T-3.5 hours…

OH man oh man. This week cannot end fast enough.

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I did have a jump lesson before my hiatus for holidays, and it went..Ok. I felt weirdly anxious, which I am going to chalk up to the pressure cooker that work has been all week. I just couldn’t shake it.

My jumping went ok, Oats had a very uncharacteristic slam on the brakes to a small oxer even from a PERFECT distance?! WTF? So, yeah odd. We re-approached and he was fine, and jumped it lovely each time after that, but still. Even during our course he had his ‘stop-hesitate-jump’ through a two stride that just seemed not great. Admittedly, I was having a lot of trouble getting straight to the two-stride, but still…

I wanted to ride the course through three times but the way I was feeling? Nah, not productive. So I rode it through twice, and called it at that.

It was ok, but I couldn’t shake the weird anxiety. UGH. Also I am thinking that I should look into some more preventative medicine for old Oats. He is getting up to 17, and not a spring chicken anymore.

I can do this. A few more hours. I can do this.

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Right Place Right Time: Dressage recap!

Had a semi-private dressage lesson last night, and after taking two weeks off from our lessons (but definitely not from riding) it went pretty well! We worked on developing a collected canter via lateral work, specifically leg-yielding off the wall at the trot and then trying to hold it through the canter.

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Oats gets a haircut…And it has already grown out. WTF?!!!

Oats did NOT find it easy and showed this through two ways- breaking into trot from the canter, or giving me a big flying lead change! Haha

I was very pleased with his work and his attention span. He didn’t really have any big hissy-fits, which is unusual as he kind of gets worked up with this sort of disciplined lesson. He got very sweaty, despite the fact that he IS clipped. He grew a really thick coat this year, more so than previous years, and sadly the clip is not lasting…Gah.

His attitude has been very good, he almost wins for ‘most improved horse’ in that region. I know, crazy eh? Our short leg-yields were really good (for us, ha) and I was feeling very ‘flowy’ and ‘smooth’ which can be a bit of a rarity for us.

He gets a day off today, and a day off for me too before our jump lesson on Thursday.

We Got It Coming: Jump lesson!

Back to the indoor doesn’t have to be boring or draggy- in fact, it’s quickly becoming an opportunity to sharpen/refine our skills. Of particular importance, my bad habits of letting Oats motorbike around turns when we are jumping and kind of just ‘give up’. No longer!! This time I am GOING to fix that problem (five years in the making, but who’s counting?!).

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Man!

But yes, we worked on a particularly challenging course last night. Jump height-wise…Nothing impressive. But, we had a circle jump (hard for us), a skinny, some small barrels, a two-stride, and straightness!! to work on.

And it wasn’t easy, or very neat. But, we did improve throughout the ride, which is kind of what I’m going for. Things I am learning and hoping to work on this winter:

  • Fixing my corners, no more motorbiking/forgetting to ride/sitting up!
  • No pulling his head to the left over the jump!
  • No nagging with my leg. Let him relax, then GO for the jump, then relax.
  • Leg stays still.
  • Upper body stays still. Elbows are in shoulders are up.
  • Hands release, shoulders don’t release.
  • Adjustability in the canter.
  • No sitting back when I don’t see a distance and pulling up with my hands. Go with the flow.
  • Both reins used, with contact. This is a tough one for me, as I tend to want to only use one rein with the other flopping uselessly. I get afraid that too much contact will slow him down!

Sooo yeah, lots to work on. But, I did quite enjoy my ride 🙂

What am I becoming?

Ah, I last left this blog on a Thursday and haven’t blogged in…Over a week.

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Sometimes the evacuees are bunnies!

Why? Not vacation, I can tell you!

I was deployed on the Friday to help with emergency communications in Prince George, a service I volunteered for from work. I received the call at 11am on Friday, and was on a 2:45pm flight to PG. (Sort of, it turned into a big debacle and we flew to PG, couldn’t land, flew back to Vancouver, caught the next flight back to PG, and ended up there at 10pm).

We worked until 1am that night. Hitting the ground running in a way, eh?

It was a challenging, life-changing and good experience. But it was exhausting, emotionally difficult, and a ton of work.

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At least I had the chance to have some great times with friends when I got back!

I got back home on Friday, and had great expectations for going riding when I got home. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I crawled into bed, feeling like I got hit with a ton of bricks. So exhausted. I didn’t get up until 4pm?! Riding happened on Saturday instead. Ha.

Oats…isn’t being super great. He’s pretty fine most times, and then other times has this massive demon-spook that is just INSANE. He has also been spooking at things that don’t normally bother him, like birds, squirrels, etc.??? He had a few big freakouts in the field, which is typically his happy place? He spooked so hard and flew backwards so violently that I pulled a muscle in my hip trying to stay on (I did..). Jesus.

At least I had a fairly decent dressage lesson last night, but it started off rough and I was in an absolutely terrible mood. I wanted to cry for most of it, until it smoothed out and he relaxed and gave up the resistance.

I am having an increasingly hard time breathing while I am running- so much so that I am struggling to breathe running a shorter distance (5k)?? It makes me feel panicky and trapped, like I am stuck in my own body and it’s betraying me somehow. Ugh, I hate it! I’m fine normally, it’s just when I am doing my long-distance running…And I am an experienced runner, so WTF? My lungs were checked relatively recently and they were fine, more than fine actually- superhuman. So …yeah. I now have an appointment with my doctor to see if I have a heart murmur or something that is causing this newfound breathing struggle.

I don’t want to collapse.

Anndd….I came back to work to find a lot of my dear friends and longtime colleagues got let go on Monday.

Lovely.

 

Hold on, we’re going home

And what did we do as soon as we got home? Moved and dismantled our bedroom furniture, and Ian and his dad ripped up the old carpets throughout the house. Fun fun!

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Is there anything uglier than naked stairs? Yeah, the old carpet!

Ian did have a philosophy going into this little further home reno with ‘it sucks to be back from holidays, so it might as well all suck at once!” Hmm… Well the weather was lousy so we might as well dive in head-first?

This is stage 2 of our renos- stage one was the living room/hallway ripping up the carpet and redoing the flooring in laminate. It looks great, so we had some impulsion to continue. What lays beneath the rusty, hideous carpeting is quite frankly, terrifying. Sheer dust. UGH! I have a ton of allergies, so I can’t really live with that carpet forever…gross.

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The dark kitchen

I have also been soliciting some ideas from colleagues for our next projects- the kitchen (too dark and cramped feeling) the walls (desperately need to be painted, LIGHTER colours plus a million dings and scratches), and the backyard area- currently moss-covered wet concrete. Yum.

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So, we’re not really into open concept cupboards but the hinges being replaced is kind of turning into an epic project…Featuring our mess. Ha.

So, Saturday was busy and Sunday I visited my darling Oaty and then came home to help with the carpet removal (sweeping and such) and then went for a brief jog. I feel constantly tired since coming back from holidays, and I still really miss them! Summer can’t stay, can it?

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Gidget was not loving the home renos, so she had some quiet time on my lap in the sun last night.

I identify with this song right now…VHS Collection,’Waiting on the Summer’ 

 

Nothing was the same: Jump lesson recap!

As I wind down the week, my complaining is greatly lessened. The incredible stress & pressure is being lifted, thank god, and my horrible chest cold is slowly getting better.

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Back on top?!!

I even had a jump lesson last night (where I coughed my lungs out all ride) that went REALLY well! I was so happy with Oaty pony. We worked on a gymnastic (two x-rail bounces to a two-stride oxer) and then worked on a skinny on a diagonal, to a flower box skinny on a circle, to a bending line to the ‘road closed’ jump, to an oxer, back to the flower box on the circle, to the bridge jump-bending to the skinny.

Not super complicated but quite challenging for us, particularly straightness through the bending lines (irony eh? Straight to bending??) where I had to focus hard on counter-bend even though it literally felt ‘counter-intuitive’ hahah.

We even had the jumps bumped up a hole from (tiny- to measurable) for us! Whoop! Oats was rocking it and I was along for the ride. I was particularly proud of the gymnastic (didn’t freak out) and not freaking out when the jumps went up a hole. YAY small victories!

I also went to the Dr’s today to figure out what is going on- I am getting a blood test to make sure my vitamins/iron/etc are where they should be but he said everyone is getting sick right now…UGH. So, I’m in good company at least?? SIGH.

And my trainer’s horse is doing great, she had a long and very challenging recovery from colic but is full of beans right now and definitely on the mend! Thank god.

OH and I have been a clothes-horse right now…Got entirely new wardrobes for running & riding consisting of new snazzy breeches, a new barn coat, two new tech t-shirts, a new tech 3/4 zip up and a long-sleeved tech t-shirt. I can’t help myself! I needed retail therapy in the worst way 😉

Fooled you twice

Lesson recap! (Because I didn’t actually ride much this week, due to a hay workshop on Tuesday, taking Wed off because I am so brain fried from work I can’t even deal with anything right now and feel permanently exhausted…)

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Me from literally three years ago. For reference, it was these flowers set alone in the second bounce!

I missed riding though. Two sort of days off and I’m itching to get back and get the shedding blade on Oats, who is shedding like crazy.

We had a jump lesson last night and it was so interesting.  Kudos to my trainer for coming up with the most intricate and challenging courses in the indoor. It’s not an easy feat and it’s hard with limited space/jumps, etc.

We first worked over a gymnastic, trot-in. Here’s where I was really proud of myself.  In the gymnastic, I was having trouble with my hands pulling ‘upwards’ instead of releasing downwards. I was also leaning too far with my upper body. Nicole suggested I think about releasing with a straight arm to fix this. I thought about it and asked if she was thinking of an automatic release-style? Yep she was.

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And the green boxes were the first part of the second bounce!

And I was able to go through the grid, and DO EXACTLY THAT. A modified – not true- auto release to fix my hands/upper body. Do you see that? I thought about what she was asking, tried to picture it in my head, and DID IT! This is amazing for me.

We then started working on other elements – there were a lot!

Start with one skinny on the straight away, to a 3-jump bounce that included a stand-alone skinny filler as the last bounce element  (?!??  this was tricky), back to trot and through the three-fence gymnastic, canter to a two-stride x-rail to small oxer, canter back over the 3-jump bounce going the other way (woo!), to a bounce using just fillers (green box, and flower boxes, to a 3-stride to the first element in the gymnastic, a small x-rail, and then back to the first fence- using it as the final element.

Now, we didn’t just go ahead and tackle this all at once. We had to break it down- work over the bounces as poles, then as fences (this was tough! Oats deked around the filler part of the bounce a few times…bad pony and he stopped once). Then we worked over the two-bounce fillers (also surprised the HECK out of Oats at first, then he charged through it with gusto), and then we put the first half of the course together.

I was REALLY impressed. It sure as heck wasn’t pretty but we made it work!

Go us!!!