Sweet, simple things

This weekend was a real low-key, quiet time. The weather was sooo nice, finally coming up to the double-digits. The sun was shining, and I didn’t really have to do much of anything. I did keep fairly busy, but I made lots of time to sit around and enjoy myself.


The Chinese Cemetery in Oak Bay. Cool eh?

I rode Oats on Saturday and he was in snooze town. To be fair, I did ride on Friday night as well (and had an intensive dressage lesson on Sunday) so he’s going on a fairly consistent string of rides….

Went on a long run, watched TV and sat on my deck and drank a cider while reading my book. A great day.

Sunday I got to the barn a tad too early and got ready for my dressage lesson with Karen Brain. It’s been awhile in the making (because of Oats’ illness) so it felt good to get back on that train. We worked on some moderate leg yields and then on some horse-body-shaping, which Oats did protest at so we had to move it up to canter, because he was getting VERY bogged down. HA, poor OAts!


I think my real job should be candy purchaser. Or reviewer! 

The day was beyond gorgeous. The only fly in the ointment is the extreme DUST that is taking over the arena. That, combined with a very high pollen count= my eyes, nose, ears and throat are on fire. I was coughing, wanted to gouge my poor swollen eyes out. Can’t stop rubbing them right now. Soooo itchy! ARGH.

We enjoyed our lesson despite the extreme dust and the sunshine just make it so lovely. I got changed into shorts (I know! shorts!!) and ran some hills on my way home from the barn.

We then went and took some photos of the Chinese Cemetery at Oak Bay. A very unique place!

I wish the weekends could last forever….


Mr. Oats drags ass

Had my jump lesson last night and quite frankly I was expecting much more from dear old Oats. He was dragging ass, cranky about going forward (kicking out when I ‘reminded’ him about it) and just so BLAH.

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Pick up your feet! So yeah this was not happening yesterday…

So, not so fun. I was unimpressed and annoyed at having to ride him so hard for what was basically a low level jump lesson. Did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed that morning? He had Wednesday off, and even still on Thursday he was just sulky, behind the leg and lazy.

Needless to say I had to work very hard to keep him going over our jump course. We worked on 1 circle jump, and a small course that included a two-stride that we almost NEVER made in two strides except when I got mad enough to MAKE IT HAPPEN!!>!?! And then it did. Phew.

I was tired after that ride for sure, and my eyes were watering like crazy.

I heard also that Oats was spending a lot of time playing like a fool with his horse friends, so I wonder if that is where allll his energy is going. My trainer said it sounded like I was a jealous girlfriend- “Oh so that’s where you’re spending all your time now? With your horse buddies?!!” Instead of saving some energy at night for ME!?!

But I kind of did feel that way. Lacklustre and blah.

He wasn’t bad or anything, just very tuned out. Oh well, we live to fight another day! hahah.

Don’t get stuck: Ride updates!~

I have been quiet on the ride front lately (didn’t ride Sunday, Saturday was kind of terrifying with Canadian Geese crash-landing constantly on the roof of the indoor. I hated it! Oats was a total saint though.)


Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Monday I was determined to practice. Practice anything! But I was pretty sure I was going to work on some dressage-y items, so I brought my dressage whip and mindset. Except…It was dead quiet, only one other rider around, and a few small x-rails set up, and…Well jumping was way too fun so jumping won!

I still did some cruising around with purpose though- I worked on my release, relaxed body in two-point, and just went around, and around, and around. It was really nice! It felt like a very solid ride, but in a quiet and calm way. After jumping, I practiced holding a relaxed, shoulders-down, chest-open two-point in trot. For what felt like forever. My legs were burning!

Oats is only too happy to go along with ‘me days’ when I work harder on myself than on the horse. He was as good as gold.

Last night is my usual Tuesday dressage lesson, but I cancelled and am trying to reschedule for Sunday. Good thing too, because traffic was HORRIFIC and it took me over an hour to get to the barn last night. My lesson usually starts at 6:30pm- I didn’t get TO the barn until after 6:30. Eff my life. I was fuming!

I was so tempted to take that bad mood and work it out on my dear Oats. Luckily I am aware of that temptation now, and can defuse it when it rears its ugly head. Instead, we worked on something physical, but great to practice- trot-sitting trot-canter-sitting trot-posting trot. Sounds easy right? Yeah…No. My abs were killing me, I was sweating?!

The transition between posting trot to sitting trot (while NOT letting the trot die out, or you ‘forget’ to ride during it) is much harder than you think. Phew!! It was a very physically demanding ride for the both of us, and I was able to work out my traffic angst in a good and productive, kind way.

Good pony! 🙂 I am happy with how my rides felt this week. I felt more dialed-in and connected, like I was focused on the ride instead of feeling airy-fairy and halfassed like last week.


Not cut out for this: Dressage lesson recap

Or maybe I should say ‘Oats is not cut out for this dressage nonsense?’?


Me dealing with nonsense. Ha.

Anyways, I approached my regular semi-private with a bit of trepidation. My legs were so tired (from the race, natch!) and I was feeling draggy and blah. My SAD lamp isn’t working yet or something something..Not sure.

I figured it was going to be a challenge, and Oats did not disappoint. It WAS! We were working on (after a warm up) getting the horses to raise their shoulders up, head up but still with mild throatlatch bending with an end goal of having the horses moving uphill, rather than diving downhill. Or, ‘dumpster-diving’ as Karen so colloquially puts it!

Oats as it turns out is good at dumpster diving. We took this work over a pole, on a circle and on a straight line. It was…hard. We had a few flying leaps, and a few instances where Oats TOLD me to take a flying leap. HA.

In the canter I used my crop to ‘encourage’ Oats to move forward and he responded with a big buck! I sat it and we continued. We went on the circle again and he lagged- crop time! I applied it and BUCK! Another buck, haha.

Now, I was able to sit the bucks pretty easily because he wasn’t actively trying to get me off. Those bucks, no freaking way and he has gotten me off a few times bucking. This time, he was just irritated and trying to find a way to ‘loosen the load’ of me sitting on his back via a buck. It didn’t work, I stayed on and kept asking.

He figured it out but wasn’t super pleased about the work.

Oh well, a step in the progression of dressage for us. He did have some lovely stretch work at the end of the ride 🙂


Part-Time Friends (Jump lesson!)

We have been working on some really interesting jump exercises recently. Every lesson I come in with anticipation and sometimes dread, ha, to see how much Nicole will challenge both Oats and I.

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I am ready to accept the challenge!

This week we worked over 3 bounce x-rails (bounce-bounce-bounce), and then eventually into a course that had some interesting technicalities. Boy did we struggle with the bounces- I almost ATE it when I got left behind, and then bounced in the butt with the saddle and ended up on Oats’ neck. Whoops! Yikes!

Anyways, we also incorporated jumping a small jump, like a rail on the ground basically, on a 10-metre circle. Oats was really good at it, and did it three times in a row even.

Course time: Start on the left rein to the three bounce jumps. Left turn at E in a 10-metre circle over the small jump. Continue left and go across the diagonal, jumping the skinny on an angle. Going right now, jump over three bounce jumps. Right turn at E in a 10-metre circle over the small jump. Continuing right, go over the diagonal jumping the skinny. Continue right over the oxer, landing at ‘H’ and cantering into a ‘tear drop’ shape, jumping the single fence along the long side. Canter left lead into a 20-metre circle, ending the circle by turning in to ‘X’ and jumping straight down the middle, ending at ‘C’.

We aced it!

sort of- ha. But it was a great workout and an excellent challenge for the both of us. Whoop.


Your ambitions also inspire others

Dressage lesson on Tuesday (my last one for two weeks, as my lesson partner is away and I have other priorities for the next few Tuesdays as well). And we re-visited the ‘diamond of doom’ ha exercise from last week.


It’s a particularly revealing exercise, because the horses both have absolute meltdowns at some point during it- revealing without mercy the holes in our training…Yikes.

We did it first at walk-trot-walk w/o stirrups, and then I did a few w/o stirrups walk-canter (but then had to take them back) and we did it both reins, in both gaits, and the second time we went to do it off the right rein- you guessed it- HISSY FIT city for both horses.

Oats was like, no. Just no. I am done. I have done this now TWICE and I am OVER IT.

I had to walk, cajole him ‘nicely’ into the exercise while he gnashed his teeth, huffed and puffed, ran backwards and swished his tail and threw his head down. He was pissed! Nevertheless….we persevered. It was ok, I can be calm and just.keep.asking. And wouldn’t you know, he let go of his pissy attitude and started coming around.

The trick here…Is to not buy into drama. And it is soooo tempting, the drama part. He gets all fussy and huffy and I want to get into it too! But, no. Calm, quiet, walking, boring. And eventually the drama goes away by itself, ha.

Karen reminded us that the exercise isn’t always ‘nice’ or perfect but the point of it is to keep doing it, and let it expose your weaknesses. And then don’t overreact when it does- that’s the point! Let it work, and the horses will figure it out- don’t worry about them huffing and fluffing around- they are confused and having a hard time with it. You don’t need to get into it with them.

We ended on a nice canter, and Oats was forgiving by that point, ha. Good pony.


Frozen, freezing, froze

UGH. Mostly just a rant about how terrible the weather was this weekend, AND last night. FREEZING.


Last week.

I don’t really want to ride, or run, at all in the deep-freeze. Plus we live on the island and it’s never supposed to get this cold?!! What gives. I rode grudgingly on Saturday and it was pretty miserable. Oats was good but I was just…stiff and cold. Went for a run on Saturday after riding and almost died. It was HORRIBLE. I was almost crying it was so miserable. Freezing, rain, toes frozen, face windburned and chapped…UGH.


Practically this week. wow. 

Sunday was marginally better and I had a fun ride where I got to jump some small jumps with a ground crew (my friend Sarah’s friend Christi was visiting and set for us very nicely) and then she rode Sarah’s horse too! A fun day all around. And I wasn’t bitterly frozen.

I then hoofed it to some hills and ran a decent hill loop (and then wondered why my legs feel so tired today…) and called it quits on exercise. Husband and I ended the evening with a footbath each, with foot soak and peppermint foot lotion. Ha, the things that make you happy in the winter.

Monday I had an equine counselling session, and I rode briefly beforehand. It was FREEZING. I caught my breath going down to the indoor it was so awful. My eyes were watering just walking around. Terrible. I toughed it out for a bit, but just couldn’t warm up. Probably the coldest night I have felt of all the deep freeze nights last week. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

And today? Ran to work and it was pleasantly chilly but I was overdressed (afraid of freezing like Saturday/yesterday) and had to take my hat off I was sweating so much. Harumph.

Tuesday dressage, and no Thur jump lesson this week.