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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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!

Hot moment: Week update?

So this week. Yeah….

Not much riding happened- 1 ride on Tues where Oats was hot to trot, and I loved it! And then it blizzarded again on Wednesday, so I walked home and didn’t leave the house all night…

And then a jump lesson Thursday after all the snow melted and it was a slushy mess everywhere!

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So, my week and my winter…

My lesson was pretty good, some big oops moments (like, disunited canter and me turning Oats too fast and him slipping so badly I swear I thought he was going to FALL ON ME) he saved my freaking butt!).

We worked on a gymnastic- canter-in bounce to four strides, and then coming around to a single fence on the outside line, and then the gymnastic, but we then did a bending line the second time around to a small oxer. That’s where I screwed up a bunch of times, grabby hands on my left hand pulling Oats’ face around. Shit!

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…

We then went from the small oxer to the angled fence, and then angled it the other way, and then to a small ‘step’ type jump, back to the oxer, and to a single fence on the diagonal.

We made some big mistakes, Oats got surprised by the angled jump and slammed on the brakes but it was like, oh hey no big deal, let’s try that one again. And he jumped it totally fine, phew!

So, even though my lessons aren’t perfect or necessarily really nice looking, I am working through some things and enjoying the process. I didn’t want Nicole to put them up though, so that’s my next goal- be ok with the course, be slower through my turns, rein in my rogue elbows & left hand, and BE BRAVER about jumps going up. The jumps themselves? Totally fine, not a problem.

So, do it, ME!

Also work has been a nightmare this week and I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping. UGHHH.

This tornado loves you

So in between recovering from my 3-races-in-three-weeks, I am still riding, though Oats and I both took some time off Sun-Mon and Tuesday I was back at it!

I know- only two days off and I’m like, I miss my pony.

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Who wouldn’t miss this guy?

I would normally ride on Monday, but my friend and talented rider asked to ride Oats in her makeup lesson today, and I said sure!! It’s a great chance for Oats to try some new (read: higher and more technical) jumps that I am too weenie to try. So I get the day off today, but Oats doesn’t, haha.

So, I wanted to make sure the old pony had enough energy and gave him Monday off, so I could hack last night, he has his lesson with Sarah today, and then my jump lesson on Thursday, and then Friday off. Gotta spoil the old goat!

I also bought some MSM on recommendation from my trainer and added it to his feed, starting today. I hope that it helps him be more comfortable in the long-run.

Last night’s ride was pretty fun actually. We worked on canter transitions from walk, trot, sitting trot, big trot, walk again. Mixed it all up and around. Oats was feeling really good, smooth, bouncy and flexible. We also did some minor lateral work and he did get really fussy about it, and I ended up full on booting him in the side to get him OVER! He complied, though very grudgingly. Needs work…

My legs also need work. I gather from the races, they were strained and KILLING me. During lateral work I got a charley horse in my hip, again.  Ouch!!!!! Excruciating. I’m also still recovering from my mystery foot injury and it has been slow going, sadly. So between the races, my foot injury, and the temps dropping 9 degrees last night, I was a bit achy, sore and tired.

OH well, that’s life. I enjoyed my ride regardless.

Here’s hoping his lesson is fun and goes well, and that he is feeling good tomorrow too for me. 🙂

 

Rain, rain go away

As I am far behind in my recaps…I did a jump lesson in the pouring rain on Thursday and I did it pretttttyyyy grudgingly- hello, it was pouring!!

Nicole however, insisted we do it to practice for the upcoming SSITS Avalon Derby Cross that we had signed up for and I guess she was right, we needed the experience jumping and toughing it out in all weathers, as it poured rain on our warm-up day Saturday at Avalon as well! Hm..good thing I had Thursday under my belt.

I was feeling weird before my lesson. Kind of angsty- thinking about the show, bummed about the weather, just kind of strange. We came down to the arena and Nicole was bundled up in a tarp like this:

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Photo courtesy of Sarah C. Horses didn’t even blink!

Ha! And Oats, good pony, got a good look at her but then didn’t bat an eye when she was rustling around moving jumps, even when we were like behind her and the tarp was louder. Good pony! The jump course was the same as last week, which I was thankful for, as it gave us another opportunity to work on some aspects that kind of bungled for me–the turns, and forward, and bravery.

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Trainers have to stay dry somehow! Desensitizing horses=win/win! Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

Not that I didn’t still make mistakes- in fact, the final jump (10) I bungled so we looped around and just jumped it on it’s own, and it rode really well! Also the jumps that had oxers went up to oxers- which did make me nervous, and they didn’t ride well for me- I kind of tried to chase Oats past his distance, so they were weirdly chippy.

I was much happier with most of tracks I chose, and we didn’t have any stops or anything. He was a good and honest pony in the pouring rain- I was soaked- and didn’t put a hoof wrong, even with a bunch of new stuff piled behind the indoor arena, his favorite spooky zone.

I did notice that I was much more comfortable with a closer stride and distance, and so was Oats, funny enough. It wasn’t lovely, but it was pretty darn good. Considering the strange nerves I had going in, I was pleased with the ride and looking forward (with more than a little trepidation) to my first-ever Derby Cross event on the weekend.

That recap is to come!

And the countdown is ON!

Yep, on my last day at work here before Christmas holidays….And I can’t complain about my last day. My whole week, sure, but today? Nope! Things are ok as of right now.

I had to go back and edit this- no, I’m STILL overworked, and feeling swamped, done, tired and stressed. WHEN WILL THIS EFFING WEEK BE OVER>? I ask you….

Buster shares a moment

Buster shares a moment

Other than not being able to control my ‘must eat all the Christmas treats’ desire, things are fine. It looks like my Buster Bunny is on the mend, though stubbornly refusing to eat his rabbit pellets in another hunger strike…I got him some hay to play with, so maybe that distracts him into actually eating his normal food again…

Had a fun jump lesson last night, and you know what? We tried some interesting things and I quite enjoyed being ‘challenged’ in that way. We tried wide-hands jumping, wide-hands jumping over a tiny grid, wide-hands AND phyllis ‘carriage rein’ hands over the grid, one-handed grid-jumping – we almost smoked the standards though, yiiipes! And then we wrapped up with phyllis rein wide-oxer grid.

A good day!

I’m really liking trying new things jumping. It’s cool, neat and keeps Oats and I engaged. It was also nice to see my trainer again, I know she is grieving and going through a difficult time, so I was glad to see how well she is holding it together right now. One foot in front of the other, at this point.

We have the barn Christmas party tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it- my husband promised to help me make meatballs to bring (while I am a good baker, I am a terrible cook). I also have to arrange my secret santa gift, no guesses on who it is but it is someone special to me and my horse! 🙂

Looking forward to taking some time to uwind, relax with family, and enjoy the holidays with my horse, husband, dog and rabbit–the little troublemakers.

Also, my colleague gave me a Christmas card at work today and it was so nice and thoughtful. She is one of the most heartfelt people I know, and I think the world is a better place with her in it.

Also a shout-out to my husband, who handled my stressful week really well and helped me clean Buster’s gross butt last night, and even brought lentil tacos and beer on Wednesday when things were particularly rough! You’re the best!