Trap for young players: Jump lesson update!

Another jump lesson in the outdoor arena for me yesterday! I started off in a MUCH better mood than last week (though I have one lingering concern that has been eating my sleep this week, unfortunately).

33021309_10160445440315603_1898832159985106944_o

Then I kind of felt cranky at our lousy canter- shuffle and was like, ‘I can’t ride out here! Why do I constantly feel like a beginner?’ Crabbing…and Nicole laughed and was like, of course you can ride. Deal with it!

And you know what? We had some ugly spots, and some ‘blah’ moments and I dealt with each and every one of them. We worked over a small grid (bounce to 1-stride to a 2-stride) and he was sluggy, and I had to ‘woman up’ to get the strides I wanted. And I did. And he got it!

Then we moved on to a small course. None of the jumps were intimidating, but we were jumping several small oxers…So…yeah. This is where trusting my body needed to come in. No matter what, my body is strong, capable and extremely fit. So what is the big deal? Oats is a safe horse and my body will protect me, it knows exactly what to do. One thing I am fairly proud of- we had a line of jumps with seven ‘quiet’ strides in between. The striding would be perfect if I left Oats alone to do the quiet strides, not pushing, nagging, pumping, etc. It’s harder to do for me than you think! But, both times the 7 rode great, very quiet and met the oxer at the end with no issues.

I need to trust my physical ability more.

With that in mind, we raised a few jumps (not many, ha) and I went in and immediately flubbed the first fence. Whoops! I regrouped and came back to it, and things went well!  We had 1 kind of ugly jump to the bigger oxer (2’6” I guess?) and finished the course, and I pointed to it and said that one kind of freaked me out! And Nicole was like, ok sure pick up canter and go jump it right now, one-handed.

WTF?

And I did it! And it went perfectly. Rode it out with my right hand on the reins and my left hand free-wheeling, hahah.

I trusted my body to do the right thing, and it went totally fine. Now, I just need to do that a million times. Deal with the ugly, awkward, discombobulated and know I will be fine, because I know how to do it.

Easy eh? Ha.

Advertisements

The machine that made us: Jump lessons!

Yesterday. Wow. So, the day went pretty seamlessly- work was good, it was fairly pleasant to run home and I was heading out to enjoy a walk with Gidget. I had my headphones in, and was listening to my favourite podcast at the moment (Casefile, check it out!) until my good mood came to a screeching halt thanks to an insanely rude, entitled neighbour.

oats

Dirty details don’t need to come out but protip: Confronting someone with ‘are you deaf’? pretty much NEVER goes well, you old crank. God, it really brought my happy mood down and raised alllllll of my hackles. Don’t mess with me. 

Anyways, I was amped and angry and then spent over an hour driving in traffic to the barn, leading to me rushing around and literally running to grab tack, horse, boots…Yeah. I was in an awful mood going into my riding lesson. Pissed, running late, angry, etc etc the proverbial black cloud was hanging over me.

unnamed (2)

This sadly bled into my ride. I felt awkward, clumsy, not connecting well, Oats felt sucked back, tenderfooted and his canter? Ha, what canter. He could not hold the canter, warmed up feeling like a piece of cardboard…Yeah. So, success??

We worked over a few elements of the course in the outdoor and they went ok, until we strung them into a course. Ugh, horrible. I was getting left behind, riding defensively, you name it, I was doing it. I could NOT get in the ‘groove’ per se.

33021309_10160445440315603_1898832159985106944_o

We regrouped, and then went to tackle the course again- and Nicole suggested I let my body ‘flow’ more and focus on a big, exaggerated two-point bend/release instead of my stiff, defensive, ‘sit’ position. This would help Oats jump better too, as he would feel me committing more to the jump and not riding from the backseat (one of my bigger flaws at the moment).

32970277_10160443831600603_533628550993936384_n

Brenda kindly gave Oats her old flymask after his other one got destroyed last week. Wonder how long this will last?

And wouldn’t you know, it worked! Our second course rode really well! Some bobble fences, but overall it flowed much better, we met the fences together, rather than Oats and then me, and it was overall just much more pretty and positive. A great note to end on! AND my friend was there, so I got video + screenshots from it. YES! Plus- I matched with Oats (on purpose this time) so we look pretty too.

So, from good, to really bad, to good again. A rollercoaster of a day!

 

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!!

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.

13711579_10154339936222806_1463647567_o

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.

13632593_10154339936037806_962276249_o

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.

13632593_10154339936037806_962276249_o

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.

13711579_10154339936222806_1463647567_o

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.

13730721_10154339936167806_715306025_o-1

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.

img_0026

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.

img_0029

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.

IMG_0618

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!