Because you have this little cuddlebug on your lap the whole time! Her name is Rizzo and she is a rescue dog from Mexico. She is only 1 year old, but she’s incredibly well behaved and the loveliest little pup. She stayed with me during my appointment and snoozed on my lap (well, lap and chest lol) and made the whole experience so much better. (well, that and the fact that my teeth looked pretty good!).
She is in ‘good etiquette’ classes right now and her owner is looking to have her assessed by St. John’s Ambulance to be a support animal. I think she’s the right dog for the job!
It’s not a secret that I find the holiday season very difficult and I am usually in the WORST mood before Xmas. Ugh, I just find it very depressing, phoney and fake and this is partly due to work usually blowing up in my face right before Xmas, and my family being a collection of nutbars…
But I take steps to combat this!
Chiefly by making things I like to do a priority and giving back to my friends, who have had hard years themselves. I also make sure to take time OFF at Xmas, so I don’t poison everyone around me with my horrible mood, lol. (Plus it’s just easier on my mental health if I am not slowly being ground down by work at the same time, so a win-win).
This year we have already been to one Xmas party and we had a BLAST!! Omg it was so fun- at my husband’s work. We made ornaments, enjoyed amazing food (an entire seacuterie!!) and danced and sang karaoke 🙂
And then last weekend we made and decorated cookies as gifts for my friends and trainers 🙂
This weekend we got a tree! We also watched the Jon and Roy Christmas revue and it was really good, wow it was LONG lol we didn’t get home until after 11pm on Friday!
I also invited a friend/former colleague out to see Oats and have a pony ride and she came on Saturday and they were so good together, makes my heart proud to see people enjoying my pony too!
Soooo bad mood at Xmas or not, I am trying to make the best of things and I am on the home stretch- 2 DAAAYSSS!!! Let’s do it!
So I haven’t been writing here because things got crazy busy again at work, but also just totally insane here?
We had really heavy rains this weekend Sun- Mon, and it caused extreme devastation throughout the province. We didn’t get affected much (localized flooding near the stables, Saanich, Langford and shut down and destroyed parts of the Malahat) but other areas got absolutely slammed and are still trying to work their way out. It’s terrible.
The indoor naturally got flooded as well, but not as bad as it could have been, really.
So I couldn’t ride on Monday, but I went to graze and groom Oats, give him his meds. We cancelled our lesson, not really realizing how bad things were going to get?! Like, there’s no way our trainer could even get OVER the Malahat that day anyways?! Yikes.
Tuesday we attended a networking lecture at UVic and it was great! It was part of the alumni association’s events and we love supporting them- they are a steal of a deal and really engaging and interesting, plus getting parking, a drink, snacks and dessert PLUS a book about the talk is a win-win!!! Can you believe it?
Wed I was in a terrible mood, with a weird ear infection that’s starting to drive me insane. Still not great today and itchyyy.
Which brings us to today and I am hoping that I can maybe get gas? The lineups are totally crazy, with 100’s of cars lining up as people lose their goddamned minds about the impacts of the supply chain due to the flooding and COVID…fun times…it’s incredibly stressful and I do not like living in this time, at all. It’s like, what NEXT? Chriiiiiiiiist.
Otherwise, we had a really fun working equitation lesson on Sunday and that was like, before things absolute blew up in the province, ha.
I guess it’s like Jumanji here…Stay tuned for the next disaster??????
Wow, so where to begin? I have been SO fortunate to have many lessons to enjoy and learn from with old Oaty.
Last Thursday, we had our third dressage lesson. It actually begin in a kind of disappointing way- he was resistant and a bit high headed and stiff through his neck. I was annoyed by his resistance, but realized that we are really only a few weeks back into it, and he does soften up generally. And it did take work, but he came through it and by the canter, he had the best canter he’s had- like, period?! Amazing!!!
Except…It didn’t really stick, and my next ‘harder’ ride on Sunday (he got Friday off, and had a very light ride Saturday), I wanted to duplicate the canter and my dressage trainer’s words to me on Thursday were echoing in my head- why do you two point in canter? You sit very nicely, so sit! And I couldn’t really remember why I was sitting?
Well, I remembered very clearly on Sunday, hah. I was stifling him! He was seahorse cantering around, VERY shittily. It just sucked, straight up. He was stuck going backwards, his hind end dropped out, he was trot cantering, and his head was sky high resisting.
Sooooo back to the drawing board with a nice, soft two point canter.
My best guess is…I don’t have the correct warm up in place when I try to go from trot to THAT canter. So, it sucks basically.
Monday was off- yes, Easter Monday! And I went in determined to correct my mistakes. (That is what the older me would say). Actually what I did was wipe the slate clean a bit, go for a nice lateral walk warm-up, trot nicely in the contact, and call it quits with a longer walk outdoors. And it did go very well 🙂 I had to let it go.
Tuesday was my jump lesson! I was feeling anxious (see last week, when he was fired up, hahah and it scared me because I was not used to it) but also very grateful, since we CAN LESSON AGAIN!!! Thank the heavens!!
We had a line set up, with 4 strides. I immediately felt weird about it- lines? Related distances?! Can I do this again?
Newsflash- yes you can, even though my brain melted out of my ears and I bunged it up hahah. We warmed up nicely over some small fences before tackling the line of poles and he went well, but I still felt worried about the speed. We then set up the line with teeny tiny speedbumps and we immediately went wayyyyy too fast into it and ka-blammed though! Yikes! No thanks!!
I am not ready for this eager Oats! And as my trainer reminds me, no way should I be trying to hold or manage him too strongly down the line- or else I risk asking for the shitty little half distances too close to the fence. Boldness is great!
So, we did what we had to do, so I could learn quietly without reaching my personal ‘red zone’….Back to poles. Humbling? Oh, very. Important to do? Again, yes!
So we went back to poles and I let my brain reform back into my head and things felt better. We did it a few times (with a wicked right drift, haha) and it was totally fine. Phew!
So things to work on for sure, and it is eye opening to me these days. 7 months off?? And it is NOT the same.
I was supposed to have my first lesson back on Tuesday but we rescheduled to Saturday. After a lovely dressage lesson on Thursday, I was on cloud 9!!! When Saturday rolled around though, I was a ball of anxiety. What-ifs went racing around my head, I felt sweaty and out of it, and just so anxious! For some reason all of my fears of his re-injury went around and around and it was so weird. We walked and trotted around, he’s gotten very silly about the doors and corners of the arena so I was glad to have a good 10 minute walk to get the sillies out and make him a solid and reliable citizen again, and he settled down.
We limited the canter– again because we want to make sure to be VERY careful about how his post-rehab recovery goes. And when we went to right lead, we just started hopping over teeny-tiny fences! YAY! I was practically hyperventilating, and trust me when I say my breathing was kind of all over the place the whole afternoon after, because of a big post-adrenaline dump. Ha it was nuts!!
Oats was a total star! He was very chill, very ‘yes ma’am I got this’ about everything. 🙂
And we just, did it! I was stiff, very awkward. I got left behind twice which feels unheard of for me?! Just because I couldn’t relax enough to really go with the movement at this stage. I also forgot where I was riding – in a course of four fences!! hahahhaahah man, I am rusty.
So glad we had this lesson on Saturday. It shut down a lot of fears in my head.
Weirdly we had a miserable ride yesterday for some reason (Oats was literally trembling with fear in the arena??? There were no bears or cougars, to my knowledge???) and was racing around like a deranged llama for most of the ride, sooooooooo yeah. It was great to have a very low-key and successful jump lesson.
As for yesterday who knows what his deal was? We had a very long, very quiet and very slow ride. I kept him in the walk until he stopped trembling and trying to exit stage left. We only trotted and then went back to walking, some lateral work that he was pretty good at, and called it quits when he was fine trotting quietly and not losing it. Horses!! My husband says they’re basically a confusing relationship hot and cold, good and bad?? Maybe!
Ha, why do I overschedule myself! (sort of?!). Had a fairly busy horse weekend, with rescheduled lessons on Saturday with Faith, rehabbing Oats, and then a long run! Takes me well into 5pm, apparently. The lesson was…Kind of a big dud. We started off really nicely, with some of the nicest trot I think we have achieved together! And then, the wheels kind of fell off. She tripped big time at the canter when we were heading to canter poles, and then did 1 little bolt, and then started getting balky/stopping at the gate side of the arena- AGAIN.
She hasn’t been that bad since our last daytime lesson (what IS IT with those??) so who knows wtf was going on in little horsey’s head on Saturday? A shame, because we had a genuinely lovely lesson the past Tuesday!
Oh well, something to work on. It’s interesting, riding someone else’s horse, because I never know what I’m going to get- and it’s kind of a day-by-day adventure, ha. Sometimes good, sometimes pretttty bad.
And Oats? The past week he was a moron to rehab. Afraid of the corners, almost got me off in a big spook on Thur night, wouldn’t go into the corner, running backwards, slamming on the brakes, being super dramatic. I think he’s definitely getting fitter and all that energy has nowhere to go… I had to cancel his Friday rider because I was a bit worried she might get scared off, or spooked off. Can’t have that! He was amazingly good on Fri/Sat, and then back to being a total butthead on Sunday. Go figure?? He also was in a big snit about his hay (ok, it’s honestly terrible low-sugar hay this time. SO coarse) and he was refusing to eat it, poor guy. I can’t have him eating barn hay though, so it’s a no win 😦 I get why he hates his new low sugar hay, and I am really hoping the next shipment isn’t so awful. ARGH.
I had a LOT of tension from my bad rides on Oats last week, bad lesson on Faith, bad ride on Oats, and it just felt like…Shit. What am I DOING messing around with these miserable animals????
So, I did a yoga video on Sunday night and yawned 100 times. Seriously, my eyes were watering, tears running down my face. Apparently I *was* holding tension, who knew??? Ha. It felt good though to let it allll go. Now, to remember that in my daily ride (wanted to write Battle) with Oats every night!! Be good you little jerk.
Yesterday’s update was ok. Not good, not bad. Truth be told, I struggle every single day with this strange, ‘Groundhog Day’ life I live now. I basically complain every day that things never get better- only worse. That isn’t true, but darn it feels like it is.
So far this year/month/months/existence…
I had some time off this summer, long weekends and such- after working on 40 events in 2 weeks, it would be nice to have time off right? WRONG. We got seriously affected by bad air quality, thanks to forest fire smoke sweeping across our province. I sat inside and cried all weekend, most weekends. Time off was my enemy.
My mental health started crumbling. Pretty badly actually. I’m going to start taking anti-anxiety medication, to see if I can get through this period of my life.
I accidentally poisoned myself with Lobster mushrooms. Now that is a fun experience…It felt like my stomach was turning itself inside-out.
At the same time as my painful food poisoning, I had a SEVERE flare-up of endometriosis. So fun. Imagine your stomach in incredible pain, and then having excruciating cramps, bloating, back pain and crushing fatigue at the exact same time. I couldn’t eat, I was starving, and yet my abdomen was so bloated out I couldn’t do up my jeans. I have been on a treatment for this disease, but man, the flare-ups are killing me.
I got a cold, out of nowhere? How? I don’t even go anywhere?
I haven’t really felt that motivated to do anything that I normally enjoy. I run a lot, when I’m too sick or weak to do so. But I feel like a hollow shell of who I used to be, generally.
I got sick, from some bizarre reaction to wine of all things? I had a 7-day sinus headache, chills, body aches, and fatigue. I had to get a COVID19 test, because those were all symptoms, of course. It was negative, luckily! But the test itself also didn’t work that well- it jammed against my sinuses and they said they’d never had that happen before… Now it feels like I have a hole in my left sinus. WTF?
I was too weak from the cold, and then back-to-back disease flare-up and concurrent mushroom poisoning to do much working out, running, or anything. I basically worked, and then went to job # 2, Oats.
Oats then got diagnosed with cushings. A mild case, the vet was careful to tell me, but worth treating ASAP. So, I get to now spend more $$$$ than ever on a broken pony. He is on Previcox for arthritis, Prascend for cushings, I had to buy low-sugar hay, and now monthly vet visits for ultrasounds and check-ups. Yay.
I had to edit this to add that I broke off about half a tooth eating popcorn in Nov as well. Fortunately the dentist could save the rest of the tooth and patch it together with a big filling, but he warned me that if I break another chunk off (like the molar I broke off last year at the same time) I will need a crown and it’s the end of the line for that tooth. LOVE IT. EFF.
So, yeah. Lots to be thankful these days <<sarcasm alert>>
Things have actually settled a bit, but for some reason the horse ‘issues’ just seem to keep freaking rolling! In the past month, every single damned week, I am getting texts or phone calls that something has gone wrong. Fortunately most of them are pretty minor or resolved within a week or so (abscess) but DAMN can this stop happening?
Oats drugged out of his mind last Friday for an ‘extra special cleaning’ courtesy of my friend 😉
Ha, my husband said that’s life- you get major issues every week. You are just waiting for a new thing to go wrong this week. I guess it’s true…
This week, it was Oaty’s bridle that was the victim! He has a 1 day a week leasor who takes lessons with my trainer. I got a phone call from his leasor that Oats had charged out of the cross ties when she was bridling him, and ran through his damned bridle AND was hard to catch, to boot.
This is NOT the first time that has happened- though it’s not really a normal thing for Oats to do, at all. This happened last summer, coincidentally while I was out on a TEAMS deployment for 8 days in Lillooet. So, two bridles busted to hell in the span of a year.
Not enough to think it’s a pattern, but still. I can’t really afford to replace bridles that much…This is number 3. I was pretty steamed. Accidents do happen, and this is random enough but..ya know?
Luckily for them I have a spare bridle, so I told them to take the bit off the broken bridle, replace it in the new bridle, and use that one. Which is fine.
A palate cleanser- cupcakes with gummy unicorns I made last week when I had a few friends visit (within our appropriate bubbles, safely!)
But damn. I’m just SO OVER IT. Maybe leasing…Isn’t Oats’ thing.
I also had a dressage lesson (after two weeks!!) and it was pretty good, not as ‘fun’ or as ‘flashy’ as my past few, but after two weeks off, I knew I was going to have to take a big step back, ha.
So, I texted the leasor’s mother to pay for my new bridle, see what her schedule is like next week (I offered a few extra practice ride days, and obviously I offered this BEFORE they broke my second bridle….So i’m not thrilled but I also don’t want to renege on this..).
And as we start getting back to normal, I started my lessons back up! Of course after 2 months of no lessons…I desperately needed them. My jump lesson was good and to the point, and Oats got back to it like he had never been away! Small tiny little cross poles, but it felt good to get back to the groove again with my honest as the day is long pony. A good feeling for sure 🙂
Hard to believe this was in March, and like one of our last jump lessons?!
I then had my first dressage lesson back on Saturday at the freaking crack of dawn, and you know what? I wanted to really take me and Oats back to basics. My hands are too rough, I feel like he is shortening through his neck because of that in the warm-up, and our transitions are now non-existent and tough and leaning. I know a lot of this is because of the weird anxiety I had over the past two months, but that is no excuse for BAD hands and terrible warm-ups and transitions.
So, our entire dressage lesson was a rework on soft hands through the warm-up to start things off on the right foot. And you know what? It felt great! I was able to warm up with soft hands and then incrementally work them up into the contact. Oats was then more responsive off my seat!
Of course, he was still a spooky goof yesterday, so I spanked him pretty hard and then we revisited what we learned on Saturday about warming up nicely, stretching rather than compressing his neck and spent the whole ride yesterday just doing that- and it was good! He was pretty sweaty, but it wasn’t difficult work- it was just comprehensive and warming up with ‘reach’ rather than some sort of weird giraffe-neck.
He spooks because he can get bored, and I’m like, enough of that!!
But then he got down to business, and was reaching quite nicely. I’m so glad to be able to get guidance again. I definitely need it to keep both of us honest, nice to each other, and back on track!! Oats likes it too 🙂
Oats and I then got to explore one of the unused pastures to see if it ok for turn-out, and it was. Oats was in hog heaven, with knee-high grass and weeds everywhere!
So, things are going but also going sideways, haywire, etc. My work is nuts (I am directly involved in public information), and also we are seeing a lot of things shake down, as part of the pandemic.
It’s so stressful- for all. I am not a frontline worker, but I see the effects of this day by day. I am writing a list of fun things I want to do when this blows over/winds down (go travel, go out for a team breakfast! Run! Do a race!), but in the meantime, I vacillate between extreme self-pity, fear and paranoia, to ‘it’s all okay’. UGH.
Welcome darkness, my old friend… I REALLY don’t want to do this again. But I might. I guess when you’re going through hell, keep going.
I also have a recurring stress fracture, so I can’t even run right now. Man, when it rains, it freaking pours eh? I guess the timing is (good? I disbelieve that word even as I write it) now that I can’t race anyways.
I did have a nice weekend though, believe it or not! I had a riding lesson on Saturday and Oats was great! He was my little superstar~ I rode on Sunday and let too much angst out, and I know I shouldn’t have. I am easily triggered right now, and I want to make it up to Oaty! He is being the best boy he knows how.
It was also like, gale-force windy this weekend, ALLLLLLL weekend. It finally lessened up on Sunday, so I rode and then my husband and I hiked up Mt. Finlayson. There I learned I am a huge chicken, and I was afraid of the steep, rocky bluff ascent. Yikes!
I refused to go back down that way (jesus, no.) in part because I was afraid of it, and also it was smoking busy! I didn’t feel comfortable hiking with so many people swarming around.
We went the long way down, got a bit turned around (thanks to the signs closing the one pathway that actually links back to the parking lot…sheesh), and then we made it home. And we shared a hotdog! Yum! 🙂
I then drank wine, sat in the sun with a blanket – yes it was still chilly- but the sun had some strength that day.
So where does that leave us? Uncertain. Out of my control- even my body is out of my control. My mind? Yeah, that’s gone too. I don’t know anymore. But I can ride, so I will do that now and just …Keep on.
To quote Charles Dickens:
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”