South Island Riding Club Gymkhana #2

Another fun day! Wow this fall has been sooo busy, I can’t keep up! This is a new club and I am loving their ethos- low key, supportive and fun πŸ™‚ Oats and I are NOT fast but as English riders, we are welcomed and having a blast.

Yessss keyhole!

We did barrel racing (our weakest), pole bending, keyhole, surprise class and stake class. They were such fun and I borrowed hoof boots so Oats would be comfy this time. He was still very unhurried, lol, but he’s a solid citizen and very safe to show at this venue. Also, the Western horses all had a meltdown about the miniature x-rail in the keyhole lol so that was Oats’ time to shine!

Friends!

We won the keyhole and might have won the surprise class (holding a lacrosse stick with a ball in it, you ride the stake pattern and on the way back, you deposit the ball from the lacrosse net into a basket!) Oats was a superstar about it πŸ™‚

Love my boy! We also had our friends come, including Oats’ leasor, and it was really awesome to see everyone out again on such a gorgeous day.

On our way, Oats didn’t even try to kill everyone in the trailer this time!

Cowichan District Riding Club All-Pony Show!

Wow so we had a busy weekend and the horse show was a blast!!!

I loved watching all the adorable Welsh ponies, shetlands, minis, Fjords, New Forest Ponies and it was just so cool to be there. It was also an extremely HOT day, so we had to be very careful with the heat and the sun and old Oaty, who can tolerate things well but he is an animal and you have to respect their needs.

Spoiler: Winners!!

So, we parked it in the shade for a lot of the day, as it was a loooooooooong day, lol.

We got there early for the Sport Pony halter class, where Oats behaved himself fairly nicely, only getting a little irritated at the end of the class. He placed fourth in that one, and then it was time to tack up for our first u/saddle classes. We had a LONG wait, due to a class conflict. So, it started about an hour later than we thought…and I was getting hot hot hot! I hopped off and parked Oats in the shade.

A very restrained Oats in the halter class.

Then it was our turn! We did the adult hunt seat equitation, where we rode well and the judge was very complimentary (the very kind Peter Holmes) but I got dinged hard for carrying an incorrect whip, whoops! And I am kicking myself, because I KNEW better lol. Doh!

And we won this sweet plaque, redeeming ourselves in hunter hack. Isn’t it awesome?

Oh well, Oats was behaving himself perfectly πŸ™‚

Next class: Hunter under saddle, and Oats was so good at it, and we placed first!

Oats says: No frame, just freeeee

Next up was the hunter hack, and we had to jump two little fences. Video below: and of course, Oats was a star. We had a chance to warm up over it once, and it was set a little higher, maybe 18”? They knocked a rail off for the class itself, to Oats’ disappointment. Hah.

He was first that time too! Then our ‘suitable to be a dressage horse’ class, and we were second in it. Oats was getting hot and I was getting tired too. A long lunch break, and then we zipped over to ride the trail/agility class- and I messed it up, but it was fun! πŸ™‚

I don’t know if I’ve ever smiled this much in the show ring! πŸ™‚

Then our final classes of the day: Barrel racing and pole bending! I scratched the keyhole race, as I noticed Oats was getting too tired by the end of barrel racing, poor guy lol. We placed first in the pole bending!! Third in barrel race. πŸ™‚

Alll the prizes!! It was incredible!

It was a super long day but the volunteers, competitors and sponsors were absolutely fantastic. Big kudos to everyone that kept the show running safely, well and happy!! We loved it!

Sooke Saddle Club Fun Show: Mr. Oats amps it up

So we had the fun show this weekend and we were going to do it allll: Hack classes in the AM, and games in the PM!

You would never guess how much of a crazy asshole he can be looking at this pic!

Ok in theory…

What actually happened was the hack classes- and we did showmanship first! We got third in it! Whee πŸ™‚ I had no real idea of what it was going to be like but I knew we had to trot in-hand, so I made sure Oats was trotting with me and it went nicely.

We then tacked up and warmed up in the postage-stamp-sized area, and it was ok. I figured he’ll have some ‘go’ but he’s getting worked a lot, so no problems right?

WRONG!

Oats chose this opportunity to become a raging, fire-breathing dragon/psychopath. He was SO out of control, wowza. He bucked, twirled, spun, spooked, launched and generally went completely psychotic.

I finally have video proof- thanks to Katie!!

Funnnnnnnnnn….

He would trot fine, a little nuts and tense and then just GO FOR IT in the canter and generally try his hardest to get me off and scare everyone in the audience. I had airtime. It was pretty terrible, particularly since the other riders were trying their best to stay the hell away from our absolute shitshow and every time we cantered he’s lost his goddamned mind.

I managed to stay on literally by the skin of my teeth. He repeated that little fun maneuver EVERY. SINGLE.TIME. in the show ring. We did, however, place very nicely when he wasn’t being an absolute nutcase!

So I’d go back, and run him w/o stopping in the teeny tiny warmup in between every class. And he cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered fine in the warm-up, and then BLEW UP in the show arena. I was exhausted. My arms hurt the next day.

Proof he can canter nicely, but even then I had to keep pulling his head up so he didn’t dump me πŸ˜‰

Good christ, this horse needs turnout something awful. He’s never been such a shithead as he has this year- don’t get me wrong, I am looooving our field jump lessons, the energy and presence, but GOD DAMN every show/event I have been to, he’s losing his mind and broncing with me. I have to ride him down for hours at a show- hours! He’s 20!

He did trot very nicely, was miserable to canter.

I want my hack/dressage and jump pony back, not just at home but like, for all times! sigh…

He was well mannered over the crosspoles in the hunter hack class, and threw a HUGE buck in the top right corner in the flat portion before it… Thanks dude…

Anyways after lunch he was tired, ha thank god. We did the trail class and it took an absolute eternity- 2++ hours?! So many entrants! I was very pleased with Oats during it. His big flubs were his miserable backing (but we all know that is his weak spot) around the barrels in a ‘figure eight’ where he just backed into one and knocked it flat, haha.

And we made a basket!! whoop!! Trail Class 1

Otherwise he rocked trail and came third! Out of maybe 30 riders??

Trail class 2

And then it was 4pm! The show was supposed to end at 3pm! Eeek..

We were pretty tired but wanted to do 1 games (we were supposed to do like 4 games classes but I scratched to go home b/c it was taking too long, horse is tired, I’m tired, my hauler has to go).

We did pole-bending and it was a blast!! Oats is too slow to win, but he had fun anyways. Go Oats go!

Ok this was just straight up fun!!! πŸ™‚ Thanks to Lindsay for videoing.

Many thanks to the volunteers who did a marathon day out there- wowza. You guys are the real VIPS here!

Going for it!!!

Another busy weekend for old Oaty and I! We started off strong with a jump lesson in the field (my fav- I bust my butt each summer hauling jumps out there so I can enjoy them and lol- it is ALWAYS me doing it. I was going to have help this summer but circumstances prevailed and I had to drag Ian out to help me!) πŸ˜‰

All small jumps, but he’s totally going for it!

I even dragged another jump out there so we could have more options- they are scanty because it’s just me and those standards are HEAVY to drag all the way out there, so I am a bit limited.

But, it’s always fun and this past weekend Oats really agreed with me hahaha. He started off a bit sluggy, and I was a bit anxious because we had one jump on a ‘hill’ of sorts (tiny) but next to the owner’s house, where he finds it spooky. So, double whammy for me- hill? Spooks?

Wheeee!!

We worked up to it slowly and carefully, and he was really good about it. A touch looky but not bad.

We then started cruising over the other jumps and I was a bit all over the place at first. We took a break and worked over our first course and WOW Oats came ALIVE. He was amped!! We cantered the fences, and then he got lazy and dropped a hind hoof over the small xrail on the hill and stung himself a bit and BOLTED?! Haaaa. I know right, Oats? Fast? Nooooo way. This is the slowest pony on the planet.

So we got him back, and on to the next fence! He was feeling it. Ha.

yeah!!

And then on to course #2, and woooow, I haven’t had this much horse to ride in like, ever??? He was charging around, going for it, I was just along for the ride! Go Oats go!!! He is in the best shape of his life, according to him?! Hahahha. Nice to see him with so much forward energy, even if it did really surprise both me and my trainer lol.

Which was good, because I wanted him to burn off some energy- we had a trail class event to go to on Sunday! Stay tuned…

Working Equitation: Day 2

Ah, the most exciting day! I was very anxious. Oats had been pretty amped the day before (hence the need for two rides, ha) but I was most worried about the two natural obstacles in the course: water, and a bank.

And I was right to be worried 😦

We went in for our first round and I immediately got DQ’d, lol. I ‘crossed my line’ on my way to start through the gates, whoops! But it went ok for the first obstacle (barrels) and then we went straight over to the bank for obstacle 2 and the wheels came off Oats’ brain. He was TERRIFIED of the bank. Would NOT go near it, at all. Well-meaning folks were like, well if you tried walking up to it slowly? Hahahahhah yeah, if he would stop rearing and running backwards, maybe I could…But I couldn’t get near it. Not one iota.

Speed round, video courtesy of Shelly Donaldson!

He was stressed and amped as hell, and we got permission to move on, having been disqualified already. He felt very tense and rigid, and was thinking about bucking me off. We went over to the garoccha line and he was good until we went to the bull for the rings and he spooked at the bull and I dropped the ring, and almost my pole! Hahaha.

The rest of the course was edgy and very tense but manageable. He didn’t really want to go through the water but then he did! I was surprised he did, when the bank was such a major issue?! I then messed up the entry to the double slalom (missed going through the cones the correct way) and got confused, ha. DQ number 3 or 4??

And then we hopped over the jump, got the jug, and cantered through the finish lines, where Oats started building up a head of steam and tried to buck me off going through the finish gates!! I had to pull him up, roughly, and then salute to the judge. They were laughing! hahaha.

Then for the Speed Round, same course (ARGHHHH) but no jug, only single slalom and one way through the cattle pen. Still the bank 😦 So I knew we’d get DQ’d and I was thinking about scratching, to be honest.

But, we took a break (Oats was SO THIRSTY allll weekend, poor dude), untacked and then chilled out. It was quite hot out too.

Afternoon, we tacked back up for Speed Round. I was kind of dreading it, but also thought who cares? This is all for schooling. And boy, was it! We went in for our round, and I took special care to NOT cross my lines hahah. We started well again, the barrels and then had a different idea for the bank- a trainer there suggested we go up above it, and then down to it. Did it work? A resounding NOPE! He danced, ran, spun, reared and generally freaked out.

So……DQ again.

And we skipped it, and he only had one ‘gonna buck you off!’ moment immediately afterward heading to the Garrocha line (where he was good but I missed the loop, shit!). Otherwise he was even a real trooper about going into the water, slightly hesitant but good! πŸ™‚

We did get permission to school the bank after the competitors were done. I had someone come with me (my trainer who is helping me practice the obstacles at home) and I led him up to it in-hand. He snorted bigtime, but then happily followed me up the bank. And then down and then back up. I hopped back on, and we walked up to it and over on a loose rein. Easy-peasy! πŸ™‚ How I WISH we had been able to do that in the competition…It would have saved him and me a lot of tension and angst eh?? Five minutes of introducing it to him and done! Good Oats.

It was a challenging weekend but did help me get out of my own head for a bit.

Mr. Oats does a Working Equitation horse show: Day 1

Phew this was a super busy weekend, to top off a super busy and bummer few weeks.

I signed Oats up for a Working Equitation horse show! We have some experience with this discipline, but I was also taking lessons on Sundays to practice up, as well as working on our dressage with our trainer. We hauled out bright and early Saturday to Hi-Point in Glenora for our dressage day at 9:30am.

Swear, our warmup was more…nice. Oh well, you gotta get back somehow!

The test was quite simple, similar to a training level test? But no fear, I had a good warmup and then immediately rode pretty poorly soooooo it was still challenging for us. At first we went to warmup in the field (Hi-Point has the only x-c on the island) and Oats was AMPED. I was pretty sure he was going to buck me off lol. So a trainer suggested we move to a section of the indoor roped off for warm-ups and bingo, he settled right away.

After our dressage ride it was still SO early, ha. I knew Oats would need more work- a new place where he has done x-c and he was hot hot hot means he needs a lot more work to get him chill and used to it. After all, we had our two rounds the next day (Sunday), Ease of Handling and Speed Round.

So I hung out a lot, and watched the Intro class finish their Ease of Handling (they don’t do speed rounds). Then I got Oats out, wearing shorts again (haaa) and rode him. As I suspected, he WAS amped. Good at the trot, but power-trotting around and tossing his head excitedly. We cantered, and he was good, and then tried to buck, haha. He has a very powerful buck and just snakes his head down and humps up and woooof it’s hard to get back, haha.

So, rode that for awhile even though it was HOT out, like close to 30 deg?? I was hot, Oats was hot but he had a ton of ‘go’.

After our ride he chilled out and was sooo thirsty, poor boy! That would be the theme for the weekend- Oats is sooo thirsty!

After my ride, we went to the pond for a swim πŸ™‚ I had my mango White Claws, and all was right with the world. I even had a bbq with my new friends that evening, and it was delicious. Early to bed, I felt very tired. A long day in the sun and around people?!! I have been a total hermit for like a year?! ha.

I did feel worried about the course, as it had several x-c elements that Oats was not familiar with (water, a bank). Turns out I was right to be concerned…

Which was too bad, because after dressage we were leading! To be continued…

New adventure in dressage-jumping!

So we revisited the lesson from last Thursday, with a focus on ‘building’ the canter up to be a bigger, more energetic and ‘jumpy’ canter rather than a very tightly controlled ‘small’ canter.

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Some choice screengrabs πŸ˜‰

Dressage with speedbumps!

I now tend to think of dressage for me as a process of going through stages. First we developed his ‘stretchy’ frame, next we bump the frame up a bit for his ‘jump’ frame and then kind of toggle through both. But you need the first one to get the second, if that makes sense?

It’s a sort of transitional phase.

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But so uphill! I love it!Β 

And yesterday had some very rocky moments (his right rein was not a thing, apparently) and he had 1 BIG spook that almost got me off, hahah. Stupid pony! But no matter, I enjoyed the end process and I think I am getting a better idea of how to manage his canter, both on the flat and through the jumps. Both trainers are right- his jump/my jump issues stem from a weakness in managing the canter.

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Heading to a small jump and he still looks good!Β 

If I’m not connected to him at the canter, how WILL I know where the takeoff spot is? I am too disconnected to know or figure it out! And I can feel that, I just didn’t know how to fix it.

This time I am happy to say he nailed every single distance, ha. We didn’t really jump (ok, they were cavaletti size, ha super small) much, but it was higher quality and the canter improved. We did get a little shakier and flat as we wrapped up, but I was able to watch the video and damn…His canter is looking FANCY. I also am reaching the point of jumping where this little stuff is…Not hard. Taking the spectre of ‘jumping’ out of jumping is working well for me.

My hands suck and I sit behind the motion, soooo ignore me. But Oats! Wow! Loving this. I also appreciate that in the 10 years I have owned him, I am still learning so much with him. It’s a journey, isn’t it?

 

 

 

These are the days that must happen to you: Jumper day update!

A good Walt Whitman quote is always applicable, I think!

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A great weekend! What a good pony.Β 

Oats and I finally made our debut int he 2’6” ring, after YEARS at 2′, and 2’3” – some successful, a lot not. I normally feel a lot of anxiety, and I weirdlyΒ wanted to feel anxious about this show, and just…Didn’t? I felt like, yeah old hat. Weird for me. Weird for being at a horse show, even if it is a small schooling show. I expected to feel anxious, have show nerves, but all I could think is- I can do this. I can definitely do it. Oats is a great pony, and he’s my champion. Challenge me.

My friend was riding in the 2’3”, and I had 1 class in the 2’3” as a warm-up, and then my 2’6” division. She was anxious, and I told her- nobody is even looking at you! Nobody cares! Be challenged. Bring it!!

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That’s my mantra now. πŸ™‚ Make me work for it. Make me focus. Make me try.

We warmed up ok, after Oats spent forever and a day at the (very hot again) trailer, screaming for his buddy and pacing, and it went on and on and on…

Anyways, I was learning from my lessons the day previous, so I did NOT get on Oats too early. I waited until the first 2’3” went, and then tacked Oats up and brought him over. We trotted, cantered and my trainer came over to run us over a few small jumps- just as the ring gate volunteer was like hey you’re in two. Wow! That was quick! But it’s how I like it. πŸ™‚

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We went in and it was…eh. He bucked a little (feeling MUCH better today) and I could tell he was a bit bored. I left the ring saying he needs more. And we waited (awhile) for the 2’6” to be set. The course was not challenging, but it did have a small combination (2 small strides, 3 Oats-sized strides, quite compressed). I kind of wanted them to put the liverpool in, we could definitely do it no problem! Sadly that is for the 2’9” division, not ours. I did not feel scared or have the jumps suddenly ‘grow’ as I usually feel. In fact, even looking back, they look low. WTF?

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We warmed up ok for the 2’6”- it was getting quite hot. I had cleverly brought in a water bucket and asked my friend who finished her division (and placed!!) to fill it and put it in the warm-up. Oats drank! Twice! He was already doing better this day.

We hopped a few verticals, biffed the oxer a few times but it was fine and then we were in. And you know what? The course rode really well- almost perfectly!! I came out smiling. And I said, I want to ride my next round exactly the same way. And I DID!! Who is this girl, who can finish all of her classes, ride competently and well, being fair to her horse, and confidently say she wants to ride exactly the same way? This girl!

I look back and wished I was in this division 5 years ago. But you know what? It’s not really any use doing that. I was a different person then. We placed 3rd in our 2’3”, 3rd in our 2’6” and 5th in our 2’6”. Placing doesn’t really matter though- I felt happy, confident and loving my boy. Go Honey Bunches of Oats!

Somewhere Somehow: CDRC Dressage Recap!

To start, this was a long HOT weekend for all of us- ponies, riders, show volunteers, trainers and judges. Hats off to them for putting on a lovely show with grace and good cheer! We came up on Saturday and I was in kind of a frenzy in the morning, as we saw there were reports of traffic accidents, and I had my dog with me for the whole day, it was hot, I was feeling nervous…ARGH.

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Better scores and weather, but hot, long and dehydrated?!

Anyways, I got to the barn WAY too early, and shared an ice cream for breakfast with my friend who was also riding in the show. Gidget was annoying but manageable.

We loaded up (early) and got to the show without incident, thank god. But at the show, my friend was riding early, and I was just…sitting around with Oats in the sun. Not a good combination for us. I mounted up, and then hopped off, mounted up AGAIN only to find that they had slotted in even more riders before me, and then I got back on AGAIN and just…It wasn’t a recipe for success. Oats was hot and angsty and stressed, he had to pee but wasn’t!(??) and wasn’t drinking either. Not a winning combination. I also managed to foist my dog off on another rider, who babysat Gidget for me for the whole long, hot day. PHEW!! Stress city guys?!

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From last time. It was still really windy!Β 

Our first test felt distracted and I prepared him very poorly for it. OH well…The second test rode much better (it felt like to me?) but Oats had an opinion and tossed in a buck, and for every downward transition within the gait (extended canter to working canter) he tried to trot. = success???

I was a bit concerned about him, with the not-drinking, acting strangely and stressed and just blahhhh ‘aura’ about him. He basically fell into the trailer! I asked my friends to keep an eye on him when he got home, to see how he was acting. He was going fine, had a BIG pee (I knew he had to go!!), drank water and went into his house to sleep.Β He didn’t even come out to play with his buddies. I learned some important lessons about this day, and I was careful on Sunday to make sure he had access to water at all times, including in the warm-up ring (and he drank successfully on Sunday!).Β 

Our tests were scored well but strangely- I really felt like heΒ rode the second test much better, but it was scored at 65% (first level 3) and the first one was at 70% (yes!! but also…it didn’t feel as good?). Odd!?Β 

Anyways, I was just glad he felt SO much better on the second day, recap to come tomorrow…Stay tuned!