Double the fun at Fairlawn Stables!

We took the opportunity to do a field trip on the weekend to try out our dressage trainer’s amazing new footing at her farm, Fairlawn. It’s also a gorgeous facility, so huge and spacious and bright so why not !?!

The ponies were…less than thrilled to see the trailer pull up again (Two WEEKS in a row?) but got onboard when we were there ­čÖé

And I said: Let’s do something FUN! That’s all I want to do now, lol. I only have less than a month left here, so let’s make the most of it and really enjoy ourselves, so that is the lesson we got- a pas de deux lesson with the two dudes!

And they are so cute together, I think they’re really figuring out how to rate with each other!! And Becky and I only forgot where we were going once or twice I think ­čśë The horses picked it up faster than we did.

We then enjoyed a little cruise around the fields after, as they have a lovely little pond you can ride around. The boys were very well behaved, and it was just such a fun and chill atmosphere. Can you ask for any better? Plus the weather has been amazing lately…chilly today, but far, far above the seasonal temps for Oct. We’re stuck in the groundhog day of my dreams…An endless summer!

No lessons, just rides

The trainer I ride with for Faith’s lessons was not feeling well, so Faith and I just did a hack day. Did I think I’d be able to take it easy, seeing as how it wasn’t a lesson? Ha, that showed me! We worked quite hard on transitions. Up, down, walk-trot, trot-canter, walk-canter, canter-walk (ok this one was rough) and so on and so-forth.

Miss this more than you can ever imagine.

We ended by doing a cooldown walk with her bending both left and right, and trying to find that ‘release’ in the walk. It’s tough, her bending is still very much an issue but her transitions- particularly upward- were getting really good! Go Faith!

And then I had rehab time with old Oaty. He was really well behaved, so I think the key to his outbursts/spookiness/seeing things in the mirrors was chiefly due to him being bored out of his numbskull, haha. Add in a little canter, some walk poles, and gasp- I even added 1 pole on our trot path so he could trot it yesterday too- and he is a new man again! ­čÖé

I guess they all need variety, and more hard work! He does get tired after his canter, but he had plenty of zip yesterday which was nice. Good boy Oats! We enter week 3 starting after our ride tomorrow. Finished with Week 2. Phew!!

This tornado loves you

So in between recovering from my 3-races-in-three-weeks, I am still riding, though Oats and I both took some time off Sun-Mon and Tuesday I was back at it!

I know- only two days off and I’m like, I miss my pony.

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Who wouldn’t miss this guy?

I would normally ride on Monday, but my friend and talented rider asked to ride Oats in her makeup lesson today, and I said sure!! It’s a great chance for Oats to try some new (read: higher and more technical) jumps that I am too weenie to try. So I get the day off today, but Oats doesn’t, haha.

So, I wanted to make sure the old pony had enough energy and gave him Monday off, so I could hack last night, he has his lesson with Sarah today, and then my jump lesson on Thursday, and then Friday off. Gotta spoil the old goat!

I also bought some MSM on recommendation from my trainer and added it to his feed, starting today. I hope that it helps him be more comfortable in the long-run.

Last night’s ride was pretty fun actually. We worked on canter transitions from walk, trot, sitting trot, big trot, walk again. Mixed it all up and around. Oats was feeling really good, smooth, bouncy and flexible. We also did some minor lateral work and he did get really fussy about it, and I ended up full on booting him in the side to get him OVER! He complied, though very grudgingly. Needs work…

My legs also need work. I gather from the races, they were strained and KILLING me. During lateral work I got a charley horse in my hip, again. ┬áOuch!!!!! Excruciating. I’m also still recovering from my mystery foot injury and it has been slow going, sadly. So between the races, my foot injury, and the temps dropping 9 degrees last night, I was a bit achy, sore and tired.

OH well, that’s life. I enjoyed my ride regardless.

Here’s hoping his lesson is fun and goes well, and that he is feeling good tomorrow too for me. ­čÖé

 

Still hope for the quiet heart

Had a casual hack on Oats yesterday, to stretch our legs and see how things are after our dressage lesson. I’m taking today’s jumping lesson off due to a work event at night, so an easier week for Oats.

Oats looking cute in Feb.

Oats looking cute in Feb.

We warmed up pretty nicely, and cruised over some poles. I wanted to work on getting the canter (it was an ok canter) on the spooky side. We did drop it a few times when I forgot what I was doing…But he picked it up, and was fairly chillaxed and amenable to the pole work. I then trotted over an insultingly small x-rail to a pole (I think it was normally five strides, but the trot-in approach ended up with six) and he seemingly picked up the wrong lead on the landing EVERY time. Hargumph.

Official beginning of summer: Nemo makes a reappearance!

Official beginning of summer: Nemo makes a reappearance!

Also, he decided that because the x-rail was so small, he could stumble over it instead of jumping it. Sighhh…

But, overall a laid-back and casual ride. Maybe I’m starting to feel more like myself again? My legs were BURNING though. I actually pulled Oats to a stop after a canter because I literally couldn’t support myself in the saddle! I can’t remember the last time my legs hurt that much, just so so tired and aching and sore. It was crazy!

My legs were just so ridiculously tired. I felt like my bones were full of sand.

I kind of felt like I was trudging to work today- not sure why my legs are so full-on tired this week, ugh, but I hope they snap out of it by next week. C’mon body, work with me!

The dude. Photo courtesy of Natasha K.

The dude. Photo courtesy of Natasha K.

I’ve been sharing a lot with the other riders at my barn about my equine wellness approach, and it makes me think: Is it possible to change my mindset about jumping and showing? Can I change? It feels impossible to me, I’ve held this way of being for so long. Feeling┬ásomething else seems like it will never happen.

I’ve also been thinking- maybe taking the showing down a BIG step is helpful to me. Now I have like, 2 shows this summer instead of 10. Baby steps?

Love/Hate

Yep that’s me and Oats most days~

Rode him on Saturday and he was a twit! I was super annoyed, because I was still kind of riding off a pretty good high of him being really good in my lessons last week- decent lesson on Tues and great lesson on Thurs and then Saturday rolls around….And he’s cow-kicking when I mount up again, acting pissy and bucking at the TROT even, and dicking me around like crazy.

Me: Trot please. More forward!

Him: No! Eff you!!! I’m going to hop! Hop! Hop! Instead of trotting, how about a canter instead?!!’

Me: No, I asked for trotting.

Him: Pop! Canter! Up!

Me: Oh okay..fine then, canter.

Him: Wait…Cantering is hard. Balk hard. Return to slow trot.

Me: Cluck cluck! Kick kick!

Him: Did I hear you thinking of using your crop? *Threatens to buck*

YEAH….so…

Not very broke to my leg these days, still, again.

He did get to go for a walk with a young lady who will be hacking him for me and he was good for her! I was glad for that, it’s been a good year or longer since he’s been out on the trails…And his behaviour in the ring indicates more than a good amount of ring sour pissyness.

Sunday, I warmed him up outside and he was way more interested in life. Forward, happy, ears pricked forward and didn’t feel balky, poppy or draggy. Good! Moved him indoors for more work and he lost a bit of his ‘pep…Bad.

Monday he had off, and the temperatures have dramatically plummeted!

Tuesday I had off, so I rode early- no lesson for us yesterday. He was surprisingly good! Got some really nice trot, didn’t push the canter too much as I wanted to work more on my ‘eye’ exercises (3,2,1- jump!) over poles. Good news is that they are getting much better, phew! Maybe I’ll develop an ‘eye’ for jumping yet. I’m trying to stay a bit more consistent with my eye-counting exercise, at least 1X a week.

Also did two laps of 2-point w/no stirrups at the trot and almost died.

And thank the saints that Oats is not a reactive type of pony…His quarter sheet, to keep him warm, flew off his butt when I was leading him to the arena, fell off his behind when I was RIDING him (had to get off and pick it up off the rail!) and then fell off him for a third time when I was leading him to the stables, where it got stuck under his foot. JESUS.

I have to figure out a better way to stick it on him, or it will cause a major disaster for me one day…Luckily Oats literally didn’t even notice it once!! Even when it slid off his butt in the arena.

Trust

So, busy weekend. 

Saturday, I rode Oats in the indoor despite the beautiful sun (due to his ouchy feet) and wouldn’t you know it- he spooked at the open door of the arena and BLAM! I’m in mid-air, looking down and wondering where my horse went! NOT a good omen for the show the next day…

Saturday afternoon we attended a memorial for my friend who passed away. It was sad, good for closure, but just so sad. It was also funny and people told stories about her, and jokes. It was nice to remember her the way I wanted to, and see everyone who loved her.

Sunday- horse show day. I was weirdly nervous, so nervous my hands were shaking. I’ve showed at this show series so many times, WHY do I get so anxious? Oats warmed up well, he was going quite nicely. We did our hunter 2’3” rounds and the first one kind of sucked, the second was better, and the third the best! (though he did give a few snarky humps of his back when I landed too far on his neck and didn’t get up fast enough!). There were a fair number of riders who definitely rode better than I did, so it wasn’t a ribbons-victory kind of day. OH well!

I dared to enter some flat classes, and I think I should have known better. He was a total nightmare in them, bucking so hard down the long side I ALMOST big the dust, bigtime. He spooked violently at the shed that we had literally ridden by a zillion times and I almost came off AGAIN! WTF?

I paid for a few ‘non-competitor’ rounds and schooled during the classes. He was ok, but still extremely on-edge and tense. I could feel the tension- he was pulling, fast, spooky, agitated. I didn’t try to canter at all, because his trot was┬áNOWHERE┬ánear where I wanted it to be.

Quite frankly? In those flat classes, I did not trust my horse.

This is not a new issue- I have never had a good flat class on him in that venue. Other venues? Well, I have done dressage (and he still bucked me off), but I have also ridden a pretty nice hack class at an indoor series this fall. Sooo…..

I’m stopping with the flat classes, and going to keep focusing on jumping. I’m not sure if we can get past this issue and I don’t want to get hurt trying to prove something- to myself? To Oats?