What is it they say about the heart? That it’s a muscle?

Had my jump lesson last night and the temperatures dropped dramatically since earlier this week (when I was bragging about running in shorts!) so it was very cold in my lesson, unfortunately. Lucky for me, Oats is now on regular Previcox and I find that helps him a great deal with the cold/winter stiffness that he was starting to feel regularly, as an older pony.

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Seeking this good feeling- and I’ve got it! Hah no t-shirts last night, that’s for darned sure.

He was pretty bouncy and feeling good last night! I, on the other hand, felt stiff, cold and creaky. Hah. The horse was going better than the rider! I watched my friends ride in their lesson before mine, so I had an idea of what our lesson was going to consist of- though I was wrong, I had bending and broken lines up the wazoo, where theirs was a bit simpler due to a few technical issues early on (one horse had to bow out, he wasn’t feeling quite himself).

So we warmed up (ha, warm. I don’t think I ever felt warm), over a few small x-rails, then lead up to a line (5 strides), and then started working over bending lines still with the cross poles. And the funny thing? We were just nailing it! I don’t think I need to remind you how that pretty much never happens when I ride, ever. It was just so smooth, I didn’t need to think about working or trying or anything, it was was.

Nice eh?

We then moved up to work on the course, and there were so many twisty-turny bending lines, broken lines, it was so fun! Oats was a STAR!!! It was so cold that my eyes were watering the whole ride and I could barely see where I was going, hah.

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Oats is such a good pony. I love him! 

We did biff a few things (wicked drift on the first fence when I didn’t go in riding very well…) and the last fence was kind of a slump, but otherwise it was just BANG ON. Yeah!! Felt awesome! Maybe my trot fence homework is starting to pay off? I wanted to develop feel, agility, comfort and flexibility. I needed to build back my resilience- mine and Oats’- by working on the lowest-level, boring, but important work. No stakes, easy to mess up and easy to fix.

So, I guess the good news is that it is working! The bad news? I have to keep doing it! I used to have a bad habit of completely giving up when something was either working well, or not working at all. So, I keep going.

A two-time Nerds review!

I bought these at a small candy/ice cream shop in Cowichan Bay, so I am absolutely unsure of where you can find them anywhere else…But they sure are fun! They had such cute illustrations too, a Nerds tribute to the Mexican wrestlers ‘luchadores’ so maybe that’s where these were from??

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Approximately the size of a Halloween-sized package of Nerds, we picked up two flavours: Mango-Chile ‘El Mango Fuego’ and Guyaba (Guava) ‘Guyaba Solitaria’ Nerds. They were overpriced at .45 cents each but a novelty sooo…

So head-to-head, which ones were the best? Hands down the Mango-Chile Nerds. They were really good! The flavour was very close to the sweet, musky tang of a decent Ataulfo mango (get out of here with those Tommy or Fat Cats…I’m Ataulfo all the way!) and the chile was mild but enough of a zing to let you know it’s there and spicy! It was a bit spicier than the M&M Jalapeno, which I appreciated. And now that I think about it, spicy candy really was better suited to Nerds/sweet fruit than chocolate M&Ms.

And the Guayaba? Eh..It tasted like pink Nerds. You know what I mean, like how pink Starburst kind of taste like ‘pink’ but not really a remotely discernible flavour? That. I mean, it’s good but does it taste at all like guava? Nope!! And trust me, I have bought and eaten giant blocks of guava paste when we were on the San Blas Islands in Panama. The Nerds just tastes like a pink Nerds. Sweet, tangy and crunchy. I still enjoyed it but it doesn’t hold a candle to the vastly superior Mango-Chile. Yummm. Now I wish I had bought more, or I knew where to get them. I can’t be the only one concerned with the rapid lack of diversification in candy (I’m looking at you, Halloween!) that seems to be plaguing our store shelves these days. Where is the variety? Spice of life? Newness??

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Ah, the popcorn cake…

Also when I was looking at my food photos, I was reminded of a popcorn cake I made a few years ago. Man, that was great. I need to revisit this cake…

Doing your homework

Last night I went out to the barn and was really dragging. It was pouring rain, though still fairly mild, and I just wanted to sit on my couch and watch Heartland, to be honest.

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There was a lot of this. Soooo exciting… 

However, I know that Oats has his leasor riding in a lesson tonight (she has Tuesdays), and I like to give Oats Wednesdays off before my jump lesson on Thursday, so MONDAY it is!! And because I am a masochist (I don’t actually think I am, I am more of a hedonist, ha), I decided to do what I had been putting off all weekend- my ‘homework’ ride. These can mean anything from working on our canter (ugh), long and low work (ok) transitions (ugh), or the double UGH- trot fences. No cheating in the canter, trot only.

So trot it is!

I really don’t love having an audience for these rides. They are just so…unfortunate. Ugly. but, I had no choice last night, so I had to swallow my pride and just do it. Over and over and over….Trotting a million crosspoles. Knocking them down, having to get someone to put them back up, and going back at it.

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I’m sooo not a fan of trot fences. 

It was really tiring actually! I also ate too much at home and my stomach was joggling MOST unpleasantly.

Oats was a good boy but damn they are just…grinding. Grinding it out. Homework. Not flashy, fun, or glamorous or anything. I just do it. And do it over again. And over again, and then take a break, and then do it again. It’s funny but when I was a kid I would have KILLED to have access to a fabulous pony like Oats and the opportunity to do x-poles to eternity…As an adult I’m like, ugh not trot fences again…

I do know that this unglamorous, fussy and tiresome work of endless trot fences is GOOD FOR ME and I will keep doing it. It keeps me loose, my position relaxed, and me more fluid and flexible when I have a jump lesson. It is just hard work though.

 

Easy tiger

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I love the photos Christi took. I miss summer! (though I don’t miss the drama-filled shitshow that summer turned into…)

After a week fraught with stress, I had a really solid, nice weekend. It was good, relaxing, stuff to do but not TOO much, you know? A fine balance with me. I had a dressage lesson with Sam on Friday and Oats was sassy, and we had to work HARD but it was a far better lesson than last week. I felt like he was more flexible, and not quite so stiff. His left lead canter is still a work in progress, but he was trying, he really was. He wasn’t misbehaving or anything, I could tell it was just tough for him.

So, things to work on. I know that his canter is what is holding us back from Second Level right now- just too much to fix/try to adjust at this point…Oh well, onwards right?

Saturday I had a nice ride, flatwork but working hard at it! The vet came and gave me wormer for Oats – he was going to do it, but I said it would be easier if I did. Oats HATED IT and was in a sad, deflated state after. Nothing looks good, can’t eat, bad taste in my mouth..wah wah poor pony.

Then we had a show- we went to see BRONCHO perform (most of their stuff was from the album Bad Behaviour) and they rocked! Such a fun set. I’m glad my husband sprung for tickets. I was on the fence- not sure if I would like them enough, since they are pretty new to me. But it was super fun!

Sunday I did something fairly ambitious- ran to the barn from home (it was raining in my face the entire way. Joy.), rode (bareback! It was fun and chill. Just what we needed), and then I ran home. It was a lot of running (a cool close to 25k, whewww) but at least it stopped raining and the sun came out! Sure didn’t help the absolutely wicked chafing I experienced…Ouch….that one needs more time to heal. Lesson learned about jogging in wet tights. Bring a spare shirt and shorts. At least it was very mild out?!

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From last spring- I hope we continue to have mild weather~

We even had tacos for dinner and went to Dairy Queen to get dessert- Peanut Buster Parfaits! And on that note- I couldn’t believe how expensive they were now. 1 cost a cool $6.50. Can you believe it? It wasn’t THAT good. Pfft. I won’t go again. Not worth it…Plus the clientele at DQ, in a pretty normal/ok location close to downtown, was ….yikes. Street involved, druggy, a sex worker was wandering around. It was about dinnertime? Hm.

I am dealing with a lot of rebound hunger today though, ha. Despite my dinner + dessert!

Stuck under the surface

Dude, this week…For a short week, it sure hasn’t felt short. Work was an absolute shitshow. Everyone working flat-out all hands on deck style. While not physically tiring, I was SO.TIRED. by yesterday…brain tired I guess? Just fried. I know I’m not the only one, pretty much everyone feels like this.

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…To this day! 

I also had a dentist appointment, huge event, and riding lesson yesterday. I am mentally tired.

Dear god, this week!

Thankfully, Oats had his lessor resume lessons for November, so I was able to ride Monday, she rode Tuesday, and he had Wednesday off. That left me with time to stay later at work and not have to worry about trying to get to the barn. I had my lesson last night, and while my day/tacking up was clumsy (literally everything I touched fell into the dirt. EVERYTHING. Helmet, saddle pad, bridle, horse boots, my gloves…everything I touched fell on the ground)…The lesson itself was really good!!! 🙂

We worked on a series of x-poles in a bounce gymnastic and when that was going well, we moved it to NO HANDS people! I was terrified- even though Oats is a saint, I have a lot of trouble relinquishing control, particularly in front of the jump. I just want to grab! I ended up trying a few times and failing, until I finally managed to let go of the reins a good stride or two before the first x-pole and it went perfectly!

We then worked on a small course and all was well. What a little lovebug.

Dressage lesson tonight, and I hope it goes better than last week. He just felt really stiff and resistant on the left rein last week. UGH. It sucked, given our general rides/jump lessons have been so smooooth.

Why hasn’t everything already disappeared?

Had our regular jump lesson last night, and it was really good! I just felt overwhelmed with gladness…Almost sad, in fact, because I enjoy my pony so much, and I know this- all of this- is fleeting.

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Compared to this, it was peanuts. But so fun! 

I guess we enjoy things more because we know they don’t last forever?

Our lesson wasn’t groundbreaking or jumping super high or fantastically or anything, in fact it kind of pales in comparison to what we were doing this summer, but it just…Felt good. It was funny, I was laughing in it! Can you imagine?

QMS show

Yeah this wasn’t a great show…Circa 2013/14?? Ha. 

We worked on these wonky curving line set-ups, trot in to an x-rail, canter 6 strides to a small jump, come around to the jump on the circle…Very twisty-turny. But fun, and I felt really smooth (even though some of the efforts were SO awkward. HAh.) and you know, it just rode really fine. I did have trouble getting him to land on his right lead, on a straight line, and yet we were just nailing the left-to-right lead change at the jump on a circle? Horses…Gotta love ’em.

I appreciate Oats in horse shows, during show rounds, in the dressage arena, but sometimes I appreciate him more for being able to take a joke, ride bareback, trudge up the hill with me quietly at night…Just, good things all around. I appreciate him.

Feels nice to be outside!

And a bit of a blast from the past! 

Fading frontier

We had a lovely weekend for the start of November. It’s been so warm- almost freakishly so, coming off a really cold October. Apparently it was the coldest October in 80 years, and then now it’s been the nicest November that I can recall. Funny eh?

 

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Our view for the weekend. 

We rented a house in Sooke (my friend rented it for oh, about 11 of us…) to celebrate a whole bunch of late- October birthdays, my husband being one of them. We had such a blast! It was really chill, the house was big and since we got their earliest, we nabbed the biggest and best master bedroom. Plus we had our family with us (dog and bunny).

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A lot of this

We went on a short hike to Mystic Falls, and it was so warm on Saturday I couldn’t even believe it! No toques or gloves needed.

We enjoyed the hot tub, sauna (though on Saturday night the sauna made me feel sick, ugh!), ate and drank sooooo much. Yeah! We do group breakfasts and dinners, so Ian and I with our friend Jared managed Saturday morning’s breakfast (crepes- sweet and savoury). Delicious but we were a few crepes short unfortunately! We will have to make more next time.

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Ian apparently doesn’t know how to smile

Dinner was an amazing greek chicken night, with salad and greek potatoes and bread. YUM! I ate a ton. Probably why I felt sick in the sauna, come to think of it now…

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Gidget enjoyed a lot of attention this weekend

Breakfast the next day was amazing…Home-made Challah bread, which I have never had before! Turns out one of the guys in the group is a really good baker in his own right, who would have thought eh? It was soooooo good.

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We finished up the weekend by visiting the Sheringham Lighthouse. It was neat! It felt really good to sit back, relax and take a few days off from ‘real life’ since things have been just crazy busy in Oct (Kelowna race weekend, Ian’s birthday, Oktoberfest, MEC half-marathon, my mom’s birthday, my parents staying at my place for a few days, etc etc…just nuts!).

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The lighthouse

I always cherish these weekends. Ah, so nice.