Beginning holiday traditions

I’m usually a hold out for Christmas stuff until after Dec 1. It just doesn’t feel right until then, but I do make one exception…Making and decorating Christmas cookies with my friend. We’ve done this two years in a row now, and maybe it’s the start of something?

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A yummy Christmas tradition!

I have a TON of sprinkles and I love using them. Love love love it! I even found a recipe for sugar cookies this year that worked to make them softer, and less ‘rock hard’ than last year (yeah they kind of sucked…). So, I was even happy to eat them this year too! Score!

We drank lots of cider, decorated cookies, and laughed a ton. What a great way to spend a Friday night.

Saturday I was up and at the barn, and Oats was good, I can’t remember specifics but he was amenable to whatever I was working on, anyways. I came home later and we went on a bit of a longer run, 14k or so, on the Galloping Goose. It went fairly well, can’t complain as my legs were tired but workable.

Saturday night my husband and I got a hot chocolate from Starbucks (salted caramel for me, yes I’m sure the 1,000++calories that I gained drinking it was so worth it!) and then we went to the Oak Bay Rec centre for a late-night splash around in the pool and hot tub. Overall, a very nice and relaxing weekend.

Sunday I wasn’t going to be riding Oats-he was going on an adventure! A girl at the barn asked if her friend, a very experienced event rider, could borrow Oats to ride on the trails with them. I do like him to get out and have some fun, so I said sure, as long as it was safety-first. Sadly, the friend cancelled so no adventure for Oats…And also meant that our plans had to shift a bit for Sunday, but no worries.

We enjoyed lunch at my husband’s parents farm in Cobble Hill and wow…It was freezing out there in the country. Brr. So cold. We went on a short walk, freezing the whole way, and visited and then hot-tubbed it up!

Then we stopped by the barn on the way home and I rode Oats–my long-suffering husband was quite gracious about this change in plans. I hopped Oats over a few jumps I lowered in the ring and he was really great about it. A short, but good ride. The ring was still very deep and mushy in places, and Oats stumbled a few times going near those spots. A bit disappointing.

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Guilt and horses

Coming into the holiday season, I’m often confronted by lots of charities, organizations and others looking for donations. I’m using the term ‘confronted’ because honestly, it feels like a real barrage sometimes and because it is the holiday season, it’s all coming in one huge rush. Last weekend when I was grocery shopping (a task that I approach grimly on the best of days) I was approached by both the Sally Ann bell-ringers and some boy scouts selling something…ARGH.

Buster

And it’s too much sometimes.

And that makes me feel guilty.

I’m lucky enough to be able to work a good job, I work hard at it, and I have enough support and finances to be able to afford a good but cheaper boarding situation, lessons and training, grain for my horse, the occasional splurge item like a horse show or a road race (ok a lot of road races, they are cheap as anything compared with horse showing).

 

But that’s also where the guilt comes in even more…Because there are fellow horse people – friends, boarders, trainers, etc., who are not as fortunate as myself and it makes me feel vaguely strange about the relative small luxuries I allow myself.

We all make choices in the world, and because I understand others may not be facing the kind of life I have, I do try to give back, but I mean, I’m comfortable but not exactly a Rockefeller here either…

But I made my choice- to have a horse instead of a kid (like that was ever a competition though, haha), to travel and run races, to have lessons and the occasional horse show.

So, it all kind of comes to a head during Christmas, when we’re reminded daily that others are not so fortunate – not that it matters more this time, but that it’s kind of in your face a lot more over the winter.

Also, my sister recently lost her job and I emphathize strongly with that. It’s tough, and demoralizing, and not something I would really wish on anyone.

So, while I greatly enjoy my horse, my progress and my competitions, it’s important to keep all these fun activities in perspective and doing so may help me manage my ‘comfortable guilt’ for this season. Also, I’m making sure I’m not too ‘wanty’ or grabby hands for things at Christmas. Honestly, what do I really need? Nothing!

I am also trying to make sure I give small tokens of my appreciation to the people that ride with me, have fun with me, coach me and do other things. Maybe I can make their day a little bit brighter too!

It’s the little things, not the big things, that can make a difference.