Help me

My life in a nutshell. Check out the artist exhibit at https://www.vancouverbiennale.com/artworks/vancouver-novel/

So, yeah.

Yesterday’s update was ok. Not good, not bad. Truth be told, I struggle every single day with this strange, ‘Groundhog Day’ life I live now. I basically complain every day that things never get better- only worse. That isn’t true, but darn it feels like it is.

So far this year/month/months/existence…

I had some time off this summer, long weekends and such- after working on 40 events in 2 weeks, it would be nice to have time off right? WRONG. We got seriously affected by bad air quality, thanks to forest fire smoke sweeping across our province. I sat inside and cried all weekend, most weekends. Time off was my enemy.

My mental health started crumbling. Pretty badly actually. I’m going to start taking anti-anxiety medication, to see if I can get through this period of my life.

I accidentally poisoned myself with Lobster mushrooms. Now that is a fun experience…It felt like my stomach was turning itself inside-out.

At the same time as my painful food poisoning, I had a SEVERE flare-up of endometriosis. So fun. Imagine your stomach in incredible pain, and then having excruciating cramps, bloating, back pain and crushing fatigue at the exact same time. I couldn’t eat, I was starving, and yet my abdomen was so bloated out I couldn’t do up my jeans. I have been on a treatment for this disease, but man, the flare-ups are killing me.

I got a cold, out of nowhere? How? I don’t even go anywhere?

I haven’t really felt that motivated to do anything that I normally enjoy. I run a lot, when I’m too sick or weak to do so. But I feel like a hollow shell of who I used to be, generally.

I got sick, from some bizarre reaction to wine of all things? I had a 7-day sinus headache, chills, body aches, and fatigue. I had to get a COVID19 test, because those were all symptoms, of course. It was negative, luckily! But the test itself also didn’t work that well- it jammed against my sinuses and they said they’d never had that happen before… Now it feels like I have a hole in my left sinus. WTF?

I was too weak from the cold, and then back-to-back disease flare-up and concurrent mushroom poisoning to do much working out, running, or anything. I basically worked, and then went to job # 2, Oats.

Oats then got diagnosed with cushings. A mild case, the vet was careful to tell me, but worth treating ASAP. So, I get to now spend more $$$$ than ever on a broken pony. He is on Previcox for arthritis, Prascend for cushings, I had to buy low-sugar hay, and now monthly vet visits for ultrasounds and check-ups. Yay.

So, yeah. Lots to be thankful these days <<sarcasm alert>>

Eulogy for you and me

I stopped writing this blog on Aug. 13. That was when Oats was diagnosed with a tear in his mesotendon, the membrane that covers the medial tendon near the DDFT. I just had this 3-month check up yesterday, and how has it progressed?

All we can do is walk.

Good and bad. He does not need surgery, as it didn’t break loose. It, however, is HUGE. So…That’s not great. Any bad movement and it will snap ‘like a rubber band…’ according to my vet. So, yeah. I didn’t even ask about long term prognosis, it didn’t seem worth it.

No turnout- ever again. 😦

I can start trot rehab with him, for the next 2-3 months (what the vet calls actually rehab. My other work with him, every single goddamned day, was merely recovery. Hah.) Shoot me.

Goodbye forever jumping

Oats at least has been the ideal rehab candidate. Not stupid in the arena, basically turned into a chubby, lazy slug. I can appreciate that greatly, given he had a few major freakouts over the past three, going on four, months. I will take lazy! He thinks he is retired now.

I will do the trot rehab, with my rehab partner who handles Fridays for me (a steal at $30/day!), and then we have another re-check before he will be allowed to canter. That takes us to 7 months of this effing journey. Yay.

I have been out at the barn every single day since Aug. 6 to help Oats with his recovery (except for Fridays starting mid-Sept, phew). It’s a lot. I have not felt happy, contented in months. I don’t have great sense of humour anymore. I cringe at the touch from another person. I just wish I could get out of it.

After this saga, I was saying I either want 3 horses, or no horses. How much pain are you willing to deal with? I don’t know anymore, but I guess a lot.

Don’t you hate it when you’re right?

Or: I officially give up.

Got the diagnosis and while it’s not all bad, it’s still bad. Oats has a partial tear in his medial tendon near the DDFT. While it is not a whole tear, it still isn’t great. He will be on rehab for the next 3 months, and then we can reassess if he will need surgery or if it has started healing on its own. No field turnout- maybe never actually. 😦

I do have to ride, funny enough. Walk rides, 20 mins a day, every day. Icing his leg. /after our ride, I use DMSO + cortisone, which my vet will drop off at Greenhawk for me next week. Wrap up the leg. Rinse, repeat.

Get the vet out in a month, see how the swelling goes.

My horse camping weekend is cancelled, it was supposed to be next week. 😦 My trip up island is cancelled, as I have to do his rehab religiously now starting tomorrow.

I think this is it for my blog or until he recovers or something good happens. I am not in a good place anymore.

 

It’s not a secret unless it hurts you to keep it

Oats is lame, and this time it’s not a ‘oh just a big abscess’ sigh of relief. He is REALLY lame, and it looks serious, and it felt serious. And I also feel like I caused it.

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From this, last weekend…

He went kind of off on Thursday. I got to the barn early to set up some jumps in the field (love jumping in the field!!) and prepare for my Thursday lesson, which is my dressage lesson but to keep Oats fresh and interested, we do some jumps here and there too, mixed in.

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To this, this weekend. FML. 

When I got Oats into the cross-ties, my heart sank, a bit. I saw his right hind ankle/pastern was very slightly swollen. I knew that this meant he was very likely lame, and I was right, unfortunately. I took him down to the field, hopped on, walked around to warm up and trotted…BAM. Head-bobbing lame on the right. Pretty good on the left though.

We both saw it, I definitely felt it, and I hopped off to cold hose & wrap his leg. It wasn’t that bad, the swelling and everything, so on Friday I decided to saddle him up and ride him, see if a day off made a difference (he was not turned out at all). He was ok, about 80% there so I could sense ‘some’ change but nothing that bad. We did light w/t/c and slowed to a walk, I was going to hop off and everything changed in 1 instant. He stumbled, HARD, and almost went down.

He was instantly, seriously, lame.

Game over for us. 😦

With my friend facing a recent, terrible lameness episode (that will take up to 2 years of rest/rehab) to resolve, it’s fair to say I am on an absolute hair trigger. Oats has a vet appointment on Thursday and every single day I play a miserable waiting game. This summer has been just terrible.

Easy to corrupt

And…Oats is lame again. EFFFFFFF.

I can’t string together two good weeks this entire goddamned summer. Yay. Missed out on my dressage lesson, even when I went out early to go set up stuff in the field to use. I pulled Oats out into the cross-ties, went to brush him and immediately noticed a puffy right ankle. Not that bad, but enough to make me wonder, and bingo, my wondering was right. He was lame on the right hind.

Trotting to the left he was ok, to the right= lame. 😦 both myself and my trainer noticed it immediately. Wrapped, cold hosed and freaking fingers crossed AGAIN.

Nobody can catch an effing break this summer, eh? Oh and also Tucker has been on and off again not eating/going downhill this week too. YAY…….life is so great, isn’t it?

BC Day Adventures on horseback

So I have a friend who is big into trail riding- she has a great trail horse, and all the fun gear like a speaker that hangs on the breastplate of her saddle, and a TRAILER! I am a self confessed trail riding chicken with my own horse. Other trail horses, no prob. Trail ride on Oats? Ughhhhhh…no.

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However, since our other friend has a horse that is recovering from a torn ligament and will likely be off for a year (god, now that is another bad story entirely 😦 ) Our trail friend had nobody to ride with, and so I gathered up my courage and said I would ride on the trails with her. And so, a plan was made!

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We went up to Glenora on Sunday, to the Cowichan Valley Trail that is basically a section of the Trans Canada Trail. There are a few trail options at the trailhead there, but we took the most basic one- straight ahead 🙂 It is very horse-friendly, with lots of parking, two small paddocks, hitching posts, water and a manure pile.

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I asked my husband to come as our lead rider on his bike! We were honestly not at all sure how Oats would be on the trail, so we thought it would be safest to have a hand on the ground just in case the horses got nutty.

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They didn’t though! Good as gold! I was really impressed and surprised. Oats can get silly waiting- he tries to rear, or go in circles, but otherwise he was as cool as a cucumber. From the minute I got on, he was just chill. He is NEVER like that at home on the trails, so I was pretty surprised.

We even got to the trestle and the horses were like no big deal?? Even my dog is afraid of bridges (but she is a huge wimp, sooo…).

We chatted, rode, had snacks and water from Katie’s saddlebags and I even rode up behind Ian to grab a Clif bar out of his backpack while he was cycling. I never thought I would be able to do that?! It was so fun, and just a really chill day.

Rocky (Katie’s dog) was also really well behaved too. The trail was busy, lots of cyclists, runners, dogs, but the horses and everyone kept it together and I was appreciative of how respectful and careful the cyclists and other trail users were. Yes! Plus it was great of Ian to come and ride his bike, because then he could pick berries for us- there were thimbleberries, wild blackberries and huckleberries. Yummy!

What a great day.

Heavyweight Champion of the Year

Jump lesson~! Now, it had been a good few weeks since I jumped (holidays, missed lessons, Oats had an abscess) so I was ready for a good one and it did NOT disappoint! 😉

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Whee! So cute

We are still in the indoor- the outdoor is…a mess and I am not sure when it will be back in action. As of yesterday it was still too deep! But we had some fun new jumps, so I enjoyed experimenting with those for sure.

We warmed up pretty well, it was feeling like a hot day and even though my lesson is pretty early- 10am, and I am warming up by 9:40, it felt quite warm and I was still recovering from a terrible sinus headache that plagued me ALL day on Friday. So my head felt like a balloon…But Oaty was great!

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Ha, I never ride in the arena anymore….Fields for life! 

We worked over a small course, smoothing things out. The circle jumps went really well for the first few times and then by the last course, I was tired and definitely not on my game. HOWEVER because I have a bad habit of bailing out when I get tired or to my third round, I just felt like, who cares? I will keep doing it! Keep trying! And it was fine- we did grind to a stop in the final fence, but I take credit for that mistake..I kind of stopped riding. We re-approached and bingo! It was excellent.

Love the summer weather for sure- just wish the pandemic/work wasn’t so insane as per usual this summer… 😦

Nelson is great in the summer!

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After spending time in Kelowna, we headed up to Nelson to do a little exploring, trail running and eating/drinking. And it was fabulous! Very hot, sunny and gorgeous out. We stayed at a cool hotel downtown- the Adventure Hotel- which is pet friendly. Great because we had both critters with us 🙂

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We went on a trail run on the Trans Canada Trail, and there were SO many thimbleberries!! Very tempting, and I guess, tempting for bears as well…

Since it was quite hot in Nelson, we did the run in the morning, and did a little bushwacking and found an old railway (still had the ties), followed it down to the lake, while getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. It was a gorgeous little interlude.

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Then we got back to the room and the sun was very intense. We grabbed a drink/shower, and went for a walk along the waterfront with Gidget. It turned out to be a pretty long walk and WOW I had a terrible headache by the end of it. Turns out Ian and I both got a bit of sunstroke that day….I felt awful for the entire day. Never shook it.

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We then went to a local brewery and enjoyed a beer, and by that time I was developing a miserable headache…

We chilled in the room for a bit, feeling like crap, haha. Then we went to this cool Hungarian restaurant and the food they had was pretty great! We only went out to eat at places that we could sit alone, nobody close by, and outdoors. This one fit the spot!

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The next day we had to pack up and begin the loooooooong drive back to the Island. Of course we had ferry drama- but we made the 6pm!! if you can believe it!! And we were all pretty darned tired, Gidget, Ian, Tucker and me. 🙂

More summer vacation adventures!

As I left off, I celebrated my birthday with family in Kelowna, and took my dad trail riding in the Westbank, and we picked a ton of sour cherries.

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The small red dots? Swimmer’s itch…picture it EVERYWHERE.

We also went to Peachland and went swimming- it is such a gorgeous spot, and excellent for visiting and swimming. There are bathrooms aplenty, free parking, a dive tower, a swing rope over the lake, and lifeguards.

The only thing I didn’t realize they also had? SWIMMERS ITCH! 😦

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Swimming- in the pool this time, phew! 

Dude we got it so bad. Hah. I was scratching like crazy out of the water and at lunch (outdoor patio at the big German place. It was good!). But damn we got it bad. We were soooooo itchy. And the next morning, we realized that everyone had tonnes of red welts all over. Hah. Lesson learned!

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Great margaritas on the patio in Penticton!

I stuck to swimming in the pool after that 🙂 And at Skaha Lake, where we went for a quick dip after visiting Penticton, such a lovely little town with quaint shops and a great and very reasonably priced Mexican restaurant, where again, we chose safety and sat outdoors at a patio with no patrons nearby.

Ian and I also spent a day going to two different wineries and checked out BNA Brewery. It was really cool (literally…it was about 35 degrees out) and they offered you still or sparkling water for FREE! Bonus points in my books!! Plus they had some giant model horses that I was sooo envious of!

Next up in our adventures…Going to Nelson!

 

Love at low speed

Back from a week of holidays and wishing it was more like…THREE weeks. MAN.

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Safety first! 

I went to the Interior (Kelowna) to visit my parents who moved there this winter. It was super hot, gorgeous weather, and I can’t complain! 🙂 I also celebrated a birthday, which was nice. We had black forest cake with sour cherries that we picked ourselves!! Can you believe it?

I flew, which is an experience on it’s own these days. All people in terminals and on the air plane must wear a mask, and there are no drink services. Instead, the air line gave out little baggies with a tiny water bottle, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitation wipes, and a mask. I thought that was a pretty good touch, though I had my own water because I get super thirsty.

It was eerie, for sure though. I have not been close to people in months, and now we were crammed in shoulder-to-shoulder, all wearing masks. There was a temperature check at the gate, where they hold a little heat sensor to your forehead and then mark on your ticket.

Flying itself was fine, though I had approximately 4 screaming babies per airplane and no headphones, mine died the minute I got on the plane and I was trying to charge them up unsuccessfully the week before…:(

But anyways, it was about 34 deg in Kelowna! I took my dad trail riding to a place we used to go for years…Probably for about 20 years! It was called Mandy and Me, and it went under about 5 years or more ago. Now, a lovely young couple runs it as ‘Broken Rail Ranch’ and we enjoyed the same trails as before. Awesome eh?

The trails also run alongside a defunct sour cherry orchard, and the owner of the trail business said nobody picks it, so if we wanted, we could come and pick from it. And we did! The next day in the evening, we went to pick about… 50lbs of sour cherries.

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And there were even more than this! So many cherries. 

They were great! I did realize the next day when we were pitting them that there were a ton of maggots in them too, hahaha. Whoops! No chemical sprays here! Good thing a little maggot eating isn’t bad for you.

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Cherry picking with my family.

Our next adventures to be continued…