Throwback Thursday: That one time in Vancouver…

Throwback Thursday to when I remember having a lot of fun riding a silly little pony- Starr!

A million years ago.

A million years ago.

I goofed off on her, ponied her off other horses, jumped bareback, rode in a horse show (??) raced another girl – on foot- and just had a all-around blast. I always said if I had two horses, one would be a show horse and one would be a tiny goof-off pony like Starr to bomb around on and just have FUN!

Go pony!

Go pony!

And how about my current pony? Well yesterday I did another equine counseling session and I relayed some things I have been struggling with (still). Fear of falling off due to a big spook in the outdoor, defensive riding, making better choices for both of us, having productive and GOOD dressage lesson and have fun galloping out in the field!

Pony jumpers with Starr

Pony jumpers with Starr

So, we took Oats to the outdoor and she demonstrated how to work him through the ‘spooky spots’ on the longe first, to establish a connection- this is key to what I feel I’ve been missing with him whenever he misbehaves or gets silly in the ‘spooky corners.’ He did fuss and fight a bit, but that got shut down really fast and the good, honest work began.

It was great to see, and productive for my poor overwrought brain to watch him behave in the scary corner. Now, to fix me and how I ride in the outdoor…A bigger challenge, perhaps?

Octopus stew and other handicrafts

Well not technically octopus stew- we braised it in wine, and then grilled it and then served it over salad. Delicious! Very beefy texture.

Octopus stew?

Octopus stew?

We made this awhile ago and I never had the chance to showcase it, haha.

Also sparked my mind because we were very handmade this weekend, making an apple crumble and apple chips in the dehydrator. Yum! Love them!

And how did other things go? Oats was good, got a big clip (hahaha) and so did Gidget. Haircuts for all! So no ride for Oats Saturday, because he had to stay dry and clean for the clip and tranq.

Sleepy clipped Oats

Sleepy clipped Oats- photo courtesy of Nicole

He rode really nicely on Sunday, I schooled a few small fences outdoors and was quite pleased with his ride. Kept it short because I was so happy!

Gidget also gets a haircut

Gidget also gets a haircut

I went on a ok run on Saturday and a better run on Sunday- after getting my knee checked out by professionals on Friday, I feel like I have a better idea how to manage my knee pain- starting with a better running brace to hold my kneecap in place. Getting that tomorrow, yes! And I am also getting my knee x-rayed- hope to get that done next week.

All in all, a more productive, less stressful and happier weekend.

How you grow up

So *takes a deep breath* I did it- rode in my lesson yesterday with Karen (as I mentioned in my previous post, I was soooo undecided about it).

Success?

Success?

Even right up until when she came to the arena, I was like no, I’m not riding. Yes I am riding. No, I’m not. Yes. No. Yes.??

I kind of felt like tearing up when I went through how I was feeling with her, but funny enough she said hey let’s go ahead with business as usual, and act like he’s going to be perfect. If he isn’t, we will deal with that when it happens.

Dressage days

Dressage days

So….I just didn’t have a lot of time to get angsty and dramatic. I had to stay focused, on the game, and couldn’t let my mind wander.

We worked, and when I said he felt like he was getting rude or pissy with me, we worked constructively through it. Very positive, and very thorough.

I learned some really good tools to help me cope with his behaviour, like working on right-bend from the left side, using the wall to help me if I felt unsafe or concerned, and getting after him in a tighter circle if I felt like he was going to try to toss me off (it never got to the bucking point but I did use the circle once or twice when I felt uneasy).

In short? My heart was in my freaking throat!!! But I was committed to work through it, and determined to see this through. Every time he ‘threatened’ or tried to intimidate me, I wanted to FREEZE and grab.

The tools I am learning are helping me move beyond the ‘frozen’ fetal position, and get more proactive in managing how I am riding Oats.

And it is tough! Particularly when my first instinct is to grab upwards and ‘save myself’ when he bucks, instead of being able to ‘feel out’ when and if a buck or pissy behaviour is going to happen and proactively deal with it, before it escalates into a buck.

We even cantered, though I said NO WAY at first! Right lead 3-4 strides, left some good circles, though I was grabby and nervous at first.

It was a good, extremely productive lesson. Oats was coated in sweat (needs clipping SO HARD right now) and I was sooo sweaty too. It was not a pretty ride, but it was one that we honestly needed to get us over this dangerous plateau we are on.

So, while I am not exactly over the moon happy, and frankly still worried about what the hell I’m doing with him most days- I’m also committed to at least trying what I am learning with him.

And I asked how long it would take to get us through this rough spot and Karen said it can take months- 3 months or 6 months or whatever. WTF? I was like, nooooooo I’m doomed to be a walk-trot rider forever!!! (dramatically).

Hah, well she said it is like training a child- lots of reminders, pushing boundaries, etc. You can’t just do it for a week or 1 lesson and be done, blah.

I just can’t help but feel like I get/got frustrated because my version of progress right now feels like a freaking circle, nevermind a linear line or squiggle line. What gives?

Pick one: Make complaints or ask for favours. You don’t get both.

In today’s blog entry, I will do both: It’s a good ride/bad ride scenario.

How Oats feels about me

How Oats feels about me

Ask for favours: Good lesson on Saturday! I started off by feeling anxious again. I’m struggling with performance anxiety right now, a lot of it. Everything seems to trigger it- thinking about past horse shows, looking at my old jumping photos, old videos from horse shows, watching a jumping lesson go before mine…It makes me feel anxious about my jumping, soooo anxious.

And I hate it. I voiced my concerns to Nicole and I was saying that I’m really having a tough time right now- I know I’m riding better, not jumping ahead, but I get SO ANXIOUS thinking about jumping- even just ‘thinking’ about it! Yikes.

She is very understanding, and we went right to it- and worked on gridwork, which by the way I tend to hate! hahah.

Oats flopped through it, and I felt like it kind of sucked, but when we got his ‘on fire’ motion started, the grid started getting easier. I guess we get too ‘blah blah blah’ and humdrum about jumping, and he kind of just flops through a line. BUT when I get him revved up and his energy up, we GO GO GO! And he meets the gymnastic perfectly. (Note: We had very few times actually like this).

This is interesting to me, mainly because I hate riding gymnastics, and I never knew why. Well, the why is because we go into it without enough ‘oomph’ and sometimes I let him canter in, and we flub the whole shebang.

Also straightness- still an issue. We jumped with guide poles, haha.

And now we move on to Sunday’s ride, which is make complaints: It sucked sucked sucked. Sucked so hard I was like WTF we had a good lesson on Saturday? Could have fooled me!

We were just blah, I got too into Oats at the canter and he was blowing past my aids, being rude, and I was getting rude back…UGH.

Jumping, he had a wicked right drift that I somehow DID NOT NOTICE until I took out the entire jump with my right foot. ARHG.

Hopped off, put it back up, hopped back on, jumped it (shittily) and managed to get 1. pop up jump, 1 left-behind jump, and 1 knock-down the whole jump for my jumping of the day. Wonderful. I decided to stop, before I really screwed up any more.

Jesus.

So….The show I have coming up, in October? Yeah, not so sure it is a good idea right now. How do I keep getting worse?

Needs a drink

Needs a drink

In other news, I also went for a nice run with husband, helped the barn girls rake down the new footing for the indoor arena, made applesauce with apples from the barn, visited ‘The Drake’ for a drink in the evening (All Souls Chocolate/Pumpkin Porter fromĀ ParallelĀ 49) and made a rhubarb ‘fool’ this weekend.

A productive weekend if I do say so myself even if I was in a BAD Mood after my interesting ‘ride’ on Sunday. Hmm…Needing perspective is a daily, if not hourly, thing for me I guess!