No more heatwave so things are getting back to normal! I even rode in the field yesterday (and Oats got very excited at the canter and took off with me up a hill bucking…Thanks dude).
We were able to resume our jump lesson on Saturday and we even were able to ride outdoors – not a small feat since the footing is so unstable and deep, I had been avoiding riding out there for Oats’ and my safety, but decided to try it for a few small jumps.
We warmed up indoors (and man, Oats was SLUGGY) going kind of nowhere fast, ha. We schooled a few jumps, he had a meltdown at the backdoor again (sigh) and then it was outdoors to try our hand at a few safer fences located in areas where it wasn’t too deep.
It was good! I bigtime bungled a few of the fences by grabbing back on Oats, but he’s an old pro and was not really phased ha. He was like, if you stop riding like crap, I’ll go better also! Win-win 🙂
I am heading out for holidays soon too actually- just 2 more days to go….Ah…
Dressage lesson time! Now, I knew Oats’ big energy from the past week was gone, so how would he be? WELL, hilariously he was good to warm up and when we began the real work, started getting silly about the back door being opened.
I got mad. I mean come ON we had a good warmup and you give me this? Looking for an excuse??
My trainer was pretty funny about it, she said well look at it this way- not EVERYONE wants to go to the gym to work hard and he just isn’t like that. She said we need to channel it, use it for good- not get angry. Fair enough!!
He worked quite intensely actually, I was very surprised. We hadn’t had a ride that intense since…Over a year ago maybe? We did a big power trot, and went into leg yield, shoulder-in, haunches in, and work, work work work work! Bending in a BIG bend, getting the outside rein active (ok, this is the part that I suck the hardest at….and never really got it 100%) and just powered along!
I was tired, Oats was sweaty! We really hadn’t had that kind of big intense riding yet this year, as we were definitely playing it safe.
Though, we did no-stirrups for the canter work and then I had to work harder than Oats, haha. The right rein had some lovely downward transitions, the left was a work in progress, and not so great, hahah. BUT we got some really solid work out of him and were able to amp up the intensity in a way I have been kind of leery about. Go Oats! By the end he wasn’t sweaty but I was 🙂 I guess he’s getting in good shape these days.
Funny, these days all I am recapping is dressage? We missed our jump lesson on Tues (soon to move to Sat) due to instructor illness so yep, dressage it is!
We worked on a very interesting exercise that essentially had Oats running his own canter, and me doing…a rubbing my belly patting myself on the head type of exercise that I was SO BAD AT hahah. It was tricky! We focused on Oats = cantering around like a carousel horse while I put my inside arm forward, while looking ‘out’ of the circle, and and bringing my outside elbow back. HARD. Harder than it sounds, and I definitely felt very discombobulated, hahah.
Oats was very good though, he had a lot of learning to do and was kind of pissed about it at first, but then was like, well okay….He had one big spook at a very curious and friendly deer that was trying to get into the indoor, and was persistent about NOT going away! Oats has ridden in the indoor arena with deer sleeping in it, so I was a bit surprised that he was so looney about this friendly one?!
Anyways, it was a very educational and interesting lesson and I felt like I had 10 arms, but hey, all in good fun and learning 😉
And then I drove to the grocery store and locked my fucking keys and phone in the car for the second time this month. FUCK ME. I had to go to the grocery store and call my husband, who rode his bike to pick me up. I guess I had a lot of time to grocery shop then, eh? Damn. At least it wasn’t at the feed store this time, which is a million miles from anything and I had to call a tow truck to open my car up, which cost me a pretty $70….Know what complaining about things costing a lot leads to? Things costing EVEN MORE through some insane circumstance. Ha.
Oats has been a star this week! I was a bit freaked out because after I rode in the outdoor (it is deep and the sand is harder on his aging joints), w/t only, he presented the next day with some bigtime swelling in his injured leg region. EFFFF….Except it’s windpuffs. He is sound, and the swelling lump went down after the ride, basically deflated. Oh Oats!
It’s not amazing, but it’s also not a biggie really. He has now presented with them on and off all week, since I basically triggered them by riding in the sand 1 day. Oh well!
Otherwise, we had our jump lesson and it was pretty thrilling for me. We’re still JUST getting back into it, and we jumped…TWO FEET! whee! I swear to god it looked like 3ft to me until I moved the jumps back and realized how…small they really were. Hah. Fooling me for sure. I had adrenaline! I also wore my ‘big boy’ spurs and kind of overused them once and Oats was mightily offended. Sorry dude, he was such a good babysitter for me 🙂 What a sweetie.
Wednesday we walked around the big block with his horse neighbour Mercury. It was very pleasant, and the boys were as good as gold. Yay Oats!
Thursday we had our dressage lesson and I am happy to report that not only does Oats look like he’s gaining his weight back (a struggle!!) but he remembered how to counter-canter!! Amazing! We did some light counter-canter work and he was a STAR! Ok, we did struggle on one rein in particular (going right) but to be honest with how rusty we were, he was fantastic. I had to wrap my brain around it too, I mean it’s been over a year!? Great job Oats, what a superstar 🙂
And he has today off. Well deserved I think! He has also enjoyed over 10 minutes a day of hand grazing on the nice new lush grass, as he is not allowed turnout for a year due to his tendon injury. It’s a really big bummer, but we’re trying to work with what we’ve got at this stage and I absolutely DO NOT want to risk another really serious injury for the old boy.
We had our fifth dressage lesson back! Oats was quite good for it, really he is a pony that just shows up and nails lessons, isn’t he? Funny considering he had another meltdown the day earlier about…The corner of the arena? Ha. As he ages, he seems to be very reactive/spooky about the strangest things. Noises don’t really bother him, like geese crash-landing on the tin roof, but the corners of the arena, that never change? OMGGGG! He does seem to be developing a warmblood-like spook in his older years…
Anyways, he was super! Funny that his canter coming back into work has been 100% better than his canter BEFORE his serious injury? Like what are the odds?
We also did some trot leg yield, which we were…Not great at. We haven’t done them in 8 months, so it clearly is a work in progress. Not quite so fun as his dreamy, dreamy canter….Where I even got him to trot in a downward transition using only my body/seat. I was so surprised when it actually worked that I lost the contact in that moment, shoot! But wow it felt so good!! 🙂
I am very pleased with his return back to work in dressage-land. Very consistent, even if we do have to kind of work on some resistance/bending in the warm ups (I guess some things never change haha) but his work is holding for longer, and getting more consistent. I am particularly in love with the canter we are getting.
And Oats has now been on Equi-Cal for almost a week, and he gets two pumps of Camellina oil, as he lost weight coming back into work and I don’t want him to lose any more! It was quite the shock for me to see him lose weight, as he has always been a very easy keeper. My guess is coming back into work + Prascend + low sugar hay = struggling to maintain, poor dude. I hope to see progress on his weight soon, and also his darned shedding. My god, he is FILTHY every single day!
I figure I will keep him on Equi Cal for the rest of the bag, and then by summer transition him back to oats. I just don’t want to transition him to them too early, as he is still gaining back muscle and power from his many months off.
And it was pretty funny, actually. I confessed to my trainer that I had INSANE anxiety for my first lesson- something about being super freaked out and worried about Oats re-injuring himself, the face that I had to learn how to jump again, and just..wow. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest, my hands were trembling a few HOURS after my lesson, and I had a massive post-adrenaline crash later on the couch. It was nuts!
But the best antidote to that anxiety is time, and to do it again. I felt calmer on my Tuesday lesson- I had done it once already, nothing bad happened, Oats is doing fine, and so am I. I know the anxiety is still there, but each lesson we do, and each week we pass, helps it be less of a threat/spectre.
So what did I wig out about this time? Oh, only that my very.slow.pony. was GALLOPING wildly out of control at the tiny speedbump-jumps?!
Except, he was actually carrying pace and not like, slugging along as is his wont, and boy, I am not used to speed? Impulsion? Energy? It freaked me right out! I pulled back and had to circle, hahah. My trainer, bless her, actually videotaped to show me exactly ‘how’ fast and scary my wild steed was going….At a reasonable, nice canter. Not a wild stallion gallop.
Ha. I couldn’t believe how my perception has changed after going only walking and trotting for so many months!!! It was nuts!
So, now I need to not be so precious and be ok with carrying pace to our ‘jumps’…how funny!
I was supposed to have my first lesson back on Tuesday but we rescheduled to Saturday. After a lovely dressage lesson on Thursday, I was on cloud 9!!! When Saturday rolled around though, I was a ball of anxiety. What-ifs went racing around my head, I felt sweaty and out of it, and just so anxious! For some reason all of my fears of his re-injury went around and around and it was so weird. We walked and trotted around, he’s gotten very silly about the doors and corners of the arena so I was glad to have a good 10 minute walk to get the sillies out and make him a solid and reliable citizen again, and he settled down.
We limited the canter– again because we want to make sure to be VERY careful about how his post-rehab recovery goes. And when we went to right lead, we just started hopping over teeny-tiny fences! YAY! I was practically hyperventilating, and trust me when I say my breathing was kind of all over the place the whole afternoon after, because of a big post-adrenaline dump. Ha it was nuts!!
Oats was a total star! He was very chill, very ‘yes ma’am I got this’ about everything. 🙂
And we just, did it! I was stiff, very awkward. I got left behind twice which feels unheard of for me?! Just because I couldn’t relax enough to really go with the movement at this stage. I also forgot where I was riding – in a course of four fences!! hahahhaahah man, I am rusty.
So glad we had this lesson on Saturday. It shut down a lot of fears in my head.
Weirdly we had a miserable ride yesterday for some reason (Oats was literally trembling with fear in the arena??? There were no bears or cougars, to my knowledge???) and was racing around like a deranged llama for most of the ride, sooooooooo yeah. It was great to have a very low-key and successful jump lesson.
As for yesterday who knows what his deal was? We had a very long, very quiet and very slow ride. I kept him in the walk until he stopped trembling and trying to exit stage left. We only trotted and then went back to walking, some lateral work that he was pretty good at, and called it quits when he was fine trotting quietly and not losing it. Horses!! My husband says they’re basically a confusing relationship hot and cold, good and bad?? Maybe!
I have to give it to myself, because clearly I don’t know how to be disciplined! But with Oats, ha. My trainer had to laugh yesterday when I was talking about how I fucked up my leg (AGAIN). She said, you were so meticulous and dedicated to your horse, and then you go and trash your leg??
Yeah unfortunately the same kind of drive and dedication that makes me commit to a lengthy and extremely long rehab program also makes me run myself straight into the ground. Two sides of the same coin…
BUT we had our second dressage lesson last night and it was really good!! He has been a bit resistant, I guess coming back into ‘real’ work that involves not going in a straight line and then walking for 45 minutes has been a bit of a learning curve for old Oats. We worked on that resistance with some very small, quiet and slow sitting-trot circles. He was really good for that. We then worked on sitting trot- big posting trot- sitting trot, trying to maintain a deeper frame, coming down rather than up. Tough for us, as Oats did want to bring his head up with each transition. We then moved on to canter (we take a LOT of walk breaks currently for his safety) and we started with the right lead.
It’s his nominally better lead, and I was pretty pleased with it. True, still a bit tough to maintain the nice ‘low’ frame in the canter, particularly while going large (wheeeeeee and we’re off!!) but I was quite happy with Oats attempts. I kind of figured the left would be worse, naturally.
Well, he surprised me! Left was really nice! The transitions were a little bit rougher (head got high), but we stuck with it and were rewarded with a lovely downward transition to sitting trot from the left lead canter on a circle. Good job Oats! I was very impressed with his ability to come back into work so well. Phew! 🙂 Feels SO good. My lesson mate also had a really nice ride on her boy, and was thrilled to see the progress to date. All in all, a great lesson to be coming back to.
Some good, some bad. I was celebrating on Friday (I can still drink sparkling wine, so that was on tap!) about Oats having his first riding lessons (though with trepidation), my leg was feeling better and things were looking up!
They still kind of are, but I am struggling with my leg injury again. ARGH. It was actively hurting today at the walk, which it hasn’t been since I got injured so good-byeeeee progress…. I had to go back to walking. Love it. Five weeks and counting, and I have not made measurable progress?? Things were looking up last week and then boom! Hurting again.
At least Oats is doing ok (watch I say that and then god only knows…). We had our lesson on Thursday, he had Friday off, then we did a lighter day on Saturday and he was pretty bad. Spooky, jumping out of his skin, etc etc. Our canter was nightmarish. Sunday he was worse- much spookier, and we were able to bump up the canter to three circles and they were all terrible, ha. Monday was another light day (we are doing it one day with more work, one day back off, much like what I was doing with my leg rehab until it got fucked up again). He was quite nice on Monday! Edgy and spooky, but his canter (only 1 circle) was quite lovely and his trot did get smoother, though I did feel resistance at first and it wasn’t amazing- just better.
And the weather, well I guess I can’t complain THAT much but can we get some spring weather?? Soon? Anytime? It feels like Feb. every single day. Some rain, but otherwise quite a dry March- just cold, unseasonably cold. Struggling to get to 10 deg, lows of 1 or -1 every night. What gives??? I have gone back to wearing my winter coats, because I have been so cold.
I guess the Year of my Discontent will just continue??? Or something? Good things are happening, just not very quickly and not very much good I guess.
At this point, food has been my only friend and companion!!
First time back in about three weeks? I had to cancel 1 lesson because Oats had his third ultrasound (yess) and it was a daytime appointment, so I couldn’t come back to the barn because that is ridiculous, and last week the trainer cancelled due to weather, so we rescheduled for Saturday because Faith was available.
She warmed up really nicely actually! Her trot can be tricky in the beginning- short strided, tense, choppy. You kind of have to work her into the trot, and then get a nicer stretchier trot. Sometimes you have to canter before that happens! Not on Saturday though 🙂
We then worked on canter poles on the diagonal and damn if it isn’t harder for me to ride a pole than a jump! I actually can’t wait to make them small fences- I feel like I wouldn’t screw up so much! We got 1 good spook in when she heard someone open the back gate, and was a bit jazzed and unfocused when we saw the horse that came through the gate, but did settle nicely!
We then worked over a small gymnastic. Trot-in x-rail, to a one stride x-rail, two strides to a small cavaletti. She went really nicely through it until we added the last element- one time through it great, and the second time she didn’t pick up her feet and we bailed, HARD through the last time and almost crashed face first into the dirt. Lovely. My neck and shoulder are still sore today from that incident!! Dumb horse, pick up your feet!
We regrouped, went for a strong canter, and then went through it and kind of blasted through, hahah. I was riding pretty assertively and was NOT interested in being very blase about it this time! No sir! She was good 🙂
Some things to work on- crop behind leg at base of fence. Important! Also maybe stepping the height up. She clearly isn’t enthused or excited at how low the fences are, which is great for learning, but…She’s learning to not care, which isn’t great either!!
And how is old Oaty? He was pretty tired on Saturday for our canter day, even though he had Friday off! Sunday was our trot day and he was pretty good, not that spooky or anything and had more energy for sure. We walked over some poles, hoping to engage him in this final, boring last 9 weeks!!