The Saanich Fair- Proud agricultural roots

It’s fair time again, and fall fairs hold a really special place in my heart. I remember when I was a kid, my mom, sister and I would enter the local exhibition for our city- the Central Canada Exhibition. It was the second-longest running exhibition in Ontario and we loved entering everything- baking, crafts, you name it!

Youth showing cows at the Cowichan fairgrounds

Youth showing cows at the Cowichan fairgrounds

And the prices to enter were always VERY reasonable- free for junior entries (which I was when I entered) and I think .50 cents or 1.00 per adult entry. And you won big nice red rosettes for first place, and I think $5 in prize money as well?

Yes, some very fond memories. The older ladies who ran the fair loved seeing us every year and encouraged us to keep entering. It’s people like them who kept the fair running every year like clockwork. So we did enter, until I grew up and moved away.

Sadly, the fair no longer runs. Can you believe it? It was held for so long, and then the city decided to shut it down. Now my hometown no longer has any agricultural fall fairs, and frankly, no agricultural roots to feel close to.

Oats wins ribbons at the Cowichan jumper day

Oats wins ribbons at the Cowichan jumper day

That’s why my adopted hometown is now so special to me- they have a VERY strong fall fair, and extremely competitive categories. It’s not surprising to see 100 entries in vegetables alone, if not more!

I am a little more selective in what I enter now vs. when I was a kid- because I can’t compete with the pro bakers and crafters that enter here! It’s wild! I’m glad to see it, and so glad they keep holding it and that it is SO competitive and so popular. It is a major highlight of my (end of) summer and something I look forward to each year.I also like going to cheer on the kids from the barn who go to compete (there’s no way I would take Oats- he doesn’t play nice in hack classes haha).



It reminds me of my childhood, and it brings me closer to the agricultural roots of my being. Visit the Saanich Fair, and taste a bit of farm life just for a day.

Until we get there

I was feeling pretty blah this week (ok, REALLY blah) and down and bummed and crabby.

So, I tacked my darling Oaty-pony up, who was typically thrilled to see me, and showed his great pleasure at seeing his loving owner by running away from me in his freaking pen…Horses…

Runing  wild

Run wild

But anyways, since there is nowhere to run in his pen, I nabbed him quickly. Tacked him up and took him to the field. And this is where I may have gotten a little run away with myself…I thought, fun ride in field, easy ride. So did Oats!

What it turned into: Fun ride in field, school cavalettis in field (must let go of grabby hands pulling to a distance, rather I should be LETTING GO to a distance. And that his how, friends, I got a trot in six-canter to a five, and then immediately screwed it up the second go-round with a six-six…due to my weird pulling back and adding a short stride to a distance). Hah.

Oats was game though, so game. We trotted over the ditch and he gave it a BIG jump! yeeeah!!

And then I immediately got too focused on getting a canter that wasn’t a big, giraffe canter. Strung out, breaking, blah blah blah. We cantered for AGES. Like the band Ages and Ages, we were going, going going….At one point, I sat tall (something I am not good at) and went tap! tap! tap! tap! with my crop behind my leg as we were negotiating a particularly tricky ‘downhill’ section of the field. Oats needed a bit more ‘encouragement’ to stop breaking and flying into a crazy-big-legs akimbo trot.



So, it was both good and bad. Good that we worked solidly on something we suck at, in fairly challenging terrain, and a bit bad because I thought I was going to just do a quickie hop over cavalettis, canter, ditch type ride. And now Oats probably hates me. Hah well more than he normally does….?

He was a sweaty beast after that ride. I felt good about it. Better than I have for quite awhile. No lesson today because I have to drop stuff off for the Saanich fair!

Two of us on the run: Oats & others updates

So, I’m feeling like I need a win this week.

Having kind of a rough go of it…Some things petty and weird, some genuinely sad.

Shall I start with the petty? I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and hated it. I had to go back to work after and got a voice mail about a dentist appt. next week, at the bright shining hour of 7:30 am. ARGH. I felt immediately put-upon by life. And let’s face it, the medical profession- dentist/dr in general. BLAH.

I went out and bought a diabetes-inducing Oreo doughnut from Tim Hortons and a mocha. And kind of regretted it later, but enjoyed it at the time.

Had a riding lesson with Karen Brain last night and felt like nothing Oats and I were doing was right. In my head, I know we are going through a rough spot, and things sure as hell aren’t ‘pretty’ at the moment, but STILL. JESUS. so ugly. GAHHHH

And here’s the genuinely sad (yes the horse thing was still in ‘petty’ but annoying). My grandfather is dying of cancer, run rampant in his body. We literally just found out this month, when we were preparing to fly to NYC. It was very sudden, and now he’s going into hospice or palliative care. I called my mom who is visiting him while I was at the barn, and spoke with her and then with him. She was upset, crying. He sounded like he always did. For some reason, that made me feel even more upset.

Our family has it’s fair share of issues, I haven’t seen him in many years- for a reason. But still, I wouldn’t wish suffering on people like that, ever.

I feel like I can’t make the right move this week, for anyone, or anything. It makes me feel lousy, small, sad. It’s so sunny and bright out, and I can’t get my head in the game for anything right now. Maybe I should have gone to visit him, but I also can’t deal with it, that level of extreme sadness.

I guess I just need a win this week.

How loud your heart beats: Tofino/Ucluelet

That’s right, jet-set me was off on another adventure this past weekend!

Florencia Bay

Florencia Bay

We went camping in Ucluelet (close to Tofino) and surfing and to the music festival Otalith. Jam-packed weekend, if I do say so myself!

I drove myself and a friend up on Friday, where we picked up the tix to Otalith and scoped out our camping situation. We decided to go see ‘Bear Mountain’ that night performing at the main stage in Ucluelet. It was chilly!! Summer in Tofino is like winter everywhere else, unfortunately.

The next morning we were up bright and early to go surfing. We rented our gear, loaded up the surfboards on my little Honda Fit and headed out to Long Beach. Surfing was great! I am reallllllly bad at it. I couldn’t get up at all, only managed a few times to really clamber on and try to stand. We surfed for hours too. My friends were pretty good at it, I was super jealous. I stopped surfing when I got ‘rocked’ ie- knocked head over heels into a wave twice and got clonked on the head HARD by my surfboard. OUCHHHHH and it happened twice, one right after another. ARGH.

Got water up my nose, and out my mouth. My sinuses cleared riiiight up. Haha.

We had to pack it in to return out surf boards by 4pm and get ready to go back to Otalith for some more music! A short (long) hot tub visit later, and a few drinks and we were ready to go. We caught the shuttle bus for the venue and enjoyed listening to Ages and Ages and Wake Owl (actually I really disliked Wake Owl) and the Allah-lahs (were okay…kind of boring). We cruised into town to grab dinner after Ages and Ages performed.


Otalith music festival

Dancing at the last act – Allah-lahs, a girl approached us and asked if we wanted to dance with her guy friend, she said it would ‘really make his day!’ if pretty girls danced with him. I was feeling pretty generous and laid-back so I was like sure, why not. We danced with Steve, her friend, and you know? He was a fine guy, nice and not a weirdo or a creeper. He seemed pretty shy but wasn’t grabby or strange or anything! Just seemed happy to say “hi” to some pretty girls and dance for a bit. On the way back, on the ‘party bus’ (shuttle) he high-fived me haha.

Rocking the music festival

Fun times in Ucluelet

I was flirty (why not?) and when we left the bus I said ‘have a good night Steve’! and tapped the brim of his hat. My intentional flirting only extends so far, I guess. Hahah!

The next morning we headed out for a walk with some friends to the Pacific Coast Trail near the Black Rock Resort and then grabbed soup at a little bakery in Ucluelet (Zoe’s). Then we packed up the car and drove home- not without some peril, as I would soon find out…

Driving along the road back from Tofino is tricky. It is windy, twisty and I was tired. Near the river, a lot of people stop to take a break, and check it out. A car pulled out in front of us with NO room and NO warning. I was driving like 70 km/hr or so.

I SLAMMMED on the brakes and held the horn as hard as I could. It was like HOOOOOONNNNNKKKK.

The trailer behind us could barely brake in time. I could hear the brakes squealing. It was SO scary. There were horns and cars slamming on the brakes for awhile behind us. OH man.

Phew. A bit of adrenaline and a near-smushing to get the heart rate up. Yikes!

To cool down (actually to warm up) we cruised into Sproat Lake, put on our bikinis and chilled in the sun for an hour or so. It was soooo gorgeous. So hot. Such a nice end to a cool weekend- literally- it was clammy and wet and cold the whole wknd! Even though it didn’t rain once! Ha, so crazy.

So, that’s my weekend in a nutshell. A fun girl-power adventure!

Cool Rummings- Lesson update, and weekend plans!

So, Tuesday was our regularly scheduled lesson with Karen Brain. I was ready. Or so I thought…I’m usually ready to get my ass kicked around the ring by her, but I was feeling pretty tired by the time the lesson came around and my resolve started wilting…

But no matter! We did a lot of ‘controlled’ work, ie- controlling Oats’ every body movement, including bend and pace around a circle and over trot poles. Interestingly, once we were through the poles, Oats wants desperately to lift his head, and TANK off.

“Bend? How about FORWARD!” He said to me. “Wrong answer, but nice try. More bend, pretzel up, bend, curve, slower,” is what I said.

So, it was challenging. He looked like a giraffe. My arms felt so tired!

Oats protests bending at the canter

Oats protests bending at the canter

After each trot circle over the poles, we worked harder at maintaining more of a ‘shoulder-in’ bend. And we took the show on the road too- large around the whole ring. GOD that was tough- it was like left-right-left-right fall in-fall out, ARGH.

He was being kind of jerky about it, because it was challenging. That’s ok. I told Karen I felt like we didn’t have any real ‘good’ steps, and she said actually we did- but that this stuff is HARD for Oats. And did I feel tired? My arms ache? That means I was mentally present during the whole ride, and that is also a small ‘win’ for us. Building mental stamina and ‘staying present’ instead of drifting is something we really struggle with.

More cooperative over the poles

More cooperative over the poles

So, even if it feels ugly, hell, looks ugly, something good is happening.

Oh and my weekend update? Surfing in Tofino and quite possibly attending the Otalith music festival! Hells yeah! I leave tomorrow morning and won’t be back until Sunday. Looking forward to a fun weekend with friends, a mini University reunion of sorts. Love those guys.

After you’ve gone- Oats update!


So it goes

So it goes


I think a vacation was great for the both of us. I hopped on Oats Sunday after flying back from NYC Saturday night, getting in at midnight…3am NYC time…So wasn’t expecting greatness but he was great!

I felt a little rusty, but we worked in the indoor because I was able to ride with a friend, and she wanted to put the radio on when we rode (pls it was pretty hot!).

Oats was so cute, so agreeable. We hopped over some poles, did some trot work, some canter and some collected trot-ish.

We also trotted over a ‘skinny’ fence with no standards set up in the middle of the ring just for fun. Oats was so game!

And then yesterday, I had ANOTHER great ride. Rode in the outdoor, and Oats just SO ON! Yeah!!!! I was just really feeling his vibe, and we were clicking really well.

Hmm…maybe a vacation was needed?

I ended up cutting my ride short yesterday because I wanted to save some of his energy for tonight’s lesson – he gets Wed off- and quite frankly, because I was so happy with his attitude. Yes ma’am! It rocked!

Oats does dressage

Oats does dressage

I’m feeling very thankful that I can come back after a week and have Mr. Oaty-pony be so agreeable with me. Love that little dude. Now, if only my rotten little mutt Gidget would behave so well at her grandparent’s place, instead of taking the opportunity to become a tyrant and boss the other dogs around the yard.

Oh well. Animals- can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

Baby, you’re driving

And we’re back!

I spent the past week in the Big Apple- NYC on holidays with the husband and my family. Good times were had by all, and wow, it was exhausting too! Here’s a snapshot of the holiday, and I will provide some more details in-depth later. We flew to Regina to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday and landed in a HUGE thunderstorm. Lightning, thunder, it was crazy. We couldn’t get off the plane for 1 hr until the lightning calmed down, and when we did get out, the power was out all throughout the city!

The party was a very nice event, lots of good food/barbecue and pool time. I got kind of sick of being around children (I am NOT a kid person, so sue me…) but it was better when my older cousin and his girlfriend came around. We all went to the lake the next day, because my uncle has a cool boat and we all went tubing! Now that was fun, holy crap he goes fast, and is a really slick boat driver.

I could barely cling on, it was nuts!

And then, at 4:30 am the next morning, it was off to NYC. We rented a place off AirBnB, and it was actually not too bad. TINY but hey, it’s the big city so kind of expected eh?

And man, we did that city right.

Here’s what we did:

  • Walked through Times Square
  • Visited the Chelsea Market & had dinner there.

    Chelsea Market

    Chelsea Market

  • Rode the hop-on hop-off bus (sidenote: RIPOFF! Lousy, the best part is getting to sit down and not walk I guess?)
  • Walked through So-Ho
  • Shopped at Century 21- I bought Crumbs coffee there, and Crumbs went out of business. EVERYONE at Century 21 wanted to grab the coffee.
  • Visited Brighton Beach and had fried clam strips at Coney Island
  • Went to Williamsburg in Brooklyn and ate at Extra Fancy, bought chocolate at Mast Brothers chocolate and had beer at a German brewhouse
  • Saw Les Miserables- it was excellent
  • Ate sooooooo much good food
  • Visited the East Village and Greenwich Village and splashed around in the fountain featured on ‘Friends’

    Fountain in Greenwich

    Fountain in Greenwich

  • Walked on the High Line
  • Visited the Central Park Zoo- really small and cute. Liked it a lot
  • Went to the MoMa- and I was not super impressed. It was ok, but I wanted to see more Roy Lichenstein and maybe some Jeff Koonz

So, exhaustive list eh? I know, it was a crazy week!!

Bikini Bodies

Beach time

Beach time

While I’m away on holidays, I remembered seeing a young woman at the beach a weekend ago playing frisbee with a guy.

Nothing about her was particularly memorable…Except her weight.

She was stick thin. Horrible. It made me cringe, seeing her expend energy playing frisbee on a hot day, when her bikini was barely staying on her incredibly protruding hip-bones. 

She looked exactly like my friend and mentor who died of a life-long eating disorder. 

I find it really hard to see people live like that, knowing that someone I cared for a lot died that way, quite recently. Nobody is that naturally thin. Nobody.

She looked like a woman in one of my workout classes in university, who would go double-hard when we were taking step classes, never stopping when we got a break to catch our breath or grab a drink. She would keep going, her skinny arms pumping, her scrawny thighs stomping up and down the steps. She looked like a walking skeleton.

I feel like if we saw animals (our pets) who looked like these women- we would freak out! Call the SPCA! Someone is starving these animals. Why are we not like this for ourselves? 

This young woman on the beach caught eyes from all directions- but because we felt sorry for her.

Friday Fun-Day!

Had a lesson yesterday and MANNNnn I wanted to bail out of it soo badly. I was tired, a bit run-down from a bit of a crazy week at work, and just tired tired tired.

I also kind of stupidly went on a run before my lesson with my dog, feeling that maybe physical exercise would help me out of my stupor, but I just felt more tired! Fatigued!


OH well, the lesson went really well actually! We got right down to it, instead of mucking about with intense flatwork (she says, scoffing at the weeks and weeks of intense flatwork done this month, haha) but seriously, I just wasn’t in the mood for it, you know?

And having a lesson here and there where you get down to jumps right away is helpful- keeps Oats fresh, keeps me from getting too wobbly.

We worked over a small grid (and I wimped out of doing the grid to the course, I just went straight to the course hahahahah) and then worked over a small course of x-rails to an outside line.

Oats lesson

He was good! We had our bobbles- of course- and lately I have been getting left behind over jumps. Wha? Left behind? From the queen of jumping ahead?

I know! It’s crazy. Not really ‘better’ per se, but you know…I’m still on my journey of learning.

So there we have it, a good lesson day even though I was tired and didn’t want to ride. Sometimes, you just gotta do it!

Throwback Thursday: Old man Ardie

This old dude, he was such a nice horse. A bit on the stiff side, and did paddle on occasion, but he was a very nice horse and very frequently got mistaken for a warmblood (just look at him, he’s a giant!). I leased him from his owner when I lived in Burnaby. He lived at the Burnaby equestrian centre, run by the Burnaby Horsemen’s Association. I have very fond memories of that place. They used to host small schooling shows in the spring and fall, I believe? I went to one with Ardie and had a BLAST!


Cantering him was sometimes like riding a washing machine- whoomp side-to-side and not fast at all but he took me to my first high point award in a local hack division and I loved that winning feeling!

Here’s to you, old man! I hear he is now enjoying retirement while his owner works with some younger horses. In his day, he was quite the dressage superstar.

Horse show in Burnaby