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?

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.

I could live in hope

So, when there’s nothing left to do…What do you do?

IMG_1354

Found all these cairns on Maple Mountain?!

Well, my husband and I started doing mega-runs on Sundays! Sometimes they are up mountains, or along the excellent Trans Canada Trail- we try to mix it up. When we were able to safely expand our personal ‘bubbles’ we went to Courtenay to where his parents moved, and ran from Courtenay to Cumberland. It was great!

IMG_1353

A nice outlook from Maple Mountain.

We bring a cambelbak (which we left the water bladder in Courtenay….shoot!) some granola bars and gummy candies, and then for after our runs, sandwiches, drinks and some snacks. It’s great!

IMG_1374

All our run days are blustery and rainy! This one we got caught in the rain for a bit.

I’m really enjoying the opportunity to go out and run more of this great Island that we have. It provides us with a valuable opportunity to get out, get some exercise and fresh air, and bonus- away from the incredibly crammed in parks that we see here in Victoria. All the parks that we like going to, Thetis, Elk Lake, Matheson Lake, Sooke, Goldstream/Finlayson, are swarming with people. One endless stream after another. It’s incredible. And not good for maintaining physical distancing, as we often see a mega SUV stroller that takes up the entire trail…Never mind the people that don’t believe in sharing the pathway…

IMG_1388

Running into Lake Cowichan! 

It’s just safer and easier to pack up and haul out of town (self supported) for the day.

IMG_1377

Both of us! 

And I am getting to see more of the local mountains and trails than I ever believed I would! Lucky me. 🙂

Getting creative when there’s nothing else to do

And of course, now that we can’t really travel or do things we are used to: Visiting with friends, happy hour, running races or in groups, horse shows, going to a movie, swimming, etc etc etc…

IMG-0057

My watercolour attempt! 

Ian and I have had to get much more creative- literally! We have done a few fun projects, from an Easter gingerbread house to making Sculpey animals, to watercolour paintings. It’s been pretty fun, and I guess, a fun distraction from the things we can’t normally enjoy.

IMG-0048

My Easter house- isn’t it fun? I bought like 5 gingerbread houses from Thrifty’s because they were a dollar each, so I used one this year for Easter. My friend even bought me some amazing flavored Peeps from the USA!

Of course, we can get take-out meals, drinks, have a picnic and have done many of these activities throughout the past 3 months as well!

IMG-0125

Our sculpey projects- I want to get some magnets and do up the backs of these, they are too cute not to share! 

When your life resumes (sort of)

At least my riding lessons are back on! Yes!

IMG_1362

I ran my shoulder into a telephone pole a few weeks ago. Totally an accident but ouch! 

But with the resuming of some ‘normal’ activities comes roaring back all of my previous concerns/issues. Footing in the indoor.  Horses not being turned out enough. The outdoor is kaput, at least for this season? UGH.

I told my husband that I want to just buy a farm and deal with all this myself, dammit!

IMG_1363

Ian made bagels and they were great! 

Otherwise…Address what I can, and then see what I can manage or not manage. Oats has been great otherwise, we had a return to lessons last week (jumping and dressage!) and I was really able to address our warm-up issues in a way that felt both calming, and productive. Go us! Phew!

I felt rusty as all hell but otherwise? Pretty darned good. Oats is moving great, I’m very pleased with that. I missed my trainers like crazy too. All the drama, angst, moving, rude and horrible boarders and COVID 19 and just…Man. My trip to Argentina  (haaaaaaaaa) not a thing anymore, summer holidays..?? Just. ARGH.

IMG_1368

Oats has enjoyed lots of hand grazing, now that I work from home during this time and I have no commute! 

It still feels like some of my life is on hold, and will remain so.

Ian and I are able to get a lot of cool runs done throughout areas locally, and in the Cowichan Valley and I feel extremely grateful that we are able to do so with ease. Same with riding- at least I can do it? Despite all the ‘should I stay or go’ angst that continues to plague us?

I miss horse shows, friends, races, travel…Happy hours are coming back, and so are hair cuts, but the other stuff? Nope.

Ian and I are forced to be creative with our time, so we do a lot of running, food projects, and some creative projects too- like water colours.

This is a long and strange time, and I didn’t want to blog about it because all I felt was gloom and doom. I don’t really feel that anymore, but I do feel like I’m in this strange limbo where everyone is acting like normal, but behind the act is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.

But since it’s going to be awhile, I might as well come back for now.

It’s only a matter of time before I ruin his life: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ha, the title seems grim but totally isn’t- I found it and found it amusing! I don’t think I am out to ruin anyone’s life, unless they are really not into horses, rabbits, dogs or running. Then maybe I would be ruining their life!

IMG_1284

My friend Sarah made cupcakes- she is a professional eh?? 

Anyways, this Valentine’s Day sees me taking the day off the barn, to enjoy a movie with my husband. I was treated to a LOVELY Valentine’s day cupcake at work (yesss!). We had protestors outside this morning, which was fine. I respect the right to representation, and they were polite and calm.

Though it may not seem like it, I have also been doing a TON of riding. The vibe is still…Challenging…right now, and I was in full rant mode about some things I learned about my fellow riders (not my stablemates, other folks who I know), and the theme for this week is twofold:

  1. People do not learn.
  2. People do not change.

At least four people I know this week (god, if not MORE), are stuck in this weird hamster-wheel of logic. If you do the same thing all the time with the same people who are treating you badly, or it’s a negative environment, or whatever…You are going get the same results. Over and over. Rinse, repeat. And then complain/whine/etc loudly and repeatedly how you are the wronged party. HAH!

I would honestly laugh if I wasn’t also concerned about the animals involved. Jeesus.

Otherwise? Oats has been good, if a bit unremarkable this week. Last week felt pretty good, accomplished, this week…not so much. Not bad, he’s still my best baby, but just kind of lacklustre. His jumps last night- we moved our jump lesson to next Wed as my trainer was sick- was just ‘eh’ all around. Obviously I need lessons! Stat!!

IMG_1288

A red velvet cupcake at work. YUMMM

Long weekend coming up, and boy, I think I need it, and a lot of others too!

Happy V-Day 🙂

Do you like pain?

Oh man this weekend! So many things, ups, downs, just everything all at once.

low course 1_Moment

I’m also going to miss these sweet jumps…Goodbye! 

Friday I had every intention of going riding…BUT my parents were moving out of the city and I was invited to their going away dinner at a really nice restaurant. So I did that instead, still planning on riding after//yeah so that definitely did not happen.

We had a lovely dinner, I went back to my parents rental to take some stuff from them that they couldn’t bring, and it was MONSOON raining. Like, tornado winds with just hammering rain. Yikes. So it was like 8:30 pm, and torrential rains. Nope, not going to ride. It was a very bittersweet parting. Like…I wish things had been different, you know? But they aren’t.

Made it home and it was pretty rough, yeesh. I also found out that a friend was leaving the barn, and I just felt really bummed about that. I felt like people are all leaving me, that I’m being abandoned, and all alone. It was not a great feeling, even if it’s not necessarily true, it’s just how I ‘feel’ it right now. SIgh…  I was glad my husband was back in town. That way I didn’t feel so sad and lonely.

Saturday we woke up to find a ton of places had flooded. The indoor arena has been flooded for months, and Saturday was like half the arena. The rains were no joke. It was also crazy windy alllll day…Gusting, slamming wind. The horses were all totally psychotic at the barn, except for my dear Oats of course! The vibe was super negative and tense though, my shoulders were up near my ears the whole ride! Thank GOD Oats is so trusty. He takes care of me. My other friend said she was going to leave the barn too, and I just felt really sad and that ‘everyone is leaving me’ feeling just took over.

I came home and just could NOT with the day. I felt anxious, restless, tense, and just…I needed something to work through my emotions. I went on a long run, and I wanted something to trigger my emotions for me, so I could ‘feel’ them… And it did! Funny enough it was a security guard yelling at me, so whatever- it worked! 🙂

The rest of the evening was uneventful (thank god), even though I almost fainted in the shower (damn you vasovagal syncope and my love of hot showers!) and we even made pizza! And my other friend decided to stay put for now. Phew!

Sunday I had an equestrian biomechanics course put on by the chiropractor that sees Oats! I learned a lot and I found the breathing exercises particularly challenging, ha. I then hopped out to the barn to ride 🙂 Oats was great. I love my boy.

We will see what new challenges this week faces us with.

 

Heart hunger

Kind of a busy week, being a single dog parent is not my most favourite thing! Oh well. I had my jump lesson last night, my dad came to watch which was nice of him. The lesson was kind of good and bad- The good was it was a interesting exercise, the oxer didn’t bother me at all, and when I rode focused & correctly, Oats rewarded me!

81584983_10101203351981006_7949000968924823552_o

Oats says- do it right this time! 

The bad- so many stops! UGH! I had a lot of trouble focusing on the more technical elements of the exercise- a skinny jump on a circle approach, for example. I held too hard with my hands, couldn’t seem to figure out the distance, got tentative at the bending line and BOOM! Oats would stop. Sorry, try again! He seemed to say. He is not really a stopper either.

So we did try again, and when I softened my hands/arms, and let him free he jumped fantastically. It was lovely!

So what figures with my lack of focus? UGH.

Not normally a problem I have, hahah. Oh well, Oats is an excellent teacher in this regard- he says no when he has an issue, and goes nicely without holding a grudge when I do it right! Now, if it were so easy I would allllwayyys do it right, eh??

I have a rider biomechanics workshop on Sunday that I am looking forward to- hoping to learn some new stuff! No racing this weekend, which I am glad for because my legs are so tired.

Dinner out tonight at the Bella restaurant at Bear Mountain with the folks as their last night in town, and hopefully I nab a ride after on ol’ Oaty. I can’t get enough of him!

Kismet Kill

Ugh, so on Friday I wrote about getting stuck in a big traffic jam due to accidents on the highway? Well, apparently last week was Groundhog Day, because the EXACT SAME THING happened on Friday also. Just as I was walking home, to get dressed and go to the stables for my riding lessons. Thankfully my friend got caught in it, and immediately called me to tell me to cancel my ride and not bother heading out- it was THAT bad.

67754596_720783861683615_5350773400996413440_n

You are never so good that you don’t need to practice. 

For what seemed like a minor incident (all persons were fine, car went off the road into a ditch), traffic was at a totally-jammed up standstill until around 7pm. SEVEN?! Ugh.  No way. Not after literally getting stuck for 2 hours the exact day before…And I knew my trainer was not going to wait around another hour ++ for me to get there, get tacked up, warm up Oats and then ride. Nobody has time for that!

So I texted and cancelled, steaming mad at this happening for two freaking days in a row…And sat around home and watched TV. Which is fine, but like… What GIVES? Last week it was the bad weather/snowstorms, this past week it was major traffic jams two days in a row. Cut me some slack, world!

Plus I took my parents out for a lovely good bye lunch on Thursday, had a nice time, and then get this emotionally-hostage taking email from my dad, on Monday of course. Seems that if you give him too much time to think, he writes these insane 15 paragraph emails about how he wishes the lunch didn’t feel so sterile, that I treat them like strangers (no shit!!!), and that it felt like a going away lunch you have with coworkers. Jesus god, give me strength.

Anyways, rant over. I am resolutely NOT buying into this drama-rama that they alwayyyys pull with me.

They absolutely exhaust me.

Anyways, I didn’t ride on Saturday because Oaty’s leasor had a make up lesson and boy did that feel weird! I was all out of sorts and anxious because of the lesson I cancelled on Fri due to the traffic jam, and no riding until Sunday? But I miss him!! Instead I cleaned the deck, and took Gidget to play with sticks on the beach, where we saw a ton of cop cars…There was a wolf in James Bay!! In the afternoon where I was! Crazy eh?

I then finally got to ride my dear Oats on Sunday after my race and we did our ‘homework’ rides (jump xpoles until the cows come home..) and he was a superstar!! I noticed I am becoming too ‘rigid’ with my arms, so I wanted to make sure I made time to practice my homework again. You can never work on it too much, I think. Plus the weather was fabulous this weekend- lucky us!!

Like a child hiding behind your tombstone

Ha, weird title but I liked it- from a song on my Spotify play list last week. As I mentioned earlier, this has just been a tough week for many in my personal life- my friend’s horse being euthanized with a broken leg, my one trainer has to put her beloved dog down on Wednesday as well, and just…. My heart aches for them. I have faced loss before, and I know how horrible and deep it is. Just so challenging.

IMG_1329

From last spring! 

I also had a marathon week of lessons for me and dear Oats! Kind of mixed too. Not like, over the moon amazing at all. But ok! He had a lesson with his beginner rider on Tuesday (he does not have to work that hard), and a jump lesson with me on Wed (we worked on canter-in bounce grid gymnastics, which was HARD work!) and then another jump lesson for me last night- I was sooooooooooo late, I got to the barn as my lesson was supposed to be ending… Great. I got stuck in a huge traffic jam for TWO HOURS. Eff my life. Fortunately my trainer was aware and waited for me, and my friend helped me tack up in a big rush and off we were!

56359322_391530991680989_6553961197085917184_n

Remember this from last spring? SO good! 

I will admit to feeling super frazzled, ha. I was having trouble connecting with Oats, feeling rushed and really tired, and I haven’t been feeling well this week at all either, along with having trouble sleeping. = success?? Ha, no. I ate mane! I disconnected and misjudged a take off spot and just straight up jumped up his neck. At a crosspole. Facepalm.
Oats, while a fabulous teacher, will still make you work for it and he does not really give many freebies. Whoops!

I tried again and since he has a heart of gold, he was like, ah yes why didn’t you say so! Jumped perfectly.

He was however kind of lazy and tired last night, and combined with me being tired and frazzled, led to a lot of miscommunications, disconnects and breaking into trot! Argh!

Oh well, the exercise we worked on was really cool- lots of slicing jumps, and jumping an ‘arrow’ shape- both into the arrow, and with the arrow. Jumping into the arrow is interesting because it’s one narrow point! Have to be straight,  very straight. Oats had no problems with it 🙂

Dressage lesson tonight, and then Oats has his beginner lesson on Saturday as she had to do a make-up ride from the storm incident last week. Phew Oats! It is good that he is getting out every day though, because of the pretty bad weather we have had this winter the horses are not getting turned out- the paddocks are like slippery swamps.