Always Forever: Jump/ride/life

Man, things got busy and I got into a few solid days of coughing my lungs out and feeling exhausted. I’m seeing the other side now but it was a few very unpleasant days.

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Plus it was GORGEOUS this weekend. What’s not to like??

Thursday was my jump lesson and I was interested in continuing the work on the automatic release that we had started the previous week. So we developed my automatic release by setting up a grid of tiny (like step-poles and 6′ x-rails) bounces, so Oats had go canter-bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-out and I had no choice but to close my hip angle and have my hands low, following in the driving rein position.

It was really neat! It took a LOT of repetitions to develop the feel (for my hands and hips), so we went up and down, off the right, off the left, over and over. It did end up being quite aerobic work for Oats, who was huffing and puffing after. Poor guy! Hahha. We then set it up as part of a mini course. Go over the grid, across the diagonal over a small vertical (focusing on maintaining the auto release over it), over a small oxer (ditto) and then back over the grid the other direction.

I was pretty impressed and really felt like I was learning something! Cool hey?
Oats has been really good these past few days. I rode Saturday/Sunday and noticed he had a big lump on his spine though, ugggh. What now?! Horses!! Fortunately he doesn’t seem bothered by it. Hmm. He does have a chiropractic session in a few weeks, see if we can get to the bottom of it…

Anyways, he’s been moving fantastic and just so so good these days. Yes!!

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You’ll never get to heaven: Jump lesson recap!

Had my regular jump lesson last night, and not gonna lie, I was dragging ass all day. Turns out I’m probably getting sick, dammit! Had crushing waves of exhaustion in the afternoon and just felt super blahh. I wasn’t really looking forward to my lesson, which bummed me out because I was looking forward to riding Oats on a regular schedule so badly!

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Oats says oxers are no biggie! Wish it was summer…

But, I sucked it up and went anyways. And I am so glad that I did. Oats, while not perfect, was a great ‘trier’ and showed me that we can indeed be competent jumpers together even after he has a week off from riding and lessons. Yes!!! And with an audience too! We worked over a circle jump exercise with a x-rail and Oats wasn’t really respecting it…He was making big ‘bids’ at it, to my great annoyance. My legs felt weak and tired, so I was relying more strongly on my heel to anchor, rather than my thigh. Whoops!

We worked on more of a half-halt after kind of a disastrous long spot to a small vertical that almost ended up with Oats’ nose in the dirt. Yikes! And I asked for it! He jumped really flat, and almost bailed. Sheesh.

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Jumping a fan jump in the summer- so fun! We literally never got the right spot to it, haha. 

So, I smartened up and rode a better, more ‘bouncy’ canter to the fences rather than asking him for a dumb flat long spot. We then moved to a small course that ended up being quite ‘loopy’ with lots of changing directions and…dun dun dun…OXERS! All the jumps (3) out of 5 were oxers. Gulp?! We started small and then rode the course at 2’6”.

But you know what? We dug deep and just …did it! I felt slightly anxious but more tired, and so I was just ok with riding and not thinking that much, hahah. Oats did get fairly surprised by one jump that went up a bigger oxer, and was like, whaa??? But he figured it out and was a good boy! We did get some awkward spots, nobody’s perfect and I was getting tired, as was Oats. However there were no big crash-and-burns, we didn’t give up, and I just felt so glad with how my pony was, and grateful to have him on my side.

I missed him soooo much, and I just love riding him, being around him. I’m so lucky with my Oats!

A place I’ll always go

I had a lovely weekend, and while it did end up being fairly busy it was also very low-key, which is my favourite! Saturday I rode, cleaned my tack (oh god, it was so gross), chatted with friends and went on a mega long run (so cold, so long). And then went to a friend’s housewarming part- a surprise because I didn’t even know he was back in town! Yay! I’m really happy that he is back, so maybe I might have a running buddy again.

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Last winter was very snowy. Maybe this year?

We got back laaaaaaaate from the party, and then on Sunday my husband kindly came to the barn and even got up on old Oats for a ride! I am trying to work more on Oats’ canter-  one of his weakest gaits, and something that I’m trying to address by using lateral work in the canter to strengthen. Mixed results, but each ride he is coming through better, I think.

We rode, and then my husband even rode Oats up the hill back to the barn. Ha, my friends were a bit concerned but Oats was as good as gold and he did fine.

We had our dog with us too, and decided on a nice-but-increasingly chilly walk around Thetis Lake with her.

Back home -brrrr- and I went on a quickie run before dinner, after desperately trying to stave off the magnetic pull of my couch. It only won partially, hahah. Brrr it was cold, and here we are entering a week of deep-freeze, just in time for me to jet set off to Mexico on holidays for a week! Good timing!

 

No Stranger: Ride/jump/life

As we wrap up November (tomorrow is Dec 1? Wha??) I’m happy to say this has been a pretty good week! I rode tons which I’m sure Oats didn’t really appreciate, but he did get a lot of good, consistent work. Did poles on Sunday, flatwork on Monday/Tuesday and a jump lesson last night (Thursday). He was so good on Thursday! We even had the oxers go up to 2’6”, and I guess the full course was somewhere around that too? Except for a x-rail on the circle. He was excellent! What a great boy!

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Oats was jumping even better than this (from a few years ago).

I’ve been learning to let go jumping, and I think he is really responding well to it. As well, I’ve been slowly healing my ligament injury that I received back in Oct., and as I build my fitness back up, I think I am better able to respond as a rider, as the rider that Oats needs. It helps that I am not in pain when I ride, and I feel ‘stronger’ and more capable and less awkward and vulnerable.

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Someone is SO getting this for Christmas…

And on the injury front, I went to another rehab session on Thursday and I am very happy to say that I’m almost completely healed! It went well, was less painful that in the past (though I am apparently a huge wimp, because damn, it is still kind of painful?!!) and I’m hearing that now I need one re-check on the shockwave treatment in a month, and other than that, just monitor as needed. 🙂 YESSSS!!!!

So I’m going forward on a maintenance-only schedule, and I will go back if I end up in pain again, but otherwise…It’s all good news. Thank god! And he said I was probably fine to ramp up my activity (though he added in that it sounded like I was probably doing that anyways…Hah, right I was. I have to try!).

So, some good news this week for sure. Feeling good and happy with it! And very pleased with my Oats. What a good pony.

Going by: Fri/weekend update

After a period of busy weekends, the past two have been fairly quiet- and that’s ok. On Friday I had a dressage lesson and it was tricky! We worked on canter leg-yields, and positioning for the counter-canter. I am SO not good at positioning for that, and found it really difficult to get my legs/body to cooperate= Oats fininding it equally difficult…SIGH. Oh well, something to practice on for sure!

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Last winter and the winter before was very snowy.

Saturday I rode, and worked on myself: 4X 3 minutes on/1 minute off two-point. Was it hard? Sort of? I did expect it to be harder actually! What was hard was when I was gearing up to jog home (my husband had to attend a funeral, so he dropped me off at the barn and I was going to run home). My legs were like, nahh, no.

It was kind of a slow slog home, but to be honest I was prepared to spend the time. Got nowhere really to be, so why not? The weather wasn’t bad either, just kind of chilly and blustery.

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We’ve been having a nice fall so far! Just rainy now, but not overall too cold. 

I’ve been having on and off again ligament pain and it flared up  badly on Sunday. It was bearable for my run, but again I can tell my injury has not healed up yet.

We went and watched Suspiria on Saturday at a theatre that is licensed! Yes!! It was so wild, crazy off the wall. Hah, I highly recommend it. It’s nuts. Sunday I was in no rush, had a nice breakfast, rode with friends (pole work) and hung out talking for a bit. The weather did take a turn for the worse- rainy and cold. I even went on a run later with my husband and went fast for me! My hip pain came back with an absolute vengeance though, yiiiikes. Ah, I miss going fast!!

Back to work today.

Shockwave

Therapy, that is. Ugh. I am still very much injured (current diagnosis is a muscle tear in my abdomen wall, near some particularly spirited ligaments that pull horribly on my pubic nerves…). 😦

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Photo thanks to my friend Katie! All snuggles for Mr. Oats.

I injured it three weeks ago, and it’s been on and off painful since. The only things that really aggravate it are running, and riding, natch! Which I do every day? Dammit. I am still trying to ride and run but the running is so painful that I definitely have been toning it wayyyyy back. I even downgraded a half marathon that I was supposed to do to a 5k, which was still VERY painful to run. Man.

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At least my pony loves me! Photo thanks to Katie H. 

Riding this week was pretty good, had a dressage lesson on Friday that was quite humbling…Like after an hour of lesson, this is what my warm-ups should be? Yiikes..We are not there yet, but we are getting there. Otherwise have been enjoying some flatwork, rides with friends, Halloween candy and Halloween parties!!

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Happy Halloween! From a friend’s party this weekend, one of TWO parties I went to! 

I had a shockwave therapy appointment yesterday morning and jesus it hurts~ It is no joke, I didn’t realize it was going to be so painful. And they say that it’s not even on a bone, which is more painful. Yikes. I have another session on Thursday to try and speed up the healing for my muscle…Can’t say I am looking forward to it. I felt beat up yesterday and in a fair amount of pain.

Still with some significant nerve pain today, oh joy. At least my muscle isn’t hurting?

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I am drowning my sorrows in chocolate and wine! 

Show report: Mid-Island Cadora Halloween Haunt Dressage Schooling Show!

I signed up for this show hot on the heels of my last show, exactly a month prior (CDRC in Sept 20-21). I wasn’t super sure about how this was going to go- a new venue, a bit further, 2 hours away in Nanaimo, hack classes (our very real nemesis for awhile) AND dressage tests? Phew!!

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Winner winner!

But, you know what? We had a GREAT time! I had a good feeling when we went to pick up our numbers from the show office, and they let me know I had won the early bird entry prize- some cash back from my entry. YES!! Plus swag bags for the entrants- Purdy’s chocolate pumpkin and apples for the ponies. Sweet eh?

We didn’t have to load up too early, thank god. We were all in the same hack classes (command and dressage seat equitation), my friend and I were in the costume class- purely for fun, and then we were all in two dressage tests.

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He was moving better at Sept CDRC for sure…

That made for a very busy day. We were hauling ass back and forth from the trailer, to the hack ring, to the dressage ring alllll day. Phew, I was tired! So was Oats! First up was command class (which I got confused and thought we had just ridden dressage seat equitation, hahah). There were not many horses in our class, which made me feel relieved because I just watched a rider all off their horse in the class before ours…

It went well, Oats got a little jazzy at the trot, but he kept his hair on and was very well behaved. We did a turn on the forehand, and change of direction through the trot, and probably some other things that I can’t recall. We were first!

Next up was dressage seat equitation- a rider scratched, so it was just me and my two friends. This got held up, because an ambulance came with a firetruck. We later learned a young girl had gotten kicked in the head, and had to go to the hospital. Jesus. 😦

So the class was delayed due to the emergency, and the judge cleared it with us that the horses were ok with the ambulance/sirens coming through (Oats and Donato could care less, haha). This class had a few more interesting tests, sitting trot, drop stirrups, pick them up again, collected trot, extended trot, collected canter (we broke, whoops) and extended canter (fun!!). Oats again was a superstar and we won this one too! Next it was a quick change for my friend and I to do the costume class, which was super fun.

My other friend had to hustle to the dressage ring, and had to find someone to read her test for her, haha. Lucky for her, and me, we found someone! She rode her dressage tests, and then I hustled over and got changed back into my show clothes, and onwards to the dressage ring.

They were lovely about helping us out with reading the tests, I mean I know mine but still… My first test was very ‘eh’…Didn’t have that round, bouncy pony that I am used to having. He was stumbling a bit on the footing, and just felt kind of flat. Like, the minute I went for a downward transition, he’d just flatline you know? Eh.. And our canter transitions? HAHA yeah he flung his head up, hollowed and didn’t want to. Ohhh well…My test 3 for First Level was kind of similar, but he broke before doing the canter serpentine, not during it, weirdly. We actually got them this time?? Hm.

Curiously, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but I scored higher on my First Level 3 test for first place (with a 63%, the judge was good but NOT super generous, apparently with everyone) and I got a 62% on my First Level 1. Now that’s funny, a full swap from last show? Ah, I’ll chalk it up to him struggling a bit with the footing and move on!

And the day even got better- I would up with high point in the hack classes courtesy of our two red ribbons. A brand new dressage saddle pad!!! And I pocketed a few mini chocolate bars from the office. YUmmmm… Thanks you guys. A great day with fantastic weather out with my horse buddies? There is truly no better. I am so lucky. 🙂