Meet Tucker!

I have an announcement to make….We have a new family member joining us for 2018.

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A Christmas Bunny.

That’s right, Tucker the bunny joined our family on Monday! I had a rabbit-sized hole in my heart after my dear Buster Bunny tragically died while I was on holidays this summer.

I had that rabbit for 8 years- he lived with me in Whitehorse, flew back to the Island with me when I moved to Victoria, was with me even before I got married, before I got my dog and horse…It was really tough. I was sad for a long time after that.

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I wasn’t sure if I could handle having another rabbit. But I always wanted one and you know what? Life is long, and you have many chances and opportunities to explore the life you want. And my life will include rabbits, hahah.

So I took a chance on a new bunny who kind of desperately needed a new home. He is quiet right now but shows a real curiosity and boldness when he gets more comfortable. He does have really bad urine scald on his feeties, and I am going to have to start treating that (we rubbed his feet with a warm cloth yesterday, today we are going to do a more serious foot-soak with glycerine soap to clean the bacteria off them). I do have to be careful we don’t rub more hair off his poor feet and legs.

Welcome to the family Tucker bunny!

Your Best American Girl

So, yeah. What happened was…

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  • I got deployed to assist with wildfire emergency communications in Prince George again. So, two weeks out of my summer were up there.
  • When I got home, I was immediately on vacation, that started horribly and tragically. It wasn’t good.
  • Got back from vacation, and still had some time off, so I mourned Buster, rode Oats, rode in a lesson, prepared for a dressage show on Saturday, and rode in a polo ‘slow chukka’
  • And now I am back at work, with a dressage lesson tonight, a successful dressage show in the books, and a polo night tomorrow, with jumping on Thursday.

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The show went super well, it was just a scored ‘ride a test’ where you ride the test, the judge comes out to run you through some exercises based on what she saw during the test, and then you had an opportunity to try the test again, maybe improve on what you worked on.

I did Training 2 & 3, and this time I finally had the correct Training 3 test (unlike last time, where I was kind of a disorganized mess…) and things went SO well. Oats was a tad spooky in the beginning but it was easily worked through and he gave me some really quality and consistent work.

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And our tests were scored fairly, the judge was so nice and very complimentary. She said we should be doing First Level, so I am going to talk to my dressage trainer tonight to see what she says. I was immensely flattered! Just to think, Oats and I getting these kind comments!

I’ve really been basking in kind judge comments. Our first dressage show of the season, the judge even wanted to know what kind of pony Oats was! ūüôā

For a girl that prefers jumping, I am starting to wonder if I should be taking dressage a little more seriously or what these days? I am seeing some real progress with Oats in it.

Eat your feelings

Yesterday marked up to 24 hours post-anesthesia and while I initially shrugged off the effects, yesterday morning showed me exactly what was up with my body. I got up fine, poured coffee on the counter instead of into my coffee mug, carried my mug up to the bedroom to feed Buster and sloshed it onto the stairs…

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Buster Bunny and the newly carpeted stairs.

Decided on wearing a different headband while I was doing my makeup, tossed my headband on the dresser, where it promptly slid behind the (super heavy, impossible for me to move) dresser. Shit!

Ok, moving on then. As we walked to the car (we went to vote yesterday AM before work), I was carrying both Ian and my travel coffee mugs and because I still didn’t have great hand-grip control, I immediately dropped his coffee on the pavement and it cracked open and spilled EVERYWHERE.

So, no coffee for the long-suffering husband yesterday morning.

We voted with no problems, and then I fell off the sidewalk going to the car. Smooth.

I figured I’d see how the rest of my day went, and when I found I could run on the treadmill without falling off it or killing myself, I was a-ok! I thought, good to run on the treadmill *requires coordination* then I was fine to drive to the barn and ride.

And it was totally fine, thank god. Phew! Oats was great, super amped and ready to work. Good pony. The weather wasn’t too bad, and I had an enjoyable and productive ride (no lesson, as I wasn’t sure how coordinated I’d be after anesthesia). He was focused, going forward, and we did a LOT of bend/counterbend with some struggle at the canter.

Love my pony!

Feeling really crummy today though. The side effects from the Mirena I had seem to be continuing, with intense cramping, bloating so grotesque that I look at least 5++ months pregnant, and some spotting. I feel so gross and miserable! I see what I am in the mirror right now, with an actual gut hanging over my shorts that I know is temporary and hormonal, and yet it still drives me nuts. GRRRRRRRR.

Those who can’t do, judge. And- Hoppy Easter!

Thought since it was a very long weekend (much needed, desperately needed, and now I have a growing cold from it) I will split it into a few blog posts!

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Buster Bunny wishes everyone a Happy Easter!

Was thinking a lot about this title last night (cold= can’t sleep), and reflecting on my jump lesson I had last Thursday. It went GREAT actually–I know I have been on a real roll for months now, but it was one of those lessons where I felt strong, competent, doable, fierce and Oats and I were WORKING IT!

The oft-repeated sentence from my lessons is usually: That was great, but….

But: I can’t replicate my successes.

But: I didn’t want to do the course again, because of reasons (fears, mostly).

But: Our leads suck.

But: Oats was dragging ass and I couldn’t get him motivated!

But: This is a one-time success and next week will be worse somehow.

This past lesson, even though I’d been actually riding a high from the lesson before, was super awesome. The lesson itself wasn’t really anything too fancy, no combinations, nothing too ridiculous, and yet…

We worked over a small course that had two, yes count ’em, two oxers (gulp!), and we worked on getting my lead to the right after landing from a fence on the diagonal, and one circle jump- to the right, natch!¬†And I managed to acknowledge my fears- yes those are oxers- but hey you know what? I am a strong and confident rider, and we jumped those fine last week. It will be fine, and it was fine.

I even jumped one of the oxers backwards (whoops, sorry saintly Oats!!).

Anytime he felt a bit mushy or weak to the fence, we galloped boldly on. He was meeting the fences with me, I felt sooo good about it. The one diagonal fence got raised to 2’6” even, no problems. The 2’3” oxer that practically loomed rode…fine actually. Really nicely even! I think I was either smiling or grimacing, but it was the closest to a smile I’ve gotten!

Our leads were the most consistent they have ever been, and I was very ¬†happy with old Oats. A sure sign? A compliment from one of the moms who was there to watch her daughter lesson after me. She said she hadn’t seen us go for awhile, but thought that we looked really great! Warmed my old black heart, haha.

I know not all lessons are that triumphant, but it felt good to be holding that feeling. Go us!

And the countdown is ON!

Yep, on my last day at work here before Christmas holidays….And I can’t complain about my last day. My whole week, sure, but today? Nope! Things are ok as of right now.

I had to go back and edit this- no, I’m STILL overworked, and feeling swamped, done, tired and stressed. WHEN WILL THIS EFFING WEEK BE OVER>? I ask you….

Buster shares a moment

Buster shares a moment

Other than not being able to control my ‘must eat all the Christmas treats’ desire, things are fine. It looks like my Buster Bunny is on the mend, though stubbornly refusing to eat his rabbit pellets in another hunger strike…I got him some hay to play with, so maybe that distracts him into actually eating his normal food again…

Had a fun jump lesson last night, and you know what? We tried some interesting things and I quite enjoyed being ‘challenged’ in that way. We tried wide-hands jumping, wide-hands jumping over a tiny grid, wide-hands AND phyllis ‘carriage rein’ hands over the grid, one-handed grid-jumping – we almost smoked the standards though, yiiipes! And then we wrapped up with phyllis rein wide-oxer grid.

A good day!

I’m really liking trying new things jumping. It’s cool, neat and keeps Oats and I engaged. It was also nice to see my trainer again, I know she is grieving and going through a difficult time, so I was glad to see how well she is holding it together right now. One foot in front of the other, at this point.

We have the barn Christmas party tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it- my husband promised to help me make meatballs to bring (while I am a good baker, I am a¬†terrible cook). I also have to arrange my secret santa gift, no guesses on who it is but it is someone special to me and my horse! ūüôā

Looking forward to taking some time to uwind, relax with family, and enjoy the holidays with my horse, husband, dog and rabbit–the little troublemakers.

Also, my colleague gave me a Christmas card at work today and it was so nice and thoughtful. She is one of the most heartfelt people I know, and I think the world is a better place with her in it.

Also a shout-out to my husband, who handled my stressful week really well and helped me clean Buster’s gross butt last night, and even brought lentil tacos and beer on Wednesday when things were particularly rough! You’re the best!

Thankful for…

At the tail-end of the grouchiest week in recent history, I’m reminded that this Thanksgiving I am grateful for many things- not just a laundry list of recent complaints, as I’ve been ranting about this week.

Today, I’ve been trying to keep a lid on my ”I HATE doing this” to moderate success, so I am going to chalk that up to a win, and hope I can keep my hair on for the rest of the day.

Not that my day has been particularly motivating or I have accomplished much–nope, not today. I tried though, but as it turns out, a week of hell nears burnout city by Friday. Oh well, a long weekend is just what the dr. ordered.

So, I’m thankful for a bunch of things–

My lesson with Oats went really well last night, even though we completely demolished a crossrail when Oats decided he didn’t have to actually jump from a trot- I did warn Nicole but she laughed at me. Well, who’s laughing now when she had to pick up the whole freaking jump and put it back together! Haha. It went much more smoothly at the canter. We worked on a fairly simple exercise and I didn’t worry about the jump heights (low) which is a nice change. Oats is a good pony.

I have a job. Leaving it at this point right now…

Husband– always around for a good time! A great cook and not shabby baker either.

Pretty much never happens.

Pretty much never happens.

Buster Bunny, the Rabbit- looks cool wearing shades while also being the surliest rabbit in the city.

Hipster Buster

Hipster Buster

Gidget- I like to call her the ‘world’s most annoying dog’ but all she wants to do is cuddle on the couch. What is so wrong with that?

Please don't leave me.

Please don’t leave me.

Running– I’m happy with what I have been able to achieve, lucky me! My calf injury is clearing up too.

Looking relatively fresh at the finish...Photo courtesy of MEC.

Looking relatively fresh at the finish…Photo courtesy of MEC.

Parents/family– They exist and sometime exist to annoy me. But hey, they seem to always have my back.

Christmas with the family

Christmas with the family

Friends– I am going to watch a friend run his second marathon on Sunday. I’m so impressed by that- and I also think he is crazy- but I’m proud of him. Also my other friend who is going in on making ciders with me–a few years in the making but it’s happening!! YESSS!

Sasquatch!

Sasquatch!

HealthРNot always a guarantee given how much complaining I have been doing about my out of control allergies lately, but on the whole, I am fortunate.

Good food– I love lots of food as evidenced in my post yesterday. Yum!!

Pick everything!

Pick everything!

And that’s it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Animals- they’ll be the death of me!~

So this week Mr. Oats is off due to his snotty nose and cough, until he finishes his round of antibiotics – ask me how fun it is to crush up 100 pills…

Mr. Oats as envisioned by a six-year-old.

Mr. Oats as envisioned by a six-year-old.

Last week my dwarf bunny Buster scared the life out of me by accidentally getting his teeth stuck over the top bars of his cage. JESUS! How does that even happen? Well, we have a morning routine of giving treats while I check his food and water, and he was biting at the bars of his cage- wanted treats¬†now and then bit the top bar and couldn’t get his teeth off them!

So, he was hanging from the top of his cage by his teeth! I shoved his teeth back with my thumbs until he got unhooked and fell down. He seemed relatively unhurt and was still interested in his treats, so that was ok, just scary. Until this week, when I was checking him over and he chipped one of his front teeth during that little escapade! aRGH.

Oh and let’s not forget Gidget, who has since been banished to stay in the bathroom during the day because she has since un-learned how to be toilet trained…ARGHHH again. And she looks like a wooly mammoth, since her grooming appointment last week got rescheduled (sadly, due to the owner of the salon’s death? All the groomers attended her funeral last week).

Man…I need a week off from the animal-drama!

A very sweaty Oats from a few weeks ago- working hard!

A very sweaty Oats from a few weeks ago- working hard!

You before me

Jump lesson last night, and my legs were still not quite 100% (shoot!!) but I went with it…

We worked on a very twisty-turny course set QUITE low (all x-rails and I think verticals at 1ft..haha). It was tricky! I felt like I certainly wasn’t anxious about the jump heights, but I was feeling a bit of performance anxiety- kind of ate it at a few jumps (got left behind, kind of pulled at Oats over an awkward distance at another fence, and we slowly ground to a halt at small x-rail when we lost steam!) So…The mistakes were definitely my fault, haha.

Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi.

Jumping last year- photo courtesy of Christi.

But, the jumps were so low, it wasn’t really anything to get worried about? All part of the learning process (can’t believe how I am getting left behind these days, whoa it feels weird?!).

So- I’m making mistakes but it’s ok to make mistakes? As my trainer said, ”Oats is a saint!!” Haha yes he is- he can be a big jerk sometimes, but he’s a very honest horse and quite a tryer most days.

Cute Buster Bunny just because...

Cute Buster Bunny just because…

The course was so turny that we broke it down into 4- jump sections at a time, so I could school through the first four, take a break, and learn the next 4-jump section! It was confusing haha. There were 11 jumps total, and the funny thing is that the course didn’t really feel too onerous, and I normally complain heartily about anything over 8-jumps. Well look at us now! And we jumped it twice haha.

I also left feeling like I could have easily jumped the course with *some* of the jumps set up higher. Note: Not all of them!

But some of them!

So- A good feeling to leave me with ‘wanting more’…

Hoppy Easter!

Sadly, back to reality today but I had a really GOOD Easter, complete with going off the grid up-Island and some nice Easter candies courtesy of a lovely friend. Oats got the weekend off, and I did a quickie night-time longe on Sunday PM when we got back from my in-laws dinner (which was delicious, I ate WAY too much) and then I rode him on Monday over some small fences and he was great!

I’m going to do up a separate post for the off-the-grid trip, but in the meantime, Buster and I did his annual Easter photoshoot, so please enjoy! I love Easter, it’s one of my favourite holidays.

Easter Buster

Easter Buster

Buster's Easter haul

Buster’s Easter haul

There and back again

So, I’m back from my holidays. They were much-needed, not necessarily that relaxing (are holidays with family EVER relaxing?) and ended with some car drama, but I’m glad I had the time away from work.

Christmas with the family

Christmas with the family

I needed the perspective, quite frankly.

I also needed some time away from my ‘real life,’ an area that bogs me down in the details so much so that I become enveloped from what is ‘important’ and get stuck on the routine. And I can get obsessive about ‘the routine’ to an unhealthy point.

Colossal gingerbread house

Colossal gingerbread house

But, family was stressful. We did a lot of great things, and I enjoyed good company, great food, and other fun activities. However, I also felt the strain of ‘try hard’ and a bit fakey, ‘let’s cover it up with fun and ignore the festering sadness underneath’ that I can be sensitive to…

Oh well, it’s over. Holidays aren’t always Hallmark-worthy, are they?

Buster shares a moment

Buster shares a moment

And when I flew back, my car was making a weird stuttering on the highway and stalled out in a parking lot. I was like, how long has THIS been going on?

The remains of the gingerbread house

The remains of the gingerbread house

An entire week, $1,115 later and I think it’s pretty much back to being road-worthy, but jesus. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to me! (GAHHHH!!!!)

And my darling pony has been alternately good and bad my week back. Pissy and kicking out some days, relatively forward and willing others. Pissy yesterday in my lesson with 1 kick out briefly, but was nice to jump (tiny x-rails) and we did some interesting work on straightness and coursework. Felt nice to get back in the saddle, even if my old insecurities came rearing back at me!

Now I am kind of dreading my dressage lessons…If he is pissy and bucky doing my regular work, how on earth will the more-demanding¬†work of dressage go for us?????? I am also trying to break in new boots, ouch they are not feeling super great either.

EEK!!!

To be continued next week….

And I am back at work. Not so glorious either…