Weekend update: Gala cocktails, lessons, hangovers and more!

Wow. Wow. I had a busy weekend, even by my standards.

I went for a run in the morning, and I had my rescheduled jump lesson on Saturday, and one-zillion errands to run, and my parents needed help moving some cabinets at their house (read: heavy). What to do, what to do?

Enter my super helpful husband, who really stepped up to the plate this weekend! He dropped me off at my riding lesson, and ran all my horse errands for me, AND my parent errands too! What a stand-up guy! Did you know it is his birthday tomorrow too!


Happy 32nd birthday!! (tomorrow)

While I was jumping- and Oats was great, it was a fun and productive lesson and I learned about bringing my shoulders back on the landing-side of a jump, and it felt great!- My busy husband went to:

  • Greenhawk to pick up my sedative to clip Oats,
  • The feed store to buy my grain and a bag of shavings for a friend,
  • My parents house, to drop off their dishes, pick up my Halloween costume, and help them move stuff,
  • And then back to the barn to pick me up after my lesson and help me move the grain into the feed room.

Phew! I am tired just thinking about it.

We got home and played a bit of tennis with Gidget, just goofing off in the tennis courts, and I got ready to have some friends over for a drink before our big event- the Art of the Cocktail Gala night!

Tickets were not cheap ($65) but it was my first time going, so I was going to go and enjoy myself! We got all gussied-up, and my lovely husband again helped me out and drove us to the venue (Crystal Gardens, so close to my house) and he even picked me up again at midnight!


All jazzed up!

We had a blast! I tried so many cocktails and different types of spirits- pecan-spice whiskey, chili-vodka (wow, it was HOT!!), a Manhattan, a Rusty Screwdriver, a RumChata root beer float, strawberry shortcakes, pecans, mini pierogies, dates with bacon jam…And there was more, I just can’t remember it!

The only part I didn’t like was that I felt too rushed. They hustled us out at 9:30 p.m. and it felt WAY too early- so we went next door to the Sticky Wicket and grabbed a drink, did some dancing, and then stumbled out for some pizza. It was then I called for a ride home, and we called it a night.


So glam!

The next morning I was a hot mess. Yeah hangover city, right here…. My jaw was killing me, my stomach felt like a clenched fist all day, I was shivering and sweating. Yiiiiickkk…Still made it out riding, but it was touch and go for awhile, that’s for sure! Oats is a very safe pony and very forgiving, so he took care of me.

Too much of a good thing!

Trying is always enough

No jump lesson on Wednesday- got moved to Saturday instead (and joined my 10-item long list of things I have to do on Saturday as well, wtf is going on with my week of running errands EVERY SINGLE DAY?!).


Ummm when do I get to be this?

Anyways I digress.

My rides then this week consisted of messing around with the best of intentions on Wed, jumping some baby jumps instead of ‘cough’ trotting jumps like I wanted to, or working on counter-bend in the canter like I was supposed to…Hey it was fun though!

I did originally trot a fence or two, but Oats literally fell over the jump and face planted quite dramatically, and it scared the shit out of me, so yeah…Canter it is!! Yay! Jumping alone!!


My reality…

The canter was fine and the jumps were teeny, non-dramatic, and fun. We then did move on to walk lateral work, and he was pretty well behaved for it, so another win-win for us.

Thursday, I was bound and determined to finally work on canter counter-bend. I started it in the trot, working both sides bend/counter-bend before moving to canter. I had an idea that he would figure out what I was asking if I started it in trot first. And did that work? Well, sort of?

He was immensely confused about the counter-bend at the canter, and would frequently drop out of the gait into a very fast and hurried trot. Well, that’s ok. We’re trying. It required more effort from him to maintain the gait, and his balance too, and I could tell it worried him a bit.

That’s fine though, and it’s a learning process. I repeated the whole shebang on the other rein, and then played with a bit of asking for counter canter (shamefully by literally asking for the counter bend and then just going into the canter from there. Straightness? What straightness??) and it was okay…

I’m pleased with Oats’ effort, and the fact that he was willing to try instead of shutting me out entirely. He was quite sweaty after his work yesterday and it looks like clip time is coming on Monday!! (I am so desperate to get him clipped, it takes forever to cool him out and I am tired of getting home after 9pm every night!!).

Night off for both of us tonight, and the lesson on Saturday when my marathon week of a zillion pesky and expensive errands continues!!! (I am jealous of those with holidays right now. god.).

A challenge

So I went into my dressage semi-private last night feeling prettttyyy good about things. Got my saddle, had some good rides the other day, and was on a PLAN! (work on lead changes).


What? You were expecting greatness?

Yeah, no.

I was feeling cocky, and horses are very talented at bringing you down a peg or ten.

Short story- no lead change work, in fact I couldn’t even manage trot work….When asking for a forward -connected- trot, Oats would only canter. And canter. And canter. And canter. It was exhausting, we spent most of the lesson in canter.

Why was this happening? A few reasons.

He was losing his balance at the big trot, looked for me to fix it, I see-sawed both with my hands AND my body (great move, me. Not!) and he would hop into canter to fix it. Sighhhh…When that happened, I would shift forward ever so slightly and raise my hands= go horse, go!

Except, no.

It was quite a challenge and really brought my good vibes down. But I didn’t let it get to me, it was just a of work on a night when I thought things were starting to come together for us. Sighhhhhh indeed.

Small victory: When we did this work last week, my lesson mate and I both had trouble ‘telling’ when the horses were backing off the contact at a slower trot. This week, I could tell instantly when Oats was getting too fluffy in the contact, and backing off. I couldn’t exactly ‘fix’ it very well or quickly, but I could tell!

Small wins, I guess. Story of our life, hahaha.

Oats desperately needs to be clipped. He was SOAKED in sweat after. I had to cool him out for hours!! UGH..

Weekend update: Storm of the century?

All last week, we had pretty dire warnings about how bad the storms were going to be. 100km/hour wind, torrential rain, the tail end of a typhoon, wow it was going to be something! 

Newsflash: it wasn’t.


This is where I live…

It got super windy in the afternoon on Saturday, big gusts, and it rained heavily for about an hour and that was it. Kind of a letdown eh? Friday the storm was apparently gearing up, so I put on my running gear and ran along the breakwater to check things out. It was pretty wild, and felt totally exhilarating, until I had to turn around and run back. It was sooooo terrible- rain pelting my eyeballs, felt like nails being driven into my eyes, rain pounding into my ears so hard I got an earache! Wow, not doing that one again!

Saturday I rode Oats in the morning and it was so busy- the arena was packed! A lesson, and two of us hacking. Sigh…Oh well, Saturdays are a good lesson time so no wonder it was busy.

Saturday night I was at a birthday part for a friend, and had a fabulous time. They rented out a restaurant and we all paid $15/person, and got all the appetizers we could eat! I had a few ciders as well.

Sunday I was out at the barn, and determined to do some lateral work on Oats (it’s like homework, I never do it and kind of hate it, but it is good for you!) I had planned on doing that work on Saturday but busy arena =/= opportunities for lateral work at all. So I had the arena to myself on Sunday, yesss!

Except there was also a jump set up, and some good poles, and I also wanted to keep working on my eye….

So I ended up doing a bunch of pole work, hopped over the small jump, and then worked on lateral work. It was kind of a bust so I focused on straightness and an engaged trot instead. We were both sweating like crazy after! A tough workout for ol’ Oats and he needs to be clipped in the WORST way.

After riding, I let Oats graze for a bit in the longe ring, while I…gag…cleaned the rat crap out of my locker. I was gagging while I did it, there was SO MUCH OF IT. Oh my god, so gross. So disgusting. I feel all shivery and grossed out just thinking about it. Yuck. I brought bathroom spray and my rubber gloves and just..man.

My locker has turned into effing RAT CENTRAL. Oh..no. So nasty. I got home, ripped off all my clothes at the front door and put them straight into the washing machine and went to my bedroom in my underwear–everything was contaminated. YUCK!

Going to the Opera: Simon Boccanegra

And now for something completely different…I took last night off riding and attended the opening night of Simon Boccanegra, a Giuseppe Verdi opera that was showing at the BC Royal Theatre.

And how was it? Well!

It was my first opera, I’ll be the first to admit I have a hard time sitting for that long- and it was LONG. 155 minutes, including intermission. I didn’t get home until after 11am~ on a school (work) night!

The opera singing was very impressive, the sets were super cool and I really liked how they used the sets to advance the plot. The plot was incredibly ridiculous and basically impossible to follow, with much of the action happening either off stage or in the page-long prologue. So…I’d say that this opera is not for beginners, hahah. It was like a soap opera on crack!!

The opera is based on the play Simon Boccanegra by Antonio García Gutiérrez, and it is definitely hard to follow in Italian, though the opera house offers subtitles in English so we could read along–thank god.

Curiously, while I was reading about it, it seems like the plot was generally disdained by a lot of people for being too hard to follow. Found this info on Wikipedia, thought it was interesting, hahah.

Given the complications of the original plot and the generally poor popular response – although the critical one was more encouraging – the opera dropped out of favour after 1866. Finally, 23 years later, Verdi’s publisher persuaded the composer to revise the opera, with text changes to be prepared by Arrigo Boito, the librettist who aspired to work with the aging composer on a project which eventually became a new opera, Otello, but to which Verdi had not totally committed at that time.

The revised version of Simon Boccanegra, with the now-famous Council Chamber scene, was first performed at La Scala in Milan on 24 March 1881. It is this version which is the one most frequently performed today.

A good horse is hard to find

Had another two very successful riding lessons- my semi-private dressage lesson on Tuesday with Karen Brain, and my private jump lesson with Nicole on Wednesday.


Last year, ha no -hands! 

The lesson on Tuesday was all about improving the quality of the canter, via the trot. It was a lot of work, not gonna lie. Oats and I were covered in sweat, I was coughing my lungs out (for some reason, ughhh) and it was definitely a tough lesson focused on power. The good news is that Oats is developing a GREAT big lofty trot, with suspension?! Oats?!! The bad news is that I do not have enough feel to know how/when to ask for a smaller trot that is keeping the level of engagement.

Oh well, something to work on, and in the canter too.

Wednesday was my jump lesson, and we started off pretty easy- trot-through an x-rail, loop back around to a canter x-rail, back to the trot x-rail. We then moved it to a trot-through 1-stride gymnastic, and then a canter- through one stride, then a course! Oats was super, I bobbled once on course when I stared down at the one-stride from the opposite direction and Oats politely said ‘no thanks’ but went for it when I remembered to sit up and not look down. Sorry Oats! That was on me, ha.

He was a bit distracted when another horse was going up the hill in the pitch black, but he is an honest pony so he kept jumping– I could just tell that he was looking outside the ring and not at the jump!

His nicest jump? The small x-rail oxer on course. I’m beginning to really love the efforts he is giving me over those, and I think we should incorporate more of them. He was also very honest through the one-stride, though sucking back when we began, he clued in and rode it very nice through the opposite direction.

Go Oats!

We are both having today off, I am going to the opera! Whoop! And tomorrow off too, because I have plans after work as well. Busy busy.