Fooled you twice

Lesson recap! (Because I didn’t actually ride much this week, due to a hay workshop on Tuesday, taking Wed off because I am so brain fried from work I can’t even deal with anything right now and feel permanently exhausted…)

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Me from literally three years ago. For reference, it was these flowers set alone in the second bounce!

I missed riding though. Two sort of days off and I’m itching to get back and get the shedding blade on Oats, who is shedding like crazy.

We had a jump lesson last night and it was so interesting.  Kudos to my trainer for coming up with the most intricate and challenging courses in the indoor. It’s not an easy feat and it’s hard with limited space/jumps, etc.

We first worked over a gymnastic, trot-in. Here’s where I was really proud of myself.  In the gymnastic, I was having trouble with my hands pulling ‘upwards’ instead of releasing downwards. I was also leaning too far with my upper body. Nicole suggested I think about releasing with a straight arm to fix this. I thought about it and asked if she was thinking of an automatic release-style? Yep she was.

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And the green boxes were the first part of the second bounce!

And I was able to go through the grid, and DO EXACTLY THAT. A modified – not true- auto release to fix my hands/upper body. Do you see that? I thought about what she was asking, tried to picture it in my head, and DID IT! This is amazing for me.

We then started working on other elements – there were a lot!

Start with one skinny on the straight away, to a 3-jump bounce that included a stand-alone skinny filler as the last bounce element  (?!??  this was tricky), back to trot and through the three-fence gymnastic, canter to a two-stride x-rail to small oxer, canter back over the 3-jump bounce going the other way (woo!), to a bounce using just fillers (green box, and flower boxes, to a 3-stride to the first element in the gymnastic, a small x-rail, and then back to the first fence- using it as the final element.

Now, we didn’t just go ahead and tackle this all at once. We had to break it down- work over the bounces as poles, then as fences (this was tough! Oats deked around the filler part of the bounce a few times…bad pony and he stopped once). Then we worked over the two-bounce fillers (also surprised the HECK out of Oats at first, then he charged through it with gusto), and then we put the first half of the course together.

I was REALLY impressed. It sure as heck wasn’t pretty but we made it work!

Go us!!!

 

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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.

As above, so below

Saw this movie the other night and it was pretty good, creepy, suspenseful and scary at times. It’s also a thought-provoker, as it brought up a lot of ‘hidden demons’ that people carry with them and force them to face as they move throughout the film. Interesting.

But anyways, I skipped my dressage lesson on Tuesday, had an ‘ok’ ride on Monday  (honestly can’t really remember what I did, but it was fine?) and did my jump lesson last night. My dad came to watch! That was nice 🙂

Since I noticed last week that Oats’ canter was kind of strange last week (weak on the left lead, unbalanced, got flat when coming into fences and he just clobbered a fence…) I requested we do some work on strengthening his canter quality.

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I found a bunch of photos I had missed from the summer derby. Love it!

So we did! A bunch of raised poles, starting at a distance of 9ft, and going through the exercise on the left, and right lead, slowing bringing the distance in to 8ft, 7ft, and finally collecting in to 6ft. Oats was great! He started off pretty badly, absolutely clobbbering the rails. It was like a yard sale! Horse by braille?? He was clunking them and just not.caring.

Then, he slowly figured it out. He stopped clunking the rails, and started picking up his hoofies.

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Go Oats go!

Then I got even braver and bolder- I suggested to Nicole that we put up a jump on the other side of the arena, so that when I finished the collected poles, we’d turn and go over a jump, and then collect for the poles, and so forth. Like a big circle.

She said ok, but that if she put up a jump, it was going to have to be an oxer!

Gulp!

But that was fine, and you know what? That was why I asked for it. Ha, look at me, asking to jump an oxer…I said sure, as long as it was small. And it did start small, and then we worked up to maybe 2’6”. By the end of the exercise, the poles were set at 6ft, and the oxer was up to soft 2’6”, and we were doing GREAT.

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I am ordering this one too!

What a good day, and what a cool exercise. I was out of breath, sweating like crazy. Oats was sweaty and huffing and puffing. A tough workout for the two of us!

Then my dad and I went out for dinner to the Crooked Goose, and I had my favourite there- the barley mac and cheese with bacon and scallops. SO good and so decadent. Yummmm….

Being comfortable with uncomfortable

Had a jump lesson yesterday and strangely, unlike last week, I wasn’t hyperfocused on the jumps themselves…I had some issues with my back being weird at work (still is, argh) so I guess that kind of took some of my attention away from…JUMPS!

That didn’t mitigate the level of suckitude though- oh man. Gymnastics, which up until this point this summer, I had actually been doing quite well at…Turned on me. And again reminded me about why I kind of hate gymnastics!

Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi.

Oh look, we can do oxers after all (from last year).

We worked over a four-jump gymnastic line of one-strides. All went well until Oats started being less generous with the last fence in the line- maybe he thought it was set a touch too far for him and decided, NOPE not gonna play that game today. And proceeded to slam on the brakes, and climb over the oxer. How that is easier than say, just jumping it, is beyond me…

But yeah we did that about four times, maybe 5 if you’re being generous. ARGH.

And funny enough each time Oats decided he would crawl over the oxer, he left it standing. How???

Gah, it was miserable. Uncomfortable, awkward, you name it, I felt it. I wanted to give up so hard. Nicole set the oxer in a bit, and dropped it down to a cross-rail with the oxer rail behind it, a bit more visually appealing for Oats. He still did it. gag.

But you know what? When I said no way did I want to do it again, Nicole was like, “What’s the worst that can happen? He slams on the brakes and crawls over. You’ve already done that a bunch of times, so what?” And I was like, yeah and it was the worst!!!!

But, she had a point. So we are sucking out loud at this today. Get it done and over with. We had another crappy go-round of the gymnastic, and moved on to a short course (that went really well, hah) and then tried the gymnastic again. One more failure, but I got proactive and spanked his butt over one of the jumps- he gave me quite the kickback for that, and one more time–and the message got through. Finally, we got it. Nice, forward, no crawling.

So, it took the whole lesson- multiple failures with the gymnastic- but nowhere did I really feel panicked or worried…Just kind of annoyed. I know that not every lesson can be flawless, sometimes you have to embrace the uncomfortable, shitty ride and know that if you see it out today, maybe next time will be better (or even the end of the ride will be better). Quite similar to my dressage schooling with Oats on Sunday- it was kind of a battle, but it was a battle worth doing and winning.

I see you, gymnastics from hell, and I raise you one successful go-around!

Oh and coursework remains one of our strengths….No wonder I’ve been having so many relatively flawless lessons lately, duh, no gymnastics in them! hahaha I’ve been fooling myself.

Jump jump jump! Lesson update (now with 100% more outdoor!)

That’s right, feast your eyes…

The beautiful outdoor. Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

The beautiful outdoor. Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

We’re back in the outdoor and enjoying every moment of it! It officially opened this week for lessons and so Oats and I rode in it Wed and Thurs (lesson day). He was a bit foot-sensitive, so he is getting shoes next Thursday to help him out.

And I have to say that while I LOVE riding in the outdoor and it feels soooo nice to get out in the fresh air and out of the dusty coal-miner tin can (indoor), riding/jumping outdoors is tough! I felt tired, very tired. After jumping 1 course, I was out of breath, and felt weak. And I am no slouch in the workout dept., I  mean I am racing a 10k this weekend after all and have been racing all winter, ha.

We started off dealing with the right-bend issue at the trot, then the canter (this issue would resurface throughout the lesson, because I am apparently incapable of dealing with more than 1 thing at a time when jumping- and it very quickly becomes THE JUMP!).

Then, we worked over a small gymnastic, x-rail to 3-stride small vertical, and then added in a small bending line to a pink x-rail- then vertical because Oats found it very easy. And then we brought it all together into a mega-course [felt mega to us, because there were 10 whole jumps in it!]. We did the course twice, and I had the option of doing it a 3rd time but wimped out – was feeling tired and kind of weak- but next time..oh next time, I’ll woman up and I’l do it!!

I was quite pleased with how the course went, the jumps were small and manageable except for one oxer on the diagonal that started to eat my soul…Ha. Oh and the line that I bungled EVERY time we went over it. By the time we’d get to it, I’d be tired and start kind of….not riding…so instead of the good 6 strides, we’d chip, land in a heap, and pull out a weak 7-strides. Both times! Gah!

Sorry Oats!

I’ll figure it out next time haha. So, straightness and bend were problems…my position was pretty good, and the gymnastic and for the most part, other bending lines rode very nicely!