Letting go to get there

Dressage lesson last night! Our trainer noticed my warmup was a bit backed off, with me sitting in the backseat (ha, now where have I heard that before, oh right, in my jump lessons!) and so guess what we did? Get ROLLING at the trot, big trot, bigger trot, and then CANTER! All on a very loose rein. It felt kind of wild to me, a little bit like we were just ripping around, but wouldn’t you know…we had a very lovely, loose through the back canter AND trot. Ok, after the downward transition we kind of bumbled into the trot but then he’d come down and release nicely. He still has that ‘snatch’ at the reins to come down, but he was much more consistent than before.

Just look at this handsome steed!

Kind of blew my mind a little! Sometimes dressage isn’t a tightly-held warmup and trot/canter, eh?? Sometimes it is a little wild!

Oats loved it, and his canter was SO consistent, forward and light over the back. Good boy! Plus he is looking fantastic these days- not so scraggly and gross and scrawny. I’m very glad to see him gain his weight back and his coat is just shining. He doesn’t look 19 right now, turning 20 in October 🙂

It was a very fun ride and reminded me to let go of the control sometimes (duh a horse person with control issues? Say it ain’t so 😉 ) ahahaha.

Plus on Wednesday we went on a hack around the block and while he did require a lot of convincing to get past the new, huge greenhouse (that wasn’t there last time!! Scary!!) that involved some running backwards, he got over it and was a gentleman for the rest of the ride, if a bit edgy/looky. Good pony, and PHEW!! I am a big trail ride chicken, haha so I rely on him to help me out here.

And my legs update- I had my hip tendon worked on last night (THANK GOD it was driving me insane for like 2 months, ugh, so gross…the tugging/irritation was constant) and I am entering my third walk-run of the week today at lunch. Fingers crossed for a recovery- even the physio was stumped about why I keep getting injured when I am in great shape and in general don’t have too many physical issues, other than the obvious hypermobility?!! Ah….

Between the breaths

I had my dressage lesson on Thursday, and I was feeling apprehensive. Why is it that my rides are SO GOOD in my lessons, and then so….underwhelming, disappointing, frustrating on my own?

I mean look at this handsome boy, who wouldn’t love him?

So I did it. I owned up to my trainer and told her that I had been struggling, and how do I change it?

Well, firstly, she called me on my BS and said I needed to change my attitude and expectations first. I had a bad attitude about progress- wanting too much and accepting too little, ha. And that my rides previously were great chiefly because I had no expectations about them- they just ‘were’ and it was great!

From last summer- so nice! We’ll get there 🙂

It’s all true, isn’t it?

So we worked on developing a good, solid canter, one that I can take to a jump, or to a circle or anywhere. It felt really nice! And we also worked on a better mental state, one that accepts fluctuations in my ride and in my day. Can I accept that the day I come with a plan could get derailed? And be positive and kind about my ride? Yes, I definitely can.

And now I need to start!

My rides this weekend were great actually- not amazing, but solid, no-drama rides. Getting me and Oats where I needed to go. I only wanted to start the tension yesterday, and ended up letting it go, phew. Saturday I was actually in a pretty bad, amped up mood: I locked my keys and phone in the car at the feed store, fun fun. Ended up cooling my heels for awhile after I borrowed a phone to call the tow truck, and then a cool $70 to get it opened up! Shoot!

I was at the feed store to buy a fattening product for Oats, as he has been losing weight as an oldster who is getting back into work regularly now (four weeks, can you believe it??). He needs more help to address his weight, as I noticed in the past two weeks I had to put my girth up two extra holes on each side! Funny that I was so worried about him blowing up and getting chubby only a few months ago….Well, the work is good for him, and soon he will be back at his regular weight with a little extra help. Poor guy is getting skinny!

We also had our farrier appointment on Friday and he was well behaved, which is always a treat. 🙂

And me? My leg injuries are still giving me a lot of stress and trouble. Had another shockwave session on my left leg last week, which was excruciating, and had my hip tendon worked on (crunched the hell out of it squatting down at the barn and pulled it out, and it never went back in for weeks= pain and discomfort). So, hoping something works out for once?!!! Been now two months. Yay.

Awake and pretty much sober

Funny song title, I loved it.

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Sometimes I look competent?

This week was luckily quite short, and I didn’t ride Monday (did an equine counselling session for the aforementioend family drama, Oats got to cruise around on his own), rode Tuesday (he was ok? Now I can’t remember what we did!) and had a jumping lesson last night.

The lesson went well but had some disappointments for me- I can’t seem to let.go.no.matter.what?!! Argh. Oats is not a pony that needs me on his face all the time, or ever pretty much. He’s push-button, not strong, not fast (hah) and not anything requiring a death grip on the reins. So, why?

Why indeed!

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Miss this show, he was so good! 

We worked over a trot grid (3 X trot bounce jumps, two strides to a small oxer) and damn if I didn’t find it hard to let go of his face for the two strides to the oxer. Whyyyy? He jumped it perfectly fine, and I was surprised every time.

We then worked over a small course with a circle jump, a 4-stride line (rode well each time actually, some bobbles coming in but overall quite nice) and the grid.

I was a tad anxious (see- feeling vulnerable about letting go of his face…) but he was jumping quite nicely and very reasonably, so what is my deal? The jumps went up, not high but the outside line was definitely a bit higher than previous and Oats had zero issues with it.

I did sort of improve on the ‘let go of his face’ but let’s be honest- I struggle with feeling vulnerable doing that! It’s a battle to let my body go and be ok with it, I am that strong of a rider and it’s not hard for me to do, soooo why the resistance??

Oh well, overall I was very pleased with Oats’ ‘can-do’ attitude. Good pony 🙂

 

“There is a shabby nobility in failing all by yourself.”

I feel like quoting Bright Lights Big City again. Maybe because that’s where I feel like I am these days?

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Want this again…

I’m not in the pit, but I am on the lip, looking in sometimes. Maybe on my way back up. I always felt like I was trying hard, and I am still trying hard, but that my efforts are taking me back to kindergarten.

Also I think that bright lights is a story of redemption–and weirdly, kind of uplifting in that ‘hits rock bottom and claws way back out’ way. So goes my riding and life these days? I actually don’t have a lot to moan about, but it’s more the way I feel like I have to work hard, to get – where exactly?

Lessons to recap this week:

Tuesday Dressage: Lateral work was WAY better when I learned I had to actually  release off my horse’s face and let him do his work. When I was softer, he was softer. Who would have thought? Why did it take me until Tuesday to realize this, and why do I seem to have to re-learn it every time?

My sitting trot sucks and is non-existent, and my fear-based habits of raising my hands and lurching forward through the canter transition has re-appeared in a big way. Homework: Do a 100 sitting trot-canter transitions each ride.

Wednesday Jumping: Wanted to ride outdoors and the wind was blasting again. We tried at first outdoors and I couldn’t hear a damn thing Nicole was saying, and it was frustrating for the both of us, so at my request we moved it indoors. My wimp muscles reared their ugly head- and I wanted to backpedal. Instead, we worked over a cross-rail canter-in grid to a small vertical (1-stride), and then to a small course. No jump was over 2′.

Shocker, everything went fine. I bungled the distance to 1 fence pretty consistently, until Nicole was like, ok what would you change about that fence? The approach, duh! So I cut it in a little bit and approached it earlier and bingo–distance was 100% there.

I still felt a bit ‘flooded’ emotionally, so I only wanted to do the small course twice. That’s fine. I know where I am with this right now.

Thursday Equine counseling: This week was a week full of learning! And I’m not going to lie, it’s very tough emotionally for me. We reviewed a few of the emotional triggers in my body that I have been hanging on to and explored why I went through kind of a cycle of problems- falling off, etc.

While I am dealing with stuff that is coming up, weird old problems bubble up- problems that I thought I managed already- like jumping ahead, hands coming up, riding defensively, pulling back on my horse.

So, I have to work through this stuff proactively and just…be ok with the process. It was still quite emotional and difficult, and I had to release something big, just let it go and dive into that feeling. I hate feeling things, so yeah it was tough! I felt ok when we were done though, and Oats is always very relaxed when we do it- he gets so relaxed that he lets ‘himself’ hang out, which is rare for him because he is a very private horse.