We celebrated by going to a friend’s amazing Halloween party extravaganza- we had a fabulous time! Enjoy some photos
Double the fun at Fairlawn Stables!
We took the opportunity to do a field trip on the weekend to try out our dressage trainer’s amazing new footing at her farm, Fairlawn. It’s also a gorgeous facility, so huge and spacious and bright so why not !?!
The ponies were…less than thrilled to see the trailer pull up again (Two WEEKS in a row?) but got onboard when we were there 🙂
And I said: Let’s do something FUN! That’s all I want to do now, lol. I only have less than a month left here, so let’s make the most of it and really enjoy ourselves, so that is the lesson we got- a pas de deux lesson with the two dudes!
And they are so cute together, I think they’re really figuring out how to rate with each other!! And Becky and I only forgot where we were going once or twice I think 😉 The horses picked it up faster than we did.
We then enjoyed a little cruise around the fields after, as they have a lovely little pond you can ride around. The boys were very well behaved, and it was just such a fun and chill atmosphere. Can you ask for any better? Plus the weather has been amazing lately…chilly today, but far, far above the seasonal temps for Oct. We’re stuck in the groundhog day of my dreams…An endless summer!
South Island Riding Club Gymkhana #2
Another fun day! Wow this fall has been sooo busy, I can’t keep up! This is a new club and I am loving their ethos- low key, supportive and fun 🙂 Oats and I are NOT fast but as English riders, we are welcomed and having a blast.
We did barrel racing (our weakest), pole bending, keyhole, surprise class and stake class. They were such fun and I borrowed hoof boots so Oats would be comfy this time. He was still very unhurried, lol, but he’s a solid citizen and very safe to show at this venue. Also, the Western horses all had a meltdown about the miniature x-rail in the keyhole lol so that was Oats’ time to shine!
We won the keyhole and might have won the surprise class (holding a lacrosse stick with a ball in it, you ride the stake pattern and on the way back, you deposit the ball from the lacrosse net into a basket!) Oats was a superstar about it 🙂
Love my boy! We also had our friends come, including Oats’ leasor, and it was really awesome to see everyone out again on such a gorgeous day.
I only drink when I’m drunk
Saw this on a Spotify playlist yesterday and man, I’m hooked.
Actually, I am not really drinking intentionally right now (trying to take a break, for health and you know, those reasons) but I have been very much enjoying my weekends, boozy or not 😉
We have had so many fun times, where to begin…We went to the Cobble Hill the other weekend and now it costs $10 to get in (not worth it) and it was a freaking ZOO with the most ill-behaved little monsters running around. I couldn’t handle it, ughh. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t manage to be in the same outdoors space as all of these little assholes running wild. NO THANKS. Yuck.
We didn’t stay that long, thankfully (and I cancelled my ideas to go to the Saanich Fair. Do that again? NOPE!). We then had approximately 100 errands to run, haha. Pick up a sweater I forgot at the horse show site, visit a cidery (Valley Cider, it was lovely!), go to Merridale too, and best of all- I bought the most insane Caesar possible. Friends, you haven’t lived until you have eaten the Coast Caesar!
Feast your eyes… And it did cost a cool $40, so maybe make it a once-in-a-lifetime treat eh?
And then on the Sunday, Ian and I did a long run of 24k and I got changed quickly and went to the James Bay BBQ with my friend Amaka. We listened to live music, I brought Gidget and we ate and ate and ate. Man! The BBQ was incredibly generous- as many jumbo dogs as you can eat (so, like I saved half of mine b/c i was too full), ice cream, freezies, bananas, cake, chocolate chip cookies. It was a feast!! What a great day 🙂
Ian and I also caught Phillips ‘Dino Sour’ patio party on a random Thursday. I got back early from my lesson and saw a biiiggg lineup…And almost bailed. But then we got in, and while it was busy, we ordered our drinks and got in, and out pretty quick. I had the Dino sour slushy and bought a few sleeves of the other random ‘dino sour’ flavours. One was a very hideous swampy-green cask-conditioned salted plum sour and wow did it look horrible! Tasted ok though.
Working Equitation Day 2: Redemption!
After my sad-sack ‘dressage’ test where Oats had a head tossing freakout, I forgot where I was going and he was spooking at everything, I was determined to just let it go. Ok fine, it sucked but I’m camping in a great spot, it’s super hot out and we have trails and a pond to swim in. It could be worse!!
So we trail rode, I focused on letting it go past me and I went for some more swims…Even going skinny dipping when everyone else who was finished for the weekend went on a night time trail ride. Daring eh?? HAh it was so refreshing, I slept amazingly well despite the really loud concert going on all night in a nearby farm (and they had huge tents, a professional sound system and everything!).
The next day of course I didn’t ride until… after 2pm. Was I hanging around, biting my nails, feeling hot and festering? NOPE! I was determined to actually enjoy my experience for once. I fed Oats, cleaned his stall, longed him in the morning (he was tired) and then I went on a little run to check out where the Cowichan Trail connected to where we were the day previous. Then I cooled off with a nice swim, packed up my gear and lazily went over to think about tacking up…to find they had accelerated the schedule! Yikes!
Ha but it was totally fine. We had lots of time still! So I tacked up, and felt fairly confident about the tracks I was planning. There was no real water obstacle, and no bank, both of which challenged Oats last year.
When it was our turn, I was fairly pleased with Oats, with the understanding that he was quite footsore on the rock hard grass, and some areas were worse than others- he couldn’t hold a good canter at all, and did a fair amount of ‘trantering’ where it was very hard. He was a good boy though and I couldn’t wait for my fav- the speed round!!
Oats is NOT fast, but he’s a canny little dude and gets really into it. When we had the speed round come up, he was great!! Of course we got absolutely blown out of the water by some of the other speedier riders and horses but he’s just SO fun 🙂 and I think he really enjoys it too!
We were in last place after our miserable dressage, and then first after Ease of Handling, to settle in second place out of three. Not bad for us and a great way to wrap up our show season. Go Oats!
A rust-buster show with CDRC
A few weeks ago we finally went to a show, in a month where despite my best efforts, EVERYTHING got cancelled on me. 😦
Games day with the horses? Cancelled, not enough entries.
Bachelorette party? Cancelled, bride got COVID.
Movie I wanted to go see? Left the theatres.
And so on…ARGH.
But this is the one thing that actually happened this month. And it went very well, both horses Donato and Oats were superstars and didn’t put a hoof wrong. My scores are not competitive anymore, and I am not entirely sure what to chalk that up to?
- Performance anxiety?
- Not able to replicate the homework we do at home in the ring?
- Oats aging?
- Me losing focus?
Whatever it is, it’s going on at every show we go to. SIGH. He is very well behaved but we just don’t have magic anymore. Regardless, it was a very nice day and super fun to get out there with our buds. We missed them so much over the years of injury + COVID that despite our lacklustre scoring, it’s just nice to be out, doing the things we love to do, you know?
Teetering on a precipice
Things were going fine, until they suddenly weren’t. Tucker stopped eating for two weeks, his longest stint yet. My stress fractures got aggravated and I was limping again. 8 months of progress/trying to heal = over. And I have a race this weekend?! Yay. 😦 Eff my life.
My feet also have the return of chronic arch pain, so love that too. GOD damn this fall has been tricky.
At least we have some fun things to do, like going to a beer fest this past weekend (it was great!) and planning lots of fun horsey events with buddies.
Lessons have been going very well, had a nice jump lesson on Saturday where I couldn’t find a distance to save my life, ha and a WE lesson on Sunday where we upped the technical requests of Oats and it went fairly well! Tough tough, damn those L-shaped poles backing through…It’s our toughest. Plus I couldn’t pry my fingers off the garrocha pole to be able to grip the ring. At all. Like…If I tried I would drop the pole. I suspect it’s because I have incredibly tiny hands?!!
Something to work on!
No more riding in the fields I suspect- the rainy season is definitely upon us. Tucker did eat his rabbit food last night- I watched him! First time in weeks!!! It’s small progress, but progress nonetheless.
We are also made to go back to work full time, so no more WFH allowed. SIGH. Why can’t we be trusted? Oh that’s right, because they hold all employees with a degree of suspicion and mistrust. It’s been making me reconsider who I work for these days, to be honest. I would like to be treated with respect and value, and I do not feel that way. I have been very clear about this with others, so I guess we’ll see what happens next.
Last Thursday’s dressage lesson was alll lateral work and it was pretty tough, but the good thing is that it doesn’t get Oats too sweaty, which is great because he is ALL FUR and sweating his butt off! Poor Oaty! He gets clipped (with dorm, for safety) this weekend. Thank god, because it takes forever to cool/dry him out at night these days.
The further adventures of Mr. Oats
Not only did we have a blazing jump lesson this past weekend, but we also had an adventure! This summer is all about fun and trying new things for old Oaty and me. I had a long and arduous summer/fall/winter/spring with Oats and his injuries that honestly, really burned me out of life. I didn’t feel eager to do anything anymore, ya know?
And what is the antidote to existential ennui, with horses? Why, anything new!
So that’s why this summer so far I have gone trail riding, take Oats and friends to an obstacle course workshop, done working equitation (lessons and the horse show!) and this past weekend, we went into a trail class!
It was very casual, a fundraiser for a new riding ring at the Beaver/Elk Lake Equestrian Society, and we were like the first people there at 8:30am, hahah. The volunteers were great though and got us rolling very quickly, not a lot of waiting around. Just how I like it!! No warm up arena available, so it was going in cold! Not our forte, as it turns out, ugh. The course was flowing quite nicely, nothing too challenging or spooky and not difficult to remember BUT we just didn’t have it together early enough on-course.
We bumped the gate and almost knocked it down, haha. Whoops! And that was our first obstacle! And then he was great over the bridge and to the mailbox and then the dreaded L-shape backup…Was a total mess. We clobbered the poles, Oats put up a big fuss about backing up and instead put his head straight in the air and went sideways… gah!
Moving on, he was excellent for the pole bending at the trot, picked up an ok canter, and then proceeded to completely blow the next back-up request. Face=palm. This is stuff WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON and this just..eh. Sucked.
He was then very good going over the uneven poles (though by Braille…He clonked every.single.pole.) and was nice over the tarp. Good Oats! We then picked up an ok left canter and halted fine, and then forgot what to do for a 360-degree turn on the forehand right, and then turn on the haunches left. My fault, whoops! He was great for it.
So, I knew what we had to practice the next day in my home arena: Backing up nicely through L poles. Also maybe I should refresh my memory of how to do a turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches NOT against a wall…My crutch as I learned.
But after our trail class we had a surprise: A trail ride! My friend who boards her horse near the venue/park rode him over and we rode back to her barn, where our other friend picked us up. Oats was THRILLED to be with his ‘big brother’ again 🙂 so cute. He screamed the whole way back to our barn for Donato…Poor Oats!
It was a very successful day, and I did even go and practice the ‘L’ shape on Monday’s ride. Gotta get that turn in sooner, which is my biggest fault in this obstacle.
But I also have to say that I am really enjoying these no-pressure fun adventure outings. Horses are so fragile, life is so fleeting…Let’s do it all, guys!
BC Day Adventures on horseback
So I have a friend who is big into trail riding- she has a great trail horse, and all the fun gear like a speaker that hangs on the breastplate of her saddle, and a TRAILER! I am a self confessed trail riding chicken with my own horse. Other trail horses, no prob. Trail ride on Oats? Ughhhhhh…no.
However, since our other friend has a horse that is recovering from a torn ligament and will likely be off for a year (god, now that is another bad story entirely 😦 ) Our trail friend had nobody to ride with, and so I gathered up my courage and said I would ride on the trails with her. And so, a plan was made!
We went up to Glenora on Sunday, to the Cowichan Valley Trail that is basically a section of the Trans Canada Trail. There are a few trail options at the trailhead there, but we took the most basic one- straight ahead 🙂 It is very horse-friendly, with lots of parking, two small paddocks, hitching posts, water and a manure pile.
I asked my husband to come as our lead rider on his bike! We were honestly not at all sure how Oats would be on the trail, so we thought it would be safest to have a hand on the ground just in case the horses got nutty.
They didn’t though! Good as gold! I was really impressed and surprised. Oats can get silly waiting- he tries to rear, or go in circles, but otherwise he was as cool as a cucumber. From the minute I got on, he was just chill. He is NEVER like that at home on the trails, so I was pretty surprised.
We even got to the trestle and the horses were like no big deal?? Even my dog is afraid of bridges (but she is a huge wimp, sooo…).
We chatted, rode, had snacks and water from Katie’s saddlebags and I even rode up behind Ian to grab a Clif bar out of his backpack while he was cycling. I never thought I would be able to do that?! It was so fun, and just a really chill day.
Rocky (Katie’s dog) was also really well behaved too. The trail was busy, lots of cyclists, runners, dogs, but the horses and everyone kept it together and I was appreciative of how respectful and careful the cyclists and other trail users were. Yes! Plus it was great of Ian to come and ride his bike, because then he could pick berries for us- there were thimbleberries, wild blackberries and huckleberries. Yummy!
What a great day.
I can’t help you if I can’t help myself
Back to JUMP lessons on Saturday! It seems so funny that only a few months ago, I was fussing hardcore about having jump lessons on Saturday because it can be tough on my weekend schedule plus I just didn’t like to really be scheduled on the weekends, in case things changed, plans came up, etc…
Well, I guess everything changed and now I have lessons on Saturdays because no other days worked! If I wanted to do dressage lessons, the only day that worked was Thursday. My jump day! So I moved jump day to Saturday, dressage to Thursday, and Oats’ novice rider lessons are on Tuesdays. Busy busy eh?
We had a nice lesson but WOW having to get strides in the indoor and in a line (4 strides) instead of 5 strides, felt tough! Really tough! I am not used to pushing, and neither was Oats, haha.
Still it was fun, I was out of breath and tired, haha.
We did a small line in 4 strides, and then a small course working with the line/bending line. I, of course, messed it up a fair bit at first (thank GOD the jumps are like..a foot. ha).
Still, getting back into it just requires more work! More than I remember, hahah and wow it is tiring. I think Oats felt the same way 🙂 Felt so good to do it.