Oats is a mini-me!

Oats is a mini-me!

Cute photo of Oats and my trainer’s horse Donato grazing in the field this week. He is so tiny compared with giant Donato! Adorable!

Good thing he’s cute too, because man, he was a SHIT yesterday in my lesson. Sucked back off my leg, leaning in to the right, diving at the canter, BUCKING? GRrrrrrrr.

I was pissed off, bigtime. We have a really nice, good hard working lesson on Tues, he gets Wed off for both of us to recover and he’s done a 180 and turned back into a little shithead pony. ARGH.

We were jumping and he just couldn’t bend, didn’t want to go, etc etc. I got too high with my hands, and they got VERY busy. It’s funny, when things go sideways I always get like ‘do more!’ more with my hands! Which I think is sometimes a bit of a reaction to him being a turd (high hands= stability when he bucks, and oh, he does!).


We got a miserly *few* good jumps, out of stride, engaged and forward and a few lousy ones.

I was mostly frustrated and annoyed. What’s with the bucking, the Jekyll-and-Hyde attitude? Jeesh, ponies! ARGH.


Customer: “Are you being smart with me here?!” Me: “Someone in this conversation has to be.”

Customer: “Are you being smart with me here?!”  Me: “Someone in this conversation has to be.”

And here’s Gidget going for a bike ride! Don’t worry, she was secured in the bike basket via a tether, so while she wasn’t too happy about it, she wasn’t going anywhere!

They cruised up and down the path from the campsite, and she was none too pleased…Haha.

Fun times camping this past weekend! As you can see, it was not too warm out either. Oh well, summer on the West Coast.


“There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction” Salvador Dali

So, is this true to you?

Sometimes it is for me. I once wrote that my ideal day would be jumping with Oats, going for a nice long run (10k) and then going to snooze on the beach with an iced coffee…Ahh..bliss!

Other days? A good HARD workout with Oats. I had another lesson last night with Karen Brain- a semi-private with another rider. I was a bit anxious, given last week was kind of an ass-kicking in a good way, but man was it tough!

We got down to it, and it reallly WORKED. I don’t know if it’s the progression work, or transitions, or what her magic is, but Oats and I seem to be getting a lot of good out of it. He’s focused- mostly- and I’m focused. It’s hard, but not ‘awkward’ hard you know? I feel like if I try enough, we can make it happen.

We worked on the ‘quick steps’ walk, which is kind of Oats’ suckiest gait. Then moved up to trot and we had a choice- quick steps, or BIG steps. I went with big.

Amusingly, Karen picked up that Oats is a nice mover. He is a very nice mover. So nice, in fact, that he fools people very easily. She said the thing with nice movers, is that it’s a gift (from God?) like being attractive. A nice mover, or being attractive doesn’t mean you have a good work ethic!

She also said when I ‘ask’ for more and he brings his head up, or swishes his tail, and pins his ears, he’s giving me the big F-you! And to not let his shit continue.

Ponies are very, very clever. Any way they can get out of having to work, they will. They are good at ‘training’ you NOT to ask! But, like children, if they are given work to do, and asked fairly, they will do it…Eventually.

Oats showed how much he was wanting to say NO! At the canter…swapped his leads on the long side on the right, and broke on the left a few times. Each time, she was like that’s his way of saying I want to stop. Now.

And the answer to his shenanginans? GET GOING! GET! and the problem starts magically resolving itself..He swaps? Who cares?! Get going on the wrong lead then~ And Oats starts feeling like, hey, this is uncomfortable…Why did I swap again…

He even swapped back to the correct lead to help himself, and he did it WITHOUT drama- no kicking out, no bucking, no getting humpy.

Humph… We worked hard! So hard, it’s funny to have that feeling just doing basic flat work. Jeeesh…

(photo pictured is a LOVELY rider from the Arbutus Derby I attended in Parksville this weekend. So jealous of their excellent form/technique, and fabulous horse. One day!)


My own creation: A popcorn-chocolate layer cake!

My own creation: A popcorn-chocolate layer cake!


Last week was Public Service appreciation week, and our work gave us a nice patio event to drop-in and have a piece of cake and some pop and a popcorn. It was really tasty, and having the cake and popcorn gave me an idea…(and later, a terrible stomachache. I thought I was going to puke).

I was going to make my own popcorn cake! My own creation!

And so this past weekend, I did- voila, the popcorn-chocolate layer cake.

What do you need to make such a delicacy (monstrosity?)? It’s so easy…

1 box of cake mix (I used Wal-Mart brand devil’s food, and DO NOT recommend it. It sucked. Get Duncan Hines or something.)

1 bag of microwave popcorn, butter flavour

1 container of fudge frosting

Make the cake mix in two 20-inch pans, so you have two small round cakes. You may need 2 cake mixes for this, depending on how thick you want the cakes.

Cool them on racks, and then microwave the popcorn.

Frost the top of one of the cakes, and layer popcorn on top of the frosting. Make it a good, generous layer- no popcorns missing!

Put the top layer of the cake on top of the popcorn layer. Squish it down really well, it will want to pop up and shift.

Frost the top of the cake. It is basically impossible to frost ‘around’ the whole cake, as popcorns fell out and got stuck to the icing (why yes, this was very messy, why do you ask??).

Decorate with a row of popcorn kernels along the top as pictured.

Slice very carefully- use a big knife and make the slices BIG! (But I didn’t need to tell YOU that haha).

And enjoy! Even on day 2 it’s delicious to eat. Yumm!


Oats is afraid

Oats is afraid

Of the hay baler! Yeah, so my ride on Sunday did NOT go as planned…

This is not a new fear for him- the first time he saw the haying process, he lost his freaking mind. He had to be moved to a new pen, because he couldn’t get over himself. He was sweating in fear! When I went to handle him, he bolted out of the crossties and took my trainer for a drag down to the arena, her water-skiing behind him, SEVEN times!

So, this is not a new fear. But he has been getting slowly more mature about it (it only happens, oh, EVERY year…) But yesterday was an exception. The baler was out in the field with workers pulling it off the field, and the bump-rattle and voices just sent Oats into orbit.

I couldn’t get a productive ride in. He was tense, scared and agitated. I was pissed off and anxious, and just couldn’t get a handle on him. My trainer ended up hopping on, facing him towards the ‘scary corner’ where they were baling, and he sat there to watch for a bit. She didn’t push him into a walk past it or anything because he was just too tense for that.

So, Oats chilled out, snorting and watching, and then ate some grass. It was by no means perfect and he’s not completely over it at all, but I was glad to watch him process it a bit better…Then he tried to blow through the crossties at the top again (some things never change??!!) but with not so much fervour as before, so at least I was able to catch him and make him back up. Unbridled him without much fuss.


This happens every year! So much for a relaxing beginning to the summer.

My husband likes to say Oats’ show name should be ‘Honey Bunches of TROUBLE’



Some people think if they let stress run their lives it will make things seem more urgent and important and dramatic. We’ve all seen people like this — they’re often movie characters in fast paced romantic comedies set in big office buildings; the person who thinks their life looks more important if they always have their hands full and are juggling tasks and talking severely to too many people at once, trying to make sure everyone notices how complicated their life is. If you like that kind of drama then go for it, but it’s almost always unnecessary and a waste of effort and energy. Just because life feels stressful doesn’t mean we need to act stressed out.

Some wisdom from the party king himself, Andrew W.K.

And it’s true. I can’t emphasize it enough. Even when I’m super busy and yes ‘stressed’ out at work, there is ALWAYS enough time to be a friend, be nice, and not snap at the dog/husband/riding instructor/friend.

Newsflash- everyone’s busy. You don’t have the edge on ‘busy’ you just think you do. And how you manage your time says more about you than being ‘busy’ does.

Reminds me of a former boss, who used to brag about coming in to the office at 6am and leaving at 7pm. His boss (the higher-higher up) said she’d be more impressed if he came in at 10am and left at 2pm. See how that works?



Throwback Thursday: Bear Hill with Countess

Yep, taking us all the way back to university years! I started riding at Bear Hill when I was in second year, and bussed out to every lesson on Saturdays.

I started off riding Countess- this was our first lesson together. My then-boyfriend Ian, now husband, used to come watch and take videos. Wish I had that luxury again, haha. But I do like being able to ride a LOT more and own my own horse, and car.

I rode with Kathy Harrison, who was a very enjoyable instructor. I used to be late fairly often due to the buses (they were NEVER on time) and I think it used to really bug her, haha.

I ended up switching horses- to Lucy- who was my absolute favourite. I don’t think I ever quite clicked with another horse like I did with her. She ended up getting sold when Bear Hill shut down, and I moved to Ambleside. Kathy bought her, and now she teaches other students at Kathy’s place.

It’s funny to look back at my videos and see how I have both improved and not improved! Riding is such a weird sport for that.


Life of Leisure

Life of Leisure

So, I took part in a semi-private group lesson with the esteemed Karen Brain yesterday, in an effort to get over this rut I’ve been feeling.

It’s not really ‘tangible’ but I just have a lingering thought, whenever I ride, that I could be DOING more, going more places with Oats, and that I am holding myself back.

Yeah everyone has occasional ‘bad’ rides, but I feel like they aren’t ‘bad’ necessarily, they’re just…lacklustre. He’s not giving me his all, and I’m not giving him my ALL.

So, enter Karen- who comes fabulously recommended. She has had a tough road, and she’s very dedicated. I asked to join in on her semi-privates with another rider at the barn on a drop-in basis, and she said that was no problem.

And wow, that lesson was an ass-kicking. I was right, I wasn’t asking enough- not NEAR enough.

Oats and I were in for a shock, haha. Starting right from the walk, the walk she wanted was ‘feet on fire’ quicker steps. She used terminology like ‘edge of a cliff’ as if he is going to break into trot at any second. And it was TOUGH. She also wanted forward- and then- bend. And then bend at the trot, and more trot. She didn’t care how ugly it got, or how fussy Oats got about having to *gasp* MOVE and BEND at the same time? And not suck back? Whaa?

It was eye-opening, and it was definitely what I needed. I realized that I don’t ask for anywhere near the level she was demanding from us because it is HARD. I need someone like her, to get on my case about asking more from Oats.

Oats didn’t know what hit him! Hahah. He got his pony butt worked, and worked very hard (for me anyways!). I was soaked in sweat, but I felt good, like running a nice 10k where your effort felt worth it.

I will be trying to join in about twice a month for the semi-private lessons- as Karen says, all my jumping issues can be handled on the flat. You don’t get braver by just jumping bigger jumps- you get braver sorting out any issues on the flat, and KNOWING you have control, and can ask for more, or less, or whatever.

And that, is how I hope to break out of my rut. How did it take me this long to step up to the plate? Laziness? Yeah, I think that must be it. The devil is in the details, and unfortunately my complacency is only holding me back.


Oats Oats and more Oats!

Oats Oats and more Oats!

So, you may have guessed I didn’t do a lot of riding this weekend…Due to my being so hungover on Sunday I couldn’t move off the couch. I did get out Saturday, and it was cold and windy and I rode in the indoor. Oats was kind of pissy, bucking during the canter and a bit balky, sucking back, and alternately going too fast to chase after the lesson horses.

He topped it off by clanking me in the face with his head when I took his bridle off. Yeah, thanks Oats! Frick!

Rode yesterday in the outdoor and he was very good. Nice and forward, I’m actually SUPER impressed at the trot we’re getting in the outdoors now with his new shoes. We schooled over a cross-rail line to these lovely tiki jumps (set very low- like 1ft) and he was a superstar about the strange jumps!

Both the tiki jumps and the photos are courtesy of my friend, who is quite imaginative about what fillers/styles of jumps we now have in the riding arena. Silly ponies never knew what hit them!

I am taking part in a group lesson tonight with a different trainer, to broaden my perspective a bit and get me out of my lazy ‘slacker’ rides that I seem to develop when I ride on my own….Well, Oats still gets worked hard-ish, but I don’t feel like I am *accomplishing* enough on my own, you know?

Plus there’s that small matter of falling off at horse shows…Must nip that in the bud soon! Jeeze!

So I am prepared to hopefully work hard and have a positive lesson. And then my next lesson with my normal trainer (private lesson) is on Thursday like usual.


Too much happiness: VIC Fest edition

Too much happiness: VIC Fest edition

This weekend I was lucky enough to get tickets and go to the annual VIC Fest, a cultural/wine/beer/food/music event that happens every year- and I have gone every year too, this is my fourth!

And for some reason, EVERY year is a ridiculous shit-show and I get seriously messed up. Last year I ended up with sunstroke (combination of hot/sunny and too much alcohol), and this year it was just flat-out alcohol. So stupid.

I was having a GREAT time, so good in fact, I didn’t realize how drunk I was becoming…

It should have been a clue that I kept dropping my drinks. Yeah, a cider went to the ground and I went and immediately bought another one, and that one seriously FLEW out of my hand! Like magic! Like the fates were telling me I was drunk enough! Except I didn’t get the message, and bought more…


By the time Said The Whale came on, I was full-on sloshing around. Laughing, crying, kind of a total mess. Having a lot of fun though, and I thought they were great!! We left when the festival ended and I went to a friend’s place, and had another drink…Yeah you can see where this is going…

We went to Canoe Brewpub for an afterparty and listened to some band playing. They were nice, sort of country? Things were getting VERY blurry by that point…I had another cider…

And hit the minuscule dancefloor, after telling off some guys (can’t remember what I shouted at them..???) But they were laughing, so it must have been funny to them! The band finished up, and my friends went to continue the party at Lucky Bar. I was way too out of it to even think about continuing on so I called my husband and he picked me up. Thank god too, because I could barely read my cell phone.

We got home, I think I said something about wanting french fries, so I toasted some bread, ate it, and then promptly ran to the bathroom to throw up. Missed most of the toilet, unfortunately…Well, unfortunate for Ian haha.

I didn’t even brush my teeth.Yuck. My clothes were all over the apartment- jeans in one bathroom, socks in the hall, belt on the floor in the bedroom, t-shirt in my bathroom, bra in the hallway. Yugh.

Had a pretty lousy sleep and woke up feeling worse than death. Was supposed to go for a run in the morning, but I couldn’t even crawl to my cell phone (wherever the hell it was) so Ian ended up texting for me. I think I made it out a bit before 12…To go throw up again. BLAH.

Spent the day feeling sorry for my self-inflicted misery.

It was a fun night through!