Canter leg-yields?!

Yesss! We are back in action with our regularly scheduled dressage lesson on Tuesday. We practiced leg-yields with correct rider posture (elbows in at your side, leg yield using the LEG and not pulling/opening the rein. If the leg yield didn’t happen, that was ok. It just meant you had to sharpen up the leg aid more next time).

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And Oats was so good! I was quite pleased with him, the little goofball.

We worked our way up to canter leg yields, and while these were a tad more ‘fraught’ with challenge, it still went quite well and I was pleased with with his effort, sense of humour and ability.

The leg yield left-right was tricky and he got fairly heavy on the right rein at the canter, which made the leg yield harder to get, with less ‘jump’ at the canter and more ‘dragging freight-train’ but still, he was definitely trying. One thing we learned was that to keep the horse packaged up at the canter, you need leg and hand and some very minor bend, but you shouldn’t feel like they will fall apart if you let it go- they should carry themselves at some point. You don’t want the ‘canter canter canter SPLAT!’ feeling.

Also I learned that a slight bend is important because without it, Oats gets confused and wants to swap leads. Fair enough, horse!

The leg yield right-left at the canter went quite well! 🙂

Good boy Oats, I was so glad to have my guy back in action doing some good dressage work with minor hissy-fits.

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Labour Day Blues

A great weekend, followed by some intense strangeness and disquiet.

A death, crazy smoke covering the sky, blocking out the sun and raining ash on us, crimes, big and small.

It’s strange! I feel strange and smothered.

But anyways, let’s focus on the things that went right:

  • Rode this weekend (no polo though, was up-Island) and Oats was good! We even jumped the scary ‘skinny brush jump’ out in the field in a blazing hot day.
  • We canoed, probably for the first time in a hundred years for me- and took Gidget! She actually really enjoyed it. 🙂
  • I enjoyed many beers, cocktails and wine- always a good time.
  • We picked plums! Carrots! Beets! Chard!
  • Had happy hour with a good buddy on Friday AND got off work early.
  • Went swimming (floating) at Thetis Lake and hurt my neck paddling. Turns out I am older than I thought. Ha. It still hurts today though, which is not so funny…two days and counting.
  • Rode in a pretty intense dressage lesson last night, despite my sore neck. Not technical, but more like focusing on the elements of ‘lengthen’ strides. It was pretty good!
  • I ran! Lots of running and am happy with how my legs are feeling on the weekends- not so much during the week, they suck then, but hey weekends are awesome!

Here’s to more fun and adventure, despite the oppressive feelings that are threatening to crush us these days. It seriously feels like the apocalypse with this eerie red-grey sky!

Everything is starting to make sense

Had a BUSY weekend. But a good one!

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So, what did I, Oats, Ian and Gidget get up to?

Saturday I had rescheduled my lesson for this week so I rode two jump lessons last week instead- Thur/Sat. Saturday I was out in the field for my ‘brave girl’ jump lessons! And it went really well- though most certainly not perfect, ha.

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Oats was on fire! He was charging off and it surprised the heck out of me. Who replaced my lazy as sin pony with Mr. Hot Pants? Wow. We had to work through some stuff (a few silly stops when I pulled my hands up before the jump, one attempt through the barrel jump that was basically a runout-stop-climb over it, I think he was feeling tired by that point, and one jump we crashed straight through in a -go-no-stop-no-go disagreement…Whoops! We circled around and jumped it fine the next time, so no hard feelings on that one.

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We jumped a lot, ha. It was quite a warm day, so my husband and I then headed straight to Thetis Lake for some good trail running (9km slow) and then we picked up our swimsuits, got changed and went swimming in the lake! How perfect is that?

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In the evening, we went to see a film- The Big Sick and it was pretty good actually.

Sunday I was on the go again- I volunteered as a flagger at the polo tournament (Victoria’s Lt Governor Cup) and it was a scorching day in the sun! I wanted to ride in the slow chukkar but didn’t get added to the tournament, so spent the day volunteering instead. Bummer! But oh well, there will be plenty of opportunities to play coming up.

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It was VERY exciting, and I saw some really crazy plays- full bore gallop ride-offs, some neat backhand goals and some really intense gallop leads. WOW!

Then I hopped back in my car and went to ride Oats (dressage in the indoor, I was feeling completely fried by the sun. Ouch!! Even the next day my face felt tight and hot.). Silly me, too much sun exposure and no hat. I know better than that!

All in all, a good and busy weekend. 🙂

Get down, stay down

Jump lesson last night, and while I’ve had a really good week of some fun and solid rides, and even some slow chukka polo learning on Wed and field rides with Oats, I struggled with anxiety last night.

What gives?

I had my heart in my throat! Oats could sense my lack of commitment and he was so BLAH for jumping- I had to really pony up and ride to my fences. I kept them at weenie height because of this weird anxiety I was dealing with. It kind of sucked, but my ride in general was okay, I just wished I had been able to ride more effectively, braver and confident? UGH. Mixed feelings- I had some great moments but overall it was a trying course for me to manage and the jumps were so small!

I wish I could get it together, ha. But, lots of positives.

Oats was amenable but clearly not willing to put forward effort if I wasn’t. Fair enough horse, fair enough.

I have another jump lesson on Saturday and I have requested we jump in the field!! Time to exercise my bravery muscles. 🙂

What will we be

Jump lesson last night, and dinner out with longtime friends. A great evening! It was such a lovely night that I couldn’t fathom going anywhere but out in the field. Luckily my trainer was onboard, so she dragged out the cavalettis into the field and we had ourselves a nice little jump session!

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How could you hate this cute face?

Marred only by one BIG spook where I swear I was going to eat it, Oats was really great! We schooled over the little cavalettis, and over the ditch too. Love that he was so calm and steady about doing stuff like that. And it doesn’t hurt that the jumps were teeny little cavalettis. Just my size, ha.

It was a gorgeous night to be out riding, and dinner with friends just capped off a lovely day. I had kind of a stressful afternoon, as I had agreed to join my family to pick blackberries and then make jam on Saturday, and when I got an email about the details, it ended with this phrase that instantly raised all of my hackles: ‘don’t bring your dog’

WTF

No. for one thing, my dog has a NAME. ‘Gidget’ is tiny, and if we’re going blackberry picking she is for sure going to be joining me. If there is a safety issue or something like, say a dinner party, then no she doesn’t come but give me an effing break. So, this is the stand they want to take now? After completely dismissing my sadness and grief after the death of my dear bunny Buster? They apparently now hate all my animals, who are my family.

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Gidget likes taking part!

Forget it.

So I sent a response that basically said my dog is my partner and she goes where I go, so thank you and good day to you.

And the plus side is, now I don’t have to engage is awkward family dynamics, which I was NOT looking forward to (husband was going to come as an emotional buffer). It is too soon, and I need my space.

So, yeah…

Every night you’ve got to save me

So, polo not happening tonight- can’t get off early enough for it. Luckily there is a Sunday opportunity that I will be taking advantage of 🙂

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Had a challenging but fairly decent dressage lesson last night, where we worked on transitions and MAN it was hard. HARD. Transitions upwards were great, but our collection sucked out loud and my transitions downward were…special. To the point that we are going to have to devote a good ride to only downward transitions. Oh well! Kind of does burst my ‘we’re moving up!’ bubble by feeling fairly incompetent during a basic ride. HA.

And I had an excellent equine counseling session on Monday- I had been trying to manage some strange emotions/feelings of anger, angst and disappointment when Buster passed away. I wanted my family to acknowledge my loss and my grief, and they didn’t. It made me very angry and I wanted to explore why, and why that was coming up so strongly in the wake of his passing. It was a good session that made me experience/feel the need for acknowledgement and be able to *mostly* let it go. (I say mostly, because I need the emotional peace it brings, but know myself too well to let things go entirely, ahh).

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I’m a natural (wallaby) mother!

Anyways, it just made me realize that the only communication I need to have with family can be talking about my own very lovely family, which consists of (GASP) animals! My horse! My dog! (and the other animal, my husband, hahaha). And since they don’t care, I don’t have to care either= a natural limitation on our communication. It’s a relief.

They have made it very clear that once I came out (they forced my hand in the most ridiculous, emotionally abusive way) as childfree by choice, they could also choose to hate my animals.

So, feel free! I am living the life I always wanted- or close to it, I could always have a guinea pig farm with a mini donkey, and a mini horse to pull a cart; some riding horses, maybe chickens for my husband…Yeeps!

A life well lived requires no apologies.

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.

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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!