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 😦 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.

Wanting things isn’t enough

Had my jump lesson this weekend, and it was a good one (before my actual weekend went to hell in a handbasket, but that’s definitely tomorrow’s rant..). We worked on a very simple exercise, focusing on almost exactly the opposite of what I did in my dressage-jump lesson, hahah!

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Enjoy some blurry screenshots! I miss riding outside in the summer…SIGH. Oh and my leg definitely slipped back here, ha. 

I intellectually understand the value of both exercises, but still feel a bit torn about which one do I follow more closely? Can I do both? I feel like Oats is good at cruising, but he’s also… just cruising, so if you want to go anywhere, you’re kind of SOL. Whereas maintaining a more ‘showjump’ seat and ride, with those sharp turns, and flexible hands, seems to get me nailing EVERY distance. What to do?

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One jump was a decent size. Old me would have laughed at it, but new me is like, WOW it is bigger? Oats didn’t care one way or the other. 

I want to be soft, forgiving and flexible. I also want an active, energetic seat that nails every single distance. How do I get both?

Oh and my ride on Sunday should have gone better but I had SO much tension and it kind of sucked. Like, it was ok but I want my hands to be softer, more forgiving even if he loses his marbles in the corner? Maybe I just need constant trainer supervision to keep me honest?!

I do want to ride better, and I think each day I can make that my opportunity. I just need to not get sucked into his drama (OH and there was drama this weekend arghh).

Oh, always killin’ it

I had my dressage lesson back (and on Thursdays, what the heck? Thursdays are usually jump lessons) and it was REALLY good. After COVID-19, all of our schedules got all jumbled up and mixed around. I had to move my jump lesson to Saturdays so that we could try and get our dressage trainer on 1 day, since she was not available on Fridays anymore. Couple that with my weird tension-building anxiety and I really felt like I was in need of some really basic building blocks, ridewise.

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See, this is NOT the frame I want- I want him to be ‘stretching’ down more, not so compressed with his head and neck. So, always more to do! And this is from last summer.

I wanted to be able to work with contact without getting rigid with my hands and arms. Easier said than done, haha. BUT I feel like we are really getting somewhere, a better place where I can ride and maintain contact without turning into stone, hahah.

So it felt very positive. It is a challenge, but given Oats’ advanced age, I need to start working him in a more responsible, and responsive way. I really appreciate the opportunity to modify my ride, and I have the time and headspace to make it happen. Oh, and a supportive trainer too! Can’t forget that. It’s kind of nice to not focus on horse shows right now, because I feel like this foundational work is really important and something I want to develop further for my personal riding education. 🙂 Go Oats!

Except that rotten pony rolled in my saddle AGAIN!! I was raking on Wednesday and Boom!!! He went down so fast he wrenched my damn arm and neck pretty hard. ARGHH he is sooo cheeky.

Terrible Thrills

Had my jump lesson on Thursday, and despite a LOT of drama-rama (jumps are leaving with my friends, my trainer is going through some truly devastating personal loss), it turned out pretty darn good. Note: This is not to make light of what people close to me are going through- at all. Life goes on, and it can sometimes take a real toll.

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Man, I just love this guy! 

Oats was so light, springy and forward- he felt fantastic! I haven’t felt him being this ‘fresh’ and smooth feeling, like air, in ages I felt like (and then I proceeded to ruin his light freshness this weekend, because I am an idiot)… But we worked over a small course and man, he just felt SO GOOD. Through the small three-stride, we were almost getting two. TWO! On OAts! What a little star.

We did have 1 hilarious blooper- we took a tricky inside turn and BANG almost ran head first into a jump standard. I really misjudged the turn and kind of…Drifted out further and almost smoked the second jump in our course. Yikes! Oats of course, is a freaking saint, so we circled after our regroup and just…Did it again! And he was great, of course. I love my boy.

For my dressage lesson on Friday with Sam, (yes it WAS a busy two days for us), we worked on trot, sooo much trot. Leg yield trot. Across the diagonal trot. Shoulder-in trot. Big trot. Smaller trot. Stretchy trot. Wowza…My legs were tired, and I had sweat dripping across my face. Oats was sooo good again. Light, springy, just moving gorgeously. I am too lucky to have this horse in my life.

Too bad I kind of blew up his good vibe this weekend- I felt tense, edgy and for sure let it out on him. And I know better too. I just need to actually RIDE better and let the tension go! He was going fantastically and I got too handsy and angsty.

I know better for today, and my mantra for today’s ride- relax.

 

I hope they get it right this time

Apparently pain is a great teacher. I hope it is, because lately all I feel is pain (emotional and physical?).

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My leg feels like a throbbing mass of pain basically everyday. I HATE IT. 

I had an amazing spring and early summer, it felt great! Things were falling into place (I won a small half marathon! Oats and I made our 2’6” debut and it was fantastic!) and was really in this ‘challenge me’ type of mentality that I was getting a lot out of and feeling strong and confident!
Now, it feels like everything that I worked hard for kind of went off the tracks. Oats went suddenly lame before a big horse show I was really looking forward to, and we had to pull out. That same week I tripped running home over a small hose leading to a construction site and face-planted quite dramatically on the pavement. I was ok with no serious injuries, but it scared me, was painful, and took a week or so to heal.

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The last show that went well. I see a lot of things to fix, but I remember having a really fun time and smiling. How do I capture that joy again? 

At the same time I tripped and fell, I unknowingly had developed an overuse injury in my leg and couldn’t run at all. I have now been off for a month, and while I am getting treatment for it, it is a slow process and can expect to be injured for another month at least. I am (or was..) in the middle of training for a fall marathon and now I feel like giving up.
Oats came sound after a few weeks- longer than I thought he would be off, which was anxiety inducing to say the least- (after I healed from my fall) and things just haven’t been very smooth. I feel frustrated and things just don’t feel happy and easy, like they were before everything happened. Our rides are full of tension and while I am taking lessons regularly, we have good moments but on the whole it feels rough, awkward and makes me feel unhappy.
This came to a head this weekend when I had him at a small, no-stress schooling show and he felt AWFUL. Tense, unhappy, distracted and very anxious. We were at the same show a month ago and it was night and day! I have such happy memories of how thrilled I was at the show and I was saying I loved riding him so much I wanted to canter forever, it felt so amazing!! We were actually worried he had an episode of gas colic, he was so out of sorts and acting strangely. Not like Oats at all!
I can’t really ascribe all of his behaviour to me and what I am feeling (mostly frustrated and in pain) he could just be having an off day too, but he does mirror me closely sometimes. Too closely.
I am taking a step back this week and having my friend and competent rider take over my jump lesson so I can watch. All I feel like doing these days is griping and crying about what I can’t do?! I feel like I can’t trust myself or my body to do or know the right things anymore.
When is the next step the right move? Where do I go from here?

Float House Victoria: My review!

Curious about floating and immersion therapy? I did it yesterday and I’m here to tell you all about it!

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My pod!

First off, let me assuage your fears about immersion therapy (I know because I kind of had them too, but curiosity won out!)

The tank can be lit, and you choose to be in absolute darkness or not- the buttons are big and easy to press if you want lights back on. The darkness is absolute, meaning you won’t really know if your eyes are open or closed! The tank is easy to climb out of and you won’t get trapped in it. It’s total privacy- each tank has its own room with a shower. They start the session with light music, and then usher you out with ‘wake up’ music and the light gradually changes.

The sessions are 90 minutes long, and if you’re anything like me, that seemed like a LOOONG time to be stewing in a salt pod with your own poisonous thoughts marinating your brain. But…I’m also here to tell you that as someone that has a difficult time with ‘stillness’, it’s totally cool and you will fidget and move a bit, but then you’ll just…settle and won’t even think about anything. Trust me. I have many hamster-treadmill bad thoughts running my brain daily (also known as ‘life’) but in the tank? Absolutely nothing.

Also- they warn you a few times not to make too many ripples in the water because splashing your face & eyes STINGS like a motherfucker and of course I did that immediately. Ouch. And you shower before you get in the tank to remove makeup, lotion and shampoo, and then shower afterwards to clean salt out of your hair & body. I would recommend ear plugs-that they provide- because I still feel like I have salt water sloshing in my ears, and I did use a neck support floaty, because my head had a hard time dealing with floating on my puny stalk of a neck.

I even sort of fell asleep- as someone with stress related insomnia that is a very unusual thing for me! It also didn’t really feel like sleep? It felt more like my brain was allowed to go quiet. I did love the suspended-in-air feeling too, it’s so neat. The 90 minutes goes SO fast- I know what you’re thinking but it’s true, it goes amazingly fast and I’m generally an impatient person but wow…time’s up already? Getting up and hatching myself out of the pod and into the world felt like a cruel joke- so many noises and lights.

I would recommend you try a session in a float tank. It’s pricey (mine was a gift, it is around $75/session) but the gift of stillness for a busy mind is SO valuable.

That’s just what you are: Week update

Honestly haven’t been feeling it this week. Haven’t been feeling anything pretty much.

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Me this whole freaking week.

Work has been psychotically busy and a real pressure-cooker. It’s left me without a blogging voice, hopefully temporarily.

I have been riding and actually that’s been going fine! Had a nice lesson yesterday and felt really good, in synch and happy with dear old Oats. Funny, because I was SO grouchy yesterday before riding (thanks to work and my persistent health issues this week). Grouchy, exhausted, bone-crunching fatigue, bloating, allergies that are making it impossible to breathe at anytime, particularly at night…yeah. Perfection.

BUT riding always brings it home for me, and I LOVE it.

A fun jump lesson, and the mistakes that happened were all mine and I can own it. Mistakes happen, and I move on and don’t make them in the second half of my course. That’s fine. Oats is a good and honest pony, and any screwups were mine.

I didn’t ride on Tues- thank god my lesson was already cancelled- because of already mentioned health issues. I staggered home and was seriously worried I was going to collapse on my way. I was so tired. My limbs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds. I was dizzy and unbalanced. I was so out of it, and could barely drag my body home. My gym workout that I usually do at lunch? I spent it laying on a gym mat with my eyes closed. god.

Spent the evening sleeping on the couch. WTF? I never do that! But yeah…This was to set the tone for my miserable week of allergies-bloating-crushing fatigue-allergies-bloating-cramps-fatigue…UGH.

So yeah, not feeling anything in life right now. Still love my pony, my fraking dog that spent the night scrambling over me and licking herself loudly…maybe not her right now, ha.

Four day week? Feels more like a month.

 

A jumble?

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I also got a brief run in…

So, things have also been very interesting this week. In a nutshell:

  • Listed my condo as I mentioned on the weekend and accepted offers on Tuesday. Exciting!
  • Rode in my dressage semi-private on Tuesday and things were GREAT!
  • Work computers went ka-blammo also on Tuesday. Not so great.
  • Jump lesson Wednesday and it was…a challenge? Some good and some ‘needs a lot of work’ but what I can say- Oats is a babysitter too, and he took great care of me when I was doing a lot of my regular dumb things- riding backwards, pulling, getting left behind, not committed= no problem mom, I got this!

So yeah, wow.

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Beers with my husband at Car Free Day. A great weekend event!

I was VERY pleased with my dressage lesson. We worked on transitions, but not in the way you think- they were more like, good forward walk, ok go up to HUGE trot (it felt like we were flying!) and then transition back to good walk, and then huge trot again, to the canter. We were going to intentionally let them break into canter from the huge trot, so the transition felt very seamless and uphill. It did, actually. The only issues I had was Oats getting distracted down the long side – felt like I was wrestling with a shark at this crazy big trot. His canter transitions felt amazing though.

And- the forward work we did really ‘bled through’ to my jump lesson on Wednesday. Oats had 1 big spook at the tractor in the field (thanks doofus) but he was quite nicely forward and very obliging. Our gymnastic work- my nemesis- was SO good! The jump at the end went up to 2’6” and I swear it looked about 2’3”. I didn’t even believe Nicole when she said it was higher, and I kind of still don’t believe her. The course work was….a work in progress.

I need to get better about my hands pulling back, and for me, being more honest about the distance to the jump. So, bring my hands down, and commit to the jump, dammit! Oats was golden. He took any distance, never a bad thought in his head. Love him! I don’t want to lie to him about distances….

I only did the course once (yeah I wimped out) but I am trying. Slowly but surely, I am trying.

Next up: Tying a home-made bucking strap to the d-rings on my saddle, to give my pulling, too-high hands somewhere to anchor to when the desire hits me. I want to improve!

 

 

People with nothing to hide don’t hide.

So, I’m pleased to say this week (and I can say this confidently, being Friday now) didn’t suck like last week.

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Mr. Oats as ‘himself’ gearing up for Halloween! 

Though, probably due to the stress, tension and injuries of last week, I have been battling an irritating on-again-off-again mild sickness? I feel tired, have trouble sleeping, sore/swollen throat and muscle/joint aches, my knee in particular giving me a hard time this week, swollen and aching.

And then the next day, I’ll feel pretty good! Just a bit tired? And then the day after I’ll feel lousy again…What gives, body?

Anyways, had a jump lesson with Oats yesterday and started off with my usual complaint: Not enough GO! Oats took this criticism under consideration though, and responded well to me by counter-offering a big gallop to the fences. We actually screwed up the striding in the tight indoor because I was wobbling between too much GO and not managing the distances well? What, when did this start happening? I had to balance and bring him back a little bit to get a softer, kinder canter and take-off spot. Now that is unusual.

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We had a surprisingly nice trot warm-up fence (something I practiced with Vicki on Monday, after complaining heartily about how much I hate trot fences haha) and then moved on from the trot fence to a small course of x-rails, then a course of 2′ twice I think, and then a course that consisted mostly of 2’3”!!

And the weirdest thing? They ALL looked small. Like, tiny. Nicole was saying our last course was at 2’3” and I kind of…didn’t believe her. My brain was like, no these are tiny, my body was like, you’re still “jumping a course” so start freaking out a bit more, person! This is what you’re good at, freaking out!! Even though, in reality, I was like yawnn…These are no big deal. (I was yawning a lot last night- see weird random sickness days).

So, I’m struggling a little bit to get both my brain/body connected and on the same page. It’s funny to me that the jumps are starting to look small, and ride like no biggie–but I find I am still very tempted to get anxious and start worrying, physically.

We did have 1 stop at a small fence, but that was 100% pilot error on my part–I just couldn’t seem to figure out what I was doing, haha. We re-approached with a more organized, smaller and softer canter rather than pushing for the gallop, and Oats hopped over no problem. I think he just wanted me to get with the program?

Overall, I have to assume that watching my rounds would look sooo boring to the average horseperson, and I’m glad for it.

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!

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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!