Going by: Fri/weekend update

After a period of busy weekends, the past two have been fairly quiet- and that’s ok. On Friday I had a dressage lesson and it was tricky! We worked on canter leg-yields, and positioning for the counter-canter. I am SO not good at positioning for that, and found it really difficult to get my legs/body to cooperate= Oats fininding it equally difficult…SIGH. Oh well, something to practice on for sure!

15350705_10157898338810603_7613009583249070564_n

Last winter and the winter before was very snowy.

Saturday I rode, and worked on myself: 4X 3 minutes on/1 minute off two-point. Was it hard? Sort of? I did expect it to be harder actually! What was hard was when I was gearing up to jog home (my husband had to attend a funeral, so he dropped me off at the barn and I was going to run home). My legs were like, nahh, no.

It was kind of a slow slog home, but to be honest I was prepared to spend the time. Got nowhere really to be, so why not? The weather wasn’t bad either, just kind of chilly and blustery.

_MG_1952

We’ve been having a nice fall so far! Just rainy now, but not overall too cold. 

I’ve been having on and off again ligament pain and it flared up  badly on Sunday. It was bearable for my run, but again I can tell my injury has not healed up yet.

We went and watched Suspiria on Saturday at a theatre that is licensed! Yes!! It was so wild, crazy off the wall. Hah, I highly recommend it. It’s nuts. Sunday I was in no rush, had a nice breakfast, rode with friends (pole work) and hung out talking for a bit. The weather did take a turn for the worse- rainy and cold. I even went on a run later with my husband and went fast for me! My hip pain came back with an absolute vengeance though, yiiiikes. Ah, I miss going fast!!

Back to work today.

Heartstruck: Riding/jump updates!

IMG_0727

My Halloween wreath went up. I love it!!

This week hasn’t been overly busy with rides, on Monday I had an equine counselling session, in which we recapped life events (great!!) and worked a bit on my increasingly iffy two-point. Why the windmill leg? Tipping forward? And why does it get highlighted so much in the indoor? All good questions…So I lengthened my stirrups 1 hole (gasp!) and am going to proceed with that for awhile.

Tuesday I just hacked Oats around, playing with counter-canter positioning. Bad- me leaning forward to get it. Good- him actually trying!

43313657_240805163278771_7081099721783115776_n

Poor Gidget waiting wistfully for us to get back to the car at the barn.

Thursday was our jump lesson and man, I miss jumping in the outdoor! Oats was a bit balky/stuck behind my leg, so I had a few ‘reminders’ via my crop behind my leg. I found that when he sucks back around the corners- and there are a lot of them in the indoor- I want to tip forward, sending my leg swinging back. Interesting. This was also highlighted in the video my trainer took last week too.

So, all good things to work on. We focused primarily on small jumps, with related distances (forward -3 or quieter 4, I obviously went for the 4 each time, b/c Oats was Not. Having. It. for forward yesterday). I was actually pretty happy, even though we definitely biffed a few lines/jumps. Ha.

We did have to go re-do a line b/c he should have been picking up the right lead (he was doing it correctly ALL lesson, he never ever used to voluntarily pick up the right lead, even if we were circling a jump on the right. Yeah!! And so when we re-did the bending line, I focused harder on trying to land right (didn’t happen) but he did try to get a flying lead in 3 strides (didn’t- was disunited) but we landed and he DID pick up the right lead. Progress!

So, not better than ever but butter than we used to be. And that is ok! The weather has been fabulous, and I am feeling better this week for sure. 🙂

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.

11078100_10100364925694006_1902984973469291932_n

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!

The messenger began to believe that the message was him.

Quote I found (I believe it is a lyric from a song?) but I liked it!

image001

Jump lesson recap this week- MUCH better than last week. Oats was more consistently forward, though I came into the ride with a plan. Get him off my leg, the walk in the warm-up is NOT lollygagging around, and I ride with purpose, every step. Jump lessons are too precious to half-ass the beginning!

So I marched him around, got some pissy leg kick-outs, dealt with them and moved on.

Was the lesson perfect? HAHAH no. But, it was much improved and it helped me ride with ‘my horse moving underneath me’ rather than me pushing, pulling with my body moving too much. I am particularly guilty of this when I am not sure I have enough horse to ride!

image001 (1)

The exercises were very simple this week: Jump a line of skinnies 4-strides apart (an easy four, which of course we biffed and got a choppy FIVE sometimes…ah Oats), and a small course with some oxers. The focus was more on flow, and we got it!

I was much improved with my upper body, staying in two-point most of the ride, back with my shoulders through the corners (still had some blips but hey…better) and Oats was riding quite nicely.

It just went so much better. I was happy with Oats, and left on a real good note. Yay!

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.

image001

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?

image001 (1)

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. 🙂

Simple Love: Riding/life update~

Had my jump lesson and we kept it pretty low for two reasons: my foot is killing me and is still killing me today (thanks, plantar wart treatment from hell… and I was working on maintaining two-point ALL the way around the course of jumps, instead of sitting my butt in the saddle 3 strides out.).

IMG_0912

This was incidentally much harder than I thought and my legs got tired much faster. The psychological component is trickier- I want to sit and DRIVE the last few strides, rather than sit off the saddle and let the jump come to me. Hm…

IMG_0909

I did run into this problem jumping in the field this summer, when the jump was placed uphill- when I SAT and got heavy, Oats took down the rail of the jump. When I focused on sitting light and off the saddle, the jump stayed up. Coincidence? I think not! haha.

IMG_0913

So yeah, things to think about. Oh and the straightness…right drift that was actually horrible last night…ARGH.

Oh well, Tucker Bunny is settling in at home and we are taking down our Christmas decorations this weekend. Sad to see them go, but I am ready for spring!!

 

It’s GO time!

Didn’t have my regularly scheduled jump lesson yesterday, as my trainer bumped it to Saturday- which is fine, because as it turns out, I managed to majorly wrench something in my back= back on fire for a few days…

12932986_10156765702130191_8321402896110597130_n

Photo courtesy of Nicole G. I love it so much! Big D and his mini-me.

Nevertheless, I gingerly made it out to the barn, feeling like a total hunchback with a raging headache that was creeping up from my sore back.

Every single vertebra hurt…I swear I could feel them all moving dis-harmoniously. Ouch…

Still, I rode Oats in the outdoor and actually had some fun. I was going to do some jumping, but I could NOT get in the groove at all. The jumps were small, but I just couldn’t seem to jump like a normal person. Stare at the jump until we are on it? Yep! Miss my distance every time? Yup! Crooked? Sure!

I knew I was riding poorly to protect my sore back, so I gave up on the jumping part (a wise decision) and went to do some flatwork without stirrups. Two-point, canter, trot, grab the pommel with one hand to situate myself…It was actually pretty good! My legs- inner thigh- were killing me. I ended the ride when I felt this huge knot in my thigh and thought to myself ‘If Oats makes one sudden move, you are definitely on the ground when you can’t hold yourself on.”

He didn’t though, he was a total saint.

He did have one BIG spook when a rider came out of the indoor and he didn’t hear them until they were behind him. Whoops!

I still have a bit of a sore back and lingering neck/headache today, but it’s not quite as terrible as it was yesterday. I’m sure being at work, sitting in front of a computer doesn’t help. Ow….

Busy weekend coming up, and busy next week too!

 

Jump around

Went for a ride last night and the weather has turned around- it was warm, lovely, not windy and not rainy. I’ll take it!

IMG_0550

The arena had an interesting set-up of two big x-rails, and one skinny set directly on the centreline.

I was intrigued…Clearly the rider who set it up had been working on straightness via the big x-rails, and by having a skinny set on the centreline- slicing the skinny? As we had a very thorough and challenging (but good honest work) dressage lesson the day before, I was planning on a more casual ride last night.

So, the jumps were calling my name…All I wanted to do was jump! Haha.

I kind of thought the big x-rails were a bit big to warm up with (hello I can be a wimp!) but was also feeling too lazy to get back off and re-set. What to do what to do…

Just jump them! And we did! And man, while I was working on straightness, I definitely came into the skinny sooooo crooked. So crooked that I had to go back around and re-do it. And I was NOT slicing the skinny- I just cut in off the centreline and jumped it straight, and of course Oats landed left, he always lands left, and we’d head back to it again.

I had visions of me running straight into the standards if I attempted to slice it. My jump game is not always strong haha. It was so fun though.

It’s interesting- jumping (well, jumping high), wigs me out and gives me the willies…BUT I also love jumping and quite frankly, that is all I want to do most days. Weird?

I don’t understand it myself, but it is so fun! Worked a bit on two-point with no stirrups, two-point with stirrups but one arm out, and Oats had one minor freakout moment when something rustled in the bushes…Woah he was worried, haha.

All good though, and a fun ride…I just love jumping jumps.

It only ‘matters’ if it ‘matters’ to you

Stole this one off Tamarack Hill Farms FB page today (actually it was just a headline that caught my eye).

From last year- I like to think there is improvement?

From last year- I like to think there is improvement?

Horses are funny that way- in a nutshell, everything matters.

In the grand scheme- nothing matters.

Weird eh?

A nice day.

A nice day.

I took Wednesday off to give Oats a day to recover from our strenuous dressage lesson (ok, maybe it was just me who needed that day!) and I went for a jog with my dog instead. That equally sucked haha.

Thursday, I was curiously not as hyped up about my jump lesson as I thought I’d be. It’s been a good two weeks since I had a jump lesson (had to cancel 1 lesson due to dinner plans, and then was away in Calgary last week), but I was feeling like…ok.

I still greatly struggle with this feeling of dread/anticipation when I am physically warming up, but I’d seen the course set on Tuesday and you know what? It kind of looked like FUN?! Who is this person, who doesn’t get scared about jumping 10 fences in a course, and who thinks the jumps don’t look ‘that bad’?

ME!

Well sort of. I still went in on Thurs hesitating, complaining that the jumps looked high (so some of them were oxers, sue me!). Nicole didn’t buy into my bs, and was like these are small fences, when we get going you won’t even notice them!

And…I grumbled that I would, but funny enough…When we did get rolling after trotting and cantering a warm-up x-rail, I didn’t notice them! At all?

They were tiny actually haha, maybe all at 2ft, but after a few weeks off my wimp muscles grow stronger and my courage muscles grow weaker. But anyways, she was actually right. When we worked through some elements of the course, I felt like this is NBD. And I continued to feel that way…no biggie.

Oh except when we broke the course down and practiced some individual elements, my brain went on vacation and I managed to squeeze Oats AT THE CANTER between two jumps to get to another jump! There was not a lot of room, whooops! HAHAH. Brain=took a vacation too.

But then we did the course, and it went really well, surprisingly well, until my big fumble at the end…My brain just didn’t connect that I needed to turn much later for the three-jump combination, so we kind of bungled our way through it (kept the jumps up, just awkward and clumsy and a BIG chip at the end fence, eek!).

So, some successes early on? I’ve actually been feeling like my jumping has been pretty consistent this summer, if I still do struggle with wimping out.

Some times I think I need to work on a bit right now: More two-point at the trot and canter, focusing on pushing my feet out in front of me (waterskiing) because they tend to slip behind my body.

Hands down and in. Elbows in!

Legs on, and if leg isn’t working, get more used to a sharp smack with the crop!

Overall-quite pleased. 🙂

Taste is…a matter of taste

Another quote from Bright Lights Big City.

Started off well

Started off well

And, I’m happy to say, Oats and I are back being good together (at least for now?!!) ha. We had a jump lesson last night and while the jumps were teeny-weenie, we have fun and it felt pretty good. It was HOT for me, I felt like I was absolutely sweating buckets and gulping down water. Working in a sedentary air-conditioned office job does not prepare you well for working out in warmer weather, there’s no acclimatization period, nothing.

We worked first over a small gymnastic and Oats was in noooooo hurry…We got a lazy six in the gymnastic, which was ok I guess. At least we were consistent?

Leaving looooooong!

Leaving looooooong!

And things I need to work on: Actually getting my butt off my pony in two point in grids and on-course. Watching the video (which was great to get, thanks to a friend who stuck around to capture it!!) made that VERY clear.

Actually the ‘not sitting’ through a line or course is two-fold- helps me free up Oats’ back, AND might encourage me to use my crop behind my leg to GET HIS PONY BUTT MOVING! I see this as another fairly large issue- leg leg leg leg leg! Enough leg. More whip!

Now when I actually let go of my fear and DID crop him behind my leg, we had some super jumps! yay!!! Not that the course was like, 100% lovely- definitely not- but I’m feeling pretty positive about it.

I even volunteered to do the gymnastic line again instead of jump the course again (gymnastic lines are my nemesis…I would typically do anything to avoid them) and did it twice! We had one big spook and consequently took down 1 rail, but we regrouped and did it again and were even tight into the six…I could have tried for the 5 strides but I wasn’t feeling like it….I did feel like we can get the six no problem, so let’s stay with that for now?

So, go us! Go Oats!