Things happen. That’s all they ever do.

Enjoying this song by Dawes recently.

2015-12-06 10.57.19

Oats, looking as impressive as always.

It feels lately like all I am doing is ranting about the weather (terrible), work (more terrible) and just feeling draggy, grouchy, griping, unhappy, burned out, fried, stressed, sleepless, exhausted, etc etc etc.

I’m happy to report that today, unlike every single day this week, the sun is shining, it is slightly warmer out, and I do not feel completely fried, though it is a Friday and those days are notoriously nightmarish at work, sooooo yeah. But hey, I’ll take it right now.

Last night though was a different story, ha. I walked home in the longest, bitterest, saddest walk ever. It was FREEZING, rain/frozen rain/hail/snow and blasting wind. It was quite epic in a really bad way. I was soaked, even with an umbrella, and had to take my dog out, and then get dressed and go ride in my Thursday jump lesson.

To say I wasn’t really feeling it is the understatement of the century, ha.

But, I did.

…And I didn’t regret it. I never do.

We had a fine warmup, it was a long warmup b/c I was FROZEN. I needed to warm up longer than Oats, who was feeling pretty fine. We worked over a really crazy exercise- two outside lines, and then a gymnastic in the middle of the ring.

It was pretty nuts! Small jumps-only x-rails, and we really enjoyed it. I was able to really ‘ride’ my ride. Sit tall, make decisions, ride forward, and go with it!

We’d jump the first outside line, and the slice the three fences on a diagonal- then jump the next outside line, and slice the fences on the diagonal going the other way. Then over small flowerboxes as skinnies (we failed at this EVERY TIME. Oats deked out, hahahhahah) and the over the gymnastic in the middle.

I like it! A good challenge, even if I was a grumpy Gus about the entire day.

Really enjoying the creativity. Go pony go! Loving what my trainer has for me each lesson.

Advertisements

Can’t get enough of myself

Dressage semi-private on Tuesday, and my willpower/enthusiasm was greatly waning. I had a really bad stomach ache with stabbing pains at work, and it didn’t go away all night. I just wasn’t feeling great, at all.

15492565_1037279729716968_1957635225815813949_n

Also, Oats’ friend moved away on Tuesday. I bet he misses him!

It got cold here again, after a blissful period of 9-10 degrees it plummeted back down to -1 or so. GOD.

Despite my stomach trouble, I was able to mostly ride it out. I only lurched sickeningly a few times at the canter and our ride was actually pretty good though- Oats was amenable to most of my suggestions, and we worked on transitions: walk/quick steps/trot/medium trot/canter. All while asking the horses to ‘stretch’ and reach down while still engaging their back. We did get some nice steps in the trot/quick steps, but in the canter it mostly turned into Oats flying around with his head down instead of being, well, engaged.

Oh well, at least he was trying! His attitude has been quite good about dressage so maybe we have turned a corner with less hissy-fits in our future. One can hope!

As I rode Oats 4 x days in a row, I took yesterday off and went for a jog instead. I am glad I did it, but my face was frozen after and it kiiiind of felt like a mistake, as it was BLASTING wind and absolutely freezing. My legs felt like blocks of concrete. My foot started hurting again (oh joy) and I was kind of feeling grouchy about how slowly I am running right now.

I do not have high hopes or expectations for my upcoming race- the weather is supposed to be incredibly shitty AGAIN (every race this season has had just terrible weather) freezing, raining/snowing. Lovely.

And in case you can’t remember, here is a recap of what the weather was like at each race:

  • Prairie Inn Harriers 8k: Freezing cold, with a blizzard starting once the race ended
  • MEC Rust Buster 10k: Freezing, about 0 deg the entire race.
  • Cobble Hill 10k: Cold, pouring rain the entire race.
  • Sooke 10k: My prediction? Everything at once! Freezing cold, rain mixed with snow, wind? We shall see 🙂

And to top it off, I burned my hand last night, and jacked up my wrist somehow (still not sure how?). Add that to my ever-present chronic and horrible allergies, and my bum foot, and I feel like a falling-apart robot right now! At least I am sleeping pretty well?? Love that.

Jump lesson tonight, and I hope it’s not completely freezing. Though, it will be.

A good ride and a not-so-good ride

Had my jump lesson on Wednesday and Oats and I were fresh and ready to go! I had taken Tuesday off to attend the lousy Hudson’s Bay event with my mom.

IMG_0617

He was jumping better than this over the skinny!

I think that day off really lets Oats shine- I was SO pleased with his attitude jumping, and it just felt so smooth and perfect. How often do I get to say that? Haha. We worked on a bounce gymnastic, canter-in slightly collected. It scaled up to three bounce jumps (tiny), to a 1-stride jump. We then worked in the gymnastic, to a small course that included a single box ‘skinny’ fence. I was a bit concerned about the box- no wings, no guide rails…What was the likelihood of a run-out??

We started the course and he was bang on! It was great. We then approached the skinny box and Oats did have a good firm look at it, and up and over, perfectly. Wow! I was caught up celebrating and forgot to ride my last fence in the course- oops, haha.

166040_10156651477730191_759294110433106305_n

Last year- a very eager Oats.

Time for a second go-around: And it rode just as perfectly as the first. How often do I get that? How about never, hahah. I was so pleased with Oats, a fairly technical gymnastic, he was working hard and huffing and puffing, but he was focused, rhythmic and never wavered. Good boy Oats, I love your efforts.

My trainer said she could tell how good our rhythm was due to Oats’ snorting- he was snorting so rhythmically it was funny- “snort, snort snort- jump- snort snort snort snort-jump,” haha.

But I have to say, I was thrilled with how smooth and focused it felt.

And then there was yesterday…Ugh. I got on and Oats felt weird. We walked for a long time, because he just felt ‘lateral’ and not forward. I went up to trot, and then canter, and his canter sucked. He was short striding, and backed way off my leg. He was soooo stiff. Ahh, poor Oats.

Clearly the work the night before, probably combined with standing around all day in the rain doing nothing= stiff as anything pony. Probably a bit sore too. So, I went down to more walk, some trot and just did some light bending, serpentines, circles and called it a day.

He is getting today off, and I hope he moves around a little more- I hate when he is feeling this way.

Free to be me!

I had my dressage lesson on Tuesday and my legs were still kind of killing me (see Halloween half-marathon and my apparent lack of fitness…). I was SO tempted to cancel the lesson, just take it easy again.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Did I? Nope! I am proud of myself for committing, even when I was tired, my legs still hurt, I was having a lot of trouble with stairs- going down them was not easy until yesterday- but I did it. Oh and it was absolutely pouring cats and dogs. Yeeeesh.

It was a good, thorough and challenging lesson.

Things Oats is allowed to do now: Express himself appropriately. His major hissy-fits of yesteryear are no longer, apparently, and now he is okay to say ‘THIS IS HARD!!’ and then…move on and accept it.

Phew!!

We worked on lateral work at the trot, and he had a few ‘moments’ but funny enough Karen really liked when he was haughty with a little more attitude, because his trot suddenly became very ‘prancy’ and bouncy, instead of flat and draggy like usual. So, we could use it! Ha, take that, pony 🙂

After some fairly extensive lateral work, we brought in transitions- walk/trot in shoulder-in, and haunches in. This was tough, I’m not going to say it was easy. But, it was good work, and I was very pleased with the solid effort-not without minor drama- from Oats.

Then we moved on to holding a nice mid-level neck with a lot of bend inwards, from a slow trot to a canter, holding the bend. Easier said than done…We struggled with that more. I had a hard time keeping the bend, not letting Oats throw his head up and out, and keeping the canter with the bend. Ah, things…

We finished the lesson by working on ‘spins’ sort of. Getting Oats to disengage his hindquarters and let me ‘spin’ him, instead of bracing against me. It wasn’t 100% successful, but I could feel a real change from the left spin to the right. A very interesting technique, and not something I am used to doing.

Bonus- all that work let me forget how tired and achy my legs were!

A good pony.

 

Weekend update: Storm of the century?

All last week, we had pretty dire warnings about how bad the storms were going to be. 100km/hour wind, torrential rain, the tail end of a typhoon, wow it was going to be something! 

Newsflash: it wasn’t.

6035217

This is where I live…

It got super windy in the afternoon on Saturday, big gusts, and it rained heavily for about an hour and that was it. Kind of a letdown eh? Friday the storm was apparently gearing up, so I put on my running gear and ran along the breakwater to check things out. It was pretty wild, and felt totally exhilarating, until I had to turn around and run back. It was sooooo terrible- rain pelting my eyeballs, felt like nails being driven into my eyes, rain pounding into my ears so hard I got an earache! Wow, not doing that one again!

Saturday I rode Oats in the morning and it was so busy- the arena was packed! A lesson, and two of us hacking. Sigh…Oh well, Saturdays are a good lesson time so no wonder it was busy.

Saturday night I was at a birthday part for a friend, and had a fabulous time. They rented out a restaurant and we all paid $15/person, and got all the appetizers we could eat! I had a few ciders as well.

Sunday I was out at the barn, and determined to do some lateral work on Oats (it’s like homework, I never do it and kind of hate it, but it is good for you!) I had planned on doing that work on Saturday but busy arena =/= opportunities for lateral work at all. So I had the arena to myself on Sunday, yesss!

Except there was also a jump set up, and some good poles, and I also wanted to keep working on my eye….

So I ended up doing a bunch of pole work, hopped over the small jump, and then worked on lateral work. It was kind of a bust so I focused on straightness and an engaged trot instead. We were both sweating like crazy after! A tough workout for ol’ Oats and he needs to be clipped in the WORST way.

After riding, I let Oats graze for a bit in the longe ring, while I…gag…cleaned the rat crap out of my locker. I was gagging while I did it, there was SO MUCH OF IT. Oh my god, so gross. So disgusting. I feel all shivery and grossed out just thinking about it. Yuck. I brought bathroom spray and my rubber gloves and just..man.

My locker has turned into effing RAT CENTRAL. Oh..no. So nasty. I got home, ripped off all my clothes at the front door and put them straight into the washing machine and went to my bedroom in my underwear–everything was contaminated. YUCK!

Forever Today

Yes I’m on a real I’m from Barcelona kick right now, apparently. Anyways, I had my jump lesson in the pouring rain last night, and I did my dressage semi-private also in the rain on Tuesday. This is a recap of Tuesday!

13580617_10100576117658616_3552849412023191873_o

Back to the field!

We worked in the big field – ooh- exciting! As it turns out, I need to be better about not ‘Yahoo-ing’ around the field only, because when I go to do work in it, it gets exponentially…harder….when your pony is used to kind of just screwing around in it.

Nevertheless, it was fun! And hard! But fun! We used the angles and the elevation- small hills, going sideways across the field, terrain changes, to our advantage and as exercises.

My lesson partner and I warmed up, and then we worked on straightness with Karen. Easier said than done in a field, wow. I wobbled my

13576679_10100576117673586_1685530489258666887_o

Dressage like this, except it was grey and rainy.

way across, was not straight pretty much anytime…Even with picking a focal point (trees). We trotted across the field, walked, halted, did a turn on the forehand 3X (I got seasick doing this?? He was spinning too fast and I was getting dizzy. Karen said to look up instead of at his neck if I was feeling sick), and then trot or canter back in a straight line, trot, walk, halt and more turns on the forehand in the opposite direction.

Next, we cantered up a hill, trotted the turn and did sitting trot (VERY collected/controlled) down. Wow. My abs!

A few reps of this, and we worked to an even more steep hill and attempted canter down it. Key word here: Attempted. Yeah it kind of went oh, big trot, canter, SPLAT!

A big farm machine started rattling across the field next door, and you could just hear what the horses were thinking…BOOM! So we trotted to the top of the field to continue/wrap up our lesson. It was more trot-canter transitions, and in the attempt on the downhill, be totally ok with not getting the transition. It was more important to make the attempt, and be able to control the trot immediately afterwards. It was pretty hard! Oats got excited on the downhill and wanted to start shaking his head, etc.

It rained on and off the whole time. Yay…Our summer weather has been SO BAD. UGH. What shitty weather! If it’s not raining/drizzly/grey/foreboding, it’s sunny, cold and soooo freaking windy. Blah.

13584631_10100576117733466_2286051121651904128_o

Good rides, bad weather.

Weekend part 2: The Farm!

As I mentioned, we had a crazy busy weekend with family visiting. Sunday we decided to go to my in-laws farm, as it’s a great place, they wanted to see my parents when they came, and bonus- lambs!!

I got up early (thanks, daylight savings time…) and drove to the barn to do a dressage school on Oats. I wanted to kind of get him revved up and working hard, something I really didn’t want to do with my sister riding him. And so this was a great chance to do it! We worked on an exercise that seems really simple, but as with horses ‘always simple, never easy’…Canter down the long side on the quarter line, as straight as you can do it.

166040_10156651477730191_759294110433106305_n

From my lesson on Thursday. No wonder I didn’t stick the landing well!

Yeah, that was a lot harder than it seems. Not straight, breaking to trot, swapping leads?! Oh, Oats!

So, it ended up being a tough, though very simple, exercise. We worked on it both ways, and I mixed it up a bit by asking for trot, trotting straight, walking on the straight line and then picking up canter. Medium rate of success on that.

My family met me at the barn and we zipped off to the farm. We had lunch there, and it was really nice! The weather SUCKED though. Pouring rain, blasting wind…UGH. A repeat of Wednesday’s hair-raising drive up the Malahat.

I did get to catch a lamb though! We had to rescue them, they got stuck on the other side of the fence from their moms. Dumb animals…it happened more than once actually. How do they survive past lamb-hood?

12821511_10100522322788966_3634513508167862877_n

Springtime!

We enjoyed our mucky farm visit a lot, and then when we got back to town, we took my mom for a hike up Mt. Doug. It was a good hike, except for the fact that when we got to the top, the wind and rain picked up again and the rain felt like needles stinging my freaking face! OUCH!

We didn’t take the trail back down, we hustled as fast as we could down the road and wow…the weather was sooo horrible. Tree branches were cracking off, it was pouring rain, and the wind was in a frenzy! I was so glad to get back to the car, and even the drive home was very frightening…A tree branch cracked off in front of us while we were driving and fell in front of the car!

Sheesh, can we have a good spring yet??? It is also absolutely FREEZING these days. I hate it! We wrapped up the evening by having my sister make a very tasty Italian potato pizza for us, and her friend stayed overnight because she was going to drive back up the Malahat and the weather was still too dangerous. I think she made the right decisions–I know all too well how scary it can be at night in a storm!