I don’t believe people ever change. But I’ve changed.

So I am slowly getting over the grips the death cold had on me (wow, it was grim this week) and I had my riding lesson back again too! I had to cancel last Thurs – actually my trainer cancelled because too many people were sick, and I was really starting to go down that road myself, and I was bound and determined to have a LESSON yesterday!

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Remember when we jumped a little house?

I practiced up by riding on Wednesday- it was ok, as Wednesday was the first day I was physically able to stay at work without going home early, though I still felt pretty miserable and tired.

Thursday I was more or less back in action- still feeling physically weak and coughing up a ton of grossness, as well as blowing my nose oh, every two seconds. BUT I could do it! On my way to the barn I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open, I felt so tired and exhausted, but I wanted to ride! The fatigue with this sickness has been truly eye opening. Wow. I have never felt so exhausted in my life.

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Loved this jump photo! Back from when we did our first derby! 

Anyways, I made it and the weather has mercifully turned back to mild so at least I wasn’t freezing my ass off or dealing with lung- freezing and the resultant coughing.

I am happy to say that despite my feebleness and ineffectual riding (ok that’s how it felt, Nicole said I was actually riding pretty well), Oats was on FIRE! He was so good! I love my pony, he is a little superstar. Nothing too big height wise, but we worked on long approaches to a single fence, and then 1 small sort of ‘blind’ bending line, which we aced every time- it was our best line I think! Oats even took a very enthusiastic jump to a small oxer and almost sent me over his head! I could barely hang on…I was NOT expecting to get jumped out of the tack! hahahahah

Can hardly fault the boy for jumping too well! What a star 🙂

I was really, really happy with how the lesson went, even though I was weak and basically clinging on to him. Mr. Oats is a saint pony.

Deep into this: Try something new

Had a very decent weekend, where I tried my FIRST SPIN CLASS! Woo! A colleague is an instructor at the spin studio downtown, and I have been promising to try it out for oh…A solid year now? In my defense, my weekends can get really busy (training, travelling, horse shows, races, riding…) so this past weekend, I dropped my excuses and just did it! And I liked it!

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I miss the summer…

I did see how it could get really intimidating…I am not a cyclist, and I don’t know how to use clip on shoes, so he had to clip me onto the bike and when I clipped out, I couldn’t see well enough to get them clipped back in, hah. Luckily it was at the end of the class when we were stretching, so I just hopped off and stretched off the bike.

The room is not very big, and it’s dark. The music is loud and really fun! The choreography was not very complicated, thank god because I am the WORST at figuring out what I am supposed to be doing, and nobody likes a class where you spend the whole time fumbling instead of working it out!

It was super warm, so I was sweating my ass off. I like that! I worked pretty darn hard, I’d say. My body was unused to the exercise, for sure- felt quite different from running. I don’t normally get so hungry running- this- I was freaking ravenous. I did have a real ‘ephiphany’ moment riding the bike thinking, I am going to be so healthy and virtuous after this! Salads! Smoothies!  and I would say that feeling lasted, oh…until I jogged home and straight to a candy shop. Whoops! And ate Ramen for lunch. Oh well, it’s winter right?

I had lunch, cooled off and then went to ride- and I think I had a good ride? It was a flatwork ride. Sunday my legs were definitely feeling the workout- I went to ride in the morning, after meeting Oats’ new farrier (I think she seems nice and good at her job, phew!). I went to do my ‘homework’ ride and my legs were straight-up burning. Whooow… Those xpoles never worked me so hard!

Yesterday is my ‘easy’ day, so I do not run, only do minimal working out and more stretching at the work gym, and I rode Oats bareback. It was freaking freezing. Ugh.

It’s an easy day for both of us.  I jumped my first xpole bareback last night! I was grabbing onto his mane like it was going to save my life, hahah. Death grip for sure. He did it perfectly, and I almost collapsed into a quivering pile of adrenaline on the backside of it. Good boy!!! hahah.

Tonight Oats is doing his beginner’s lesson and I am off at the Premier’s Awards dinner! Yes!

What is it they say about the heart? That it’s a muscle?

Had my jump lesson last night and the temperatures dropped dramatically since earlier this week (when I was bragging about running in shorts!) so it was very cold in my lesson, unfortunately. Lucky for me, Oats is now on regular Previcox and I find that helps him a great deal with the cold/winter stiffness that he was starting to feel regularly, as an older pony.

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Seeking this good feeling- and I’ve got it! Hah no t-shirts last night, that’s for darned sure.

He was pretty bouncy and feeling good last night! I, on the other hand, felt stiff, cold and creaky. Hah. The horse was going better than the rider! I watched my friends ride in their lesson before mine, so I had an idea of what our lesson was going to consist of- though I was wrong, I had bending and broken lines up the wazoo, where theirs was a bit simpler due to a few technical issues early on (one horse had to bow out, he wasn’t feeling quite himself).

So we warmed up (ha, warm. I don’t think I ever felt warm), over a few small x-rails, then lead up to a line (5 strides), and then started working over bending lines still with the cross poles. And the funny thing? We were just nailing it! I don’t think I need to remind you how that pretty much never happens when I ride, ever. It was just so smooth, I didn’t need to think about working or trying or anything, it was was.

Nice eh?

We then moved up to work on the course, and there were so many twisty-turny bending lines, broken lines, it was so fun! Oats was a STAR!!! It was so cold that my eyes were watering the whole ride and I could barely see where I was going, hah.

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Oats is such a good pony. I love him! 

We did biff a few things (wicked drift on the first fence when I didn’t go in riding very well…) and the last fence was kind of a slump, but otherwise it was just BANG ON. Yeah!! Felt awesome! Maybe my trot fence homework is starting to pay off? I wanted to develop feel, agility, comfort and flexibility. I needed to build back my resilience- mine and Oats’- by working on the lowest-level, boring, but important work. No stakes, easy to mess up and easy to fix.

So, I guess the good news is that it is working! The bad news? I have to keep doing it! I used to have a bad habit of completely giving up when something was either working well, or not working at all. So, I keep going.

Doing your homework

Last night I went out to the barn and was really dragging. It was pouring rain, though still fairly mild, and I just wanted to sit on my couch and watch Heartland, to be honest.

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There was a lot of this. Soooo exciting… 

However, I know that Oats has his leasor riding in a lesson tonight (she has Tuesdays), and I like to give Oats Wednesdays off before my jump lesson on Thursday, so MONDAY it is!! And because I am a masochist (I don’t actually think I am, I am more of a hedonist, ha), I decided to do what I had been putting off all weekend- my ‘homework’ ride. These can mean anything from working on our canter (ugh), long and low work (ok) transitions (ugh), or the double UGH- trot fences. No cheating in the canter, trot only.

So trot it is!

I really don’t love having an audience for these rides. They are just so…unfortunate. Ugly. but, I had no choice last night, so I had to swallow my pride and just do it. Over and over and over….Trotting a million crosspoles. Knocking them down, having to get someone to put them back up, and going back at it.

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I’m sooo not a fan of trot fences. 

It was really tiring actually! I also ate too much at home and my stomach was joggling MOST unpleasantly.

Oats was a good boy but damn they are just…grinding. Grinding it out. Homework. Not flashy, fun, or glamorous or anything. I just do it. And do it over again. And over again, and then take a break, and then do it again. It’s funny but when I was a kid I would have KILLED to have access to a fabulous pony like Oats and the opportunity to do x-poles to eternity…As an adult I’m like, ugh not trot fences again…

I do know that this unglamorous, fussy and tiresome work of endless trot fences is GOOD FOR ME and I will keep doing it. It keeps me loose, my position relaxed, and me more fluid and flexible when I have a jump lesson. It is just hard work though.

 

Easy tiger

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I love the photos Christi took. I miss summer! (though I don’t miss the drama-filled shitshow that summer turned into…)

After a week fraught with stress, I had a really solid, nice weekend. It was good, relaxing, stuff to do but not TOO much, you know? A fine balance with me. I had a dressage lesson with Sam on Friday and Oats was sassy, and we had to work HARD but it was a far better lesson than last week. I felt like he was more flexible, and not quite so stiff. His left lead canter is still a work in progress, but he was trying, he really was. He wasn’t misbehaving or anything, I could tell it was just tough for him.

So, things to work on. I know that his canter is what is holding us back from Second Level right now- just too much to fix/try to adjust at this point…Oh well, onwards right?

Saturday I had a nice ride, flatwork but working hard at it! The vet came and gave me wormer for Oats – he was going to do it, but I said it would be easier if I did. Oats HATED IT and was in a sad, deflated state after. Nothing looks good, can’t eat, bad taste in my mouth..wah wah poor pony.

Then we had a show- we went to see BRONCHO perform (most of their stuff was from the album Bad Behaviour) and they rocked! Such a fun set. I’m glad my husband sprung for tickets. I was on the fence- not sure if I would like them enough, since they are pretty new to me. But it was super fun!

Sunday I did something fairly ambitious- ran to the barn from home (it was raining in my face the entire way. Joy.), rode (bareback! It was fun and chill. Just what we needed), and then I ran home. It was a lot of running (a cool close to 25k, whewww) but at least it stopped raining and the sun came out! Sure didn’t help the absolutely wicked chafing I experienced…Ouch….that one needs more time to heal. Lesson learned about jogging in wet tights. Bring a spare shirt and shorts. At least it was very mild out?!

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From last spring- I hope we continue to have mild weather~

We even had tacos for dinner and went to Dairy Queen to get dessert- Peanut Buster Parfaits! And on that note- I couldn’t believe how expensive they were now. 1 cost a cool $6.50. Can you believe it? It wasn’t THAT good. Pfft. I won’t go again. Not worth it…Plus the clientele at DQ, in a pretty normal/ok location close to downtown, was ….yikes. Street involved, druggy, a sex worker was wandering around. It was about dinnertime? Hm.

I am dealing with a lot of rebound hunger today though, ha. Despite my dinner + dessert!

Remember me

Had a pretty good riding week last week, despite it actually being kind of a washout, as far as real ‘riding work’ …We had to ride in the outdoor, because the indoor was being scraped and new footing added, so it was for a good cause! We all worked to rake down the new footing on Tuesday, and it was such good footing that by Thursday it was mostly ok to jump in! I didn’t think it would be, so I went to cancel my jump lesson- but happily we were able to keep it.

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I do miss jumping outdoors…

There were quite a few fireworks though, yiiikes. Oats is really good about that, but they were LOUD and going off right above his head. He was a little wigged out! Good for my lesson but up at the barn it was just so close and so loud. Can’t blame the little guy!

Thursday was also the first day that week we were cantering/jumping, ha. I don’t normally do that in the outdoor because the footing is just too deep for Oats and he struggles. I really don’t want him to get a tendon strain or something struggling in deep footing at this point. When it settles, then sure we can ride out there, and in the winter when they get lights up, bonus!

Our jump lesson featured trot-in gymnastics, which are normally the bane of my existence. This week, it was good! Smoother than normal, just pretty darn good for both of us. Yes!!

I didn’t ride on Friday because we were packing up and heading out to a house rental my friend booked in Sooke for a group weekend. We had a blast!! 🙂 Now I feel totally exhausted and can’t keep my eyes open/fingers typing…So tired… Ugh.

Saved

Things are going well in my world this week! The weather has been mild, I had a very enjoyable couple of rides on old Oats as well as a fun lesson yesterday and I have been running to and from work happily and successfully!

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I still kind of miss the summer though… 

This weekend is a busy one- I am celebrating my husband’s birthday today (35! where does the time go??) and we have an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday night. Should be a fun one! I am also working at the barn (raking party to handle the new sand/sawdust for the outdoor and indoor), and I hope the weather cooperates for that. We currently have a wind warning on, and in true ‘Wizard of Oz’ style, I see leaves blowing up against the windows of my office building…

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Plus one of our bosses brought doughnuts today. A win! yeah!! 

Tonight we’re off to a movie, Oats gets the night off (he got worked 3 days in a row this week, so his day off is well-deserved).

I am looking forward to riding tomorrow!