Jump lesson turned dressage practice & camping!

So as I mentioned I had signed up for the dressage show (happening on Sunday, yeek). So instead of my regularly scheduled jump lesson on Thursday, we decided to practice run-throughs of the tests instead. I also changed my tests from Training 1 and 3 to Training 1 and 2 and run Test 2 as a ‘test of choice’ instead (it is easier!).

Oats at Sooke Saddle Club dressage: Photo courtesy of Eila

Oats at Sooke Saddle Club dressage: Photo courtesy of Eila

It went ok, Test 1 was kind of flubby and awkward, while Test 2 allowed us to relax more and think throughout the test, rather than jamming it forward and doing the whole thing in ‘hyper drive’ which is more my style (see- jumping every course in a show/in practice…).

I had to slow down, allow more of Oats, and relax my arms for forward motion. Easier said than done, apparently!

And then we had Friday/Saturday off because we went camping with buddies in Parksville! And what a weekend- the whole gang was there (tons of people, kids, dogs, haha) and we played SO many games- it was insane. I played more games that one weekend than I play in an entire year, I swear it!

  • Viking bowling (fun but hard)
  • Slam Ball (hard to learn, fun to do!)
  • Kick ball
  • A foot race (I didn’t partake because I ate too much, ha)
  • Werewolf
  • Antidote

I went for a run, we played on the beach, we drank and ate WAYYY too much. I actually felt kind of sick Saturday night from all the indulging and I ended up fainting at like 1:30am?! Yikes!

I was ok though, and recovered fine and went back to bed. Gidget did not enjoy camping and puked when she got home, all over floor/couch. Yuck!

It was a great weekend with fun times and hilarious company. Loved it!!

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Victoria Day long weekend in Port Renfrew!

And now for something entirely different- we went camping in Port Renfrew for Victoria Day. I desperately needed to get away from my personal horse drama (that continued the week after, no thank you rotten Oats), and what better place to reconnect than the quietness of Port Renfrew.

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Ripe salmonberries

Unfortunately, everyone else on the entire island had the same idea. Port Renfrew is a hidden gem no longer. It was very busy on the campsite at Pacheedat, and we practically had a party/disco going on full blast around a km up the beach. I’m NOT kidding- it was nuts! They had generators powering huge speakers on stands, disco lights, about 50 tents in the area, and more than 100 people.

Sheeeeeesh.

Well, we tried hard not to let that ruin our weekend away. We had a good campfire going, and it was just me, my husband and our dog. A nice time. We even picked salmon berries and those were ripe already and totally awesome, if you can believe it. We roasted weenies, drank beers and just had a nice time.

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Camp-style

Do I kind of wish we’d done more? Maybe. But I was kind of fried and burned out, so it came at a great time. The next day we checked out Botanical Beach, got stuck on some rocks that led to us clambering around on them for wayyy too long (ha) and then wrapped up the day by grabbing burgers in Lake Cowichan.

A good long weekend and well-deserved break from reality.

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Dog-eye view of the campsite

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That’s right- today is my 30th birthday~

Let the good times roll!

Let the good times roll!

I still feel like I’m 21, so it feels weird to be almost a decade older. They are right- the years do go by MUCH faster once you’re past 20 years old.

What have I learned, now that I’m 30? Some good things and some bad.

  • Hangovers are practically nuclear now. Sorry body and brain!
  • No relationship is a guarantee. Not your boyfriend, your horse, your friends or even your parents marriage.
  • Education is overrated, but still something you have to check off the box for. Do it.
  • Jobs are not a guarantee of happiness or success, and jobs are also VERY hard to get. Good ones even more so.
  • Nobody has the right to treat you poorly. Don’t stand for it, and don’t stand by for it.
  • Kindness gives back more than anything. Weirdly, the more you spend, the better off you will be for it, if it’s for the right reasons.
  • Save well. Don’t be an idiot.
  • Cars don’t last forever.
  • Travel is always worth the money. You don’t get time back, you can always make money back.
  • Always have pets. The money, sadness, heartbreak, angst and worry are worth it.

So, what am I doing now that I’m 30? Ha, nothing. Work today and my dressage lesson tonight.

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This past weekend though, I spent with some good friends camping on the beach in Port Renfrew. We had a blast, it was smoking hot, and it reminded me of all the good times I’ve had over the years with them. Made me feel a bit nostalgic, actually!

A no-pants kind of weekend

A no-pants kind of weekend

And then I rode Oats on Sunday and it was HOT HOT HOT! We rode in the indoor- and I had to chase a deer out who was cooling his heels in the hog fuel, and then cooled out outdoors to escape the choking dust. Small victory: Got Oats to go through the gate to the outdoor while I was on his back! He can be weird about gates and is quite gate-sour, so it took a bit of trying, but I held my ‘zen’ and we got through fine.

The ocean is still cold!

The ocean is still cold!

Monday I rode him out in the field (small field, not gallop field) and worked on finding my distance from a very relaxed canter/two point position. Bad habits still abound: Sitting the last stride, hinging off my knee instead of pushing my foot forward, and elbows out. Still, it was really fun and he was very cooperative!

An Island getaway- Quadra Island!

We did something a bit unique this year for Easter. You may recall that in past Easter’s, we went to Ucluelet or Tofino for a getaway (and it always RAINED!).

This year, we booked a ‘fancy camping’ cabin on Quadra Island. The island is across from Campbell River, a 10-minute ferry ride and voila! You’re there! Although, it was HAMMERING down rain the entire drive from Victoria (3+ hours) and literally lashing the car on the ferry, it slowly calmed down to a drizzle and then cleared up. It was still cold though, as we’ve had an unusually cold and unpleasant spring so far.

A view from the cabin

A view from the cabin

The cabin itself was super quaint and rustic. A woodstove, a huge bunk bed, table, chairs and propane stove. There was an outhouse (yeah I know what you’re thinking! That’s why it is still considered camping) no shower, and you washed the dishes outside in buckets. The fridge was also outside. This is rustic, people!

Bunkbeds!

Bunkbeds!

We ate at the Herriot Bay Pub and had the hilarious fortune to encounter the WORST people I have seen in a long time. They took up two tables so they could plug in their laptops separately (rolls eyes here…) and it was busy there! They had two annoying children who pestered the already fairly harried server endlessly about the stupidest things. “What’s in the hamburgers?” The server: “Well, meat?”

GAH

I know where they got it from though. The parents were just as bad. They were complaining about ethically-sourced palm oil, asked the server if she was SURE they didn’t serve any salmon? And if there was no salmon, could she not take the cod, of the fish and chips meal, and grill it and serve it as a burger instead? (newsflash: no.).

They banged on about cooking bacon in olive oil on the Greek islands for some disgusting reason, and then ordered a Cesar salad with no croutons and no dressing (so, lettuce and ??).

We left after we finished our meal, but not before these lovely people were up to the front desk complaining about not being able to access the WiFi….

Some people DESERVE to live on an island, because nobody else wants them! These people were from Cortez, which is even further than Quadra. Anyways, the weather cleared up, though was windy as hell, and we walked out to Rebecca Spit, which was quite beautiful and very relaxing.

The next day the weather continued to hold steady, so we hiked up the Chinese Mountains, only doing the North peak. It was rated as ‘moderate’ but we did find it quite strenuous, lots of scrambling over what appeared to be a creek bed that still had water running through it, and lots of loose rocks. I was tired by the end!

Chinese Mtns

Chinese Mtns

We had lunch that we packed, and ate it and had a drink or two on the beach later. A great time to unwind after the hike, and Gidget decided to run around like a psycho and get overtired, haha.

A chilly beach

A chilly beach

We heated up the cabin a bit too hot later in the evening, and boy 1-rooms can really swelter! We left the doors open for a bit so we didn’t cook! The next morning, I set out on a jog by myself, which was actually quite invigorating. We packed up and left for the main island, and now I’m back at work and kind of feeling bummed that I’m back in the hurry-scurry of normal life…

How loud your heart beats: Tofino/Ucluelet

That’s right, jet-set me was off on another adventure this past weekend!

Florencia Bay

Florencia Bay

We went camping in Ucluelet (close to Tofino) and surfing and to the music festival Otalith. Jam-packed weekend, if I do say so myself!

I drove myself and a friend up on Friday, where we picked up the tix to Otalith and scoped out our camping situation. We decided to go see ‘Bear Mountain’ that night performing at the main stage in Ucluelet. It was chilly!! Summer in Tofino is like winter everywhere else, unfortunately.

The next morning we were up bright and early to go surfing. We rented our gear, loaded up the surfboards on my little Honda Fit and headed out to Long Beach. Surfing was great! I am reallllllly bad at it. I couldn’t get up at all, only managed a few times to really clamber on and try to stand. We surfed for hours too. My friends were pretty good at it, I was super jealous. I stopped surfing when I got ‘rocked’ ie- knocked head over heels into a wave twice and got clonked on the head HARD by my surfboard. OUCHHHHH and it happened twice, one right after another. ARGH.

Got water up my nose, and out my mouth. My sinuses cleared riiiight up. Haha.

We had to pack it in to return out surf boards by 4pm and get ready to go back to Otalith for some more music! A short (long) hot tub visit later, and a few drinks and we were ready to go. We caught the shuttle bus for the venue and enjoyed listening to Ages and Ages and Wake Owl (actually I really disliked Wake Owl) and the Allah-lahs (were okay…kind of boring). We cruised into town to grab dinner after Ages and Ages performed.

Otalith

Otalith music festival

Dancing at the last act – Allah-lahs, a girl approached us and asked if we wanted to dance with her guy friend, she said it would ‘really make his day!’ if pretty girls danced with him. I was feeling pretty generous and laid-back so I was like sure, why not. We danced with Steve, her friend, and you know? He was a fine guy, nice and not a weirdo or a creeper. He seemed pretty shy but wasn’t grabby or strange or anything! Just seemed happy to say “hi” to some pretty girls and dance for a bit. On the way back, on the ‘party bus’ (shuttle) he high-fived me haha.

Rocking the music festival

Fun times in Ucluelet

I was flirty (why not?) and when we left the bus I said ‘have a good night Steve’! and tapped the brim of his hat. My intentional flirting only extends so far, I guess. Hahah!

The next morning we headed out for a walk with some friends to the Pacific Coast Trail near the Black Rock Resort and then grabbed soup at a little bakery in Ucluelet (Zoe’s). Then we packed up the car and drove home- not without some peril, as I would soon find out…

Driving along the road back from Tofino is tricky. It is windy, twisty and I was tired. Near the river, a lot of people stop to take a break, and check it out. A car pulled out in front of us with NO room and NO warning. I was driving like 70 km/hr or so.

I SLAMMMED on the brakes and held the horn as hard as I could. It was like HOOOOOONNNNNKKKK.

The trailer behind us could barely brake in time. I could hear the brakes squealing. It was SO scary. There were horns and cars slamming on the brakes for awhile behind us. OH man.

Phew. A bit of adrenaline and a near-smushing to get the heart rate up. Yikes!

To cool down (actually to warm up) we cruised into Sproat Lake, put on our bikinis and chilled in the sun for an hour or so. It was soooo gorgeous. So hot. Such a nice end to a cool weekend- literally- it was clammy and wet and cold the whole wknd! Even though it didn’t rain once! Ha, so crazy.

So, that’s my weekend in a nutshell. A fun girl-power adventure!

Cool Rummings- Lesson update, and weekend plans!

So, Tuesday was our regularly scheduled lesson with Karen Brain. I was ready. Or so I thought…I’m usually ready to get my ass kicked around the ring by her, but I was feeling pretty tired by the time the lesson came around and my resolve started wilting…

But no matter! We did a lot of ‘controlled’ work, ie- controlling Oats’ every body movement, including bend and pace around a circle and over trot poles. Interestingly, once we were through the poles, Oats wants desperately to lift his head, and TANK off.

“Bend? How about FORWARD!” He said to me. “Wrong answer, but nice try. More bend, pretzel up, bend, curve, slower,” is what I said.

So, it was challenging. He looked like a giraffe. My arms felt so tired!

Oats protests bending at the canter

Oats protests bending at the canter

After each trot circle over the poles, we worked harder at maintaining more of a ‘shoulder-in’ bend. And we took the show on the road too- large around the whole ring. GOD that was tough- it was like left-right-left-right fall in-fall out, ARGH.

He was being kind of jerky about it, because it was challenging. That’s ok. I told Karen I felt like we didn’t have any real ‘good’ steps, and she said actually we did- but that this stuff is HARD for Oats. And did I feel tired? My arms ache? That means I was mentally present during the whole ride, and that is also a small ‘win’ for us. Building mental stamina and ‘staying present’ instead of drifting is something we really struggle with.

More cooperative over the poles

More cooperative over the poles

So, even if it feels ugly, hell, looks ugly, something good is happening.

Oh and my weekend update? Surfing in Tofino and quite possibly attending the Otalith music festival! Hells yeah! I leave tomorrow morning and won’t be back until Sunday. Looking forward to a fun weekend with friends, a mini University reunion of sorts. Love those guys.

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Customer: “Are you being smart with me here?!” Me: “Someone in this conversation has to be.”

Customer: “Are you being smart with me here?!”  Me: “Someone in this conversation has to be.”

And here’s Gidget going for a bike ride! Don’t worry, she was secured in the bike basket via a tether, so while she wasn’t too happy about it, she wasn’t going anywhere!

They cruised up and down the path from the campsite, and she was none too pleased…Haha.

Fun times camping this past weekend! As you can see, it was not too warm out either. Oh well, summer on the West Coast.