Smoothies of Summer

Ah it’s summertime and the living is easy! Because it’s finally hot here (second week of Van Isle heatwave right here) I am loving making smoothies with fresh ingredients.

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My most recent smoothie- featuring blackberries! 

A couple options that I have been making: Smoothies with frozen blueberries, a banana, lemon yogurt, a handful of spinach, ice cubes and water, and a scoop of Vega protein powder in vanilla.

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This was blueberry-mango with some coconut sprinkles! 

A few other ways to mix it up- I love love love blackberries, so I have been picking them at the riding stables and freezing them. Add blackberries to the smoothie instead of blueberries for a hit of antioxidants and flavour! This usually makes enough for two smoothies, so I share them with my husband unless I’m having a very hungry day then I drink both of them!

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This was a raspberry-blackberry one. So good! 

And some other mix-ins…frozen mango, fresh raspberries and using unflavoured kefir instead- makes it really smooth. And always keep a banana in there! You don’t need to use juice or other liquids if you have yogurt and ice cubes and water. Yummy!

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Horse goals: Go get it

Had actually very few rides last week (rode Tuesday and Thursday) took Monday/Wed/Fri off because I wasn’t feeling well on Monday (exhaustion is a thing??) and had a physiotherapy appt Wednesday after work for my back, and had a work thing Fri night that ended up kind of not happening…

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But in the end, I felt like riding fewer days worked well for Oats and myself? He had more time off, and I had time to recover from the busy horse show weekend. Win-win! It’s hard to convince my brain of this though. My busy brain likes to remind me that I need to keep going, keep grinding, keep working. But I don’t have to listen to it.

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In fact, my jump lesson on Thursday was far from perfect. So far. Ha. But it was pretty fun and by the end I was saying Oats needs to have the jumps up higher because he’s not respecting them! One jump he was just cantering over and I was like wha, where is the jump?? Pfft.

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But my dressage lesson on Saturday was really good! He felt pretty nice, very cooperative and I felt much less tense than I have been. Even the awkward moments (breaking stride, trying to drag me out of a circle, some swapping, it was like hey, ok you can just sit and be ok with this awkwardness. Just sit with it for a moment, instead of reacting, or scrambling, or whatever.) And you know what? It went just fine! 

A lesson to me- sometimes you don’t have to react, do, be, whatever. You just have to maintain and be ok with whatever is happening.

So I think my goals for the summer are:

  • Ride a 2’6” course at home – ideally comfortably. Maybe try for a 2’9” fence in a grid? I’m not going to push this too much. Feeling good and not stressed about it is key.
  • Ride a competent first level test- I don’t much care about the scoring, but I do want it to feel more cohesive, round through the back, less struggle. I will know it when I feel it. Be present in my body doing it.
  • Show at 2’3” comfortably- maybe a course at 2’6” if I am feeling confident and good about it. I’m not pushing this goal too hard- I want to feel present, confident and comfortable.
  • Practice what I preach- less tension, less stress. Ride a 5-day week, and then ride a 4-day week. Let things go with Oats, let him have more time off.

The Zen of riding

This is a scaled-back week for both Oats and myself, for a variety of reasons.

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My patio last weekend. Ah..

Sunday we had our dressage lesson and we had backslid considerably from when I left on my trip, darnit!! Oh well, that’s where things go I guess. Monday I rode in the outdoor and it was a pretty zippy ride, fast and fairly quick. I didn’t want to drill anything from Sunday= cranky horse.

Tuesday I promised I was going to ride indoors, but when I got to the barn, it was SO nice out, warm, sunny…and the indoor was incredibly dusty and choking and stifling. Gag. So another rider and I took to the outdoors (she convinced me, ha twist my rubber arm) and you know what? I didn’t do a whole lot of anything and it was so nice.

For someone who likes drilling, focusing, being prepared and really riding HARD it was a real change-up for me.

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Professional candy-buyer

We warmed up, worked over trot-and-then-canter poles (Oats was GREAT!) and then just…chilled and walked around the arena chatting with my friend. I really liked it, and it made me feel super zen and just ‘ok’ with life. It’s a good feeling, that one of contentment and happiness.

I hopped off, and for once didn’t feel exhausted or tired or anything. I just felt fine with the world. No lesson tonight (I am kind of broke after the Peru trip and May has five Thursdays in it, so I paid for four and am taking this one off). It actually works quite nicely with my week schedule of low-key, quiet rides.

Fun times at Phillips Backyard Weekender!

So, my weekend wasn’t all falling off my horse and going for grinding 15km runs…

We also went to Phillips Backyard Weekend party on Sunday – the day that had the best bands- in my opinion. And it was a blast!

We saw Built to Spill, John and Roy and Dan Mangan and the Blacksmiths.

All good, all of them.

I particularly enjoyed Built to Spill’s retro 90’s comeback style, and then John and Roy were a relaxing listen. I actually found it difficult to listen to them in a big crowd-type atmosphere, as their type of West Coast chill music seems to be best listened to around a campfire on the beach at night with good friends.

Also Dan Mangan and the Blacksmiths- classic. He still had to play ‘Robots’ of course, but cleverly intermingled Robots with another, newer piece that escapes me at the moment. They were good, though I have heard uneven reviews of his performance as of lately. There are no complaints on this end though!

The weekender is an affordable, easy to get to excursion and I highly recommend it. Sunday’s passes cost approx. $35/day and that is pretty reasonable to see the level of bands that were playing. Beers are $5 and the only quibble I have is that Merridale ciders raised their prices to $7, instead of having 1 tix price for all, so I stuck with the beers. I mean, I like ciders but for an extra $2? I’ll stick with the beer, thanks…

Check them out next year, the sound is even better and improved from the past year (some technical issues from what I heard), and we had no bad experiences at all!

30

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!

Still hope for the quiet heart

Had a casual hack on Oats yesterday, to stretch our legs and see how things are after our dressage lesson. I’m taking today’s jumping lesson off due to a work event at night, so an easier week for Oats.

Oats looking cute in Feb.

Oats looking cute in Feb.

We warmed up pretty nicely, and cruised over some poles. I wanted to work on getting the canter (it was an ok canter) on the spooky side. We did drop it a few times when I forgot what I was doing…But he picked it up, and was fairly chillaxed and amenable to the pole work. I then trotted over an insultingly small x-rail to a pole (I think it was normally five strides, but the trot-in approach ended up with six) and he seemingly picked up the wrong lead on the landing EVERY time. Hargumph.

Official beginning of summer: Nemo makes a reappearance!

Official beginning of summer: Nemo makes a reappearance!

Also, he decided that because the x-rail was so small, he could stumble over it instead of jumping it. Sighhh…

But, overall a laid-back and casual ride. Maybe I’m starting to feel more like myself again? My legs were BURNING though. I actually pulled Oats to a stop after a canter because I literally couldn’t support myself in the saddle! I can’t remember the last time my legs hurt that much, just so so tired and aching and sore. It was crazy!

My legs were just so ridiculously tired. I felt like my bones were full of sand.

I kind of felt like I was trudging to work today- not sure why my legs are so full-on tired this week, ugh, but I hope they snap out of it by next week. C’mon body, work with me!

The dude. Photo courtesy of Natasha K.

The dude. Photo courtesy of Natasha K.

I’ve been sharing a lot with the other riders at my barn about my equine wellness approach, and it makes me think: Is it possible to change my mindset about jumping and showing? Can I change? It feels impossible to me, I’ve held this way of being for so long. Feeling something else seems like it will never happen.

I’ve also been thinking- maybe taking the showing down a BIG step is helpful to me. Now I have like, 2 shows this summer instead of 10. Baby steps?

Pure Joy

I had a ride last night, and I still have a freaking cold, and was feeling suuuper tired and draggy. It’s been chilly here (for us!) close to -1 in the evenings which is quite unusual so I was feeling blah, crabby and cold, coughing and snotty, gross and out of it.

Because it wasn’t a lesson, I dragged out some poles to work on my position in two-point over, and work on my eye. Oats and I warmed up and he was good, quite good. Listening, interested, sparkly.

We went up to canter, and this is where the ‘pure joy’ moment was…We cruised over and over the poles, and he was SO SMOOTH…I loved it. I could go like that forever. I tried staying up in two-point- my default right now is to sit and push with my seat- and we cruised, and cruised, and cruised.

I felt so happy, so alive.  Even though it’s just poles (yawn), I was just so glad about how cool, smooth and cooperative Oats was.

Of course, because I’m being me, I didn’t leave it at that but that is the memory I am left with from the ride- just cruising along, not a care in the world. Now THAT is what riding should be!

We have a lesson tonight – I’m still feeling pretty lousy from the cold I have that seems to be lingering unpleasantly, and I had some very disturbing post-apocalyptic nightmares again (why???) so yeah still kind of draggy, but we’ll see!

Old photo of Oats

Old photo of Oats