When they fight, they fight

Ah been feeling a tad unmotivated lately- summer lazy maybe? Oats has been a spooky  moron some days and it’s driving me insane…He’s good with another horse in the ring, and was pretty decent to ride when my husband came out to watch/get a pony ride, but other times he’s running backwards, spooking sideways so violently I’m hanging off the saddle, or threatening to rear while running backwards and trembling…Greeeeat…

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He is a handsome devil!

Canada Day celebrations were fabulous, I can’t say I would change a single thing! The day was pretty effortless, and on Friday we were even able to see Tegan & Sara (great!) and on Saturday The Arkells, and fireworks after attending a friend’s BBQ- she had ribs and they were soooooo good.

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Rode all four days- Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues to above-mentioned mixed success. He was fine last night too, rode in the other field and really enjoyed that ride. Wish he wasn’t so stupid and spooky right now! I can’t figure out what changes in his brain when we’re alone in the outdoor arena, and the most frustrating part is that he was SO GOOD when we came out in the outdoor…Then I take a week off for my sister’s wedding and he’s a total idiot. WTF?

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What gives?

Oh well, have to work through his dumbass behaviour until it goes away later in the summer.

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Celebrated 8 years of marriage this weekend!

Runningwise? Hah not happening. We ran lightly this weekend, like 5k and my legs were fried. Just fried. I have no real desire to run, at all, right now. I do think I am burned out of it, to be honest! Maybe I’m burned out of everything, ha.

But, I do want to try polo and that has been on my mind for awhile….!!

Quite like you: Bad ideas

So, where to start with this weekend? Maybe with the fact that I had a horrendous head cold, and was staring down the barrel of a majorly overscheduled weekend…With some dread/trepidation.

What was on tap? Saturday: Sooke Saddle Club Show and Tell in dressage (Training Level 2 and an attempt at Training Level 3) and then the MEC Race #3, The Pace Setter half marathon on Sunday (gulp!!). Did I mention I had a really nasty head cold that I am still trying to get over, combined with exercise-induced asthma that flares up badly when I have a cold/run hills/run long, and oh the hottest days Victoria will see this month?

What are you talking about, all I see is success….?? Right? Right?

Um, yeah no.

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Sooke Saddle Club Dressage Show ‘n’ Tell

But the Sooke Saddle Club show and tell went fairly well, Oats was being a bit of a dingus so we had some issues with contact…spooking and consistency (mine on this point). Oh and get this, I had gotten back from Nakusp on Tuesday, ran a track race Wednesday, had my lesson on Thursday where I printed out and ran through the WRONG TRAINING LEVEL TEST?! For Saturday. Shit!! I did print out the correct one in a big rush on Saturday morning but yes, my  head was definitely not in the game for anything, haha. And that was why we went off course in our first Training 3 test, and thankfully corrected that for the second one. I am a genius. (More on that later, like during the longest half marathon of my life).

So anyways, the judge was great and gave the feedback we needed. And I even made a goal for myself and Oats- try for First Level! I know it’s a reach goal, but I figure we can dream eh?

The scores were tough but VERY fair given what I was riding (sort of poorly, and got a MASSIVE charley horse in my leg, yay…mid-test) and how Oats was responding (not well). Great learning experience, and we even were lucky enough to have a friend swing by the ring and give me an Iced Capp!! Made my afternoon 🙂 🙂

It was a hot day, and I sweated through my belt. Phew. Foreshadowing for the race the next day…I got home at like 6pm. EEEK!

Stay tuned for the events of the next day….

Rust buster for real: Prairie Inn Harriers 8k race recap

First off, thanks to the volunteers and race organizers. This is a VERY smoothly run race, and I absolutely loved the post-race food options (great soup, hot dogs! pizza?! wow!!). A super effort by all involved and made my recovery that much more fun.

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7th place!! Photo is courtesy of the Prairie Inn Harriers.

Now for the race recap: Wow, this was a lot harder than I felt it should have been, and it was 100% my fault- I went out FAST in the beginning (first downhill km at 3:55? No way can I run that fast, and I was just getting caught up and silly). It was then a strugglefest for the rest of the race, thanks to my poor planning.

My next km was still very fast for me- 4:16. Then I dropped rapidly and started losing my will to live…

4:46, 4:35, 4:39…eeeeek.

Basically my race was a textbook example of poor pacing efforts, combined with another perfect positive split. So, don’t do what I did- ha. I honestly felt like I would have paid someone to let me quit midway through, it felt that rough.

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Well deserved (until I fell off Oats shortly after).

I wanted to puke, pass out and collapse. I had the distinct pleasure of getting passed right left and centre all throughout the race, which made it tough to ‘run my race’ instead of feeling like I was getting caught up and passed constantly. The ‘hurry scurry’ feeling just never left and I couldn’t achieve that ‘flow’ that I try to during races.

Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice for taking a few months off racing, and the 8k, while a fine distance, is just not my distance.

It was a very chilly day and it actually started snowing like crazy when we finished. Thank god we missed that though- a stroke of good luck. I was happy with my time (36:06 net, 36:11 gun time) which is a slight improvement from last year (36:20), but I do still feel like if I ran a better, more competent race I would have fared wayyyy better. hahah.

At the finish, I wasn’t sprinting, I was struggling. I was huffing and puffing and trying to catch my breath, reeling and staggering at the end. I sat down on a retaining wall and felt dizzy. Yuck!

I was coughing heavily for the rest of the day, thanks to my incompetent lungs being slightly damaged- yuck again.

With my time I received 7th place AG, which is fine for a fairly competitive race.

And after the run, my husband and I enjoyed a very nice beer taster at Category 12, which is nearby, and then we headed to the barn so I could get a quick ride in on Oats. He spooked during my ride, and I promptly tumbled off. Not my day I guess? I was fine, landed on my feet and hopped back on and continued but yeeesh, I guess I was just tired, and not ‘with it’ haha.

Oh well, a lesson to learn for that day.

I am stiff as heck today though!

 

 

 

Christmas aftermath

Man, so many things. Good and bad. I enjoyed my time off, considering I was in a spectacularly grouchy/depressed mood, I was in a WAY better mind frame to celebrate.

We went to Ucluelet for a few days to decompress before the family madness began, and then celebrated Christmas Eve at my husband’s parents farm, which was nice. We then had Christmas breakfast and then Christmas dinner at MY parents, which was also good. My gifts were lovely, my husband got me everything I wanted and I really loved the cool and unique gifts my sister, parents and stable friends gave me. WOW so generous!

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Yes I am wearing a grumpy cat Xmas sweater! Featuring new boots for Oats, love them so much.

I also did some Boxing Day shopping and bought myself another pair of running shoes (I know I know, I have like 10 pairs now..eek) and some cool funky clothes (I also have too many of those, haha).

I ate too much, went to two parties in one night, drank too much (again) and ran a lot and also rode Oats five days in a row, gave him three days off, and now tonight will be day 4 in a row he gets ridden! That pony gets a lotta love, gotta say it, haha. He also enjoyed a home-made cookie from one of the girls are the barn and he gobbled it up in RECORD time.

No Xmas is complete without some holiday drama, and it led me to realize my new year’s resolution is to not whitewash what I want out of life. Not whitewash WHO I am anymore.

I will finish with this- as I go into the new year, I’m planning on setting the slate clean with a few people (my parents). I want to go into a fresh year unencumbered by people’s expectations of me.

I have a dog, horse, rabbit and husband because I love and cherish all of them, and they all add value and joy to my life. I would never presume anyone needed any of those items or animals to make their lives whole. This is my experience.

Please do not assume I need children to make my life whole. That is your experience. I do not need convincing, judgement, argument or debate to ‘make me change my mind’. I don’t think everyone needs a dog, horse or husband to fully experience life–why do people think that about kids? Just stop.

In 2017, I am going to be clear about what I want with the people I love and am closest to. If that means they are upset with me, so be it. I am going to focus on what is most important to me, and maintain my priorities and my sense of self the only way I know how- with resolve and resolution.

So, I guess that’s my NYE resolution right there. I also really want to start planning my next exciting big trip and can’t figure out where I want to go/do next. Africa maybe??

It is easier to fool someone, than to convince them they have been fooled.

Pithy quote by our friend Mark Twain.

This is my week right now:

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Holiday spirit? Bah humbug!

By Tuesday- my dad’s birthday- I was saying it felt like a long week. Wow, little did I know…By Wednesday I was in full grouch-mode. Move over Grinch, there is a new Grinch in town! (It’s still Thursday today unfortunately.)

I blame a few things- it has gotten really cold here, very unusual for us. Windchill of -9? Usually it’s like 9 degrees. I am FREEZING. Work went completely off the rails and is starting to ruin my sleep with insane stress dreams. Greeeeat…Family engagements= more pressure. Lovely, lovely.

At least my horse life is ok?

Had my jump lesson last night, after an entire day of grumbling, stress, crankiness and more stress at work. I soooo did NOT want to go to my lesson, which is weird because I always want to ride and you pretty much have to drag me away from it! I was dragging my feet, in a bad mood, cold, tired, cranky. UGH. Jumping was the last thing I wanted to do.

But you know what? I gathered up the last tiny shreds of my shabby resolve and went, and rode in my lesson. I even warmed up a bit from the everlasting chill in my bones I had all day! Oats does struggle more in the cold- he warmed up stiffly again, and his canter was very short-strided. We made sure the jump efforts were not onerous, as pushing too much on a horse that is taking a long time to warm up just isn’t fair.

So the jumps were small, but the course was fairly twisty with a good bending line, and a trot-in line that rode really well, once Oats woke up and actually jumped it! No big fences, nothing too exciting, just some good old fashioned riding. And weirdly, I’m always the one that’s like, ok let’s stop here…I’m done…And I backpedal and wimp out. This time, after my third go-around on a course, my trainer suggested we end on that- not me, which is highly out of character for me. Who is this person?! Me? Keeping going, wow.

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This was last December!

Oats was in snoozeland in the cross-ties after. Poor guy, the chill is hard for him.

Mr. Oats has an angry day

Oats was just…bizarre last week. I haven’t ridden yet this week (took Monday off because I was in a terrible mood and tired, felt I really shouldn’t bring that negative energy to the barn) so we shall see for my lesson today..

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Pretty much how Oats feels about life.

But yes, for Saturday, he was just…awful. Thursday he was cranky and grouchy, tired and phoning it in. Saturday he was SO ANGRY. Fine in the cross-ties, and then a nippy dragon in the ring! I went to tighten his girth and he tried to bite me, repeatedly. He swished his tail in the angriest horse way. He refused to let me get on. He wouldn’t walk forward, and when I asked, kicked out>??

Yeah, your guess is as good as mine? He wouldn’t trot, only hop angrily and pissily.

I gave up on the trot, and we went for a good, very forward, sitting & working canter. He was lovely during it! And then our trot work was pretty nice after too? So wtf Oats? Why the attitude? He dropped it once we had our good canter warmup but wow, he came out ready for a fight. This is definitely unlike him, easy-going Oats.

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Oats harasses his buddy Jim.

He is very perplexing this month. Last week was kind of an ugly week. Is he just feeling stiff, or is it something else, since he seems to work out of it ok?

Sunday, I decided to warm him up a bit before I got on by walking/trotting, turning circles, stopping and backing up in-hand, just to sort of see how he was feeling. I then tightened the girth very carefully, respectful of his feelings, haha. And he didn’t show any of the crazy snarkiness and anger of Saturday. So far so good.

I hopped on and he was a bit slow in the walk, but listened well enough to my leg with not so much tail swishing and I’m pleased to report- NO angry kicking out. He trotted nicely straight off the bat, no real hopping…And when he went to hop, it wasn’t as dramatic and pissy as before. Hm..

We cruised over a few x-rails, but mostly focused on the one thing I am struggling with: Straightness over the diagonal. His canter was fine, I actually didn’t do any ‘dressage’ canter with him (the super forward upright sitting canter) because he didn’t seem to need it like he did the other day.

It was a good and calm ride. Now, where is this horse all last week? I could use him back!

More fun with arrows & haybales

Jump lesson last night, I was quite pleased with how Oats was in my dressage lesson, so I was hoping he’d continue his winning ways last night!

And, I was not disappointed. He came in with a good attitude, warmed up fairly nicely and we started working over…gymnastics. (insert face falling here). It’s no secret that gymnastics and I are not always on good terms- except for a brief fling this summer where I was actually rocking them…We tend to struggle greatly with them when everyone else is like, hey I love gymnastics, they do all the work for you, you just have to sit there?!

Yeah, except for me!

I even said I’d do them as canter-in, and to this moment, am not sure if that was a wise choice or a bad choice? Oh well!

They went ok for the most part but was having a difficult time with the placing pole. We came in short a whole bunch of times, Oats was good on his feet and figured it out, until we added a very small oxer and then I was like, whaa…I felt like we were leaving long to it, a lot. Turns out maybe that’s just how oxers are ridden? Who knew?

We had a two fumble throughs, a stop that was my fault, and then a very strong ride through, and then on to my more favourite activity–coursework!

We rode the gymnastic to a diagonal fence, to the point of an arrowhead-so, two poles resting on the haybale and we rode against the point of the arrowhead, then around to a fence on the long side, the diagonal fence again, and then back to the arrow- this time riding with the arrow, a very inviting fence.

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Picture this with a more inviting haybale. ‘Against the arrowhead’ style of jump.

I got some bad distances as Oats was starting to suck back- but, I managed to put my leg on- finally! And we figured it out, and it was really fun! I love riding courses, the jumps were tiny and non-threatening to me hahah and well, it was just normal and cool to ride. I’m really getting better about acknowledging where I am in my ride- I don’t ignore fear, I recognize it, accept it, and move on from it.

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The more inviting side- picture this with a haybale.

I still majorly need to work on getting more leg when I feel him sucking back- that is a continued issue for us.

Nicole said we need to do gymnastics EVERY jump lesson. UGH.

When I was recounting this to my husband, he said pommel horse, paralell bars or vaulting? Hahahahha. Yeah.