Good great fine ok: Jump lesson!

My jump lesson was not without some biggie mistakes- ie- really shitty screeching-to-a-stop chips (ugh!!) and my hands getting too high, and let’s not forget our fantastical fumbling through¬†poles in a bounce exercise.

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Soon…

But you know what? I still had fun! AND this is big for me- got my coach to video it so I could watch it later (and still kind of cringe at my hilariously bad riding, but still…) I got it and watched it. Go me!

And go Oats!

We still had some really good jump efforts, and our work through the gymnastic bounce worked out really well in the end- in one direction anyways, jumping it through the other way was always kind of a ‘surprise’ for Oats until he recovered for the second and third element.

HA, silly pony!

I have a growing ear infection in both ears (yiiick) and was feeling really tired and crummy last night, so being able to carry myself to my lesson and ride through a lot of jumps meant a lot to me! They weren’t high, but hey, I did it!

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Hot moment: Week update?

So this week. Yeah….

Not much riding happened- 1 ride on Tues where Oats was hot to trot, and I loved it! And then it blizzarded again on Wednesday, so I walked home and didn’t leave the house all night…

And then a jump lesson Thursday after all the snow melted and it was a slushy mess everywhere!

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So, my week and my winter…

My lesson was pretty good, some big oops moments (like, disunited canter and me turning Oats too fast and him slipping so badly I swear I thought he was going to FALL ON ME) he saved my freaking butt!).

We worked on a gymnastic- canter-in bounce to four strides, and then coming around to a single fence on the outside line, and then the gymnastic, but we then did a bending line the second time around to a small oxer. That’s where I screwed up a bunch of times, grabby hands on my left hand pulling Oats’ face around. Shit!

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…

We then went from the small oxer to the angled fence, and then angled it the other way, and then to a small ‘step’ type jump, back to the oxer, and to a single fence on the diagonal.

We made some big mistakes, Oats got surprised by the angled jump and slammed on the brakes but it was like, oh hey no big deal, let’s try that one again. And he jumped it totally fine, phew!

So, even though my lessons aren’t perfect or necessarily really nice looking, I am working through some things and enjoying the process. I didn’t want Nicole to put them up though, so that’s my next goal- be ok with the course, be slower through my turns, rein in my rogue elbows & left hand, and BE BRAVER about jumps going up. The jumps themselves? Totally fine, not a problem.

So, do it, ME!

Also work has been a nightmare this week and I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping. UGHHH.

And the hits keep coming?

Aka I fell off in my jumping lesson AGAIN. Hilariously, it was at the easiest fence on course…One that I was rocking last week at a higher height even?

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Jumping two years ago- photo courtesy of Christi.Funny I thought this was really high back then.

So, the good news is that my jumping ahead and falling off isn’t fence-dependent at all, or ¬†dependent on going up or down the hill either.

The bad news is…Why does it keep happening? I felt overconfident, turned for the jump, thought I saw my distance and…WENT FOR IT! Without the horse, basically. I used to have a terrible jump-ahead habit that I thought I’d cured. Turns out, I haven’t.

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More good news- my mindset seems ok with this failure. It’s ok to fail, it was even kind of funny last night because I didn’t re-injure my shoulder, I just sort of rolled off Oats and onto the ground, taking the jump down with me. Oats stepped politely over it. I got back on, and I didn’t even have a BIG adrenaline rush like last time. I just felt like,¬†whaa?? And that was silly! I was even kind of laughing?

So, yeah got back on and rode it just fine. And then we did the entire course again- I will admit to a few mild butterflies, but it was fine. We were just rockin’ the gymnastic this week too, something that gave me a hard time last week (hint: this week we got to canter in to them, and that was sooooo much better!!).

So why the falls? I don’t even feel particularly insecure!

Oats was jumping fine last night, he gave some boxes a hard look but went over them anyways, the outside line that kind of gives me trouble rode fine- if a bit crooked…as per ususal- our two-stride line that I fell off at last week first rode in 3 (eek) but then rode in two with some big clucking from Nicole. She checked the line after and saw it was set a tad long for Oats, so that may have been it. And yeah, we were rocking and rolling through the gymnastic, even with some big blue barrels set under it to give the horses something interesting to look at!

And then yeah, the easiest single fence on course and I blew it. HA?!

Oh well, this is another valley in the learning process I suppose. One day I’ll get it.

Horse show recap: Inaugural Cedar Vista hunter show!

So, the horse show season is upon us and I was kind of wondering what I was going to show in this year. In past years I have shown at the Appy shows (Vancouver Island Appaloosa Horse Club), and Westside Stables shows. There are also the higher-rated and higher-cost SSITS shows that I have NOT ventured out to yet- too much $$ and we’re not polished enough.

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Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

All in all, I was feeling pretty blah about the show season. Like, I want to show and feel confident out there but was bored by my options: Appy or Westside. Yawn…

Enter the new show season at Cedar Vista! Close-ish, new, with great footing and some really snazzy jumps. Offering a fairly reasonable series that would be brand-new to everyone. Sign me up!

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Pats for a good boy. Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

They had jumpers on Saturday and hunters on Sunday, we opted for hunters. Loaded good old Oats up and away we went!

I entered him in the 2’3” hunters and one 2’6” class, and the division included one equitation on the flat class. We warmed up in the ring and Oats was a tad looky, but overall very well behaved. The open schooling was set low, but we marched over everything–like a pro!

Then, we waited a little bit- entries were low- until my division. We were able to warm up over the new height and then start. I was feeling a strange combination of sort of nervous, but overall quite blasé at the same time. The jump heights were fine, but I wanted to get more nervous?

Then- in we go! Our first round was great, second was fine, and my eq was kind of terrible. Chip-city. UGH. Also we botched the right lead change to one line every.single.time. Ouch…

But in good news, Oats is getting his skip changes more consistently if you don’t count that one line, and my pace was pretty good, I didn’t feel too nervous! The wheels kind of fell off in my equitation…I got too ahead of myself, and anxious. Oh well. There was always the 2’6”…¬†More warm-ups at this height (Oats and I did a LOT of jumping at this show). He was rolling so smoothly- it felt effortless. We called it quits and got ready to go in for good this time.

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Yay! Good pony! Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

And we chipped the first jump and I was SOoooo not straight. Gulp! I could hear my trainer yelling at me to calm down and breath! Right–got it! The second was better, and then the course just¬†flowed from there…What a great way to end my rounds! Go Oats.

It was a lovely one to finish on, and the increased heights didn’t bother me in the slightest. It was just 1 flat class left- and we have historically either done really well (top 3) or horribly (crowhopping, bucking, rude, rushing, excused) in our flat classes.

Oats managed to keep his hair on and only had one goofy moment when a horse passed us- he started shaking his head, ready to crowhop at the canter. We even had a few small ‘tests’ from the judge- drop stirrups at the trot, posting trot w/o stirrups, and then pick them up again. AND sitting trot! I know, crazy eh?

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Accepting ribbons. Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

Second for us! Woop!!

Good job Cedar Vista- friendly people, niiiice prizes, good company, great footing and fancy jumps. What more can a girl ask for?! I will be back!

Fail Friday- courtesy of my jump lesson?

Well, when I write ‘Fail’ I really mean- we did it, and it wasn’t perfect or pretty.

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha. Yesterday was a bit higher I believe?

We were back to doing small courses, and the jumps got up to 2’6”, and the wheels kind of fell off for Oats and I. I started doing things with my hands (pulling him up over the jump, leaning, chasing, arghh) and he started doing his thing- trying to jump from a standstill- the ultimate chip.

BUT here’s where it changes- this would normally be like, IT for me. Some ugly jumps at the peak of our height, ability-wise? Noooo way. And an oxer at 2’6”? Extra nooo way. But you know what? It was ok. I kind of mentally kicked myself- this was the last course and we’d actually been doing really nicely- and on we went!

Sure the oxer rode really weird pretty much every time- a big LAUNCH courtesy of  Air Oats, but after we landed (in kind of a heap), I picked up the reins, and just kept riding. I even re-approached the oxer, mistakenly thinking I could ride it better the second time Рnewsflash- not really! And kept trying.

We had 1 stop- it was at a vertical and I just wasn’t organized enough to support Oats properly. My fault, and it wasn’t a nasty stop, it was just heyyyy we’re doing what now?

Sorry Oats!

We even did the double-stacked haybales again, which Oats seems to regard as a type of brush jump that he can like, skim his legs barely over??? Ha silly pony. He did the two-stride (set at 2’3” thank god) lovely every time. He is ¬†excellent at combinations, goes on total autopilot and just motors through them. I even got a really interesting feeling of ‘kickback’ from him when he was powering through. It felt great!

The rest of the course- not so great. I keep trying though, and I know I can do it.

The difference between the past and now? I make mistakes. I’m allowed to make them. I learn from them, and I move on.

 

Oats goes for six days a week!

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!

Don't mess with Mr. Oats!

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.

You before me

Jump lesson last night, and my legs were still not quite 100% (shoot!!) but I went with it…

We worked on a very twisty-turny course set QUITE low (all x-rails and I think verticals at 1ft..haha). It was tricky! I felt like I certainly wasn’t anxious about the jump heights, but I was feeling a bit of performance anxiety- kind of ate it at a few jumps (got left behind, kind of pulled at Oats over an awkward distance at another fence, and we slowly ground to a halt at small x-rail when we lost steam!) So…The mistakes were definitely my fault, haha.

Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi.

Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi.

But, the jumps were so low, it wasn’t really anything to get worried about? All part of the learning process (can’t believe how I am getting left behind these days, whoa it feels weird?!).

So- I’m making mistakes but it’s ok to make mistakes? As my trainer said, ”Oats is a saint!!” Haha yes he is- he can be a big jerk sometimes, but he’s a very honest horse and quite a tryer most days.

Cute Buster Bunny just because...

Cute Buster Bunny just because…

The course was so turny that we broke it down into 4- jump sections at a time, so I could school through the first four, take a break, and learn the next 4-jump section! It was confusing haha. There were 11 jumps total, and the funny thing is that the course didn’t really feel too onerous, and I normally complain heartily about anything over 8-jumps. Well look at us now! And we jumped it twice haha.

I also left feeling like I could have easily jumped the course with *some* of the jumps set up higher. Note: Not all of them!

But some of them!

So- A good feeling to leave me with ‘wanting more’…