Happy Birthday to me

Had a pretty lousy and frustrating jump lesson last night. Warmed up Oats, and when we got to trot/canter, it felt like I was riding a llama. All head and neck, in my face. WTF?

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My cake from last year! 

I was immediately on edge and really frustrated. God, why can’t ONE thing go right this week? I was pissed off and funny enough, even though Oats never spooked, he felt really unfocused and distracted, ready to act on a moment’s notice…

We worked over a gymnastic that was kind of disastrous. Oats acted like he’d never seen the skinny pink filler, even when we’d jumped it as a skinny in the winter. He was just so unfocused. We had a few stop & launch jumps, where I got super left behind and discombobulated…ARGH. Finally I got annoyed enough that after a stop,  I turned Oats around, went out a few strides (we had like, 4 to work with in the gymnastic) and jumped him straight from there- and wonder of wonders, it went fine!

To be fair, I was pretty mad.

We then worked over a course where I proceeded to ride super clumsily. Can’t see a distance, get left behind, can’t make up my mind, let Oats get the upper hand and spook me past a jump when I could have prevented it…Just really weak riding. And I give credit to Oats on this one at least- he was taking me over the course like a seeing-eye horse, haha.

Top it off with a super lousy ride to a straight line where I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to go right or left and almost fell off straight into the arena fence! Whoops! What was WRONG with me last night? Sorry horse!

I declined to do it again, I just knew that I wasn’t on my game with Oats last night. The course rode fine, but I couldn’t ride?

Oh well, in the end nothing bad at all happened- it was just not my day particularly.

And yes it is my birthday today.

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Miniature Tigers

This week…Wow, this week.

Busy. Rode Tuesday, not in a dressage lesson, and was thinking I probably should have left what I was asking Oats for IN a dressage lesson, it went that poorly. Well at first it went well, and then I had to go and push the envelope and was a bit unprepared for him to over-give and then get pissy with me about it! Ah…it’s a learning experience I guess?! Note to self: When he gives you good lateral work for awhile, don’t push it on your own yet!

So, yeah. That. My dad also flew in from Ontario that evening at 11:30pm!

Wednesday we had the Foxstone Awards Night banquet at the Quamichan Inn. I’d volunteered to drive, and wow…Was kind of regretting the whole night driving. It was SO stormy, and crazy dangerous on the roads. POURING rain, the car was hydroplaning on the Malahat, visibility was so poor, and we saw two accidents, and like 5 cars pulled over…Jesus.

I drove extremely carefully and white-knuckled it the whole way. Glad to be alive.

The banquet was fine, I was still feeling a bit put-out by dropping down from reserve champ to third 😦 it is quite a demotion. Ahhhh….

I got all of us home safely, thank god, and had a glass of wine sitting on my couch at home. It was a very hairy experience.

Thursday, I had my jump night lesson! I had promised my dad I’d try to get home early (so, before 8pm), a message that somehow didn’t translate to them letting me know where they were going to be in the evening, so when I got home to an empty house, hungry, I had NO idea where they were, and nobody was answering their cell phones, despite multiple texts and calls. Needless to say, I was pissed off and hungry!

We sorted it out and I joined them for one drink and some live music at the Fernwood Inn, and it was really good-surprisingly! I normally am not a fan of a lot of ‘open mic’ nights because they tend to..suck sometimes…but these guys were spot-on!

And my jump lesson went well, Oats was hard to get motivated though and we are experiencing some real frustrations in terms of landing ON THE RIGHT LEAD GODDAMMIT~ Even on a circle? What is this, horse??!

But he’s a cheery fellow, and didn’t take it too hard. Ha, things to work on…Along with me using the crop even more judiciously to get him motivated. Well, to give him credit, he jumped an interesting looking jump without even a second glance. Good pony! Now, land on the right lead for once and I will be even happier with you!

 

Are you gonna whine, or win?

Had a solo dressage lesson yesterday due to my lesson mate having to take some time off- I don’t normally welcome privates for dressage because of a few factors…

a. they cost more- $35 for a semi-private and $50 for a private

b. I have to work my freaking ass off in them, and nobody else is around to deflect the laserbeam of intensity off me!

So…Not always thrilled to do privates but yesterday I faced it head on. As I mention in my header (stolen from watching Wet Hot American Summer last night, ha), it’s one way or the other. Excuses or results.

Not so relaxed

Not so relaxed

And I, after bravely conquering a mountain this weekend, am ready for results! A win! Except maybe my attitude was the biggest win, and the lesson itself maybe wasn’t quite the win I was looking for. We rode in the outdoor, and the lesson objective became painfully clear: Break the concrete pattern that Oats and I have so lovingly developed over the years.

Easy, right?

Well remember that bit about concrete?

I worked him large for a bit, getting his attention and his ‘forward’ through the spooky side of the arena. It was actually fairly successful, and I was feeling like hey I can do this. We then worked on a circle at the far end of the arena on getting a few simple (note I keep saying simple, not easy) items:

  1. Forward
  2. Bend
  3. Direction
  4. Supple

And proceeded to not get any of those for literally minutes at a time. Yeah it sounds dramatic but sheesh I was working my ass off and Oats was going- NOPE! I’d get forward and then some bend, and then he’d root rudely or throw his head up. Or he’d offer to canter, and he would try literally anything to get me to pull him back and get him to stop.

What was particularly telling was when Karen was saying in a few I could walk…I didn’t even ask for it yet, and Oats reverted from his actually pretty nice work to being a total jackass immediately. Head tossing, hopping, throwing his shoulder out, rooting…ARGH.

So, yeah the walk part didn’t get to happen for another, oh, 20 minutes of sweaty torture? I was like seriously horse? I was done 20 minutes ago? Give ME a break! But this part, was the important part- the ‘not giving up’ part. Oats was frustrated that he thought we could go into our ‘normal’ pattern, where I would walk, and we would take a break. So he took it upon himself to try to ‘force’ me into walking before I even asked.

And to that I say- Good day sir, I don’t think so!

We went back to canter, then trot, then more canter, then trot…It was exhausting. I was sweating from my ears, literally. Oats had rivulets of sweat running down his forehead, flanks, back. He was literally trying to endure me out, and see if I gave in first! Well, two can play at this game, and I wasn’t worried, just kind of annoyed…So we kept going and going, until we got some nice, honest and good work from Oats.

Then I immediately came down to walk, and we left it on that note. I was still in awe of his lasting power- who knew that when he was really trying to force the issue, he could go- and GO very strongly- for that long? Not me?!!

Long held patterns are sure hard to break. I am chipping a tiny corner off with yesterday’s lesson.

Constructive Anger

So, my day yesterday started by slipping on a bag of dog crap that someone considerately left in the middle of the sidewalk…

and then having a run in with the van at the crosswalk that I later called about,

and then work (enough said. It was a very very frustrating day)

and then on my way home, got into an altercation with an asshole cyclist,

and then my riding lesson- my dear pony spent a lot of the lesson trying to kill me, and I actually had to get ‘hulk rage’ on his ass.

and on the way home- drove behind someone who was turning left at an advance left on Hillside, who then decided to STOP in the middle of the intersection. I honked and honked, and they waved me, and I was going to go around them…And then they decided to start going again? We almost crashed.

I went home and was like….yeah.(actually was literally ready to throw something at a window).

This is an illustrated example of my day yesterday: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html

I can only hope today is less than half as bad. That is the best I can hope for.