Think about me: Jump lesson recap!

Oats and I were back in the game on Thursday, after a staggering THREE WEEKS away from jump lessons. I felt nervous actually. Well, I wanted to work on Prix Caprilli (because I was feeling anxious about our show in two weeks) but I had printed copies of Training Test 2 and 3 instead of the Prix Caprilli, so we just jumped instead and tabled the Prix Caprilli testing until next week.


Oats from a few years ago (three). These jumps are too little! 


And how did it go? Very well! We warmed up over a canter-in gymnastic, two x-rail bounces to a small vertical then-oxer. And here is the best part- my trainer commented if I had been practicing my two-point recently? And I kind of mumbled sort of…Sort of because Oats had the two weeks off, so not really, but I did have a good equine counseling session this Monday working solely on minute fixes to my upper body in two-point.

And she said she could see the difference?! Wow! So this IS working. I felt very encouraged by that (quite honestly I usually feel like I get worse, not better, in riding). She was saying my upper body looked much more controlled, taller.

So I was very pleased with that, and I did feel better in the two-point this week, instead of dropping back down in the saddle. We then worked over a small course that had some technical elements (two-strides combinations, across the diagonal and along the long side). We also did a bending line skinny- across to the diagonal. Go us!

I did bow out after 1 go-around on the course. I was feeling GREAT about how the lesson went, but I didn’t want to do it again and lose that good feeling. To be honest, after three weeks away from jump lessons I just wanted to feel good and THEN build to working up more. I was very pleased with Oats. The jumps were tiny but it was more about the smoothness, sitting up through the turns (always my challenge) and a ‘stiller’ body in the air. Things I think we did achieve 🙂

Onwards and upwards!


Much better

Ok crazy week recap:


Monday: Oats still sick, on antibiotics that I frantically called my vet to get him put on from Saturday. Beerfest is on! Pizza and Beer night with gelato. It was AMAZING!

Tuesday: Work is crazy, Oats is apparently still really sick? I start freaking out…Go out to the barn and jog him up and down the hill, and it looks pretty good. No snot, minor coughs in the barn.

Wednesday: Ride Oats finally!! After two weeks my legs are rusty hahaha. He has some coughs and snorts early in the ride, and it is insanely dusty in the ring. Like, I am coughing. So he’s doing quite well! Our first ride back in two weeks. After my ride on Wednesday, I head downtown for Beerfest Cheese and Beer night! It does NOT disappoint, unlike last year there are no crowds, the food is great and easily accessible and the beers are all my favs- Belgian Trippels, Belgians, and some sours and a fruit beer or two. YUM!

Thursday: Was going to try for my lesson but my trainer cancels this time! The dust in the arena aggravated a cough she had, and I can’t blame her. I go ride for my first ‘real’ ride and Oats is fantastic!! Coughing a bit, but it is so dusty that even I am coughing too, so I’m happy with the progress. Good boy 🙂 Also on Thursday: We go see The Dears at Capital Ballroom (formerly Sugar Nightclub). It was a sweeeet concert! Weirdly there was almost nobody there, so we got practically a private show- could buy drinks with no line-ups, and were right up at the front!


Phew. A busy, busy busy week. But, I’m just so happy that Oats is on the road to recovery. That was a long illness he had, and I was worried antibiotics weren’t helping- until they did, ha. I know I made the right decision to have him put on them, it had gone on long enough!

What does this weekend hold? Phew I dunno, I’m tired from the week!!

VIRA Race Recap: Port Alberni Paper Chase 15k!

A new one to the series and I’m glad to see the return of the 15k distance, though my legs may not necessarily agree 😉

Last year this was a 10k and I found it challenging. Rolling hills took a lot out of my legs and my season last year was full of difficulties, so it equalled out to a really tough race. How would an even longer race this year fare?


Photo courtesy of Lyndon Cassels Photography.

Ha. It was TOUGH.

Rolling hills galore! It was tough to maintain any semblance of pace. There was  neat trail section that took runners through the historic MacLean Mill site, which was pretty cool though I was running and staring at the ground for most of it! Missed on me, haha.

So yep, first off I got passed by pretty much everyone- flew past me like I was standing still! It’s hard to start races like that, but I knew I had to run ‘my’ race and be careful about pacing. It was going to be hard.

Mentally challenging start for sure, and my pace kind of tanked, even though I felt like I was trying really hard to ‘run’ if that makes any sense?

At the turnaround just before the Mill section of the run, I was like whaaa?? This is so hard!  Luckily the Mill part broke it up, though my pace dropped hilariously (over 17 seconds lost there, hahaha). Oh well it was pretty!

The run back I was kind of in a funk, but not quite a deep a funk as I started with. I had a goal- how many KM’s can I get at 4:30/km? It was a game I played with myself, ha. As soon as I hit a hill though it fell apart. Another young runner and I played rabbit on and off, with each of us running neck-and-neck. It actually really helped me stay on my game, and I ended up passing her in the final KM or so. She was right on my heels!


Photo courtesy of Lyndon Cassel Photography.

The finish is on a slight uphill that is an absolute pace killer, ha! I charged up it though and ran to the finish. Done! My time was 1:08:20 good enough for 2nd place in my age category. Sweet!

The food was SO good after too- candied salmon chowder, foccacia bread, fruit/veggies and milk and yogurt. All my favourites! Delicious! A big thank you to the great volunteers and chefs handling the day. A well-run and very safe race. I do recommend it if you are looking for a tough 15k to challenge you. 🙂

After the race, my husband and I checked out the Port Alberni Brewery Twin Cities. I tried the pineapple-coconut sour beer and it was SO GOOD! We bought a growler of it to bring home. Highly recommend!!!



So no Oats recaps this week. He is SICK! 😦

I thought he was coughing a lot during my lesson last Thursday. Little did I know…

Saturday I got to the barn and he was full-blown snotty, snot spraying everywhere! On the ground, on my jacket, on his face, chest, legs all accompanied by a lovely cough. So, yeah my horse show (Wild ‘N Wooly Dressage Series) was supposed to be on Sunday. Can’t take a sick horse, Oats now having to have a bunch of days off to recover, as per my vet.

Show’s off.

Or is it?

My friends who were coming with me to the show were so bummed too! What to do? They suggested I borrow my trainer’s schoolmaster Blaze! I pondered that for a hot minute. I wanted to to do the show (on Oats) but I just plain wanted to try it out. I wasn’t going to be able to defer my entries b/c I am racing the next time and in Peru for the time after that!


The talented photographer Sue Ferguson took this photo of us!

So…I asked to borrow Blaze and got a yes!

Now, to ride a dressage show on a horse I have ridden once, in a jump lesson, three years ago. = Success??

HA, sort of!


Horse treats, gummy candies (from the horse show!) AND Reese’s (from Lindsay). They know me so well! 

It was a success in that the day went really well, Blaze was a really good girl and not spooky at all, and we tried our best! We even did the Prix Caprilli (pictured above)! The green-eyed jealousy monster in me wished I had Oats so we could strut our stuff, but I also knew that Blaze and I would be trying our best, and that was good enough for us 🙂

The show was run really well, super smoothly. My friends came and I had a great time chatting and catching up!! My friend on her horse was able to really pull it together after a bit of a shaky first test. I also kind of went off course twice… Apparently the third time is the try, hahahah. I am going to pin that on catch-ride nerves, haha. Or something?

It was a lovely way to experience the show and I am grateful I was able to borrow a horse to go. Now, please get better Oats. I miss riding you and having a purpose to my day!!


The messenger began to believe that the message was him.

Quote I found (I believe it is a lyric from a song?) but I liked it!


Jump lesson recap this week- MUCH better than last week. Oats was more consistently forward, though I came into the ride with a plan. Get him off my leg, the walk in the warm-up is NOT lollygagging around, and I ride with purpose, every step. Jump lessons are too precious to half-ass the beginning!

So I marched him around, got some pissy leg kick-outs, dealt with them and moved on.

Was the lesson perfect? HAHAH no. But, it was much improved and it helped me ride with ‘my horse moving underneath me’ rather than me pushing, pulling with my body moving too much. I am particularly guilty of this when I am not sure I have enough horse to ride!

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The exercises were very simple this week: Jump a line of skinnies 4-strides apart (an easy four, which of course we biffed and got a choppy FIVE sometimes…ah Oats), and a small course with some oxers. The focus was more on flow, and we got it!

I was much improved with my upper body, staying in two-point most of the ride, back with my shoulders through the corners (still had some blips but hey…better) and Oats was riding quite nicely.

It just went so much better. I was happy with Oats, and left on a real good note. Yay!


Mr. Oats drags ass

Had my jump lesson last night and quite frankly I was expecting much more from dear old Oats. He was dragging ass, cranky about going forward (kicking out when I ‘reminded’ him about it) and just so BLAH.

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Pick up your feet! So yeah this was not happening yesterday…

So, not so fun. I was unimpressed and annoyed at having to ride him so hard for what was basically a low level jump lesson. Did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed that morning? He had Wednesday off, and even still on Thursday he was just sulky, behind the leg and lazy.

Needless to say I had to work very hard to keep him going over our jump course. We worked on 1 circle jump, and a small course that included a two-stride that we almost NEVER made in two strides except when I got mad enough to MAKE IT HAPPEN!!>!?! And then it did. Phew.

I was tired after that ride for sure, and my eyes were watering like crazy.

I heard also that Oats was spending a lot of time playing like a fool with his horse friends, so I wonder if that is where allll his energy is going. My trainer said it sounded like I was a jealous girlfriend- “Oh so that’s where you’re spending all your time now? With your horse buddies?!!” Instead of saving some energy at night for ME!?!

But I kind of did feel that way. Lacklustre and blah.

He wasn’t bad or anything, just very tuned out. Oh well, we live to fight another day! hahah.


Don’t get stuck: Ride updates!~

I have been quiet on the ride front lately (didn’t ride Sunday, Saturday was kind of terrifying with Canadian Geese crash-landing constantly on the roof of the indoor. I hated it! Oats was a total saint though.)


Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Monday I was determined to practice. Practice anything! But I was pretty sure I was going to work on some dressage-y items, so I brought my dressage whip and mindset. Except…It was dead quiet, only one other rider around, and a few small x-rails set up, and…Well jumping was way too fun so jumping won!

I still did some cruising around with purpose though- I worked on my release, relaxed body in two-point, and just went around, and around, and around. It was really nice! It felt like a very solid ride, but in a quiet and calm way. After jumping, I practiced holding a relaxed, shoulders-down, chest-open two-point in trot. For what felt like forever. My legs were burning!

Oats is only too happy to go along with ‘me days’ when I work harder on myself than on the horse. He was as good as gold.

Last night is my usual Tuesday dressage lesson, but I cancelled and am trying to reschedule for Sunday. Good thing too, because traffic was HORRIFIC and it took me over an hour to get to the barn last night. My lesson usually starts at 6:30pm- I didn’t get TO the barn until after 6:30. Eff my life. I was fuming!

I was so tempted to take that bad mood and work it out on my dear Oats. Luckily I am aware of that temptation now, and can defuse it when it rears its ugly head. Instead, we worked on something physical, but great to practice- trot-sitting trot-canter-sitting trot-posting trot. Sounds easy right? Yeah…No. My abs were killing me, I was sweating?!

The transition between posting trot to sitting trot (while NOT letting the trot die out, or you ‘forget’ to ride during it) is much harder than you think. Phew!! It was a very physically demanding ride for the both of us, and I was able to work out my traffic angst in a good and productive, kind way.

Good pony! 🙂 I am happy with how my rides felt this week. I felt more dialed-in and connected, like I was focused on the ride instead of feeling airy-fairy and halfassed like last week.