Superwoman and Wonder Dog

Twice at the gym I’ve had compliments comparing me to Supergirl, and Superwoman. By two separate gym regulars. Funny eh? Apparently they see something in me that makes them think I am made of iron?!


Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria–I love this shot!

I was very flattered, both times, because most days I do not feel like Superwoman or anything like that. Yesterday was one of those times. I had an ‘ok’ work out at the gym, but have been feeling tired, draggy and a bit weaker than I normally feel. This translates to slower treadmill sprints, struggling to do pushups (10 reps instead of 15 or 20), not being able to shoulder-press 40 lbs, only 30lbs and it feels HARD…you get the picture.

I was also yawning the whole time. I am officially a gym boor.

I took last night off riding because Oats had two quite challenging lessons in a row, and I rode Monday as well, and let’s face it–I was tired, he was tired. Instead, I was planning on running a few kms from my house, and baking a bit (pumpkin scones!). A nice night, some relaxing, nothing big.


This is actually the duffel bag it got lost in! 


Next week we are going to Crab Fest in Port Angeles (yay!!) and I kept forgetting to dig out my passport. A colleague kindly agreed to text me a reminder for when I got home, so I could look for it. She texted me, I went to search for my passport right away, and …it was not there. EEEK. I immediately started freaking out.

In between coming back from Brazil, and moving, where did my passport go? Shit.shit shit. I had no idea where it was, things were not looking good. So we tore apart the house frantically searching. No luck. I started moping and crabbing, and we looked at options to cancel the trip. It was a dark time.

Because I was raging out, I decided I needed to get on my feet for a bit and get in that run I was planning to do. It was tough, I was feeling immensely cranky, surly and mad at myself. It did give me a bit of a clearer head, and I saw some beautiful sights- a parasailer going off the cliff to the ocean, in the sunset. So gorgeous.

I got home, still feeling pissed off, and was getting changed in the laziest way possible- in my walk-in closet. There I saw a big suitcase I had ripped through, that had a duffel bag in it. I figured, why the hell not, and I picked up the duffel bag and couldn’t open the pockets. I left that one, and opened the next pocket- BINGO!!!! All is saved! The trip is back on!

Apparently I had used the duffel bag to pack my clothes, and with them, my passport. I had unpacked my clothes and forgotten all about the passport when I moved. AH….

Supergirl loses her mind over a lost passport. It was bound to happen someday! Hahahah.

(Can you feel how glad I am it is Friday? I have my saddle fit appointment bright and early tomorrow morning too. Things are working out!).

I still think that the passport search had to happen in that distinct way, with the frustration, the run to work it out, and then the triumphant finding. Funny!


A good horse

Had my jump lesson last night, and we even took advantage of the tiniest bit of light left in the day to hold it in the outdoor arena- lucky eh?


Jumping can be fun!

I borrowed my trainer’s saddle, she had generously lent it to me for my lesson and we checked the fit- and so far, so good at least until my saddle gets fixed (no word on that yet, how many times should I be calling the saddler until he comes out to my barn?!! I am at twice so far…argh).

We worked on quite a technical exercise–canter-in gymnastic, starting with a small x-rail, to a series of (6?) poles at 10-ft canter strides, working our way up to a small vertical to a half- x-rail bounce.

It was definitely a mind-challenge!

We worked our way up from the x-rail, to a few poles, to all the poles, to raising the poles, to adding in the vertical at the end, to making the vertical into a bounce with half an x- at the end. I was sweating! So was Oats! And huffing and puffing, haha.

The raised poles made every stride matter. I had to come in with a ‘very’ close, collected canter rather than letting Oats go SPLAT through the series of raised poles. We did have a few rounds that he kind of slammed through them, until I learned that at the first pole before the x-rail, I had to be holding him in, and keeping him very tightly between leg and hand…Rather than just pushing him over the gymnastic and leg leg leg, which is what I am used to doing.

It was very educational, and I feel like I learned a ton from it.

I hope Oats did too!

We ended by going through the gymnastic-canter pole, and then circling and heading through 1 line set up on the other side of the arena. The goal was to get five strides. We sure didn’t…The first go-around we jumped in well, and then…wha?? He got 6 strides and stopped and painstakingly climbed over the last fence. Eeeegh!

Time to go around again! This time, we nailed those strides. It almost felt like Oats was surprised by the jump? Haha oh well, at least he jumped it?

Good pony, and a good lesson.

Hard work makes the core work?

After hurting my back on the weekend, I went to the physiotherapist on Monday (which started my week of being late to get home, a trend that started last Friday…) and it became clear that my back was quite strong and takes over the work from my abs.


Too much of this??

Apparently my core is weak? (Which seemed absolutely ludicrous to me, like do you know how many push ups I can do!?) but clearly my back is doing the job of my abs and letting them off the hook.

My back felt better yesterday, so my one trainer generously allowed me to try her saddle on Oats and I rode him in my dressage lesson with Karen. I told her I had been struggling with my back muscles, and wanted to do some core work–and then kind of regretted it, it was TOUGH.

And fun?!

But mostly tough.

The saddle felt really weird, and I felt like I was tipping backwards…We worked on posting trot with a very exaggerated lean back to ‘engage’ my core/lower abdomen muscles, and then sitting, and then canter w/o stirrups. The canter actually felt really good–Oats was pissy at first, and then we did more canter and it felt downright lovely w/o stirrups! We worked on a funny exercise, lifting your legs off the horse out to the side, and and then letting them ‘hang down’ to the side. At the canter! Ahahaha.

We then did some lateral work and I tell you, trying to do that with the borrowed saddle was…interesting. My feet kept flying out in front of me and I was tipping backwards!? I felt rather unstable, which was amusing since our canter-no-stirrups work was so great and solid.

It was a good ride, and I am hoping I can borrow the saddle and that it works out okay today for my jump lesson.

A continuation of last week?

Last week was the grouchiest week ever. But, as it turns out, I did get my vet appointment on Friday and the results weren’t all bad. The vet says Oats is moving great and he would not drug him at all, so we moved on to check the saddle.

Oats shoulders were quite sore- enough that the vet suggested the saddle be re-fit as Oats now has a bit of a swayback and his shape has changed enough for the saddle to slide onto his shoulders more now and that might be why Oats is now stopping at jumps. It’s always kind of a guessing game with horses, unfortunately.

He did adjust Oats’s withers and tell me not to ride in my saddle until the saddle gets re-fit. Sooo…I have a call in to the saddle fitter, with no scheduled visit yet. ARGH.

In the meantime, I longed Oats on Saturday, gave him Sunday off, and rode bareback yesterday–which was actually pretty fun but a real tough workout for me, to not slide off him! I am borrowing my trainer’s saddle to try tonight, so fingers crossed I can at least get my lessons in this week.

And me? I hurt my back on the weekend (might have something to do with running 22km, *cough* *cough*) and it felt horrible on Monday. Bad enough I did something about it…went to a physiotherapy appointment. I HATED it. It was soooo long and excruciating. My eyes were tearing up I was in so much effing pain. Also I was starving and my stomach was grumbling in protest. I got home after that at 5:30! It was time to go to the barn!


If it’s not my car, it’s my rabbit, it’s my horse, it’s my back, oh and work. Cut me some slack, life!!!!!!


Nothing going as planned: Grouchiest week ever.

Back to feeling crabby. To recap, this week I had a lot of appointments/ things scheduled. To date:

  • Vet appointment that was for Monday got rescheduled for Friday, but I’m not holding my breath on that one, because…
  • Car appointment for Wednesday got cancelled, because the place they ordered the car part lost the part??
  • And my race scheduled for Saturday that I was actually looking forward to got cancelled due to lack of entries.
  • So–this all adds up to me seriously not expecting my vet appt to happen tomorrow, because quite frankly, NOTHING I scheduled for this week has been happening. At all. Which is very annoying, because I have to re-arrange my schedule, drive my car in to work, pay $8+++ in parking downtown, try to wrangle time off work to make the appointments…only to have them not freaking happen.

I am more than ready to throw up my hands and say FORGET IT! This week, YOU WIN!

I have been burned badly this week by this, so I am not booking anything right now. No appointments, no scheduled items, no races, nothing. UGH.

Ranty rant rant rant. Sigh.

I also decided I didn’t want to jump last night- chiefly because my ride last week was so weird, and I have the vet appt feasibly on Friday to figure some stuff out, and I wanted to make sure my legs were feeling ok for my race on Saturday…that is now not happening. Lovely.

Instead, we worked on a fairly challenging canter pole exercise, that Oats did really well at! Our jumping blows, but his flatwork has been impressing me more and more these days. Just great, and his ‘try’ was definitely there. It was messy, awkward but we worked through it and actually made the pole exercise happen–I was quite proud of him. Go pony! A really good lesson and a fun ride.

So…there’s that?

A colleague also complimented my outfits and said I had a fantastic sense of style. That made me very happy and I was really flattered! 🙂 🙂 Gotta get what I can these days, with my increasingly grouchy week that started grouchy and is well on it’s way to ending very sour as well.

Tuesday: Time to revisit lateral work!

Good news is that my sour Monday did not translate into a bad Tuesday. I guess it really was just a case of the ‘Mondays’???


Me on Monday.

Oats had his bi-weekly dressage semi-private with Karen Brain last night, and it was a lot for his little horse brain. We started off in the indoor (it is getting dark so early now, boooo) and focused on moving laterally off my leg on a small circle, with his head/chest facing a cone. So, sort of circling around the cone with his head to it, and his bum going around–not just walking in a circle.

Oats was GREAT at it! Very minor hissy-fits, quite soft, good acceptance of both the leg and the rein aids. I was able to be very soft with my contact…Nice.

Looks can be deceiving!

Fancy dressage pony.

Unfortunately this did not translate into our later lateral work. Whyyy…..

We went up to trot (rising) and I immediately lost the soft, round Oats. Sigh…

I struggled with that a bit, and he was fairly resistant. We then moved into big right bend/left bend, moving into kind of a ‘c’ shape with the horse curling around us going down the quarter-line. I felt like I was failing at that exercise, and kind of complained about it, until Karen said it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, just that you are trying. The ‘try’ is the object here. That lesson stayed with us through to the canter work, and when I was working on shoulder-in at the trot, when Oats started losing his shit because it was getting HARD guys?!!

I was feeling frustrated because he was tossing his head, going backwards, yanking the reins out of my hands, and just generally being a dink. But, as Karen said, being a twit is fine, just keep going. Ask, be soft, ask, be soft, ask be soft. The point of the lesson is still being learned–he will get it, but it will just be a matter of

It felt awkward as hell, and super annoying, but you know what? Eventually the hissy fits, yanking the reins and running backwards lessened. I learned to time my ‘soften’ reward better to reward him faster for a good try. And we slowly starting getting it! Yes not perfect, but better than we started.

Some days, that is the goal.

And something really cute- I was cleaning up poop from the indoor and went to dump it out the back. I left the door open and Oats was hanging around, and he tried to follow me out the back. I was like, no, ‘STAY’ and then realized that he’s not a dog, and probably doesn’t understand dog training signals…So cute. But he stayed anyways! More of a firm tone thing?

He then followed me quite happily around the arena and to the gate as we finished up for the evening. What a cutie. 🙂

Typical Monday blues

Even took me by surprise, given how nice my weekend was and then BLAM! Shittiest Monday to kick the week off. Nothing really terrible or devastating, just a series of real annoyances that are getting under my freaking skin…All morning.


I really enjoyed this series…

Drove to work, paid for parking because I have a vet appointment that I mentioned for Oats this afternoon, so I needed my car. It was hammering down rain, lovely…And when I get to work, my phone rings- vet moves my appt to Friday, as there was an emergency. Fair enough, but !@(#% I have to take the car in again on Friday, and pay for more parking. SHit.

I was drinking coffee out of my travel mug, and while I was drinking it, it was dripping down the front of my effing WHITE blazer. Yeah…covered in coffee stains. I am now wearing my flimsy camisole (so, not a shirt) with a scarf strategically planned as my cover up. FML.

My work email blew up today and is going freaking bananas. I can’t keep track of the eleventy-billion emails I am getting and the zillions of work pieces I can’t seem to address all of them. Something that has to go out at 10am…doesn’t. JEESH.

I am waiting on some stuff for work and it just doesn’t. seem. to. be. happening. I may have some later nights this week because of it.

My car is going in again on Wednesday for more work.

I’m not really looking forward to my jump lesson (which I had hoped to have the vet appt before it, so I could figure out a strategy for Oats by the next lesson)…Because I don’t know how he is going to be, and I feel unsure about what I am asking of him. ARGHHH.

I am not really excited about jumping, because of this. And let’s face it, I LOVE jumping! And the new program for the horse show series that we go to just came out, and I feel really on the fence about it. The format has changed to a two-day, hunters and then jumpers, and there are now 4 shows, instead of 3. Just..ugh. I’m not interested in jumpers…and I know others in my barn are, if anyone goes with me at all this year…

I just can’t get excited about it. About anything horsey right now. The weirdness is just too prevalent, jumping isn’t fun, and I don’t want to do jumpers, I want to do hunters. GAH! SO whiny right now.

Wah wah wah.



So that whole getting back into jumping thing? I don’t think Oats got the memo…Or something. I am very stiff and sore with an injured calf today, and feeling grouchy and sorry for myself. Gah and I didn’t even fall off for this to happen?!!

I was feeling really zoned out and tired yesterday and for some reason that translated into me being ON FIRE for riding. Weirdly, through my grid work I have a very hard time making my body respond to my trainer’s commands- I get nervous or anxious, so by the time she says ”use your crop now!” I’m through the grid and halfway around the ring by the time I actually do…

This time though? I was ON IT. Like, yes ma’am. Crop engaged! GO! And I was feeling really impressed by my super fast reflexes, and my lack of fear. I guess feeling zoned out and tired = no chatter in my head to make me react slower?

Anyways, it was going great until we moved on to some coursework. The first jump was good, the second one we slid into it…I was asking for a bigger canter, and let him get long and strung out…Like last week, we reached the tiny jump with a half step and he refused it. I clung on, hard. So hard in fact my calf seized up horribly and I was sliding off to the right. So much pain.

I pulled my calf muscle pretty badly staying on my horse? I was sweating with pain, cringing, and just…Couldn’t do anything but cling on and sit there, in excruciating pain.

Eventually my calf stopped pulsating and I could put my foot in the stirrup. I told my coach that was probably it for me for the lesson, but…I didn’t want to be be over.

So, foot engaged in the stirrup, I re-approached and it rode fine. Until we got back to the grid on-course, and the little fart had another stop? WTF? And I was riding great, more assertively than I normally do?

I give a good THWACK! And off we went, and Oats over-jumped the grid by…a lot. The rest of the course was fine, except the skinny rode terribly/hilariously both times with Oats saving my bacon because apparently I can’t ride.

I finished on that, after jumping a few more jumps just for fun, because it was becoming very clear to my that my leg was not going to recover that evening. I had to walk it off (limping) for a few hours that night…God, so painful.

Today, my calf is very painful to the touch, and I can go upstairs well, but down is…another painful story. My head also hurts and my shoulder hurts. I have never hurt like this before from not even falling?!!!! Mannnnn….

I am also going to look into getting a lameness exam scheduled for Oats, because he is NOT a stopper. The pony has heart and try, and this stopping is really, very unusual for him. He will literally climb over a fence from a standstill if you give him enough go! So, what the heck? I am going with the benefit of a doubt here, and checking to see what is going on.

Fingers crossed I find something? Or not? I’m not sure but I want my good honest pony back.

Goofing around

Coming back from travelling in Brazil, then moving, and now…I just don’t feel that motivated when I ride. Sure, I love my lessons and I am having a blast, but that spark to get out and go to horse shows? Not there right now.


So, the field to the left? Yes we jumped up and down from it!

Part of me struggles with this, but the other part is like, whoa whoa whoa…You went traveling, you bought a new house and moved into it, things are busy and it is a season of change. Sit tight, and that desire will come creeping back as it always does.

I am noticing it in my riding too. On Saturday I schooled Oats in the ring and he felt BLAH. Just so..ugh. Looky, silly, resistant, annoying…no thanks. Sunday, I went to school in the ring and saw my friend had removed the planks that separate the big x-c field where they turn horses out from the riding arena (these are made to be removed, it’s really neat actually.) I kept an eye out on the horses to make sure they didn’t decide to suddenly gallop into the riding arena, and she practiced jumping up and down from the arena to the field, and back again.

It looked really fun!

So I had to try it too! I asked my friend for a lead, but you know what? Good old Oats was like, nah I got this. He ambled up from a trot over the bank with NO drama (or enthusiasm..ha) and then my friend suggested I walk down to minimize any surprises for Oats…Well, he had this one too! He slowly shuffled down the bank. Ok. Needs more energy, haha.


My hands probably looked exactly like this.

Eventually we worked up to cantering up the bank, cantering around, and then trotting down the bank- Oats was a VERY good pony and did it all with no silly behaviour, and no drama.

I rode the down part with my hands too high, oops, I was surprised haha. It has been like, ages since I did anything like that!

And then, because I was having too much fun goofing off, I left the ring and went to finish my ride in the big field up top. I couldn’t face schooling after having so much fun goofing around with a bank, ahha.

And that, friend, was a good and fun ride. I need to let the anxious, ‘must be competitive’ part of me go sometimes…I ride for fun, and I ride to enjoy myself and my horse. That’s what it’s all about. Plus, the weather is fantastic right now, yessssssss!!!

Mr. Oats jumps again!

Oats and I have not been the most consistent jumpers as of late…I was away in Brazil for a few weeks, got back and then had to take more time off after two lessons to move! So, yesterday was our third jump lesson back after not being very regular with it.


This is literally Oats now.

We have, however, been riding a lot!

I was feeling kind of blah about my lesson yesterday- I wanted it, but also felt rather ambivalent. Jumping is kind of emotional for me, and I was tired (from my dressage lesson the day before, running races on the weekend, moving and just not sleeping well). But I also still really want to jump, so I had to buck up and do it! It didn’t help that I was late for my lesson because my darling pony was absolutely filthy and covered, head-to-toe, in dried mud. ARGH.

Oats was kind of on my brain-wave though, and wow if I felt ‘blah’ then he felt super ‘blah’. We cantered in to the grid for gridwork, because if we had to trot in, I don’t think he would have made it!! Lazy pony!

As it is, we had 1 stop through the grid when he got distracted, I got flustered and we just didn’t have enough ‘oomph’ to get through it. He was not super generous with me last night- fairly willing, but I had to ASK ASK ASK for it. And be quite firm about what I wanted. Fair enough, horse, fair enough.

We then worked through 1 course, and while it was not pretty – hello, slow pony- we did it and I had to really ‘ride’ through the whole thing. We had 1 more stop when I was kind of gunning Oats to a jump, but he got strung out to a strange distance and was like, nope!!! Try again!! And we did, and with some encouragement from Nicole (clucking!) hopped over. None of the jumps were big or even remotely ambitious, it was more of a ‘get GOING’ coursework. The grid was included in the course and rode really well.

The emphasis was on landing, and GO BUTTON and then balance the canter, rather than landing, letting him peter out through the turn and then trying to get a better canter to the next fence. It was definitely a learning curve for me, as I tend to get very passive on courses and kind of let Oats go as he pleases, or let it go a bit as I approach the fence. No chances on this one, as he wasn’t particularly energized so yes, I had to work for it.

So, a lot of work but also a good learning lesson. While I really like the lessons that go smoothly and easily, I know sometimes I have to learn these lessons the hard way. Plus, it still ended great anyways! Win-win.