Realized I’d misjudged my week a tad, and poor Oaty got ridden six days in a row! In my defense, some of those days were quickie easy rides, nothing too in-depth…But two of those days were lessons!
I wish he was a bit meaner so he’d have some tail left!
My dressage lesson on Tuesday was good, some dolphin-hopping from Oats that I can chalk up to him not being very nice about trot+forward+contact, but eventually he left it alone and cooperated. He did get a bit fussy and balky with the hopping at some points, particularly during our lateral work at the walk, and then during our canter-trot transitions, but Karen was quick to catch on to that, as was I, and we adjusted our exercise to get him moving out and respecting my leg!
I was a bit cranky about his jerky little attitude at points, but Karen was also there to remind me that he really is getting much better! That is very true.
Wednesday I was going to take off, but because it was Rememberance Day, and I had the whole day, I rode. Ha, sorry Oats! Nothing to write home about for that ride, he was a bit sticky off my leg again- shades of Tuesday’s ride- so I firmly reminded that we GO, he did one sassy kick-out and was good as gold for the rest of the ride.
Thursday- Jump night! The whole gang was there, which is great. I used to not like having anyone around during my lessons- it was a bit strange for me because I normally ride late at night and the barn is deserted- but I quickly learned that riding with people around is something I can learn to like. It also helps me with my performance anxiety- nobody is particularly interested in your ride!
We did a deceptively difficult exercise, and it exposed some of my and Oats’ weak spots. A canter-in gymnastic of pole-jump-pole-1 stride-jump (oxer)- pole.
Oats was actually quite the fast-thinking superstar for the grid for the most part! I screwed up when we got to the oxer point, felt nervous and pulled back on his mouth–oops! It was purely my anxiety basically, so the next time around Oats declined the oxer…Shoot!
We broke the oxer down, rode it on a very loose rein until he was confirmed again, and then brought it back up to the oxer, and he was good! I’m starting to sense a bit of a theme with my rides lately, they aren’t perfect…In fact, we make mistakes. A lot of them! My ride is basically mistake-management?
And also I am having to let go of my clutching and ‘helping’ through grids. Oats isn’t liking that, and everytime I do it, I have to go back to riding on a very loose rein through the grids?! Whaa?
I did request though, that when we went back to the exercise and worked it into the course that it stay a vertical- I don’t want to accidentally sour Oats on the exercise, and I hoped to leave the oxer on a good note.
Nicole respected my wishes and we worked through the canter grid with the vertical, to a left hand turn to a circle over the green boxes (oh god, the green boxes that we screwed up every time we went through, to a small vertical on the long side- easy, a circle again to the left, canter the diagonal to get a lead change…that never happened in behind, argh, right hand circle of the green box- the green box required a 2X attempt every time! And finish with a strong canter across the diagonal over a small vertical. The best jump of the day!
So, some good, some bad. It’s been interesting for sure. We are in a learning process and it feels very different from before. It’s almost like I am allowing myself to make mistakes? I’m not just skating the edge of mediocre, I’m diving right in and making the choice to try. Sure, it’s ugly as hell sometimes, but isn’t that a bit better than just sort of never going there? I am trying very hard not to let my performance anxiety run the show. I will screw up, and that’s ok.
So, very good at times, and very bad at times is, in my mind, looking a bit better than just sort of…scraping by all the times.