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 🙂

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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!!!

 

What makes a good man?

It felt like I hadn’t had a solid dressage lesson in forever! We had a break due to a change in my fellow rider’s schedule, so yesterday I was quite interested in getting back on the dressage train.

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Totally us right now. So, where are the next Olympics?

And you know what? It was a really good, solid and comprehensive lesson. We first worked on some modified quarter-turn on the haunches at each corner, focusing on getting the horse to move off your leg instead of ‘pulling’ around the turn. Then, we focused on getting the turn ‘all the way around’ instead of just a quarter. I had to expand my circle because Oats wanted to pivot off the hind end, instead of turning his shoulders more.

It was actually way harder than it looked or than I thought it was going to be. And we sucked at it on the left rein, yeesh. Oh well!

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Mr. Oats, dressage superstar

Next we worked on positioning for Travers lateral work with actually some really solid progress at the walk. When we moved up to trot it was…interesting. Some things I learned and need to remind myself: Lower is always good, so allow Oats to reach/stretch his neck down when he feels resistant. If it seems awkward and too hard, break it down. Move off leg for one side. Then ask for the inside bend on the other side.

Make it really clear what you are asking: Bend. Move off leg. One at a time. THEN try combining the pieces, relaxing the pressure as you ask. Give-take, give-take.

We even got ‘some’ positioning at the trot (which was described to be as a banana shape, the horse forms a banana and you travel that way haha), which surprised me as it was kind of tricky for Oats to understand and I wasn’t expecting him to get it in the lesson. Go us!! He wanted to stretch hardcore after that and got fussy. To be expected, and actually his attitude towards the whole lesson was great- he wasn’t having any hissy fits, hopping up and down, or anything! WOW! I think that was the first time I’ve been able to ask for lateral work of such comprehensiveness without some squawking from Oats.

Go Oats go! Some really great efforts and grown up work from the pony. 🙂

That’s just what you are: Week update

Honestly haven’t been feeling it this week. Haven’t been feeling anything pretty much.

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Me this whole freaking week.

Work has been psychotically busy and a real pressure-cooker. It’s left me without a blogging voice, hopefully temporarily.

I have been riding and actually that’s been going fine! Had a nice lesson yesterday and felt really good, in synch and happy with dear old Oats. Funny, because I was SO grouchy yesterday before riding (thanks to work and my persistent health issues this week). Grouchy, exhausted, bone-crunching fatigue, bloating, allergies that are making it impossible to breathe at anytime, particularly at night…yeah. Perfection.

BUT riding always brings it home for me, and I LOVE it.

A fun jump lesson, and the mistakes that happened were all mine and I can own it. Mistakes happen, and I move on and don’t make them in the second half of my course. That’s fine. Oats is a good and honest pony, and any screwups were mine.

I didn’t ride on Tues- thank god my lesson was already cancelled- because of already mentioned health issues. I staggered home and was seriously worried I was going to collapse on my way. I was so tired. My limbs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds. I was dizzy and unbalanced. I was so out of it, and could barely drag my body home. My gym workout that I usually do at lunch? I spent it laying on a gym mat with my eyes closed. god.

Spent the evening sleeping on the couch. WTF? I never do that! But yeah…This was to set the tone for my miserable week of allergies-bloating-crushing fatigue-allergies-bloating-cramps-fatigue…UGH.

So yeah, not feeling anything in life right now. Still love my pony, my fraking dog that spent the night scrambling over me and licking herself loudly…maybe not her right now, ha.

Four day week? Feels more like a month.