Honey Bunches of Oats does dressage!

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

I saw this quote in another blog (Medal Slut), and I loved it so much I had to use it~

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski

And here’s the shocker-for a reluctant dressage-er, we did REALLY WELL!! Got our personal best scores of all time?! 68.47% in Training Level 1, and 69% in Training Level 2~ can you believe it! I can’t!

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The whole gang with their ribbons!!

Rewinding a bit, I had originally wanted to go to the Cowichan District Riding Club’s jumper show on the Saturday, when everyone was going but as I mentioned yesterday we had a packed schedule and no hauler to go up with, soooooo dressage it was!

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

I had avoided the dressage ring for a few years, because it was hard, we were’t good at it, and it tripped all of my high-anxiety issues for showing and Oats did not respond well to my nerves, at all. So, jumping it was. But then, my husband got me some fancy white dressage boots for Christmas, so I wanted to show them off…and well, I had a ride to the showgrounds with my friend and her horse, sooooo…

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

It was fated! We were doing dressage for the first time in like 3 years!

As you will note, we practiced a LOT in the two weeks leading up the show. Four dressage lessons, even? I was ready. I was still very nervous, but luckily we didn’t have a lot of time to fuss around at the show, as we were running kind of late, haha. I hopped on, did a pretty perfunctory warm-up (Oats was ok, but swapping his left lead for his right CONSTANTLY in the warm up and it as driving me nuts). Anyway, off we went for Training Level 1 and you know what? It went fine. I felt pretty ok about it, despite him spooking a bit in the warm up and getting a little silly.

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Funny enough usually at horse shows, I can’t wait to BE DONE and get off. This time? I finished my test 1, and said I want to get back in their and have more opportunities to ride the test! Who is this girl? I was still anxious, but I felt like I could have more time in the ring and really focus on riding.

Cue super long hiatus where Oats got loose and ran over one of the girl’s finance’s foot. Whoops!! He did catch Oats for me though, with Oats pinning his foot into the ground. Yikes! Oats and I hung out for ages..My first test was at 9:50am, and my second one was at 1:50pm!!

I got ready at around 1:10pm and warmed Oats up for the second time. He was TERRIBLE in the warm up. Thundering around, swapping leads like crazy, kind of acting nuts. I had this awful sinking feeling in my stomach.

Nicole was like, hey leave it in the warm- up, and just go and ride your test!

Easier said than done…

But, we entered the ring, started the first half of the test, got whistled out (judge thought we were doing Training 3 mistakenly, so I got to go back out, re-enter and start the test over.) Despite the miserable warm-up, the whistling out, we DID IT. We entered the groove, where I was focused on my test, on my horse, and on my body.

Each moment was there for me, and I wasn’t thinking too far ahead. (I did worry about the canter, ha).

When we came up to the final halt, I just KNEW we had a rocking test. We aced it!! The judge called me over and asked what breed Oats was (a mutt, I said. haha) and she said she really liked him and he was a good size and a very nice mover! WOW!!!!! 🙂

That test? Highest score ever for me- 69%. Good enough for second place for us! YESSS. A great end to a good day. I was very proud of how we pulled it together, and you should have seen how great everyone else was riding yesterday- I wasn’t the only one coming away with some good scores!!

Kudos to my friends for their great efforts, and to the Cowichan District Riding Club for a friendly, welcoming and fun atmosphere.

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Hopoxia!!! 2017 Edition

This weekend was BUSY with a capital ‘B’ but hey, I knew that about June 2017 and I am totally loving it!!

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Saturday, I knew I was on a tight(er) timeline- I was trying to fit in a run (long), a ride & pack and clean up horse for the dressage show on Sunday, and a walk to Phillips Brewery for their Hopoxia beer fest!

I started with the run- 18km. It was absolutely horrible. I had terrible asthma, making my chest/lungs constrict in a super frightening and unpleasant way. I was gasping and clutching my chest. Hm, maybe I should have used my puffer, or at least carried it with me…It’s becoming very clear that I have either allergy-induced or exercise-induced asthma (or both!!) and it’s pretty nightmarish to try and run with it.

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Anyways, that was frighting and sucky and I hated it, but I did it. I did have to listen to my body and walk when I started gasping for breath, so be it. I did it! And went home to a great breakfast courtesy of my great husband, and then it was off to ride & pack up my stuff and give Oats a bath!

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I tried to go as quick as I could, and zipped home (note- I only showered on Sunday, after allllll of my events were over. Good choice or bad choice?? ha).

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We walked to Hopoxia, and I had a fab time there! We tried so many awesome beers, chatted with a friend/colleague and I really enjoyed the chance to try some super cool and unique flavours- standouts include a bunch of really sour ‘sours’, and the ‘A day off your life’ beer that was like 11.5%!?!!

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A great time was had by all 🙂

Biggest weekend recap ever: Jumping, massively sick, a bachlorette party?

Thursday I rode in my lesson (perhaps unwisely) as I had gotten turned away at work for showing up sick…I had a horrible sore throat that came on suddenly overnight and it was just awful. I couldn’t sleep all night, felt like knives stabbing my throat and I couldn’t swallow, my throat was so swollen.

Yay…

So I went home and lay around the house after work kicked me out. It was so boring that I was desperate to do something, so I dragged myself out of the house and went, drowsily, to my lesson. Where we jumped 2’9” hahah.

I know eh? But hey, it went fine! Scared the bejeezus out of me but he did it great every time! More times than I wanted to jump even! We just kept doing it. The other jumps weren’t…so good. He had some issues with a short distance into a line and kept slamming on the brakes? WTF? He is not a horse that stops, and it was NOT high, haha. It was almost like he was getting spooked by it? Weird. We did that one over and over again until it was fine with no issues.

Silly pony. 2’9” oxer no prob, but 2’3” black and yellow? Nuh huh!

I felt very spacey and dizzy after. Ugh. Just in time for my sister’s bachlorette party in Kelowna, which I was flying out to on Friday. Whoop! *cough* cough* sneeze repeatedly, cough some more…My sinuses hurt…

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The view from Arrowleaf winery. Sigh…

But yes, Kelowna. Despite being pretty sick, I had a really fun time! We rented a condo in a golf course area, and we had a blast! We visited the Kangaroo farm on Saturday, and then found a beach that wasn’t completely flooded out to chill out on and eat some junk food picnic, drink some booze, and float around on the lake!

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We wrapped up that day by more drinks around the pool at the condo, and then a BBQ (that turned out to be a total shenanigan…we had no propane tank?) meaning we had to make friends with a football team staying at the golf course to borrow their propane tank…It didn’t work so we had to get them over to fix it…I then put temporary tattoos on them like ‘Cheers Bitches’ and ‘Team Bride’ and ‘Miss to Mrs.”…fun times!

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I’m a natural (wallaby) mother!

I drank a touch too much but also I blame the heat (28 deg and unused to it) + junk food+ cold medication so yeah, ended up feeling quite rough the next morning. I got my run gear on, went to tie up my shoes, immediately felt like puking, ran to the bathroom, threw up, and then went back to try the shoes again (success!) and went on a wimpy, hot, weirdly sweaty run.

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Got back, still felt queasy and ick, showered and ate a bagel and then we were off to wine tours! The tours were great, we went to these wineries and they all had really neat and different venues with lots to offer.

  • The Blind Tiger
  • Arrowleaf Winery
  • Parallel 50
  • Grey Monk- we had lunch here and it is PRICEY. The food was not included in the wine tour, so the tour was $150, and lunch at the winery ran about $45/per person. Ouch!
  • Intrigue Winery

All in all, a great but quite expensive day.

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What’s a bachlorette party without hunks?

Then we were back to the pool & hot tub, and I swam for a bit in the pool. Really enjoyed it! I wast totally sacked though, so I prepared dinner for the gang (all 7 of us) from our grocery leftovers and did a pretty good job if I do say so myself, and then went to bed and didn’t sleep at all. Sigh! My flight out was at 8:45am on Monday and I felt so sad to leave. It was so hot, it felt like summer was finally here.

A good weekend all around, and I even got back to ride Oats on Monday, get a sunburn on my shoulders and still continue being sick back at work today. That part sucks!

Back from holidays! (nothing was the same)

A week away feels so much longer, particularly when I was coming down from several months of extreme stress, pressure and sickness.

And WOW it was worth it. Such a great holiday, such a great time.

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Greetings from sunny Sayulita!

We visited Sayulita in Mexico, close to Puerto Vallarta – roughly an hour away. An easy place to get to, and an easy place to like. Eternal summer.

We did everything. Horseback riding on the beach, hanging out with friends, boogie boarding at the main beach, swimming in the ocean every day, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, I went on one run, and a boat trip to the Marietas Islands (more on that later…).

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We even got to gallop on the beach!

I miss it. I feel sad to be back.

The food was so great, we cooked/ate a lot of meals at our VRBO rental- which was great, by the way. The only downside was the shared plunge pool that ended up being not-so-shared as our neighbour unit had a large family and kind of ended up occupying it. Oh well!

What did we eat? Octopus! Shrimps! So many shrimps, I felt sick. Shrimped out!

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Cooked my first whole octopus

We made fresh salads with avocado, queso fresco, salt and lime. That’s all you need for seasoning, as we found out. We drank Coronas (me) Pacifico (Ian) and then later, Agua fresca  Jamaica for me (when I was off booze).

Restaurants? We did that too! We ate at La Esperanza, pricier than the other joints but SO high quality- I had tuna steaks in hibiscus sauce on mashed plantains, and it was AMAZING. So much tuna I gave some to Ian because I was full and still kind of reeling from my hangover.

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Souvenir beach bag I bought for my sister.

We also did an entire night of street foot- we started with tacos el Ivan and got eight – ocho-tacos al pastor for super cheap, $100 pesos? Next we had hot churros, and then a beef tamale, and then corn in a cup. It was all so good! In the beginning of our trip, we ate ceviche from a street vendor and it was excellent and fresh. So much good food!

The only tragedy was our boat trip to the Marietas Islands. I was excited for it, and the boat ride out was really nice, we saw dolphins and blue-footed booby birds and their chicks at the islands!

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Ill fated boat trip, oh against my better judgement

We snorkeled a bit but I was freezing- the water was cold and kind of silty so it wasn’t great snorkeling so I swam back to the boat and hopped on a stand-up paddleboard. It was tough and tippy!

On our way back, we swam some more, had lunch and plentiful snacks, and ….my ultimate downfall, copious amounts of free flowing booze like pina coladas, margaritas, tropical drinks and shots. Jesus.

Anyways, you can see where this is going…I drank WAY too much, encouraged by the atmosphere and fun and I completely lost control. The minute I stepped off the boat and onto the bus to head back to Sayulita, I was throwing up uncontrollably. Ian gave me a water bottle and it fell uselessly out of my hands because I couldn’t even clutch anything.

Threw up out the window the whole way back, and we staggered to the plaza- we stopped there so Ian could go to the bathroom, and I proceeded to throw up over the back of the park bench in the middle of the day, bright sunlight. YUCK.

We staggered back to our place, and I was so sick I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom (yes puking in a bucket, please and thank you)…

Passed out apparently with my eyes open, creepily.

Threw up at night again.

Rinse, repeat.

So, Thursday was not a great day after but I rallied and we went to the beach and got a Chocobanana (great!) and I managed to eat some stuff later on. I wasn’t feeling too miserable, because I guess passing out at 5pm the day before gives you plenty of time to stew in your misery before getting it over with.

So, yeah I am kind of off booze for now, giving my poor liver and brain a break plus GAG.

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The endless summer of San Pancho

But, I LOVED Sayulita and San Pancho and would definitely go back. Love Mexico!

Girl from Ipanema: Phase 5!

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Ipanema Beach!

Our time in Rio wasn’t all Olympics- we made sure to do lots of other fun things, like check out the Leblon area (SO chic, and very, very expensive!), as well as Ipanema Beach. Sadly we didn’t spend a lot of time (or swim) at Ipanema beach, as we had kind of tacked it onto an already busy day, but it was quite lovely all on it’s own to chill out at.

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Christ the Redeemer

That morning, we had booked tickets to go see Christ the Redeemer. A foggy day but it really turned around and worked out fine in the end. Quite the sight- I highly recommend going!

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Me with a foggy Christ the Redeemer

And the view…Amazing!

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Just stunning….This is where the they did the Olympic rowing too.

And then we went straight to the Jardim Botanico- and wow, so many monkeys. I loved the common marmosets the most, and the capuchin monkeys kind of scared me a bit. Crazy little guys, there were so many! I was like, oh look, a monkey…and Ian said, there’s never just one monkey…He was right!

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Many capuchin monkeys

They were very close to us!

13995602_10100602801628726_7934411114911010201_oMarmosets too!

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Cute but weird up close.

And some very active lizards in the desert section of the Jardim.

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A recipe for a crazy weekend: Track racing, birthday dinner, the beach, horseback riding & Rock the Shores!!

Yep, that’s my weekend right there! Nobody ever accused me of wasting my weekends, that’s for damn sure 🙂

We started the weekend with dinner (steaks! yum) at my parents new house, and a walk to the beach from their place. It’s so close to the water, it’s lovely. They are really happy with the move they’ve made – from boring, blah old Ottawa- to a beautiful new place and unimpeded access to the beach.

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My parent’s card to me…

Saturday I rode Oats first in the ring, to hop over a few jumps, and then moseyed around the field for awhile watching some other riders have a lesson in the field. I’m taking advantage of the field access as much as I can these days. I zipped home after buying grain (ugh, had to drive out to Saanich right after riding to get it) and the weather was SO nice, that we headed straight to the beach at Dallas Rd, with Gidget in tow.

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Back to the field!

We chilled out at the beach for awhile and it was lovely. I couldn’t get too relaxed though, as I had to get home to gear up for my last track race of the season. Meet #3~ I wasn’t sure how things were going to go, as I’ve been battling muscle/leg fatigue on and off for a couple of weeks now, and been struggling on my runs to just complete them. General consensus seems to be: overtraining/overwork. Maybe, maybe…

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At the beach! 

Anyways, we hit the track and I signed up to do a mile, and the 3km. Maybe I got too greedy, because after my mile race (which went..okay I guess…) I was seriously lagging. My 3k felt like I was running in slo-mo, I was falling behind on the track and getting passed. It was kind of a piss-off, because I know I am capable of faster and of running a more competent race, sooo what gives??!!

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Hauling ass? Well, not so much!

I was kind of bummed to fall behind so much in my run, that I lost perspective of what was really the point here: Learn to sprint race without killing my lungs (actually that was a success, as I was coughing much less last night than I ever have!) and learn about pace.

I checked my results this morning, and my mile wasn’t even too shabby: 6:35, and my 3k was lame (13:12- I have run it under 12:30 …) but hey, in the grand scheme it is all a progression and not terrible.

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Sunday I went riding and jumped Oats over the small x-rails in the field= loved it!!! And then immediately felt tired, so walked up and down hills for awhile to build his muscles and give me a break.

I didn’t ride for long because we had Rock the Shores to get to! It was hot hot hot! Things that bugged me- drinks got INSANELY expensive- $8 for a beer? Eff right off with that!

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Rock the Shores from three years ago!

Crowds were good and very manageable, no line-ups, ice cream was lovely, poutine was sooo good and the standout bands were The Arkells and The Eagles of Death Metal. WOW!! Amazing performances, and class acts, both of them. Great sound, excellent vibes. One bummer- Metric really sucked. The sound was lousy, tinny and too high reverb. Also Emily Haines seemed to be doing this thing where she’s play 1 song, and then riff for 10 or more minutes on it…Combined with the lousy sound, it was so.boring. I really like Metric, but this was just…ugh. No thanks. We left early and I didn’t feel like I was missing a thing! Booooooo.

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My buddy and me from three years ago at Rock the Shores.

Got home pretty seamlessly and back to work today. I am tired! 🙂

SSITS Avalon Derby-Cross: Show recap!

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. –Michael Jordan.

So, my show recap is mixed. It was at once a great success and good memories, overcoming challenges, and at the same time kind of a bummer and a disappointment. So, with my quote from the great MJ, I’ll start with the recap.

We trucked up-Island on a rainy Saturday, leaving late from the barn. I had butterflies in my stomach ALL day- ones that barely abated even when I ran 14km with my husband in the morning. Too much time= a problem for me. Oats loaded up great, we packed everything up and headed out. The Malahat was rough going and absolutely pouring rain. It looked pretty grim…

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Soon I hope to have photos of the Derby!

There was kind of a negative energy rolling around, some people had some personal things on the go that were troubling them. I feel like I can be quite sensitive to that, particularly when I’m feeling on-edge as it is. Nevertheless, we got there fine despite the hard rain.

We tacked up, it was a monumentally confusing warm-up for us–we had a newcomer to the grounds with us, it was raining, wet, late, and we were very confuddled. Finally, things started to resolve and we headed out to the field. Oats was up up up! But, he settled pretty nicely, the rain started abating a bit, and we jumped. He was fabulous up until the log jump, when he slammed on the brakes. Ok, so that surprised him. We worked back up to it and he was lovely!

We then moved to the other field- it was a loooong course for me at 12 jumps and long flowing approaches- and I had some more trouble with him stopping at a brightly coloured fence with flowers. Not gonna lie, it really rattled me. We worked through it and after hanging out for a bit, Nicole encouraged me to go try again to really ‘cement’ the jumps in my brain and Oats was 100%- which made me feel way better. I felt like effing Ian Millar!! Whoop!!!

And then we were camping, and there was some sad horse drama….Oats was being a dink to the other horses penned nearby, which was irritating…But the really bad news? My fellow rider’s mount (my trainer’s horse) had a cut on her leg that developed back into her chronic lymphangitis…She was pawing at night, and we didn’t realize how bad things had gotten. Shit!!! In the morning, her leg was blown up, she was exhausted and not sound. My fellow camper/rider had to scratch. How terrible, given her lovely and very competent warm-up. I was sure her first Derby experience would be a great one, and then this happens? UGHHH.

So, the morning sure did not start off well…But the show must go on.

Sunday our first course at .70m- I was really nervous, eek- was fantastic! It wasn’t perfect but Oats was totally honest, I was feeling good and for awhile we even held the high score (at 78) for the round! It was a real thrill to hear my name as the leader for a few rounds. The classes were really big- over 16 riders? So I eventually got bumped down to 4th and finished in that place. I was beyond thrilled! I believe the winner had a good 10 points or more on me at 88 I think. I did miss an opportunity to get a score of 80…sigh.

Here is the link to the photographers: I LOVE the ones of Oats and I will be ordering some prints!! Maybe this one? 

Of course then I kind of started not wanting to ride my second and third courses, and mentally started backpedaling a bit. My second round, I started out pushing Oats quite hard- one of my biggest struggles with him is getting more forward, and I lost the plot at the 9th fence- the smallest one on course, and jumped up his neck- he refused the jump and I fell over his head (again!! ugh!). I was totally fine, but really bummed…

I knew that I wasn’t feeling mentally prepared to go out and make it happen with Oats – for some reason it was taking a lot of energy from me to be focused and ride well enough to get him going. So, Nicole suggested my friend, who was just there to watch, handle my 3rd class and get Oats really revved up and through to the jump-off. She put on our fellow rider (who’s horse scratched) breeches, boots, helmet and my number and was ready to rock!!

They did so well too! They achieved the jump-off goal- with Oats, who is NOT fast, a feat in itself! Sadly they had a stop in the jump off so out of the ribbons, but I was so happy to see Oats end on that note too.

So there we have it–a day of many mixed emotions. I have to give great kudos to the young rider who had to scratch. She handled it with great maturity, when I would have pouted like crazy. Even after I fell off and was feeling sorry for myself, she said hey, at least you get to ride! And that made me realize how lucky I truly was. She was 100% right.

🙂