Monday, January 4, 2016

a not-quite-triumphant return to lessons

As hinted at previously, our first lesson back at OF was a bit of a mixed bag. EXCEPT. Except in one specific detail: Isabel was soooooo happy to get back out and about again for adventures. She practically dragged me onto the trailer (both going to OF and coming home lol). And she settled in beautifully as usual too, telling me exactly where she would like her hay net, thankyouverymuch. lol

"hay net goes here please" - isabel
So that was reassuring haha. I told trainer P a bit about how things have been since we started back in work - namely, inconsistent. Our first couple rides back were super soft and lovely, with the mare happily reaching for the contact in a settled rhythm. And then... well the wheels kinda fell off the bus lol.

not a terrible picture (esp with dat tail)
There was only really one ride that was a total disaster, mostly due to my own struggles with patience (more on that later). But even subsequent rides were only really marginally better bc I made it a requirement that Isabel gets rewarded for trying and making an effort, even if the answer isn't quite what I wanted.

pricked ears make everything better. this pic nicely demonstrates our combined left bend issues tho
Mostly the issues have been related to speed (shocking!). The process of building the mare's strength and muscling is painstaking and slow - with lots of slow stretching work. And lots of bending from side to side (ugh esp that stiff left side...). And, well. Isabel kinda thinks that's bullshit. She would much rather RUN GO FAST DO THE THING!!!! and can brace perfectly well in her neck and withers to accommodate any weaknesses.

So... it hasn't been super pretty, and I don't necessarily have a ton of tools in my arsenal to work through it, since most of our lessons have been with a strong and fit mare who could handle a certain intensity that isn't really possible right now. And so we return to lessons to get help lol.

fast is her favorite
And the flat work actually went kinda ok in this lesson. Nothing amazing, but better than it has been. And trainer P pointed out a few issues related to my own position and strength that aren't helping. Of particular note was pinching with my knee, forcing my lower leg to swing too far back. Naturally I corrected this by parking the lower leg out in front of me lol... Oh well. It's on my radar now, I guess.

gettin into the zone
Then we were out of the frying pan and into the fire: jump grid time!! The same lines from last week (when I was spectating) were still set up, and I was excited bc it looked fun: two lines of four fences each set at an 18' one stride distance. One line of verticals, the other of oxers.

middle of the grid
We started with the verticals, which themselves started as a single crossrail and slowly grew to the full four fence line. And wow. Lemme tell ya. Isabel was SERIOUSLY enthusiastic to be jumping again haha. She jumped the *snot* out of that crossrail again and again - jumping me out of the tack every time lol. 

wheeeee!!
I definitely felt loose in the tack (and trot jumps are tools of the devil), but we kinda eventually got in sync over the verticals. 


The oxers tho? Not so much.... womp womp. Even when I begged trainer P to let us canter in instead of trot in, we still managed to mess it all up. Mostly bc I was expecting to package Isabel up into our nice tiny yet powerful jump canter that is quite frankly not a thing we have right now. So instead we just missed distances, with neither of us really making proper adjustments.

oh god we're gonna die.... also this looks miiiiighty familiar lol
First we stopped at the first element. Then after making it over that, we stopped at the second in a fashion almost exactly reminiscent of, um, that last time we jumped oxers set at 18' distances lol. I'm even wearing the same color shirt. Deja vu, I tell ya.

ok, that's better
Honestly tho I think mare just got tired and probably could have used more actual support from me, rather than the flopping around jello-impression I was doing. Her exuberance over the mere crossrail to start with probably blew through her energy a little too quickly, not to mention that gymnastic exercises are themselves pretty taxing.

So we made it through the oxer line of just two fences a couple times nicely before calling it a day and watching the rest of our lesson mates (including Brita and Kaitlyn!) build up to the full four fences, then a third line of bounces, and eventually put it all together into a course. Looked fun - but I was totally fine with saving all that for another day.

three amigos (clearly Wick has enthusiasm enough for the others haha)
Because mostly I'm just so relieved to return to some semblance of normalcy. It's tough for me mentally to get back on a horse that, last time we jumped, cruised around novice course work like nbd, and now can't get through a full jump lesson. But that's a natural function of two months off and it's my problem, not Isabel's. We're both getting there and there's exactly zero rush. For now I'm satisfied to even just participate!

back to the trailers, bee-lining to the hay net lol
Plus, as always, it's just super fun to get to ride with my friends again rather than just watching from the sidelines. And I think Isabel would agree too. She acted like she had never missed a day at OF, complete with taking me straight back to her hay net at the trailer when we were finished. Good mare!

44 comments:

  1. You guys will get your groove back. It just takes time. But you guys have got it.

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    1. thank you! it's all in there still.... so i guess i should just be happy the mare was so overly enthusiastic lol

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  2. Isabel is especially gorgeous in that canter picture. Her neck is incredible!
    That's great you are back in action. You'll be back to your old self soon enough!

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    1. aw thanks! she really did kinda want to show off during the ride... tho simultaneously didn't really want to work that hard. its' tough being a princess sometimes i guess lol

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  3. I am feeling Isabel's pain pretty literally - fell off the CrossFit bandwagon hard due to the house and I'm getting back into it now. It's hard! Your brain thinks you should be capable of things, but your body is like "Nooooooooope". Glad you're getting back at it, you'll both pick it back up so fast.

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    1. that's probably exactly what was going through her mind/muscles haha. and yea i totally relate bc i wasn't exactly helping much...

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  4. So excited that you are back in the tack and JUMPING! WOOHOO!

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    1. haha "jumping" lol... but seriously tho i'm so excited to be back at it, and i'm pretty sure isabel is too (even if we kinda flubbed it this ride) :D

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  5. I also love that canter pic! So nice and through and soft.

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    1. ha i'm glad to hear that it looks like that - i give that pic the side eye bc it's maybe two steps after the "fiercest canter transition evar" pic i posted a couple days ago... tho actually my dressage trainer doesn't currently mind that our transition are that hollow bc she is sitting and pushing from the hind end - i guess the hollow part is just a strength thing? esp if the next immediate step looks like the pic above? lol idk..

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  6. you certainly got your groove back this weekend! I wont spoil it so you can share in your blog :)

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    1. haha seriously tho - it feels a little funny now bc i wrote this post days ago (obvi) but now all i can think about is our most recent lesson (and am editing those pics/vids right now!!) :D

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  7. It's funny how hard it is to get back into the swing of things that once were so natural. You'll get there!

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    1. that's the truth! nothing beats actually getting out there and doing it haha... oh well, just gotta keep practicing :)

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  8. Beautiful quiet ride through the grid. Congrats on getting back to jumping!

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    1. thank you - i was very happy with how that went for us. only wish the grid of oxers was the same haha. oh well!

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  9. I can't believe you are jumping already!! Omg. I remember after I broke my ankle I had to strengthen it and it took FOREVER to ride properly again.

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    1. i was really really afraid of that - and would be lying if i said the first couple times of sticking that foot in the stirrup and swinging over weren't a little scary. but the most shocking thing to me is that there has been ZERO pain with the ankle since getting back into the saddle. not sure why or how, but for whatever reason, the site of the injury isn't affected by riding in the slightest. i'm pretty happy about that!!

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  10. I have no doubt you two will bounce back in no time. *hugs*

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    1. thanks! i feel the same way (esp since we've already had some redemption since this lesson. phew!

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    2. You have bucket loads of dedication, drive and talent. There is no reason you two won't be signing from the same hymn sheet in no time ☺

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    3. thanks! we've since had some really great rides - it's just a matter of getting the posts published haha, i'm so far behind!

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  11. Ok so not relevant, but I like her in that beige/tan/ecru pad! Some chocolate rope piping, and shed be Rockin some coffee colors!

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    1. ha i actually have been a bit on the fence about that pad on her - it's a beautiful pad but idk about the color... but actually, wait til you see the pics from our more recent lesson - it's all brown and navy and i happen to think she looks quite sharp!!

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  12. looking good! (add me to the people liking that pad on her - not a color I'd normally think of but she looks great in it!)

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    1. thanks! i only recently picked the pad up at a consignment store and it's in really good shape and is super pretty up close - glad to hear it looks nice on her !

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  13. Isabel's tail is amazing! Glad you're back in the tack and jumping again, you guys will find your groove in no time :)

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    1. ha i love her tail - and got a really awesome back-lit snap that'll get posted tomorrow or the next day i think haha (too many pictures!!!)

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  14. Oh man, if this isn't the story of my lesson today... only we didn't have two months off, we only had two weeks! I feel thine pain!

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    1. ugh yea, i've definitely had worse rides from less time off too... so frustrating!

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  15. Aww she really does look happy to be getting back out! It really is rough to balance expectations after you first get back on after time off, but I think you guys will pick up where you left off in no time! Especially with Izzy's awesome work ethic :) at least it's the season to works out kinks anyways!

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    1. yup that's pretty much exactly what it's about: balancing expectations and rewarding her efforts (bc she's always trying!) even when it's not quite what we had before... it'll get there tho!

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  16. You guys will get your mojo back quicker than you think! Maybe stay away from purple shirts for jump lessons, tho.

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    1. HA! that might be good advice! i couldn't believe it when i saw the pics lol

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  17. You always have the BEST media. And so much. Love all the pictures. Don't look like you've had so much time off at all!

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    1. i'm *so grateful* for everyone who's willing to take pics/video for me - i really love looking back at everything and assessing how it felt v how it looked. in this case it definitely felt way worse than it looked - i felt like jello! oh well :)

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  18. I feel ya on those oxers! Love all the media

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    1. ha yup they were just *not* there for us on this particular day.... le sigh!

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  19. I'm so glad you're both getting back in the swing of things! And for all the time off you've both had, I think ya'll look great.

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    1. thanks! it definitely felt worse than it looked, looking at the pictures.... except for the whole refusals bit lol. that was not so great

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  20. Don't worry. You'll get back into the swing of things. Horses are just like that. Ups and owns all over the place. I've never broken my leg but I for sure have had my share of downs. I think you look pretty good for how long you had to be off.

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    1. thanks! i think the horse just got tired honestly... gymnastics are HARD and tho she usually eats them up like candy, i think she just felt a little too 'meh' and i wasn't helping matters much. oh well, onward and upward!

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  21. Look at her crack over those :D she's so excited

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