Another fun day! Wow this fall has been sooo busy, I can’t keep up! This is a new club and I am loving their ethos- low key, supportive and fun 🙂 Oats and I are NOT fast but as English riders, we are welcomed and having a blast.
We did barrel racing (our weakest), pole bending, keyhole, surprise class and stake class. They were such fun and I borrowed hoof boots so Oats would be comfy this time. He was still very unhurried, lol, but he’s a solid citizen and very safe to show at this venue. Also, the Western horses all had a meltdown about the miniature x-rail in the keyhole lol so that was Oats’ time to shine!
We won the keyhole and might have won the surprise class (holding a lacrosse stick with a ball in it, you ride the stake pattern and on the way back, you deposit the ball from the lacrosse net into a basket!) Oats was a superstar about it 🙂
Love my boy! We also had our friends come, including Oats’ leasor, and it was really awesome to see everyone out again on such a gorgeous day.
After my sad-sack ‘dressage’ test where Oats had a head tossing freakout, I forgot where I was going and he was spooking at everything, I was determined to just let it go. Ok fine, it sucked but I’m camping in a great spot, it’s super hot out and we have trails and a pond to swim in. It could be worse!!
So we trail rode, I focused on letting it go past me and I went for some more swims…Even going skinny dipping when everyone else who was finished for the weekend went on a night time trail ride. Daring eh?? HAh it was so refreshing, I slept amazingly well despite the really loud concert going on all night in a nearby farm (and they had huge tents, a professional sound system and everything!).
The next day of course I didn’t ride until… after 2pm. Was I hanging around, biting my nails, feeling hot and festering? NOPE! I was determined to actually enjoy my experience for once. I fed Oats, cleaned his stall, longed him in the morning (he was tired) and then I went on a little run to check out where the Cowichan Trail connected to where we were the day previous. Then I cooled off with a nice swim, packed up my gear and lazily went over to think about tacking up…to find they had accelerated the schedule! Yikes!
Ha but it was totally fine. We had lots of time still! So I tacked up, and felt fairly confident about the tracks I was planning. There was no real water obstacle, and no bank, both of which challenged Oats last year.
When it was our turn, I was fairly pleased with Oats, with the understanding that he was quite footsore on the rock hard grass, and some areas were worse than others- he couldn’t hold a good canter at all, and did a fair amount of ‘trantering’ where it was very hard. He was a good boy though and I couldn’t wait for my fav- the speed round!!
Oats is NOT fast, but he’s a canny little dude and gets really into it. When we had the speed round come up, he was great!! Of course we got absolutely blown out of the water by some of the other speedier riders and horses but he’s just SO fun 🙂 and I think he really enjoys it too!
We were in last place after our miserable dressage, and then first after Ease of Handling, to settle in second place out of three. Not bad for us and a great way to wrap up our show season. Go Oats!
And the fun keeps rolling! We did the Working Equitation horse show in Glenora a few weeks ago, in mid-August. I personally think that is the best time…even though it was extremely hot. Like, very hot for us. Last year Oats was high as a kite and a bit difficult to manage, so I was more prepared this year to work on his energy levels (though I may have overestimated them and worked him into tiredness a little early?!) guess that’s better than a nutty horse on-course.
I took Friday off work (I have a few days to use up and MAN I am really enjoying it!!) and my working equitation trainer Shelly and I loaded the horses/gear up and set out. The Malahat is pretty much terrible any time of day, but it was particularly nasty on a Friday afternoon so it took us ages to get there (and then about 2+++ hours to get home on Sunday…eff this for a 45 minute journey…).
It was a muggy day, I had already longed and bathed Oats at home so I didn’t stress him by working him further on Friday. Instead, we got the ponies comfortable in the stables, which Oats HATED and was pissed about all weekend, feeling like he was stuck in a cage… And then we went for a swim!
The next morning came really early, it was so hot out that I was slowly roasting in my tent. I went to warm up Oats after his breakfast/cleaning his stall and he was hot hot hot hot to trot! Sooo I hopped off and longed the little turd to get his yahoos out. He did have some! THEN I hopped back on and he was a gentleman.
And then, the waiting game…
And by the time my dressage time was up, I was pretty over it. Hot, tired, Oats was hot and pissy, and some flies were really bothering his eyes. We warmed up fairly nicely but it was very hot and stuffy in the arena, and the minute we trotted down centreline…Oats was freaked riiiight out. His head was on a swivel, he was spooking and flinging his head wildly. I got so distracted by his wacked-out behaviours that I forgot where I was going!! I had to pull up and ask the judge (who is SUPER nice). YEEEEK. I was in such a bad mood after that piss-poor showing. ARGH.
And then I noticed that everyone was crabby after dressage. HAHAH. So true.
After, to put the bad taste of the bad test out of my head, I asked Shelly to come with us on a trail ride. She did and with a few minor Oats moments (where he runs backwards and is an ass every time we stop on the trail..) they did really nicely 🙂
And then I got to go swimming again, and start perseverating about the Ease of Handling Round and Speed Round the next day… No banks this time, thank god (our real nemesis last time!).
A few weeks ago we finally went to a show, in a month where despite my best efforts, EVERYTHING got cancelled on me. 😦
Games day with the horses? Cancelled, not enough entries.
Bachelorette party? Cancelled, bride got COVID.
Movie I wanted to go see? Left the theatres.
And so on…ARGH.
But this is the one thing that actually happened this month. And it went very well, both horses Donato and Oats were superstars and didn’t put a hoof wrong. My scores are not competitive anymore, and I am not entirely sure what to chalk that up to?
Not able to replicate the homework we do at home in the ring?
Me losing focus?
Whatever it is, it’s going on at every show we go to. SIGH. He is very well behaved but we just don’t have magic anymore. Regardless, it was a very nice day and super fun to get out there with our buds. We missed them so much over the years of injury + COVID that despite our lacklustre scoring, it’s just nice to be out, doing the things we love to do, you know?
In a painting! I commissioned a painting of him earlier this year, and was able to pick it up two weeks ago, when I was grabbing my race bib for the Oak Bay half actually.
I love it so much!! The artist is a colleague of mine and incredibly talented 🙂
And how is the old boy? Oh being a terror, like usual 😉 On Saturday I rode, and then let him have turnout while I cleaned his disgusting horse blankets, and then went to bring him in- he can’t be on grass for too long right now, it’s too rich and he is a Cushings pony so too much grass is a big no-no…And I watched as he freaking BLEW past me, and galloped into the farm yard. He went from paddock to paddock, fighting and instigating chaos with each horse. Every time I went to get him, he basically charged past me or AT me. Asshole.
He then went back into his own paddock? Weird.
Guess he’s a time-limited terror?
He’s been super fun in my dressage lessons, mixing in a little test-practice, with some little fences, all kinds of little things to do and all fun! I haven’t had a Working Equitation lesson in awhile, due to being away in Port Townsend, the race, and then this weekend I didn’t have my car (because I was supposed to be in a bachelorette party, which got cancelled)…So I am hoping we can revisit WE practice this weekend.
He does really enjoy it, and I’m hoping there is a WE show in Aug. so we can strut our stuff! (but NO BANKS PLEASE jesus).
It’s been…a lot lately. The return to the workplace is making me realize a whole bunch of truths, namely that I need a big change and my sabbatical won’t be coming soon enough.
Things only change if you change them.
Also, I hate working in the workplace and I find it very distracting. And the time? Oh lord. My time management has gone to hell and back, namely I spend all of it sitting at work and then rushing around at home trying to get all of my life stuff done, like my animals, showering, preparing lunches, etc. Fun times.
Oats had a difficult week last week- he was spooky as hell, seeing things in every single corner of the arena, slamming on the brakes, half rearing, etc. I know him well enough now that this behaviour is seasonal (unfortunately or fortunately…) and it too will pass, but damn, I just wanted a fun pony to ride? Likely there is a big tie-in to his disease and the medication, as this only became a bigger issue the past two years he was diagnosed. 😦 blows either way.
And then he was foot-perfect at my Thursday lesson! Such a lovely little dude, we jumped cross rails one-handed and had the funnest time, which was great b/c mentally I was NOT in a good place (thanks, work). And then I free longed him on Friday and he came up lame. GREEATTT
But no swelling, heat, etc so I chalked it up to stiffness, and his leasor longed him on Sunday and he looked fine. I rode him last night, and while he was still stiff and moving quite ‘flat’ going to the right, he did improve and worked out of it, leading me to believe that it is indeed stiffness?
His leasor is going to ride tonight.
I don’t think the weather has been helping though- it’s been miserable. Freezing cold, unseasonably cold, raining, snowing, wind at 100km/hr almost every day? WTF? Just such a shit spring. No day is a respite. Our allergies also went completely bananas, and poor Gidget had the worst weekend with her ‘reverse sneezing’- honking and gasping allllllll day and the nasal spray we use didn’t work 😦 WTF life. Thanks guys…
This past weekend for a change in gears- we took part in a 2 day clinic with Darcy Henckel!
She was very friendly, agreeable and horsemanship-focused, something Oats and I really appreciated. It was a very focused weekend that reviewed how we approach each obstacle, and obstacle work in general, through a relaxed, calm and horse-forward approach.
Oats was a gem but I WAS prepared lol. I rode the absolute snot out of him on Friday, after not really wanting to ride on Friday (freaking tired man) but I knew I kind of had to, to prepare him to behave for the weekend. He was pretty lazy on Friday, so I was going to call it a day, until I lost his shit spooking and spinning violently at a pony that he sees every single day, soooooo I figured he had a LOT more to give. And boy, did he! We hand galloped for 35 minutes, and he STILL had energy to do another huge spook after that. Face palm.
I called it after his second spook and we cooled him out outdoors. He was so sweaty he was lathered white with sweat. Gee, thanks Oats… I gave him a calming paste the night before, and then Saturday came to the barn to longe the sillies out of him before our session in the AM. Meant a very early morning for me, but you know what? 100% worth it. He was very well behaved for both days, and I was NOT taking any chances of him being nuts or too silly.
He was calm, quiet and cantered nicely in a group. He approached the obstacles with focus and attentiveness, only really losing it at the gate on the second day when he spotted some horses unloading near the entrance of the arena and wanting to look at them instead. Can’t blame him for that!
I really liked how calm, quiet and attentive the trainer was. We weren’t pushed, nobody was, for anything that was too much. A good focused day was had by all 🙂 And I learned more about the obstacles- so many things to recall, ha. A lot of pitfalls you can fall into.
Had a great lesson last night, where we worked on an exercise that was deceptively simple but also tricky: Jump a small 2ft jump on the long side, then canter leg yields weaving through jump standards! We remixed it a few times to change direction, trot the jump, canter the jump, back to trot, and worked on straightness via leg yielding to the fence.
We had a really nice time! It was a reminder to focus on straightness as well, as that was definitely something we struggled with generally when we jumped. Also I haven’t really jump-jumped in awhile so that was nice too 🙂
We had a really fun ride and the ponies were game to try anything! Though they really herp-derped the warm up fence a few good times too hahah. Silly guys!
And how is old Oats? He’s doing great! We haven’t had many WE lessons- due to my race schedule and a few other scheduling conflicts, but we have been enjoying our dressage/multitasking lessons on Thursdays very much 🙂
And on Sunday I was sooooo tired from having friends over that I couldn’t stomach the idea of rigorous ride so we cruised around the block and then I met some friends for lunch (for me that means a gigantic milkshake from Politanos!) 100% a great idea. Get yourself over to Politanos and you will not regret it!!