Never let go: Jump lesson recap

Jump lesson recap. Maybe I am getting my personal life mojo back?

It was good too actually! I finally got the ‘win’ I’ve been searching for. I started off feeling a blah (I am having a lot of trouble with pressure in my ears, so right now when I breathe it feels like it goes straight through my freaking ears!).Ā Lovely.

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha.

I was also feeling a bit jealous- the girls at the barn are all braver than me and jumping 2’9-3′ courses and here I am, wimping out at 2’3” oxers? Wah Wah WAH.

But that’s just me- I’m proud of where I am, and proud of how far the girls have come. I am doing the best I can šŸ™‚

I felt ready to be challenged – a bit- ha, not too much. We fumbled our way through a grid, where I learned I need to sit up or we’d eat it through the last fence, with Oats not being particularly interested in oh, ‘jumping’ through the grid. I manned up and really RODE his butt through it, but the nice hands I had been slowly developing kind of went by the wayside last night in the grid. Oh well, two steps forward, one step back type of gig. Grids have always been our nemesis…

On to the course, which I am proud to say was NOT my nemesis!

We started with the grid, and then cantered over a simple single, and then over the ‘road closed’ oxer (ooh, big scary one) ha yeah, and then over a skinny bridge in an ‘s’ turn that I kind of bungled every time, toĀ anotherĀ oxer (who is this girl?) to a skinny one-stride that rode pretty much perfectly every time. Wow!

Funny enough, we had trouble with the grid, and the other girls had trouble with the oxers, where we aced the oxers (with only one stop, I just didn’t have the right striding and Oats declined, fair enough).

It was a good ride, and the course rode great. I was tempted to do it again and Nicole was egging me on to, but I decided not to. I just couldn’t chance taking a big step back when I’m kind of feeling really fragile- two go-arounds that felt PRETTY darn good was fine for me, and a big win!

Yeeha!!

Big things

Oats and I went to a clinic this weekend–we went alone, and I can’t even say how big this is for us- it went FINE.

More older Oats pix from Avalon: photo courtesy of Jodie Wright.

More older Oats pix from Avalon: photo courtesy of Jodie Wright. This was from our disaster clinic- happy to say things got much better!

We’ve had a very rocky road when it comes to clinics- stemming from a 2-day intro to eventing clinic that we attended a few years ago (that’s right, it took me literally YEARS to get over it) that blasted our confidence into powder, and caused a several-months setback that even turned into years later with regards to training with other instructors.

My goal for the clinic this weekend was simple: Walk Oats to the neighbouring barn. Warm him up. Ride in the clinic with as little drama as possible. Walk him home safely.

The instructor- Norah Ross- was one I had heard good things about, and I reviewed with her and the host of the clinic that I wanted this to be technical, and not to be challenged with regards to boundary-pushing. I’m not at the stage yet where that won’t cause a meltdown for me (we are WAY better at horse shows, ha).

Older Oats pix from Avalon

Older Oats pix from Avalon: photo courtesy of Jodie Wright.

And I was assured that this was not the plan for the clinic, and she was right!

We did a LOT of flatwork, haha. Drop outside stirrup, no-stirrups, bending, circling, change directions, a lot. I was sweaty! Oats was a very good sport. A couple things Norah had me pegged for: Bad elbows, ie- chicken wing. Hands too far apart and too low. She really got on me about them, hahahah.

Also she dropped my stirrups 1 hole, and wow it felt weird! But good?

We moved on to jumping, and the wheels fell of briefly. We warmed up great over some x-rails, and then approaching a vertical on the diagonal, he threw one buck and I got immediately derailed…I ‘saw’ a bad distance, and tossed my upper body at him. He stopped. UGH!

Norah had me pegged straight away. She said my anxiety is causing that, and that my ride on the flat was great, so why is it falling apart jumping? Why so different? It’s like I am ‘abandoning’ my horse when things change so drastically from a calm, competent ride on the flat to somewhat panic-stricken over fences. The jumping ahead is something I had conquered, until it came creeping back when I was feeling a bit anxious…SIGH.

She asked us to change a few things- sit to the fences, no two-point. Counting- 1-2-1-2…all the way. And stay in the MOMENT! Breathe! Stay. This worked out really well, and I was very pleased with Oats’ effort when I made these changes. Clearly…I have some deep-seated issues, ughh.

Oats jumped around lovely. It was all very ‘baby steps’ and easy, but as we clearly demonstrated, we needed the baby steps…

We learned a lot, worked hard and walked home successfully without any drama. A good clinic and a big step forward for us. I even had some hot chocolate, and was able to visit with some old barn friends at the host stable too! Yeah!!

What’s life without losers?

Saw this as a song title on the weekend and it resonated with me! And it kind of reflects how I feel/felt yesterday–it was a rough day at work, I felt harried, busy, put-upon and stressed. When I came home, it didn’t really lift. I was super tired, my legs have been sort of achy (not like how they were on Friday, just…blah), and when I went to ride, it was pretty lousy haha.

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We’re number #1!! Except daily, when we’re not.

I set up a pole, and when I went to grab the pole, itĀ CLANGED off the wall and the reverberations sent literal shockwaves through my body. It HURT! Ouch. So, setting the scene for a great ride, obviously.

Except I was riding like an idiot–who knew cantering over a pole could be so risky? I got tossed to-and-fro, got left behind the motion, couldn’t figure out my turns, I swear at one point, I was on poor Oats’ neck! Yuck!

We took every single long spot you could take, and wow…I was riding like a total dummy. Hmm…that was a long spot and I got left behind and tossed in the saddle. So, next go-around, same thing, right? Yeah, and the same darn thing happened! Yeeeeesh.

I ended up jumping the green box (our prior nemesis) instead of just the pole and wonder of wonders, it was easier. Not prettier, or even necessarily better (I’m looking at you, hand that likes to crank Oats to the left in the circle…) and one time we ended up practically under it, but Oats is a cheerful and forgiving chap, and hopped neatly over.

Nevermind his rider, who has no clue what was going on that day!

I ended with heartily getting left behind from a trot over an x-rail (told you this was my day to shine!!!) and called it quits. Clearly, no Nobel prizes are going to be won with my riding in this moment.

My fabulous ride capitulated with the following:

  • Going to grab my crop off the ground, and missing it. Twice.
  • Dropping my reins on the ground and Oats almost put a foot through them
  • Setting the broom against the wall and it fell over right away.
  • Misjudging the doorway and running my shoulder into it.

Mahalo!

Sooo the countdown is on- T-minus one day until I fly to Hawaii tomorrow!!! I CAN’T WAIT!

Kauai

Kauai

I will be putting this blog on another week’s hiatus, Oats gets a week of holidays to himself and so do I. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so glad we booked this. Yes, the Canadian dollar is sinking faster than the Titanic, but you know what? Life is too short, and I would rather have time than money right now anyways. Time to enjoy myself, have some adventures, try awesome island fruit, drink pineapple wine (maybe) and rum!

Not only am I flying to Hawaii for a holiday, but the day I fly back on a red-eye, I hop on the bus to audit the William Fox- PittĀ clinic. Can you believe it? I’m the luckiest girl around these days (now if all my work stuff would suddenly all clear up, then I could relax a little more..). I spend the weekend I get back auditing the clinic with friends, how fun!?!

And now for a little Oats recap- I rode him Wednesday as a short hack, and it was better than last week’s hack (well, because my foot cooperated and didn’t hideously cramp up) and we cruised over a few small x-rails and verticals. I was struggling a bit with my eye being pretty off, and funny enough Oats is really going for those ‘out of stride’ distances, where I am used to the ‘hold hold hold ok GO!’ method he normally goes for, so you guessed it…Got left behind a bunch!

And that theme sort of continued on Thursday’s lesson, but we got a MUCH better ‘showjump’ canter and I rode his out of stride jumps smoothly (for the most part, though I still actually got left behind two or three times??).

We even did this crazy jump-a skinny- on an angle! Ā I was like WTF is this? It is something eventers do I gather,Ā becauseĀ I sure have never jumped anything like it. Surprisingly it rode really well every time we approached it.

The best jump on course I believe! Funny last week I was saying it had been a long time since we’d done a skinny- and we did one- and then this week, it’s not only a skinny but we jump it on an angle? I was SO sure we were going to crash into the standards, or I’d take one out with my foot! Oats was so honest about it, and was like ‘jump on an angle? Sure, whatever’ and that’s why I love that little bratty pony so much!

So, all in all good and we’re definitely learning a lot. Love riding, and I am DEFINITELY looking forward to my holiday in a tropical climate.