When best laid plans…

So I was pretty excited to get BACK TO JUMPING!! Yes! With my dear Oaty. He was moving rock solid on Wednesday, just really nicely and feeling awesome…I thought my lesson on Thursday was going to be awesome!

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Man do I ever miss this!!!!!! 

Spoiler: He was lame 😦

He had the flat-tire feeling he had a few months ago, and I suspect it was due to him playing too hard with his buddies in the field. The last time this happened (his flat tire..) he was sore for a few days. He had played too hard with his neighbour horse and the next day when I went to ride= lame. This time, he was turned out with his buddies in the field during the day, and at night I went to ride him= lame.

He thinks he’s 10 years old still, not 18 going on 19 and elderly.

EFFFFF

So this couldn’t have happened, say, when I had 2 months of NO lessons? I am literally on my second lesson in two months (going on 3) and boom. No lesson. ARGH horses!!!!

I am trying not to get too wrapped in up in the downward spiral that I love getting sucked in to when he goes lame…. ughhhhhhhhh. Not sure when I can lesson again, I was going to see how he is tonight, with some more Previcox. Damn damn damn. 😦

I could live in hope

So, when there’s nothing left to do…What do you do?

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Found all these cairns on Maple Mountain?!

Well, my husband and I started doing mega-runs on Sundays! Sometimes they are up mountains, or along the excellent Trans Canada Trail- we try to mix it up. When we were able to safely expand our personal ‘bubbles’ we went to Courtenay to where his parents moved, and ran from Courtenay to Cumberland. It was great!

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A nice outlook from Maple Mountain.

We bring a cambelbak (which we left the water bladder in Courtenay….shoot!) some granola bars and gummy candies, and then for after our runs, sandwiches, drinks and some snacks. It’s great!

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All our run days are blustery and rainy! This one we got caught in the rain for a bit.

I’m really enjoying the opportunity to go out and run more of this great Island that we have. It provides us with a valuable opportunity to get out, get some exercise and fresh air, and bonus- away from the incredibly crammed in parks that we see here in Victoria. All the parks that we like going to, Thetis, Elk Lake, Matheson Lake, Sooke, Goldstream/Finlayson, are swarming with people. One endless stream after another. It’s incredible. And not good for maintaining physical distancing, as we often see a mega SUV stroller that takes up the entire trail…Never mind the people that don’t believe in sharing the pathway…

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Running into Lake Cowichan! 

It’s just safer and easier to pack up and haul out of town (self supported) for the day.

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Both of us! 

And I am getting to see more of the local mountains and trails than I ever believed I would! Lucky me. 🙂

Getting creative when there’s nothing else to do

And of course, now that we can’t really travel or do things we are used to: Visiting with friends, happy hour, running races or in groups, horse shows, going to a movie, swimming, etc etc etc…

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My watercolour attempt! 

Ian and I have had to get much more creative- literally! We have done a few fun projects, from an Easter gingerbread house to making Sculpey animals, to watercolour paintings. It’s been pretty fun, and I guess, a fun distraction from the things we can’t normally enjoy.

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My Easter house- isn’t it fun? I bought like 5 gingerbread houses from Thrifty’s because they were a dollar each, so I used one this year for Easter. My friend even bought me some amazing flavored Peeps from the USA!

Of course, we can get take-out meals, drinks, have a picnic and have done many of these activities throughout the past 3 months as well!

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Our sculpey projects- I want to get some magnets and do up the backs of these, they are too cute not to share! 

Forget Me

And as we start getting back to normal, I started my lessons back up! Of course after 2 months of no lessons…I desperately needed them. My jump lesson was good and to the point, and Oats got back to it like he had never been away! Small tiny little cross poles, but it felt good to get back to the groove again with my honest as the day is long pony. A good feeling for sure 🙂

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Hard to believe this was in March, and like one of our last jump lessons?!

I then had my first dressage lesson back on Saturday at the freaking crack of dawn, and you know what? I wanted to really take me and Oats back to basics. My hands are too rough, I feel like he is shortening through his neck because of that in the warm-up, and our transitions are now non-existent and tough and leaning. I know a lot of this is because of the weird anxiety I had over the past two months, but that is no excuse for BAD hands and terrible warm-ups and transitions.

So, our entire dressage lesson was a rework on soft hands through the warm-up to start things off on the right foot. And you know what? It felt great! I was able to warm up with soft hands and then incrementally work them up into the contact. Oats was then more responsive off my seat!

Of course, he was still a spooky goof yesterday, so I spanked him pretty hard and then we revisited what we learned on Saturday about warming up nicely, stretching rather than compressing his neck and spent the whole ride yesterday just doing that- and it was good! He was pretty sweaty, but it wasn’t difficult work- it was just comprehensive and warming up with ‘reach’ rather than some sort of weird giraffe-neck.

He spooks because he can get bored, and I’m like, enough of that!!

But then he got down to business, and was reaching quite nicely. I’m so glad to be able to get guidance again. I definitely need it to keep both of us honest, nice to each other, and back on track!! Oats likes it too 🙂

Oats and I then got to explore one of the unused pastures to see if it ok for turn-out, and it was. Oats was in hog heaven, with knee-high grass and weeds everywhere!

Save the bees

So this is random, but this weekend I was reading an article on what to do if you find a bee on the ground not moving. You can pick it up and feed it sugar water, it will extend its proboscis and drink, groom itself and then fly away! It just needs energy and warmth.

Then later that evening, I saw a bee clinging to our screen door. I let it be, until I saw it again a few hours later in the same spot- not good. Time to rescue the bee! I pried it off the screen with a spatula and then propped it up on a spoon for sugar water. It immediately started drinking. It’s so tiny it was hard to see, but its proboscis was out and it was drinking the sugar water!

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After awhile, it crawled to the outer rim of the spoon, quivered for a bit, and then left. I felt pretty good that I was able to learn about how to safely perk them back up, and then saw it right in action! 🙂

Even better, I then posted about it to Facebook, and my friends husband shared with me a message the next day saying he and his children found a bee not moving on their deck, so they tried the sugar water trick too, and it recovered and flew away! Isn’t that great to hear? That makes me feel very glad for the bees. I’m normally kind of afraid of them, but in this case, I know they are not out to sting me, they just need a helping hand and they trusted me to do it.

When your life resumes (sort of)

At least my riding lessons are back on! Yes!

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I ran my shoulder into a telephone pole a few weeks ago. Totally an accident but ouch! 

But with the resuming of some ‘normal’ activities comes roaring back all of my previous concerns/issues. Footing in the indoor.  Horses not being turned out enough. The outdoor is kaput, at least for this season? UGH.

I told my husband that I want to just buy a farm and deal with all this myself, dammit!

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Ian made bagels and they were great! 

Otherwise…Address what I can, and then see what I can manage or not manage. Oats has been great otherwise, we had a return to lessons last week (jumping and dressage!) and I was really able to address our warm-up issues in a way that felt both calming, and productive. Go us! Phew!

I felt rusty as all hell but otherwise? Pretty darned good. Oats is moving great, I’m very pleased with that. I missed my trainers like crazy too. All the drama, angst, moving, rude and horrible boarders and COVID 19 and just…Man. My trip to Argentina  (haaaaaaaaa) not a thing anymore, summer holidays..?? Just. ARGH.

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Oats has enjoyed lots of hand grazing, now that I work from home during this time and I have no commute! 

It still feels like some of my life is on hold, and will remain so.

Ian and I are able to get a lot of cool runs done throughout areas locally, and in the Cowichan Valley and I feel extremely grateful that we are able to do so with ease. Same with riding- at least I can do it? Despite all the ‘should I stay or go’ angst that continues to plague us?

I miss horse shows, friends, races, travel…Happy hours are coming back, and so are hair cuts, but the other stuff? Nope.

Ian and I are forced to be creative with our time, so we do a lot of running, food projects, and some creative projects too- like water colours.

This is a long and strange time, and I didn’t want to blog about it because all I felt was gloom and doom. I don’t really feel that anymore, but I do feel like I’m in this strange limbo where everyone is acting like normal, but behind the act is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.

But since it’s going to be awhile, I might as well come back for now.

When your life is on hold

I am not sure if I want to blog right now. Since my life (and everyone else’s) is currently on hold…So should the blog.

But I also got inspired to do more essay writing after reading something particularly poignant from Tim Kreider, so …Some writing.

I voluntarily stayed home to work starting last Thursday. I felt VERY uneasy about the sheer volume of people in my office, lack of space, and potential for some excellent contamination in the washrooms, shared work fridge, kitchens, elevators, stairways…You name it. We did not receive ANY  direction from our leadership on this matter, and that was absolutely doing my head in. What do I DO? People need to be told, led, showed! Make the right choice.

I also have horrendous allergies, which cause severe asthma daily. I can’t really afford to have even more problems breathing, which I do every day with medication.

So I made my choice and I felt good about it.

However, other choices aren’t so easy. The weather here is GORGEOUS. We had a single week span of straight-up sunshine. That isn’t something we see often on the ‘West Coast’ here and damn, it was heart achingly beautiful. And that drew absolutely everyone out to the beaches, the parks, the trails. In a pandemic.

Are we making the right choice? Some of us are. I was at the beach too, with everyone. We stayed away from people, kept at a safe distance and didn’t drink from water fountains, touch hand railings, nothing. But the optics remain poor in this time of public distance-shaming.

For example the ‘regulars’ at Sketchy Beach (I call it that because of them) were out in full force all weekend/week. Shirtless, smoking, drinking, playing volleyball at an ersatz ‘court’ they set up on the beach, they were allll out there, about 15 people. Of course this looks TERRIBLE. And I soon saw the police out there.

Use some common sense people. Party time with beach volleyball, during a pandemic where people are urged to self isolate/distance? And these morons are out, suns out guns out? Their sheer in-your-face idiocy is stunning. I complained to my husband that because of the blatant partytime of these people, it’s going to get ruined for everyone. Even people who are alone out for a walk with their dogs.

He told me that of course these people are out, flaunting the rules. It’s literally their time.

I felt this most intensely this weekend. The juxtaposition of the setting sun, the soft murmuring of people explaining the rules of a card game to their group, a water bottle full of Rose and ice and good book and this weird, creeping paranoia are extremely challenging. I feel dizzy, off balance.

I can’t reconcile it in my head. It’s so nice out, the sun glitters on the water. People are out, but it’s like we are all pretending that we are okay, while our world, as we know it, will never be the same. It’s like looking directly at the sun. We know it’s there, but if we stare too long and too hard, we’ll either go insane or never see correctly again.

If I think too long and too hard, about it and about the future, I’ll never be able to go back again. Are we lying to ourselves? To save ourselves?

We are not good with the present. Living in a day-to-day, moment by moment reality is really hard, and every day I fight with myself about trying to stay positive, vs. dissolving into helpless tears. Social media really does NOT help. This is my job, and I am in it all day everyday.