Future me hates me

Ha, why do I overschedule myself! (sort of?!). Had a fairly busy horse weekend, with rescheduled lessons on Saturday with Faith, rehabbing Oats, and then a long run! Takes me well into 5pm, apparently. The lesson was…Kind of a big dud. We started off really nicely, with some of the nicest trot I think we have achieved together! And then, the wheels kind of fell off. She tripped big time at the canter when we were heading to canter poles, and then did 1 little bolt, and then started getting balky/stopping at the gate side of the arena- AGAIN.

Wish this was this year. Why can’t I ride better?

She hasn’t been that bad since our last daytime lesson (what IS IT with those??) so who knows wtf was going on in little horsey’s head on Saturday? A shame, because we had a genuinely lovely lesson the past Tuesday!

Oh well, something to work on. It’s interesting, riding someone else’s horse, because I never know what I’m going to get- and it’s kind of a day-by-day adventure, ha. Sometimes good, sometimes pretttty bad.

And Oats? The past week he was a moron to rehab. Afraid of the corners, almost got me off in a big spook on Thur night, wouldn’t go into the corner, running backwards, slamming on the brakes, being super dramatic. I think he’s definitely getting fitter and all that energy has nowhere to go… I had to cancel his Friday rider because I was a bit worried she might get scared off, or spooked off. Can’t have that! He was amazingly good on Fri/Sat, and then back to being a total butthead on Sunday. Go figure?? He also was in a big snit about his hay (ok, it’s honestly terrible low-sugar hay this time. SO coarse) and he was refusing to eat it, poor guy. I can’t have him eating barn hay though, so it’s a no win ūüė¶ I get why he hates his new low sugar hay, and I am really hoping the next shipment isn’t so awful. ARGH.

I had a LOT of tension from my bad rides on Oats last week, bad lesson on Faith, bad ride on Oats, and it just felt like…Shit. What am I DOING messing around with these miserable animals????

So, I did a yoga video on Sunday night and yawned 100 times. Seriously, my eyes were watering, tears running down my face. Apparently I *was* holding tension, who knew??? Ha. It felt good though to let it allll go. Now, to remember that in my daily ride (wanted to write Battle) with Oats every night!! Be good you little jerk.

Calling you from my dreams: Ride recaps!

Now where did I leave off? Oh yeah, my friend and I had another fun bomb around the x-c fields jump session, AND I even got her to take media! We jumped everything a bunch of times and it was great. Until…

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Thanks to Lindsay for the media. Not a high jump but a wider one!

We went to the small field that is super rutted and full of holes to jump the coop, and I was sitting watching her jump and BLAM! Oats spooked, and spun so fast I didn’t even have time to formulate 1 thought- and bang, I was on the ground. And damn, did it hurt! The field has had no rain, and the ground feels like freaking concrete right now.

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Jumping the coop (it looks bigger in person, I swear) right after I fell off.

I fell hard on my right hip, but the twisting motion meant my left hip/pelvis really hurt the most. I hopped back on and jumped the jumps in the field, and then we were finished with that. Walking back up the hill to the barn sucked though, I was in world of hurt and limping a bit. I thought I could maybe power through and still go running but nope…my back, pelvis, neck and shoulders were just¬†killing me.

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We could never figure out the right distance to this. He kept stopping! Jerk! 

So I had to take the next few days off running (just walking was hard enough) and I rode on the Sunday before my holiday but very gingerly and was quite sore. Damn!

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Oh well, by the time my holidays came the pain had mostly lifted and I am back to riding (rode in the ring on Saturday and in the field Sunday) and running like normal. I do have a massage therapy appointment tomorrow afternoon to help with the pelvic/hip tightness.

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Horses!!

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Ha. So awkward.

Rust buster for real: Prairie Inn Harriers 8k race recap

First off, thanks to the volunteers and race organizers. This is a VERY smoothly run race, and I absolutely loved the post-race food options (great soup, hot dogs! pizza?! wow!!). A super effort by all involved and made my recovery that much more fun.

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7th place!! Photo is courtesy of the Prairie Inn Harriers.

Now for the race recap: Wow, this was a lot harder than I felt it should have been, and it was 100% my fault- I went out FAST in the beginning (first downhill km at 3:55? No way can I run that fast, and I was just getting caught up and silly). It was then a strugglefest for the rest of the race, thanks to my poor planning.

My next km was still very fast for me- 4:16. Then I dropped rapidly and started losing my will to live…

4:46, 4:35, 4:39…eeeeek.

Basically my race was a textbook example of poor pacing efforts, combined with another perfect positive split. So, don’t do what I did- ha. I honestly felt like I would have paid someone to let me quit midway through, it felt that rough.

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Well deserved (until I fell off Oats shortly after).

I wanted to puke, pass out and collapse. I had the distinct pleasure of getting passed right left and centre all throughout the race, which made it tough to ‘run my race’ instead of feeling like I was getting caught up and passed constantly. The ‘hurry scurry’ feeling just never left and I couldn’t achieve that ‘flow’ that I try to during races.

Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice for taking a few months off racing, and the 8k, while a fine distance, is just not my distance.

It was a very chilly day and it actually started snowing like crazy when we finished. Thank god we missed that though- a stroke of good luck. I was happy with my time (36:06 net, 36:11 gun time) which is a slight improvement from last year (36:20), but I do still feel like if I ran a better, more competent race I would have fared wayyyy better. hahah.

At the finish, I wasn’t sprinting, I was struggling. I was huffing and puffing and trying to catch my breath, reeling and staggering at the end. I sat down on a retaining wall and felt dizzy. Yuck!

I was coughing heavily for the rest of the day, thanks to my incompetent lungs being slightly damaged- yuck again.

With my time I received 7th place AG, which is fine for a fairly competitive race.

And after the run, my husband and I enjoyed a very nice beer taster at Category 12, which is nearby, and then we headed to the barn so I could get a quick ride in on Oats. He spooked during my ride, and I promptly tumbled off. Not my day I guess? I was fine, landed on my feet and hopped back on and continued but yeeesh, I guess I was just tired, and not ‘with it’ haha.

Oh well, a lesson to learn for that day.

I am stiff as heck today though!

 

 

 

Baggage (the fun emotional kind…)

As I mentioned in my ‘Derailed’ post, I have a real tendency to get thrown off track easily and then have a devil of a time getting back in the groove.

So, funny enough, my primary concern for my ride on Oats Saturday was wondering how his feet were going to be, after his run-in with stones in his feet and the potential stone bruise. He does have sensitive feet, you know!

Well, I didn’t have to worry…

He was rocking it. On fire! So much so that when we were warming up, casually walking and trotting (and I NEVER let my guard down in the outdoor, NEVER), he spooked and¬†spun so hard at the ‘spooky corner’ that I came flying off and landed on my back and bad right shoulder.

SHIT

So, my ride went from ”hmmm wonder how his feet are going to be” to BLAM on the ground.

Within five minutes of getting on. ARGH.

I was on my back, but then I was back on my feet and didn’t feel that bad…And it was only the beginning of my ride, so I hopped back on and continued. Funny enough, he wasn’t spooky really at all- it was just that one freak thing? He was full of beans though, cooler windy weather will do that, so I took advantage of his energy and worked over some small fences.

Later that day, I went for a 15km slowest, most terrible run with my husband. My god, I felt sooo slow and soooo drained, but we kept going. That maybe should be a sign for me, since during the night my back was KILLING me and I could barely get out of bed in the morning the next day. I am clearly a genius…

And because I am a genius, I still rode on Sunday too. Eek. I did mitigate my risks though- it was windy, blustery with a chance of thunderstorms so I rode indoors (and of course it was beautiful)… Wish I could say the same for my ride. I was still edgy and anxious, and pissed off at Oats. I took my pain out on him during my ride.

My back didn’t really hurt while I was riding, but boy, it sure hurt before and after! He was a fairly good pony, a bit confused about why I was riding him so edgily and angrily, but I softened, (not much though) and we worked on a pole exercise.

It was another lesson to me – one I learned when my mom fell off Oats in May in the outdoor and broke her arm- that I really, really, really shouldn’t get back on the next day to either tempt fate or challenge myself or challenge Oats. Why, why why do I do this?

Well, anyways I did it- It wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible. It just was NOT a shining display of how I can normally ride, in a nice partnership with my horse.

I need to not get into it like this. I thought I was getting better about not picking a fight the day after when I’m feeling hurt or emotionally upset, but apparently I’m not 100% perfect about it yet either…

I just feel disappointed in my fall, a fluke accident, but it almost works to confirm my belief that YES, there IS something to be worried about riding in the outdoor, in the scary corner. After all, my mom broke her arm there a few months ago! He’s always bad and on-edge there, and this most recent accident works to concrete that fear in my mind. Shoot.

I hope I can get past that, and get back to the positive progress I was making- both with my horse, and with my mind.

Oats is afraid (this happens every year at this time. Shoot!!)

…Every year the same struggle for old Mr. Oats. Him, versus the haying machines!

ARGH.

It started Saturday, innocently enough. Haying out in the field, and he was eagle-eyed watching the process (and all the horses were running like insane lunatics and I had to get help from Nicole to get Oats out of the field so I didn’t get stomped in the process. Fun fun…).

He was fine to ride in the indoor, and I took Sunday off to run the half marathon.

Monday, and the haying/baling was out in full force. Greeeaaat….I get Oats and notice he is absolutely COVERED in dried sweat. Everywhere. He has a ton of messy poops, and seems unsettled and very salty/sweaty.

We head out to the arena, and it’s a beautiful day. Hot, sunny, gorgeous. I am 100% alone at the barn, not a soul around- which I was not thrilled with. Oats walked around well and was responding nicely and seemed fairly relaxed. Until…

WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP

Hay baler starts up behind the indoor arena, out of eyesight but definitely not out of pony earshot…

Oats starts thinking about losing his shit. He’s in between meltdown stages…

I jumped off before he tried to exit the scene stage right. We walked around and around, and he didn’t chill out really at all. I let him graze and he is definitely a nervous eater. When the sounds seemed to abate a bit, I got back on and walked/trotted in the ‘safe zone’ away from the baler. He was okay, but certainly very on-edge. The baler stopped for a bit, and we were able to canter at the top of the arena, which was nice.

He spooked HARD a few times, and was scaring himself, but we were able to end on a decent note of walking large around the arena out of the ‘safe zones’ once each way.

So, that was ok but kind of more than I really wanted -or- bargained for the day after running the half marathon…It was hot, I was tired, and not really looking forward to dealing with Oats in alarm mode…

He was very sweaty, he is an anxious sweater. So, I hosed him off and he was edgy and quite alarmed, looking and looking for the scary hay baler. Sighhhhh….

I let him sit for a bit when I was putting away my tack and he was scraped off and cooled out, and when I came back he was like OH THANK GOD YOU’RE HERE and was licking my arm?! He was definitely looking to me for reassurance.

So…yeah.

I texted a friend about it and she said he was better today when he got turned out, wasn’t racing blindly around like a maniac and wasn’t frothing into a lather…

And I am taking today off to finally take it easy after the run. It’s harder than you think!

Aftermath

A few days out from the accident, I’ve ridden four times. My first time, was rough and angry. The second time, I wisely pulled back and rode Oats in the indoor, to prevent any ¬†nerves or defensive riding on my part- and it was boring! The third time was my lesson with Karen Brain, and I started off fairly determinedly ‘relaxed’ but still nervous, and the lesson was great- tough, but very thorough.

Not so relaxed

Not so relaxed

And the fourth time? A very decided mix of bad and good. Oats was a bit edgy. I let him stand and look at the ‘spooky’ areas and he didn’t relax at all like he did in the warm-up before my lesson. He just stood there, with his head on a freaking swivel, staring as hard as he could. He felt like he was ‘looking’ for a reason to spook. He never brought his head down, never even attempted to graze. Just stood stock-still with his head up high.

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Throughout the ride, he did spook- many times. Luckily, none of them were biggies, and his spooks do tend to be no big deal anyways…Plus I was riding VERY defensively. Not a good point. I’m still not super pleased with how I deal with the ‘edgier’ days.

The canter was very good, it felt like the hard work we put in the day before in my lesson paid off! I was very pleased with him. The trot work kind of sucked (see head on a swivel…).

Anyways, the canter made me feel like I wanted to take him over jumps (a bad idea, since I was 100% alone) but trot made me feel like I wanted to jump off!

So, a combination of positive and negative, bad and good.

I’m taking today off, as I think Oats needs a day off too!

You don’t love me, you love the chase

Man oh man, how do I describe my ‘relaxing’ few days off while my mom visited?

The aftermath...

The aftermath…

Well, they were NOT relaxing, at all. Jesus.

Things started off well, with a nice visit to my in-laws farm, using up some grocery gift cards and a good hike through the woods. The fun vibes continued into the next day, when my mom and I went for a run at Thetis Lake with the dog. She accompanied me to my jumping lesson and then all hell broke loose.

Up to 2'6''

Up to 2’6”

We had a great jump lesson, and I had my mom on for a pony ride to cool Oats off. She was wearing a helmet, and we were half asleep…Just chatting, having a nice time. All of a sudden, Oats¬†spooked!¬†And BLAM! My mom fell right off, onto her arm.

Started off well

Started off well

She started shouting that her arm was broken right away. I ran Oats up the hill as fast as I could drag him, threw him to my friend and shouted for my coach to help us. Thank god they were still around. Nicole ran down to help my mom, I drove my car around the block and into the arena through the field to pick up my mom and drive her to the hospital. Nicole helped my mom into my car, and we slowly drove to the hospital (a 2-minute drive, luckily).

In the backseat!

In the backseat!

There, she got an x-ray and I zipped home to wait for her to call. It took a few hours and she called- a broken humerus. Apparently the most painful break you can get. No joke her. She spent a long night in pain, and then we regrouped in the morning. I helped her get dressed, have a shower and we picked up her pain med prescription, and also went for lunch. When she was having a nap, I wanted to leave the house quiet- so I went to the barn, and it was kind of a bad idea.

Leaving looooooong!

Leaving looooooong!

I went in a bad mood. I felt angry, upset, betrayed. I felt guilty and mad at my horse. Mad at the world, really. I fall off Oats all the time, and nothing happens. My mom goes for a pony ride and breaks her arm? And this is the SECOND time she has broken that arm with me, visiting me in Victoria? What gives???

I was also afraid. When I rode Oats the next day, I wasn’t riding because I wanted to. I was riding because I felt like I had something to prove- to myself, to my mom. It was definitely fear-based. My ride was very aggressive, and I was acting¬†defensively. Oats even got pissed off and threw in a baby buck at the canter, to show me he didn’t like how I was behaving (he hasn’t done that in aaaages).

It was hot, sweaty, hard. I felt rough, tired and unhappy.

I wasn’t happy with how I handled Oats then.

I hopped off, and let him graze for a bit, and then walked him back up the hill. I vowed to not let that happen again- losing my tempter, riding with fear like that.

The next day, I had a better game plan (I went riding while my mom was napping again, wanted to make sure the house was completely quiet for her). We rode in the indoor and it was quiet, calm. I had better control over my emotions and I didn’t feel afraid- but, I had scheduled a lesson for Monday, and I knew that would be a better test of how I was handling the trauma. My ride was very calm and quiet, boring even!

Monday- I had scheduled a private lesson with Karen Brain, as she couldn’t make our usual Tuesday ride. I immediately felt anxious.

But I wanted to push myself- I didn’t want to let my fear or anger rule the day. I felt nervous warming up by myself, but also like, oh you want to look at the corner? Sure, let’s stop for a bit, and look. Oats then started grazing and I was like…Hm…nope. Clearly, it wasn’t an issue for him- it was an issue for me, the ‘spooky side’.

We worked hard, and I told her what had happened. I deal with more fear in the outdoor, but I also like being in the outdoor- I have to be able to manage my fear, physically. And I am. Well, I am learning to. I still deal with fear, and I don’t like Oats lollygagging and staring outside the arena, but I am learning to deal with fear proactively.

So, we worked on lateral work and he was GREAT! And then we worked on picking up right- or -left lead canter through some cones (not quite as good) and then some seriously bone- jarring trot work (ouch ouch ouch). It really helped me work through some of my issues and allowed me to focus on the task at hand.

I needed it.

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Kings of Summer

Kings of Summer

So, took Oats to our sixth horse show this season- another jumper show at the Cowichan District Riding Club. And how did it go? Well!!… Some success, some failure.

We entered the 2” and the 2’3” jumper ‘match the clock’ jumper classes. My goals were as follows- don’t fall off, don’t go before the buzzer, don’t miss a jump, and don’t forget when you are going!!

Did I meet those goals? Close!

The course was a little trickier than the first show, a bending line, two jumps set right on the outside rail, 1 diagonal line and one jump placed right in the middle of the ring. I did NOT forget where I was going! Success!

We cruised into a pretty crazy inside turn on our first course- that not ONE other rider even attempted except for us- ha! And we placed second! The second round we placed 4th, and then it was on to the 2’3”.

Ah, here’s where the fail happens- I was going around and it felt delicious! We were rocking it so hard! Until the last fence loomed and I got all celebratory, like Oats could feel me getting excited, and BLAM! He stopped!

I ended up on his neck, crawled myself back in the saddle, and attempted it again. BLAM! Stopped again! And there was no saving it this time. FUCK~

I fell, unceremoniously, into the oxer.

So, that was how I ended my run at the 2’3”. SIGH.

Went home with underwear full of sand, and a big scratch on my back, as well as a sore arm and back. Not too sore though, I was still able to meet a friend for a run on Sunday, and go ride Oats (he was tired) and then go for a brief hike with husband and Gidget.

I’m still kind of kicking myself. WTF? When do the falls STOP HAPPENING? Like, just…argh.

So far this season, I have fallen off more than I have ever in my actual riding career. Oats bucked me off at our first dressage show, last week he spooked and I ended up in mid-air, and this weekend he stops at a fence and I fly into it. WTF WTF?

Growing pains? I have them.