Insulating yourself

My husband shared this with me recently, and it really resonated with me: Courtesy of Seth Godin’s blog.

Losing the election by ten votes or by a million–which is worse?

“Missed it by that much,” is a way to amplify how we feel when we don’t succeed. So, when we miss the bus by just a few seconds, or finish a math proof just behind the competition–we can beat ourselves up about this for years.

Much rarer, it seems, is the opposite. It’s hard to find people still congratulating themselves after winning an election by just a few votes or making a plane by a step or two. Nice that it happened, but we ask what’s next, where’s the next crisis?

We have a name for someone who expects the worst in the future. Pessimism is a choice. But we don’t seem to have a name for someone who describes the past with the same negative cast.

It’s a dangerous trap, the regular reminders of how we’ve failed, but how close we’ve come to winning. It rarely leads us to prepare more, to be more adroit or dedicated. Instead, it’s a form of hiding, a way to insulate ourselves from the next, apparently inevitable failure.

The universe is not laughing at us. It doesn’t even know we exist.

Go ahead and celebrate the wins, then get back to work. Same for mourning the losses. All we can do is go forward.

I do this ALL the time. “Oh I just got lucky.” “They liked me for some reason.” And the failures- whichever they are – stick around to beat me up at 3 a.m. when I can’t sleep. I wish this wasn’t true.


Cute chestnuts all in a row.

And when I was asking for a win yesterday? I got one! So, why can’t I just celebrate that? Instead of reminding myself at night, again restless, about the zillions of things at work that are left hanging, the multiple events that I don’t have wrapped up yet…ARGH.

Anyways- I had a challenging lesson with Oats yesterday. A good one, but not one that left me singing in the clouds. It was working on straightness and forward, and it was tough for Oaty. We worked and he’d hop into canter, and it was the lightest, loveliest canter, and SO wrong. I wanted trot! Not canter! He was also confused and trying to swap his leads when I was asking for the big trot, as this was tough for him to move his body around.

He wasn’t being a jerk, he was just confused and having a hard time trying to decipher what I was asking- so he would try what was easiest first- canter, swap leads, etc.

It was definitely a lot of work, but I’m glad we are getting to the point where I can really get ‘into’ him and do it, or at least try it. Good pony for trying. You get points for that!

Jump around

Went for a ride last night and the weather has turned around- it was warm, lovely, not windy and not rainy. I’ll take it!


The arena had an interesting set-up of two big x-rails, and one skinny set directly on the centreline.

I was intrigued…Clearly the rider who set it up had been working on straightness via the big x-rails, and by having a skinny set on the centreline- slicing the skinny? As we had a very thorough and challenging (but good honest work) dressage lesson the day before, I was planning on a more casual ride last night.

So, the jumps were calling my name…All I wanted to do was jump! Haha.

I kind of thought the big x-rails were a bit big to warm up with (hello I can be a wimp!) but was also feeling too lazy to get back off and re-set. What to do what to do…

Just jump them! And we did! And man, while I was working on straightness, I definitely came into the skinny sooooo crooked. So crooked that I had to go back around and re-do it. And I was NOT slicing the skinny- I just cut in off the centreline and jumped it straight, and of course Oats landed left, he always lands left, and we’d head back to it again.

I had visions of me running straight into the standards if I attempted to slice it. My jump game is not always strong haha. It was so fun though.

It’s interesting- jumping (well, jumping high), wigs me out and gives me the willies…BUT I also love jumping and quite frankly, that is all I want to do most days. Weird?

I don’t understand it myself, but it is so fun! Worked a bit on two-point with no stirrups, two-point with stirrups but one arm out, and Oats had one minor freakout moment when something rustled in the bushes…Woah he was worried, haha.

All good though, and a fun ride…I just love jumping jumps.

Mr. Oats has an angry day

Oats was just…bizarre last week. I haven’t ridden yet this week (took Monday off because I was in a terrible mood and tired, felt I really shouldn’t bring that negative energy to the barn) so we shall see for my lesson today..


Pretty much how Oats feels about life.

But yes, for Saturday, he was just…awful. Thursday he was cranky and grouchy, tired and phoning it in. Saturday he was SO ANGRY. Fine in the cross-ties, and then a nippy dragon in the ring! I went to tighten his girth and he tried to bite me, repeatedly. He swished his tail in the angriest horse way. He refused to let me get on. He wouldn’t walk forward, and when I asked, kicked out>??

Yeah, your guess is as good as mine? He wouldn’t trot, only hop angrily and pissily.

I gave up on the trot, and we went for a good, very forward, sitting & working canter. He was lovely during it! And then our trot work was pretty nice after too? So wtf Oats? Why the attitude? He dropped it once we had our good canter warmup but wow, he came out ready for a fight. This is definitely unlike him, easy-going Oats.


Oats harasses his buddy Jim.

He is very perplexing this month. Last week was kind of an ugly week. Is he just feeling stiff, or is it something else, since he seems to work out of it ok?

Sunday, I decided to warm him up a bit before I got on by walking/trotting, turning circles, stopping and backing up in-hand, just to sort of see how he was feeling. I then tightened the girth very carefully, respectful of his feelings, haha. And he didn’t show any of the crazy snarkiness and anger of Saturday. So far so good.

I hopped on and he was a bit slow in the walk, but listened well enough to my leg with not so much tail swishing and I’m pleased to report- NO angry kicking out. He trotted nicely straight off the bat, no real hopping…And when he went to hop, it wasn’t as dramatic and pissy as before. Hm..

We cruised over a few x-rails, but mostly focused on the one thing I am struggling with: Straightness over the diagonal. His canter was fine, I actually didn’t do any ‘dressage’ canter with him (the super forward upright sitting canter) because he didn’t seem to need it like he did the other day.

It was a good and calm ride. Now, where is this horse all last week? I could use him back!

Mr. Oats phones it in

So as I mentioned this week, mixed results…For the week.

And that trend kind of continued in my lesson last night. I had some high hopes after my very exciting ride on Wedneday (so much energy!!!) that sadly fell…flat.


So tired.

Oats was so blaahhhhhhh in my lesson, and kind of angry and pissy at me for using leg. His popping up and head-tossing came back into play, so we moved up to canter and warmed up over a small x-rail, to brighten his interest.

While he did play nice with me, there was a distinct lack of sparkle in his eyes, and he was performing very perfunctorily…He was phoning it in. This, by the way, did my leg no favours at the canter…it was swinging, kicking, oh man. This day, was NOT a day to do gridwork, haha.

A few things I can chalk near-comatose Oats up to: Our very exciting ride the day before, and him not getting his dinner (?!!!) until like 5 minutes before I came out–so I took him away from his hay, and he was kind of pissy and tired.

So, we managed with what we had on the day. It’s only fair to the horse, and I don’t want to push him when clearly, he is not having a great day. Honestly? I can tell the difference…So I know I’m not unecessarily ‘babying’ him, I’m trying to manage my expectations for the lesson, given the horse I have on the day.

We worked over small (2 ft) courses, and my ugly problem of NOT BEING STRAIGHT was kind of a big issue. I can’t seem to like, committ to fixing that problem?! Well, now I know what I am going to practice this weekend, that’s for darn sure. Oats cooperated, but *just* enough to get the job done. Fair enough, hahah. As soon as we finished one course, he would grind to a ‘barely trudging’ walk…

Our walk back up the hill was like the slowest crawl and when I went to turn off the lights for the alleyway, Oats like, stood stock-still not moving. Just…standing like a zombie. I had to physically pull him back to the barn. HA, poor baby.

In the cross-ties, he was falling asleep. Hm…Just not his day. That’s ok, last week was not my shining moment either. I guess both of us are entitled to having those.


Summer Heart

And another Oats update!

Oats at Foxstone

Oats at Foxstone, such a kind, soft eye

When I last blogged about Oats, I was having the WORST DAY EVER and he was being a gigantic jerk in my dressage lesson. Apparently lateral work is ‘asking too much’ of him, and then asking for the canter, in a circle, with a big thundering mare also? *brain fried*

He did try to dump me really well a few times, gahhh.

Wednesday he was ok, I didn’t really do too much.

Thursday was my jumping lesson, and he was good! I felt him trying to suck back in the corners and get ‘light’ in my contact, but I kind of just ignored it, felt ‘ok’ with the amount of trot I was getting (hint- it was a lot of trot, almost too much) and we worked over a small gymnastic and then on to coursework.

Butt shot!

Butt shot!

The coursework was interesting (as is most of my gymnastic attempts)…Straightness reared it’s ugly head, I asked him to take a long spot to a ‘slightly bigger’ jump that I was suddenly afraid of, etc etc…But it was ok, you know?

Eager Mr. Oats

Eager Mr. Oats

Sure we had the super ugly slide into the gymnastic, barely making it over (he apparently CAN make it over those jumps from a walk…) and a few head-cranked-to-the-left jumps instead of straight, ooops! I was better about the straightness last week.

My suspicious mind thinks I was feeling anxious about the ‘1 slightly bigger jump’ and it set me off my game, hence the busy cranking and flapping with my elbows.


Anxiety is a tricky thing. Anyways Oats was game and willing, a good pony! Hah.

My friend Sarah took some photos from the horse show in Nov. so all photos featured here today are courtesy of her!

Oats looks taller here

Oats looks taller here