Jump to it!

So I had my jump lesson on Saturday (like, real jumping, not dressage jumping) and it went pretty well! We worked over a small course, and the jumps were teeny-tiny, ha. I, on the other, hand, was feeling like total crap. We had gotten rudely woken up by movers wanting us to move our car so they could get into out neighbour’s house, which is fine, but they were here before 8am!

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I want this…

I had a terrible sinus headache, staggeringly bad allergies, and felt fuzzy, muzzy and really exhausted and weak all day. Great for a riding lesson eh? My head felt like an effing balloon. I couldn’t remember a damned thing and my head/sinuses were going to explode.

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When I am doing this! How?

So yeah the lesson was fine, I just felt like absolute garbage for the entire day. I couldn’t wait to get home and sleep on the damned couch. Which I basically did as soon as I finished my lesson, ha. My allergies have taken over my damned life.

Also I am having trouble trying to get the right ‘feel’ from my Thursday lessons to translate to my jump lesson days on Saturday. I LOVE the feeling I have on Thursday, and then I get to Saturday and it feels… wimpy? I can’t get him off my leg, or get any connection. He breaks gait, slows to the fences, etc. Just not the same. How do I reconcile this?

Something to work on!

New adventure in dressage-jumping!

So we revisited the lesson from last Thursday, with a focus on ‘building’ the canter up to be a bigger, more energetic and ‘jumpy’ canter rather than a very tightly controlled ‘small’ canter.

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Some choice screengrabs πŸ˜‰

Dressage with speedbumps!

I now tend to think of dressage for me as a process of going through stages. First we developed his ‘stretchy’ frame, next we bump the frame up a bit for his ‘jump’ frame and then kind of toggle through both. But you need the first one to get the second, if that makes sense?

It’s a sort of transitional phase.

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But so uphill! I love it!Β 

And yesterday had some very rocky moments (his right rein was not a thing, apparently) and he had 1 BIG spook that almost got me off, hahah. Stupid pony! But no matter, I enjoyed the end process and I think I am getting a better idea of how to manage his canter, both on the flat and through the jumps. Both trainers are right- his jump/my jump issues stem from a weakness in managing the canter.

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Heading to a small jump and he still looks good!Β 

If I’m not connected to him at the canter, how WILL I know where the takeoff spot is? I am too disconnected to know or figure it out! And I can feel that, I just didn’t know how to fix it.

This time I am happy to say he nailed every single distance, ha. We didn’t really jump (ok, they were cavaletti size, ha super small) much, but it was higher quality and the canter improved. We did get a little shakier and flat as we wrapped up, but I was able to watch the video and damn…His canter is looking FANCY. I also am reaching the point of jumping where this little stuff is…Not hard. Taking the spectre of ‘jumping’ out of jumping is working well for me.

My hands suck and I sit behind the motion, soooo ignore me. But Oats! Wow! Loving this. I also appreciate that in the 10 years I have owned him, I am still learning so much with him. It’s a journey, isn’t it?

 

 

 

I can’t help you if I can’t help myself

Back to JUMP lessons on Saturday! It seems so funny that only a few months ago, I was fussing hardcore about having jump lessons on Saturday because it can be tough on my weekend schedule plus I just didn’t like to really be scheduled on the weekends, in case things changed, plans came up, etc…

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After my ride, I turned Oats out with his friends. Here he is having a nice grooming session with a buddy!Β 

Well, I guess everything changed and now I have lessons on Saturdays because no other days worked! If I wanted to do dressage lessons, the only day that worked was Thursday. My jump day! So I moved jump day to Saturday, dressage to Thursday, and Oats’ novice rider lessons are on Tuesdays. Busy busy eh?

We had a nice lesson but WOW having to get strides in the indoor and in a line (4 strides) instead of 5 strides, felt tough! Really tough! I am not used to pushing, and neither was Oats, haha.

Still it was fun, I was out of breath and tired, haha.

We did a small line in 4 strides, and then a small course working with the line/bending line. I, of course, messed it up a fair bit at first (thank GOD the jumps are like..a foot. ha).

Still, getting back into it just requires more work! More than I remember, hahah and wow it is tiring. I think Oats felt the same way πŸ™‚ Felt so good to do it.

When best laid plans…

So I was pretty excited to get BACK TO JUMPING!! Yes! With my dear Oaty. He was moving rock solid on Wednesday, just really nicely and feeling awesome…I thought my lesson on Thursday was going to be awesome!

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Man do I ever miss this!!!!!!Β 

Spoiler: He was lame 😦

He had the flat-tire feeling he had a few months ago, and I suspect it was due to him playing too hard with his buddies in the field. The last time this happened (his flat tire..) he was sore for a few days. He had played too hard with his neighbour horse and the next day when I went to ride= lame. This time, he was turned out with his buddies in the field during the day, and at night I went to ride him= lame.

He thinks he’s 10 years old still, not 18 going on 19 and elderly.

EFFFFF

So this couldn’t have happened, say, when I had 2 months of NO lessons? I am literally on my second lesson in two months (going on 3) and boom. No lesson. ARGH horses!!!!

I am trying not to get too wrapped in up in the downward spiral that I love getting sucked in to when he goes lame…. ughhhhhhhhh. Not sure when I can lesson again, I was going to see how he is tonight, with some more Previcox. Damn damn damn. 😦

Forget Me

And as we start getting back to normal, I started my lessons back up! Of course after 2 months of no lessons…I desperately needed them. My jump lesson was good and to the point, and Oats got back to it like he had never been away! Small tiny little cross poles, but it felt good to get back to the groove again with my honest as the day is long pony. A good feeling for sure πŸ™‚

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Hard to believe this was in March, and like one of our last jump lessons?!

I then had my first dressage lesson back on Saturday at the freaking crack of dawn, and you know what? I wanted to really take me and Oats back to basics. My hands are too rough, I feel like he is shortening through his neck because of that in the warm-up, and our transitions are now non-existent and tough and leaning. I know a lot of this is because of the weird anxiety I had over the past two months, but that is no excuse for BAD hands and terrible warm-ups and transitions.

So, our entire dressage lesson was a rework on soft hands through the warm-up to start things off on the right foot. And you know what? It felt great! I was able to warm up with soft hands and then incrementally work them up into the contact. Oats was then more responsive off my seat!

Of course, he was still a spooky goof yesterday, so I spanked him pretty hard and then we revisited what we learned on Saturday about warming up nicely, stretching rather than compressing his neck and spent the whole ride yesterday just doing that- and it was good! He was pretty sweaty, but it wasn’t difficult work- it was just comprehensive and warming up with ‘reach’ rather than some sort of weird giraffe-neck.

He spooks because he can get bored, and I’m like, enough of that!!

But then he got down to business, and was reaching quite nicely. I’m so glad to be able to get guidance again. I definitely need it to keep both of us honest, nice to each other, and back on track!! Oats likes it too πŸ™‚

Oats and I then got to explore one of the unused pastures to see if it ok for turn-out, and it was. Oats was in hog heaven, with knee-high grass and weeds everywhere!

My own personal pain journal

So, things are going but also going sideways, haywire, etc. My work is nuts (I am directly involved in public information), and also we are seeing a lot of things shake down, as part of the pandemic.

It’s so stressful- for all. I am not a frontline worker, but I see the effects of this day by day. I am writing a list of fun things I want to do when this blows over/winds down (go travel, go out for a team breakfast! Run! Do a race!), but in the meantime, I vacillate between extreme self-pity,Β  fear and paranoia, to ‘it’s all okay’. UGH.

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Welcome darkness, my old friend… I REALLY don’t want to do this again. But I might. I guess when you’re going through hell, keep going.Β 

I also have a recurring stress fracture, so I can’t even run right now. Man, when it rains, it freaking pours eh? I guess the timing is (good? I disbelieve that word even as I write it) now that I can’t race anyways.

Just…Fuck me.

I did have a nice weekend though, believe it or not! I had a riding lesson on Saturday and Oats was great! He was my little superstar~ I rode on Sunday and let too much angst out, and I know I shouldn’t have. I am easily triggered right now, and I want to make it up to Oaty! He is being the best boy he knows how.

It was also like, gale-force windy this weekend, ALLLLLLL weekend. It finally lessened up on Sunday, so I rode and then my husband and I hiked up Mt. Finlayson. There I learned I am a huge chicken, and I was afraid of the steep, rocky bluff ascent. Yikes!

I refused to go back down that way (jesus, no.) in part because I was afraid of it, and also it was smoking busy! I didn’t feel comfortable hiking with so many people swarming around.

We went the long way down, got a bit turned around (thanks to the signs closing the one pathway that actually links back to the parking lot…sheesh), and then we made it home. And we shared a hotdog! Yum! πŸ™‚

I then drank wine, sat in the sun with a blanket – yes it was still chilly- but the sun had some strength that day.

So where does that leave us? Uncertain. Out of my control- even my body is out of my control. My mind? Yeah, that’s gone too. I don’t know anymore. But I can ride, so I will do that now and just …Keep on.

To quote Charles Dickens:

β€œIt was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Ride it out

So, I had a long weekend- Family Day in fact! THREE whole days off!

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One bright side- I made a cake!Β 

In true good wish/bad wish fashion, the weekend was…Challenging. Not all bad, but not good either. I learned on the weekend that a ton of people are vacating the current boarding stables that I am at (and I get it, no place is perfect), but it’s just a huge bummer for me to see them leave. I will miss them, their cool horses and their awesome jumps!

So, that was a downer. Plus the extreme negativity is just getting to be a huge buzzkill and it is making me not want to be at the barn right now either. UGH!! Can we just chalk this up to everyone else’s drama for once?

Plus I started a new medication for a potential endometriosis diagnosis (unconfirmed but pretty sure) called Visanne and wow…The side effects of it SUCK. Bigtime. Hardcore. I started it last week, and by day 3 had a full blown period complete with hemorrhaging. And I am chronically anemic. By the weekend, I spent a fair amount of time Saturday night at like 3am wracked with extreme nausea and vomiting. I was literally sweating out of my hair, my fingers. UGH. So awful. I was in pain (cramps, thanks to the surprise period that started immediately), and had such horrendous nausea. Man. I also suspect that I can’t eat fried food anymore, because it has made me puke every time lately!

I am still not feeling super great. Weirdly bloated and random cramping. Welcome to my life, isn’t it amazing? Between the side effects of the new medication, and all my friends leaving me, I basically had a crying meltdown on Sat. as well. Greeeatt…

Oats? Oats was so good this weekend. I feel very thankful that among great change, sadness and abandonment that I feel, he is still here, and solid as ever. Love my boy. Plus my husband helped me out a lot, made me not feel so alone this weekend too. We enjoyed running up Mt. Doug (man, my legs were like JELL-O after. Woof!) and shared a free hotdog from a gas station that hilariously I really enjoyed?!

Anyways, I’m kind of over it, and guessing from the long weekend that several of my colleagues had, they also are over it (flooding, food poisoning…I guess we all had the same delightful weekend?!).

At least the weather is nice. I am going to end on that.

Nothing Feels Natural

Finally we had some sun! In fact, we are now on THREE whole days of sun! Can you believe it?! I can’t. We honestly had close to 3 months of straight rain, or wind and rain, or wind/rain/snow combo. Not a single clear day for months, and boy does that drain a person…

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Daisy is at another stable now, but Oats loves his friends!Β 

Friday I had my dressage lesson and it was really good! I wasn’t expecting much, given it was basically a tornado with pouring rain, the arena was super flooded and Oats was feeling okay but not amazing. However he really rallied and we worked on straightness in the canter on the diagonal fences, and then some head-to-the-wall leg yielding. Success! He was quite good and sweet. Love my boy πŸ™‚

Saturday the ring was still nuts and the vibe a bit off but not too bad, it was a bit quieter which is nice, and so Oats and I worked on transitions, and his leg yields. The canter to the left is still..eh. We will call that a ‘work in progress’ shall we?

Sunday I had a race (Cedar 12K recap coming soon!), and then managed to finagle a bareback 20 minute ride on Oats after- you know I can’t resist getting a ride in, any way, or anytime I can! He was very sweet, and apparently had spend the entire night running amok outside of his paddock, going horse to horse to play bite-face with the ones who would oblige him! He then was exhausted and spent the afternoon flat on his side, sacked out. Phew!

Monday I was tired from the race, but also determined to do my ‘homework’ which I do try to do once per week- straightness on the diagonal jumps AND trot fences. It was good! I did find that when I posted trot in, I was able to control the take-off spot a bit better, rather than coming in two-point using the ‘hope and pray’ method…! Good to know. I think I ride Oats better when I am more ‘connected’ through my seat, vs straight-up butt out of the saddle 2point.

Things you learn eh? 25 years in and I’m still learning.

Anyways, day off for me, Oats teaches a beginner tonight, and I am off to dinner with friends to the new place: Boom & Batten. I hope it is good, it is very pricey.

Like a child hiding behind your tombstone

Ha, weird title but I liked it- from a song on my Spotify play list last week. As I mentioned earlier, this has just been a tough week for many in my personal life- my friend’s horse being euthanized with a broken leg, my one trainer has to put her beloved dog down on Wednesday as well, and just…. My heart aches for them. I have faced loss before, and I know how horrible and deep it is. Just so challenging.

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From last spring!Β 

I also had a marathon week of lessons for me and dear Oats! Kind of mixed too. Not like, over the moon amazing at all. But ok! He had a lesson with his beginner rider on Tuesday (he does not have to work that hard), and a jump lesson with me on Wed (we worked on canter-in bounce grid gymnastics, which was HARD work!) and then another jump lesson for me last night- I was sooooooooooo late, I got to the barn as my lesson was supposed to be ending… Great. I got stuck in a huge traffic jam for TWO HOURS. Eff my life. Fortunately my trainer was aware and waited for me, and my friend helped me tack up in a big rush and off we were!

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Remember this from last spring? SO good!Β 

I will admit to feeling super frazzled, ha. I was having trouble connecting with Oats, feeling rushed and really tired, and I haven’t been feeling well this week at all either, along with having trouble sleeping. = success?? Ha, no. I ate mane! I disconnected and misjudged a take off spot and just straight up jumped up his neck. At a crosspole. Facepalm.
Oats, while a fabulous teacher, will still make you work for it and he does not really give many freebies. Whoops!

I tried again and since he has a heart of gold, he was like, ah yes why didn’t you say so! Jumped perfectly.

He was however kind of lazy and tired last night, and combined with me being tired and frazzled, led to a lot of miscommunications, disconnects and breaking into trot! Argh!

Oh well, the exercise we worked on was really cool- lots of slicing jumps, and jumping an ‘arrow’ shape- both into the arrow, and with the arrow. Jumping into the arrow is interesting because it’s one narrow point! Have to be straight,Β  very straight. Oats had no problems with it πŸ™‚

Dressage lesson tonight, and then Oats has his beginner lesson on Saturday as she had to do a make-up ride from the storm incident last week. Phew Oats! It is good that he is getting out every day though, because of the pretty bad weather we have had this winter the horses are not getting turned out- the paddocks are like slippery swamps.

I luv the valley, oh!

Finally I had a fun weekend!! After the hassle, stress, drama and fear of last weekend I had one that I truly deserved. It was an extremely challenging week- health issues, a snow storm with ice, plunging temperatures, family drama, and oh, we can’t forget work, now can we?

And then I drifted happily into a lovely weekend, I am happy to say! I had a ride on Friday night (it was FREEZING), and then a lesson on Saturday morning (went well! funny enough we were working on ‘wide hands’ because I was bracing my chicken-wing elbows against his neck, and my shoulders hurt the next day!), and then shopping and dinner at Fiamo for ‘Dine Around Victoria’ celebrations.

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I bought a bunch of stuff from the GAP that is closing out downtown, and then my friend Jess and I enjoyed an excellent seafood-based menu at Fiamo. We chose the $30 menu, and had a warm ‘salad’ that was more of a soup based meal that had char-grilled

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Seafood antipasti platter

squid, kale, feta and olives in broth, and a seafood antipasti consisting of grilled octopus, salmon, tuna tataki and vegetables. It was delicious! I had a glass of prosecco, and for dessert we had the chocolate ‘salami’ which was unusual but very tasty.

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Dessert: Chocolate salami

The next day I got up and went for a quick jog, because it was time for Sea Cider’s annual Wassail event! They did not have it last year, but I’m glad they brought it back for this year. The ticket prices did go up- $3, from $2, but you don’t pay for entrance fees (which are a TOTAL MONEY GRAB and I HATE THEM). So, it’s a win!

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Raise a glass!

We enjoyed a new cider- the Cherry!! I loved it! And the food was excellent. I had the chicken/cashew curry, the cornmeal-spiced apple cake/muffin thing with whipped cream topping, and the maple bread pudding with whip cream. Delicious! A great day with good company.

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Cornmeal muffin things. Good!

I then rode Oats, and headed home (at like 4:30. Whoops long day!).

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Sausage rolls- I didn’t try these but I heard they were good!

And best of all- good times with good friends, and the weather improved! It was like close to 10 deg yesterday! We’re back, baby!