Your Best American Girl

So, yeah. What happened was…

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  • I got deployed to assist with wildfire emergency communications in Prince George again. So, two weeks out of my summer were up there.
  • When I got home, I was immediately on vacation, that started horribly and tragically. It wasn’t good.
  • Got back from vacation, and still had some time off, so I mourned Buster, rode Oats, rode in a lesson, prepared for a dressage show on Saturday, and rode in a polo ‘slow chukka’
  • And now I am back at work, with a dressage lesson tonight, a successful dressage show in the books, and a polo night tomorrow, with jumping on Thursday.

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The show went super well, it was just a scored ‘ride a test’ where you ride the test, the judge comes out to run you through some exercises based on what she saw during the test, and then you had an opportunity to try the test again, maybe improve on what you worked on.

I did Training 2 & 3, and this time I finally had the correct Training 3 test (unlike last time, where I was kind of a disorganized mess…) and things went SO well. Oats was a tad spooky in the beginning but it was easily worked through and he gave me some really quality and consistent work.

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And our tests were scored fairly, the judge was so nice and very complimentary. She said we should be doing First Level, so I am going to talk to my dressage trainer tonight to see what she says. I was immensely flattered! Just to think, Oats and I getting these kind comments!

I’ve really been basking in kind judge comments. Our first dressage show of the season, the judge even wanted to know what kind of pony Oats was! 🙂

For a girl that prefers jumping, I am starting to wonder if I should be taking dressage a little more seriously or what these days? I am seeing some real progress with Oats in it.

Happy Birthday to me

Had a pretty lousy and frustrating jump lesson last night. Warmed up Oats, and when we got to trot/canter, it felt like I was riding a llama. All head and neck, in my face. WTF?

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My cake from last year! 

I was immediately on edge and really frustrated. God, why can’t ONE thing go right this week? I was pissed off and funny enough, even though Oats never spooked, he felt really unfocused and distracted, ready to act on a moment’s notice…

We worked over a gymnastic that was kind of disastrous. Oats acted like he’d never seen the skinny pink filler, even when we’d jumped it as a skinny in the winter. He was just so unfocused. We had a few stop & launch jumps, where I got super left behind and discombobulated…ARGH. Finally I got annoyed enough that after a stop,  I turned Oats around, went out a few strides (we had like, 4 to work with in the gymnastic) and jumped him straight from there- and wonder of wonders, it went fine!

To be fair, I was pretty mad.

We then worked over a course where I proceeded to ride super clumsily. Can’t see a distance, get left behind, can’t make up my mind, let Oats get the upper hand and spook me past a jump when I could have prevented it…Just really weak riding. And I give credit to Oats on this one at least- he was taking me over the course like a seeing-eye horse, haha.

Top it off with a super lousy ride to a straight line where I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to go right or left and almost fell off straight into the arena fence! Whoops! What was WRONG with me last night? Sorry horse!

I declined to do it again, I just knew that I wasn’t on my game with Oats last night. The course rode fine, but I couldn’t ride?

Oh well, in the end nothing bad at all happened- it was just not my day particularly.

And yes it is my birthday today.

Sure Sure

Jump lesson recap! When I last left, I was feeling blah and uninspired…But I’m here to say, that’s not really the case anymore! (sort of?) ha.

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A beautiful summer.

Running-wise, if I was a horse I would say I was definitely Not Quite Right (NQR). My ‘gait’ as it were is choppy and stilting, up-and-down instead of striding out. My legs burn and ache when I run, and they feel full of lead, sloggy and slow. I assume this is because I am still recovering from running myself into the ground with the silly half marathon?

But riding-wise, Oats was pretty good last night! I couldn’t ride to save my life, felt hot and kind of dizzy, had the WORST dry mouth and just felt sloppy and clueless. BUT Oats is a trooper, so we rode through some prettttty long courses (15 jump efforts) twice, including a small gymnastic. I did get to make some decisions (for the gymnastic, a short quiet 5 or go big for a 4-stride. I tried once for the 4, didn’t make it, and elected then to let the very short/quiet 5 ride from then on and it went fine!).

Other than that, it was jump up his neck! Get left behind! Don’t make any decision at all! Kind of sloppy jumping. Whoops! What happened to my seat, legs and eye? Oats was hot and lazy, taking a TON of leg & crop to keep going and was resorting to the ever-lovely stop, big chip, crawl over the jumps so I had to ride ride ride ride to get to the base nicely, not poorly, and jump from a reasonable spot.

But the jump efforts were tiny, so I felt pretty ok about screwing up repeatedly. Oh well, if you can’t make mistakes in practice then when can you make them?? I did enjoy the sun though, mannn it feels nice (when I am not so cotton-mouthed that I can barely speak). I also coughed heartily after my ride, something about the combination of lagging cold symptoms + dust + dry air= coughing? Ah, life.

 

When they fight, they fight

Ah been feeling a tad unmotivated lately- summer lazy maybe? Oats has been a spooky  moron some days and it’s driving me insane…He’s good with another horse in the ring, and was pretty decent to ride when my husband came out to watch/get a pony ride, but other times he’s running backwards, spooking sideways so violently I’m hanging off the saddle, or threatening to rear while running backwards and trembling…Greeeeat…

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He is a handsome devil!

Canada Day celebrations were fabulous, I can’t say I would change a single thing! The day was pretty effortless, and on Friday we were even able to see Tegan & Sara (great!) and on Saturday The Arkells, and fireworks after attending a friend’s BBQ- she had ribs and they were soooooo good.

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Rode all four days- Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues to above-mentioned mixed success. He was fine last night too, rode in the other field and really enjoyed that ride. Wish he wasn’t so stupid and spooky right now! I can’t figure out what changes in his brain when we’re alone in the outdoor arena, and the most frustrating part is that he was SO GOOD when we came out in the outdoor…Then I take a week off for my sister’s wedding and he’s a total idiot. WTF?

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What gives?

Oh well, have to work through his dumbass behaviour until it goes away later in the summer.

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Celebrated 8 years of marriage this weekend!

Runningwise? Hah not happening. We ran lightly this weekend, like 5k and my legs were fried. Just fried. I have no real desire to run, at all, right now. I do think I am burned out of it, to be honest! Maybe I’m burned out of everything, ha.

But, I do want to try polo and that has been on my mind for awhile….!!

Being no one, going nowhere

Now that we are back in the swing of things, I resumed my regularly scheduled lessons with Oats. That means jumping lessons on Thursdays, and dressage semi-private every other Tuesday.

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Bad pony has also been undressing his horse friend….Photo by Sarah C.

We had actually a really good jump/half practice the WRONG dressage test last Thursday, and then I had my dressage lesson this past Tuesday and I was sooooo wiped out. I was exhausted, and it lasted through yesterday too- turns out I am not recovering from the horse show/half marathon/head cold very well at all, and I’m just exhausted.

But anyways, I pleaded for some leniency in our dressage lesson as I was so weak and tired, and I got it! We did a lesson that was very light physically (walk/trot) but very difficult mentally for Oats, being a more technical, lateral-focused ride. It always brings out the worst in him, haaa….So that was tougher for me.

He had a few ‘moments’ of I Don’t Wanna but we worked through it and Karen clued me in bigtime that Oats bullies me into giving up pretty easily, so this time it was NOT going to happen! She was also very clear with me about how I needed to ‘let him go’ and release downwards so he got a very obvious release from what I was asking. Asking, but giving too, is very important.

We ended that lesson on a good note, and I am asking my friend to school Oats for me in my warm-up for my jump lesson because ever since I came back from my sister’s wedding, Oats has NOT been very good (I know, I literally just said he was good in my lessons but hear me out). He has been unfocused, distracted, spooky as all get out!

He needs to get the sillies out of his system, because I do NOT want to get spooked off yet again. He is much better when I am riding with another horse in the outdoor though. Also it is creating a lot of tension in me when I ride, and I’m not interested in being that rider for him. I want it to be harmonious, calm, relaxing and fun!

Busy week & bad weather = bad

Got some kind of bad news, although it was not unexpected, it did greatly annoy me and it looks like I will have to start seriously look at making some changes in my life. SIGHHH…Well, to be fair I did kind of start wanting a change this year, but I didn’t expect to be forced into it!

That’s life, I guess?

I was also reminded that that, indeed, is life by this quote (from a poem by D.H. Lawrence)

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.

 

Anyways, despite my title, the gloomy-ass weather today (pouring rain, grey skies, 12 degrees?!) things are generally ‘ok’ this week. Been practicing hard at dressage with my two lessons this week, and my run-throughs of the tests last night in my usual jump lesson went better than expected! Ok, our overbending was an issue and Oats wanted to goggle mightily at ‘stuff’ outside the outdoor arena, but kept his shirt on and we made it work out pretty well! Also, picking up left lead canter going downhill in the outdoor= not happening. Ha.

I was in kind of a grouchy mood about the aforementioned life change, so I was extra glad my lesson went smoothly.

And for the busy week? I have something every single day this week- Mon- ride, Tues- dressage lesson, Wed, dressage lesson (a theme eh? ha), Thur- track meet! Fri, work drinks, Sat- Hopoxia (a beer fest), Sun- the dressage show!

Crazy eh?

Oh well, life is for the living and I’m gonna damn well live EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!

(I say that sitting my butt on my chair, doing nothing at the moment, oh well).

Just Give In/Never Going Home

Dressage semi-private (I know, what am I doing stacking them back-to-back?) last night. I’m stacking them because I have a dressage show up in Cowichan on Sunday, and need the practice (hah) and also because I have two events on upcoming Tuesdays and will be missing both riding and lessons.

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Totally us right now. So, where are the next Olympics?

Yesterday was actually a really good, solid and enjoyable lesson. Typically my Tuesdays are grinding, tough, sweaty and incredibly physical lessons- I have gotten serious Charley horses in my legs/hips in them the past two weeks! But this week, we focused on getting the horses listening, straight, and then reaching down and ‘calm’ through the walk, trot and canter, and a touch of counter-canter.

It was really nice! Oats enjoys this type of work and finds it very easy, for him. I think stretching down really speaks to his way of going normally, and he could dig in and really get it going last night.

Counter-canter was funny- I didn’t expect it to happen, and it did perfectly. And then I thought too hard about it, and it didn’t. How does that work? Well, I was trying to ‘manufacture’ it and trying too hard, obviously! When I let my expectations and effort -go- I was able to let it happen.

It was a really nice, calm and thorough lesson.