Free to be me!

I had my dressage lesson on Tuesday and my legs were still kind of killing me (see Halloween half-marathon and my apparent lack of fitness…). I was SO tempted to cancel the lesson, just take it easy again.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Did I? Nope! I am proud of myself for committing, even when I was tired, my legs still hurt, I was having a lot of trouble with stairs- going down them was not easy until yesterday- but I did it. Oh and it was absolutely pouring cats and dogs. Yeeeesh.

It was a good, thorough and challenging lesson.

Things Oats is allowed to do now: Express himself appropriately. His major hissy-fits of yesteryear are no longer, apparently, and now he is okay to say ‘THIS IS HARD!!’ and then…move on and accept it.

Phew!!

We worked on lateral work at the trot, and he had a few ‘moments’ but funny enough Karen really liked when he was haughty with a little more attitude, because his trot suddenly became very ‘prancy’ and bouncy, instead of flat and draggy like usual. So, we could use it! Ha, take that, pony 🙂

After some fairly extensive lateral work, we brought in transitions- walk/trot in shoulder-in, and haunches in. This was tough, I’m not going to say it was easy. But, it was good work, and I was very pleased with the solid effort-not without minor drama- from Oats.

Then we moved on to holding a nice mid-level neck with a lot of bend inwards, from a slow trot to a canter, holding the bend. Easier said than done…We struggled with that more. I had a hard time keeping the bend, not letting Oats throw his head up and out, and keeping the canter with the bend. Ah, things…

We finished the lesson by working on ‘spins’ sort of. Getting Oats to disengage his hindquarters and let me ‘spin’ him, instead of bracing against me. It wasn’t 100% successful, but I could feel a real change from the left spin to the right. A very interesting technique, and not something I am used to doing.

Bonus- all that work let me forget how tired and achy my legs were!

A good pony.

 

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Just until forever

So as I mentioned yesterday, I was curious to see how my dressage lesson would go on Tuesday. How would Oats be feeling? He seemed to be working out of any strangeness on Sunday, but last week was too weird for words…

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Keep this lovely feeling going!

I’m pleased to say he was fabulous! His trot was lovely, he wasn’t angry or ouchy with tightening the girth, and his canter was fairly nice. I told my trainer what was going on last week and she agreed that it is not like him to act this way, and it was likely due to one of two things: illness like the flu, or soreness- getting cast in his shelter, or standing for too long in one place. She also suggested that due to his age (14 now!!), we start looking at getting his hocks possibly x-rayed to see if he has any arthritic changes.

I totally agree with this course of action–I hated to feel Oats going the way he was last week. I wanted my bouncy, funny pony back!

I am checking with the barn manager to see when the vet is out for spring shots, and I will have him do a lameness flexion on Oats to see about his hocks, if he finds anything, then it is x-ray time. I will also be carefully monitoring how he moves/is feeling in the next couple weeks.

In our lesson, as I mentioned, Oats warmed up lovely and was back to his old self. We worked on a fairly challenging (mentally) exercise: shoulder-in at walk, and then transition to trot, and hold it at the trot, and then move to haunches-out with his head to the wall, changing bend.

Oats did find this challenging, but I’m pleased to say that his hissy-fits of ‘I can’t do it!’ and ‘I don’t wanna!’ are mostly over. He played well with me, and was mostly cooperative and working to his full strength. We worked these exercises well until the end, when Oats got tired and was like, ok – ENOUGH! And the we trotted freely, bending in the corners, and mannnnn his trot was soooooo good.

He snorted and snorted and snorted while we trotted! Somebody was thinking very hard in that lesson, good boy. I was very pleased with his efforts yesterday.

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Riding is always simple, never easy

Riding is always simple, never easy

Love this photo, it’s how I feel in the summertime! I want to do everything- and nothing- all at once.

My ideal day? Ride Oats, do some jumping outdoors, go for a good long run (10k again?) and then grab an iced coffee or a cider and relax at the beach and read a book.

I frequently fall asleep at the beach- though after looking at my idea day, I’m not exactly surprised haha. There’s something so hypnotic about the sound of the wave, ambient noise of people talking near, but not that near, and the smell of hot sand, cold salty water.

Had a lesson last night- moved back to the indoor b/c the outdoor was quite hard, and I was worried about making Oats sore and sour after doing two straight days outdoors. You have to work up to riding fully outdoors and we are not quite there yet.

So we worked on bending, canter bend/counterbend with lots of breaking back to trot- oops! And leg-yield at the trot- transition to canter when we ended the leg yield. Was not a fantastic ride, but it felt more ‘thorough’ like we had lots of sort of chew over, rather than a YEAHHHH jumping ride that you feel exhilarated about.

Sometimes I go for the ‘easy win’ of a rush of good feelings in a jumping lesson, because the leg-yield/bend/transition/shoulder-in lessons are tiring, and you don’t get that WE CAN DO IT feeling…It’s much more subtle, and can get lost on me when I’m searching for that endorphin rush.

Riding isn’t necessarily about endorphins though, haaaa. Well, I did ride in the outdoors on Tuesday and it was much improved, and we cruised over a fence that caught my eye- unfortunately it was set up just to have a jump ‘set up’ and not necessarily for jumping! There was a pole a few feet tossed behind it, that I only saw when we were like, over the jump. Ooops!~ Luckily Oats is a nifty little fellow and handily saw the pole, jumped the jump and hopped over the pole, only tinging it slightly with his hooves.

Apparently the jump we hopped over was almost 2’6” and I didn’t even really notice- it’s funny, but the jumps in the outdoors seem less intimidating that indoors. It’s like they seem less significant when placed in a larger arena? Not sure why that is.