I can’t help you if I can’t help myself

Back to JUMP lessons on Saturday! It seems so funny that only a few months ago, I was fussing hardcore about having jump lessons on Saturday because it can be tough on my weekend schedule plus I just didn’t like to really be scheduled on the weekends, in case things changed, plans came up, etc…

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After my ride, I turned Oats out with his friends. Here he is having a nice grooming session with a buddy! 

Well, I guess everything changed and now I have lessons on Saturdays because no other days worked! If I wanted to do dressage lessons, the only day that worked was Thursday. My jump day! So I moved jump day to Saturday, dressage to Thursday, and Oats’ novice rider lessons are on Tuesdays. Busy busy eh?

We had a nice lesson but WOW having to get strides in the indoor and in a line (4 strides) instead of 5 strides, felt tough! Really tough! I am not used to pushing, and neither was Oats, haha.

Still it was fun, I was out of breath and tired, haha.

We did a small line in 4 strides, and then a small course working with the line/bending line. I, of course, messed it up a fair bit at first (thank GOD the jumps are like..a foot. ha).

Still, getting back into it just requires more work! More than I remember, hahah and wow it is tiring. I think Oats felt the same way 🙂 Felt so good to do it.

I will spite survive

A few weekends ago I went horse camping with friends! It was for a local trainer’s ‘Wine, Women and Working Equitation’ camping and clinic weekend and it was 100% what I needed! Jane Stone offered the course (limited entry), I had a great time, and Oats is SO GOOD at working equitation! His keenness and flexibility to learn makes me feel just overjoyed!

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You can’t fake a smile like that! Photos are courtesy of photographer Christi Kay. 

I took the Friday off work and we hauled the horses and a metric ton of camping gear, hay, grain, water (there is a drought right now) up island for our camping weekend. We settled in and I was happy to see that I could camp right next to my boy!  How awesome is that? I think we bonded even more because we got to camp next to each other for two nights 🙂

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The fixed gate obstacle was no problem for Oats!

Friday was an in-hand session, where we learned how to get the horse to yield and bend based off equitation science principles, specifically to work on aspects of the working equitation obstacles that we would be tackling. I’m not that great at in-hand… But hey low pressure and no fuss!

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Oats is so brave over the bridge!

Dinner that night was pizza from Prima Strada, and it was soooooo good. Yum! I sure ate well that weekend, no doubt. Saturday was our introduction to the obstacles, and we were all in different sessions. Oats was very cooperative about learning more about them (we have done a working equitation clinic before and loved it!) and he’s super good with the obstacles. Some of the other horses were not so sure about the obstacles…My friends each had their own hands full!

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I was…not great at the garrocha pole

Dinner was a potluck and we had a TON of food. I ate too much! hahah. My dear husband dropped off meatballs for me to bring AND cinnamon buns from the Ladysmith bakery (my absolute fav..ever!). It was just nice to relax and talk horses with my buddies.

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Around the ‘cattle pen’

Sunday was the ‘speed round’ and run-throughs of the course. Oats was a superstar~ I had trouble with the garrocha pole (felt like I was going soooooo fast, and had trouble timing it enough to grab it correctly), but man it was so fun.

It was exactly the weekend I needed, as I came home on Sunday night to pack for my flight out the next morning to work on my deployment to Lillooet. Busy busy!

A few good rides

I rode Oats Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues but you know since I took Monday off (and spent EIGHT HOURS at the barn…) it didn’t feel like that many days in a row?

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In the big field last year.

We schooled flatwork primarily, but I also did a big-field ride on Sunday for a quicki ride (30 minutes of transitions up and down the hill) and then I rode in the smaller field last night for a dressage-type ride. Oats was really good!

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In the small field last year.

I love that the fields are opened up again, a lot of really fond memories are of us just cruising around in the field, year after year.

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Oats jumps an imaginary jump (aka a ditch, haha). Last year.

My friend and I also set aside some time and set up the new jump course in the outdoor arena. Wow, I am SO not good at it and it is a lot of work. I’m glad our trainer is so interested in setting up and maintaining the riding arena, lots of new jump courses to try out for fun! The weather is finally turning around, after a really blah and lousy weekend (rain on Monday, chilly and windy, on and off clouds). C’mon summer!!

Everything at the end of everything: Sooke Saddle Club Dressage Show’n’ Tell recap

I feel like each year I do these, my first show is very ‘blah’ and I’m not overly thrilled with my test riding/Oats’ performance. This year was no exception. It’s like we need an outing to kind of be crummy/not exceptional to figure out what needs to be fixed.

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Last year. 

This season we made our first ‘First Level test 1’ debut though! And I was happy with how the test rode generally, I wasn’t pleased with the level of cooperation and roundness I got from Oats in it. He was quite resistant, balancing off my hands, his canter was quite high-headed (to say nothing of his canter lengthenings..ha.) All in all NOT our best work.

We also rode our Training Level Test 3- and a brush fire had started in the Metchosin hills, so in the middle of my test a fire siren started BLARING from the fire hall! WHA? Oats is apparently a saint, because he didn’t blink an eye at it…It freaked me right out, and shattered my concentration. Soooo yeah, that test. Ha.

Oats however did spook VERY hard twice at ‘A’. Silly pony! In my first test he also stopped to poop at A and then spooked at it later. ARGH!

I really liked judge Melanie Houston’s take on Oats and agreed with her on the points that needed to be addressed.

So like, yeah it was fine. A nice day, tests rode ok, but I’m honestly at the point now where ‘ok’ doesn’t cut it? Our next show and tell is in July and I have higher expectations for us by that point!

 

Adulted-out

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This weekend wasn’t all fun and games though…After our lovely getaway in Cumberland, complete with raging allergies that have given me a cold, we had to do some serious adulting. I’m talking boring, inescapable, chore type things. I don’t mind a good cleaning, or putting laundry away. This is the stuff that you put off as long as possible, like:

  • Getting a new cellphone. Painful in my world. Takes FOREVER!
  • Getting a hair cut. I have been putting this off for years now. Hate them!
  • Buying items for a baby shower. Unsurpassed only by physically attending the baby shower. So far I have been unscathed but I do still buy items for the shower, I’m not a total heartless monster…
  • Buying dog food, rabbit food, grain. Animals, why do you eat so much?! And why is my rabbit such a fussy eater, who hates the new stuff, or randomly decides he won’t eat his old food?!!
  • Taxes and any financial documentation form-finding= life purgatory.
  • Dentist appointments. Enough said.
  • Doctor appointments. Doubly enough said.
  • Going to the pharmacy for any reason. UGH!! Too many grabby-hands people driving me bananas.
  • Home repair items. A five-year going nowhere plan in the making…
  • Visiting Home Depot or Canadian Tire. Enough to make me want to burn my house down!!
  • Car repairs. Possibly worse than Home Depot or Canadian Tire? Definitely seems to be more often and right now, more freaking expensive and frustrating. ARGHHH.
  • Paying parking tickets. Particularly those stupid ones that say ‘resident parking only’ and you live on the street, for the love of god.
  • Dog licences. Why why why?
  • Horse Council Insurance. I get it, in the idealistic way of all insurances. But WTF.
  • Home insurance: Why are condos more expensive than houses??
  • Car insurance: Necessary evil. Emphasis on ‘EVIL’.

Wow, ok so I had a lot boiling up under my skin these days. Interesting.

Anyways, I’m also pleased to report that despite a lot of life frustrations at the moment (that really, everyone faces so what am I complaining about?), my dressage semi-private last night went SUPER well.

Oats is now learning how to say ‘yes ma’am’ and mean it!

Good pony boy. We had some really cool moments, and it was a fun lesson that felt really thorough and accessible. I’m getting to work more into Oats with lateral work (go us!) and we did some fun exercises on roundness, collecting the trot, building it back up again and such. We were significantly weaker in the canter for these exercises, but I’m assured that it is just something new we are learning and it will take time.

Nice to feel this type of progress, and I’m feeling more connected with Oats, and he is trying his little no-tail heart out!

NYE- Taking the pressure off

So, I didn’t do that much for New Year’s Eve- quite frankly because I really dislike the amount of expectation and pressure that exists behind the scenes for it- ugh.

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A white Christmas?

So, we did what I prefer- buy seafood, some sparkling wine, and have a fab time at home, gorging ourselves on lobsters, mussels and having a nice time. I did wish I had bought fireworks though, they sounded so fun going off!

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Fun holiday times!

I had my lesson early on the Thursday because I was generously allowed to leave work early if my work was finished- yess! So, I shared the love and brought some Fireball whiskey and hot chocolate to share with my trainer and friend, and boy did they love it!

Oaty was great during my lesson, we worked on low-wide oxers again and a small course or two, and I really enjoyed it! It was the perfect day.

Friday, I already felt this creeping anxiety that I had to ‘do everything’ on my weekend, forgetting that it was a super-long weekend. I rode Oats and had a flat ride (and it kind of sucked, forgot how much less fun flatwork is than jumping…) and now I can’t even remember what else I did on Friday?!

Saturday more riding- we were supposed to go to a fun clinic up-Island as a fundraiser for a local event venue, but the truck that was hauling us had an emergency brake line bust and that was that! No trip for us! I’m glad the horses were NOT in the trailer, jesus.

So, Oats got stuck with boring old me in the boring old indoor. We did some pole work and it was more fun than our Friday ride, that’s for sure! I was disappointed about our trip not panning out, but overall I can deal with being a bit disappointed–I couldn’t deal with a hurt horse or a trailer accident!

Went and ran some hills on Sat too, 30 mins worth, and my new Garmin suuuuuucks ass. Gah. Oh and a fun thing- board game cafe with my horse buddies Saturday night, and then a drink downtown with my husband- best of both worlds, really!

Sunday more riding, and my legs felt tired. So, why not some trot jumps w/o stirrups? Yeah! That didn’t last too long, ahha. A quicki 30 minute ride, and BRRR it was chilly…Oats was very good to me though. Then, a later afternoon 8k with my husband, and it was slower than we wanted, though my lungs still hurt plenty after…yeesh. And some mental preparation for work on Monday, and I slept horribly (translation: awake all night) and here we take us to today!

Oh and I still think my Garmin is an unreliable piece of junk. Grumble.

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Storm watching.