You think it’s like this but really it’s like this

I hate Mother’s Day. Hate it. I do not have a great relationship with my family for a variety of reasons, and also it just…Sucks. It is performative and angsty and I have little tolerance now for the demands ($$$$$) my mother likes to place on us for her birthday, M-Day, Xmas anyways…Just hate it.

So what do you do when you hate that day? Make it better, and make it your own 🙂

We had our own fun day and it did help relieve some of that existential pressure I felt seeing everyone with happier families and sincerity that I do not have. Ian came with me to the barn and helped me do a jump school! I haven’t done one on my own yet since he has recovered from his injury, so it felt pretty big to me, yay! Plus we have to miss our regularly scheduled Tuesday lesson because Oats has a dentist appointment, so I wanted to do a little something on our spare time, to keep sharp.

Oats was a star, a good boy and the bestest pony. Nothing fancy, just hopping over a few fences and calling it a day. Nothing better, I think!

We then took our dog out for a walk to the water, and then swung by Moon Under Water brewery for a beer on the patio. I was FREEZING. Ha. Not patio weather here, basically ever?

We then headed home and had lunch and then went to play some kick-around soccer at the park. We both failed miserably at ball juggling hahaha and it got frustrating so we gave it up and played goalie instead. My husband said he admires the fact that I am not afraid to hammer the ball home from 1 ft away…Not really intentional, I swear it!

It’s a nice way to make what is traditionally a miserable, pressure/stressful day for me even better. Plus it makes you feel happier going into the (extremely busy) work week!

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! 

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 🙂 Felt so good to do it.

If I like the fight in you, will you like to win?

It feels like ages since I’ve had a ride recap! I had a good dressage lesson last Friday, my jump lesson on Thursday was rescheduled to this upcoming Saturday (because we all attended a rider fitness course instead!), and I rode Sat/Monday, and took Sunday off to race in Cedar. So in short, been busy!

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My darling Oats! 

Friday we worked on rider positioning and straightness, featuring an exercise where I held gloves against my side, held in place with my inner arm. The idea being, the kinetic work being done also helps focus my body, and allows the horse to move more freely. It was very cool and we got some of the nicest, most connected trot I have ever seen in Oats! 🙂 He was a very good boy and he seemed to really enjoy the exercise too.

I worked on the exercise again on Saturday, but was riding around lessons and just never really got into the ‘flow’ that I needed…Plus his canter was just, ugh. Very ugh. I decided to work on his canter on Monday, and I got a little too into my own head, and intense, and lost track of time while riding. I don’t love when that happens, because I have tried VERY hard to not be that rider anymore for him! I guess I still have some relapse moments… It wasn’t my finest moment, that’s for sure, but I guess they are far and few between these days at least?

I was also in a rush because we had Beer, Pizza, & Gelato night at Pizza Prima Strata so I had to finish up my ride, rush home, get changed and go to our event! This has been a pretty busy week- I am planning to ride (a light ride, no going down the rabbit hole tonight) to make up for missing my Sunday ride.

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Squid ink pizza with squid and paired with squid-ink beer. It was good! 

Oats on the other hand had a lesson on Tuesday when I had it off! He still gets a pretty regular schedule every week, even if my life happens to be very busy.

Good ride, Bad ride, Ok ride?

So, I was expecting a good ride on Sunday- after all, I had a fairly decent jump lesson on Friday (I wasn’t expecting to, I was feeling tired and put-upon by life, basically…) and I had cancelled the show I was riding in on Saturday. Wasn’t feeling 100% after getting rear-ended on Wednesday, and then the person I was going to haul with bailed, soo…Yeah.

Wish it was summer!

So, at least he is cute?!

But anyways, I took Saturday off after originally planning to show in a small jumper show. Spectated at the show instead, and helped my husband out at his first Gut Buster run.

So when Sunday rolled around, I was actually expecting some decent things from Oats! I was planning on doing some of the same course I worked over on Friday, from the gymnastic to a few other jumps. Oats…had other ideas.

He was A TWIT!

He was stopping constantly when we were going large, slamming on the brakes and trying to backpedal. Snorting and anxious. Head in the air, ears on a swivel. Could NOT get him to go around the ring like a normal horse at all. I was like WTF IS GOING ON?

It was ridiculous, I was pissed.

It was hot, and I was just hoping for a break. Just one freaking break.

We worked, and worked, and worked, and then worked some more. We took breaks so he could investigate the ‘spooky areas’ that immediately became even MORE spooky the next time we went past them, despite him grazing calmly in them. We went around and around, fought, and it was just so …frustrating.

We did end up doing the small gymnastic and a few jumps, and he was very good over the gymnastic, funny enough, being spooky and on fire for the entire ride led to us getting the exact number of strides each time! Didn’t even have to push for then?! Go us?

We ended on a pretty ok canter to the right, where I didn’t fight him about his head in the air and tilted left..I was like, let’s just do this.

I rode him back up to the barn and he spooked. Hosed him off, led him down to the field and he spooked. ARGH.

Who replaced my horse with a blithering idiot?

I decided that because my week previously was not super consistent with riding- maybe this had something to do with Oats being a total moron to ride? So, I went out yesterday (Monday) to sort some of our issues out.

I went in with a different schedule- no jumps, no nothing I *had* to do…Just feel him out, see how it goes. No real agenda.

And the ride ended up being a real no-agenda ride. We walked large for loops and loops. I let his walk mesmerize me a bit. He did want to spook and stop and backpedal at first, but I let the reins loop, sat steady, and just walked. And walked. And walked.

Once that was not exciting, or scary, or spooky, we trotted. And then spent the entire ride, probably like 45 minutes, at the trot. Strong trot, slow trot, sitting trot, hunter-hack trot, easy trot, circles at the trot. Anytime I felt like he was starting to blow past my hands, throw his head in the air and try to fly around, we circled calmly as a reminder. And then circled again, and then circled again.

He required a lot of these reminders, but that was ok. I could wait it out.

And that was our entire ride.

Spring has sprung at the farm~

So, not only did I run this weekend up Island, but I had a great opportunity to stay with my in-laws, who have a lovely farm about 45 minutes up Island from us.

They have so many animals, and baby animals right now! Lambs, bunnies, chicks- love it~

Lambs!

Lambs!

So, I rode Oats on Saturday and my husband was able to get some pics and a video  (that showed Oats VERY behind my leg, arghhh) but we did get a very smooth, lovely left-lead two-point canter, and then we packed up the dog and headed to the farm!

Saturday riding

Saturday riding

(Oats then had Sunday and Monday off while I recovered from the run, and I rode him last night- cancelled my dressage lesson because I had an inkling it would be very unpleasant on my legs…Smart move, as I was still a bit sore).

And we spent a really nice time at the farm. We had lunch, hot-tubbed, cruised around checking out the lambs, and even picked Bracken fern fiddleheads to cook at dinner. Apparently they are poisonous if you don’t cook them correctly, with oxalates much like rhubarb leaves, so we had to blanch them, them steam them. They taste a lot like asparagus mixed with aniseed. Interesting, but not sure if I will seek them out again.

Bracken fern fiddleheads

Bracken fern fiddleheads

We had a really nice time, and the little lamby-kins are so cute! His parents are very generous, treating us to dinner whenever we make the trek up, and dog-sitting for us on a pretty regular basis. Gidget can be a little jerk at the farm though, barking, chasing sheep, getting dirty, and being a VERY restless sleeper (much to our chagrin the night before the run?!! arghh).

Bunnies

Bunnies

Anyways, after a busy weekend it’s good to get on track again. So, I’m riding again tonight, and then we have our jumping lesson on Thursday.

Springtime

Springtime

Before/After: The way I was/the way I want to be?

Before: Oats and I in the indoor arena. We had our fair share of struggles at the canter- getting it was hard, maintaining it was hard, bend was hard, not bucking was hard…

Winter Oats- canter

Winter riding- Oats canters: photo credit to Jodie Wright

After: August 2014 at the Sooke Saddle Club. So, we’ve got the impulsion down pat, but we still need a bit of help directing it. His enthusiasm is growing at least, for flat work! It was a fun and successful show (after loudly proclaiming I was NEVER going to show dressage again after our disastrous first few shows this season, wtf?) haha I guess I am back at it!

Sooke Saddle Club

Sooke Saddle Club: photo credit to Ian

AND of course, to be as humble as I can…We have rides that look like this: Oats the Giraffe-horse. Dressage is hard, guys!

Oats the giraffe

Oats the giraffe: Photo credit to Daytona

Following up on this, we had a lesson with Karen Brain yesterday. I am not sure what is going on, but apparently I need lessons to keep me honest, out of Oats’ face, and a better person. Yes that’s right, accountability keeps me nicer, and a nicer rider to Oats (not a pushover, but more solid and asking the right questions). I am NOT a pushover anymore! But I also don’t need to pick unnecessary fights either… I had a blah week, where my rides felt like..eh. Just ‘eh’ …

The last straw was Monday, where I felt unenthusiastic, Oats felt really blah, and he was a spooky, argumentative little punk.

Ding ding ding..Time for a lesson!

And so it was. And, pretty good! Not pretty, but not as ugly as before. We worked on picking up a canter lead on a straight line, no ‘cheat’ bending to get it. And it was very tough but more ‘rewarding tough’ than ‘what is this BS-tough’ that I felt before. Hah. So, we did it! Once! Ahhh the slide into mediocrity sure feels gooooood…(ok we are maybe sort of mediocre but I can at least TRY dressage sometimes!)

But I felt more ‘me’ and Oats felt more ‘him’ with the lesson. We need them, for our relationship building.

Hey this before/after thing is fun. I’ll dig up some (god awful) jumping pix for showcasing sometime!