Halloween fun part 2!

Barn party time! And I had already forewarned one of the organizers that 10 a.m. was likely too early for me to show up lol as I was going to be at a party and PROBABLY hungover. Wow, how right was I? Too right, unfortunately ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Aren’t they adorable? Hairy Potter ๐Ÿ˜‰

We got home from the party around 2 a.m., YIKES. So..yeah the morning wasn’t really working for me. To add to the fun I was caught in a nasty cough- puke cycle thanks to my terrible cough from the race the day earlier…Fun times. So I got up around 9 a.m.-ish and spent a few hours puking before my kind husband bought into my madness and determination and agreed to drive me to the barn to participate.

Duff man was good at bobbing for apples!

I made it to the barn without puking so I figured I was getting closer to getting better! But tacking up was …a challenge. Every time I bent down I felt like I was going to puke again, so Ian had to help out and pick out hooves, etc. But hey were there and trying to make it! Sheesh.

I mounted (and everyone was glad to see me make it, ha) and wobbled around nauseously for a bit, thank god Oats is basically a saint pony because I was NOT riding, more like just existing at that point. Bit by bit I felt better slowly, not good enough to eat but ok to try and drink, because I was dying of thirst.

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The barn organizers kindly waited for me for the trail class and we got to do that first! ๐Ÿ™‚

And then it was games time- we started with egg and spoon and it was HARD hahahah and I think it was a tie or something. Next was musical stalls and we lost lol, and then pole bending and Oats and I beat our lesson mates ๐Ÿ˜‰ and finally it was time for ride-a-buck, where we dithered if we were going to do it full bareback and guess what? We all DID?!

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Now that was the last thing I’d figure I’d be doing, hungover as hell, but hell we did it! Oats was a total star and we only won because my lesson partner had to forfeit- she couldn’t get her very recalcitrant pony to canter. Oats and I were doing lap after lap with me clinging on, feeling like mayyyyyyybe it’s time to gently slide off and die.

Ian got the prize money ($30?) for being a good sport for the day!

And then it was time for clean up and a bonfire with weenies. I couldn’t eat any but Ian got one, and I got a mini cupcake that I ate much later, lol.

A fun time was had by all!

Life is too short: Horses go to the beach day!

We’re reclaiming our terrible year(s) and doing everything we can, right now! Life is so fleeting, so tenuous, so delicate and so fragile so why not do everything you can, all at once?

That is literally my life’s motto, so my friends and I who have all endured some truly sucky times these past few years decided to take our horses to the beach!

And boy, it was exciting! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We went late because we were anticipated to have an absolutely miserable day (atomspheric river??) with pelting rain but we lucked out and it didn’t even rain on us! Grey but not that cold. How amazing is that!

Some photos…Enjoy! We did end up getting caught by the tides and one of our member’s horses was kind of having a freak out about having to go in the crashing waves to get back to the horse trailer, so we had to backtrack and then kind of dramatically crash over some rocks to jump to the main pathway, safe from the waves. All good though.

Oats with big bro Donato!
The gang ๐Ÿ™‚

HEATWAVE

Wowza, climate change is real! We got temperatures reaching up to 37 degrees here on the West Coast, so I didn’t do a ton of riding this week and past weekend, more like hosing off the poor horse!

While I am a fan of the heat, I was concerned about our furrier friends. I ended up cancelling Oats’ jump lesson on Saturday (32 deg!!) and we went on a summer adventure instead! And on Sunday I got up early and was in the saddle around 8am, but it was still incredibly hot so we just did a little w/t and called it quits. Monday I got up VERY early and had my butt in the saddle at 6:35am to beat the heat- and it did the trick! The shade was out over the outdoor arena, so I rode outdoors for as long as we had shade and then I get to beat it to work- so, finished up around 7am. It was much cooler then, thank god.

Swimming time!

Our summer adventure was a great call though. We hoofed it up to the Cowichan River and went swimming and it was glorious! The water was a bit cold (I am a wimp though) and it was very hot out. Gidget came with us and we definitely enjoyed ourselves.

We then zipped over to Enrico’s for a wine slushy (yess!!) and hit up Ice Cream Mountain on our way to the barn. I rode Oats bareback at the walk for 10 mins and that was it, phew…it was smoking hot! I felt very good about cancelling my lesson that day, it just didn’t seem very fair for the horses.

Wine slushy!

And now we’re off to another summer adventure, after a ride tonight ๐Ÿ™‚ I love summer, and it’s starting to cool off from our insane heatwave here.

So many good flavours: Peanut butter and chocolate, Raspberry cheesecake, Pralines, Caramel cookies ‘n’ cream!

BC Day Adventures on horseback

So I have a friend who is big into trail riding- she has a great trail horse, and all the fun gear like a speaker that hangs on the breastplate of her saddle, and a TRAILER! I am a self confessed trail riding chicken with my own horse. Other trail horses, no prob. Trail ride on Oats? Ughhhhhh…no.

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However, since our other friend has a horse that is recovering from a torn ligament and will likely be off for a year (god, now that is another bad story entirely ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) Our trail friend had nobody to ride with, and so I gathered up my courage and said I would ride on the trails with her. And so, a plan was made!

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We went up to Glenora on Sunday, to the Cowichan Valley Trail that is basically a section of the Trans Canada Trail. There are a few trail options at the trailhead there, but we took the most basic one- straight ahead ๐Ÿ™‚ It is very horse-friendly, with lots of parking, two small paddocks, hitching posts, water and a manure pile.

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I asked my husband to come as our lead rider on his bike! We were honestly not at all sure how Oats would be on the trail, so we thought it would be safest to have a hand on the ground just in case the horses got nutty.

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They didn’t though! Good as gold! I was really impressed and surprised. Oats can get silly waiting- he tries to rear, or go in circles, but otherwise he was as cool as a cucumber. From the minute I got on, he was just chill. He is NEVER like that at home on the trails, so I was pretty surprised.

We even got to the trestle and the horses were like no big deal?? Even my dog is afraid of bridges (but she is a huge wimp, sooo…).

We chatted, rode, had snacks and water from Katie’s saddlebags and I even rode up behind Ian to grab a Clif bar out of his backpack while he was cycling. I never thought I would be able to do that?! It was so fun, and just a really chill day.

Rocky (Katie’s dog) was also really well behaved too. The trail was busy, lots of cyclists, runners, dogs, but the horses and everyone kept it together and I was appreciative of how respectful and careful the cyclists and other trail users were. Yes! Plus it was great of Ian to come and ride his bike, because then he could pick berries for us- there were thimbleberries, wild blackberries and huckleberries. Yummy!

What a great day.

Why do I always feel this way?

Kind of a mixed week- I am not complaining because nothing bad is happening to ME, per se, just…Everyone around me?

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Oats’ favourite game. RIP Willie, Oats misses you!ย 

On Monday Oats was playing bite face with his neighbour horse, Joey. He then proceeded to rip a chunk of Joey’s face off, with blood splattering everywhere! Jesus christ. His owner had the emergency vet out, who did about six inches of stitches. It turns out Oats had ripped some of Joey’s face muscles, along with the skin.

My other friend’s horse is now on stall rest, after 3 weeks of lameness and a vet visit on Tuesday. Diagnosis is still TBD but maybe something with the DDFT tendon? Either way, it blows.

On Thursday morning, my trainer’s father died. It was not unexpected, as he was suffering with a terminal illness, but still- so very hard for their family.

Add these recent incidents on to a winter scarred with tragedies (my friend’s horse breaking his leg and getting put down, my trainer’s dog getting put down due to a terminal illness…) and wow, it’s just.. a lot.

My parents and my in-laws both moved away in Feb.

Can we just…like say bye to February? Maybe to all of 2020? I’m not sure yet. Jeesh.

Anyways, despite Oats turning into freaking Hannibal Lecter, he was a good boy this week. My trainer cancelled lessons on Tuesday (which I didn’t know about, I should have asked, so that was on me for sure), and he didn’t get ridden or his meds, which I was immediately annoyed about. If I had known, I have time to get to the barn on Tues nights to ride and administer meds. ARGH. So, Oats had Tues/Wed off, no lesson yesterday due to the family death, and I have a lesson tonight.

He did get his meds on Thur, and we did a little jump school (set up 3 jumps, trotted the xpole a bunch of times and then cruised the course 1X) and some stretchy trot circles to really round out the focus. He was falling back through his hind end a LOT, which to my suspicious mind is linked to him missing a few days of meds?!! Oh well, I guess not much I can do now.

He was a good boy for jumping though. Phew the arena is so dusty! Gak! We go from flooding, still mushy in some spots, to too dusty. We can’t win!!

So, a good week for me, but an extremely challenging one for everyone else.

Alone time

Took last night off from riding, to give Oats a day off, and I got a text from a friend asking if I was heading to the stables. I responded no, and I was immediately wondering what was up…My friends do look to/expect me there on Mondays but won’t text if I’m not, so I knew something was going down.

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Willie would let Oats disrobe him, and play bite face all day.

And it was. It was really bad. Our mutual friend’s horse, who had been recovering from a lameness (from a kick or something. X-rayed and everything, which were clear), had a broken leg.

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That is every horse person’s worst nightmare, along with colic, or what I had- when Oats choked and went into shock.

I was stunned. This is her horse, who I have known for 8 years. He is Oaty’s best friend, his horse neighbour, his buddy. He is my friend’s competition partner, her friend, her companion. They had their ups and downs- who doesn’t? But to have this happen, oh man.

Apparently he had a hairline fracture that did not show up on the X-rays, took a funny step, and BOOM! A broken leg. Everyone is just devastated. How terrible. Incidents like this really bring it home to me, to every horse person. Life is so fragile, and can change in an instant. Horses are not the everlasting, sturdy pains in the asses that we so often rely on. They break, sometimes forever.

It reminds me that the time I have with Oats is precious. I have been feeling that way more and more lately. A few months ago I would finish a ride or a lesson, take Oats back up to the crossties, and want to cry- not because I felt unhappy, but because this all felt so fleeting, there are no guarantees. And I want a guarantee. I love him so much, and it feels so tenuous, risky, vulnerable. Like wearing your heart outside your body.

I feel sad as a reflection of what is happening to my friend. I feel lucky because I’m not having to face it myself.

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!ย 

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?

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

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 justย 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!ย 

You are who you are: Easter

Ah, Easter long weekend and boy did it go FAST! I rode (lots!!) to Oats’ chagrin, haha. Did a lot of running (with a friend and a trail run with Ian), enjoyed a lovely Easter dinner with my in-laws and generally just enjoyed myself, my company, my animals and the weather.

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Hoppy Easter from Tucker Bunny!ย 

I also ate a LOT of chocolate…Yum. No regrets!

And I did a traditional Easter photo-shoot with Gidget and Tucker. They were absolute chaos to wrangle, hahah.

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Two friends.

And struggled greatly with terrible allergies. My sinuses felt like they were being drilled from the inside-out. UGHHHH wtf is with these allergies??? I am suffering! Plus this week is very busy, with double riding lessons, work is busy, horse show on Saturday and the TC 10k on Sunday. Busy busy busy!

Better buckle down, me!

You’ll never get to heaven: Jump lesson recap!

Had my regular jump lesson last night, and not gonna lie, I wasย dragging ass all day. Turns out I’m probably getting sick, dammit! Had crushing waves of exhaustion in the afternoon and just felt super blahh. I wasn’t really looking forward to my lesson, which bummed me out because I was looking forward to riding Oats on a regular schedule so badly!

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Oats says oxers are no biggie! Wish it was summer…

But, I sucked it up and went anyways. And I am so glad that I did. Oats, while not perfect, was a great ‘trier’ and showed me that we can indeed be competent jumpers together even after he has a week off from riding and lessons. Yes!!! And with an audience too! We worked over a circle jump exercise with a x-rail and Oats wasn’t really respecting it…He was making big ‘bids’ at it, to my great annoyance. My legs felt weak and tired, so I was relying more strongly on my heel to anchor, rather than my thigh. Whoops!

We worked on more of a half-halt after kind of a disastrous long spot to a small vertical that almost ended up with Oats’ nose in the dirt. Yikes! And I asked for it! He jumped really flat, and almost bailed. Sheesh.

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Jumping a fan jump in the summer- so fun! We literally never got the right spot to it, haha.ย 

So, I smartened up and rode a better, more ‘bouncy’ canter to the fences rather than asking him for a dumb flat long spot. We then moved to a small course that ended up being quite ‘loopy’ with lots of changing directions and…dun dun dun…OXERS! All the jumps (3) out of 5 were oxers. Gulp?! We started small and then rode the course at 2’6”.

But you know what? We dug deep and just …did it! I felt slightly anxious but more tired, and so I was just ok with riding and not thinking that much, hahah. Oats did get fairly surprised by one jump that went up a bigger oxer, and was like, whaa??? But he figured it out and was a good boy! We did get some awkward spots, nobody’s perfect and I was getting tired, as was Oats. However there were no big crash-and-burns, we didn’t give up, and I just felt so glad with how my pony was, and grateful to have him on my side.

I missed him soooo much, and I just love riding him, being around him. I’m so lucky with my Oats!

The Dream is Over

Of jumping lessons in the outdoors at night for me, sadly. We attempted to finish up my last lesson in the outdoor last night, and it got too dark, plus the footing was quite deep and Oats was struggling a bit in it. He had his shoes removed, and his trot was good but his canter felt ‘mushy’ like I just didn’t have enough horse there for jumping.

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Back to blurry screengrabs instead of nice crisp shots. Ah well…Video thanks to Nicole.

Compared with our fab jump lesson last night, it was…disappointing. But, jumping can’t be fantastic every time, can it? And we still had a good focused warm-up, and went straight into a fairly decent course outdoors, where I was quite pleased with Oats’ effort. Jumps stayed small.

It got dark, and we zipped into the indoor to wrap up our jumps. We worked over a few small jumps, and then over a course. I even demanded Nicole raise the jumps! (ok, demanded is a strong word. I suggested it! Go me!). And it was…very sloppy. Ha. Yikes my eq was definitely sucking. My leg (right leg) was a windshield wiper. My upper body? Throw at the horse! Eeeghhh.

In my defense, I have been feeling like crap over past few weeks (on and off since last week). I feltย terrible yesterday, grinding fatigue, out of breath, sore throat, and my stomach was killing me with zero appetite. I literally had this feeling like if I stopped moving I would probably collapse and not be able to get back up again. So I kept running, moving, doing chores, getting dressed, going to riding and anytime I stopped moving, I was literally wavering on my feet. Lovely. Anyways, it sucked.

Add on to that my crushing insomnia and you have a recipe for a fabulous week…

But I rallied for my jump lesson! I had this sense that Oats was feeling similarly to me, ha. He was asleep on his feet in his shelter when I came to get him to tack up. Anyways, I am really hoping for some sleep tonight, and Oats is also getting the night off in preparation for my next dressage lesson on Friday. Fingers crossed we are all feeling better by then!!

So far no sore throat today, but stomach ache remains and my eyes are so watery from fatigue it looks like I have been crying. Ahhh.