Show your PRIDE!

This past weekend was another long weekend for me! Yay! It was quite busy as per usual with a special highlight- my husband and I marched with Island Health in the annual Pride Parade! We had an absolute blast, it was so fun 🙂

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The floats were awesome, and the ‘octopus’ balloons were just amazing. We marched to the park, and then enjoyed some of the vendors/swag booths set up at the park. The swag was the best I have ever seen- mini bottles of sunscreen, sunglasses, face paint, headphones, watermelon and cupcakes (!!) and so much CANDY!

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We brought Gidget along to enjoy the festivities and she kind of hated them, ha. She was afraid of the balloon bears as they were kind of popping and squeaking…

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And there were puppies corralled by the SPCA. Poor little guys, they were soooo tired. Adorable! My husband and I then went home and I went riding (in the field, whoop!) and he went out and we met later to enjoy some live music and drinks as Pride wrapped up. We had a lovely time and the bands were awesome. Bonus- we came late to the beer garden, and got some free tix by some partiers that had partied a ‘touch’ too hard… 😉

A fun weekend all around and I will definitely do Pride again!

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Coming on strong: Jump lesson!

Jump lesson and we are back at it! Oats was a tad resistant to bend, which became quite evident during our gridwork (some serious drift right, arghh). Lesson for me? Get stricter about bend/counterbend in my warmup!! That way it’s no surprise when I start screwing up later, ha.

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I found a bunch of photos I had missed from the summer derby. Love it!

We worked on a trot-in grid (with guide rails added later, natch) trot in two x-rails, two strides to a small vertical. We then worked separately over a 2-stride combination that left me feeling a bit like ‘Jesus take the wheel!’ as it really required you to ‘let go’ of your horse and trust that they’ll take charge through the diagonal line. A tricky one, surprisingly tricky, but it went well after a few times we got three strides and THEN the two.

We put it together into a course, and once we finished the course we did another one and this time added the 2-stride combination in going the other way as well, and then a longer bending line that rode perfectly.

Oats was going great!

I left the jumps low, as I was kind of still getting back into it and have been feeling pretty tired this week. My goal for next week is to a. be ok with raising up the jumps a little! and b. try and get some video evidence. It has been tooooo long 🙂

Until next time!

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend

A very laid-back weekend, which was fine by me but a bit tame, nonetheless…

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Each Valentine’s Day, I like to curate vintage cards. This year is a hotdog theme.

Saturday I shared the arena with a lesson, and Oats was very cute. He was breaking into trot from the canter (argh!) but I kind of blame my inconsistent riding for that. We cruised over an x-rail the lesson was working over and he was lovely over it…Though his penchant for taking flyers definitely came back with it, he just can’t take them seriously!

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Went for a run (wanted to do a long run but it was pouring rain, gaag) just over 9.7km after riding and yeah, it was…special. So special.

We wrapped up the day by preparing dinner for my friend who experienced a horrible tradgedy, and brought it to her house. It felt nice to do a good deed, and she’s going through a really, really difficult time right now, so I hope when she is able, we can spend some time together.

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Sunday (Valentine’s day!), headed off to the barn again and did a fairly tough dressage school with Oats. He got very sweaty! He was somewhat compliant, though I think he kept looking at the very inviting little mini jumps set up and thinking…why aren’t we just doing those instead??

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Finished the day by running some hills, feeling like I was going to puke the whole time. ARGH! Remind me to never eat that much rice noodle stirfry with chilis and then run…Too much. Way too much. God..my stomach was messed up the whole night from that barf-inducing experience.

We wrapped up V-day by getting two lobsters and a sack of clams, and a bottle of Prosecco. My husband even surprised me with a box of ginger chocolate Purdy’s to finish it off! Yum!

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Poles are the worst–Or: Oats learns to take a flyer!

Jump lesson last night and I was loudly moaning about how bad my pole work on Monday was (it was terrible) so that inspired my trainer to re-enact some of my worst moments- live on screen! Ha, sort of, but yes she was interested in seeing what was going wrong with one simple exercise: 1 pole, taken on a circle at the canter.

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I’m not always terrible at poles, but I quite often am!

Simple right?

Yeah, no. Always simple, never easy.

We flailed wildly over the pole at the canter, and I got tossed around, cursed, etc. Wow, I am bad at this. Interesting note- Oats was taking the long spot EVERY TIME. Wha?? This is the pony that loves to chip!

We moved on to a jumping exercise, and Oats showed his newfound love of flying by completely bombing an x-rail…We had to move it up to a vertical because he was not respecting the fence, at all! Again, WTF?

So, we worked over a small course that involved- you guessed it, a pole on a circle, to a small haybale fence, to cantering our prior nemesis- the green box, on a circle to the right, and then through a 1-stride line, then to the jump on the outside (rode very nicely), to jump the green box again on a circle to the left, and then back to the haybale fence.

Oats went quite well, until we got to the 1-stride line and he flew into it. We barely managed to scramble out! It was quite shocking…His latent disrespect for the fences now has him like, flying at them.

That one went up to a vertical too, to back him off them a bit and stop taking such ridiculous chances!

That, however, didn’t stop Oats! Not yesterday, oh no! This time, he LAUNCHED at the haybale fence and made it like, 3’3” over…It was a small 2′ jump at best. I was like “what the eff….”  echoing as we hauled ass over it. Interesting to say the least! Oats is getting bored??

We then proceeded to cruise much more leisurely around, with me making a real effort to half-halt before the fences–a light one, he’s not going crazy here, but still doing it so he doesn’t get it in his silly pony brain to start flying the fences. He was much more workmanlike, with only one dumb mistake of mine at the green boxes so we had a re-do for that one.

So, me having to half-halt Oats, him getting bored and not respecting the fences, all very interesting progressions to me. Hmmm…It was a funny lesson though, jeeesh, I think I was laughing half the time!

Silly pony wants to be challenged more!

 

Me, a non-genius

Did a jump exercise last night that involved VERY tiny jumps but extremely challenging patterns. And wow….I was just…out to lunch on it! Luckily it also made me laugh a lot, but yeeesh, I was so clueless!

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It was a bunch of jumps in a diagonal pattern, with idea that you’d jump one, immediately turn in a tiny, 10-metre circle right, to head to the next one, immediately turn in a 10-metre circle left for the next one, and so on.

The reality? HA. A hot mess!

We trotted and Oats stopped, and walked over the fence. So, it’s going to be this way, will it?

He lack of enthusiasm for small x-rail trot fences was palpable. Oh boy, this was going to be exciting!

Our ’10-metre circles’ were….Not so much. Once we actually started cantering, and Oats starting getting more into the game, we flew by the circle…My fault! I got caught up in ‘jumping the jump’ and forgot to a. look where I was going, and b. actually turn my horse…

GAK. I was just in a super goofy mood I guess?

We re-did it, and I managed to trot the next fence from the circle. Good some progress. We moved up and worked it into a small course, where I immediately flew past the second jump again (seriously, where is my mind??). Had to go back and re-do it, and it was pretty good. And then I immediately flew past the third fence (seriously?? I was directionally challenged last night for some reason!?), and had to re-do it, for the fourth fence.  HAHA.

By the fourth fence, I went a little bit rogue and just started jumping jumps.

I was laughing the whole time! Sometimes, you’re really serious, and sometimes, just a total non-genius airhead the whole time. I don’t know what was going on, but mannn it was funny last night! Glad my trainer was only mildly exasperated with me (particularly when I went rogue and kind of started jumping not-straight…ooops! I was laughing too much to focus).

Things that I want to focus on- collecting the canter via technique of spiralling in and out at the canter. I think I will try this on Saturday, though Nicole did caution me about ‘overdoing it’ on my own, as I am wont to do…(it’s true, I don’t know when to stop the drilling sometimes!).

Things to practice though! It was a very hilarious lesson. Mannnnn…

 

Gidget goes blue!

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At first she was purple.

Yep, she’s been purple, and now a very light blue. I bought the semi-permanent dye for myself but it didn’t take- at all- so it worked out really nicely for her.

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And now she’s blue!

It’s super temporary and fades quickly, within the week. I do dye her tail very carefully, and monitor the dye to make sure it doesn’t get near any other parts of her. Safety first~

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A very excited Gidget!!

I did this last week when I had a bit of energy and was thinking about showering soon anyways…Why these are related, you’re asking? Well, when Gidget gets her hair done, she showers with me too! Ha, waste note want not, people!

Rode Oats last night and he was pretty good, a bit resistant to bend as I think he was quite convinced he was just going to be jumping, and forget this dressage nonsense anyways…Nope! Jokes on you, Oats, we’re doing flatwork. Ok, a few small jumps for fun, but mostly flat.

Trying to catch my dressage lesson tonight as I’ve had to miss them on and off for various reasons.

Met the new horse last night too, he is a giant! 17.2hh? Ryleien or something like that…They were jumping quite a big jump that I’m sure Oats could fit inside!

 

Burn your fires for no witness

Jump lesson update!

I didn’t update after my schooling hack on Tuesday because it was non-remarkable–Oats was being a good pony, we did some lateral work to limited success, and well, it was fine. Yesterday I had my jump lesson and something interesting is starting to dawn on me…

As I get better about my anxiety, and am learning to manage it and appropriately stretch my boundaries, I’m coming up against something my equine counselor warned me about: frustration. She said with learning comes frustration or being mad about something and that is just the way it is expressed, as part of the process.

I’m coming in to my lesson with Oats, not being frustrated at him, but being frustrated by our ‘pace’?!! And it never really bothered me before, and I think it is close to 100% in my head? For example…

We worked over a small gymnastic and then moved on to a little course. The gymnastic was a two-stride x-rail to vertical. Nicole moved it in because quite often Oats is backed off and not super forward through the lines, and if horses were jumping it before us, then it’s set too long.

Well! We worked through it, I complained that he felt too slow and she said he was eating up the lines, and she had to move the jumps back??? He was making the horse strides through the gymnastic, which pretty much never happens, and I was complaining that he felt too slow? What is going on in my brain??

Very interesting. The course itself went well and funny enough so did the gymnastic. Oats did have a few moments of extreme befuddlement over green box (which he has jumped a million times before) but now it was on a circle, in a shadowy part of the arena…So he jumped it like it was 3ft high and 4ft wide? WOAH! He did that every time too! I think he was having trouble ‘seeing’ what he was jumping, so figured that overjumping was the best/safest policy…Poor pony, it was kind of hilarious how confused he was by the box?

Proof Oats has jumped the green box with no drama.

Proof Oats has jumped the green box with no drama.

I did have moments where I was very close to my comfort zone and I let Nicole know, but I think it’s just a phase in my learning process right now. I never felt scared or super worried, just kind of…oomph, let’s GO Oats!

Also- Oats would like to wish everyone a happy Halloween! I think he looks better as a bunny than as the devil, don’t you think?

Oats as 'himself' last year...

Oats as ‘himself’ last year…

Bunny Oats

Bunny Oats