Won’t let you down

Riding this week has been in the distinctly ‘ok’ camp- nothing amazing, but nothing bad either. Rode lightly Monday (FREEZING), worked on no-stirrups on Tuesday (much more reasonable temperatures), had a jump lesson last night where we worked on adjustability by my request over poles/small x-rails (it kind of sucked, but yeah that’s clearly where I need to improve haha), and have a dressage lesson tonight.

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Where I will likely be working on…canter adjustability. Hah.

Oats wasn’t even sweating last night, and the work is tiring for him. I guess since he is clipped and in pretty good shape, he just doesn’t sweat? He has had a recurring poopy butt though, UGHHH that is a lot of fun to deal with every day. The hay is too rich for him, and he’s been having gastrointestinal effects for about two weeks now. I had hopes that it was improving this week, until I got to the barn on Thursday and nope…Still gross. Poor pony!

He was also kind of in slugville, ha. I am putting him back on Previcox this winter, to see if it helps him move more freely when it gets cold. On Monday, he moved like the Tin Man. Stiff, uncomfortable and just awful! My husband joked that it’s like me starting a race- stiff, awkward, slow and super uncomfortable. Takes me a good 10-20 minutes to warm up into it…As for Oats I guess?

I am hoping the Previcox helps him when it gets colder out. As it is, the weather has been very mild! 🙂 Since the deep freeze on Monday. Also it’s raining a lot, sooooo yeah. Otherwise I’m just trying to put the training in on Oats, but still maintaining good perspective with a mix of easy rides, beach rides and the girls are trying to get him out on a trail ride with them one day…We’ll see about that.

I am also still focusing on rehabbing my ligament injury, which is kind of a back-and-forth journey most weeks- I can barely feel the injury anymore, except when I run too much or too fast, then it swells back up into a lump of scar tissue on my lower hip/groin. Lovely.

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You Won’t: Jump lesson update!

I’ve had kind of a mixed week- some personal-life drama (ughh) but in other news, my ligament injury seems to be making a real turnaround with treatment, so I am VERY pleased with that!! Man, it hopped on the healing train once I started treatment. Part of me is kicking myself for not doing this sooner, but hey you learn the hard way sometimes?!

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Cuddlebugs. Photo courtesy of Katie H. 

Jump lesson last night and we were in a real cold snap. Oats warmed up very stiffly, like he was running with a flat tire, ughh. Kind of like how I begin any race, as my husband said 😉

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Photo courtesy of Katie H.

So, we had to manage his stiffness in the cold, and kind of ‘work up’ to the level we needed. Luckily, after cantering and then going over some x-rails, he was moving much more smoothly. Yes! We then worked on a very basic, looping hunter-style course with 1 3-stride line in it, focusing on letting my hands go forward instead of taking back (god, this was harder than it sounds…very vulnerable position for me) no matter the distance. The problem being: When I see a distance, things are awesome! When I don’t, things get distinctly…less awesome. Meaning, they suck, I pull back or try to manage him with my hands and/or upper body. Not great.

So, I just had to ‘let go’ a little more. Mixed success on that, but overall I was fairly pleased with Oats’ effort and my effort to be a little more vulnerable and willing to get go, and also to work through the ‘push hands forward’ and take them back when I need to steer, and let them go again on my way to the jump. Riding- always simple, never easy.

Also having to rely more on my legs vs hands as a support for the jump. Hahahha yeah, this remains a work in progress… All in all, a good lesson and a good ride.

Devil like me: Dressage lesson recap!

This has been a crazy week. Crazy. Ugh.

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Next week is looking equally nuts. Great…

Anyways, enough of my griping. Oats and I had our semi-private dressage lesson last night and it went fairly well, considering he was stiff as all hell when I was warming up. Seriously, he was so stiff and moving laterally that he almost fell over cantering a circle. Yeesh…

He is on Previcoxx right now to see if it helps with any arthritic changes/stiffness but it’s too soon to really measure. The biggest issue we have is when it is pouring rain, Oats sits in his shelter all day= not moving around and getting stiffer and more ouchy. It was HAMMERING rain yesterday, moonsoon-style for most of the day…

And boy did he feel it. So our exercises last night were focused on bending/flexing some moderate lateral work and more bending. YAY! …It was ok, Oats was moving better and better, he had one sassy buck-jump when I tapped him in the trot leg-yield. His response: NO!!

…then ok.

I am happy to say it did work to loosen up his stiff joints, poor old guy.

He was sweaty after. The countdown is on to his next clip job… C’mon c’mon!

What are you doing with your whole life? How about forever?

Oh man, this winter is just dragging for me. In excruciating detail: the wind is insane, it’s been unseasonably COLD for about six weeks now?! It’s dark. Work is insane. I miss my friend who moved away. My family is…a work in progress…shall we say?

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This is about the third time I have used this photo to illustrate how awful the wind has been. I was scared for my life!

Needless to say, I’m so over it. I have been struggling over the past oh six weeks or so with feelings of intense unhappiness. It isn’t really every day, but it’s been frequent enough to make me seriously wonder- why can’t I find joy in things I love? In the everyday? Is is seasonal affective disorder?

I have been taking vitamin D, and making sure to get outside, but still…It’s honestly super difficult.

Anyways, that whine preamble was to start my ride week in a nutshell:

Fell off Oats on Sunday after my race when he spooked lightly at something.

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At least Oats has his best horse friend to play with every day!

Tried riding Tuesday because I was too stiff and sore Monday to ride. There was a windstorm on Tuesday with wind gusting up to 90km/hr. It was TERRIFYING. Thank god I was on Oats,  who allows me to do the dumbest things with him. I wouldn’t trust any other horse. Still, I was scared out of my mind and ended up riding for 15 very tense minutes and I jumped off and thanked god I was still alive. NOT doing that again. Just terrifying, 100% alone in the pitch black with hurricane winds. Nope…

Wed: Actually a good jump lesson. I was in a bad mood all week, and so wasn’t expecting greatness or anything. I thought Oats was going to feel stiff but he was moving out quite nicely! We worked on a gymnastic- my nemesis- to a small course with a skinny on a circle, and another skinny on a straight approach. Oats was a very good boy, and I quite enjoyed my ride!

Today: Planning on riding. It is -5 and feels like -9. To give context, it’s usually around 8 deg Celsius and rainy here in the winter. I am so sick of it.

It is easier to fool someone, than to convince them they have been fooled.

Pithy quote by our friend Mark Twain.

This is my week right now:

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Holiday spirit? Bah humbug!

By Tuesday- my dad’s birthday- I was saying it felt like a long week. Wow, little did I know…By Wednesday I was in full grouch-mode. Move over Grinch, there is a new Grinch in town! (It’s still Thursday today unfortunately.)

I blame a few things- it has gotten really cold here, very unusual for us. Windchill of -9? Usually it’s like 9 degrees. I am FREEZING. Work went completely off the rails and is starting to ruin my sleep with insane stress dreams. Greeeeat…Family engagements= more pressure. Lovely, lovely.

At least my horse life is ok?

Had my jump lesson last night, after an entire day of grumbling, stress, crankiness and more stress at work. I soooo did NOT want to go to my lesson, which is weird because I always want to ride and you pretty much have to drag me away from it! I was dragging my feet, in a bad mood, cold, tired, cranky. UGH. Jumping was the last thing I wanted to do.

But you know what? I gathered up the last tiny shreds of my shabby resolve and went, and rode in my lesson. I even warmed up a bit from the everlasting chill in my bones I had all day! Oats does struggle more in the cold- he warmed up stiffly again, and his canter was very short-strided. We made sure the jump efforts were not onerous, as pushing too much on a horse that is taking a long time to warm up just isn’t fair.

So the jumps were small, but the course was fairly twisty with a good bending line, and a trot-in line that rode really well, once Oats woke up and actually jumped it! No big fences, nothing too exciting, just some good old fashioned riding. And weirdly, I’m always the one that’s like, ok let’s stop here…I’m done…And I backpedal and wimp out. This time, after my third go-around on a course, my trainer suggested we end on that- not me, which is highly out of character for me. Who is this person?! Me? Keeping going, wow.

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This was last December!

Oats was in snoozeland in the cross-ties after. Poor guy, the chill is hard for him.

Snow?!

Yep it snowed here. Things have been insanely busy at work, coupled with a nice but fairly boring (ie- no big events) weekend, and some rides that are fine by themselves…Not much to blog about!

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The view today. Brrr.

I did bash the everloving hell out of my knee on Sunday- got too ambitious doing a turn to a pole and absolutely clobbered the jump standard and sent it freaking flying! Ouch I have two bruises now.

Every ride- the ride itself has been fine but then there is always just on THING that happens. I want one ride that is 100% uneventful- is that too much to ask?

Sunday- whang the hell out of my knee. Oats takes it all in-stride, no prob. While I am leading him back to the arena, the maintenance guy is working on the sprinklers to drain them (see cold weather/snow) and they go off in a terrific HISSSSS behind us. Oats is like WTF?!!! sigh…

Monday- Ride goes well, Oats feels stiff but works out of it well, and I think he was feeling cold-muscled and kind of ‘up’ because his trot was like Trot TROT trot TROT and very up and down, not so much forward.

Got a really fun ride in where we schooled poles like a jump course, Oats was steaming after! He had to be cooled out for a long time…When raccoons got in a fight outside the indoor arena, hissing and growing at each other. Freaked Oats right out! I hustled him up to the barn to cool him out in a more relaxing environment…

Just one ride? A non-drama ride?

Oh well!

Orchestra for the Moon

Taken from a Jenn Grant album title, (saw her on Tuesday), to provide a recap for this week: mixed results.

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Oh man do I want it to be summer!

Monday I had organized an equine counselling session, as I realized I was in need of a tune-up after my bad/good lesson on Thursday. For some reason, because I was feeling a lot of stress that week, I started making a lot of very negative value statements about my riding, my lesson, and everything– after what was, to be honest, not a terrible lesson. So what gives?

Turns out that I was likely trying to make that lesson resolve what I was feeling emotionally/ physically, and that just…didn’t happen. I was trying for redemption via my horse and jumping, and you know what? A big nope on that.

And it left me feeling discouraged, useless and like, unfulfilled. A good comparison would be my car: it was also breaking down last week and when it stalls or breaks down, I don’t immediately think I am a bad driver! I just think, well, time to get the car fixed. So jumping to the judgements after my ride because I am in a bad headspace and looking for my lesson to ‘cure’ it isn’t reasonable or good.

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My future!

Good to know! So, how to solve this? Answers to handling and managing my feelings are to make sure I feel grounded, get myself in a better headspace. If I know I am not, then to acknowledge it, and make do. Realize that I might not hang the moon on the first try, but that I am going to work it, and see how things go. Be honest with myself about how I am feeling, and be honest with my horse.

I went to ride Oats after my session on Monday and woooow…he felt terrible! So stiff, wouldn’t bend, head-flipping, coughing, didn’t want to canter, didn’t want to hold the canter…WTF? I tried to loosen him up in the trot with minor success and then got off. Can’t deal, that’s ok. It was also monsoon raining the entire day and I now think he literally spent the whole day standing in his shelter= not good for the horse.

Tuesday Oats had the day off, and Ian and I went to see Jenn Grant. She was lovely! She played Dreamer, which I liked off the Heartland intro immediately. A lot of her other songs were really cool, chill and she has a great voice. There’s something really heartfelt about her singing, and she seemed like a very funny and interesting person. My feet were killing me after though, I’m not used to standing around at bar shows hahah.

Wednesday I went to the barn with some trepidation. How was Oats going to be? I longed him briefly before my ride and he hates the sand ring, so he kind of refused to do anything but jog around. Hmm…I didn’t think it was going to go well.

Actually he surprised me! He was moving so nicely. But then…dun dun dunnn…The hopping and head-flipping came back at the trot.So WTF is this then? I puzzled over it for a bit and then realized…Oats is feeling cooped up, caged up. He wants (asking as politely as he can), to GO!!

So, I got up in two-point, and we cantered. And cantered. And cantered. And it was sooooo nice. He felt flowing, free, just really good. He clearly needed to get this out of his system! Then we could go back to the trot, and I popped him over a few x-rails, at the trot, and then we worked in between trot and canter. Just some flowing figures, big loopy circles, and he felt great.

Interesting…