The pain caused by the good fortune of others

I am feeling this right now. UGH. I can’t remember what the german word for this is, but I’m sure they have a good one…

And honestly? I can’t really complain much. Oats is still lame, but his abscess is definitely progressing and day by day it’s grosser and grosser… On Saturday I peeled off his poultice and saw two bloody bruise spots on his heels. Oh good! I added a new poultice and asked the farrier when I should be replacing it, given how his abscess seemed to be moving quickly- and it looked HUGE.

She said every day now, so my husband and I decided to do our mega run on Sunday Funday a run…To the barn to treat Oats. Ha. Well ok that was my idea. 😉 His idea was to add in a detour to the barn. that accidentally added on about 7km to our regular route…It was an adventure, all right! A cool 20km journey TO the barn and 12k HOME from the barn. A 32km day! hahahha

At the barn we had our snacks and I took off Oat’s old poultice to examine and clean his foot. It looked about the same at first as Saturday- photo below:

IMG_1483

It’s basically his entire heel. FML.

But then I started poking harder at his heel, particularly in the space between the two eruption spots- you can see a sort of dark shadow there in this photo, and WOW it is so soft and mushy, it started turning red and pussing out immediately. Yick! Also the puss was pinkish? Not yellow? Gross and weird. I wanted to keep poking it, but left it alone with a new poultice for tomorrow (today’s) gross adventure in abscess-world… OH and my rotten pony pooped on my ARM when I was treating his damned foot! ARGH.

He’s loving wearing a boot, clearly feels good with it on. That is good because it shows me that this is indeed an abscess, and NOT another type of lameness. That is the worst!! My friend who has had a very difficult spring with her horse (Oaty’s big brother Donato!) had him come up suddenly lame last week also, a mere day apart from Oats’ sudden lameness. Only Donato’s was not his hoof- it’s his check ligament that is swollen. 😦 how much bad news can 1 person get?? I feel AWFUL for her. And creepily relieved that it’s not Oats with that problem just his bad hoof.

Can we get a break over here? I miss everything.

When your life feels like a loss

Happy 11th anniversary to my husband, and 10th anniversary to my horse Mr. Oats!

1936170_512443623909_4169579_n

11 years ago, we had summers! 

I truly wish we could just fast-forward this year. 2020 has just been one long chain of sucking. It started with a little trickle (for example, I was weirdly put out by the MEC races cancelling…and then boom! No more races at all, for the foreseeable future). How little I knew then, eh? How much I know now, sadly. 😦

I am very fortunate that Oats’ sudden lameness can be traced to an old existing abscess that lurked under the surface of his left hoof for months, apparently? All those really random, minor lamenesses he had a few months ago can be traced directly to it! Weird eh? But PHEW that is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

So, he gets treated with his poultice, Bute and a boot until *something* happens this time! I am super relieved.

Otherwise, we don’t get summer here anymore, so it’s been absolutely freezing, rainy, windy, grey and just miserable. Yay…

I can’t muster up any real cheer or celebration, just mostly low lying, existing dread for what comes next. This is probably what situation depression feels like?

Cursed? Let the panic spiral begin!

So let’s just preface this saying this blog post is a big, whiny, complaining rant. That is all I am capable of right now. I hate everything.

Why everything? Because I am cursed. And so is my friend. 😦

A laundry list of my complaints, grievances and griefs:

  • My grandmother collapsed and had to have emergency surgery requiring a pacemaker.
  • That same day my dear friend’s horse had a bad colic.
  • Then my hot water heater died that weekend ($$$$$$ goodbyeee) and my friend’s horse colicked again!
  • And then I got a call that Oats wasn’t eating his hay and acting strangely, so I called the vet and rushed out to the barn. He turned out to be fine, except this week…
  • We got a day off for Canada Day and decided to do a little hiking, exploring in Nanaimo. So we rented a hotel room, got ourselves dinner, enjoyed the evening….Wake up in the morning to texts and messages that Oats is dead lame. 😦
  • So we go to leave, instead of our hiking/exploring and the car is dead in the parking lot of the hotel. Perfect timing!
  • We got a jump, started it ok (def a battery issue) and drove home via Lordco to get a new battery and then to the barn. Fortunately the car started up again after we had it at the barn, and Ian was able to replace the battery at home later.
  • No heat/swelling at all on Oats, just dead lame. 😦

And today…More of the same. Not walking, not weight bearing, just hobbling. FML!!!!! And I get messages from the other boarders asking if I was going to call the vet. And then my friend’s horse, who colicked twice, had a scare this morning and thought he was DEAD!

Nope- just also dead lame.

GOOD GOD world. I hate you. I have had enough. I just spend every day fighting off crying. God damn.

Oh, and did I mention the weather has been absolutely miserable? Windy as fuck, freezing cold, grey. Not really that rainy, just cold and shitty.

YAY…..

I have a day off on Monday that I am seriously contemplating not taking, because I hate my life so much right now that I’d rather get paid to sit around and mope than just enjoy that miserableness on my own time. 😦 😦 😦

The Juan de Fuca Trail- China Beach to Bear Beach

So every Sunday my husband and I do ‘Sunday Funday’ and pick a location to do a mega run/hike/trail run at. We have gone up island to Duncan to run Maple Mountain, Mt. Tzouhalem, to Courtenay/Comox to run to Cumberland, and locally, the Galloping Goose in Sooke to the Malahat run. We have been all over!

IMG-0136

You cross a lot of small creeks/waterfalls.

Last weekend I ran solo, a few loops of Elk Lake, which is a pleasant solo run because you can run to your car to get water (there are no water fountains open anymore because of COVID19 and I guess no hand sanitizer in the washrooms/outhouses anymore either, to my extreme displeasure).

IMG-0139

It got hot, but it was ok.

This weekend we went somewhere a little different- the trek out to the Juan de Fuca trail! We are very familiar with the 1 beach- China beach, but we wanted to trail run from China beach to Bear Beach. It’s not that far- about 7km- but can be quite wet, muddy and rugged. And boy, it was!

IMG-0145

We ran the 2km to China beach and it was PACKED with people. Every available square spot to park in was taken. People were crawling everywhere. I really didn’t like that- it’s just too busy now, the new Thetis Lake or East Sooke Park or something?

So it was a lot of stop and go.

We got to the beach and it had a ton of people on it too. A nice day (rare for us, we don’t really get nice weather anymore in the summer) and I guess literally everyone wanted in.

So we went down the beach and picked up the Bear beach trail and continued that way. It had far fewer people, but for a quite narrow and technical trail, it was very busy with camp hikers coming back. One guy even gave us licorice, haha. Of course I accepted it! 😉

IMG-0157

We splashed, climbed and scrambled our way to Bear beach, which was completely deserted. So that was worth it! It was a gorgeous day. I picked a bunch of Salmon berries, we enjoyed our Lara bars (protein ones, I don’t like the blueberry-lemon, ick I think it tastes like lemon Pledge, but the Apple Cobbler are good), and took some photos, and then ran back. On our way back we saw a mink!!! Just a zip of brown and he was gone, into the rocks to the ocean. Wish I could have seen him up close and for longer.

IMG-0158

The cliffside was really cool! 

It was WET! My legs got covered in mud, hahah. Big splashes everywhere!! I gave in and gave up and just went for it hahahahhaha.

By the end of the run, even my toenails had mud embedded in them, hahaha. A good adventure and a lovely day, to make up for how miserable and craptacular I was feeling on Saturday.

Jump to it!

So I had my jump lesson on Saturday (like, real jumping, not dressage jumping) and it went pretty well! We worked over a small course, and the jumps were teeny-tiny, ha. I, on the other, hand, was feeling like total crap. We had gotten rudely woken up by movers wanting us to move our car so they could get into out neighbour’s house, which is fine, but they were here before 8am!

IMG_1463_Moment(2)

I want this…

I had a terrible sinus headache, staggeringly bad allergies, and felt fuzzy, muzzy and really exhausted and weak all day. Great for a riding lesson eh? My head felt like an effing balloon. I couldn’t remember a damned thing and my head/sinuses were going to explode.

video-1592722246_Moment(3)

When I am doing this! How?

So yeah the lesson was fine, I just felt like absolute garbage for the entire day. I couldn’t wait to get home and sleep on the damned couch. Which I basically did as soon as I finished my lesson, ha. My allergies have taken over my damned life.

Also I am having trouble trying to get the right ‘feel’ from my Thursday lessons to translate to my jump lesson days on Saturday. I LOVE the feeling I have on Thursday, and then I get to Saturday and it feels… wimpy? I can’t get him off my leg, or get any connection. He breaks gait, slows to the fences, etc. Just not the same. How do I reconcile this?

Something to work on!

New adventure in dressage-jumping!

So we revisited the lesson from last Thursday, with a focus on ‘building’ the canter up to be a bigger, more energetic and ‘jumpy’ canter rather than a very tightly controlled ‘small’ canter.

IMG_1463_Moment(2)

Some choice screengrabs 😉

Dressage with speedbumps!

I now tend to think of dressage for me as a process of going through stages. First we developed his ‘stretchy’ frame, next we bump the frame up a bit for his ‘jump’ frame and then kind of toggle through both. But you need the first one to get the second, if that makes sense?

It’s a sort of transitional phase.

IMG_1463_Moment

But so uphill! I love it! 

And yesterday had some very rocky moments (his right rein was not a thing, apparently) and he had 1 BIG spook that almost got me off, hahah. Stupid pony! But no matter, I enjoyed the end process and I think I am getting a better idea of how to manage his canter, both on the flat and through the jumps. Both trainers are right- his jump/my jump issues stem from a weakness in managing the canter.

IMG_1463_Moment(3)

Heading to a small jump and he still looks good! 

If I’m not connected to him at the canter, how WILL I know where the takeoff spot is? I am too disconnected to know or figure it out! And I can feel that, I just didn’t know how to fix it.

This time I am happy to say he nailed every single distance, ha. We didn’t really jump (ok, they were cavaletti size, ha super small) much, but it was higher quality and the canter improved. We did get a little shakier and flat as we wrapped up, but I was able to watch the video and damn…His canter is looking FANCY. I also am reaching the point of jumping where this little stuff is…Not hard. Taking the spectre of ‘jumping’ out of jumping is working well for me.

My hands suck and I sit behind the motion, soooo ignore me. But Oats! Wow! Loving this. I also appreciate that in the 10 years I have owned him, I am still learning so much with him. It’s a journey, isn’t it?

 

 

 

You, Forever

So I alluded briefly to this, but damn the weekend really went sideways. I was working/on call Saturday, so I had Monday off as my weekend. Sounds good, right?

WRONG.

I had a poor ride on Sunday- it felt crummy, and 100% my fault- so I was looking forward to meeting with my equine counselor to review my issues on Monday and I had the luxury of time! What a good opportunity, right?

IMG_1454

Oats decides to eat his hay (we don’t keep halters on in their homes, I just wanted to see if he would eat after I hand-grazed him).

HAaaaaa.

I woke up to about 10 text messages from the morning feeder, who said Oats didn’t eat any of his night time hay, wasn’t eating his morning hay, was sulking at the back of his paddock and refused to get turned out.

Instantly alarm bells were ringing in my brain. Colic? What is going on? Oats’ friend Donato had a big bout of colic on Tuesday last week (and then I learned ANOTHER round of it on Sunday which is quite rare and frightening). Shit shit shit shit shit!!

So I called the vet, they said to go out and take his temp, see how it is and let them know.

I rushed out, tossed on jeans and a tshirt and raced out to the barn. Oats looked fine, his temperature was normal-to-low, and yep all of his hay was still there. The vet asked me to hand graze, and he was very eager to eat grass. So the next step was to shake out the hay bags and see if it was the hay, or if it looked different, would he eat it? Yep! He started eating it.

So WTF? They just said check on him, see how he is throughout the day. So I left, ran some errands (and yeah just went nuts at Greenhawk and bought a bunch of stuff…a new helmet, gloves, a replacement fly mask and SWAT for his poor swollen sheath).

IMG_1455

My stress buying stuff. June has been just so crappy. To be fair, I did need a new helmet for safety.

I went back to the barn to apply the SWAT and Oats was back to eating his hay like nothing had happened. Weird. I left a note on the board saying to not turn Oats out in the paddock he was freaking out about, and flagged it online to the stable community…And then I got the message about why, exactly, he was acting so weird.

He had gotten left out till about 8pm in the paddock. His stomach was likely sensitive to due to being out on grass for that long, and he was in a big snit about being ‘abandoned’ in the pasture the next morning too.

Soooooooo that was why. SIGH! I had to text my counselor to cancel. Just too many things going on (see below also…).

No harm no foul, but sheesh I almost had heart failure after my friend’s TWO colic episodes last week…On a hair trigger.

OH and the best part? My hot water heater also died this weekend, so we enjoyed some cold showers and then it got replaced yesterday, a cool 4 hours of that happening and we got to kiss about $2k goodbyeeeeeeeee…FML.

And when I took my dog to the beach, there was a naked guy swimming. UGH.

I hate weekends sometimes. Jesus GOD.

 

Wanting things isn’t enough

Had my jump lesson this weekend, and it was a good one (before my actual weekend went to hell in a handbasket, but that’s definitely tomorrow’s rant..). We worked on a very simple exercise, focusing on almost exactly the opposite of what I did in my dressage-jump lesson, hahah!

video-1592722246_Moment

Enjoy some blurry screenshots! I miss riding outside in the summer…SIGH. Oh and my leg definitely slipped back here, ha. 

I intellectually understand the value of both exercises, but still feel a bit torn about which one do I follow more closely? Can I do both? I feel like Oats is good at cruising, but he’s also… just cruising, so if you want to go anywhere, you’re kind of SOL. Whereas maintaining a more ‘showjump’ seat and ride, with those sharp turns, and flexible hands, seems to get me nailing EVERY distance. What to do?

video-1592722246_Moment(2)

One jump was a decent size. Old me would have laughed at it, but new me is like, WOW it is bigger? Oats didn’t care one way or the other. 

I want to be soft, forgiving and flexible. I also want an active, energetic seat that nails every single distance. How do I get both?

Oh and my ride on Sunday should have gone better but I had SO much tension and it kind of sucked. Like, it was ok but I want my hands to be softer, more forgiving even if he loses his marbles in the corner? Maybe I just need constant trainer supervision to keep me honest?!

I do want to ride better, and I think each day I can make that my opportunity. I just need to not get sucked into his drama (OH and there was drama this weekend arghh).

Oats gets a lesson in dressage-jumping

I had my dressage lesson (I am doing them each Thursday, instead of every other Thursday) because I wanted to really get ‘back on track’, you know?

And we did…Little jumps! In a dressage lesson!

It was actually really cool, and built upon the principles of the work we have been doing for the past couple of weeks (stretching, asking for stretch and contact through my ring fingers and ‘letting go’ with my arms, instead of statue arms) and bumped it up to start jumping!

67754596_720783861683615_5350773400996413440_n

The jumps were tiny, like this one. Miss riding outside though, arghhh.

This means a higher frame, but a more responsive contact and not flinging his head up in the approach. These were tiny little x poles, cavaletti type things, not real jumps, BUT it could give me the feeling of jumping, while still being focused on the dressage exercise, rather than on ‘the jump’ dun dun dunnnnnnnnn

Oats did really well actually! It was tricky, and I struggled a bit but it was really cool and by the end, we were getting every single distance. We did still have his head fly up in the 3 strides before, but it was getting better each time.

What we did was a type of ‘circle to the left’ exercise…So, jump the jump, and then immediately circle left, to the next circle and then left to another jump, and another circle…Just constantly going left, over a jump, circle, go large, left over the jump, left… Phew! Of course I forgot where I was going a few times, circled right, but it was actually better than I thought.

I’m sure it looked like hell but felt darned good- it was taking what we did last week (small circles in the canter, getting him off my legs instead of ‘statue-riding’ frozen in place) and just adding in small jumps to sharpen him to the ‘turn, stay off my right rein, jump’ process.

All good work and I felt pretty excited to be doing it! Yay Oats!!

 

Oats gets a lesson in patience

IMG_1451

He looks so innocent.. 

I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but Oats has quickly developed into a total moron in the indoor stable cross-ties. He was ok for the farrier a few times, and then last time he was fidgety and rude, and when the farrier left, he had a total meltdown…Managed to flip himself around in the cross-ties, SAT on the garbage can and handwash stations, flinging stuff absolutely everywhere and had a giant scrape on his face, thanks to him managing to turn completely around.

Jesus!

Ok, so the next farrier appointment we had outside and he was not great either, but not terrible.

Yesterday I had the saddle fitter come out to check my saddle and put more air in it (he is the owner of the brand I have, so I have him check everything once a year). Oats was only in the cross ties for under 30 minutes, and yet….

He starts going crazy and crashing the crossties as loudly as he can and banging around and generally being an idiot. And that’s how this idiot ended up hung up on the damned ceiling, like a fish! EFF!!!

IMG_1447

I had to run to him, unhook the cross tie from his halter, get a CHAIR, stand on the chair and unhook the damned x-tie from the ceiling.

After that, Oats got a really good ‘come to Jesus’ lesson that involved me being puffed up, big and VERY ANGRY every time he moved backward, forwards, sideways or was being otherwise dumb. One FOOT and I came roaring in to make him regret it. (I held the broom and slammed it against the wall, floor or x-ties, he doesn’t need to be physically hit with anything for this).

We repeated that little exercise a few time, he moves, I come RUSHING in and make him regret it! I pretended to leave, and waited to see what happened. He has to learn that he stands, end of story. No dancing, no sitting down, no flinging.

In the end, he stood somewhat nicely and that was ok. He got a candy cane as a treat 🙂

And I do have a real feeling we will have to repeat this little exercise a few times to MAKE HIM GOOD IN THE XTIES AGAIN. I’m just glad there weren’t any people around..It was pretttty special.

Chriiist..He is 18 years old turning 19. And this? Still being an royal idiot.