We Got It Coming: Jump lesson!

Back to the indoor doesn’t have to be boring or draggy- in fact, it’s quickly becoming an opportunity to sharpen/refine our skills. Of particular importance, my bad habits of letting Oats motorbike around turns when we are jumping and kind of just ‘give up’. No longer!! This time I am GOING to fix that problem (five years in the making, but who’s counting?!).

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Man!

But yes, we worked on a particularly challenging course last night. Jump height-wise…Nothing impressive. But, we had a circle jump (hard for us), a skinny, some small barrels, a two-stride, and straightness!! to work on.

And it wasn’t easy, or very neat. But, we did improve throughout the ride, which is kind of what I’m going for. Things I am learning and hoping to work on this winter:

  • Fixing my corners, no more motorbiking/forgetting to ride/sitting up!
  • No pulling his head to the left over the jump!
  • No nagging with my leg. Let him relax, then GO for the jump, then relax.
  • Leg stays still.
  • Upper body stays still. Elbows are in shoulders are up.
  • Hands release, shoulders don’t release.
  • Adjustability in the canter.
  • No sitting back when I don’t see a distance and pulling up with my hands. Go with the flow.
  • Both reins used, with contact. This is a tough one for me, as I tend to want to only use one rein with the other flopping uselessly. I get afraid that too much contact will slow him down!

Sooo yeah, lots to work on. But, I did quite enjoy my ride 🙂

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Is it too much to ask? Dressage recap!

So my dressage semi-private lessons with Oats have been pretty good, suspiciously good lately in fact. So it was only a matter of time before Oats had a big throw-down hissyfit ‘I don’t wanna’ lesson, and last night was kind of it!

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Oats gets a haircut…

Luckily, he is also 17 and can’t buck as hard as he used to! Phew!

We worked a fairly difficult exercise- turn off the short end, and leg-yield at the trot. This will eventually turn into leg-yield and transition within the leg yield, and back to the gait. So we did trot-walk-trot (HARD), and then trot-canter and then canter-trot. Oats was fairly amenable on one rein- left rein to right leg yield and was kind of a disaster on the other!

Oh Oats!

He was like, umm…no. Instead of our regularly scheduled transition, he would LEAP instead of moving sideways. Like, actually just jumping in the air. Greeeat….

This escalated a bit into a leap-buck, but like I said he is getting older so his bucks didn’t really unseat me, thank god. Ha.

This lesson is one that we had done last year, but without the transitions. And the leg-yield was enough of a brain-melter for both horses! We could barely even get the leg-yielding so being able to ask just a ‘little bit more’ was a stretch for Oats, and he was learning (slowly and kind of nastily) but learning.

So there is progress, albeit very slow and kind of unpleasant for me when Oats really gets going. Oh well, I can manage! And it is nice to see how the exercise develops from one year to the next. Oats is also clipped, so I didn’t have to spend forever and a day cooling him out. YESSSS!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I was a bit bummed at first, because I was DYING to go to the Turkey Trot schooling event at High Point and nobody was going and I didn’t have a ride up there 😦 so I couldn’t go…But when it dawned rainy and kind of blahh, I was like, ok fine.

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View from the top

At least I had the chance to school Oats at High Point earlier in Sept. Win win!

And then the weather cleared up beautifully- just in time for my husband’s excellent race at the Victoria Marathon (running the half marathon in a shocking 1:29. MAN!!!) I would kill for that time haha.

It was a great day, so I went riding and then we shared some wine at the beach and read and relaxed in the sun. Ah…. Our Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t turkey- I am not a big fan. Instead we had salmon and mussels! Yummy!!

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The Monday I rode Oats in the field very briefly, just to jump a few things and then we went up on a hike to Mt. Finlayson at Finlayson Arm, so Ian could show me his route during the Finlayson Arm 28k. It was….long. But so picturesque!~ His legs were tired and so were mine though, a busy and very physically active weekend. That evening we capped off a great long weekend by making won-ton soup. It was GREAT!

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I wish I could have a three-day weekend every weekend. Man…

I thought the future would be cooler

Finally back on track with Oats! We had our first jump lesson in two weeks last night, in the indoor because I find it hard to see the jumps as dusk takes over. It was quite basic, a canter two-stride jump exercise with guide poles *ha, and some light coursework with guide poles.

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Last year- a very eager Oats.

All in all, a very nice light ride and I wasn’t cotton-mouthed, covered in sweat or anything. I didn’t even feel that anxious?! The jumps were teeny tiny, so yeah I was like sure NBD, I can do it all.

I was lurching and getting left behind on a few jumps (hello rusty jump position) sorry for Oats, as I basically skiied off his face for those and he was jumping really nicely too! No chipping, nothing!

We did get in too close to one jump, as I had to counter-bend him to the jump, over the jump, and after and he did NOT like that. He wanted to twist his lead left at the last minute (and get a nicer jump..). So, that was kind of ugly and we never did quite figure it out…

Oh well, all in all a very nice ride back into jumping. Go Oats!

Horsey Beach Day!

I am so, so happy that Mr. Oats is back in action. I can’t even believe how frightening and stressful the past few weeks have been, for me and him 😦 His cough subsided by Friday, and I zipped out to the barn to test him out. All clear!

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Ok so Oats looks a little unimpressed…But I was so happy!!

The only thing I was MAJORLY angry about was when I finished up with Oats and was putting him back in his pen, I moved his haynet and got stabbed with thorns. WTF? I pushed him away to investigate, and saw that to my absolute horror, his hay was FULL of  blackberry thorns. All weaved into the hay. For a horse just recovering from life-threatening choke and a horrible cough. I was seeing RED.

I put Oats into the barn’s crossties and pulled apart his hay. It was EVERYWHERE.

I pulled the flakes apart, and removed all of the blackberry thorns. I then texted the barn manager to let her know, and let the feeders know that if he eats blackberry thorns, he could die. This is serious.

But on a happier note, I caught it when I was there- weird because I’m not even usually at the barn on Fridays, but I couldn’t wait to see how his cough was. Good timing??

I do still feel angry that potentially his choke was caused by the shitty hay with blackberry thorns in it. Like, what the everloving hell?

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Anyways…I had to cancel my dressage show because his cough was so nasty, but my friend suggested we try a beach ride instead? And so on Sunday, that’s exactly what we did! And I had BLAST!!!! Oats was a little freaked out but settled well (deep sand will do that, ha. It tired them right out). I am so lucky to have another chance with old Oaty.

Life is showing me to take any opportunity. There may not be a second chance.

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Danger

I almost lost old Oats on Thursday.

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My car broke down (since fixed) so I had to cancel my usual jump lesson that I have on Thursdays. I also had my phone on silent so I didn’t hear it ringing with an emergency–Oats was choking and going into shock.

I still want to cry thinking about it. When I got into work on Friday morning, I had 23++ missed calls, voicemails and emergency Facebook notifications. I was TERRIFIED.

The good news is that he came out of it fine *he has bad cough now but he survived and that is what is important. The only thing. It seems like he had eaten something like a twig or blackberry bramble in the field, couldn’t swallow, came in to eat dinner and his dinner starting coming back up. He was panicking, couldn’t swallow and was coughing up phlegm.

He was shaking, trembling violently and sweating and breathing heavily. If this had happened and nobody noticed, he would have died. Luckily for Oats, his pasturemate’s owner saw something wrong with him and saved his life by calling the vet. He was intubated and the blockage was pushed through. He was in severe shock though, and that took a lot longer to come out of.

My god. I was horrified that the ONE day I am not at the barn this happens and they couldn’t get hold of me. My god. I was crying at work, saying I can’t deal with this again. My work understands, so they let me leave as soon as my car was back from the shop so I could go and see Oats.

I zipped off asap and he was back to his old self *(with a terrible cough).

I am not ready to live my life without Oats.

 

Mixed thoughts on dressage (stressage?)

Jumped into an impromptu dressage lesson last night (I was going to take the night off, but got super tempted so I joined in last-minute. I know, I know but hey I was on time for once?!) and we worked on similar stuff to last week with one exception- I was kind of sucking at it this time.

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We worked first at the walk, then at the trot and were going to move it up to canter except we didn’t quite…make it successful at the trot. So we stuck it there, ha. Honestly it felt rougher than last week BUT also not terrible? Just that it was hard, and we were trying. His trot was really great, super amped and really ‘moving ‘ but getting him to reach down into contact was kind of not great aka a big work in progress.

He’d be in contact, I’d slowly (and my timing was off..) start giving him rein, he’d reach down, and then immediately pop back up out of contact. Ugh! I would go back to trying to get contact back, and rinse, repeat. It takes a lot of work to maintain the contact through a lower head/giving hands.

Still some pretty solid work. Just makes me feel like urghh the canter is going to be verrrry interesting if I am struggling this much with the trot!

No polo tonight, it’s getting too dark out too early now (sob). So I will just zip out the barn and do some field riding with Oats, he needs the mental break after our fairly strenuous dressage lessons.