Keeping your eyes up: First jump lesson back with Oats!

I was supposed to have my first lesson back on Tuesday but we rescheduled to Saturday. After a lovely dressage lesson on Thursday, I was on cloud 9!!! When Saturday rolled around though, I was a ball of anxiety. What-ifs went racing around my head, I felt sweaty and out of it, and just so anxious! For some reason all of my fears of his re-injury went around and around and it was so weird. We walked and trotted around, he’s gotten very silly about the doors and corners of the arena so I was glad to have a good 10 minute walk to get the sillies out and make him a solid and reliable citizen again, and he settled down.

We’re getting there- slowly but surely!

We limited the canter– again because we want to make sure to be VERY careful about how his post-rehab recovery goes. And when we went to right lead, we just started hopping over teeny-tiny fences! YAY! I was practically hyperventilating, and trust me when I say my breathing was kind of all over the place the whole afternoon after, because of a big post-adrenaline dump. Ha it was nuts!!

Oats was a total star! He was very chill, very ‘yes ma’am I got this’ about everything. 🙂

And we just, did it! I was stiff, very awkward. I got left behind twice which feels unheard of for me?! Just because I couldn’t relax enough to really go with the movement at this stage. I also forgot where I was riding – in a course of four fences!! hahahhaahah man, I am rusty.

So glad we had this lesson on Saturday. It shut down a lot of fears in my head.

Weirdly we had a miserable ride yesterday for some reason (Oats was literally trembling with fear in the arena??? There were no bears or cougars, to my knowledge???) and was racing around like a deranged llama for most of the ride, sooooooooo yeah. It was great to have a very low-key and successful jump lesson.

As for yesterday who knows what his deal was? We had a very long, very quiet and very slow ride. I kept him in the walk until he stopped trembling and trying to exit stage left. We only trotted and then went back to walking, some lateral work that he was pretty good at, and called it quits when he was fine trotting quietly and not losing it. Horses!! My husband says they’re basically a confusing relationship hot and cold, good and bad?? Maybe!

Tough love

I have to give it to myself, because clearly I don’t know how to be disciplined! But with Oats, ha. My trainer had to laugh yesterday when I was talking about how I fucked up my leg (AGAIN). She said, you were so meticulous and dedicated to your horse, and then you go and trash your leg??

I don’t learn, apparently…From 2019 and now again. Shit!!

Yeah unfortunately the same kind of drive and dedication that makes me commit to a lengthy and extremely long rehab program also makes me run myself straight into the ground. Two sides of the same coin…

BUT we had our second dressage lesson last night and it was really good!! He has been a bit resistant, I guess coming back into ‘real’ work that involves not going in a straight line and then walking for 45 minutes has been a bit of a learning curve for old Oats. We worked on that resistance with some very small, quiet and slow sitting-trot circles. He was really good for that. We then worked on sitting trot- big posting trot- sitting trot, trying to maintain a deeper frame, coming down rather than up. Tough for us, as Oats did want to bring his head up with each transition. We then moved on to canter (we take a LOT of walk breaks currently for his safety) and we started with the right lead.

I dream of this canter again…

It’s his nominally better lead, and I was pretty pleased with it. True, still a bit tough to maintain the nice ‘low’ frame in the canter, particularly while going large (wheeeeeee and we’re off!!) but I was quite happy with Oats attempts. I kind of figured the left would be worse, naturally.

Well, he surprised me! Left was really nice! The transitions were a little bit rougher (head got high), but we stuck with it and were rewarded with a lovely downward transition to sitting trot from the left lead canter on a circle. Good job Oats! I was very impressed with his ability to come back into work so well. Phew! 🙂 Feels SO good. My lesson mate also had a really nice ride on her boy, and was thrilled to see the progress to date. All in all, a great lesson to be coming back to.


To my extreme frustration, my leg is totally fucked. Like…I can tell the delamination has started and that was something I SO wanted to avoid. I started having trouble walking this week 😦 and it hurts going up the stairs, going down the stairs, and riding. YAY.

All that shockwave and strengthening exercises? Five WEEKS of them? Did shit all.

So I’m headed back down the road to having 6 months off. Yay me.

On that note, I’m stopping any attempt at running for a week, no more walk-jogs, nothing. If I can’t walk anymore, it’s gotten so much worse than how it started. 😦 Funny I have to have the discipline to NOT do anything???

Chaos by invitation?

Some good, some bad. I was celebrating on Friday (I can still drink sparkling wine, so that was on tap!) about Oats having his first riding lessons (though with trepidation), my leg was feeling better and things were looking up!

They still kind of are, but I am struggling with my leg injury again. ARGH. It was actively hurting today at the walk, which it hasn’t been since I got injured so good-byeeeee progress…. I had to go back to walking. Love it. Five weeks and counting, and I have not made measurable progress?? Things were looking up last week and then boom! Hurting again.

At least Oats is doing ok (watch I say that and then god only knows…). We had our lesson on Thursday, he had Friday off, then we did a lighter day on Saturday and he was pretty bad. Spooky, jumping out of his skin, etc etc. Our canter was nightmarish. Sunday he was worse- much spookier, and we were able to bump up the canter to three circles and they were all terrible, ha. Monday was another light day (we are doing it one day with more work, one day back off, much like what I was doing with my leg rehab until it got fucked up again). He was quite nice on Monday! Edgy and spooky, but his canter (only 1 circle) was quite lovely and his trot did get smoother, though I did feel resistance at first and it wasn’t amazing- just better.

And the weather, well I guess I can’t complain THAT much but can we get some spring weather?? Soon? Anytime? It feels like Feb. every single day. Some rain, but otherwise quite a dry March- just cold, unseasonably cold. Struggling to get to 10 deg, lows of 1 or -1 every night. What gives??? I have gone back to wearing my winter coats, because I have been so cold.

I guess the Year of my Discontent will just continue??? Or something? Good things are happening, just not very quickly and not very much good I guess.

At this point, food has been my only friend and companion!!

We are back! (sort of!)

That’s right, since this whole miserable journey started with Oats that first week of August: We had our first dressage lesson! Admittedly, the trainer I ride with is clear that I still have to be careful and ride the next two months as ‘after rehab’ so it is not like we go full-bore back in to literally anything, but STILL!

I want this again! Ah, soon.

I rode without a watch- that was my trainer’s job, ha. She timed our sessions of trot and canter, and then Oats gets today off, and on Saturday I will do less than I did in the lesson. Sunday I can go back up, Monday less, and then Tuesday is another lesson with my other trainer.

And that is the program we are working on 🙂 We also did a lot of walking, and then a session of trot, then back to walk, and then canter, and then back to walk.

He actually was moving really well by the end. He did start off a bit resistant and high-headed (because I can’t remember how to ride, obviously haha) but then by the time we got to the right lead canter, he was all business. He did have a hissy fit moment of ‘I AM DONE HERE’ when he thought he should be done, the quarter ran out! But then he let it go, hahah.

He is also going to have to learn that not all his rides anymore are walk, trot in a straight line, canter in a straight line, walk and you’re done. Nope!

So he has kept a lot of his fluidity and relaxation by the end of the ride with a soft frame. Go Oats!!! 🙂

I dream of the day we canter a circle as effortlessly as we did in the summer before it all turned to hell, of jumping a course outdoors smoothly and with a ton of energy. Soon, Oats, soon

Snack Reviews: A cheese to ward off the Ides of March

But before we get to the cheese goodness, anyone else feeling like the Ides of March came early? This past few weeks are just sort of cursed?? Just me?

Re-aggravated a stress fracture in my tibia -off for a month with it, fun fun, had a car drive at me head-on and then swerve at the last minute on Monday, Oats then proceeded to be an absolute loon to ride, had a riding accident on Tues where the horse FELL with me, had a racoon burst out of the loft door at the stables, freaking the heck out of me in the pitch black and I almost fell backwards down the loft stairs…Got woken up last night by a big bang- Ian had left a can of coke in the freezer and it exploded. Man. I could go on but you get the idea?!!

So, the only safe space right now is food. And I can celebrate that at least….With this! Black Lemon 100% Tasty by Ruscello:

That’s right, and what a cheese this is. Black as night, a Stygian darkness that looks quite frankly very intimidating. Ian bought it at Country Grocer purely because it looks so weird (and a throwback to our charcoal-hued squid pizza at Beer and Pizza Night hosted during Beer Week, RIP events..).

So how is it? Well, first of all I had to close my eyes eating it. I guess the adage ‘ you eat with your eyes’ is true? When you cut into it, the pieces look like some sort of goth Play-doh. The color kept really throwing me off, and I almost wanted to taste charcoal or something. The real flavour of the cheese is actually quite strange also. It is a very lemony cheese (I know right, first it’s pitch-black and now also lemon flavoured??) so much so that it has a dessert-like taste to it. The lemon is deep, nice and quite delicious. It doesn’t have a lemon Pledge aftertaste or anything, it’s super pleasant! One big caveat- you know how you shouldn’t brush your teeth and drink OJ? Well, this cheese has similar properties, and mixes VERY poorly with other, previous cheese-oriented pairings, like apple. I can honestly say I have never had anything like this before, and probably never will. I do recommend it, purely for the novelty and the thrill! I haven’t added it to any recipes (here is me pretending I cook, haah and nobody was fooled) but I can imagine it would go really nicely with a delicate pasta and a lemony sauce to really zing it up. Try it- if you dare 😉

And a zip back to normalness with this one: Oh Henry Level Up.

It is clearly meant for ‘gamers’ of that population I do feel like they missed the mark. Maybe something flavoured with Doritos Cool Ranch and Mountain Dew Code Red would be a better fit? Genre-bending aside, this is a fun little bar, with an emphasis on LITTLE. It’s tasty, quite delightful and I liked eating it a lot, but with one big caveat: It is too small and thin. Like, think about all the things that you see that are small and disappointing – a pile of money, a small ice cream cone, a rug, your paycheque, whatever. When you see it, and it’s that small, you are disappointed. That’s immediately how I felt about this bar- it could be way better if it was beefier. Maybe I am spoiled, in my volume-eating greed, by Reese’s bars having a certain heftiness???

It’s crunchy, has pretzels, caramel and pretty ok chocolate. It would be my dream bar if it was bigger! And psst… the Oh Henry with peanut butter is bigger and better. You didn’t hear it from me!

“That which can be destroyed by the truth should be,”

I can’t attribute this correctly because it has a few disputed authors, but you get it! Happy Women’s Day!

Me every day.

I still haven’t been writing much because I feel very frustrated, helpless and stuck. Now I’m injured while still rehabbing my horse. Good timing right? And I knew I was going to get injured on the path I was running, but I had to keep on and see how far my boundaries can go. So, now I know! But I am managing the aftermath and it sucks and I feel like I’m in an endless merry-go-round of watching the dates fall off the calendar not fast enough for me. I just mark off days now, and look forward to the next day, the next week, the next month….To heal, I guess?

It never happens as quickly as I would like. Not for me, not for Oats, and not for the world during a pandemic.

Gripes aside, I am doing a lot of rehab work for myself too, every single day. Oats is also nearing ONE more week of rehab- as of this Wednesday!! I can’t believe it. He has been a holy terror to ride the past few weeks. I don’t think we’ve had a single ride that hasn’t started with him absolutely losing his shit about every corner of the arena. Yeah, that gets old very fast. I kind of hate it and dread riding him now, every day. Joy of joys…I just want my sweet, good natured old man back. I know he’s acting this way because he is feeling good, and not getting enough work. Soon, Oats, soon!

At least I have my saddle back, which feels freaking fantastic!

So my schedule goes on as it has every single day for the past 9 months, with the exception that I can’t run or do HIIT or impact work at all right now because of my leg injury. So, even more fun. Blah…

Hopefully there is better news just around the corner for me. There sure is for Oats!

Still waiting for the day I catch a freaking break

This week and last week have been objectively bad for me. How, you ask? Oh, in so many varied ways. Let me number them!

Last week I developed a hot spot on my bone, AGAIN. Went to shockwave on Fri, to catch it early- and we are doing well in managing it, but I am staring down the barrel of at least 3-4 weeks of shockwave/rehab/walk-jogging to hopefully catch it before it turns back into another stress fracture. FUN TIMES.

Such a shame, we did have fun!

Monday I had a car drive head-on to me when I was driving to the barn. It swerved at the last minute, but jesus CHRIST I had my heart in my throat thinking I was going to die in a head-on collision. When I was riding, it was such a beautiful day- the warmest, nicest day we’ve had in forever! Oats was a total psychopath moron and he was spooking so hard he set off the other horses in the arena also. Yay. Facepalm city. He didn’t really settle much and spent the rest of the ride running backwards and slamming on the brakes.

When I got back to my car, it had been shit-bombed by 5 crows. So fitting.

Tuesday must be better, right? After all, I had a jump lesson and I was so looking forward to it! 🙂 WRONG.

I had an accident jumping, and my jump days and ride days with Faith are over, as per me. We were going so nicely, trotting in to a small two-jump gymnastic and then cantering out of it, around the corner, to prepare for the other two-jump gymnastic on the other diagonal. WELL, she had been a bit funny about spooking in my warmup- two spooks there, despite her wearing her ear puffies. We landed off the gymnastic, got the correct lead, and were cruising around the corner when BOOM! She spooked so hard and so fast that she lost her balance, and fell. Yep, that’s right- I didn’t fall off, the horse damned well fell with me. First time that has ever happened, and it scared the freaking bejesus out of me. We fell in slow motion compared with how fast and violent the spook was, so I had lots of time to kick my legs free and escape w/o being crushed. The only thing I have today is a bruise on my knee! I feel wracked and pretty stiff, not to mention it’s the same leg that I am treating for the hot spot…Well, what’s another injury on that leg I guess??

Sadly I ended my ride, and lesson days right there. To be honest I am not that brave, and I will not have trust in her anymore. It’s not fair to ride a horse you don’t trust- for you, or for them. I know this well enough by now, plus I still had to get Oats tacked up and rehabbed. That is harder to do if you are injured!! I have to stay at least reasonably healthy (I guess bad leg notwithstanding…). Oats was a total gem, I was a nervous wreck haha. He was back to his chill self, not sure what his nutso day was about? Oh well.

And then when I was finishing up with Oats, I went to get his ice book for his 20 minutes of ice, and a racoon bolted out of the cat door in the loft and scared the shit out of me!! And him I guess? I almost fell backwards down the stairs of the loft!!

I have had ENOUGH. Have you heard me, life? ENOUGH.