“When he gets up in the morning and sees his dirty face, he sets about washing the mirror”

So, rode Wed and had a jumping less on Thurs.

Let’s start with Wednesday. Howlingly windy, blustery day but still quite sunny. So, I ventured off to the outdoor arena and immediabely began second-guessing my choice. SPOOKY! OMG! The harrow is there? A hay bale? Geese? Yeah, Oats did a few running away quickly spooks, and then a few backing-up-in fear spooks, and then 1 or 2 leap sideways spooks.

We did get some jumps in, and they were not great- chip in, or leave long and get left behind. ARGH! We did 1 outside line neatly, and then twice clumsily. SIGH!

We did hop over a cavaletti that was festooned with crazy crap though, and he didn’t give it a second look. He did, however, jump sideways at nothing.

So, after a final jump through of the line and the cavaletti, I hopped off and finished my ride in the indoor. I didn’t want to ACTUALLY fall off!

He was good as gold in the indoor.

Thurs- Lesson day! We started in the outdoor- again a cold and blustery day (how is this summer? I’m effing freezing!) and Oats VERY reluctant to move forward at the canter- like, I was struggling. My trainer suggested we move to the indoor and I look at getting front shoes for Oats, because that kind of reluctance can indicate foot-sore.

So, we are now getting shoes!

In the indoor, we moved straight into jumping. The exercise was 1 fence on the long side, ride a circle over a small fence, loop back around to the diagonal, and finish on another diagonal. Easy, right? Umm…

We got a few stops at the final diagonal because (if you remember my post on Tuesday about Oats stopping at the tiny fence) I WAS NOT STRAIGHT AT ALL.

How did it get this bad? Waahhh?

He physically couldn’t get over the jump because he was bulging to the right so much. What the hell man?

So, that mystery was figured out, anyways.

We worked over it using poles set on a diagonal V shape against the jump and really got Oats to GO! More pace!

Working over the course again, we got over that tricky diagonal fence (not tricky at all, but some reason really screwing with me) and landed falling-in too much. That meant our turn to the circle fence was messed up- we were on the wrong lead, too close to the turn. I pulled for the turn anyways (YIKES!) and Oats almost fell! He slipped BIGTIME.

My coach yelled, that was a BAD DECISION!! YEEEah you don’t need to tell me that! Holy shit!

We righted ourselves, picked up the canter, rode the circle jump and continued on our way. PHEW!

Ended ok but not great, but sometimes you need those super-gritty rides to figure out that no, you’re not going to DIE jumping, but sometimes it gets ugly. And that’s life. Deal with it!

Oats was a good pony though, for not actually falling on me. Ha.




So, part Sasquatch and part Mr. Oats update. (I do still ride, you know!)

Back to riding Oats on Monday, and he was a total zombie. Longed like a slug- like, he was looking at me with this expression on his face- why are you doing this? I’m tired! Rode in the indoor because I was a bit concerned about transitioning his feet to the outdoor. And the ride itself was ehhhhh….Good flat work warm up, though a bit sluggy. Schooled over two fences set on the diagonal and this is where it fell apart.



He even cruised to a stop! Over a two foot fence! AHHH.

I had to go back to trotting the two fences and then cantered and I still managed to screw it up. Jeeeeeesh. Poor pony, haha.

His canter was nice though, and I ended with some no-stirrups work- which he kind of hates too. Oh well!

And now for some juicy Sasquatch stories….

On the Saturday, my husband and I stayed for the Cut Copy aftershow, that ended around 2am. My friends were partying it up with Hey Ocean! and all was good- rockin’ in fact.

We left after the show, and I was standing by a first-aid tent wearing my red rain jacket, and two people rushed up to me frantically ”there’s a girl having seizure!!” And I was like WTF? I turned behind me and found a paramedic, and was like, ”tell her!” and she rushed off with them. And then ANOTHER girl rushed up to me and was like, there’s a girl having a seizure!! And I was like yes, the paramedics are on it! She thanked me??!

Anyways, so my friends left to go party with the band after, and husband and I trucked home.

I saw them straggling in to the campsite at like 5: 30 a.m. and as it turns out, one of my friends had crash-landed through a guy’s tent in the middle of the night because it was so dark–and there was a guy sleeping in it! HA! What a rude surprise!

We listened to this story laughing our asses off, and then that friend crawled out of her tent looking seriously disheveled…Jared was like, ”Your shirt is on inside-out” and I was like ”and it’s backwards”/// HAHAHA

good times!


All I ever wanted was more: Sasquatch 2014 edition

All I ever wanted was more: Sasquatch 2014 edition

Just got back late last night. Woah.

Three days out in the Gorge, enjoying the gorgeous scenery. Amazing… Hot weather, good friends, good times. I had an absolute blast, and it’s those important, memory-building moments that you can really cherish and look back on.

I went to Sasquatch years ago, probably about six years ago? And this time was so different- in a good way though. We camped this time, in a campsite near the venue, so we paid a bit more but it was SO worth it. As someone who isn’t really ‘into’ camping as a rule, it was fairly decent and very clean. Hot running water, clean outhouses, fairly quiet, nice folks running it and showers!! It was called the Wildhorse campsite. A good shuttle bus service to the venue as well.

And the shows? WELL! So good.

Foster the People– so slick this year! A real pleasure.
Cage the Elephant– raw and rockin. Surprised me how good they were. Check out ‘Aberdeen’ for a great example.
Neko Case– only caught the last few songs, but she looked tough and ready go go go! My fav song of hers is ‘People gotta lotta nerve’
Washed Out– How is chillwave so rocking? It was amazing. Plus, Ernest Greene now looks a lot like my husband (both are cute!) How great is that!!
Naked and Famous– so adorable, so good. I love the lead singer’s hair!
White Seas– surprisingly good. The lead singer from Naked and Famous was standing near us watching too.
City and Colour– solid show. Romantic.
Cut Copy– Afterparty. Enough said. So good!
Astra– Nice, operatic voice
Violent Femmes– Have aged well.
Foals– good but didn’t play ‘Miami’ which in my mind the best one.
Chet Faker– started off shaky, but really improved. Soul food.

And my favourite of all? The National! Soooo… ethereal, powerful, strong. The lead singer even stalked off, left the stage, wandered through the crowd, over the fence. He then climbed over the fence again and crowd-surfed back up to the stage. It feels like every song they do, they do it with all their blood/sweat/tears. You can feel the passion, and the almost (well really) physical challenge of ‘performing’.


I also saw Outkast, but did not enjoy that show.


May Topbox: The best one yet!

May Topbox: The best one yet!

So I thought I had cancelled my Topbox subscription in April, but turns out they bill a month ahead, so I got the May topbox as well.

And I’m glad I did! You notice how I said in each Topbox review how I wanted more fun stuff? Mascaras, lip balms, eye shadows, nail polishes, etc?

Well May delivers! I did cancel – officially- after May but might pick it up again in the future, I liked it so much.

May had:

Posie balm sample- like the Benefit Posie Tint but in a balm!
Lancome mascara doll eyes
Elizabeth Arden face moisturizer sample
Lancome sample foundation- you take the card and the sample jar and they find the right colour for you. I did it and the Lancome lady said she’d never heard of this Topbox, but she did it no prob anways! ha.
Nail polish- love this light blush/peach colour.

All in all- a success!

Wanting what others have

I had a really lovely long weekend- riding, no pressures of showing, no getting up early, just enjoying some pony time with Oats and hanging out with the critters and husband.

We went up to watch some showjumping at the local SSITS show on Sunday, and that’s when I felt it…A slight twinge of jealousy.

Do I even want to show jump? Not really! But what I do want is to compete Oats at bigger venues (even if sometimes the atmosphere trends to the rude and snobby, but let’s not go there right now) and I want to do well! UGH. Summertime is always the time of why not more? Higher? Better? It can be an ugly time of my expectations- wants- desires vastly outstripping my ‘actual’s…ie- ability, time management, money management, Oats behavioural skills, show nerves, anxiety.

I enjoyed watching the showjumping and went home, but can’t get the green-eyed monster of ‘what ifs’ out of my head.

So, I think my eventual goal is to try a hunter derby with Oats- and have fun with it! Do it at 2’3” if anything else scares me. Seek out that one fun class and try it out. Also, keep competing at the Appy shows until we’re bored at the 2’6” level, which is the highest they go to- it’s not a ‘real’ 2’6” as they are set a bit lower anyways. When I’m finished with those, I can re-calibrate my wants and desires, and see how they measure up to my real life.

This might mean bigger shows, but fewer of them. It might mean a switch to a different discipline at the same time, or keep doing a few different disciplines- dressage, baby jumpers, hunters/equitation.

I’m not in a rush, so why do I feel like I am every spring/summer/fall? Why can’t I be happy with what I have?


Riding is always simple, never easy

Riding is always simple, never easy

Love this photo, it’s how I feel in the summertime! I want to do everything- and nothing- all at once.

My ideal day? Ride Oats, do some jumping outdoors, go for a good long run (10k again?) and then grab an iced coffee or a cider and relax at the beach and read a book.

I frequently fall asleep at the beach- though after looking at my idea day, I’m not exactly surprised haha. There’s something so hypnotic about the sound of the wave, ambient noise of people talking near, but not that near, and the smell of hot sand, cold salty water.

Had a lesson last night- moved back to the indoor b/c the outdoor was quite hard, and I was worried about making Oats sore and sour after doing two straight days outdoors. You have to work up to riding fully outdoors and we are not quite there yet.

So we worked on bending, canter bend/counterbend with lots of breaking back to trot- oops! And leg-yield at the trot- transition to canter when we ended the leg yield. Was not a fantastic ride, but it felt more ‘thorough’ like we had lots of sort of chew over, rather than a YEAHHHH jumping ride that you feel exhilarated about.

Sometimes I go for the ‘easy win’ of a rush of good feelings in a jumping lesson, because the leg-yield/bend/transition/shoulder-in lessons are tiring, and you don’t get that WE CAN DO IT feeling…It’s much more subtle, and can get lost on me when I’m searching for that endorphin rush.

Riding isn’t necessarily about endorphins though, haaaa. Well, I did ride in the outdoors on Tuesday and it was much improved, and we cruised over a fence that caught my eye- unfortunately it was set up just to have a jump ‘set up’ and not necessarily for jumping! There was a pole a few feet tossed behind it, that I only saw when we were like, over the jump. Ooops!~ Luckily Oats is a nifty little fellow and handily saw the pole, jumped the jump and hopped over the pole, only tinging it slightly with his hooves.

Apparently the jump we hopped over was almost 2’6” and I didn’t even really notice- it’s funny, but the jumps in the outdoors seem less intimidating that indoors. It’s like they seem less significant when placed in a larger arena? Not sure why that is.

I miss you.

This morning, I learned that my mentor and friend passed away.

This was not a surprise. It’s been a long time coming, but that makes it no less sad. She had been struggling for so long, and she was finally where she wanted to be. She was tired.

I feel guilty for wishing she was still around. I feel greedy for wanting more of her. I feel disappointed that she wanted to go.

Why would she make this choice? Doesn’t she know how people need her?

And then there’s this weird grief- in her mind, I think she wouldn’t want people to grieve for her, because she’s finally where she wanted to be. But, she’s not with us (or her family) anymore.

And then there’s this strange impermanence of our existence that really bothers me. Why do things keep going when someone’s life is snuffed out? Shouldn’t the world stop too?

And this is going to sound really ridiculous, but when I experienced grief (my grandmother dying, putting my beloved pets down), I felt like everything should stop. Go away. Furniture that existed before them, and continues to exist beyond them, shouldn’t. Nothing should.

And yet I want things to go back to ‘business as usual’ as fast as possible. When people are nice and sweet, and understanding, and sad too, it makes it so much worse! Stop being so understanding! Can’t we move on? Forget?

The one time I was really upset and went in to work after putting down my pig Perrie, I went to work because being at home, alone, was the worst alternative. I sat silently at work, trying to hold it together. A coworker was joking around and noticed I wasn’t really responding, and she came to ask why. I told her, expecting her to be sort of like ‘well, it’s just a pet’ but she was so understanding. She said grief is grief, there’s no trump card with it, we all experience it. It’s no less for you today.

I totally lost it at work, collapsed in a shower of tears.

Why can’t it be business as usual? Because people are nicer than that.


Throwback Thursday- Showing as a teenager

Throwback Thursday- Showing as a teenager

Here I am with Wynbrook Denver, an absolute saint of a pony.

He was an absolute machine at horse shows, and we cleaned up the one year we rode the OVPSC circuit together. I loved riding him and he was so perfect.

The show circuit was a lower level (bronze I believe?) circuit. They hosted a number of shows, 7 I think, throughout the summer. Now it has grown to about 15 or 16 shows, one every weekend from May- onward. Crazy eh?

This horse show was the Fall Triple Crown at Ashlands. Denver and I were hunter champions at this show. He even won me a trophy once! I kind of miss having that kind of success at shows, even though I never owned Denver and face very different challenges with good ol’ Mr. Oats…It’s different having your own horse invested in showing. There seems to be a bigger stranglehold of ‘must be successful’ rather than when I was just leasing.

Ha, though I was EXTREMELY competitive as a child/teenager. I think that part has gotten better? I want to enjoy the process more, rather than the ribbons and successes.

I also went on to lease another horse who did really well at shows- her name was Hope. Show name was C’est la Vie. I will have to dig up an old photo of her.

It feels good to be around you?

We’re back in the outdoor (for as long as it stays sunny!) and I was back to my old, lousy habits.


Why on earth? Why do I let my tension negatively affect Oats? And then I get in these angry pulling matches with him around the right side/end of the outdoor ring. It’s a ‘spooky’ side, with lots of stuff to look at, and it makes me anxious. That in turn, makes Oats tense, and then I’m tense, and then BLAM. Negative ride cycle!

I got sucked back into that last night and boooy it sucked.

I tried to let it go, but we were literally drenched in sweat. I have not been that sweaty since last summer! I finally decided to let him walk on a loose rein to cool down, and I left the reins loose even on that ‘spooky side’ far end. He didn’t even blink an eye! That negative pulling/spooky/counterbend corner of hate didn’t even register for him when he was chilling out!

HA, now that is an eye-opener. Our tense, spooking pulling matches magically don’t exist when we’re cooling out at an amble- which in my mind is PRIME spook time territory.

Though I am bummed out still. Why do these bad behaviours still creep up? I haven’t had an Oats-meltdown since…Ages? I’ve been very proud about keeping my cool, even at a few horse shows where he was a jerk. 

The worst part is that I know that my meltdowns=his meltdowns. It’s a bad spiral to start. If I stay cool about it, he stays cool. No pulling, no fighting, nothing.

We did hop over a crossrail a few times and boy, I LOVE jumping outdoors. True, our bending is practically non-existent and I get tired just cantering and trying to kick-kick-kick our way off my right leg, but he is so much more eager and interested! 


A long walk for parted lovers

A long walk for parted lovers

Just a fun photo from a few years ago, family wedding in the UK. It was held at a local castle! Fun eh?

So, some Oats updates- things have been going really well!

Tuesday– Uninspiring ride ( I know, even after I said things were going well, ha). Just couldn’t seem to get it together!
Wednesday– Better. Weather was nice, I felt a bit more chilled out about the whole thing, even if I did feel BORED with being stuck in the indoor still.
Thursday– lesson day! Worked on this crazy course with mandatory trot sections. Pace control, bending and adjustability were the name of the game. Good except we kept bungling this one corner to a diagonal fence. Could NOT seem to get the stride I wanted. ARGH.
Saturday– Set up canter poles at 10 feet and 8 feet. The ten we messed up a few times until…Oats found his SECOND gear. WOahh. He actually started motoring his little pony butt and we flew! The 8-feet we just couldn’t seem to get together…Baby steps? So, I focused on making the 10s, and worked on a short, bouncy ‘up’ canter on the short sides, instead of going to the poles. Fun!
Sunday– My legs were so tired after a good 8k run in the AM. Oats was rather displeased at having to leave his bestest buddy Jim in the paddocks and come with me for a ride. Nice and sunny out, and I’m …still stuck in the indoor. I felt a bit tired and lazy, so Oats naturally was too. Cantered a small cross-rail and trotted a small vertical that was set up with the crazy fillers- pool noodles anyone? Oats, true to form. didn’t blink an eye at it.

Phew! That’s it! Today Oats has off and so do I. I might go for a brief run with Gidget after work. The weather sure is improving! Yesss