Cruel Runnings

This week was objectively much better than last! I’m feeling good, had my last day of shockwave and am now on a three-week trajectory to hopefully being able to run pain-free without flare-ups again, so why do I feel so ambivalent?

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I just want this good feeling back! Plus I miss the nice weather…

I have a horse show this weekend, and my lessons this week have been so…awkward that I am starting to not look forward to riding in it. Weird eh?

We worked on some technical polework in my lesson Wednesday and while hilarious, it was definitely a challenge (Oats was convinced we were JUMPING and why did we have to canter each pole nicely? Why??)…And then in my lesson yesterday, I just felt so stiff and disconnected and annoyed with Oats, who in turn ALSO felt stiff and his canter felt more like a bunny hop than a canter…It was not great. Our steering was miserable, his canter felt bad, I got really backed off in the grid-pole exercise and couldn’t focus.

Kind of a deflating few lessons. I like having super great power lessons to leave me on a confident high before my shows, but this week? Ha, NOPE.

I came out of my ride yesterday not really feeling disappointed (look, polework is tough for both of us, and I just couldn’t get in to the rhythm!), but feeling extremely ambivalent about riding in the show tomorrow. I just wanted to scratch.ย Sigh…

But when I get down to it, my goals for the show aren’t really anything? I want to have a fun time with my friends, and enjoy the companionship with my horse. If anything, I had a fabulous few rides last week and the weekend with Oats, so why does the impending horse show throw me in such a tizzy? Am I letting the pressure of it get to me, even if my goal is pretty much- show up, don’t embarrass yourself and learn something good!

Trying to puzzle out why I’ve felt so stiff, awkward and blah this week! I fee Oh well… I’m going to ride tonight, and for me the hardest thing about riding is to enjoy it and not make it a ‘workout’ for me and the horse. Tonight will be a test for me- can I be fair about it, and just cruise?

 

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I will spite survive

A few weekends ago I went horse camping with friends! It was for a local trainer’s ‘Wine, Women and Working Equitation’ camping and clinic weekend and it was 100% what I needed! Jane Stone offered the course (limited entry), I had a great time, and Oats is SO GOOD at working equitation! His keenness and flexibility to learn makes me feel just overjoyed!

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You can’t fake a smile like that! Photos are courtesy of photographer Christi Kay.ย 

I took the Friday off work and we hauled the horses and a metric ton of camping gear, hay, grain, water (there is a drought right now) up island for our camping weekend. We settled in and I was happy to see that I could camp right next to my boy!ย  How awesome is that? I think we bonded even more because we got to camp next to each other for two nights ๐Ÿ™‚

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The fixed gate obstacle was no problem for Oats!

Friday was an in-hand session, where we learned how to get the horse to yield and bend based off equitation science principles, specifically to work on aspects of the working equitation obstacles that we would be tackling. I’m not that great at in-hand… But hey low pressure and no fuss!

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Oats is so brave over the bridge!

Dinner that night was pizza from Prima Strada, and it was soooooo good. Yum! I sure ate well that weekend, no doubt. Saturday was our introduction to the obstacles, and we were all in different sessions. Oats was very cooperative about learning more about them (we have done a working equitation clinic before and loved it!) and he’s super good with the obstacles. Some of the other horses were not so sure about the obstacles…My friends each had their own hands full!

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I was…not great at the garrocha pole

Dinner was a potluck and we had a TON of food. I ate too much! hahah. My dear husband dropped off meatballs for me to bring AND cinnamon buns from the Ladysmith bakery (my absolute fav..ever!). It was just nice to relax and talk horses with my buddies.

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Around the ‘cattle pen’

Sunday was the ‘speed round’ and run-throughs of the course. Oats was a superstar~ I had trouble with the garrocha pole (felt like I was going soooooo fast, and had trouble timing it enough to grab it correctly), but man it was so fun.

It was exactly the weekend I needed, as I came home on Sunday night to pack for my flight out the next morning to work on my deployment to Lillooet. Busy busy!

Don’t let it get to you

I will fully admit I was not in a good place yesterday writing my blog. I wrote that post out as a cry to help for my counselor (who I reconnected with yesterday and I already feel better about that, I am going to set up a session when I get back from horse camping). I felt like I needed someone to ‘trigger’ an emotional release with me, physically if that makes sense?

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Week 2 of shockwave. Ouch.ย 

I know when I was crying just thinking about it, that I was far overdue for an emotional release.

Everything seems to set me off, and I honestly think that dealing with a few harsh realities from the weekend (the show that went horribly, still being injured and in pain) were just…Too much to bear on Monday. Any Monday, really.

Anyways, I did my treatment yesterday, cried about it for awhile (it is absolutely EXCRUCIATING), felt miserable about the physio saying it could take another THREE WEEKS?! and downbeat about things for a bit, reached out for help and support, and felt comforted by what I can do.

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It’s great to have friends and colleagues who support you!ย 

I rode yesterday, and the arena was freshly dragged, and clean of all jumps. I rode on a loose rein, and let Oats dictate his headset and basically didn’t even steer. I let him make some decisions, and I walked, trotted and cantered. Around, around and around. Looping, moving, flowing. I didn’t practice anything. I just rode.

The freedom felt incredible. I felt open, not so scared, worried or frustrated. I was smiling. Sure my leg really hurt (it looks like a bruised banana today…So raw yesterday) but I was out there, and I was riding. Doing what I love.

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Just want to have fun (I know this by heart).ย 

I want that back, in my personal life and my riding life. I’m done with being closed off, hurt and mad. I think personally taking some of the ‘skin’ and anxiety out of the game is going to have to be how it is for me right now. Otherwise, all I can think about is how much time this injury is taking away from my training (Haaaaaaaaaaaaa well now that’s in the toilet!!) and how frustrated I feel with my horse if I want to train for horse shows and jump lessons.

My friend is taking over my jump lesson on Thursday, so I can watch. I can’t emotionally handle pressure right now, of any kind. I need to take a step back, and a step down. I realized that this weekend. To be the kind of rider I want to be for my dear pony, and the kind of athlete I want to be, I have to let it go.

It’s funny, I want to hang on to it with my fingernails. Isn’t that what strong, tough people do? Hang on? Even writing that, I felt upset and disappointed. The reality is very different- I was happier yesterday when I didn’t have an agenda.

 

I hope they get it right this time

Apparently pain is a great teacher. I hope it is, because lately all I feel is pain (emotional and physical?).
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My leg feels like a throbbing mass of pain basically everyday. I HATE IT.ย 

I had an amazing spring and early summer, it felt great! Things were falling into place (I won a small half marathon! Oats and I made our 2’6” debut and it was fantastic!) and was really in this ‘challenge me’ type of mentality that I was getting a lot out of and feeling strong and confident!
Now, it feels like everything that I worked hard for kind of went off the tracks. Oats went suddenly lame before a big horse show I was really looking forward to, and we had to pull out. That same week I tripped running home over a small hose leading to a construction site and face-planted quite dramatically on the pavement. I was ok with no serious injuries, but it scared me, was painful, and took a week or so to heal.
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The last show that went well. I see a lot of things to fix, but I remember having a really fun time and smiling. How do I capture that joy again?ย 

At the same time I tripped and fell, I unknowingly had developed an overuse injury in my leg and couldn’t run at all. I have now been off for a month, and while I am getting treatment for it, it is a slow process and can expect to be injured for another month at least. I am (or was..) in the middle of training for a fall marathon and now I feel like giving up.
Oats came sound after a few weeks- longer than I thought he would be off, which was anxiety inducing to say the least- (after I healed from my fall) and things just haven’t been very smooth. I feel frustrated and things just don’t feel happy and easy, like they were before everything happened. Our rides are full of tension and while I am taking lessons regularly, we have good moments but on the whole it feels rough, awkward and makes me feel unhappy.
This came to a head this weekend when I had him at a small, no-stress schooling show and he felt AWFUL. Tense, unhappy, distracted and very anxious. We were at the same show a month ago and it was night and day! I have such happy memories of how thrilled I was at the show and I was saying I loved riding him so much I wanted to canter forever, it felt so amazing!! We were actually worried he had an episode of gas colic, he was so out of sorts and acting strangely. Not like Oats at all!
I can’t really ascribe all of his behaviour to me and what I am feeling (mostly frustrated and in pain) he could just be having an off day too, but he does mirror me closely sometimes. Too closely.
I am taking a step back this week and having my friend and competent rider take over my jump lesson so I can watch. All I feel like doing these days is griping and crying about what I can’t do?! I feel like I can’t trust myself or my body to do or know the right things anymore.
When is the next step the right move? Where do I go from here?

Cruel Summer?

This past weekend was a busy one, but with one notable absence: I am still too injured to run! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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It wasn’t all bad! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Otherwise, I enjoyed rides on Oats (and he was stopping at jumps again, WTF?) but I’ll have to shake that off and move on eh? I did some pretty vigorous rides, so I am looking to tone it down this week and work together with Oats. My lesson on Friday was great actually! I liked the lesson we took away from it- ‘how slow can you go’? ๐Ÿ˜‰ And it worked out quite well, not perfect but still some excellent learning opportunities.

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Horse girls clean up nicely!ย 

Saturday I rode and it spiraled a bit more than I would have liked, ehhh. It didn’t help that Oats showed up with a huge gash on his neck, and BOTH eyes covered in eye goop. Fly-borne infection, here we come! Shit! Can’t just like, something work out for me this summer?

Makes me feel kind of cranky. The weather was not good (cold, raining), I am still injured, Oats has this gross eye goop in both eyes, he’s stopping at fences…Eh. It is all temporary, right? Now I just need to remember that, and get into why I ride: To have fun, silly!

Moving on! I went to my friend’s baby shower, in what turned out to be a really action-packed Sunday (ride, watch other friend at a horse show, go to baby shower), phew. We had a BLAST!! YEah! Plus, I won the ‘guess the chocolate bar in the diaper’ game – after loudly bragging to everyone that I was the ‘chocolate expert’ and that they should step aside…And I was right! I was the chocolate expert! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I won five SWEEET chocolate bars for my prize- how perfect was that?

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Tucker enjoyed some healthy eating…

We had a lovely time and it was really nice to see my friends and horsey friends all hanging out. ๐Ÿ™‚

The sun is shining now, I am getting shockwave treatment on my leg (first session was this morning,ย  YOWZA I knew it hurt but Jesus CHrist it really hurt. I was kind of like, half crying, half trying to pull my leg away…jesus. Ouch. But it works, so I guess it’s like…It hurts like a laser cutting through your leg, but it heals it much, much faster.

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In happier news, we made a paper towel diaper! hahah

Still, not so looking forward to the next session on Thursday- gulp!

Riding tonight (easy) and then a lesson on Wednesday to practice.

 

Forever is a long time: Jump lesson update

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Jump 2 in the combination.

And spoiler: It was probably the worst I’ve had all season- even worse than the one I almost fell off in? And here’s the other shocker- while I was annoyed it was going badly while I was riding, I also felt…Fine. It was like, ok this is how it is going to go. I can deal. I’m glad I got media because my friend has been coming to take videos and I LOVE seeing her! She is so cool. Just a blast to be around. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We conquered the combination! One small win.

So what went down? It started pretty well actually! We schooled over a few x-rails (and I have to say, trotting bigger jumps really helps Oats and I to rock back, so maybe I should ask for that or practice it on my own next week…I hate it though!), and then schooled over the combination.

A few weeks ago, the combination was my BIGGEST bugaboo. HA. Now this week, we were crooked as all hell (coming out of the left is tough for us…the drift is real!) but we could buckle down and like, ride it? Rather than sitting and freezing up, ha.

So, the combination. Good! Check.

But when we went to ride the course, Oats got spooked by our friend in the field and slammed on the brakes at the first jump (the rocks) and then I looked down and stopped riding to the second jump (every time, as it turns out…the planks), and I started losing focus.

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This one rode fine for the most part- off a bending line (generous) plank jump.

The rest of the course rode pretty well at the lower height- no complaints there.

But then, I started losing touch of ‘soft’ and out of the saddle riding and basically every time I tried it, I disconnected and Oats stopped. Argh! So, that’s something to work on. He felt me disengage and he was like, nahhh…

Every time I buckled down andย RODE he was like oh yeah no problem! So, clearly my ‘being soft’ is the issue here.

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This line was a yawn, but it’s also where I started losing my shit…Ha.

And then when we went to ride our second course, a few more people joined and were hanging outside the ring, with a few dogs in the shadows. Of course Oats could NOT handle it…And I mentally had a lot of trouble regrouping, and adjusting my ride and my mindset. I guess I couldn’t handle it either? He wasn’t even being that spooky, hahah. I was frazzled!!! Jumping is hard enough for me without added distractions, though in hindsight, I do value them. If i can maintain focus in the ring for my jumps, that can only be a good thing for horse shows eh?

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I love that we match this jump perfectly!!

But…Yesterday I let it get to me.

We got around, and funny enough it was at the most boring, non-interesting jumps that we had the stops at (because I thought I could stop riding at them, obviously). Hah!

Oats is a saint though, and while he will definitely call me on my bullshit, he’s very honest and forgiving. He’s like, oh ok let’s do it! Literally doesn’t really notice from jump to jump. And let’s face it- I need to be more like that myself.

I miss you when I blink

So this was a loong and very fun weekend for me! The only (big, ugh) fly in the ointment? I’m still very injured – and I can’t run at all without shooting shin pain stabbing me every step. It aches every day, all day. It stabs when I try to run. I am not loving it.

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Ugh this sucks.

I did get to enjoy a lot of amazing friend time this weekend (spent the ENTIRE day on the beach, paddleboarding!!) and had a blast!

I also treated myself to a new swimsuit top, RockTape for my injury, flower headbands (what can I say, the filmย Midsomar inspired me…), and happy hour and a movie with my husband, AND I finally went to Red Barn and he made me a sandwich in the last 5 minutes of his time there. Success! I had many lovely rides, and even when I knew I wanted to get in a fight with Oats about contact (ugh, he was so heavy!) I pulled out an older trick I used (towel under the arm used to stabilize contact) and we had some truly excellent rides. His trot is to die for!

I also harvested, dehydrated and ate seaweed, from the beach near my house on Dallas Rd. Crazy eh?!!! Yum!!! There were, however, two horrifying bugs in it with literal pincers. YIKES. I ran away screaming and Ian had to handle the washing and processing of my harvested seaweed. UGH!!!

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Yummm!!

I also made these delicious blackberry popsicles! SO easy, good for you and delicious! Yeah!! (photos to come, I ate a bunch too quickly) I also included granola. ๐Ÿ™‚