Happy Easter~

Ah what an awesome long weekend. I started it by having a great jump lesson on Thursday- Oats was slow and sticky, but we worked through it and ended up having a very successful ride!

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Friday we went and I did a super looong run around Elk/Beaver Lake. Hours! Certainly taught me the importance of fueling appropriately yikes. A good day though all around.

Saturday I got up early-ish for a dressage lesson with Oats with my normal jump trainer. It was very interesting and showed to us a few holes in Oats’ education, namely encountering some resistance through transitions. Hm….

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And then we were up Island and off to the farm! We had a HUGE great turkey dinner at the farm, and enjoyed some games, hot-tubbing and hiking.

Sunday we were back home and I had another dressage lesson, this time with my regular dressage trainer. More insight- Oats moves crooked at the canter, and it’s because, gasp, I am HELPING HIM be crooked. Wha? It was a strangely difficult ride!

Monday I was back at the barn! Did a fairly casual ride on Oats because as it turns out, I was tired, haha. My allergies have been out.of.control these days and man, they are sooo horrible. I came home after some unsuccessful swimsuit shopping (styles are SO UGLY right now. No WAY am I wearing a high-waisted granny panty swimsuit) and made myself some sangria and sat on the deck to enjoy some sunshine.

With me was Gidget and Tucker, who do not get along. At all. HA.

A great long weekend and much-needed.

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A good horse is hard to find

Had another two very successful riding lessons- my semi-private dressage lesson on Tuesday with Karen Brain, and my private jump lesson with Nicole on Wednesday.

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Last year, ha no -hands! 

The lesson on Tuesday was all about improving the quality of the canter, via the trot. It was a lot of work, not gonna lie. Oats and I were covered in sweat, I was coughing my lungs out (for some reason, ughhh) and it was definitely a tough lesson focused on power. The good news is that Oats is developing a GREAT big lofty trot, with suspension?! Oats?!! The bad news is that I do not have enough feel to know how/when to ask for a smaller trot that is keeping the level of engagement.

Oh well, something to work on, and in the canter too.

Wednesday was my jump lesson, and we started off pretty easy- trot-through an x-rail, loop back around to a canter x-rail, back to the trot x-rail. We then moved it to a trot-through 1-stride gymnastic, and then a canter- through one stride, then a course! Oats was super, I bobbled once on course when I stared down at the one-stride from the opposite direction and Oats politely said ‘no thanks’ but went for it when I remembered to sit up and not look down. Sorry Oats! That was on me, ha.

He was a bit distracted when another horse was going up the hill in the pitch black, but he is an honest pony so he kept jumping– I could just tell that he was looking outside the ring and not at the jump!

His nicest jump? The small x-rail oxer on course. I’m beginning to really love the efforts he is giving me over those, and I think we should incorporate more of them. He was also very honest through the one-stride, though sucking back when we began, he clued in and rode it very nice through the opposite direction.

Go Oats!

We are both having today off, I am going to the opera! Whoop! And tomorrow off too, because I have plans after work as well. Busy busy.

We interrupt this Olympic broadcast to say…

I love my pony! We had our first real jump lesson- with tiny jumps- back since our vacay and Oats came back great, if a little half-assed haha. He could NOT be bothered with tiny jumps, so he sauntered over them the whole time.

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Me from literally three years ago.

We worked over a small gymnastic (remember our last gymnastic experience- it did not go well- and this one was great) and then over a small course a few times. He was lovely! My eye kind of sucked and I made a few ‘non choices’ when it came to distances (yes-no-yes-no…go!).

Oh well! I have work to do on that clearly. The positives include my dad watching Oats go in a lesson for the first time in forever, and he remembered when Oats was a total shithead. Now, Oats looks like the easiest pony in the world to ride, and it’s nice to have people see him go completely nonchalantly…Ah…

Also positives- the jumps were tiny, rode tiny, and didn’t excite me at all. Hmmm!

So far, so good for our days back in action. Whoop! Two great lessons in a row, I am a greedy girl (a nice but extremely tough dressage lesson with Karen on Tuesday, and then my jump lesson with Nicole on Wednesday). Oats gets a well-deserved rest day today and I get to go shopping to the Sitka sale. YAY! *after work, of course. Blah…

Before the wind took my words

Had a fairly quiet weekend, rode Fri-Sat-Sun, and also did another equine wellness session on Saturday as well.

Friday night was super windy, but hot. The horses were up and spooky- Oats had one BIG spook at the ‘scary corner’ in the outdoor and I lost a stirrup, but I stayed on and recovered fine. I did feel a bit anxious about it, but then kind of forgot when we went up to canter- highlight of the night- a GREAT canter. Ah….So lovely.

Saturday, I went for a run with my husband and our friend. When will my legs feel better? (probably when I stop exercising every day)…they were tired, aching and felt quite draggy. Come to think of it, they still feel like it and now it’s Monday! Ooops.

Rode Oats later in the day, before our session. It was actually a pretty fun ride, set up a bending line x-rail to a tiny- 1ft vertical. We bungled through it a few times, Oats got distracted by something in the field, or wanted to spook, or flat-out decided to trot over it instead of jumping – we ended up moving up to canter to make him ‘jump’ the tiny exercise. Overall a nice, positive ride.

In my wellness session (that does feel a lot like counselling!) we discussed zones of comfort/toleration, and a breathing exercise. The neat part about the breathing exercise, alternate-nostril breathing, was that Oats responded very well to it when we practiced it near him. He came over, and yawned and was super relaxed. It was a neat effect, and made me realize that by being on-edge and anxious a lot of the time I’m near him really does affect how he sees me. We also discussed taking time off jumping but I am undecided about that- I did sign up for a jumper show, and I actually do feel quite resistant to taking time off jumping! I think that’s the stubborn part of me talking.

Well, one day and one step at a time. I will do the show and use it as a barometer, to measure how I’m feeling about jumping and showing- if anything, I’ll learn something from it.

Sunday- I felt strange going out to the barn. I felt edgy and kind of bummed out. The weather was grey and chilly, and I had been hoping all week to get to the beach to enjoy the sun. I was also thinking a lot about my dad, and how my upcoming trip to the Stampede was something I always did with him, and now we’re planning and going w/o him. It feels strange- I even told my husband it felt like he was dead or something (he’s not! but it still seems like I am mourning something here…a loss?). Riding was ok, Oats was a bit spooky about the ‘scary corner’ and we weren’t connecting as well as we were on Saturday. I do chalk that up to my changed moods, markedly from Saturday to Sunday.

Too bad I’m not being consistent…

I did ride him under the tent though, just because it made me laugh (and because we could! haha). I banged my helmet on the roof though, so I don’t recommend anyone with a taller pony try it, ha!

Throwback Thursday: Riding up North

So I know I’ve mentioned before, but I did a stint up in Whitehorse for a few years. Riding in the Yukon was a pretty different experience, let me tell you! (Or better yet, here are some photos to show you instead!)

Horse show lineup in Whitehorse

Horse show lineup in Whitehorse

Also some sad news, my grandfather passed away yesterday. I’m sad that he went so quickly, but I am glad that he is no longer suffering.

The Yukon had 1 horse show when I rode up there- the annual Whitehorse horse show. It was held by the Yukon Horse & Rider Association. They held everything from dressage, to western, to games, to hunter/jumper. Sometimes I was really impressed by the skill, mostly others I was horrified for people’s lives. Particularly the jumping…Yikes. The lack of practice really showed, and took a toll on some of the horse/rider combinations. Mine too actually! There aren’t that many trainers up North, and the ones that were up there could be a little…rustic.

Josie in the Whitehorse horse show

Josie in the Whitehorse horse show

I rode two horses- Yukon (or Cool, can’t remember) a tough little Fjord cross, and Josie, a tough big appy. Fun horses, and I had a fun time at the show! I recall we even placed in a few of our classes…seconds and thirds, I believe? They had a great swag bag of stuff, and I won a gift certificate of $25 in the draw for the local feed shop.

Jumping 'Cool' at the Whitehorse horse show

Jumping ‘Cool’ at the Whitehorse horse show

Whitehorse at the time didn’t have a tack shop, just the feed store and the pet food store that also stocked select horse items. The cashier at the feed store tried to sell me on ‘Muck Boots’ as okay for riding…Yeah have you seen how big the footbed is? I don’t think so!!

Pairs class:  Whitehorse horse show

Pairs class: Whitehorse horse show

Ah well, good memories!

Third place pairs class: Whitehorse horse show

Third place pairs class: Whitehorse horse show