We were wild

I had a really nice weekend, despite the fact that I am still sort of in the grips of the ‘death cold’ and Ian picked it up as well, UGH. My energy levels aren’t great still, I am coughing up grossness and blowing my nose every two seconds still. BUT I was able to get off the couch to do things, so that is a big win!

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And just in time too, because I had lots of plans for this weekend- I didn’t go ride on Friday, partly due to my extreme fatigue/sickness, but also I had to make approximately one million cookies to decorate as part of my holiday festivities for my friends on Saturday night. I had a few friends over and we had a blast! Cocktail hour with snacks/appetizers and mulled wine and mulled cider, which is my specialty, and then our activity- cookie decorating, and then dinner! It was such a lovely night.

I did get a lot of running and riding in, though my run on Saturday was short and miserable due to my endless coughing, nose blowing, and incredible fatigue. I only ran like 6k I think? And it felt tough.

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I wasn’t super happy with my ride on Oats on Sunday- I got way too wrapped up in angsty perfection-chasing, which is NOT normal for me. I had to take a break, re-set my brain and let things go. This includes me clenching my jaw and feeling tense…Sheesh. Every time I think I’m past that kind of tension, it comes roaring back. No fair!

Oh well, I am planning on a fun bareback ride today, and in reality, I had a GREAT ride on Saturday- he felt like riding a cloud! Smooth, effortless, easy. I loved it.

Plus the weather has been fantastic- warm, I was running in shorts, and not even that rainy! How amazing is this, compared with the awful deep freeze of a few weeks ago? Aren’t we so lucky? I love it!!

I don’t believe people ever change. But I’ve changed.

So I am slowly getting over the grips the death cold had on me (wow, it was grim this week) and I had my riding lesson back again too! I had to cancel last Thurs – actually my trainer cancelled because too many people were sick, and I was really starting to go down that road myself, and I was bound and determined to have a LESSON yesterday!

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Remember when we jumped a little house?

I practiced up by riding on Wednesday- it was ok, as Wednesday was the first day I was physically able to stay at work without going home early, though I still felt pretty miserable and tired.

Thursday I was more or less back in action- still feeling physically weak and coughing up a ton of grossness, as well as blowing my nose oh, every two seconds. BUT I could do it! On my way to the barn I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open, I felt so tired and exhausted, but I wanted to ride! The fatigue with this sickness has been truly eye opening. Wow. I have never felt so exhausted in my life.

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Loved this jump photo! Back from when we did our first derby! 

Anyways, I made it and the weather has mercifully turned back to mild so at least I wasn’t freezing my ass off or dealing with lung- freezing and the resultant coughing.

I am happy to say that despite my feebleness and ineffectual riding (ok that’s how it felt, Nicole said I was actually riding pretty well), Oats was on FIRE! He was so good! I love my pony, he is a little superstar. Nothing too big height wise, but we worked on long approaches to a single fence, and then 1 small sort of ‘blind’ bending line, which we aced every time- it was our best line I think! Oats even took a very enthusiastic jump to a small oxer and almost sent me over his head! I could barely hang on…I was NOT expecting to get jumped out of the tack! hahahahah

Can hardly fault the boy for jumping too well! What a star 🙂

I was really, really happy with how the lesson went, even though I was weak and basically clinging on to him. Mr. Oats is a saint pony.

Deep into this: Try something new

Had a very decent weekend, where I tried my FIRST SPIN CLASS! Woo! A colleague is an instructor at the spin studio downtown, and I have been promising to try it out for oh…A solid year now? In my defense, my weekends can get really busy (training, travelling, horse shows, races, riding…) so this past weekend, I dropped my excuses and just did it! And I liked it!

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I miss the summer…

I did see how it could get really intimidating…I am not a cyclist, and I don’t know how to use clip on shoes, so he had to clip me onto the bike and when I clipped out, I couldn’t see well enough to get them clipped back in, hah. Luckily it was at the end of the class when we were stretching, so I just hopped off and stretched off the bike.

The room is not very big, and it’s dark. The music is loud and really fun! The choreography was not very complicated, thank god because I am the WORST at figuring out what I am supposed to be doing, and nobody likes a class where you spend the whole time fumbling instead of working it out!

It was super warm, so I was sweating my ass off. I like that! I worked pretty darn hard, I’d say. My body was unused to the exercise, for sure- felt quite different from running. I don’t normally get so hungry running- this- I was freaking ravenous. I did have a real ‘ephiphany’ moment riding the bike thinking, I am going to be so healthy and virtuous after this! Salads! Smoothies!  and I would say that feeling lasted, oh…until I jogged home and straight to a candy shop. Whoops! And ate Ramen for lunch. Oh well, it’s winter right?

I had lunch, cooled off and then went to ride- and I think I had a good ride? It was a flatwork ride. Sunday my legs were definitely feeling the workout- I went to ride in the morning, after meeting Oats’ new farrier (I think she seems nice and good at her job, phew!). I went to do my ‘homework’ ride and my legs were straight-up burning. Whooow… Those xpoles never worked me so hard!

Yesterday is my ‘easy’ day, so I do not run, only do minimal working out and more stretching at the work gym, and I rode Oats bareback. It was freaking freezing. Ugh.

It’s an easy day for both of us.  I jumped my first xpole bareback last night! I was grabbing onto his mane like it was going to save my life, hahah. Death grip for sure. He did it perfectly, and I almost collapsed into a quivering pile of adrenaline on the backside of it. Good boy!!! hahah.

Tonight Oats is doing his beginner’s lesson and I am off at the Premier’s Awards dinner! Yes!

What is it they say about the heart? That it’s a muscle?

Had my jump lesson last night and the temperatures dropped dramatically since earlier this week (when I was bragging about running in shorts!) so it was very cold in my lesson, unfortunately. Lucky for me, Oats is now on regular Previcox and I find that helps him a great deal with the cold/winter stiffness that he was starting to feel regularly, as an older pony.

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Seeking this good feeling- and I’ve got it! Hah no t-shirts last night, that’s for darned sure.

He was pretty bouncy and feeling good last night! I, on the other hand, felt stiff, cold and creaky. Hah. The horse was going better than the rider! I watched my friends ride in their lesson before mine, so I had an idea of what our lesson was going to consist of- though I was wrong, I had bending and broken lines up the wazoo, where theirs was a bit simpler due to a few technical issues early on (one horse had to bow out, he wasn’t feeling quite himself).

So we warmed up (ha, warm. I don’t think I ever felt warm), over a few small x-rails, then lead up to a line (5 strides), and then started working over bending lines still with the cross poles. And the funny thing? We were just nailing it! I don’t think I need to remind you how that pretty much never happens when I ride, ever. It was just so smooth, I didn’t need to think about working or trying or anything, it was was.

Nice eh?

We then moved up to work on the course, and there were so many twisty-turny bending lines, broken lines, it was so fun! Oats was a STAR!!! It was so cold that my eyes were watering the whole ride and I could barely see where I was going, hah.

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Oats is such a good pony. I love him! 

We did biff a few things (wicked drift on the first fence when I didn’t go in riding very well…) and the last fence was kind of a slump, but otherwise it was just BANG ON. Yeah!! Felt awesome! Maybe my trot fence homework is starting to pay off? I wanted to develop feel, agility, comfort and flexibility. I needed to build back my resilience- mine and Oats’- by working on the lowest-level, boring, but important work. No stakes, easy to mess up and easy to fix.

So, I guess the good news is that it is working! The bad news? I have to keep doing it! I used to have a bad habit of completely giving up when something was either working well, or not working at all. So, I keep going.

A two-time Nerds review!

I bought these at a small candy/ice cream shop in Cowichan Bay, so I am absolutely unsure of where you can find them anywhere else…But they sure are fun! They had such cute illustrations too, a Nerds tribute to the Mexican wrestlers ‘luchadores’ so maybe that’s where these were from??

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Approximately the size of a Halloween-sized package of Nerds, we picked up two flavours: Mango-Chile ‘El Mango Fuego’ and Guyaba (Guava) ‘Guyaba Solitaria’ Nerds. They were overpriced at .45 cents each but a novelty sooo…

So head-to-head, which ones were the best? Hands down the Mango-Chile Nerds. They were really good! The flavour was very close to the sweet, musky tang of a decent Ataulfo mango (get out of here with those Tommy or Fat Cats…I’m Ataulfo all the way!) and the chile was mild but enough of a zing to let you know it’s there and spicy! It was a bit spicier than the M&M Jalapeno, which I appreciated. And now that I think about it, spicy candy really was better suited to Nerds/sweet fruit than chocolate M&Ms.

And the Guayaba? Eh..It tasted like pink Nerds. You know what I mean, like how pink Starburst kind of taste like ‘pink’ but not really a remotely discernible flavour? That. I mean, it’s good but does it taste at all like guava? Nope!! And trust me, I have bought and eaten giant blocks of guava paste when we were on the San Blas Islands in Panama. The Nerds just tastes like a pink Nerds. Sweet, tangy and crunchy. I still enjoyed it but it doesn’t hold a candle to the vastly superior Mango-Chile. Yummm. Now I wish I had bought more, or I knew where to get them. I can’t be the only one concerned with the rapid lack of diversification in candy (I’m looking at you, Halloween!) that seems to be plaguing our store shelves these days. Where is the variety? Spice of life? Newness??

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Ah, the popcorn cake…

Also when I was looking at my food photos, I was reminded of a popcorn cake I made a few years ago. Man, that was great. I need to revisit this cake…

Doing your homework

Last night I went out to the barn and was really dragging. It was pouring rain, though still fairly mild, and I just wanted to sit on my couch and watch Heartland, to be honest.

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There was a lot of this. Soooo exciting… 

However, I know that Oats has his leasor riding in a lesson tonight (she has Tuesdays), and I like to give Oats Wednesdays off before my jump lesson on Thursday, so MONDAY it is!! And because I am a masochist (I don’t actually think I am, I am more of a hedonist, ha), I decided to do what I had been putting off all weekend- my ‘homework’ ride. These can mean anything from working on our canter (ugh), long and low work (ok) transitions (ugh), or the double UGH- trot fences. No cheating in the canter, trot only.

So trot it is!

I really don’t love having an audience for these rides. They are just so…unfortunate. Ugly. but, I had no choice last night, so I had to swallow my pride and just do it. Over and over and over….Trotting a million crosspoles. Knocking them down, having to get someone to put them back up, and going back at it.

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I’m sooo not a fan of trot fences. 

It was really tiring actually! I also ate too much at home and my stomach was joggling MOST unpleasantly.

Oats was a good boy but damn they are just…grinding. Grinding it out. Homework. Not flashy, fun, or glamorous or anything. I just do it. And do it over again. And over again, and then take a break, and then do it again. It’s funny but when I was a kid I would have KILLED to have access to a fabulous pony like Oats and the opportunity to do x-poles to eternity…As an adult I’m like, ugh not trot fences again…

I do know that this unglamorous, fussy and tiresome work of endless trot fences is GOOD FOR ME and I will keep doing it. It keeps me loose, my position relaxed, and me more fluid and flexible when I have a jump lesson. It is just hard work though.