Jump lesson turned dressage practice & camping!

So as I mentioned I had signed up for the dressage show (happening on Sunday, yeek). So instead of my regularly scheduled jump lesson on Thursday, we decided to practice run-throughs of the tests instead. I also changed my tests from Training 1 and 3 to Training 1 and 2 and run Test 2 as a ‘test of choice’ instead (it is easier!).

Oats at Sooke Saddle Club dressage: Photo courtesy of Eila

Oats at Sooke Saddle Club dressage: Photo courtesy of Eila

It went ok, Test 1 was kind of flubby and awkward, while Test 2 allowed us to relax more and think throughout the test, rather than jamming it forward and doing the whole thing in ‘hyper drive’ which is more my style (see- jumping every course in a show/in practice…).

I had to slow down, allow more of Oats, and relax my arms for forward motion. Easier said than done, apparently!

And then we had Friday/Saturday off because we went camping with buddies in Parksville! And what a weekend- the whole gang was there (tons of people, kids, dogs, haha) and we played SO many games- it was insane. I played more games that one weekend than I play in an entire year, I swear it!

  • Viking bowling (fun but hard)
  • Slam Ball (hard to learn, fun to do!)
  • Kick ball
  • A foot race (I didn’t partake because I ate too much, ha)
  • Werewolf
  • Antidote

I went for a run, we played on the beach, we drank and ate WAYYY too much. I actually felt kind of sick Saturday night from all the indulging and I ended up fainting at like 1:30am?! Yikes!

I was ok though, and recovered fine and went back to bed. Gidget did not enjoy camping and puked when she got home, all over floor/couch. Yuck!

It was a great weekend with fun times and hilarious company. Loved it!!

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Hate to say I told you so: Dressage recap

So Monday I went out to the barn and did a lazy bareback walk with Oats, and then treated his newly discovered leg fungus (scratches?! how did he get that!). He doesn’t particularly like bareback riding and always gets kind of hoppy and squealy at first….Ha.

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Go Oats go! Love a keen, uphill canter.

Then last night we had dressage ride and WOW it was a challenge. Oats was feeling quite angsty about giving the inside rein, and moving off my leg for some mild haunches- out and let me hear it! It was really hard work. He hopped up and down, had some drama moments including a brief attempt at a launch and then he just…settled. Of course then we had to do it off both sides (eek) and his right rein was worse!

I even got a mega charley horse in my thigh while I was riding- a reminder to myself to make sure I have enough potassium, calcium and electrolytes if I want to run to work (4k), do sprint intervals on the treadmill at lunch (30 minutes) and then run home (4k) and then have a tough lesson. It’s hard on my body, and I need to be more cognizant of the challenges it faces on these higher activity days.

But anyways, we even did a fun exercise I haven’t done in ages- posting at the canter! I like posting at the canter a lot, and I’m quite familiar with it so I was like yessss I got this!

Oats seems to respond well to posting at the canter too, and my trainer said we could do more work on that, and she also recommended we try it jumping too. I will!

A tough lesson and a lot of work, but again I’m starting to see some real physical changes with Oats- he looks ‘longer’ which seems weird to say, lankier and less ‘ponylike’? Cleaned up his legs for the third night in a row, and then drove home and was immediately confronted by a highway at a dead standstill…Waited for 10 freaking minutes, and then followed a bunch of cars doing a u-turn across the median to catch the highway the other way, and drove back home on smaller roads. UGHHH!!! Thanks highways! Stupid stupid stupid.

Coming on strong: Jump lesson!

Jump lesson and we are back at it! Oats was a tad resistant to bend, which became quite evident during our gridwork (some serious drift right, arghh). Lesson for me? Get stricter about bend/counterbend in my warmup!! That way it’s no surprise when I start screwing up later, ha.

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I found a bunch of photos I had missed from the summer derby. Love it!

We worked on a trot-in grid (with guide rails added later, natch) trot in two x-rails, two strides to a small vertical. We then worked separately over a 2-stride combination that left me feeling a bit like ‘Jesus take the wheel!’ as it really required you to ‘let go’ of your horse and trust that they’ll take charge through the diagonal line. A tricky one, surprisingly tricky, but it went well after a few times we got three strides and THEN the two.

We put it together into a course, and once we finished the course we did another one and this time added the 2-stride combination in going the other way as well, and then a longer bending line that rode perfectly.

Oats was going great!

I left the jumps low, as I was kind of still getting back into it and have been feeling pretty tired this week. My goal for next week is to a. be ok with raising up the jumps a little! and b. try and get some video evidence. It has been tooooo long 🙂

Until next time!

As above, so below

Saw this movie the other night and it was pretty good, creepy, suspenseful and scary at times. It’s also a thought-provoker, as it brought up a lot of ‘hidden demons’ that people carry with them and force them to face as they move throughout the film. Interesting.

But anyways, I skipped my dressage lesson on Tuesday, had an ‘ok’ ride on Monday  (honestly can’t really remember what I did, but it was fine?) and did my jump lesson last night. My dad came to watch! That was nice 🙂

Since I noticed last week that Oats’ canter was kind of strange last week (weak on the left lead, unbalanced, got flat when coming into fences and he just clobbered a fence…) I requested we do some work on strengthening his canter quality.

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I found a bunch of photos I had missed from the summer derby. Love it!

So we did! A bunch of raised poles, starting at a distance of 9ft, and going through the exercise on the left, and right lead, slowing bringing the distance in to 8ft, 7ft, and finally collecting in to 6ft. Oats was great! He started off pretty badly, absolutely clobbbering the rails. It was like a yard sale! Horse by braille?? He was clunking them and just not.caring.

Then, he slowly figured it out. He stopped clunking the rails, and started picking up his hoofies.

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Go Oats go!

Then I got even braver and bolder- I suggested to Nicole that we put up a jump on the other side of the arena, so that when I finished the collected poles, we’d turn and go over a jump, and then collect for the poles, and so forth. Like a big circle.

She said ok, but that if she put up a jump, it was going to have to be an oxer!

Gulp!

But that was fine, and you know what? That was why I asked for it. Ha, look at me, asking to jump an oxer…I said sure, as long as it was small. And it did start small, and then we worked up to maybe 2’6”. By the end of the exercise, the poles were set at 6ft, and the oxer was up to soft 2’6”, and we were doing GREAT.

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I am ordering this one too!

What a good day, and what a cool exercise. I was out of breath, sweating like crazy. Oats was sweaty and huffing and puffing. A tough workout for the two of us!

Then my dad and I went out for dinner to the Crooked Goose, and I had my favourite there- the barley mac and cheese with bacon and scallops. SO good and so decadent. Yummmm….

Candy aftermath & a jump lesson

Ughh so much mini chocolate…Too many chocolate bars…I can’t seem to resist and nobody around me can either! Yikes.

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So much candy…

I had my jump lesson on Wednesday and I was kind of wondering how it would go…My legs were still quite tired, and Oats and I had a very thorough dressage lesson the day before. I noticed that his canter to the left was quite stiff, not as balanced as it usually is, when his canter to the right was fantastic, balanced and moving forward. What gives? The left is his good side?!!

Oh well. I think it’s due to him standing around all day when it was pouring rain…He’s not as young as he used to be.

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Got these, but did I eat any? NOPE!

We warmed up, and then worked on some canter adjustability. He was almost too soft to the right, and then the left-weirdness cropped up. Hm….We then picked up the canter and worked on a 5-stride line. A few times I forgot to ride (ha) and we came in very crookedly and wobbled through the line. Fixed that, and we noticed he has a real tendency to suck back in the line at stride 4- just before the takeoff!

We then worked up to a small course, using the line both directions. Mixed results- still sucking back the last stride, affecting my straightness. Harrumph.

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha.

Something funny- Oats got distracted by a horse coming down to the arena (it is very dark out) and slammed on the brakes at the letter ‘H’. HA! We regrouped, and I continued on-course where he proceeded to completely take out 1 jump with his knees (jumping flat) and then we had 1 stop where he again wanted to stare at the new horse. We re-jumped the line beautifully though, so I figured it was just him getting distracted. No worries!

A pretty decent ride, though my legs were kind of wobby and killing me by the end. I can chalk that up to my less-than-effective ride that kind of sprinkled throughout the course- I just wasn’t supporting Oats enough to get the jump and ride I was looking for.

Oh well, it was fun though!

Don’t give up on your dreams, Buddy!

A busy weekend when I wasn’t really expecting it! My folks moved officially to the Island, so we spent a lot of time with them. Then the time we weren’t eating/visiting, I was riding good ol’ Oats and running (track with my husband for practice, and the trails at Thetis Lake for fun!).

Oats was great this weekend, my rides seemed fairly forgettable in a good way so yesss! Saturday I worked over a pole, and did some straightness work. Easier said than done…

We did something funny on Sunday–I jumped him around a little bit in the ring and he was a bit sassy/tired/balky, so I cut it out after a few jumps and took him to the big field, and we did…Trot sets! To me and Oats, trot sets= my sprinting track work. He was huffing and puffing, ha. Still had enough energy to s

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Running in the field is my favourite says Oats! The dressage part…not so much.

pook right at the end though, going up a hill. What a goof!

This is what we did:

Walk in field. Pick up trot for 3 minutes, and then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for 4 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for 5 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Back down!

Trot for 4 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for 3 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for a few minutes (he spooked then, so clearly he had a lot of energy and I lost track of my time…) and then cool-down walk.

This took me to noon, and time to hop off and go home.

Monday I did an equine counselling session and we discussed the show (good at managing challenges, kind of bad at my fall/trying to hold myself together to compete); and Oats’ mystery behaviour on Wednesday- her conclusion was that he was tired. And you know? He was acting so strangely that I totally buy it. Interesting!

Tuesday was my dressage lesson with Karen Brain. We were back out in the field and it was hard work! It was also really cool. We worked on picking up the canter on the ‘up’ side of a hill, incorporating a circle, and then managing the circle to the down-part of the hill. Hilariously, we sucked at it for awhile- I couldn’t seem to manage to keep going on a circle, keep his canter ‘bouncy’ and up instead of sprawling and flat, and make my hands do what I wanted them to!

It got better though, phew. A very neat ride.

Learning to appreciate

 

I was at the gym at lunch today (work has a fabulous gym, good treadmills, TV’s that mostly work and lots of equipment that is in good condition) and I was kind of feeling grouchy about ‘having to’ workout at lunch.

I was feeling kind of blah, draggy – end of week blues- and not exactly looking forward to lifting some weights. I’ve been yawning a lot in the gym this week, the weather has been mediocre to outright bad, and I blame not running for most of it. Cardio tends to jazz me up and I’m not relying on it this week, as I am trying to save my legs (perhaps unsuccessfully, given how much I have been riding lately!).

But then when I was looking at myself in the mirror, with my hand-weights, I realized something: Man, I am SO LUCKY I get to do this at all. Lift weights. See a measurable difference in my body. Go to the gym at lunch. Work out, push myself. Run races. Ride horses. So fortunate!

This, coming on the heels of a pretty shitty ride on Oats last night. I let my ego get the best of me, and the ride flip-flopped between ‘good’ and ‘a fight’ where I was unreasonable, edgy and frustrated with him and myself. I hate those rides, and I often say I need a witness or an audience, to help me be better to myself and more forgiving with my horse. SIGH. Why do I always learn that lesson the hard way? The only thing I am happy with is how great my lessons were this week- two of ’em! And they rocked! And that these instances of frustration/edginess/anxiety/tension/anger are getting further and fewer apart. One day, I might not have them come up at all.

Until then…I can be very glad with what I have. And what I have the opportunity to do! My pony is a babysitter, he took great care of me in my jump lesson and he is a very forgiving sort. I need to be the same.

I also have a great physical body that is showing me every time I push myself how much I can do. Wow! It’s crazy! I enjoy seeing photos of myself in my athletic endeavours, because a few years ago I would never even dream of doing the stuff I do now. I love it.