It looks like the road not taken- but actually, things have been going fairly swimmingly on my end!
Monday I had an equine counseling session, and it was kind of challenging in an emotional way, you know? But, something was coming up, and I knew I needed it.
Tuesday I had a casual hack with a friend and it was exactly what I needed. Oats and I were chill, things were just flowing- although I was noticing more in the outdoor arena that he seemed quite ouchy and footsore- particularly when we moved up to canter. I didn’t ride for that long due to that. Fortunately, he was getting front shoes on Wednesday, just in time for my jumping lesson on Thursday!
Thursday we warmed up and his canter felt…strange. Like he was coming up more, and pounding on the sand with his hooves? He felt unsure about his new kicks, and his canter reflected this- he lost impulsion throughout the corners and broke pretty much EVERY time in the top-left hand corner. He was also quite looky and had some spooks in the ‘scary corner’ where we had a gymnastic grid set up. Goof!!
We had a grid (canter-in bounce grid, two bounces to two-two-strides. Ha, try saying that twice!!). We MAJORLY fumbled the grid more than a few times, like whoa. I don’t know how to ride kind of fumbles. Ahhhh…. Anyways. We schooled a faux-ditch with barrels and it went pretty well. Ditches and weird-looking jumps are no big for Oats.
Course time! Lots of jumps and some interesting features- a ‘rock’ skinny *(ooh) and the gymnastic, the faux-ditch, barrels, some natural planks, and a few oxers. I was like kind of wanting to freak out, but also felt like…Ok. We got this.
And we cantered it, and it went pretty well. Not fabulous- my eye was majorly off and I couldn’t find a distance to save my life, hahah. Oh well.
Then a few jumps went up, and we did it again! First jump, good, second, ok too and then the grid…Yikes. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to collect Oats for the grid while we were IN the grid. Newsflash- bad idea!! He crashed through the x-rail, and then stopped for a poop, ha.
We regrouped and I approached it with a better idea of wtf I was doing. Whoops, sorry pony!
Rest of the course was ok, I was still plagued with a pretty lousy ‘eye’ for any and all jumps, but Oats was cool with it so on we went! I am, however, having trouble making decisions in a line- for example, collecting his canter for the grid BEFORE the grid (???), riding a quieter 6 instead of kind of just riding 5+? and trying to collect or take back the last two strides before the jump in the line. I need to be making these decisions much sooner in my ride.
Argh, get with the program, me!
Ah, well. At least my position was better this week, with me ‘going with it’ for my terrible eye and lack of decisions.
Gidget is getting all summered-out!
We’re taking a bit of a backseat to riding this week, as my family has been visiting for Canada Day. That means we’re doing a lot of fun stuff like stand-up-paddleboarding, visiting Merridale Cider, visiting the farm, watching me ride Oats (and getting a pony ride off him!) and eating in good restaurants.
Back at work today though, and I have a fun hangover. I’m tired! Like Gidget, I’m so tired haha.
And stand up paddleboarding was fun, but so easy- any moron could do it haha. I am a bit disappointed, as I thought it would be a harder core workout. I don’t really feel it in my abs today, but my pinkie finger hurts (fingie!).
The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday though…Ahhh…perfect day for it!
Cute photo of Oats and my trainer’s horse Donato grazing in the field this week. He is so tiny compared with giant Donato! Adorable!
Good thing he’s cute too, because man, he was a SHIT yesterday in my lesson. Sucked back off my leg, leaning in to the right, diving at the canter, BUCKING? GRrrrrrrr.
I was pissed off, bigtime. We have a really nice, good hard working lesson on Tues, he gets Wed off for both of us to recover and he’s done a 180 and turned back into a little shithead pony. ARGH.
We were jumping and he just couldn’t bend, didn’t want to go, etc etc. I got too high with my hands, and they got VERY busy. It’s funny, when things go sideways I always get like ‘do more!’ more with my hands! Which I think is sometimes a bit of a reaction to him being a turd (high hands= stability when he bucks, and oh, he does!).
We got a miserly *few* good jumps, out of stride, engaged and forward and a few lousy ones.
I was mostly frustrated and annoyed. What’s with the bucking, the Jekyll-and-Hyde attitude? Jeesh, ponies! ARGH.
And here’s Gidget going for a bike ride! Don’t worry, she was secured in the bike basket via a tether, so while she wasn’t too happy about it, she wasn’t going anywhere!
They cruised up and down the path from the campsite, and she was none too pleased…Haha.
Fun times camping this past weekend! As you can see, it was not too warm out either. Oh well, summer on the West Coast.
So, is this true to you?
Sometimes it is for me. I once wrote that my ideal day would be jumping with Oats, going for a nice long run (10k) and then going to snooze on the beach with an iced coffee…Ahh..bliss!
Other days? A good HARD workout with Oats. I had another lesson last night with Karen Brain- a semi-private with another rider. I was a bit anxious, given last week was kind of an ass-kicking in a good way, but man was it tough!
We got down to it, and it reallly WORKED. I don’t know if it’s the progression work, or transitions, or what her magic is, but Oats and I seem to be getting a lot of good out of it. He’s focused- mostly- and I’m focused. It’s hard, but not ‘awkward’ hard you know? I feel like if I try enough, we can make it happen.
We worked on the ‘quick steps’ walk, which is kind of Oats’ suckiest gait. Then moved up to trot and we had a choice- quick steps, or BIG steps. I went with big.
Amusingly, Karen picked up that Oats is a nice mover. He is a very nice mover. So nice, in fact, that he fools people very easily. She said the thing with nice movers, is that it’s a gift (from God?) like being attractive. A nice mover, or being attractive doesn’t mean you have a good work ethic!
She also said when I ‘ask’ for more and he brings his head up, or swishes his tail, and pins his ears, he’s giving me the big F-you! And to not let his shit continue.
Ponies are very, very clever. Any way they can get out of having to work, they will. They are good at ‘training’ you NOT to ask! But, like children, if they are given work to do, and asked fairly, they will do it…Eventually.
Oats showed how much he was wanting to say NO! At the canter…swapped his leads on the long side on the right, and broke on the left a few times. Each time, she was like that’s his way of saying I want to stop. Now.
And the answer to his shenanginans? GET GOING! GET! and the problem starts magically resolving itself..He swaps? Who cares?! Get going on the wrong lead then~ And Oats starts feeling like, hey, this is uncomfortable…Why did I swap again…
He even swapped back to the correct lead to help himself, and he did it WITHOUT drama- no kicking out, no bucking, no getting humpy.
Humph… We worked hard! So hard, it’s funny to have that feeling just doing basic flat work. Jeeesh…
(photo pictured is a LOVELY rider from the Arbutus Derby I attended in Parksville this weekend. So jealous of their excellent form/technique, and fabulous horse. One day!)