Adulted-out

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This weekend wasn’t all fun and games though…After our lovely getaway in Cumberland, complete with raging allergies that have given me a cold, we had to do some serious adulting. I’m talking boring, inescapable, chore type things. I don’t mind a good cleaning, or putting laundry away. This is the stuff that you put off as long as possible, like:

  • Getting a new cellphone. Painful in my world. Takes FOREVER!
  • Getting a hair cut. I have been putting this off for years now. Hate them!
  • Buying items for a baby shower. Unsurpassed only by physically attending the baby shower. So far I have been unscathed but I do still buy items for the shower, I’m not a total heartless monster…
  • Buying dog food, rabbit food, grain. Animals, why do you eat so much?! And why is my rabbit such a fussy eater, who hates the new stuff, or randomly decides he won’t eat his old food?!!
  • Taxes and any financial documentation form-finding= life purgatory.
  • Dentist appointments. Enough said.
  • Doctor appointments. Doubly enough said.
  • Going to the pharmacy for any reason. UGH!! Too many grabby-hands people driving me bananas.
  • Home repair items. A five-year going nowhere plan in the making…
  • Visiting Home Depot or Canadian Tire. Enough to make me want to burn my house down!!
  • Car repairs. Possibly worse than Home Depot or Canadian Tire? Definitely seems to be more often and right now, more freaking expensive and frustrating. ARGHHH.
  • Paying parking tickets. Particularly those stupid ones that say ‘resident parking only’ and you live on the street, for the love of god.
  • Dog licences. Why why why?
  • Horse Council Insurance. I get it, in the idealistic way of all insurances. But WTF.
  • Home insurance: Why are condos more expensive than houses??
  • Car insurance: Necessary evil. Emphasis on ‘EVIL’.

Wow, ok so I had a lot boiling up under my skin these days. Interesting.

Anyways, I’m also pleased to report that despite a lot of life frustrations at the moment (that really, everyone faces so what am I complaining about?), my dressage semi-private last night went SUPER well.

Oats is now learning how to say ‘yes ma’am’ and mean it!

Good pony boy. We had some really cool moments, and it was a fun lesson that felt really thorough and accessible. I’m getting to work more into Oats with lateral work (go us!) and we did some fun exercises on roundness, collecting the trot, building it back up again and such. We were significantly weaker in the canter for these exercises, but I’m assured that it is just something new we are learning and it will take time.

Nice to feel this type of progress, and I’m feeling more connected with Oats, and he is trying his little no-tail heart out!

Those who can’t do, judge. And- Hoppy Easter!

Thought since it was a very long weekend (much needed, desperately needed, and now I have a growing cold from it) I will split it into a few blog posts!

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Buster Bunny wishes everyone a Happy Easter!

Was thinking a lot about this title last night (cold= can’t sleep), and reflecting on my jump lesson I had last Thursday. It went GREAT actually–I know I have been on a real roll for months now, but it was one of those lessons where I felt strong, competent, doable, fierce and Oats and I were WORKING IT!

The oft-repeated sentence from my lessons is usually: That was great, but….

But: I can’t replicate my successes.

But: I didn’t want to do the course again, because of reasons (fears, mostly).

But: Our leads suck.

But: Oats was dragging ass and I couldn’t get him motivated!

But: This is a one-time success and next week will be worse somehow.

This past lesson, even though I’d been actually riding a high from the lesson before, was super awesome. The lesson itself wasn’t really anything too fancy, no combinations, nothing too ridiculous, and yet…

We worked over a small course that had two, yes count ’em, two oxers (gulp!), and we worked on getting my lead to the right after landing from a fence on the diagonal, and one circle jump- to the right, natch! And I managed to acknowledge my fears- yes those are oxers- but hey you know what? I am a strong and confident rider, and we jumped those fine last week. It will be fine, and it was fine.

I even jumped one of the oxers backwards (whoops, sorry saintly Oats!!).

Anytime he felt a bit mushy or weak to the fence, we galloped boldly on. He was meeting the fences with me, I felt sooo good about it. The one diagonal fence got raised to 2’6” even, no problems. The 2’3” oxer that practically loomed rode…fine actually. Really nicely even! I think I was either smiling or grimacing, but it was the closest to a smile I’ve gotten!

Our leads were the most consistent they have ever been, and I was very  happy with old Oats. A sure sign? A compliment from one of the moms who was there to watch her daughter lesson after me. She said she hadn’t seen us go for awhile, but thought that we looked really great! Warmed my old black heart, haha.

I know not all lessons are that triumphant, but it felt good to be holding that feeling. Go us!

When I was a God

From watching Futurama last night, and it was a surprisingly introspective episode. I know, right?

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Dad, daughter and horse.

My family has come and gone (not for good though, they will be back forever in a few months!) and I tried fairly hard to be reasonable and not too snappy, though you always hurt the ones you love, the hardest…Oh well, I was better this time than others, and maybe in the future I will be better and more understanding.

We did a ton of activities, so many activities! From walking in Witty’s Lagoon, to hiking Mt. Doug in a dangerous windstorm with my mom, visiting the farm, to happy hour with my parents, to watch a winning Royals Game this past weekend, swimming, seafood feast, Mexican food, Beer & Fish night, live music, riding my horse (just me this time since my mom broke her arm really badly last time!), to looking at houses and them eventually buying one! I was exhausted!

Maybe all of that was why the half marathon wasn’t the ‘winningest’ of my races, but hey, you gotta live your life, right?

And I try to make sure I live EVERY MOMENT OF IT/

But yes today my legs finally feel like they belong to me, and not some sad broken wooden puppet! I have been a bit burned out, a bit tired but not as strangely tired as last week, so that is a win for me.

And how is Mr. Oaty? He is going great, I’m the one that is moving stiffly and hobbling! We had some really excellent lessons last week in both dressage and jumping, and then Saturday my parents came to watch him go- he was lovely.

Monday I rode, after we had the race on Sunday and wowww….It was pretty awful. I was moving stiffly and barely managed a 10-15 minute ride. To be fair, the hardest part of the ride was tacking up, bending down and walking to the arena.

Tuesday I tried again and was a bit more successful- we worked on two jumps on the diagonals, and I was quite strict with myself about straightness. We halted after the one diagonal line on and off, trying to keep Oats working with me and not anticipating the turn, as I LOVE to.

Today, time off from riding and give my legs a chance to rest up for tomorrow!

 

VIRA Comox Half Marathon Race Recap!

I’d like to bring in a word here that everyone knows but probably didn’t know the original meaning until I heard it on iZombie last night…Egregious.

Shockingly bad, horrible, glaring.

But apparently it also used to mean awesome but terrible at the same time. So, going with that, I am going to use that term as it was originally planned to describe mine and my husband’s first half marathon of the season.

The awesome: Knocked a good 10 minutes off my personal time for the half marathon. Great eh?!! Why also bad?? (It was 1:45:42 gun and 1:45:37 net).

The bad: My husband did this while racing with a knee injury (terrible idea!) and was basically “Terry Foxing” it around the course the whole time. Eeek…It started when we were at 4k and we were feeling really good, and then he said his knee was going. But then he kept going?!! I kept saying he should step off the course, and why didn’t he, but then he said I would probably keep going too…So yeah he did it, but it wasn’t wonderful.

Also kind of bad: At the risk of too TMI- I have terrible stomach issues before racing, and thus went into this race feeling way under-fueled. I can get away with this for shorter distances but for the half it just about killed me. Such a bad idea, and I need to get it under control before my next race. I’ve let it go on wayyyy too long.

The race: The weather was actually super nice, chilly but not freezing, and most importantly– NOT raining! That would have put the literal damper on our already somewhat difficult day (pun intended).

It’s not a super hard course, but it does have a few hills that make life kind of miserable. They feel ok on the way up, then at the turnaround you start really questioning your will to live, and then you riiiiiide down the hills, feeling great! And then back up the smallest hill, and you die.

The track out was awesome. I was feeling good (despite actually being hungry going in due to my angry stomach), we were well on pace, ahead of it actually, turns out we would need that buffer zone, and rolling.

4k and my husband’s knee went funny, and up to the turnaround, 10k, started losing a bit of our happy place. We got passed a LOT on the way back (WTF??) which is not something I am used to having, and boy when you are suffering, it does crush the spirit more than a little!

We were kind of limping along, I was determinedly staring at the yellow line on the road in some sort of pain-zen state…We lost time a lot, and at 18k I definitely hit the wall. It felt like I was running uphill through a pool.

I know now that I was under-fueled and super dehydrated. I had sweat out EVERYTHING and was really struggling. My husband was not doing better, as he was behind me limping it out. I think if I see the photos I will laugh and cry about them! Man!

I managed to weakly ‘sprint’ past someone at the finish because I needed something to win on, and then immediately felt like I was going to faint. My vision started greying and getting blurry and I was staggering around shouting for my husband. Yuck, even thinking about it today makes me feel kind of sick.

That, friends, is how NOT to run a half-marathon. This is my weakest distance (next to the 5k) and it really showed me how unprepared I was, even though I felt like I was good for it. NOPE!

The food after was soooo good, lots of it, and the volunteers were great! Yummy chili, cheese, buns, cookies, chocolate milk and yogurt. I couldn’t eat a lot, felt pretty gross for awhile, but did manage to eat the yummy chili!

And that race taught me something very valuable- don’t get cocky. Respect the distance.

When do you know, you know?

Ending of a tired week. So tired. I can’t figure out this crazy body fatigue I have this week, but I hate it! And the weather, while sunny, has been freaking freezing!!

Argh, when will spring actually happen?

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I want this to look small to me. Showing when 2’3” terrified me!

But aside from my tired grouching (I think I must need some days off, like more than 2 in a row due to my tired crabbiness…) I had a great jump lesson last night, and it made me wonder–when are you sure if you are mentally ready to move up?

We are rocking 2’3” courses (shh, I know this is a very small height. But I feel like I am headed to the 2’3” Olympics here!) and I’m definitely showing 2’3” next year at our winter series.

But…

One time I showed 2’3” consistently and consistently bombed it. I wasn’t mentally ready, even though I thought I was.

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Yeah this wasn’t a great show…

So, is this new-found ‘okayness’ here to stay?

We are not great at this height, but that can be said of most heights, and I still feel a bit like, gulp… when I see the jumps go up, but I feel mostly…fine. We’re even doing oxers at this height, something unheard of for me. So, am I ready? We make mistakes, pick up our reins, and move on.

Last night we worked on a course that I rode off-course a few times hahah. But we started at 2” and moved up to 2’3” without any real screw-ups! It was pretty simple, with a diagonal line, outside line, a 1-stride in and out, a swedish oxer, and the outside jump to the diagonal jump.

We even bravely took the option to ride the swedish oxer the other way to go to the 1-stride line from the other direction, and good Oats didn’t even blink! I saw another rider in the lesson before mine’s horse slam on the brakes when she re-approached from the other direction.

I like and trust Oats to make the right decision- most of the time- and honestly most of the time he’s like, yeah whatever.

Love it!

The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.

I’m reading Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa right now due to my Kobo being seriously out commission and found this quote by her that really appealed to me.

Had my private dressage lesson last night with Karen Brain and Oats, and we got a chance to re-visit the rather challenging ‘simple’ exercise of Sunday, of cantering down in a straight line off the track.

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No dressage media, so here is a photo of my husband cuddling Gidget like a baby.

I warmed Oats up and he was coughing a lot with the dust in the arena…It’s weird because it has gotten flooded in the close end of the arena, and then it’s so dusty in the far end. I know it gives Oats trouble, particularly now as allergy season/dust season rears its ugly head. So our warm-up consisted of a lot of coughing from him, until he cleared it and was ready to work. He was fairly stiff, and not moving great at the walk and canter. His trot felt ok though. His canter was heavy and kind of draggy, on the forehand, and I felt like he was kind of dragging me down.

I was telling Karen this and we decided to work on some lateral movements at the walk, as I said his walk felt really sucky. So, we went straight into head-to-wall leg yielding, transitioning straight, and then haunches in, and then transitioned back to the leg yield. Oats was GREAT! So compliant! It was amazing!

He usually fusses and fights a bit, but I was able to lighten the reins and really work with him. Quite pleased.

We then worked on walk-canter transitions (they also sucked at first, wow…) that was fairly tricky because Oats was like…blahhhhhh at first. From the canter transition, we worked on lightening his shoulders by not getting me dragged down in the tack. It felt weird to keep my hands so high, and my hips/shoulders pulled tall and back, but it worked. His canter was more uphill and forward, and we took it to the ‘off the track’ exercise at the canter with a LOT more success than I had on Sunday when I tried it.

He still broke to trot one time when he fell behind my leg, and we got 1 swap as well, but overall it was a higher quality attempt and his canter was really nice.

I was very happy with Oats’ attitude towards our dressage work- it does NOT come easy to him, like jumping does. Good boy!

Weekend part 2: The Farm!

As I mentioned, we had a crazy busy weekend with family visiting. Sunday we decided to go to my in-laws farm, as it’s a great place, they wanted to see my parents when they came, and bonus- lambs!!

I got up early (thanks, daylight savings time…) and drove to the barn to do a dressage school on Oats. I wanted to kind of get him revved up and working hard, something I really didn’t want to do with my sister riding him. And so this was a great chance to do it! We worked on an exercise that seems really simple, but as with horses ‘always simple, never easy’…Canter down the long side on the quarter line, as straight as you can do it.

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From my lesson on Thursday. No wonder I didn’t stick the landing well!

Yeah, that was a lot harder than it seems. Not straight, breaking to trot, swapping leads?! Oh, Oats!

So, it ended up being a tough, though very simple, exercise. We worked on it both ways, and I mixed it up a bit by asking for trot, trotting straight, walking on the straight line and then picking up canter. Medium rate of success on that.

My family met me at the barn and we zipped off to the farm. We had lunch there, and it was really nice! The weather SUCKED though. Pouring rain, blasting wind…UGH. A repeat of Wednesday’s hair-raising drive up the Malahat.

I did get to catch a lamb though! We had to rescue them, they got stuck on the other side of the fence from their moms. Dumb animals…it happened more than once actually. How do they survive past lamb-hood?

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Springtime!

We enjoyed our mucky farm visit a lot, and then when we got back to town, we took my mom for a hike up Mt. Doug. It was a good hike, except for the fact that when we got to the top, the wind and rain picked up again and the rain felt like needles stinging my freaking face! OUCH!

We didn’t take the trail back down, we hustled as fast as we could down the road and wow…the weather was sooo horrible. Tree branches were cracking off, it was pouring rain, and the wind was in a frenzy! I was so glad to get back to the car, and even the drive home was very frightening…A tree branch cracked off in front of us while we were driving and fell in front of the car!

Sheesh, can we have a good spring yet??? It is also absolutely FREEZING these days. I hate it! We wrapped up the evening by having my sister make a very tasty Italian potato pizza for us, and her friend stayed overnight because she was going to drive back up the Malahat and the weather was still too dangerous. I think she made the right decisions–I know all too well how scary it can be at night in a storm!