Still hope for the quiet heart

Had a casual hack on Oats yesterday, to stretch our legs and see how things are after our dressage lesson. I’m taking today’s jumping lesson off due to a work event at night, so an easier week for Oats.

Oats looking cute in Feb.

Oats looking cute in Feb.

We warmed up pretty nicely, and cruised over some poles. I wanted to work on getting the canter (it was an ok canter) on the spooky side. We did drop it a few times when I forgot what I was doing…But he picked it up, and was fairly chillaxed and amenable to the pole work. I then trotted over an insultingly small x-rail to a pole (I think it was normally five strides, but the trot-in approach ended up with six) and he seemingly picked up the wrong lead on the landing EVERY time. Hargumph.

Official beginning of summer: Nemo makes a reappearance!

Official beginning of summer: Nemo makes a reappearance!

Also, he decided that because the x-rail was so small, he could stumble over it instead of jumping it. Sighhh…

But, overall a laid-back and casual ride. Maybe I’m starting to feel more like myself again? My legs were BURNING though. I actually pulled Oats to a stop after a canter because I literally couldn’t support myself in the saddle! I can’t remember the last time my legs hurt that much, just so so tired and aching and sore. It was crazy!

My legs were just so ridiculously tired. I felt like my bones were full of sand.

I kind of felt like I was trudging to work today- not sure why my legs are so full-on tired this week, ugh, but I hope they snap out of it by next week. C’mon body, work with me!

The dude. Photo courtesy of Natasha K.

The dude. Photo courtesy of Natasha K.

I’ve been sharing a lot with the other riders at my barn about my equine wellness approach, and it makes me think: Is it possible to change my mindset about jumping and showing? Can I change? It feels impossible to me, I’ve held this way of being for so long. Feeling something else seems like it will never happen.

I’ve also been thinking- maybe taking the showing down a BIG step is helpful to me. Now I have like, 2 shows this summer instead of 10. Baby steps?

Reaching new heights- in dressage!

I know, it’s actually laughable given how rough our past few engagements with lateral work were in my recent few blog entries, but even after his weekend of feeling under the weather Oats was GOOD!

Each week, we start off lateral work with more than a little angst…It’s sometimes like 10 minutes of pushing and shoving and just ‘arghhhh’ and then Oats softens, and agrees, and everything is beautiful…Until we take a break and try again and then it’s like WWIII.

This week, I wasn’t expecting anything of beauty. He had a hard weekend with a reaction from a vaccine, was stiff, unbalanced and generally feeling kind of lousy. He couldn’t bend, couldn’t hold the canter, nothing. Apparently a few other horses who got the same vaccine had a similar reaction, particularly at the canter. Poor buddy!

Anyways, we went into leg yield and he was – yielding-? Soft? Only a little bit argumentative? We changed rein, we tried it at the trot and oh man, he was GETTING IT! I know I say each week ‘best leg yield yet!!’ or haunches-in or whatever- and it’s true. We are getting more of Oats’ best work yet, each week. This people, is what learning feels like. Mostly ugly and then these awesome breakthrough moments.

So, we are going to try for some more advanced movements (not perfecting them by any means), just playing around with them so nobody feels frustrated or out of their depth. He is getting more and more confirmed with the haunches-in movements, I am so happy with that!

Go Oats Go!!!

As a treat for him, after a fairly intensive walk/trot haunches in/leg yielding lesson we trotted on a loose rein and he gave me a great, big trot and then I did some loose canter with wide reins, and just encouraged him to flow freely. His gaits felt really good, he felt floaty and awesome. I like this new pony.

You wear where you’re from like a second skin

Oats update~ Did a jumping lesson yesterday and it was a short one (did a warm up on my own and we went straight into jumping) and miracle of miracles, we had some of the best gridwork to date!

Cutie

Cutie

It was funny, because I was NOT expecting greatness. I was complaining to one of the lesson kids about how I hate gymnastics, the trot-in part is so awkward, and Oats tends to die out really easily…It’s just so blah.

But yesterday it wasn’t!

We did a small x-rail one-stride to a large x-rail as the gymnastic part, and then a vertical on the diagonal, to a two-stride, to a small oxer on the rail, back to the vertical on  the diagonal.

I was feeling pretty good with myself and Oats when we started the gymnastic- so smooth, and my position felt great! I felt like a hunter princess, hahah. We then worked over the raised x-rail and for some funny reason, even though it got bigger and bigger, it just never looked, ‘that impressive’ you know? It just felt like, eh, another x-rail- even though the middle of it was probably the same height as an oxer combination that was like giving me heart palpitations a few weeks ago!?

Go pony!

Go pony!

We kind of bungled the two-stride (ran out of impulsion, a chip) still like, made the strides but it wasn’t as pretty- but all the other jumps were NICE! And then we gathered up some steam and WENT at the two-stride and that one went fantastic!

It’s lessons like this that make me feel like Oats and I are working together as a team- yeehaw!!!

Plus- for some reason I just didn’t get as jazzed as I normally do. I felt very like, ho hum, about the size/level/complexity of the jumps and course. For me, that is a big accomplishment. Typically, I am a ball of anxiety about the jumps and raising them and oh, everything! This time, I was very zen about it, and just felt like, oh sure, yep can do.

like that feeling. I want more of it! Go pony!

Throwback Thursday: Thanksgiving 2013

Yes, because I’m in a strange mood today and am throwing back only a few years to Thanksgiving!

I love you this much!

I love you this much!

Also- I had an interesting ride on Oats yesterday. It was good (working on practicing with a neckstrap) and bad (losing my temper at some brief lateral work, Oats contemplating being a shit at the gate). It taught me that when things are going well, don’t push it so hard! Jesus! Haha, well I have been getting much better with ‘letting it go’ and yesterday was just a reminder of what happens when I forget, and start pushing him too hard…

Cutie Oats

Cutie Oats

Anyways, some photos of Oats and I- circa 2013~

Pure Joy

I had a ride last night, and I still have a freaking cold, and was feeling suuuper tired and draggy. It’s been chilly here (for us!) close to -1 in the evenings which is quite unusual so I was feeling blah, crabby and cold, coughing and snotty, gross and out of it.

Because it wasn’t a lesson, I dragged out some poles to work on my position in two-point over, and work on my eye. Oats and I warmed up and he was good, quite good. Listening, interested, sparkly.

We went up to canter, and this is where the ‘pure joy’ moment was…We cruised over and over the poles, and he was SO SMOOTH…I loved it. I could go like that forever. I tried staying up in two-point- my default right now is to sit and push with my seat- and we cruised, and cruised, and cruised.

I felt so happy, so alive.  Even though it’s just poles (yawn), I was just so glad about how cool, smooth and cooperative Oats was.

Of course, because I’m being me, I didn’t leave it at that but that is the memory I am left with from the ride- just cruising along, not a care in the world. Now THAT is what riding should be!

We have a lesson tonight – I’m still feeling pretty lousy from the cold I have that seems to be lingering unpleasantly, and I had some very disturbing post-apocalyptic nightmares again (why???) so yeah still kind of draggy, but we’ll see!

Old photo of Oats

Old photo of Oats

Beerfest and other sports

Hah, this summer has been so busy. Along with a few horsey activities, we’ve been doing a TON of other stuff, including surfing, camping, NYC, wedding, tons of music festivals and more…Yes I’m spoiled!

Fun times at Beerfest

Fun times at Beerfest

So, this past weekend was Beerfest here. I’ve never gone, as the price to get in ($40) kind of scared me off, because that’s all you get- entry into Beerfest for the tix price. No comp drink tickets, nothing. Yeah, kind of a rip-off in my mind, but I figured just this once…I’ll go.

And was it worth it? Well, yes and no. I had a great time, but I probably wouldn’t go again. I tried TONS of great beer, and it was a ton of fun to hang out- so warm, sunny, hot. The weather was fabulous, we cruised from booth to booth trying different beers.

The standouts?

Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks ‘Strawberry Wit’ beer. The lineup was long when we got there! It was sooo delicious. Yummm.

I also really enjoyed Moon over Water’s Berry Harvest beer, and Whistler Brewing Company’s Mint Mojito beer. Stronger than they look!

I didn’t like though, going home and falling asleep on the couch at 5pm. It kind of eats your whole day, walking around drinking beer! OH well there are worse things to have happen, haha.

I rode Oats on Friday and Sunday, knowing I’d be out of action on Saturday pretty much. We had a fun ride on Friday in the field, and a lazy kind of annoying day on Sunday in the indoor. He was hot, and sluggish. Soooo sleepy. Basically ka-blammed an entire jump to the ground, and smashed my water bottle in the process. BOO! That makes water bottle #4 to bite the dust (broken while jumping, apparently that is how I break most of them!).

Oh well!