Doing what I love.

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Just want to have fun (I know this by heart). 

I want that back, in my personal life and my riding life. I’m done with being closed off, hurt and mad. I think personally taking some of the ‘skin’ and anxiety out of the game is going to have to be how it is for me right now. Otherwise, all I can think about is how much time this injury is taking away from my training (Haaaaaaaaaaaaa well now that’s in the toilet!!) and how frustrated I feel with my horse if I want to train for horse shows and jump lessons.

My friend is taking over my jump lesson on Thursday, so I can watch. I can’t emotionally handle pressure right now, of any kind. I need to take a step back, and a step down. I realized that this weekend. To be the kind of rider I want to be for my dear pony, and the kind of athlete I want to be, I have to let it go.

It’s funny, I want to hang on to it with my fingernails. Isn’t that what strong, tough people do? Hang on? Even writing that, I felt upset and disappointed. The reality is very different- I was happier yesterday when I didn’t have an agenda.

 

I hope they get it right this time

Apparently pain is a great teacher. I hope it is, because lately all I feel is pain (emotional and physical?).
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My leg feels like a throbbing mass of pain basically everyday. I HATE IT. 

I had an amazing spring and early summer, it felt great! Things were falling into place (I won a small half marathon! Oats and I made our 2’6” debut and it was fantastic!) and was really in this ‘challenge me’ type of mentality that I was getting a lot out of and feeling strong and confident!
Now, it feels like everything that I worked hard for kind of went off the tracks. Oats went suddenly lame before a big horse show I was really looking forward to, and we had to pull out. That same week I tripped running home over a small hose leading to a construction site and face-planted quite dramatically on the pavement. I was ok with no serious injuries, but it scared me, was painful, and took a week or so to heal.
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The last show that went well. I see a lot of things to fix, but I remember having a really fun time and smiling. How do I capture that joy again? 

At the same time I tripped and fell, I unknowingly had developed an overuse injury in my leg and couldn’t run at all. I have now been off for a month, and while I am getting treatment for it, it is a slow process and can expect to be injured for another month at least. I am (or was..) in the middle of training for a fall marathon and now I feel like giving up.
Oats came sound after a few weeks- longer than I thought he would be off, which was anxiety inducing to say the least- (after I healed from my fall) and things just haven’t been very smooth. I feel frustrated and things just don’t feel happy and easy, like they were before everything happened. Our rides are full of tension and while I am taking lessons regularly, we have good moments but on the whole it feels rough, awkward and makes me feel unhappy.
This came to a head this weekend when I had him at a small, no-stress schooling show and he felt AWFUL. Tense, unhappy, distracted and very anxious. We were at the same show a month ago and it was night and day! I have such happy memories of how thrilled I was at the show and I was saying I loved riding him so much I wanted to canter forever, it felt so amazing!! We were actually worried he had an episode of gas colic, he was so out of sorts and acting strangely. Not like Oats at all!
I can’t really ascribe all of his behaviour to me and what I am feeling (mostly frustrated and in pain) he could just be having an off day too, but he does mirror me closely sometimes. Too closely.
I am taking a step back this week and having my friend and competent rider take over my jump lesson so I can watch. All I feel like doing these days is griping and crying about what I can’t do?! I feel like I can’t trust myself or my body to do or know the right things anymore.
When is the next step the right move? Where do I go from here?

Even the weather is against me: A big rant

So, I was ready to write a happy cheerful show report (Oats and I did the Sooke Saddle Club’s Show and Tell on Sunday and had a lovely time!), until it all blew up in my face and now he is dead lame, and I have a big horse show on Saturday, and work is insane, and I am losing perspective and spiralling rapidly. Like, really spiralling.

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What happened to my Oats?

I am in a horrendous mood. I went to bed last night because I couldn’t stand the idea of having that day happen to me any more. I woke up feeling angry, pissed off, frustrated, stressed out and terrible. I said to my husband, and my colleagues: I have two modes this week: Asleep or horrible.

So, yeah. That’s how things are. It feels like even the weather is against me, with the World’ s Most Terrible Summer Weather TM happening allllll effing summer. Going swimming in the river, or at Thetis Lake? Not this year LOL!. Its so shitty. I’m pissed. I feel like I’m never going to be happy or reasonable again.

Beware world, I’m walking around with a chip on my shoulder the size of the Empire State Building and I am definitely taking it out on everyone around me. I wish I could sequester myself from everyone, because I know I am not being reasonable, or kind, or anything that should be infected on my (nice, decent people) surrounding me.

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.

I give up

“It’s no use to go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

So yeah, another whiny post in a long stream of whiny posts. I am losing the plot, horse-wise, and I can’t seem to get it back.

I fell off 3 times in 7 days. The horse show was a disaster, Oats warmed up really nicely, and then immediately wouldn’t play in the ring. He was distracted and stopped repeatedly, and I fell into an oxer- making that my third fall.

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A bad jumper show.

I had a lesson last night that had many opportunities for me to fall off – with Oats ungenerously slamming on the brakes repeatedly- about five times. I didn’t fall though, so I can consider that a success?

Now, my horse is a stopper. Lovely.

I’m bummed, frustrated, mad at myself and at Oats, and hurt. I don’t trust him to jump now, and I don’t trust myself.

How did this backslide happen so suddenly??? How do I get ‘me’ and Oats back?

I honestly felt like crying after my lesson. I just can’t seem to get a break. I haven’t really felt like blogging, mostly because I’m so unhappy with how things are right now. How hard do I have to work at this? I’m not jumping high, the jumps I’ve been falling off at are the lowest ones I’ve been jumping recently. So WTF?

I’m just so confused and upset.

My show schedule as of now is kaput. I don’t feel like even trying right now.

Leave no bridge unburned? Sometimes, I hate my pony.

So, back to dressage with Karen last night. Good and bad.

Summer Oats

Summer Oats

Bad: Oats is still being a weird asshole about everything in the outdoor. Balky, stopping suddenly and running backwards, when I counterbent, he just slammed on the brakes and refused to move, frightened, spooky, edgy, strange and not cooperative.

Good: Luckily, during our actual dressage lesson he toned down his crazy idiot behaviour and was great!

To be decided: What in HELL is making him act like this?

He is very relaxed, almost comatose, when we were cruising in the middle of the ring and then like when I try to push him to the outside of the arena he just gets super crazy, and tries to either scoot/spook or just slams on the brakes and starts running backwards. WTF??????

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Our dressage lesson was great though. So, we are in the middle of a change in our relationship that for the life of me, i CANNOT FIGURE OUT and I HATE OATS when he is acting like a moron. Seriously, I was so pissed off and frustrated before our lesson started I was almost in tears. TEARS! Stupid horse.

Anyways, I’m getting sucked into his drama and I really really hate it, and can’t seem to extricate myself reasonably.

The lesson itself was quite good- his lateral work continues to improve, he did stall out a bit but got out of it with minor shenanigans, we worked on walk-canter on very tight circles with minor success (it was actually hilarious) but also minor hissy-fits, so that was great too…And we did some work without stirrups (ouch my aching seat bonesssss) and Oats was very understanding about my bouncing and didn’t threaten to ditch me, he just went slower hahah. So, it’s weird- he was a total jerkface about going around in the ring, but in our focused and intense dressage lesson (mostly at a circle at the top of the arena) he was golden. Not perfect, but not an idiot- just trying, good and honestly trying.

I can appreciate that. What I can’t appreciate is the other side of him that wants to spook, bolt, slam on the brakes and then leave the scene. Even typing about it makes me MAD!

Sigh…Horses.

…to be continued, I suppose. I am taking tonight off – to watch Jurassic Park! And then jump lesson tomorrow. I can only imagine what that is going to be like?  He has been so good, and then SO BAD, and then good?

Happy Halloween!

Yep it’s that big day again- and it’s on a Friday! Yeah~

Jack O'lanterns

Jack O’lanterns

In honour of Halloween, we are making caramel apples. Yumm…I’m really looking forward to them. We did that awhile ago- probably like 7 years ago with friends, so it’s kind of a fun re-enactment.

I also love spooky movies if you hadn’t guessed, so we have been watching some good ones on Canadian Netflix- recent standouts include We Are What We Are, Resolution (it was ok, still not completely sure how I feel about it) and the Den– which was excellent.

I also highly recommend VHS, which is not available on Netflix but worth the search- Netflix has VHS 2 for some reason…It’s not as good.

Oh and I enjoyed The Sacrament by Eli Roth and Ti West. It isn’t as good as it could have been, but pretty well done nonetheless.

So yay Halloween! It’s rainy and pretty miserable here, makes me sort of glad I’m too old to trick or treat haha,

Oh and an Oats update from my lesson with Nicole yesterday- Wow. It was a toughie.

I got pretty worked up, he actually cow-kicked out when I first got on for some reason?? And he felt pissy, AGAIN.

Pissy, rude, balky and bucky. Wonderful…We were NOT CLICKING at all. I was getting madder and madder, ready to spit nails. I was frustrated, and annoyed and like- I can’t be doing all this work to keep GOING BACKWARDS?!!!

Our run through the gymnastic was sloppy, we weren’t in sync for anything, and I was just so.pissed.off.at.him.

So….What did we do? Well, as I recall very recently- ”When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Encouraged by Nicole, I took a few (a lot) of deep breaths and just keep plugging away. And did it get better? Yes. Did it get great? Nope! Not at all! Was it the lesson I *thought* I was going to have? A big NO to that one too!

So…A few good takeaways (even though the bitter, curmudgeonly part of me is still a bit incredulous about Oats. WTF pony? I hate you sometimes!!). It felt like I was trying to literally push him up a hill the entire lesson. He was so resistant, and fussy and balky. And the rude kind of balky, that makes me worried that he’s going to start bucking and NOT STOP until I’m on the ground.

But, before I get dragged into the bad, here is the good!

– I didn’t let my anger at Oats take over my whole lesson. True we had a few hissy fit moments, but we didn’t let it go overboard.

-I continued the exercises and completed them and they DID get better.

-I managed to trot a circle jump even after we blew it at the canter. Baby steps?

-We got more in-sync as we progressed.

-He didn’t buck! He had a few hiccupy, hissyfit moments. But no big EFF YOU bucks.

Curious…very curious progress(?????????) I use that word skeptically and with MUCH questioning it.

Oh and my dog was sick all night- luckily my long-suffering husband dealt with her but jeeeeesus. So gross. So annoying. Poor Gidget!