That’s right, on my last day before holidayyyyys…!
And some bummer news, I no longer have a jump trainer 😦 I knew this day was coming, and fair enough: She now has to travel a great distance due to owning a farm up island. I was kind of surprised she lasted this long~ but with the increasingly bad weather making travel on the Malahat a dangerous proposition, combined with a lot of her students either not riding due to lame horses or varying schedules…I totally get it.
Just a bummer, overall but a very fair reason.
Here’s to the many years we shared- it was great! 🙂
And a video from our last real jump lesson- it was very fun. As I step Oats down from most of our competition jump lessons, it’s nice to look back at the great things we’ve done. I love our partnership and how it has grown and progressed over the years, much like my relationship with my now-former jump trainer.
Things were going fine, until they suddenly weren’t. Tucker stopped eating for two weeks, his longest stint yet. My stress fractures got aggravated and I was limping again. 8 months of progress/trying to heal = over. And I have a race this weekend?! Yay. 😦 Eff my life.
My feet also have the return of chronic arch pain, so love that too. GOD damn this fall has been tricky.
At least we have some fun things to do, like going to a beer fest this past weekend (it was great!) and planning lots of fun horsey events with buddies.
Lessons have been going very well, had a nice jump lesson on Saturday where I couldn’t find a distance to save my life, ha and a WE lesson on Sunday where we upped the technical requests of Oats and it went fairly well! Tough tough, damn those L-shaped poles backing through…It’s our toughest. Plus I couldn’t pry my fingers off the garrocha pole to be able to grip the ring. At all. Like…If I tried I would drop the pole. I suspect it’s because I have incredibly tiny hands?!!
Something to work on!
No more riding in the fields I suspect- the rainy season is definitely upon us. Tucker did eat his rabbit food last night- I watched him! First time in weeks!!! It’s small progress, but progress nonetheless.
We are also made to go back to work full time, so no more WFH allowed. SIGH. Why can’t we be trusted? Oh that’s right, because they hold all employees with a degree of suspicion and mistrust. It’s been making me reconsider who I work for these days, to be honest. I would like to be treated with respect and value, and I do not feel that way. I have been very clear about this with others, so I guess we’ll see what happens next.
Last Thursday’s dressage lesson was alll lateral work and it was pretty tough, but the good thing is that it doesn’t get Oats too sweaty, which is great because he is ALL FUR and sweating his butt off! Poor Oaty! He gets clipped (with dorm, for safety) this weekend. Thank god, because it takes forever to cool/dry him out at night these days.
After what feels like a year, going on two, of absolutely nothing now we have lots!!
Last weekend was so great, I got to do everything: Ride in a jump lesson in the field (Oats slammed on the brakes at the final fence, haaaa. Teach me to jump ahead when I see a distance, apparently!!) and the weather was GORGEOUS.
I had Friday off (mental health day) and spent it doing everything I wanted to do: Go for a run (too full, urp bad idea after stuffing myself with pancakes), went for lunch with friends, went to the barn and walked Oats around in the field…. It was lovely and the weather was phenomenal.
Saturday I had the aforementioned jump lesson- great! And then I hoofed it home to get ready for The Bay Centre’s clothing swap!!! You had to sign up, bring 10-15 items and then you got a time slot to come and pick through everything. I had a blast! I would definitely go again and I picked up some great pieces.
Then it was straight off to a friend’s house party because….they moved into a MANSION?!!!
It was incredible. Huuuge historic house, 7 fireplaces, 8 bedrooms, two suites, an elevator? (that we crammed like 6 of us in a rode up….probably a bad idea), and it is just amazing. We had such a fun time!!! And then Sunday it was up to get ready for the arena raking pizza party- I worked hard, got a big ass blister on my thumb 😦 but the pizza and companionship was great 🙂
I rode Oats after that, and on Monday and then I was freaking tired. We worked on some flatwork, transitions and a teeny bit of renvers at the walk (still suck at it…lateral work turns my brain into spaghetti…) and on Monday I dragged out the ‘reverse in an L shape’ exercise and we were ok but not great at it. It requires a lot of practice!
And now it is raining and the season has really turned, but I can relish in the fact that I enjoyed the heck out of last weekend. That’s a win, right?
A good weekend! Though I was right about Oats’ incredible energy being…Time limited. He had a few backing up moments in the indoor before my lesson, but then gave it up and wasn’t hot or spooky or anything. In fact, he got quite ‘blah’…Ha, so back to old sedate Oats I guess? I should have appreciated the energy more when I had it! Boo.
We worked on the limited jumps in the indoor, as most were moved to the outdoor, though I am not jumping in the outdoor currently because the footing is too deep/shifty, soooo not many jumps to choose from!
We made it work though with some circle exercises using the green box fillers, and Oats did it! He finally nailed his right lead on a CIRCLE instead of this awful swap thing. He wasn’t a ball of fire, sure, but he was steady and very nice in his efforts.
The course felt long, ha so I guess it really has been like 3 weeks since we had a jump lesson and worked on a course- on my own I generally school a few xrails and stuff but nothing like a full course. We did it twice and I called it at that, Oats was getting a bit tired since he suddenly didn’t have his power and energy anymore, ha.
On Sunday I met up with a friend and she tried Oats out for a half lease, and I’m happy to say I think it will be a good partnership! I’m glad to see that and I think they will have fun together 🙂 And then it basically rained…Blah. Hoping for some good weather/the weather to turnaround, it was SO COLD last week. Brrrrrr. Wearing sweaters and jackets again. In June?!! UGH.
And it went quite well! As I have been working back up to our regular height/ability with Oats, I did find myself getting freaked out by going ‘too fast’ and feeling rusty and out of control. We addressed that by trotting in to a line instead of cantering, and it has made all the difference.
Still needs work? My legs felt flappy and weird trotting in this week, and Oats was crooked as all hell, funny enough with a big LEFT drift even though he tends to drift right?
Also I kind of gave up leg-wise and we had two mega chips every evident in the video, hahahah. My fault, 100%. When I actually ‘rode’ to the jump, things were great. If I gave up? Well, chip-city and a re-do. Oats has been performing really well, honest to a fault. It’s just me that needs to get their butt in gear!
And then of course I ride on Wednesday and I don’t know what it is about Wednesdays but Oats is always SO bad?! He picks that day to really lose his mind about every single corner in the arena, regardless of whatever is going on IN those corners…Yesterday he lost his mind about a squirrel outside the arena in one corner, and then had a comically dramatic meltdown including a rapid backpedal at warp speed when the trainer moved the wheelbarrow…. Sheesh. Maybe I should just start giving him Wednesdays off?? Save us a bit of drama and hassle? He’s such a gem on Tuesdays and then kind of a nightmare on Wednesdays. ARgh.
All in all, I’m very happy with our progress. Good boy! 🙂
Had my FOURTH jump lesson back last night! And I remembered how I was kind of freaked out last lesson, because I felt like Oats was going ‘too fast’ (haa first time I had ever written that!!)? Well, I had a plan of attack. It was few-fold, and started with addressing how I felt disconnected at the canter (so now I can sit if I want to get re-connected), and then work on the line, but…start it with a trot-in fence.
I know right, me asking for TROt fences??? Nope!
But I did! And it totally worked. It removed the weird speed anxiety I had been having, and made it a whole lot more pleasant to try. And I normally really dislike trot fences, sooo this was funny!
And then we worked on a sort of half-circle vertical and he aced it, the good boy. He was kind of freaking out about a deer wandering around the path outside the arena, and could NOT deal, but when we moved on to the half circle he was pretty darned ok with it. Phew!
My trainer then set it up higher on one end, so if we got a bit of a drift, it was to jump the high side- so I let him drift a little 😉 Get a little taste of higher, these little xrails are booooooring (ok yeah boring and yet I still manage to have a wig-out at them, haha). I guess Oats thought it was boring too because he was just lovely over the small vertical! He’s like hey bring ’em to me, I got this!
I was also in a much better headspace. I can’t keep going back to compare myself and Oats at this stage in the journey back, it only makes me feel frustrated and anxious. Something to progress, not look back at!
I was supposed to have my first lesson back on Tuesday but we rescheduled to Saturday. After a lovely dressage lesson on Thursday, I was on cloud 9!!! When Saturday rolled around though, I was a ball of anxiety. What-ifs went racing around my head, I felt sweaty and out of it, and just so anxious! For some reason all of my fears of his re-injury went around and around and it was so weird. We walked and trotted around, he’s gotten very silly about the doors and corners of the arena so I was glad to have a good 10 minute walk to get the sillies out and make him a solid and reliable citizen again, and he settled down.
We limited the canter– again because we want to make sure to be VERY careful about how his post-rehab recovery goes. And when we went to right lead, we just started hopping over teeny-tiny fences! YAY! I was practically hyperventilating, and trust me when I say my breathing was kind of all over the place the whole afternoon after, because of a big post-adrenaline dump. Ha it was nuts!!
Oats was a total star! He was very chill, very ‘yes ma’am I got this’ about everything. 🙂
And we just, did it! I was stiff, very awkward. I got left behind twice which feels unheard of for me?! Just because I couldn’t relax enough to really go with the movement at this stage. I also forgot where I was riding – in a course of four fences!! hahahhaahah man, I am rusty.
So glad we had this lesson on Saturday. It shut down a lot of fears in my head.
Weirdly we had a miserable ride yesterday for some reason (Oats was literally trembling with fear in the arena??? There were no bears or cougars, to my knowledge???) and was racing around like a deranged llama for most of the ride, sooooooooo yeah. It was great to have a very low-key and successful jump lesson.
As for yesterday who knows what his deal was? We had a very long, very quiet and very slow ride. I kept him in the walk until he stopped trembling and trying to exit stage left. We only trotted and then went back to walking, some lateral work that he was pretty good at, and called it quits when he was fine trotting quietly and not losing it. Horses!! My husband says they’re basically a confusing relationship hot and cold, good and bad?? Maybe!
I don’t blog that much because I guess with the world coming to a crashing halt, including my injured horse, I just don’t have much to do or say anymore!
I did have my jump lesson on Faith though, and I was very glad for it- I was almost expecting to have to cancel again, because the weather has been so horrendous. Every single day for the past (5?) days has been an insane windstorm. Like, rip your face off – knock you down- blow hat and sunglasses off your head windy. It’s been pretty awful!
Luckily the hurricane weather blew in a storm front (so, good I guess??) and it started hailing and pouring rain instead so the lesson was ON! Another bad thing, the arena finally got flooded. We’d been anticipating it gingerly and it finally happened in one big rainstorm. 😦 So we lose a quarter of the arena until it dries up.
Anyways the lesson was still on! We did some quite nice flatwork with Faith spiralling in and out really well in the trot. The canter was another story, ha. I could NOT keep her cantering in the 15m circle! We could spiral out no prob, but in…Ha. Things fell apart fast.
We then set up 1 xrail in the middle of the ring, so we could trot over it and continue in bend, like a circle. Since Faith is so green to jumping, we began with a pole on the ground first. She did get the hang of it! Had issues picking up right lead though, so I feel like I could have influenced her a bit more on that one.
All in all, a good lesson despite the terrible weather. At least it’s not snowing?? Hah.
Oats was really good until the last trot set and BOOM! A big spook that kind of derailed me mentally from then on. Darn horse! hahah. Still alternating trot days with canter days, so yesterday was his trot day and today is canter day. Today we are at week 6!!!
Last night I had jump lesson #5 with Faith- and each lesson, I am learning a bit more about riding a different horse from Oats. Is it easy? NOPE! Is it fun? Yes! Since Faith is on the greener side, and she has navicular, we have to keep the jumps very simple and low. Also I am very rusty, having not really ridden for 5 months, so yeahhhhh there’s a lot to unpack here, hah.
Last night we worked on adjusting the canter stride in between two poles, set for 5-6 strides. Funny enough it was easier to get 6, and we only got 5 once on the left, and Faith got VERY excited about it! Then we got 7! Not bad eh? On the right lead it was tougher- we really struggled with the turn, and then kind of faded out and her stride just felt a bit shorter.
I was sweating my butt off, hah.
Next we worked over a trot-in one stride to a small vertical. It was pretty good, but her jump takes some real getting used to for me, personally. It feel so big and lurchy! What helped was when the trainer said to think about ‘sinking’ into two point, vs going ‘up’ in two point. So at each trot pole in, ‘siiinkk’ down and then you can stay with the horse much better. It totally worked too!
So while it feels very weird to not be riding and jumping Oaty, I am fortunate that I have a horse to borrow one day a week and do some jump lessons! And we’ve already finished a month- and are on to the next month. Crazy eh??
Of course it’s a marathon night for me, Tuesdays, since I do my jump lesson and then untack and then get Oats and tack him up and do his rehab workout. It’s a long day and tiring, but it is so worth it to me.
I abandoned the blog because things got too depressing, for a very long time. They still kind of are, but I figured I might jump back in for a few minor updates.
Oats had his second ultrasound and the vet was not promising about his recovery. That hurt, a lot. But there were silver linings- he trotted sound, and we were grudgingly cleared to begin trot rehab. We are now entering month six of his injury, and week 8 of trot rehab. We got to trot AROUND A CORNER this week! Guys, this is big. Huge even.
It’s still depressing as hell, and every time I let myself feel hope, I regret it.
I am running, and my shoes hurt my arthrits bump on my foot, unfortunately. I have new great shoes courtesy of my husband for Xmas, and I’m looking forward to having that fix it!!
I’ve relied very heavily on my friends and husband as a support network this year, to make sure I don’t find the highest building and jump off of it. They have been so amazing and kind and generous- when I think about how much they have helped me, heard me out, it makes me want to cry! I am truly fortunate to have these kind and generous people in my life. More so than my so called family, anyways!!
And I am taking jump lessons again too! That makes Tuesdays (ok, today, haha) a very long marathon day but you know what? Screw it. You only live once, so LIVE IT FOR ONCE! The trainer is very reasonably priced so I can afford to do that while Oats is laid up and the owner is not charging me a lease fee so even better! The mare is green with mild navicular, so we are limited in height/technical capability, but I am still enjoying the feeling of ‘riding’ and ‘jumping’ after six month of…walking. It’s a soul killer.
So, that’s that. I don’t have a lot to be thankful for, and I mostly mark time to pass. Some days are even ok, or close to good? But they are not great, and I don’t know, during a pandemic that I have to work in, when great will happen ever again.