Letting go to get there

Dressage lesson last night! Our trainer noticed my warmup was a bit backed off, with me sitting in the backseat (ha, now where have I heard that before, oh right, in my jump lessons!) and so guess what we did? Get ROLLING at the trot, big trot, bigger trot, and then CANTER! All on a very loose rein. It felt kind of wild to me, a little bit like we were just ripping around, but wouldn’t you know…we had a very lovely, loose through the back canter AND trot. Ok, after the downward transition we kind of bumbled into the trot but then he’d come down and release nicely. He still has that ‘snatch’ at the reins to come down, but he was much more consistent than before.

Just look at this handsome steed!

Kind of blew my mind a little! Sometimes dressage isn’t a tightly-held warmup and trot/canter, eh?? Sometimes it is a little wild!

Oats loved it, and his canter was SO consistent, forward and light over the back. Good boy! Plus he is looking fantastic these days- not so scraggly and gross and scrawny. I’m very glad to see him gain his weight back and his coat is just shining. He doesn’t look 19 right now, turning 20 in October 🙂

It was a very fun ride and reminded me to let go of the control sometimes (duh a horse person with control issues? Say it ain’t so 😉 ) ahahaha.

Plus on Wednesday we went on a hack around the block and while he did require a lot of convincing to get past the new, huge greenhouse (that wasn’t there last time!! Scary!!) that involved some running backwards, he got over it and was a gentleman for the rest of the ride, if a bit edgy/looky. Good pony, and PHEW!! I am a big trail ride chicken, haha so I rely on him to help me out here.

And my legs update- I had my hip tendon worked on last night (THANK GOD it was driving me insane for like 2 months, ugh, so gross…the tugging/irritation was constant) and I am entering my third walk-run of the week today at lunch. Fingers crossed for a recovery- even the physio was stumped about why I keep getting injured when I am in great shape and in general don’t have too many physical issues, other than the obvious hypermobility?!! Ah….

Some good rides and things

Ended up very busy last week, so no Oats updates or anything. Where to begin? On Tuesday Oats had his dentist appointment, shots and worming. I had to be out there for the dentistry part. He was quite good, did need ear plugs hahah man those power floats are SO LOUD and the vet did say his back teeth were going, so he’s require soaked cubes eventually but I don’t want to think of that now- he’s had a lot of feed changes recently! The vet did say Oats looked thinner, but man I was like, you should have seen him two weeks ago! He is looking much better now.

Look at this handsome dude! Photo by Daytona.

I had to cancel my Tues lesson because of the teeth appt, but that was ok because he had a beginner trying him out for a potential lease on Wed! The lease isn’t going ahead for some good/obvious reasons. The young rider is just too inexperienced in horse handling. Had a good seat for w/t but did struggle to keep Oats from coming in off the track to the middle and had a bit of a tough time getting him to trot. Was not comfortable bridling or haltering or handling in and out of the paddock, so while I did offer them to think about June, I did have my concerns. The family did too, and thankfully decided not to. It is actually great when it’s mutual- they seemed like lovely people, Oats is just not the right horse at the right time for their rider.

And then Thurs I had my dressage lesson and it did go pretty well, THOUGH Oats brought out his threaten-buck when we were asking for straighter at the canter. He did NOT like that, ha. We schooled over a few xpoles and he was kind of tricky! Fighting me a little more, ha. Ended on a reasonably good note though.

Friday Oats had off, which was good because my busy week didn’t end there- I had a physiotherapy appointment at ReBalance. I had been a patient there- on the sports medicine side- for my subluxating patellar like a million years ago, haha. I liked the experience, so I wanted to go back to the physio side to try and get some answers for my chronic MTSS frustration. And wow, they put me through my paces!! Balance exercises, ‘kayaking’ with a big slosh tube, and the weirdest of all, a blood pressure cuff that goes on your leg and squeezes the blood out of it, creating a lactic acid sensation in your leg- it was SO weird and uncomfortable. You can barely push the leg press (and it is EASY). Ick! So odd!

But my right leg felt really good after, so maybe it’s gross but it works??

Saturday I had my make-up jump lesson (see, busy busy!) and I was kind of annoyed at ol’ Oaty…He was sluggish, slacking off and I guess just feeling warm and snoozy. It was warmer than it had been all week! I had my spurs on but he was reacting very poorly to them (balking, bucking, sucked back, rude) and I knew I wasn’t going to use them appropriately, so I took them off. Right answer! He perked up over the small fences and before I knew it, we had a nice little time 🙂

Sunday I was pretty determined to not get into a canter fight with Oats, so what do I do? Immediately get in a canter fight with him. Sheeeeeesh. I should know better than that by now! At first I even had a pretty nice left canter, but then I asked for more, and then right for straightness, and it…fell apart and turned into a fighting match. Yick. No thanks!

We cooled out in the outdoors, which was nice, sunny and hot. Oats got a long graze after and I cleaned his tack. Fingers crossed for a smooth week, and that my legs and feet start healing for once!!

Jump lesson #5

And it went quite well! As I have been working back up to our regular height/ability with Oats, I did find myself getting freaked out by going ‘too fast’ and feeling rusty and out of control. We addressed that by trotting in to a line instead of cantering, and it has made all the difference.

Still needs work? My legs felt flappy and weird trotting in this week, and Oats was crooked as all hell, funny enough with a big LEFT drift even though he tends to drift right?

Wheee! Mega-dramatic release by me over a tiny jump 🙂

Also I kind of gave up leg-wise and we had two mega chips every evident in the video, hahahah. My fault, 100%. When I actually ‘rode’ to the jump, things were great. If I gave up? Well, chip-city and a re-do. Oats has been performing really well, honest to a fault. It’s just me that needs to get their butt in gear!

And then of course I ride on Wednesday and I don’t know what it is about Wednesdays but Oats is always SO bad?! He picks that day to really lose his mind about every single corner in the arena, regardless of whatever is going on IN those corners…Yesterday he lost his mind about a squirrel outside the arena in one corner, and then had a comically dramatic meltdown including a rapid backpedal at warp speed when the trainer moved the wheelbarrow…. Sheesh. Maybe I should just start giving him Wednesdays off?? Save us a bit of drama and hassle? He’s such a gem on Tuesdays and then kind of a nightmare on Wednesdays. ARgh.

All in all, I’m very happy with our progress. Good boy! 🙂

An amazing weekend!

The weather was INCREDIBLE last week and this weekend. Wow. After my extensive complaining that April was the new February (no joke, I realized I had been writing ‘Feb’ on all my journal entries for Oats?? I guess it really did feel like Feb?), we had a real turnaround with a heat wave and I loved it!!

So glorious…

Sadly, like all things ephemeral and temporary, it will not last, but man…Wasn’t it glorious? Weather up to 20 degrees (15 where I live on the water always), and it was just stunning. It was easy to forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic that is getting worse before it gets better- my vaccine time is NOT going to be soon, sadly- it was just so nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.

I enjoyed the sunlight perhaps a bit tooooo much- my face was sun-shocked and red and tight but not sunburned after my extravagances this weekend. Even with sunscreen! Ha! I guess it had been that long since it was so sunny and warm, my poor skin didn’t know what to do.

We took drinks to the beach and sat for a few hours and watched otters play in the seaweed beds, hunting. We people-watched, admired the sunlight, the water, and listened to music. It was perfect.

On Saturday my husband joined me on the track!! I know! He never does, so we hoofed it over there after I rode Oats (lightly- he is very hot with his shedding fur coat and is not acclimatized at all), and worked on rehabbing both of us for running again. Me due to injury, him due to not running over the winter. It was hot and really nice out.

That afternoon we hit the beach again! It was glorious.

Sunday I went for a brief run, then headed back to the stables to ride and medicate Oats, and then we set up a work party for Sunday so after our ride I worked in the fields cutting back blackberries, dumping and scrubbing water tubs, and checking fence lines, picking rocks and fallen branches. Hot work and damn those blackberries are terrible. But, good to get it done and such a lovely weekend to do it on eh? Hard to believe it was April.

The good times never last though, and this fine, fine weather will be going on Thursday. Back to cold and rain. I am already sad to see it go….

Discipline

To my extreme frustration, my leg is totally fucked. Like…I can tell the delamination has started and that was something I SO wanted to avoid. I started having trouble walking this week 😦 and it hurts going up the stairs, going down the stairs, and riding. YAY.

All that shockwave and strengthening exercises? Five WEEKS of them? Did shit all.

So I’m headed back down the road to having 6 months off. Yay me.

On that note, I’m stopping any attempt at running for a week, no more walk-jogs, nothing. If I can’t walk anymore, it’s gotten so much worse than how it started. 😦 Funny I have to have the discipline to NOT do anything???

Stranger still: Cold jump lesson with Faith!

Since I have news so seldomly, I think I only blog with actual media, and things that I have been doing. Otherwise it’s basically groundhog day over and over with Oats’ rehab. Fun eh?

Whee!

Anyways we are in a ‘Polar Vortex’ over here on the balmy wet coast and man, I am not loving it. Brrrr!!! I had my lesson on Faith last night and then had to rehab Oats. It felt ok until I finished my lesson and then slowly started to freeze.

Faith was pretty good! Snappier transitions, no real drama when two horses left the arena (some tension, but not bad), not that much tripping, and a few balky moments right at the end of the gymnastic lesson but hey, we’ve had worse 😉

Ok but I am still rusty and tense.

Things I really need to work on: Letting go of tension in my arms!! And work on an actual ‘release’ with low hands- think automatic release- as I see I was actually pulling back in the second element of the grid! Come on, ME! Give the poor horse a chance!

Legs: Much better though. That is going my way!

Things I want to do next: Jump the bigger panels with Faith. 🙂 I think she’d be good at it!

And Oaty was a good boy for our solo chilly ride. What a little saint! My saddle is in the shop right now, so I have been playing musical saddles/bareback for each ride, which makes every day a little more challenging. 1 day was with a bareback pad (wowza I felt sore everywhere after that ride), 1 day was in a good saddle, 1 day was in a kiddie saddle (no stirrups b/c I am genius and forgot the would NOT be big enough for my adult feet), and last night in an older Mondega.

Which one will be the key? Not sure yet, trying the Mondega again tonight to see how it goes. It is only temporary, after all.

A short week, a polar vortex and me.

No lessons, just rides

The trainer I ride with for Faith’s lessons was not feeling well, so Faith and I just did a hack day. Did I think I’d be able to take it easy, seeing as how it wasn’t a lesson? Ha, that showed me! We worked quite hard on transitions. Up, down, walk-trot, trot-canter, walk-canter, canter-walk (ok this one was rough) and so on and so-forth.

Miss this more than you can ever imagine.

We ended by doing a cooldown walk with her bending both left and right, and trying to find that ‘release’ in the walk. It’s tough, her bending is still very much an issue but her transitions- particularly upward- were getting really good! Go Faith!

And then I had rehab time with old Oaty. He was really well behaved, so I think the key to his outbursts/spookiness/seeing things in the mirrors was chiefly due to him being bored out of his numbskull, haha. Add in a little canter, some walk poles, and gasp- I even added 1 pole on our trot path so he could trot it yesterday too- and he is a new man again! 🙂

I guess they all need variety, and more hard work! He does get tired after his canter, but he had plenty of zip yesterday which was nice. Good boy Oats! We enter week 3 starting after our ride tomorrow. Finished with Week 2. Phew!!

Making progress

It’s been a really tough year and I feel like I can mark the year in ‘pandemic year’ and ‘Oats injury year’ and they both suck. However I might be seeing a light at the end of the suck. We had our third ultrasound last Tuesday and I was biting my nails worried about how it would go (he felt great, but was that enough??) and luckily it WAS GREAT! 🙂

Look at us go! First time on almost 7 months!!!

Yay!!

So, we got the all-clear to start a modified canter rehab. Canter one day, trot work the next, rinse and repeat for the next 9 weeks. After week 5, we can do continuous canter. That is great news!! We did our first canter last Wed, and then another canter on Saturday. He was golden for the canter! He was not so great about the ‘spooky corner’ which he has increasingly been an idiot about, but oh well. I did crack him on top of the head when he was getting light and running backwards and that didn’t really de-escalate, more like it really pissed him off and he got furious and bucking and rearing, hah!

So, we manage day by day and I look forward to the day we can do things again- riding lessons, jumping, a trail ride with friends… It’s been a super hard winter people. And good news too- my ratty little furball rabbit decided to start eating again! He goes off his food once every two months or so, and then it’s syringe-feed time all the time. It sucks and it is also immensely stressful. Good times…

He loves his buffet when he IS eating 🙂

More Faith lessons!

I know on Saturday I was griping, mainly because my daytime lessons with Faith all seem to be a bit of a dud- she gets worked up, angsty, balky, etc. And then Oats has started losing his shit every.single.day…and ARGH. I hate horses!!

Go Faith!

BUT Faith was a gem last night, a very good girl. We trotted a crossrail twice without stirrups- ok I tried to chicken out, hahah but the second time didn’t seem so jostly so ok! And then we trotted a few small fences and she was great. Got in crooked- fixed it. Sluggy off the ground? Add leg. It all worked out! That felt pretty darned good, and redemptive from Saturday.

Oats on the other hand… I know he’s bored of rehab and looking for trouble. Every day. A lot of trouble. ARGH. He has started having freakouts about the corners of the arena (newsflash- nothing changes. EVER. He has been in the arena for 5 months…) bolting backwards, slamming on the brakes, spooking at his reflection in the mirrors (not usually a problem), and spooking at me coughing, or blowing my nose. FUN FUN!

At least she is good! 🙂

So, every ride I have to go out with the idea that rehab takes as long as it takes. He’s running backwards? Pause the watch, deal with it, and start the watch up again when he finally gets over it. Spooking and bolting backwards? Same deal. It is FREAKING EXHAUSTING to deal with every day. I decided to start adding to his trot work last night, to deal with some of his shenanigans. Very moderate- add 30 secs to his intermittent trot work on both sides for an extra minute total, and start with the intermittent trot instead of the continuous trot- leave the continuous for the second round. For some reason the continuous seems to twig his brain off even more? And I also added 30 secs/side for the continuous trot to round it out.

He felt a bit funny on the left, but I think that was because of his inconsistent trot/head carriage. Turns out spooking isn’t conducive to either?! Ha. So he does settle, and go along pretty nicely, but damn those first 20 minutes are pretty annoying and hard to manage. And may I remind you- EVERY SINGLE DAY. SIGH. I had to cancel his Friday rider, as she is quite novice, just getting back into it, and the last thing she needs is to go bolting backwards every 2 minutes…. 😦

Future me hates me

Ha, why do I overschedule myself! (sort of?!). Had a fairly busy horse weekend, with rescheduled lessons on Saturday with Faith, rehabbing Oats, and then a long run! Takes me well into 5pm, apparently. The lesson was…Kind of a big dud. We started off really nicely, with some of the nicest trot I think we have achieved together! And then, the wheels kind of fell off. She tripped big time at the canter when we were heading to canter poles, and then did 1 little bolt, and then started getting balky/stopping at the gate side of the arena- AGAIN.

Wish this was this year. Why can’t I ride better?

She hasn’t been that bad since our last daytime lesson (what IS IT with those??) so who knows wtf was going on in little horsey’s head on Saturday? A shame, because we had a genuinely lovely lesson the past Tuesday!

Oh well, something to work on. It’s interesting, riding someone else’s horse, because I never know what I’m going to get- and it’s kind of a day-by-day adventure, ha. Sometimes good, sometimes pretttty bad.

And Oats? The past week he was a moron to rehab. Afraid of the corners, almost got me off in a big spook on Thur night, wouldn’t go into the corner, running backwards, slamming on the brakes, being super dramatic. I think he’s definitely getting fitter and all that energy has nowhere to go… I had to cancel his Friday rider because I was a bit worried she might get scared off, or spooked off. Can’t have that! He was amazingly good on Fri/Sat, and then back to being a total butthead on Sunday. Go figure?? He also was in a big snit about his hay (ok, it’s honestly terrible low-sugar hay this time. SO coarse) and he was refusing to eat it, poor guy. I can’t have him eating barn hay though, so it’s a no win 😦 I get why he hates his new low sugar hay, and I am really hoping the next shipment isn’t so awful. ARGH.

I had a LOT of tension from my bad rides on Oats last week, bad lesson on Faith, bad ride on Oats, and it just felt like…Shit. What am I DOING messing around with these miserable animals????

So, I did a yoga video on Sunday night and yawned 100 times. Seriously, my eyes were watering, tears running down my face. Apparently I *was* holding tension, who knew??? Ha. It felt good though to let it allll go. Now, to remember that in my daily ride (wanted to write Battle) with Oats every night!! Be good you little jerk.