Going for it!!!

Another busy weekend for old Oaty and I! We started off strong with a jump lesson in the field (my fav- I bust my butt each summer hauling jumps out there so I can enjoy them and lol- it is ALWAYS me doing it. I was going to have help this summer but circumstances prevailed and I had to drag Ian out to help me!) 😉

All small jumps, but he’s totally going for it!

I even dragged another jump out there so we could have more options- they are scanty because it’s just me and those standards are HEAVY to drag all the way out there, so I am a bit limited.

But, it’s always fun and this past weekend Oats really agreed with me hahaha. He started off a bit sluggy, and I was a bit anxious because we had one jump on a ‘hill’ of sorts (tiny) but next to the owner’s house, where he finds it spooky. So, double whammy for me- hill? Spooks?

Wheeee!!

We worked up to it slowly and carefully, and he was really good about it. A touch looky but not bad.

We then started cruising over the other jumps and I was a bit all over the place at first. We took a break and worked over our first course and WOW Oats came ALIVE. He was amped!! We cantered the fences, and then he got lazy and dropped a hind hoof over the small xrail on the hill and stung himself a bit and BOLTED?! Haaaa. I know right, Oats? Fast? Nooooo way. This is the slowest pony on the planet.

So we got him back, and on to the next fence! He was feeling it. Ha.

yeah!!

And then on to course #2, and woooow, I haven’t had this much horse to ride in like, ever??? He was charging around, going for it, I was just along for the ride! Go Oats go!!! He is in the best shape of his life, according to him?! Hahahha. Nice to see him with so much forward energy, even if it did really surprise both me and my trainer lol.

Which was good, because I wanted him to burn off some energy- we had a trail class event to go to on Sunday! Stay tuned…

Forever & Ever: Jump lesson recap!

So, due to the success of last week with my ‘motivator’ spurs I decided to try that one again- conditions were ripe for a very non responsive zombie pony. Hot, draggy, lazy and full sun (even in the evening, when our lesson is).

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Oats’ mood yesterday: No.

Oats’ head was literally dragging on the ground. He was NOT having it yesterday.

I had my big spurs on and boy, he did not want to respond to them. He remembered from last week I suppose and was distinctly crankier and surlier about them. He responded well for the first few jumps and then a big F-U! Cranky, bucking, fussing and sucking back. Ahh…shit.

Well, the key to that is to get over with it! Sorry Oats, you are just going to have to deal.

He was very much cranky when I started using a crop for motivation as well, so this newest ‘tool’ is also eliciting a very ‘NO!’ response from him. Ah well, riding is always simple and never easy, eh?

We worked over the course and he was…not great but not horrible. It took a few jumps (like, 4) from the beginning of the course for him to let his drama-llama tendencies go and just get with the program. Of course with his drama-rama on the loose, my fear tendencies also tend to rear their ugly heads when he gets silly like this too…So it turned into a bit of me not wanting to let him have his head, him getting cranky and silly, and blahhhh…

But, progress is progress and I know this is something we can work together on.

It just feel so ugly right now! Gah!

 

The World is a Loud Place: Jump lesson recap!

Thursday was just miserable here. It was hammering down rain, windy, cold and just so very blah. I walked home and was frozen by the time I got home, and just not feeling it. After a fairly mild week that began with the horrible weather at the race, I was so over it!

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I am a good boy!

But…Jump lessons are calling.

So I bucked up, grudgingly pulled on my breeches and left for my lesson. I was assuming Oats was going to feel as ‘enthusiastic’ as I was (ie- not) so yeah, good times. Rained on and off on the way to the barn, dark as anything, and I learned that most of the horses on Thursday night jump lessons were total psychos. Greeeatttt…

Needless to say, I was a tad apprehensive. My trainer even said that close to none of her lessons went according to plan that night. Lovely. However, I was on Oats- who is a very consistent pony now, and if he acted up, it would be 1000% out of character for him. He’s a laid-back dude.

(Though he was a total turd and a half for many years!)

We worked over canter poles that eventually went up to a grid-type consisting of one small vertical pole, canter poles to a small oxer. The name of the game here was to COMMIT.

Then we worked up to a small course, a vertical on the long side (kept small the whole time), to a vertical on the diagonal, to an oxer on the other diagonal, to the grid, back to the diagonal vertical, oxer, and finish up with the vertical on the long side that we began with.

We had some awkward jumps BUT we noticed that every time I kept my butt out of the saddle, Oats felt empowered to take those leaps! We finished up with some really nice efforts from him, and I was very happy with how the canter pole grid line went, each time.

Good pony. And I was SO glad he wasn’t a nutbar like the other horses last night. Winter fever???

If you’re born on an island, the ocean heals you

Another jump lesson recap!! Oats and I warmed up really nicely last night, so nice in fact that I am wondering how I can capture that magic for our next jump lesson? He was soft, forward, responsive and very fluid. It was just lovely.

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Last winter was very snowy.

I was feeling confident after that warm up, more confident than I usually feel about jumping! Lucky me because last night was the night to start being challenged with height a bit more (it was not a complex lesson, compared with the last few weeks of very technical coursework).

We did a trot-in one-stride gymnastic (x-rail to oxer) and by the end of the warm up over the gymnastic, the oxer was up to 2’6” with nary a peep from me! I did feel a bit anxious about it but you know what? It was riding fine.

We then made a small course of 6 jumps, incorporating the gymnastic into the course. That rode fine, so the jumps went up (another panel jump went to 2’6”) and we worked up to a course of 12 fences total. Oats was a tad surprised by the bigger fence and was like wait, woah and had to really lift his hooves to clear it. Good boy!

In the course we did the gymnastic twice and the 2’6” fence three times. That’s a lot for me, hahahah. The course rode quite well though, and I was very pleased with Oats making the effort.

I have been saying it’s time to be challenged and here I go- it’s time and I am ready!

Miniature Tigers

This week…Wow, this week.

Busy. Rode Tuesday, not in a dressage lesson, and was thinking I probably should have left what I was asking Oats for IN a dressage lesson, it went that poorly. Well at first it went well, and then I had to go and push the envelope and was a bit unprepared for him to over-give and then get pissy with me about it! Ah…it’s a learning experience I guess?! Note to self: When he gives you good lateral work for awhile, don’t push it on your own yet!

So, yeah. That. My dad also flew in from Ontario that evening at 11:30pm!

Wednesday we had the Foxstone Awards Night banquet at the Quamichan Inn. I’d volunteered to drive, and wow…Was kind of regretting the whole night driving. It was SO stormy, and crazy dangerous on the roads. POURING rain, the car was hydroplaning on the Malahat, visibility was so poor, and we saw two accidents, and like 5 cars pulled over…Jesus.

I drove extremely carefully and white-knuckled it the whole way. Glad to be alive.

The banquet was fine, I was still feeling a bit put-out by dropping down from reserve champ to third 😦 it is quite a demotion. Ahhhh….

I got all of us home safely, thank god, and had a glass of wine sitting on my couch at home. It was a very hairy experience.

Thursday, I had my jump night lesson! I had promised my dad I’d try to get home early (so, before 8pm), a message that somehow didn’t translate to them letting me know where they were going to be in the evening, so when I got home to an empty house, hungry, I had NO idea where they were, and nobody was answering their cell phones, despite multiple texts and calls. Needless to say, I was pissed off and hungry!

We sorted it out and I joined them for one drink and some live music at the Fernwood Inn, and it was really good-surprisingly! I normally am not a fan of a lot of ‘open mic’ nights because they tend to..suck sometimes…but these guys were spot-on!

And my jump lesson went well, Oats was hard to get motivated though and we are experiencing some real frustrations in terms of landing ON THE RIGHT LEAD GODDAMMIT~ Even on a circle? What is this, horse??!

But he’s a cheery fellow, and didn’t take it too hard. Ha, things to work on…Along with me using the crop even more judiciously to get him motivated. Well, to give him credit, he jumped an interesting looking jump without even a second glance. Good pony! Now, land on the right lead for once and I will be even happier with you!