Cruel Runnings

This week was objectively much better than last! I’m feeling good, had my last day of shockwave and am now on a three-week trajectory to hopefully being able to run pain-free without flare-ups again, so why do I feel so ambivalent?

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I just want this good feeling back! Plus I miss the nice weather…

I have a horse show this weekend, and my lessons this week have been so…awkward that I am starting to not look forward to riding in it. Weird eh?

We worked on some technical polework in my lesson Wednesday and while hilarious, it was definitely a challenge (Oats was convinced we were JUMPING and why did we have to canter each pole nicely? Why??)…And then in my lesson yesterday, I just felt so stiff and disconnected and annoyed with Oats, who in turn ALSO felt stiff and his canter felt more like a bunny hop than a canter…It was not great. Our steering was miserable, his canter felt bad, I got really backed off in the grid-pole exercise and couldn’t focus.

Kind of a deflating few lessons. I like having super great power lessons to leave me on a confident high before my shows, but this week? Ha, NOPE.

I came out of my ride yesterday not really feeling disappointed (look, polework is tough for both of us, and I just couldn’t get in to the rhythm!), but feeling extremely ambivalent about riding in the show tomorrow. I just wanted to scratch. Sigh…

But when I get down to it, my goals for the show aren’t really anything? I want to have a fun time with my friends, and enjoy the companionship with my horse. If anything, I had a fabulous few rides last week and the weekend with Oats, so why does the impending horse show throw me in such a tizzy? Am I letting the pressure of it get to me, even if my goal is pretty much- show up, don’t embarrass yourself and learn something good!

Trying to puzzle out why I’ve felt so stiff, awkward and blah this week! I fee Oh well… I’m going to ride tonight, and for me the hardest thing about riding is to enjoy it and not make it a ‘workout’ for me and the horse. Tonight will be a test for me- can I be fair about it, and just cruise?

 

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What’s life without losers

Last week…Well, let’s wipe it off the map and start over, shall we?

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Same girl, same.

I spent the majority of the week feeling HORRIBLE. Insane bloating that would come on later in the afternoon, cramping from hell so severe that I couldn’t sleep, was writhing in pain for days, painkillers couldn’t even remotely touch it, I took so many that I got sick… And had what felt like a fever by Thursday. It had gotten THAT bad. Very reminiscent of the episode in May, where I was so sick/cramping that I couldn’t function.

So, that was great (sarcasm)… And anyways, just miserable.

I didn’t have my lesson on Thursday because it was basically a monsoon, and the arenas were closed due to the resurfacing of the outdoor arena- (thank god, because I couldn’t stand up without feeling faint or like I was going to puke), and we are rescheduled for this week.

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Oats: Oh, hey…You’re here early today? 

I’m still injured, just had my last day of shockwave today! The three-week countdown is ON! I also cancelled my marathon. I still have to wait out about three weeks…When my marathon was supposed to be in a month. HAH, life, you really screwed me BUT good this time!!

Fortunately amidst all this bitching, Oats has been a very good boy and a real joy to ride. Love him!!! 🙂 And I had a nice weekend, the weather was not great, but I had time to enjoy a cocktail and dinner with a friend on Friday night at Chorizo & Co., and then time for a nice Tod Creek cider (blueberry! Highly recommend!) with my husband in the afternoon on Saturday. All in all, a quite and pleasant weekend.

I will spite survive

A few weekends ago I went horse camping with friends! It was for a local trainer’s ‘Wine, Women and Working Equitation’ camping and clinic weekend and it was 100% what I needed! Jane Stone offered the course (limited entry), I had a great time, and Oats is SO GOOD at working equitation! His keenness and flexibility to learn makes me feel just overjoyed!

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You can’t fake a smile like that! Photos are courtesy of photographer Christi Kay. 

I took the Friday off work and we hauled the horses and a metric ton of camping gear, hay, grain, water (there is a drought right now) up island for our camping weekend. We settled in and I was happy to see that I could camp right next to my boy!  How awesome is that? I think we bonded even more because we got to camp next to each other for two nights 🙂

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The fixed gate obstacle was no problem for Oats!

Friday was an in-hand session, where we learned how to get the horse to yield and bend based off equitation science principles, specifically to work on aspects of the working equitation obstacles that we would be tackling. I’m not that great at in-hand… But hey low pressure and no fuss!

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Oats is so brave over the bridge!

Dinner that night was pizza from Prima Strada, and it was soooooo good. Yum! I sure ate well that weekend, no doubt. Saturday was our introduction to the obstacles, and we were all in different sessions. Oats was very cooperative about learning more about them (we have done a working equitation clinic before and loved it!) and he’s super good with the obstacles. Some of the other horses were not so sure about the obstacles…My friends each had their own hands full!

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I was…not great at the garrocha pole

Dinner was a potluck and we had a TON of food. I ate too much! hahah. My dear husband dropped off meatballs for me to bring AND cinnamon buns from the Ladysmith bakery (my absolute fav..ever!). It was just nice to relax and talk horses with my buddies.

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Around the ‘cattle pen’

Sunday was the ‘speed round’ and run-throughs of the course. Oats was a superstar~ I had trouble with the garrocha pole (felt like I was going soooooo fast, and had trouble timing it enough to grab it correctly), but man it was so fun.

It was exactly the weekend I needed, as I came home on Sunday night to pack for my flight out the next morning to work on my deployment to Lillooet. Busy busy!

Skip to the good part

Wow, so…Last post I read myself I was not doing great. Trouble with Oats, my leg was just feeling horrible thanks to shockwave treatments, and I was struggling.

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Still here. Now with bonus both legs! fuuuck

And how are things now? In a way, better. But not that much better?

I went to horse camping (and it was awesome! Much-needed, and I am going to post about that separately, I have been travelling for work and crazy busy lately). I went straight from horse camping to a work deployment for 8 days in the Interior B.C., and got back last Tuesday, had Wednesday off to do laundry, ride Oats, get groceries and get settled, and then was immediately back to getting shockwave treatment on Thursday morning, and then to work.

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Hiking with a colleague after work up Marriage Mountain.

Fun fun eh?

Work has been busy, and the shockwave continues to be a pain. I injured my left leg during my deployment and now am enjoying the experience of having both legs laid up. Yay?!! Not gonna lie, I was pissed when it happened. WTF is going on? So, I am now having shockwave on both legs. It’s as much fun as you can figure. UGH. FML.

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How cool is this??

My deployment was really cool though. So many neat and unique experiences! LONNG days holy shit, 12 hour days easily. I was exhausted! And no real opportunities to workout, unless you give the shed the firefighters work out of more credit…Hahahah.

I even rode on a helicopter! It was so cool.

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The ‘gym’

The food was good, my per diem sucked so hard, I was hungry all of the time, and I worked with some truly fun, committed and driven folks. It was hot, I was in a strange environment (working in a trailer, hah), and our water had arsenic in it!

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They had a lovely winery.

It was a great way for me to ‘step away’ from the insane angst that I was feeling the prior weeks. I still vacillate greatly from ‘ok I can handle this’ and ‘i have a plan’ to ‘WHY AM I STILL FUCKING INJURED AND PAYING A SHIT TON OF MONEY TO BE INJURED’…every day. It’s frustrating, expensive, painful and on I can go on and on and on…

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They grew heirloom tomatoes too! 

But being away really helped me to not bring that insane useless frustration I feel each day to my horse, Mr. Oats. He needs me to be a better person with him, not an angry or upset one. So I could come home and enjoy riding my horse again!  Yay! I felt like a wet noodle riding, but I had so much fun, and riding him feels like I am riding on a cloud…AH… That’s a great feeling 🙂 He takes care of me.

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It was so beautiful.

Don’t let it get to you

I will fully admit I was not in a good place yesterday writing my blog. I wrote that post out as a cry to help for my counselor (who I reconnected with yesterday and I already feel better about that, I am going to set up a session when I get back from horse camping). I felt like I needed someone to ‘trigger’ an emotional release with me, physically if that makes sense?

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Week 2 of shockwave. Ouch. 

I know when I was crying just thinking about it, that I was far overdue for an emotional release.

Everything seems to set me off, and I honestly think that dealing with a few harsh realities from the weekend (the show that went horribly, still being injured and in pain) were just…Too much to bear on Monday. Any Monday, really.

Anyways, I did my treatment yesterday, cried about it for awhile (it is absolutely EXCRUCIATING), felt miserable about the physio saying it could take another THREE WEEKS?! and downbeat about things for a bit, reached out for help and support, and felt comforted by what I can do.

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It’s great to have friends and colleagues who support you! 

I rode yesterday, and the arena was freshly dragged, and clean of all jumps. I rode on a loose rein, and let Oats dictate his headset and basically didn’t even steer. I let him make some decisions, and I walked, trotted and cantered. Around, around and around. Looping, moving, flowing. I didn’t practice anything. I just rode.

The freedom felt incredible. I felt open, not so scared, worried or frustrated. I was smiling. Sure my leg really hurt (it looks like a bruised banana today…So raw yesterday) but I was out there, and I was riding. Doing what I love.

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Just want to have fun (I know this by heart). 

I want that back, in my personal life and my riding life. I’m done with being closed off, hurt and mad. I think personally taking some of the ‘skin’ and anxiety out of the game is going to have to be how it is for me right now. Otherwise, all I can think about is how much time this injury is taking away from my training (Haaaaaaaaaaaaa well now that’s in the toilet!!) and how frustrated I feel with my horse if I want to train for horse shows and jump lessons.

My friend is taking over my jump lesson on Thursday, so I can watch. I can’t emotionally handle pressure right now, of any kind. I need to take a step back, and a step down. I realized that this weekend. To be the kind of rider I want to be for my dear pony, and the kind of athlete I want to be, I have to let it go.

It’s funny, I want to hang on to it with my fingernails. Isn’t that what strong, tough people do? Hang on? Even writing that, I felt upset and disappointed. The reality is very different- I was happier yesterday when I didn’t have an agenda.

 

I hope they get it right this time

Apparently pain is a great teacher. I hope it is, because lately all I feel is pain (emotional and physical?).
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My leg feels like a throbbing mass of pain basically everyday. I HATE IT. 

I had an amazing spring and early summer, it felt great! Things were falling into place (I won a small half marathon! Oats and I made our 2’6” debut and it was fantastic!) and was really in this ‘challenge me’ type of mentality that I was getting a lot out of and feeling strong and confident!
Now, it feels like everything that I worked hard for kind of went off the tracks. Oats went suddenly lame before a big horse show I was really looking forward to, and we had to pull out. That same week I tripped running home over a small hose leading to a construction site and face-planted quite dramatically on the pavement. I was ok with no serious injuries, but it scared me, was painful, and took a week or so to heal.
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The last show that went well. I see a lot of things to fix, but I remember having a really fun time and smiling. How do I capture that joy again? 

At the same time I tripped and fell, I unknowingly had developed an overuse injury in my leg and couldn’t run at all. I have now been off for a month, and while I am getting treatment for it, it is a slow process and can expect to be injured for another month at least. I am (or was..) in the middle of training for a fall marathon and now I feel like giving up.
Oats came sound after a few weeks- longer than I thought he would be off, which was anxiety inducing to say the least- (after I healed from my fall) and things just haven’t been very smooth. I feel frustrated and things just don’t feel happy and easy, like they were before everything happened. Our rides are full of tension and while I am taking lessons regularly, we have good moments but on the whole it feels rough, awkward and makes me feel unhappy.
This came to a head this weekend when I had him at a small, no-stress schooling show and he felt AWFUL. Tense, unhappy, distracted and very anxious. We were at the same show a month ago and it was night and day! I have such happy memories of how thrilled I was at the show and I was saying I loved riding him so much I wanted to canter forever, it felt so amazing!! We were actually worried he had an episode of gas colic, he was so out of sorts and acting strangely. Not like Oats at all!
I can’t really ascribe all of his behaviour to me and what I am feeling (mostly frustrated and in pain) he could just be having an off day too, but he does mirror me closely sometimes. Too closely.
I am taking a step back this week and having my friend and competent rider take over my jump lesson so I can watch. All I feel like doing these days is griping and crying about what I can’t do?! I feel like I can’t trust myself or my body to do or know the right things anymore.
When is the next step the right move? Where do I go from here?

Chicken friend

I now have a chicken friend, as she showed up at the barn one day and has hung around! I am not sure where she came from, but she started following me around at the barn last night hoping for food I guess?

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I had to oblige! I can’t NOT feed an animal that’s hanging around me, looking hungry!

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Oats likes the chicken because he knows the chicken is getting oats…