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!

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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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.

I can’t tell what the time is telling me

Yes, back again from a busy-ish weekend…My husband ran in the Finlayson Arm 28k on Sunday (crazy!!) and I rode, did some mild running, and had my ‘take the horses to the beach’ trip cancelled due to constant rain… 😦 boo

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Canoeing with Gidget on the long weekend.

Oh well we are going to try again for this weekend. Fingers crossed it actually happens!

And I had my jump lesson on Thursday and it wasn’t…great. I am now noticing that Oats gets quite sticky and stiff off the ground later in the summer (Aug-Sept) and it does greatly impact his desire to jump outdoors. He just isn’t forward and is quite reluctant to leave the ground!

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This is something I will need to start addressing- either with Previcoxx or hind shoes or both. I want him to feel great jumping again so I will focus on his maintenance going into the spring.

I did have a good ride indoors on Saturday (rain) and he was QUITE frisky on Sunday- outdoors was soft and still wet so I think he quite enjoyed the footing!

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I watched the LIEC dressage show after riding on Sunday too and it made me feel still kind of anxious about going up a level in dressage with Oats- what am I doing? Do I even know? Yikes…

Monday I was volunteering at a work event and was not allowed to have my phone or computer with me all day= busy busy busy. Back to the grind this week though…

The girls went to school at High Point yesterday and I was beyond jealous. Mannnnn.

Taking what’s not yours

Ride/life update- all good!

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Slow chukkar- not me, but it’s a general idea. Photo by the Victoria Polo Club.

Dressage ride on Oats on Tuesday, to make up for my rather schedule-less week (no lessons, whaaat?). Transitions up to a ‘big’ or extended trot, and back down. Still not interested in listening when we are at the ‘spooky’ corner but overall a fairly good ride. A longer one, because on Wednesday…

I played polo! In the beginner’s slow chukka. And it was fun! I committed a huge foul (crossing my stick in front of another horse, which is dangerous because I could trip the horse if we were playing at speed) BUT I also got a goal- my first! 🙂

So, learning experience all ’round eh?

And after polo (it is short, 15 mins practicing and 15 mins of play time) I hop back into my car and drive to the barn to ride Oats. No rest for the wicked! We just toodled around in the field, my goal for Wednesday.

Today no jump lesson, so I was planning on schooling myself a bit in the jump ring outdoors (small fences) after work. Weather got chilly last night, and cool this morning but it’s looking pretty good for the weekend so fingers crossed.

After my very busy weekend last week, I am looking forward to a long weekend with fun times to relax! (ha, what is relaxing…I don’t think I know how to do that).