The machine that made us: Jump lessons!

Yesterday. Wow. So, the day went pretty seamlessly- work was good, it was fairly pleasant to run home and I was heading out to enjoy a walk with Gidget. I had my headphones in, and was listening to my favourite podcast at the moment (Casefile, check it out!) until my good mood came to a screeching halt thanks to an insanely rude, entitled neighbour.

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Dirty details don’t need to come out but protip: Confronting someone with ‘are you deaf’? pretty much NEVER goes well, you old crank. God, it really brought my happy mood down and raised alllllll of my hackles. Don’t mess with me. 

Anyways, I was amped and angry and then spent over an hour driving in traffic to the barn, leading to me rushing around and literally running to grab tack, horse, boots…Yeah. I was in an awful mood going into my riding lesson. Pissed, running late, angry, etc etc the proverbial black cloud was hanging over me.

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This sadly bled into my ride. I felt awkward, clumsy, not connecting well, Oats felt sucked back, tenderfooted and his canter? Ha, what canter. He could not hold the canter, warmed up feeling like a piece of cardboard…Yeah. So, success??

We worked over a few elements of the course in the outdoor and they went ok, until we strung them into a course. Ugh, horrible. I was getting left behind, riding defensively, you name it, I was doing it. I could NOT get in the ‘groove’ per se.

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We regrouped, and then went to tackle the course again- and Nicole suggested I let my body ‘flow’ more and focus on a big, exaggerated two-point bend/release instead of my stiff, defensive, ‘sit’ position. This would help Oats jump better too, as he would feel me committing more to the jump and not riding from the backseat (one of my bigger flaws at the moment).

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Brenda kindly gave Oats her old flymask after his other one got destroyed last week. Wonder how long this will last?

And wouldn’t you know, it worked! Our second course rode really well! Some bobble fences, but overall it flowed much better, we met the fences together, rather than Oats and then me, and it was overall just much more pretty and positive. A great note to end on! AND my friend was there, so I got video + screenshots from it. YES! Plus- I matched with Oats (on purpose this time) so we look pretty too.

So, from good, to really bad, to good again. A rollercoaster of a day!

 

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Hostess Strawberry Cupcakes. My food review.

Hint- they are NOT good.

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I am pretty behind in my food reviews (I have a lot in the backlog right now, like Baileys Pumpkin Spice, Lavender Yogurt from Liberté, Liberté Greek Crunch in Coconut , Califa Farms Mocha Cold Brew)….

But I couldn’t resist with this one. So many things to say! So many things I didn’t like about it also.

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First off, the packaging. When I was a kid, Hostess Cup Cakes came in chocolate with white squiggle icing and also in a twin-pack (two cupcakes per pack, a US delicacy and a treat to behold). They tasted like everything I wanted when I was a kid: Sweet, chocolatey, two of them…That’s pretty much it.

These ones? One per pack, which in of itself is disappointing. Why the new style of packaging? Is this some sort of child/adult obesity crisis type of scare, making us think that only one should be eaten at a time? How does that explain Pop-Tarts then?

The smell is lightly floral, with undertones of cardboard, and the look says we stopped trying like, 10 months ago. And the taste? Man. I have never experienced a snack cake that is both greasy AND stale at the same time, existing on simultaneous planes. Just yuck. The chocolate ‘frosting’ is hard and lame, kind of bitter tasting. Has a special eau de cardboard that you can’t seem to escape, also tastes vaguely like newspaper.

The cake itself bills as ‘strawberry’ but tastes more like failed dreams and stale aspirations. Bland, rather chemical tasting, not enhanced even remotely by the greasy ‘crème filing’ that looks and tastes like the edible oil product it is. Grim.

I’m actually glad these are not packaged in pairs anymore. Nobody wants to eat more than one. Also, now I’m not sure if the ones I had in my childhood were any good, or I just had way, way lower standards. ????

I guess they can’t all be winners!

All is too much: Weekend recap

Funny, for a not-busy weekend it sure ended up being busy!

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The weather was horrendous for most of the weekend. Winds of up to 90km/hr at my house, sideways rain, just so shitty. I went for a run in the AM on Saturday and after 2km of getting blasted backwards and sideways, I gave up after something hit my ear and hurt! I ran more interior routes and then headed home.

Friday we were lucky enough to do some fun Halloween-y activities, like pumpkin carving and making candy apples- the candy apples didn’t quite turn out like I thought (the candy slides off them and puddles on the tray…) Wouldn’t make it again but nice to try once.

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We were going to do the big corn maze on Saturday after riding, but the weather was so awful that I ran horse errands instead (hay nets, grain, MSM for Oats). We are rescheduling for next Saturday as the weather has improved significantly this week. Oats was fun to ride on Saturday, can’t even really remember what we were working on (transitions? Probably transitions. It’s always transitions now.). Saturday night was board game night at the Board Game Cafe with the barn girls. Always a great time! 🙂

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Sunday Ian helped me move jumps at the barn, a quick ride for Oats focusing on straightness at the canter with ‘small’ canter and ‘big’ canter, and going across the diagonal STRAIGHT (again, a big weakness). We were then off to Cobble Hill to Mile End Farm for his birthday lunch with his parents and a hike and a hot tub.

A nice end to a nice weekend. Couldn’t ask for more.

What am I becoming?

Ah, I last left this blog on a Thursday and haven’t blogged in…Over a week.

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Sometimes the evacuees are bunnies!

Why? Not vacation, I can tell you!

I was deployed on the Friday to help with emergency communications in Prince George, a service I volunteered for from work. I received the call at 11am on Friday, and was on a 2:45pm flight to PG. (Sort of, it turned into a big debacle and we flew to PG, couldn’t land, flew back to Vancouver, caught the next flight back to PG, and ended up there at 10pm).

We worked until 1am that night. Hitting the ground running in a way, eh?

It was a challenging, life-changing and good experience. But it was exhausting, emotionally difficult, and a ton of work.

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At least I had the chance to have some great times with friends when I got back!

I got back home on Friday, and had great expectations for going riding when I got home. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I crawled into bed, feeling like I got hit with a ton of bricks. So exhausted. I didn’t get up until 4pm?! Riding happened on Saturday instead. Ha.

Oats…isn’t being super great. He’s pretty fine most times, and then other times has this massive demon-spook that is just INSANE. He has also been spooking at things that don’t normally bother him, like birds, squirrels, etc.??? He had a few big freakouts in the field, which is typically his happy place? He spooked so hard and flew backwards so violently that I pulled a muscle in my hip trying to stay on (I did..). Jesus.

At least I had a fairly decent dressage lesson last night, but it started off rough and I was in an absolutely terrible mood. I wanted to cry for most of it, until it smoothed out and he relaxed and gave up the resistance.

I am having an increasingly hard time breathing while I am running- so much so that I am struggling to breathe running a shorter distance (5k)?? It makes me feel panicky and trapped, like I am stuck in my own body and it’s betraying me somehow. Ugh, I hate it! I’m fine normally, it’s just when I am doing my long-distance running…And I am an experienced runner, so WTF? My lungs were checked relatively recently and they were fine, more than fine actually- superhuman. So …yeah. I now have an appointment with my doctor to see if I have a heart murmur or something that is causing this newfound breathing struggle.

I don’t want to collapse.

Anndd….I came back to work to find a lot of my dear friends and longtime colleagues got let go on Monday.

Lovely.

 

Busy week & bad weather = bad

Got some kind of bad news, although it was not unexpected, it did greatly annoy me and it looks like I will have to start seriously look at making some changes in my life. SIGHHH…Well, to be fair I did kind of start wanting a change this year, but I didn’t expect to be forced into it!

That’s life, I guess?

I was also reminded that that, indeed, is life by this quote (from a poem by D.H. Lawrence)

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.

 

Anyways, despite my title, the gloomy-ass weather today (pouring rain, grey skies, 12 degrees?!) things are generally ‘ok’ this week. Been practicing hard at dressage with my two lessons this week, and my run-throughs of the tests last night in my usual jump lesson went better than expected! Ok, our overbending was an issue and Oats wanted to goggle mightily at ‘stuff’ outside the outdoor arena, but kept his shirt on and we made it work out pretty well! Also, picking up left lead canter going downhill in the outdoor= not happening. Ha.

I was in kind of a grouchy mood about the aforementioned life change, so I was extra glad my lesson went smoothly.

And for the busy week? I have something every single day this week- Mon- ride, Tues- dressage lesson, Wed, dressage lesson (a theme eh? ha), Thur- track meet! Fri, work drinks, Sat- Hopoxia (a beer fest), Sun- the dressage show!

Crazy eh?

Oh well, life is for the living and I’m gonna damn well live EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!

(I say that sitting my butt on my chair, doing nothing at the moment, oh well).

Now boarding the struggle bus

Jump lesson last night and woooow…I was just NOT clicking with Oats. I have no idea why (hmm, maybe the death of my friend’s dad, my car being an idiot and having to pay a repair bill this week, oh and feeling overwhelmed at work?), yeah I have no clue!

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So easy and yet so hard??? Why??

So anyways, we set up a small gymnastic and I absolutely flailed my way through it. Smashed my face on Oats’ neck when he went to canter it, as I awkwardly fell back, and then forward, and then BANG! Face meets neck. Ouch!!!!!

Well, I don’t know how to to ride today, was my immediate thought.

It got ok, and then worse, and then…well I don’t know.

We worked through the gymnastic w/o reins, because clearly I had relinquished my rights to riding normally with my idiotic display…Oats was also in fine form, wiggling, wobbling, taking off ridiculously early, heading for a chip, he even spooked?!! This is a pony who didn’t even blink an eye when geese were like, getting killed on the roof?!!

We had one really nice go-round, took a break to talk about cheerful things like death, and then I proceeded to go blow up another round. Greeeatttt….

Fumbled and tripped our way through the grid. Lovely.

Went to try grid again and fumbled and wobbled through it. Well, ok. Take a massive chip to the next fence. ARGH!

Single fence after that was good, and then headed back to the gymnastic. Oats leaps over, I flail wildly and pull him to stop, very narrowly missing the standards. Okayy…Take 2: We go over, I stay firmly planted in the backseat waving my arms..We make it over. Canter to the next fence, it goes well. Canter to a few more singles, also good.

I have a righteous fire lit within me, for some reason….You know grids are often easier for horses and riders? So, WTF is my problem?

Wow, it was kind of a rough ride. I have a headache today, thanks to my nose…I guess we need these rides to make us really appreciate the good ones??? Please tell me that is the truth!

Sidenote: I am making another appointment for a session with the equine counselor. It’s time for a tune-up.

Being comfortable with uncomfortable

Had a jump lesson yesterday and strangely, unlike last week, I wasn’t hyperfocused on the jumps themselves…I had some issues with my back being weird at work (still is, argh) so I guess that kind of took some of my attention away from…JUMPS!

That didn’t mitigate the level of suckitude though- oh man. Gymnastics, which up until this point this summer, I had actually been doing quite well at…Turned on me. And again reminded me about why I kind of hate gymnastics!

Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi.

Oh look, we can do oxers after all (from last year).

We worked over a four-jump gymnastic line of one-strides. All went well until Oats started being less generous with the last fence in the line- maybe he thought it was set a touch too far for him and decided, NOPE not gonna play that game today. And proceeded to slam on the brakes, and climb over the oxer. How that is easier than say, just jumping it, is beyond me…

But yeah we did that about four times, maybe 5 if you’re being generous. ARGH.

And funny enough each time Oats decided he would crawl over the oxer, he left it standing. How???

Gah, it was miserable. Uncomfortable, awkward, you name it, I felt it. I wanted to give up so hard. Nicole set the oxer in a bit, and dropped it down to a cross-rail with the oxer rail behind it, a bit more visually appealing for Oats. He still did it. gag.

But you know what? When I said no way did I want to do it again, Nicole was like, “What’s the worst that can happen? He slams on the brakes and crawls over. You’ve already done that a bunch of times, so what?” And I was like, yeah and it was the worst!!!!

But, she had a point. So we are sucking out loud at this today. Get it done and over with. We had another crappy go-round of the gymnastic, and moved on to a short course (that went really well, hah) and then tried the gymnastic again. One more failure, but I got proactive and spanked his butt over one of the jumps- he gave me quite the kickback for that, and one more time–and the message got through. Finally, we got it. Nice, forward, no crawling.

So, it took the whole lesson- multiple failures with the gymnastic- but nowhere did I really feel panicked or worried…Just kind of annoyed. I know that not every lesson can be flawless, sometimes you have to embrace the uncomfortable, shitty ride and know that if you see it out today, maybe next time will be better (or even the end of the ride will be better). Quite similar to my dressage schooling with Oats on Sunday- it was kind of a battle, but it was a battle worth doing and winning.

I see you, gymnastics from hell, and I raise you one successful go-around!

Oh and coursework remains one of our strengths….No wonder I’ve been having so many relatively flawless lessons lately, duh, no gymnastics in them! hahaha I’ve been fooling myself.