A really good lesson

Had my weekly jump lesson last night, after a looong day at a workshop (which I enjoyed but wow, it was like getting information through a firehose. Too much!). I was looking forward to a good ride, fingers crossed.

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It was. You know? Just really good. Oats was still sticky through the transitions, so we spent quality time schooling those before moving on to the jumps. And the jumps, I requested we keep them small so I could focus on the technical aspects of the course, and it rode pretty well!

The course: Tricky! Two ‘slice’ jumps to a bending line on both ends, a small gymnastic two-stride x-rail to oxer, and then rode it back the other way oxer jump-in two strides to the x-rail. Exciting!

And I was very pleased with how it rode. If Oats got sticky, I schooled the transition right then and there, and then proceeded to the jump/course. Get it done right.

There were quite a few jumps on course, 13 efforts total. And we were schooling so well that I immediately wanted to go jump it again! And we did! Though with that, I am starting to realize my fitness is starting to outpace Oats’…He was huffing and puffing and I was feeling totally fine. Hm.

I did notice that last weekend as well, when my Karen Brain lesson usually leaves me huffing and puffing and sweaty, I felt totally fine. This is a good thing, let me tell you!  It means my fitness has improved at a rate that I can actually start to feel. And it makes me feel like a confident and strong rider. Yes!

 

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Think about me: Jump lesson recap!

Oats and I were back in the game on Thursday, after a staggering THREE WEEKS away from jump lessons. I felt nervous actually. Well, I wanted to work on Prix Caprilli (because I was feeling anxious about our show in two weeks) but I had printed copies of Training Test 2 and 3 instead of the Prix Caprilli, so we just jumped instead and tabled the Prix Caprilli testing until next week.

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Oats from a few years ago (three). These jumps are too little! 

Phew!

And how did it go? Very well! We warmed up over a canter-in gymnastic, two x-rail bounces to a small vertical then-oxer. And here is the best part- my trainer commented if I had been practicing my two-point recently? And I kind of mumbled sort of…Sort of because Oats had the two weeks off, so not really, but I did have a good equine counseling session this Monday working solely on minute fixes to my upper body in two-point.

And she said she could see the difference?! Wow! So this IS working. I felt very encouraged by that (quite honestly I usually feel like I get worse, not better, in riding). She was saying my upper body looked much more controlled, taller.

So I was very pleased with that, and I did feel better in the two-point this week, instead of dropping back down in the saddle. We then worked over a small course that had some technical elements (two-strides combinations, across the diagonal and along the long side). We also did a bending line skinny- across to the diagonal. Go us!

I did bow out after 1 go-around on the course. I was feeling GREAT about how the lesson went, but I didn’t want to do it again and lose that good feeling. To be honest, after three weeks away from jump lessons I just wanted to feel good and THEN build to working up more. I was very pleased with Oats. The jumps were tiny but it was more about the smoothness, sitting up through the turns (always my challenge) and a ‘stiller’ body in the air. Things I think we did achieve 🙂

Onwards and upwards!

Mr. Oats drags ass

Had my jump lesson last night and quite frankly I was expecting much more from dear old Oats. He was dragging ass, cranky about going forward (kicking out when I ‘reminded’ him about it) and just so BLAH.

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Pick up your feet! So yeah this was not happening yesterday…

So, not so fun. I was unimpressed and annoyed at having to ride him so hard for what was basically a low level jump lesson. Did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed that morning? He had Wednesday off, and even still on Thursday he was just sulky, behind the leg and lazy.

Needless to say I had to work very hard to keep him going over our jump course. We worked on 1 circle jump, and a small course that included a two-stride that we almost NEVER made in two strides except when I got mad enough to MAKE IT HAPPEN!!>!?! And then it did. Phew.

I was tired after that ride for sure, and my eyes were watering like crazy.

I heard also that Oats was spending a lot of time playing like a fool with his horse friends, so I wonder if that is where allll his energy is going. My trainer said it sounded like I was a jealous girlfriend- “Oh so that’s where you’re spending all your time now? With your horse buddies?!!” Instead of saving some energy at night for ME!?!

But I kind of did feel that way. Lacklustre and blah.

He wasn’t bad or anything, just very tuned out. Oh well, we live to fight another day! hahah.

Say yes for another time

Jump lesson last night and I admitted my rides this week have felt kind of blahhhh….But I was hoping to turn that around. From uninspired to inspired? We’ll see!

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Another throwback to the race a few weeks ago. Photo courtesy of Ken D’Ell. 

Actually Tuesday was a good quality ride, but not for physicality- more for mental progress, so there’s that 🙂 So we built upon my work from Tuesday and I did a LOT of jumping with one hand!

We worked over a small grid (two-stride trot-in, X-rail to a small oxer) and I rode it one-handed most of the time! And then we worked up to a small course, of which I alternated steering with two hands, and jumping the jumps with one hand. Not gonna lie, I almost felt paralyzed by indecision and fear for a bit in the beginning, and I felt frustrated. Why is this so hard?!

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…Throwback to a few years ago.

BUT it got better, and my body responded. I was figuring it out, and the frustration I felt slowly ebbed and went away. The jumps were small, I felt bolder. I re-did a line that was riding poorly (ok, I did say things got better but YEAH not amazing, and boy did I have some screw-ups, ha) of my own volition!

But you know what? I was able to accept the mistakes graciously and here’s the big one: move on from them.

I said I wanted to ride the course again, and yes it wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t paralyzing either. So go for it! Get what’s yours and just try it. I didn’t feel the heart-pounding exhilaration that sometimes accompanies big ‘tries’ of mine… I just felt like yes, let’s go for it, and I can do it. Maybe not well, but I can.

And Oats was a good pony, with some really truly sloppy jump efforts, and some really good ones too. He had no stiffness, so I am sure the Previcoxx is working for him! Yes!

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!

Ever on your mind: Jump lesson~

And it was…humbling. And hard. For the past few weeks, we have been working on ‘two point’ alll the way to the fence, rather than two-point up to the fence and then me sitting 2-3 strides in.

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Blurry screengrabs are all I got. But hey, at least I have that!

Well, I am trying the two point all the way and mentally I am struggling. It’s like I freeze and can’t commit to a distance or pace or anything when I am in two point? WTF? My eyes aren’t connected to my distance, so why can’t I do something? It’s like I don’t trust the two-point yet.

Hm…

My neural pathways are telling me ‘watch out, danger!’ and my body is like nah we’re fine I got this. How do I retrain myself to be ok with this?

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Pick up your feet!

Repetitions I guess!

We were also jumping a titch higher than I usually do (cuz yes I am a weenie) and it was fine, I’m just trying to figure out my body/brain connection right now…Leading to some VERY humbling moments, ha.

Figure it out brain!

Plus I have taken the week off from pretty much all activity (ie- cardio/running/running to work) and disappointingly feel no less TIRED. Blahhhh. Also maybe getting a sore throat? Ah.

I still think everyone needs an Oats though, he is a good pony. 🙂

The World is a Loud Place: Jump lesson recap!

Thursday was just miserable here. It was hammering down rain, windy, cold and just so very blah. I walked home and was frozen by the time I got home, and just not feeling it. After a fairly mild week that began with the horrible weather at the race, I was so over it!

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I am a good boy!

But…Jump lessons are calling.

So I bucked up, grudgingly pulled on my breeches and left for my lesson. I was assuming Oats was going to feel as ‘enthusiastic’ as I was (ie- not) so yeah, good times. Rained on and off on the way to the barn, dark as anything, and I learned that most of the horses on Thursday night jump lessons were total psychos. Greeeatttt…

Needless to say, I was a tad apprehensive. My trainer even said that close to none of her lessons went according to plan that night. Lovely. However, I was on Oats- who is a very consistent pony now, and if he acted up, it would be 1000% out of character for him. He’s a laid-back dude.

(Though he was a total turd and a half for many years!)

We worked over canter poles that eventually went up to a grid-type consisting of one small vertical pole, canter poles to a small oxer. The name of the game here was to COMMIT.

Then we worked up to a small course, a vertical on the long side (kept small the whole time), to a vertical on the diagonal, to an oxer on the other diagonal, to the grid, back to the diagonal vertical, oxer, and finish up with the vertical on the long side that we began with.

We had some awkward jumps BUT we noticed that every time I kept my butt out of the saddle, Oats felt empowered to take those leaps! We finished up with some really nice efforts from him, and I was very happy with how the canter pole grid line went, each time.

Good pony. And I was SO glad he wasn’t a nutbar like the other horses last night. Winter fever???