Cowichan District Riding Club All-Pony Show!

Wow so we had a busy weekend and the horse show was a blast!!!

I loved watching all the adorable Welsh ponies, shetlands, minis, Fjords, New Forest Ponies and it was just so cool to be there. It was also an extremely HOT day, so we had to be very careful with the heat and the sun and old Oaty, who can tolerate things well but he is an animal and you have to respect their needs.

Spoiler: Winners!!

So, we parked it in the shade for a lot of the day, as it was a loooooooooong day, lol.

We got there early for the Sport Pony halter class, where Oats behaved himself fairly nicely, only getting a little irritated at the end of the class. He placed fourth in that one, and then it was time to tack up for our first u/saddle classes. We had a LONG wait, due to a class conflict. So, it started about an hour later than we thought…and I was getting hot hot hot! I hopped off and parked Oats in the shade.

A very restrained Oats in the halter class.

Then it was our turn! We did the adult hunt seat equitation, where we rode well and the judge was very complimentary (the very kind Peter Holmes) but I got dinged hard for carrying an incorrect whip, whoops! And I am kicking myself, because I KNEW better lol. Doh!

And we won this sweet plaque, redeeming ourselves in hunter hack. Isn’t it awesome?

Oh well, Oats was behaving himself perfectly πŸ™‚

Next class: Hunter under saddle, and Oats was so good at it, and we placed first!

Oats says: No frame, just freeeee

Next up was the hunter hack, and we had to jump two little fences. Video below: and of course, Oats was a star. We had a chance to warm up over it once, and it was set a little higher, maybe 18”? They knocked a rail off for the class itself, to Oats’ disappointment. Hah.

He was first that time too! Then our ‘suitable to be a dressage horse’ class, and we were second in it. Oats was getting hot and I was getting tired too. A long lunch break, and then we zipped over to ride the trail/agility class- and I messed it up, but it was fun! πŸ™‚

I don’t know if I’ve ever smiled this much in the show ring! πŸ™‚

Then our final classes of the day: Barrel racing and pole bending! I scratched the keyhole race, as I noticed Oats was getting too tired by the end of barrel racing, poor guy lol. We placed first in the pole bending!! Third in barrel race. πŸ™‚

Alll the prizes!! It was incredible!

It was a super long day but the volunteers, competitors and sponsors were absolutely fantastic. Big kudos to everyone that kept the show running safely, well and happy!! We loved it!

Hatley Castle 8k Race Recap

Wow- two years since I last raced this series, and almost two since I raced- period! I did two little races this fall, to whet my appetite to get back out there πŸ™‚ and I can tell you by this race, I was READY.

Pretty much dying, ha my neck is straining so hard! Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

We missed two of the VIRA races- the first one was cancelled due to snow/ice, and we were in Mexico for the second (oh what a hardship eh??) so I was feeling eager for this one. I know Hatley is a tough course, kind of a heartbreaker for people hoping for a good time due to the rolling hills, steep hills, and gravel/trail sections but no matter we were racing again!

The weather was SO nice. Like, amazing. Too bad it’s absolutely miserable right now, lol I am dying it is so cold. Last week the sun was shining and it was around 10 deg? We didn’t need to dress warmly for Hatley, which is funny b/c I swear every photo I have from that race there is snow on the ground, or ice, or it’s hailing and we are frozen.

I know it looks like I’m walking, but I swear it was hard!

We started a bit late hilariously because the main gate was still locked, so they had to go get big snippers to cut the lock off!?!

So good thing it was so warm.

The start is very congested- I started fairly close up, but was still bouncing off folks for a good…1km. Ouch, that does hurt your time a bit. When you pass 1k and start heading to the first out-and-back hill, it thins out greatly. I was passing/getting passed a fair bit until kms 3-4, where I just got…passed, ha. I was running in a bit of a ‘reach’ pace I think, particularly for my inexperience in racing over the past two years (and no hills…and a serious injury…lol). But I kept at it! It felt pretty horrible but, a horrible I could maintain.

Something fun- this time I was ahead of Ian. So when we had two out-and-backs (km 2-3, and km 5-6) he waved to ME this time! πŸ™‚ Now that’s a first!

I had to add this one b/c it makes me laugh. Photo by Lois D’Ell.

I thought I was running pretty well through the trail section but I was definitely slowing down. The transition from the trail to the ridge, and then the loooooong downhill, was much longer than I recalled/wanted. I hit the downhill and immediately felt like I was one step away from face planting most spectacularly, yiiiikes! I am not used to running fast downhill and it was freaky.

Then it was roughly 1km to the finish, and I did…Not run super triumphantly, ha. I was straining, it was rough. BUT then there was the finish! πŸ™‚

And I did it! Gun time was 34:13, and that makes a 2 minute personal best for me on this course. I was really happy with that, not shabby at all. I, of course, coughed my lungs out for the next three days…Racing is extremely hard on my lungs, quelle surprise!

Ian finished shortly after me, and we cruised up to get our snack bags and surprise! Sweet swag in it. An Endur hat AND I won a door prize- a super soft t-shirt πŸ™‚ how awesome is that?!!!

A gorgeous day and a good race. Life is returning to normal (at least sometimes).

Save the bees

So this is random, but this weekend I was reading an article on what to do if you find a bee on the ground not moving. You can pick it up and feed it sugar water, it will extend its proboscis and drink, groom itself and then fly away! It just needs energy and warmth.

Then later that evening, I saw a bee clinging to our screen door. I let it be, until I saw it again a few hours later in the same spot- not good. Time to rescue the bee! I pried it off the screen with a spatula and then propped it up on a spoon for sugar water. It immediately started drinking. It’s so tiny it was hard to see, but its proboscis was out and it was drinking the sugar water!

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After awhile, it crawled to the outer rim of the spoon, quivered for a bit, and then left. I felt pretty good that I was able to learn about how to safely perk them back up, and then saw it right in action! πŸ™‚

Even better, I then posted about it to Facebook, and my friends husband shared with me a message the next day saying he and his children found a bee not moving on their deck, so they tried the sugar water trick too, and it recovered and flew away! Isn’t that great to hear? That makes me feel very glad for the bees. I’m normally kind of afraid of them, but in this case, I know they are not out to sting me, they just need a helping hand and they trusted me to do it.

Why hasn’t everything already disappeared?

Had our regular jump lesson last night, and it was really good! I just felt overwhelmed with gladness…Almost sad, in fact, because I enjoy my pony so much, and I know this- all of this- is fleeting.

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Compared to this, it was peanuts. But so fun!Β 

I guess we enjoy things more because we know they don’t last forever?

Our lesson wasn’t groundbreaking or jumping super high or fantastically or anything, in fact it kind of pales in comparison to what we were doing this summer, but it just…Felt good. It was funny, I was laughing in it! Can you imagine?

QMS show

Yeah this wasn’t a great show…Circa 2013/14?? Ha.Β 

We worked on these wonky curving line set-ups, trot in to an x-rail, canter 6 strides to a small jump, come around to the jump on the circle…Very twisty-turny. But fun, and I felt really smooth (even though some of the efforts were SO awkward. HAh.) and you know, it just rode really fine. I did have trouble getting him to land on his right lead, on a straight line, and yet we were justΒ nailing the left-to-right lead change at the jump on a circle? Horses…Gotta love ’em.

I appreciate Oats in horse shows, during show rounds, in the dressage arena, but sometimes I appreciate him more for being able to take a joke, ride bareback, trudge up the hill with me quietly at night…Just, good things all around. I appreciate him.

Feels nice to be outside!

And a bit of a blast from the past!Β 

You owe each other nothing

I said to my trainer yesterday that I felt so thankful that I was able to have a great cross-country experience with Oats. And it’s true- I was so grateful!

And in the same lesson yesterday, I also said I still felt backed off, anxious and this weird ‘I don’t know how to jump’ mind-blank when I go into a lesson, or are warming up for one, or are watching someone else have a jump lesson. It’s like my brain goes into a blank state where I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.

And the thing is that itΒ always passes.

And I DO know what I’m doing!

So why the brain- body disconnect? Damned if I know, but I do know it is mostly stress related, haha. And we worked with it, and I got over it. We cruised over a tiny cross-rail until it felt good (sneaky note here- it felt good every time actually). And then a small x-rail over the liverpool, and then the two x-rails to a small vertical. Over and over.

Then, a small line consisting of an oxer to the ‘road closed’ jump.

Pic from last year of the 'road closed' jump- yes my tongue is sticking out! Photo courtesy of Christi.

Pic from last year of the ‘road closed’ jump- yes my tongue is sticking out! Photo courtesy of Christi.

And that went flawlessly too (well, we jumped very nicely but wobbled through it BIGTIME the second time, because Oats somehow thought that since we skipped the second jump in the line the first time, that he should start doing that again on autopilot…) so we had to go around and do it again, straighter, haha.

And it felt perfect.

We then worked over a course, and yes it definitely wasn’t flawless like some of my warm-up lines, it was very good and very smooth. I did get left behind (twice?? oops!!) but Oats was meeting his strides well, even a bit too eager in the 5-stride outside line and we got in to the last jump too short! HA.

More pics from last year- the panel jump. Photo courtesy of Christi.

More pics from last year- the panel jump. Photo courtesy of Christi.

Oh and the ‘Oats on autopilot’ issue came back when he was locked onto a jump in a line we were doing…Except we were doing a broken line, not the regular line! I had to physically pull him away and focus on the jump to the left, not the jump directly in front of us, haha.

I always end feeling like yeah no problem man, and always start like I’m staring down at the fences at Spruce Meadows.

As always, a work in progress. But Oats was jumping very nicely and was a super game little ponykins for me. Good boy–and I appreciate his ‘can-do’ attitude! He was so chill.