Popular Manipulations: Jump jump!

So I am feeling MUCH better this week. Halleleujah!!!! The nausea and sore throat, coughing, cramps and general miserable-ness finally abated on Wednesday. Now I just randomly cough up horribleness and my nose runs, but hey, I’ll take it!

While my immune system was attacking me, I had a lot of time to feel awful and stew about it. That stewing made me take action- and I am making lots of appointments now to get on top of my health!

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From last week, when I was actually riding worse, ha. 

And my riding felt soooo much better last night- I had more energy, even though I protested about jumping the course for a third time and instead opted to just jump the 1 line and diagonal that I botched during my second round. Hey, baby steps right? We discovered that I am still riding quite defensively while on the slight ‘downhill’ leading to me kind of hunching with my shoulders, instead of wide open shoulders and elbows in, instead of chicken wings.

This affects my release and makes me feel defensive!

So, I’m writing this down to make sure the plan next week is ride a whole bunch of smaller fences…All going downhill. I am happy to say that I didn’t get left behind as much this week (phew!) and my brain didn’t fall out when we raised a few of the jumps (though they still looked small, ha. Why is that?!).

So, I am getting more comfortable with ‘riding’ my jumps and line in the outdoor but I have the occasional defensive hunch that happens when we are going downhill. I think practice and time will fix that, in fact I feel pretty confident that it will!

Oats was a good boy as always, even when the wind picked up and it got really grey and rainy out! I was SO OVER riding in the rain by that time hahaha and just wanted to be done! 😉

Nothing really gets him excited, haha.

You’ll never get to heaven: Jump lesson recap!

Had my regular jump lesson last night, and not gonna lie, I was dragging ass all day. Turns out I’m probably getting sick, dammit! Had crushing waves of exhaustion in the afternoon and just felt super blahh. I wasn’t really looking forward to my lesson, which bummed me out because I was looking forward to riding Oats on a regular schedule so badly!

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Oats says oxers are no biggie! Wish it was summer…

But, I sucked it up and went anyways. And I am so glad that I did. Oats, while not perfect, was a great ‘trier’ and showed me that we can indeed be competent jumpers together even after he has a week off from riding and lessons. Yes!!! And with an audience too! We worked over a circle jump exercise with a x-rail and Oats wasn’t really respecting it…He was making big ‘bids’ at it, to my great annoyance. My legs felt weak and tired, so I was relying more strongly on my heel to anchor, rather than my thigh. Whoops!

We worked on more of a half-halt after kind of a disastrous long spot to a small vertical that almost ended up with Oats’ nose in the dirt. Yikes! And I asked for it! He jumped really flat, and almost bailed. Sheesh.

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Jumping a fan jump in the summer- so fun! We literally never got the right spot to it, haha. 

So, I smartened up and rode a better, more ‘bouncy’ canter to the fences rather than asking him for a dumb flat long spot. We then moved to a small course that ended up being quite ‘loopy’ with lots of changing directions and…dun dun dun…OXERS! All the jumps (3) out of 5 were oxers. Gulp?! We started small and then rode the course at 2’6”.

But you know what? We dug deep and just …did it! I felt slightly anxious but more tired, and so I was just ok with riding and not thinking that much, hahah. Oats did get fairly surprised by one jump that went up a bigger oxer, and was like, whaa??? But he figured it out and was a good boy! We did get some awkward spots, nobody’s perfect and I was getting tired, as was Oats. However there were no big crash-and-burns, we didn’t give up, and I just felt so glad with how my pony was, and grateful to have him on my side.

I missed him soooo much, and I just love riding him, being around him. I’m so lucky with my Oats!

Don’t get stuck: Ride updates!~

I have been quiet on the ride front lately (didn’t ride Sunday, Saturday was kind of terrifying with Canadian Geese crash-landing constantly on the roof of the indoor. I hated it! Oats was a total saint though.)

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Monday I was determined to practice. Practice anything! But I was pretty sure I was going to work on some dressage-y items, so I brought my dressage whip and mindset. Except…It was dead quiet, only one other rider around, and a few small x-rails set up, and…Well jumping was way too fun so jumping won!

I still did some cruising around with purpose though- I worked on my release, relaxed body in two-point, and just went around, and around, and around. It was really nice! It felt like a very solid ride, but in a quiet and calm way. After jumping, I practiced holding a relaxed, shoulders-down, chest-open two-point in trot. For what felt like forever. My legs were burning!

Oats is only too happy to go along with ‘me days’ when I work harder on myself than on the horse. He was as good as gold.

Last night is my usual Tuesday dressage lesson, but I cancelled and am trying to reschedule for Sunday. Good thing too, because traffic was HORRIFIC and it took me over an hour to get to the barn last night. My lesson usually starts at 6:30pm- I didn’t get TO the barn until after 6:30. Eff my life. I was fuming!

I was so tempted to take that bad mood and work it out on my dear Oats. Luckily I am aware of that temptation now, and can defuse it when it rears its ugly head. Instead, we worked on something physical, but great to practice- trot-sitting trot-canter-sitting trot-posting trot. Sounds easy right? Yeah…No. My abs were killing me, I was sweating?!

The transition between posting trot to sitting trot (while NOT letting the trot die out, or you ‘forget’ to ride during it) is much harder than you think. Phew!! It was a very physically demanding ride for the both of us, and I was able to work out my traffic angst in a good and productive, kind way.

Good pony! 🙂 I am happy with how my rides felt this week. I felt more dialed-in and connected, like I was focused on the ride instead of feeling airy-fairy and halfassed like last week.

Taking a breather

So, after our challenging- but then good- dressage lesson on Tuesday, I decided I didn’t want to overface myself and take Oats for round #2 battle in the outdoor and I would have a ‘fun day’ in the field with him on Wednesday.

A spunkier Oats on the weekend. Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

A spunkier Oats on the weekend. Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

I find myself often wanting to ride in the field- I guess because I feel freer, less constrained and less ‘trapped’ into pushing Oats for a workout in the ring? More freedom, I guess, and a lot less fighting, as it turns out! And I have to learn to re-train my temper- as my trainer said, work first on me, then on Oats, and then bring both of us to the challenging situation. Don’t jump right into the challenge, because it will kind of blow up in our faces…

So, with that knowledge, I deliberately set out for a fun ride, not a fight.

And it WAS FUN!

We rode in the smaller field that has a hill, and some cavalettis. I dragged out a cavaletti- they are light because the wood is completely dry-rotted through, but a mega pain the butt to wrangle, ha. Oats was patient here.

Put your butt into it! Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

Put your butt into it! Photo courtesy of Hannah R.

I set the cavaletti up in the middle setting, friendly and low, and we warmed up and then trotted and cantered it both directions a bunch of times. I got bored by it after awhile (things were going very smoothly!) and decided to take Oats up to do some hillwork.

Newsflash- the hillwork was so hard for Oats. He was tired! It was hard work! I noticed a real weakness in his right hind while cantering up the hill and trying to maintain the canter. He swapped a few times and broke into trot the rest.

I left the canter alone and we trotted up and walked down the steepest part of the hill, focusing mostly on getting his right hind to step up the hill. It was definitely hard but good work for the pony. You should have seen him after, in the cross-ties…He was exhausted! Poor guy.

So tired.

So tired.

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Customer: “Are you being smart with me here?!” Me: “Someone in this conversation has to be.”

Customer: “Are you being smart with me here?!”  Me: “Someone in this conversation has to be.”

And here’s Gidget going for a bike ride! Don’t worry, she was secured in the bike basket via a tether, so while she wasn’t too happy about it, she wasn’t going anywhere!

They cruised up and down the path from the campsite, and she was none too pleased…Haha.

Fun times camping this past weekend! As you can see, it was not too warm out either. Oh well, summer on the West Coast.