Working Equitation Horse Show

And the fun keeps rolling! We did the Working Equitation horse show in Glenora a few weeks ago, in mid-August. I personally think that is the best time…even though it was extremely hot. Like, very hot for us. Last year Oats was high as a kite and a bit difficult to manage, so I was more prepared this year to work on his energy levels (though I may have overestimated them and worked him into tiredness a little early?!) guess that’s better than a nutty horse on-course.

It really is beautiful eh? too bad the grass is so dead! This is for our Ease of Handling/Speed Round course.

I took Friday off work (I have a few days to use up and MAN I am really enjoying it!!) and my working equitation trainer Shelly and I loaded the horses/gear up and set out. The Malahat is pretty much terrible any time of day, but it was particularly nasty on a Friday afternoon so it took us ages to get there (and then about 2+++ hours to get home on Sunday…eff this for a 45 minute journey…).

It was a muggy day, I had already longed and bathed Oats at home so I didn’t stress him by working him further on Friday. Instead, we got the ponies comfortable in the stables, which Oats HATED and was pissed about all weekend, feeling like he was stuck in a cage… And then we went for a swim!

The next morning came really early, it was so hot out that I was slowly roasting in my tent. I went to warm up Oats after his breakfast/cleaning his stall and he was hot hot hot hot to trot! Sooo I hopped off and longed the little turd to get his yahoos out. He did have some! THEN I hopped back on and he was a gentleman.

And then, the waiting game…

And waiting…

And by the time my dressage time was up, I was pretty over it. Hot, tired, Oats was hot and pissy, and some flies were really bothering his eyes. We warmed up fairly nicely but it was very hot and stuffy in the arena, and the minute we trotted down centreline…Oats was freaked riiiight out. His head was on a swivel, he was spooking and flinging his head wildly. I got so distracted by his wacked-out behaviours that I forgot where I was going!! I had to pull up and ask the judge (who is SUPER nice). YEEEEK. I was in such a bad mood after that piss-poor showing. ARGH.

And then I noticed that everyone was crabby after dressage. HAHAH. So true.

After, to put the bad taste of the bad test out of my head, I asked Shelly to come with us on a trail ride. She did and with a few minor Oats moments (where he runs backwards and is an ass every time we stop on the trail..) they did really nicely 🙂

And then I got to go swimming again, and start perseverating about the Ease of Handling Round and Speed Round the next day… No banks this time, thank god (our real nemesis last time!).

…To be continued!

First time: Running the Oak Bay Half Marathon

Now, this is a combo of typical ‘big race’ and ‘community race’ I think. I’m not generally a fan of big races, it seems like more of an opportunity to spend more, and get wayyy less. This race is no exception, but it is very well organized, with a whole army of excellent volunteers, so I am very thankful for them and the organization! It is a very nice, leafy course and one of the most scenic ones in Victoria I think.

And then in two minutes I wanted my sweater back…

BUT…

It is a fairly large race, there are no race awards for age-groups, and it is more ‘everybody gets a medal’ day ie- you get a race medal for completion. I am not a fan of participation medals, basically at all, unless you’re at marathon distance. (Ok I know there is some innate snobbery here, but I just don’t need medals myself unless I won them, is my thinking. Not meaning to rob someone of their joy here.).

So, last weekend’s race was much more lucrative for me, hahah. Oh and also that the run scene here is EXTREMELY competitive. Like…Olympian-fast. So you can take the overall placings out of your dreams, hahah because it ain’t gonna happen. That is the only reason I am able to place in races elsewhere, basically!

Also I had to get up early for this one, which is a hard sell for me, argh. 8am just isn’t…friendly to me and it was absolutely freezing that early in the morning. Lucky for me Ian joined me so he could park the car and take a video 🙂

Whee!

We started off and it’s a mass start- 10k and half marathon all together, with relay participants. It’s a bit of organized chaos, as we run with the 10k’ers until they turn around. Now, I do think I owe my last half marathon personal best to having some unofficial pacers to follow until they dropped my ass at like 8k, so I was feeling a bit lost and apprehensive about being with 10k’ers. Like…who do I follow?
Well, it was fine. Maybe I came out a bit quick, but you run for so long you give that up pretty damn fast, haha. We were with the 10k’ers until just past 6km, and they turned around, and we kept climbing.

No lie, this was much hillier than I expected. I guess I thought Oak Bay was kind of flat? Also the wind was pretty nuts, gusting up to 60k/hr and we did so many twists and turns…straight into the headwind every time. It was never really at our backs, at all. My hat kept blowing off my head, so I took it off and held it. Boo!

I was apprehensive for up until oh, 11km and then I high-fived a spectator, felt good and kept GOING!

The only thing I was really struggling with was getting a solid, pounding rhythm …could get it great on the flats, and then we’d hit another hill and I’d lose my awesome pace. Then get it…and immediately hit another hill.

My legs felt awesome though, no troubles at all there. So good in fact I just wanted some flat sections to really test how fast I could go this late in the game! But the last 5km was just hills and a wicked headwind 😦

Wrapped up by charging past some of the walkers finishing the early start, not super inspiring because you’re alone out there again, racing past walkers. Finished with a not too shabby 1:31:39. Slower than my last one, but truly it’s a different race, so I am pleased with consistency. That was enough to net me 5th overall and 2nd AG (but no AG awards, sigh) and that’s it!

So would I do it again? No I don’t think I will. It is nice and scenic, when the weather cooperates it’s a fun race but I just am not that into more ‘fun runs’ really. I would recommend it for people looking for something new and interesting, but challenging. Don’t expect a personal best here.

Big changes

I’m moving on from my workplace of 11 years and while this is a change I really wanted to make, I also feel very strange about it now?!

Going to miss these crazy kooks!

I started here when I had just turned 25, and now I am turning 37. Where did the time go? I’ve really valued the friendships I’ve made here and my colleagues are great people, but I came to the realization that with just under 6 months left before my sabbatical, it was time to make a more permanent change and leave my current office.

I’m staying in the same position but handling some different aspects, something I haven’t done in oh, about 7 years?? But the change is necessary and important for both my mental health and personal growth. I need to take more proactive steps towards a future that I can believe in.

So here goes nothing…and a fresh start on Monday!

Overwhelm

It’s been…a lot lately. The return to the workplace is making me realize a whole bunch of truths, namely that I need a big change and my sabbatical won’t be coming soon enough.

Just want nice sunny weather again- is that too much to ask?

Things only change if you change them.

Also, I hate working in the workplace and I find it very distracting. And the time? Oh lord. My time management has gone to hell and back, namely I spend all of it sitting at work and then rushing around at home trying to get all of my life stuff done, like my animals, showering, preparing lunches, etc. Fun times.

Oats had a difficult week last week- he was spooky as hell, seeing things in every single corner of the arena, slamming on the brakes, half rearing, etc. I know him well enough now that this behaviour is seasonal (unfortunately or fortunately…) and it too will pass, but damn, I just wanted a fun pony to ride? Likely there is a big tie-in to his disease and the medication, as this only became a bigger issue the past two years he was diagnosed. 😦 blows either way.

And then he was foot-perfect at my Thursday lesson! Such a lovely little dude, we jumped cross rails one-handed and had the funnest time, which was great b/c mentally I was NOT in a good place (thanks, work). And then I free longed him on Friday and he came up lame. GREEATTT

But no swelling, heat, etc so I chalked it up to stiffness, and his leasor longed him on Sunday and he looked fine. I rode him last night, and while he was still stiff and moving quite ‘flat’ going to the right, he did improve and worked out of it, leading me to believe that it is indeed stiffness?

His leasor is going to ride tonight.

I don’t think the weather has been helping though- it’s been miserable. Freezing cold, unseasonably cold, raining, snowing, wind at 100km/hr almost every day? WTF? Just such a shit spring. No day is a respite. Our allergies also went completely bananas, and poor Gidget had the worst weekend with her ‘reverse sneezing’- honking and gasping allllllll day and the nasal spray we use didn’t work 😦 WTF life. Thanks guys…

Just the usual spring- I hate everything- blahs…

And the hours tick down!

That’s right, on my last day before holidayyyyys…!

And some bummer news, I no longer have a jump trainer 😦 I knew this day was coming, and fair enough: She now has to travel a great distance due to owning a farm up island. I was kind of surprised she lasted this long~ but with the increasingly bad weather making travel on the Malahat a dangerous proposition, combined with a lot of her students either not riding due to lame horses or varying schedules…I totally get it.

Just a bummer, overall but a very fair reason.

Here’s to the many years we shared- it was great! 🙂

And a video from our last real jump lesson- it was very fun. As I step Oats down from most of our competition jump lessons, it’s nice to look back at the great things we’ve done. I love our partnership and how it has grown and progressed over the years, much like my relationship with my now-former jump trainer.

More chaos part 2?

Went a touch radio silent due to a lot of different factors all colliding at once, unfortunately:

Man, bring me back to this!

Major stress at work/burnout

Bad flareup of my chronic disease, ruinining an entire week of my life again

Oats went lame and I had a total meltdown over it

Gidget had a really bad flare up of her reverse sneezing and went into dog-shock for a few days. It was really hard to see 😦

So yeah…It was a very challenging period of weeks for me, Oats and the family.

Some bright sides: Oats lameness was temporary! He had a small abscess (in the same spot as his 2018 big abscess that summer) and now he is good to go. We even had a working equitation lesson on Sunday and he was a champ though I definitely felt quite rusty.

Work is ok for now and I am counting down the days until I am off on holidays!

My disease is back in remission until the next flare-up, and Gidget has a vet appointment today to figure out our next plan of attack. I don’t really expect that they will have any answers but…We made it over 3 weeks ago when we desperately needed it, so I still am hoping for some kind of solution or treatment for her symptoms.

I guess even through the blackest days, there is still hope?!

Also a bummer, but one I really knew was going to happen: My jump trainer who I have been with for over a decade (?!!) is not travelling to coach us anymore. I totally get it, no issue from me but it’s also a bit sad to see the end of an era.

I’ve reassessed mine and Oats relationships after his serious injury and jumping for competitions just doesn’t seem that worth it anymore? We’ve shown for so many years and it’s not always about ‘higher/faster/stronger’ for me– it’s about enjoying the journey and our relationship these days. I still love horse showing, but it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be, you know?

Trying to save small animals

And failing miserably every time! WHyyyy?? I just want them to live 😦

Poor little buddy

In the spring I picked up a dead (I thought) baby barn swallow and it MOVED so I got gloves, and moved it to a nest…Where it later died. ARGH.

Last week I found a dead mouse in a bucket of mine in my locker, so I dumped it out onto the muck pile and again…it MOVED. ARGH.

So I dithered greatly about it and ended up putting it in a small tissue box with some rags. It still wasn’t really moving, so I rode and then put Oats away and checked on it. Still not moving. I microwaved the rags and put it back with the warm rags and that seemed to really perk it up!

I caught a little video of my little mousie friend, but sadly the next day it had died. It climbed out of the tissue box when I left and fell off the bench and died 😦

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/ZB4kMzvAy28

Why do I try? Because somebody has to, even though they never make it…

Halloween fun part 2!

Barn party time! And I had already forewarned one of the organizers that 10 a.m. was likely too early for me to show up lol as I was going to be at a party and PROBABLY hungover. Wow, how right was I? Too right, unfortunately 😦

Aren’t they adorable? Hairy Potter 😉

We got home from the party around 2 a.m., YIKES. So..yeah the morning wasn’t really working for me. To add to the fun I was caught in a nasty cough- puke cycle thanks to my terrible cough from the race the day earlier…Fun times. So I got up around 9 a.m.-ish and spent a few hours puking before my kind husband bought into my madness and determination and agreed to drive me to the barn to participate.

Duff man was good at bobbing for apples!

I made it to the barn without puking so I figured I was getting closer to getting better! But tacking up was …a challenge. Every time I bent down I felt like I was going to puke again, so Ian had to help out and pick out hooves, etc. But hey were there and trying to make it! Sheesh.

I mounted (and everyone was glad to see me make it, ha) and wobbled around nauseously for a bit, thank god Oats is basically a saint pony because I was NOT riding, more like just existing at that point. Bit by bit I felt better slowly, not good enough to eat but ok to try and drink, because I was dying of thirst.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/oKeLYceOXyM

The barn organizers kindly waited for me for the trail class and we got to do that first! 🙂

And then it was games time- we started with egg and spoon and it was HARD hahahah and I think it was a tie or something. Next was musical stalls and we lost lol, and then pole bending and Oats and I beat our lesson mates 😉 and finally it was time for ride-a-buck, where we dithered if we were going to do it full bareback and guess what? We all DID?!

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/SlGkHWo0nVM

Now that was the last thing I’d figure I’d be doing, hungover as hell, but hell we did it! Oats was a total star and we only won because my lesson partner had to forfeit- she couldn’t get her very recalcitrant pony to canter. Oats and I were doing lap after lap with me clinging on, feeling like mayyyyyyybe it’s time to gently slide off and die.

Ian got the prize money ($30?) for being a good sport for the day!

And then it was time for clean up and a bonfire with weenies. I couldn’t eat any but Ian got one, and I got a mini cupcake that I ate much later, lol.

A fun time was had by all!

Life is too short: Horses go to the beach day!

We’re reclaiming our terrible year(s) and doing everything we can, right now! Life is so fleeting, so tenuous, so delicate and so fragile so why not do everything you can, all at once?

That is literally my life’s motto, so my friends and I who have all endured some truly sucky times these past few years decided to take our horses to the beach!

And boy, it was exciting! 😉 We went late because we were anticipated to have an absolutely miserable day (atomspheric river??) with pelting rain but we lucked out and it didn’t even rain on us! Grey but not that cold. How amazing is that!

Some photos…Enjoy! We did end up getting caught by the tides and one of our member’s horses was kind of having a freak out about having to go in the crashing waves to get back to the horse trailer, so we had to backtrack and then kind of dramatically crash over some rocks to jump to the main pathway, safe from the waves. All good though.

Oats with big bro Donato!
The gang 🙂

Sooke Saddle Club Fun Show: Mr. Oats amps it up

So we had the fun show this weekend and we were going to do it allll: Hack classes in the AM, and games in the PM!

You would never guess how much of a crazy asshole he can be looking at this pic!

Ok in theory…

What actually happened was the hack classes- and we did showmanship first! We got third in it! Whee 🙂 I had no real idea of what it was going to be like but I knew we had to trot in-hand, so I made sure Oats was trotting with me and it went nicely.

We then tacked up and warmed up in the postage-stamp-sized area, and it was ok. I figured he’ll have some ‘go’ but he’s getting worked a lot, so no problems right?

WRONG!

Oats chose this opportunity to become a raging, fire-breathing dragon/psychopath. He was SO out of control, wowza. He bucked, twirled, spun, spooked, launched and generally went completely psychotic.

I finally have video proof- thanks to Katie!!

Funnnnnnnnnn….

He would trot fine, a little nuts and tense and then just GO FOR IT in the canter and generally try his hardest to get me off and scare everyone in the audience. I had airtime. It was pretty terrible, particularly since the other riders were trying their best to stay the hell away from our absolute shitshow and every time we cantered he’s lost his goddamned mind.

I managed to stay on literally by the skin of my teeth. He repeated that little fun maneuver EVERY. SINGLE.TIME. in the show ring. We did, however, place very nicely when he wasn’t being an absolute nutcase!

So I’d go back, and run him w/o stopping in the teeny tiny warmup in between every class. And he cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered fine in the warm-up, and then BLEW UP in the show arena. I was exhausted. My arms hurt the next day.

Proof he can canter nicely, but even then I had to keep pulling his head up so he didn’t dump me 😉

Good christ, this horse needs turnout something awful. He’s never been such a shithead as he has this year- don’t get me wrong, I am looooving our field jump lessons, the energy and presence, but GOD DAMN every show/event I have been to, he’s losing his mind and broncing with me. I have to ride him down for hours at a show- hours! He’s 20!

He did trot very nicely, was miserable to canter.

I want my hack/dressage and jump pony back, not just at home but like, for all times! sigh…

He was well mannered over the crosspoles in the hunter hack class, and threw a HUGE buck in the top right corner in the flat portion before it… Thanks dude…

Anyways after lunch he was tired, ha thank god. We did the trail class and it took an absolute eternity- 2++ hours?! So many entrants! I was very pleased with Oats during it. His big flubs were his miserable backing (but we all know that is his weak spot) around the barrels in a ‘figure eight’ where he just backed into one and knocked it flat, haha.

And we made a basket!! whoop!! Trail Class 1

Otherwise he rocked trail and came third! Out of maybe 30 riders??

Trail class 2

And then it was 4pm! The show was supposed to end at 3pm! Eeek..

We were pretty tired but wanted to do 1 games (we were supposed to do like 4 games classes but I scratched to go home b/c it was taking too long, horse is tired, I’m tired, my hauler has to go).

We did pole-bending and it was a blast!! Oats is too slow to win, but he had fun anyways. Go Oats go!

Ok this was just straight up fun!!! 🙂 Thanks to Lindsay for videoing.

Many thanks to the volunteers who did a marathon day out there- wowza. You guys are the real VIPS here!