Starting to want more

So, because I have been running a bit and riding a LOT I’ll use this update for both- a total weekend recap.

At a race! Photo courtesy of Brian Domney.

At a race! Photo courtesy of Brian Domney.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that my weekend kind of blew because I have a cold and was coughing my lungs out, and apparently allergy season is in full bloom here as well, so I felt like my face was on fire, my throat was SO ITCHY and my ears are bothering me. It’s a distracting time, and I feel like I’m on so many drugs (I take steroids for the allergies, and decongestants/acetaminophen for the sinus pain/body aches AND benadryl for allergies when it gets SO BAD) that I would not pass a drug test!

Anyways, enough with the complaining, on to the updates! It was a good weekend for physical activity, actually.

Saturday, I rode Oats and the weather was niiiiice. Sadly, we are still locked in the indoor- the outdoor is flooded. He was pretty cooperative and we schooled over some crossrails, with me focusing on straightness, getting ‘pace’ and keeping my butt out of the saddle in two-point. Oh and there was this hands lower, etc etc also happening.

All good, except when I tried to switch gears and go a bit more ‘dressage-y’ after our x-rails session, Oats was having none of it. I let him stop when we achieved 1 canter circle each way with contact and NOT breaking into trot. This was much harder than it sounds, and took a lot longer…

Saturday, my husband and I also did our first 15k training run. Well, run is a generous term. It was more like a 15k jog-shuffle that took approx. 1 hr 25 minutes….So slow! It was good though, and I finished feeling pretty decent, and NOT dying or coughing my last breaths. I did that later, at the brewpub we had a drink at to celebrate our runner’s ‘smug’. 

And then Sunday I rode and Oats felt distinctly less cooperative, I was feeling tired and run-down, and it was…just ok. Ok transitions, 1 buck- or it felt like a buck, but he didn’t keep it up so I didn’t punish for it (could have been feet confusion, that does happen to him sometimes)…Some ok trot work but it was overall kind of ‘eh’. One thing I was proud of him for- we worked through some trot poles- that were not really set up for us, but he’s a tricky little pony who can figure out his footwork well- and then I asked for canter WITH the correct lead left rein and then right rein. He was good!

Very determined

Very determined

It’s funny- a year ago, I’d be over the moon with how Oats is. Now, I’m just wanting more from him. I can appreciate how he’s changing though, and that is a good thing! Also- I can appreciate how my run training is helping me address longer distances, and my races are improving.

Dressage under fire

Went to my dressage lesson with more than a little trepidation yesterday. Let’s review why, shall we?

So easy

So easy

  • I am going through a lot of pressure with my parent drama.
  • Oats doesn’t respond well to dressage on a good day.
  • I was exhausted.
  • I had taken a lot of time off doing dressage- a few weeks, due to holiday/illness/weather. The last lesson I had last week was a jumping one!
  • I am an excuse machine?
  • I was wearing new boots. Ouch!

Yeah, so. There’s that. I was luckily able to side-step my parental drama for a bit- by telling them I was unavailable, which was 100% true. On Tuesdays, I have enough time to get home, take my dog out, unpack my lunch things, grab a snack, get dressed and drive to my lesson, of which I am always late for.

But, I sucked it up and did it. Nothing makes me feel more genuine, more ‘myself’ than riding and challenging myself in lessons, even if I SOOO don’t want to do it beforehand. I’m always glad I did!

So, how did it go?

Well, like many things in life, not 100% great but not 100% bad. Oats fought back a bit, was a bit sassy, but slowly we are improving. We did some polework and the horses got pretty fired up and testy with each other. Funny, you can tell we hadn’t done a group lesson in awhile because it seemed like both Oats and Chanel wanted to chase each other!

Oats’ newest evasion is hopping into the canter when the trot gets too difficult. He did that A LOT. Man does it feel awkward!! We cantered through more than a few trot poles!

I do get tense and clingy when he does it, because sometimes it feels like the ‘hop’ is the first step into ‘launch into outerspace’ for me. It did NOT get that bad, he did try some bs behaviour (this is still Oats we are talking about…) but he tried. And tried and tried. That is what is important to me, that he TRIES at least. I do want to encourage his ‘tries’ and don’t want to shut him down when he gives me some more effort. It does tend to be a bit nerve-wracking though!

So, it was both good and bad. I left feeling more like myself again. That was a good thing.

I am also going to try out a supplement to give Oats some more positive energy. I feel like he needs a little ‘more’ this winter, perhaps due to his age (13? I think?) and to get him more ‘oomph’ and less balky and rude.

Cool Rummings- Lesson update, and weekend plans!

So, Tuesday was our regularly scheduled lesson with Karen Brain. I was ready. Or so I thought…I’m usually ready to get my ass kicked around the ring by her, but I was feeling pretty tired by the time the lesson came around and my resolve started wilting…

But no matter! We did a lot of ‘controlled’ work, ie- controlling Oats’ every body movement, including bend and pace around a circle and over trot poles. Interestingly, once we were through the poles, Oats wants desperately to lift his head, and TANK off.

“Bend? How about FORWARD!” He said to me. “Wrong answer, but nice try. More bend, pretzel up, bend, curve, slower,” is what I said.

So, it was challenging. He looked like a giraffe. My arms felt so tired!

Oats protests bending at the canter

Oats protests bending at the canter

After each trot circle over the poles, we worked harder at maintaining more of a ‘shoulder-in’ bend. And we took the show on the road too- large around the whole ring. GOD that was tough- it was like left-right-left-right fall in-fall out, ARGH.

He was being kind of jerky about it, because it was challenging. That’s ok. I told Karen I felt like we didn’t have any real ‘good’ steps, and she said actually we did- but that this stuff is HARD for Oats. And did I feel tired? My arms ache? That means I was mentally present during the whole ride, and that is also a small ‘win’ for us. Building mental stamina and ‘staying present’ instead of drifting is something we really struggle with.

More cooperative over the poles

More cooperative over the poles

So, even if it feels ugly, hell, looks ugly, something good is happening.

Oh and my weekend update? Surfing in Tofino and quite possibly attending the Otalith music festival! Hells yeah! I leave tomorrow morning and won’t be back until Sunday. Looking forward to a fun weekend with friends, a mini University reunion of sorts. Love those guys.