No Stranger: Ride/jump/life

As we wrap up November (tomorrow is Dec 1? Wha??) I’m happy to say this has been a pretty good week! I rode tons which I’m sure Oats didn’t really appreciate, but he did get a lot of good, consistent work. Did poles on Sunday, flatwork on Monday/Tuesday and a jump lesson last night (Thursday). He was so good on Thursday! We even had the oxers go up to 2’6”, and I guess the full course was somewhere around that too? Except for a x-rail on the circle. He was excellent! What a great boy!

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Oats was jumping even better than this (from a few years ago).

I’ve been learning to let go jumping, and I think he is really responding well to it. As well, I’ve been slowly healing my ligament injury that I received back in Oct., and as I build my fitness back up, I think I am better able to respond as a rider, as the rider that Oats needs. It helps that I am not in pain when I ride, and I feel ‘stronger’ and more capable and less awkward and vulnerable.

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Someone is SO getting this for Christmas…

And on the injury front, I went to another rehab session on Thursday and I am very happy to say that I’m almost completely healed! It went well, was less painful that in the past (though I am apparently a huge wimp, because damn, it is still kind of painful?!!) and I’m hearing that now I need one re-check on the shockwave treatment in a month, and other than that, just monitor as needed. 🙂 YESSSS!!!!

So I’m going forward on a maintenance-only schedule, and I will go back if I end up in pain again, but otherwise…It’s all good news. Thank god! And he said I was probably fine to ramp up my activity (though he added in that it sounded like I was probably doing that anyways…Hah, right I was. I have to try!).

So, some good news this week for sure. Feeling good and happy with it! And very pleased with my Oats. What a good pony.

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Won’t let you down

Riding this week has been in the distinctly ‘ok’ camp- nothing amazing, but nothing bad either. Rode lightly Monday (FREEZING), worked on no-stirrups on Tuesday (much more reasonable temperatures), had a jump lesson last night where we worked on adjustability by my request over poles/small x-rails (it kind of sucked, but yeah that’s clearly where I need to improve haha), and have a dressage lesson tonight.

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Where I will likely be working on…canter adjustability. Hah.

Oats wasn’t even sweating last night, and the work is tiring for him. I guess since he is clipped and in pretty good shape, he just doesn’t sweat? He has had a recurring poopy butt though, UGHHH that is a lot of fun to deal with every day. The hay is too rich for him, and he’s been having gastrointestinal effects for about two weeks now. I had hopes that it was improving this week, until I got to the barn on Thursday and nope…Still gross. Poor pony!

He was also kind of in slugville, ha. I am putting him back on Previcox this winter, to see if it helps him move more freely when it gets cold. On Monday, he moved like the Tin Man. Stiff, uncomfortable and just awful! My husband joked that it’s like me starting a race- stiff, awkward, slow and super uncomfortable. Takes me a good 10-20 minutes to warm up into it…As for Oats I guess?

I am hoping the Previcox helps him when it gets colder out. As it is, the weather has been very mild! 🙂 Since the deep freeze on Monday. Also it’s raining a lot, sooooo yeah. Otherwise I’m just trying to put the training in on Oats, but still maintaining good perspective with a mix of easy rides, beach rides and the girls are trying to get him out on a trail ride with them one day…We’ll see about that.

I am also still focusing on rehabbing my ligament injury, which is kind of a back-and-forth journey most weeks- I can barely feel the injury anymore, except when I run too much or too fast, then it swells back up into a lump of scar tissue on my lower hip/groin. Lovely.

The other person is you

I feel like I don’t even have that much to recap on this past weekend? Had a good jump lesson last Thursday, took Friday off, and oh right…found a HUGE DEAD RAT in my locker bright and early on Saturday. 😦

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Wish Gidget was actually a rat terrier or something…

Gross. So gross. I screamed and ran out of the barn, found my friend and asked her casually…”So, how squeamish are you?” She said she wasn’t, so I said ‘good! Come with me and bring a shovel!’

She disposed of Mr. Dead Rat and I set about thoroughly cleaning my freaking locker. So much work. So much rat shit and urine. So awful. It was a really nice day out too, and how did I spend it? Cleaning my rat-infested locker… I did end up riding later though and Oats was really good!

I ran later in the day and my watch died and I ran longer than I planned to, it was getting dark out. Yikes! It was also kind of a bad idea, since my ligament injury was flaring up in the evening after my run. SIGHHHH I am ready for it to be done and sadly it isn’t. I am a very bad person at being injured.

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Flashback to a few weeks ago. Racing, and sooooo injured. Ouch! 

Sunday was another slack day, went riding (and I am still kind of processing things emotionally that are going on in my life, and I processed them through Oats. In a way I wish I hadn’t! Dumb of me) but he was good despite my being a dumb rider. I packed my run clothes and jogged after riding (ouch, that was a truly bad idea) and then met my husband and we went shopping downtown for Christmas gifts and some other things. It was nice to be downtown but I started getting really tired! Shopping is quite tiring for me, haha.

And that wrapped up my weekend, and I had a very chilly equine counseling session last night with Oats and my counselor. Very productive and it helped me feel more ‘grounded’ in my life/actions, if that makes any sense?

Ride tonight and I hope it is warmer~!

Awake and pretty much sober

Funny song title, I loved it.

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Sometimes I look competent?

This week was luckily quite short, and I didn’t ride Monday (did an equine counselling session for the aforementioend family drama, Oats got to cruise around on his own), rode Tuesday (he was ok? Now I can’t remember what we did!) and had a jumping lesson last night.

The lesson went well but had some disappointments for me- I can’t seem to let.go.no.matter.what?!! Argh. Oats is not a pony that needs me on his face all the time, or ever pretty much. He’s push-button, not strong, not fast (hah) and not anything requiring a death grip on the reins. So, why?

Why indeed!

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Miss this show, he was so good! 

We worked over a trot grid (3 X trot bounce jumps, two strides to a small oxer) and damn if I didn’t find it hard to let go of his face for the two strides to the oxer. Whyyyy? He jumped it perfectly fine, and I was surprised every time.

We then worked over a small course with a circle jump, a 4-stride line (rode well each time actually, some bobbles coming in but overall quite nice) and the grid.

I was a tad anxious (see- feeling vulnerable about letting go of his face…) but he was jumping quite nicely and very reasonably, so what is my deal? The jumps went up, not high but the outside line was definitely a bit higher than previous and Oats had zero issues with it.

I did sort of improve on the ‘let go of his face’ but let’s be honest- I struggle with feeling vulnerable doing that! It’s a battle to let my body go and be ok with it, I am that strong of a rider and it’s not hard for me to do, soooo why the resistance??

Oh well, overall I was very pleased with Oats’ ‘can-do’ attitude. Good pony 🙂

 

You Won’t: Jump lesson update!

I’ve had kind of a mixed week- some personal-life drama (ughh) but in other news, my ligament injury seems to be making a real turnaround with treatment, so I am VERY pleased with that!! Man, it hopped on the healing train once I started treatment. Part of me is kicking myself for not doing this sooner, but hey you learn the hard way sometimes?!

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Cuddlebugs. Photo courtesy of Katie H. 

Jump lesson last night and we were in a real cold snap. Oats warmed up very stiffly, like he was running with a flat tire, ughh. Kind of like how I begin any race, as my husband said 😉

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Photo courtesy of Katie H.

So, we had to manage his stiffness in the cold, and kind of ‘work up’ to the level we needed. Luckily, after cantering and then going over some x-rails, he was moving much more smoothly. Yes! We then worked on a very basic, looping hunter-style course with 1 3-stride line in it, focusing on letting my hands go forward instead of taking back (god, this was harder than it sounds…very vulnerable position for me) no matter the distance. The problem being: When I see a distance, things are awesome! When I don’t, things get distinctly…less awesome. Meaning, they suck, I pull back or try to manage him with my hands and/or upper body. Not great.

So, I just had to ‘let go’ a little more. Mixed success on that, but overall I was fairly pleased with Oats’ effort and my effort to be a little more vulnerable and willing to get go, and also to work through the ‘push hands forward’ and take them back when I need to steer, and let them go again on my way to the jump. Riding- always simple, never easy.

Also having to rely more on my legs vs hands as a support for the jump. Hahahha yeah, this remains a work in progress… All in all, a good lesson and a good ride.

Soon to be: Jump lesson recap~

I was on a pretty decent roll jumping in my lessons, until yesterday I suddenly wasn’t.

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Rocking it at CDRC! 

I have been managing muscle pain (pulled something in my abdomen/hip area, and trying to deal with the pain for 2 weeks now…) and was taking muscle relaxers on doctor’s orders and I just felt fuzzy, tired and kind of ‘eh’ last night. My lesson started well, we worked through a small grid, took a break and went back to it, until BOOM! Oats jumped the oxer of the grid really nicely, and took 1 canter stride, and fell to his knees!

Yikes!

I luckily was upright already, and landed well on my feet in the stirrups so I was able to stay balanced and pull Oats’ head up. He was able to regain his footing and get up again, none the worse for wear. Scared the shit out of me though, he’s never done that before, poor guy!

It really rattled me, no joke. We continued to ride the gymnastic fine after that (well, until I decided I was done tuning in and kind of lost focus…leading Oats to crawl over the last jump). But the damage was done- Oats can take a jump, but I was just having a lot of trouble staying focused and never felt like we really ‘clicked in’ last night, you know? That led to a lot of ‘stop and climb’ jumps, ughhhhh…So awkward.

I wanted to fuss and sulk about my shitty ride, but a friend who was watching came up to me after the lesson and was like, ‘hey you guys are a great team!’ And I was incredulous. You’re saying that after watching us today? Wha? It sucked!

And she said, yeah it wasn’t perfect, but you get going and kept trying, and that was pretty good! So, in perspective it wasn’t 100% shitty, it was just a non-clicking day. We have them, I guess, and so do horses! Like the sports psychologist says: You had a fantastic ride, won everything, great job- move on. You had a bad ride, things sucked and went hell, too bad. Move on.

It doesn’t matter, because it’s already in the past.

Show report: Mid-Island Cadora Halloween Haunt Dressage Schooling Show!

I signed up for this show hot on the heels of my last show, exactly a month prior (CDRC in Sept 20-21). I wasn’t super sure about how this was going to go- a new venue, a bit further, 2 hours away in Nanaimo, hack classes (our very real nemesis for awhile) AND dressage tests? Phew!!

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Winner winner!

But, you know what? We had a GREAT time! I had a good feeling when we went to pick up our numbers from the show office, and they let me know I had won the early bird entry prize- some cash back from my entry. YES!! Plus swag bags for the entrants- Purdy’s chocolate pumpkin and apples for the ponies. Sweet eh?

We didn’t have to load up too early, thank god. We were all in the same hack classes (command and dressage seat equitation), my friend and I were in the costume class- purely for fun, and then we were all in two dressage tests.

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He was moving better at Sept CDRC for sure…

That made for a very busy day. We were hauling ass back and forth from the trailer, to the hack ring, to the dressage ring alllll day. Phew, I was tired! So was Oats! First up was command class (which I got confused and thought we had just ridden dressage seat equitation, hahah). There were not many horses in our class, which made me feel relieved because I just watched a rider all off their horse in the class before ours…

It went well, Oats got a little jazzy at the trot, but he kept his hair on and was very well behaved. We did a turn on the forehand, and change of direction through the trot, and probably some other things that I can’t recall. We were first!

Next up was dressage seat equitation- a rider scratched, so it was just me and my two friends. This got held up, because an ambulance came with a firetruck. We later learned a young girl had gotten kicked in the head, and had to go to the hospital. Jesus. 😦

So the class was delayed due to the emergency, and the judge cleared it with us that the horses were ok with the ambulance/sirens coming through (Oats and Donato could care less, haha). This class had a few more interesting tests, sitting trot, drop stirrups, pick them up again, collected trot, extended trot, collected canter (we broke, whoops) and extended canter (fun!!). Oats again was a superstar and we won this one too! Next it was a quick change for my friend and I to do the costume class, which was super fun.

My other friend had to hustle to the dressage ring, and had to find someone to read her test for her, haha. Lucky for her, and me, we found someone! She rode her dressage tests, and then I hustled over and got changed back into my show clothes, and onwards to the dressage ring.

They were lovely about helping us out with reading the tests, I mean I know mine but still… My first test was very ‘eh’…Didn’t have that round, bouncy pony that I am used to having. He was stumbling a bit on the footing, and just felt kind of flat. Like, the minute I went for a downward transition, he’d just flatline you know? Eh.. And our canter transitions? HAHA yeah he flung his head up, hollowed and didn’t want to. Ohhh well…My test 3 for First Level was kind of similar, but he broke before doing the canter serpentine, not during it, weirdly. We actually got them this time?? Hm.

Curiously, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but I scored higher on my First Level 3 test for first place (with a 63%, the judge was good but NOT super generous, apparently with everyone) and I got a 62% on my First Level 1. Now that’s funny, a full swap from last show? Ah, I’ll chalk it up to him struggling a bit with the footing and move on!

And the day even got better- I would up with high point in the hack classes courtesy of our two red ribbons. A brand new dressage saddle pad!!! And I pocketed a few mini chocolate bars from the office. YUmmmm… Thanks you guys. A great day with fantastic weather out with my horse buddies? There is truly no better. I am so lucky. 🙂