Image

Don’t you know what regret looks like?

It looks like the road not taken- but actually, things have been going fairly swimmingly on my end!

34162967_1846900212033132_4763645496117952512_n

Photo courtesy of Bonita Stables- this is at Fairlawn at the awards lunch last weekend. Beauty day eh?

Monday I had an equine counseling session, and it was kind of challenging in an emotional way, you know? But, something was coming up, and I knew I needed it.

Tuesday I had a casual hack with a friend and it was exactly what I needed. Oats and I were chill, things were just flowing- although I was noticing more in the outdoor arena that he seemed quite ouchy and footsore- particularly when we moved up to canter. I didn’t ride for that long due to that. Fortunately, he was getting front shoes on Wednesday, just in time for my jumping lesson on Thursday!

Thursday we warmed up and his canter felt…strange. Like he was coming up more, and pounding on the sand with his hooves? He felt unsure about his new kicks, and his canter reflected this- he lost impulsion throughout the corners and broke pretty much EVERY time in the top-left hand corner. He was also quite looky and had some spooks in the ‘scary corner’ where we had a gymnastic grid set up. Goof!!

oats

We had a grid (canter-in bounce grid, two bounces to two-two-strides. Ha, try saying that twice!!). We MAJORLY fumbled the grid more than a few times, like whoa. I don’t know how to ride kind of fumbles. Ahhhh…. Anyways. We schooled a faux-ditch with barrels and it went pretty well. Ditches and weird-looking jumps are no big for Oats.

Course time! Lots of jumps and some interesting features- a ‘rock’ skinny *(ooh) and the gymnastic, the faux-ditch, barrels, some natural planks, and a few oxers. I was like kind of wanting to freak out, but also felt like…Ok. We got this.

And we cantered it, and it went pretty well. Not fabulous- my eye was majorly off and I couldn’t find a distance to save my life, hahah. Oh well.

Then a few jumps went up, and we did it again! First jump, good, second, ok too and then the grid…Yikes. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to collect Oats for the grid while we were IN the grid. Newsflash- bad idea!! He crashed through the x-rail, and then stopped for a poop, ha.

We regrouped and I approached it with a better idea of wtf I was doing. Whoops, sorry pony!

Rest of the course was ok, I was still plagued with a pretty lousy ‘eye’ for any and all jumps, but Oats was cool with it so on we went! I am, however, having trouble making decisions in a line- for example, collecting his canter for the grid BEFORE the grid (???), riding a quieter 6 instead of kind of just riding 5+? and trying to collect or take back the last two strides before the jump in the line. I need to be making these decisions much sooner in my ride.

Argh, get with the program, me!

Ah, well. At least my position was better this week, with me ‘going with it’ for my terrible eye and lack of decisions.

 

Advertisements

Think about me: Jump lesson recap!

Oats and I were back in the game on Thursday, after a staggering THREE WEEKS away from jump lessons. I felt nervous actually. Well, I wanted to work on Prix Caprilli (because I was feeling anxious about our show in two weeks) but I had printed copies of Training Test 2 and 3 instead of the Prix Caprilli, so we just jumped instead and tabled the Prix Caprilli testing until next week.

11078100_10100364925694006_1902984973469291932_n

Oats from a few years ago (three). These jumps are too little! 

Phew!

And how did it go? Very well! We warmed up over a canter-in gymnastic, two x-rail bounces to a small vertical then-oxer. And here is the best part- my trainer commented if I had been practicing my two-point recently? And I kind of mumbled sort of…Sort of because Oats had the two weeks off, so not really, but I did have a good equine counseling session this Monday working solely on minute fixes to my upper body in two-point.

And she said she could see the difference?! Wow! So this IS working. I felt very encouraged by that (quite honestly I usually feel like I get worse, not better, in riding). She was saying my upper body looked much more controlled, taller.

So I was very pleased with that, and I did feel better in the two-point this week, instead of dropping back down in the saddle. We then worked over a small course that had some technical elements (two-strides combinations, across the diagonal and along the long side). We also did a bending line skinny- across to the diagonal. Go us!

I did bow out after 1 go-around on the course. I was feeling GREAT about how the lesson went, but I didn’t want to do it again and lose that good feeling. To be honest, after three weeks away from jump lessons I just wanted to feel good and THEN build to working up more. I was very pleased with Oats. The jumps were tiny but it was more about the smoothness, sitting up through the turns (always my challenge) and a ‘stiller’ body in the air. Things I think we did achieve 🙂

Onwards and upwards!

No jumps and all poles and bending make me feel something something

Ohh yeah, I didn’t update this from my jump lesson on Thursday because it ended up NOT being a jump lesson, instead more like an exercise in frustration with poles! UGH!

oats pic

Miss jumping outside, and well, can’t we just just jump it? haha.

We did this crazy zig-zag course with like 10 metre canter turns and wow it sucked and we were bad at it. Like, really bad. Oats was dragging me through my outside hand, and for probably the first time ever my trainer was shouting at me to halt and then canter. Halt? Oats? His preferred gait is ‘standing around doing nothing’ so I was pretty surprised. But it was true…I was getting dragged and he was getting heavy and together we were going nowhere.

So the poles did not get put to jumps because we were kind of sucking at it so hard. I was sweating, Oats was sweating and it was just a lot of work and not the really fun type of work, the really hard type of work.

I then went home and pondered on it. Not fun but hard. Hm.

And practiced it a bit on Saturday (getting schooled again by the idea of a dressage canter and not holding a line to a pole correctly..ha). I let it go a bit on Sunday and schooled some easy lines to the World’s Smallest Xrails. Another trainer or kid likes to set jumps that are so small that I think Oats finds them hard to see, let alone jump! But I was also feeling kind of lazy (weekends, and a long run will do that to you). I left them and we schooled them.

All in all, ok. But man…Feeling like a plateau in my riding for sure. ARGH.

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?!).

field3

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 🙂

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.

19510232_10158935648965603_4888093294613932578_n

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!

15350705_10157898338810603_7613009583249070564_n

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!

1e7ec963-072f-41ac-b962-2f0c5c46bcae

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.

13584725_10100576117663606_4879037493870846948_o

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. 🙂