Horse show recap: Inaugural Cedar Vista hunter show!

So, the horse show season is upon us and I was kind of wondering what I was going to show in this year. In past years I have shown at the Appy shows (Vancouver Island Appaloosa Horse Club), and Westside Stables shows. There are also the higher-rated and higher-cost SSITS shows that I have NOT ventured out to yet- too much $$ and we’re not polished enough.


Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

All in all, I was feeling pretty blah about the show season. Like, I want to show and feel confident out there but was bored by my options: Appy or Westside. Yawn…

Enter the new show season at Cedar Vista! Close-ish, new, with great footing and some really snazzy jumps. Offering a fairly reasonable series that would be brand-new to everyone. Sign me up!


Pats for a good boy. Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

They had jumpers on Saturday and hunters on Sunday, we opted for hunters. Loaded good old Oats up and away we went!

I entered him in the 2’3” hunters and one 2’6” class, and the division included one equitation on the flat class. We warmed up in the ring and Oats was a tad looky, but overall very well behaved. The open schooling was set low, but we marched over everything–like a pro!

Then, we waited a little bit- entries were low- until my division. We were able to warm up over the new height and then start. I was feeling a strange combination of sort of nervous, but overall quite blasé at the same time. The jump heights were fine, but I wanted to get more nervous?

Then- in we go! Our first round was great, second was fine, and my eq was kind of terrible. Chip-city. UGH. Also we botched the right lead change to one line every.single.time. Ouch…

But in good news, Oats is getting his skip changes more consistently if you don’t count that one line, and my pace was pretty good, I didn’t feel too nervous! The wheels kind of fell off in my equitation…I got too ahead of myself, and anxious. Oh well. There was always the 2’6”… More warm-ups at this height (Oats and I did a LOT of jumping at this show). He was rolling so smoothly- it felt effortless. We called it quits and got ready to go in for good this time.


Yay! Good pony! Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

And we chipped the first jump and I was SOoooo not straight. Gulp! I could hear my trainer yelling at me to calm down and breath! Right–got it! The second was better, and then the course just flowed from there…What a great way to end my rounds! Go Oats.

It was a lovely one to finish on, and the increased heights didn’t bother me in the slightest. It was just 1 flat class left- and we have historically either done really well (top 3) or horribly (crowhopping, bucking, rude, rushing, excused) in our flat classes.

Oats managed to keep his hair on and only had one goofy moment when a horse passed us- he started shaking his head, ready to crowhop at the canter. We even had a few small ‘tests’ from the judge- drop stirrups at the trot, posting trot w/o stirrups, and then pick them up again. AND sitting trot! I know, crazy eh?


Accepting ribbons. Photo courtesy of Lindsay F.

Second for us! Woop!!

Good job Cedar Vista- friendly people, niiiice prizes, good company, great footing and fancy jumps. What more can a girl ask for?! I will be back!

Foxstone hunter show: Winter series finale recap!

This Sunday we attended the final show in the Foxstone hunter winter series. They offer three horse shows over the winter as a way to tune up a bit and get some exposure. The stable is fabulous, and the people are really friendly and fun to talk to. I highly recommend attending the series- and it doesn’t hurt that the prizes they offer are SO GOOD!

I have now attended two of their shows. Last time I went to this show, I was primarily focused on gaining back confidence. I suffer from performance anxiety, and in general, extreme tension when I’m showing and jumping. I had kind of a tough summer, (lots of falls, just silly ones but they really build up) and I wanted to go out, and just…Have fun. So, I rode in the crossrails division and was the division champion! I like to joke that I am now heading to the crossrails Olympics.

So. Serious.

So. Serious.

This show, I decided I could do the 2′ feet hunter division. And when we rode it, it really wasn’t about the jumps- it was about the canter in between the jumps! Oats was a tad ‘wired for sound’ so he kind of felt edgy, like maybe he was going to pull some SERIOUS shenanigans. That led to the first jump on-course being, well, interesting for a lack of better terms. He kind of lunged forward, like he was going to do his patented ‘leap-buck-buck’ until I go flying off!

[I’m going to add here that my husband joined me and was able to take these pics! Thanks to him 🙂 even though I like to joke that he is bad luck, because I always seem to fall off when he’s at a horse show!!]

I managed to circle him, approach the first fence, and the rest of the course rode beautifully. And then the same with the second, and third, courses. So, I was like, ARGH what is with this horse? The bucking, snorty head-tossing? And then we’re ON when we get rolling?

A step up from the crossrails Olympics?

A step up from the crossrails Olympics?

But, I’m proud about one thing- I did NOT let it derail me. We rode the rest of the courses (and, gulp, managed to survive the flat class) without zoning out, disassociating and falling off! AND a personal Oats victory- managed to get into the ring without him balking at the in-gate and we didn’t even have to take laps outside, he managed just fine in the little area at the in-gate.

In the past, this would have completely destroyed my entire course, and division. I didn’t let it get to that point this time. And, I love Foxstone- I won the draw for my entries for the day, so my division was free! I paid for the office fees and the stall rental but other than that, made out like a bandit. What a nice idea eh?

And to top it off, we are going to the small year-end awards dinner this Wednesday AND my friend, who shows at a much higher height than me (think a foot higher!) is also getting an award. What a nice way to cap off the winter series, don’t you think?!

Great horse show prizes!

Great horse show prizes!


Throwback Thursday: Riding up North

So I know I’ve mentioned before, but I did a stint up in Whitehorse for a few years. Riding in the Yukon was a pretty different experience, let me tell you! (Or better yet, here are some photos to show you instead!)

Horse show lineup in Whitehorse

Horse show lineup in Whitehorse

Also some sad news, my grandfather passed away yesterday. I’m sad that he went so quickly, but I am glad that he is no longer suffering.

The Yukon had 1 horse show when I rode up there- the annual Whitehorse horse show. It was held by the Yukon Horse & Rider Association. They held everything from dressage, to western, to games, to hunter/jumper. Sometimes I was really impressed by the skill, mostly others I was horrified for people’s lives. Particularly the jumping…Yikes. The lack of practice really showed, and took a toll on some of the horse/rider combinations. Mine too actually! There aren’t that many trainers up North, and the ones that were up there could be a little…rustic.

Josie in the Whitehorse horse show

Josie in the Whitehorse horse show

I rode two horses- Yukon (or Cool, can’t remember) a tough little Fjord cross, and Josie, a tough big appy. Fun horses, and I had a fun time at the show! I recall we even placed in a few of our classes…seconds and thirds, I believe? They had a great swag bag of stuff, and I won a gift certificate of $25 in the draw for the local feed shop.

Jumping 'Cool' at the Whitehorse horse show

Jumping ‘Cool’ at the Whitehorse horse show

Whitehorse at the time didn’t have a tack shop, just the feed store and the pet food store that also stocked select horse items. The cashier at the feed store tried to sell me on ‘Muck Boots’ as okay for riding…Yeah have you seen how big the footbed is? I don’t think so!!

Pairs class:  Whitehorse horse show

Pairs class: Whitehorse horse show

Ah well, good memories!

Third place pairs class: Whitehorse horse show

Third place pairs class: Whitehorse horse show

Lessons (hard learned)


So, Oats had Monday off while I stewed.

Actually, I had a spectacularly grouchy day and cranked at everyone all day, and then went to the beach in the evening with my Kobo for some Zen time…and of course my Kobo was dead. Excellent.

Tuesday, I had another group lesson with Karen Brain. I almost didn’t want to…I felt stupid, frustrated, embarrassed. Falling off AGAIN at yet ANOTHER horse show? WTF? How do I tell people- who think I am a fairly decent rider- that no, I really do know what I’m doing, and at home, I am actually pretty good? 

(my coworkers think all I do is fall off my horse, by now!)

But, I sucked it up and went. It was hot, we rode in the indoor. I went in complaining. I told Karen what happened, how weird I felt, and how I knew Oats was taking advantage of me being out of it. And when I got angry, and kicked his butt, how great he responded.

And her insight was VERY helpful. I felt kind of emotional even! 

She said that my symptoms of dealing with horse show anxiety (even though I want to be there) is ‘checking out’ and the time I spent ‘checked out’ Oats responded negatively (stopping at jumps, slacking off my leg). When I was forced to ‘check in’ when I was FED UP enough, bingo! Got the results I wanted/needed.

She said I probably get in the habit of checking out with Oats because it is SO EASY to do. He lulls me along at a gentle pace, nothing too forward, doesn’t really misbehave…Until I ask for something. I don’t have enough ‘him’ to check myself in.

That is also why I find her lessons so challenging- I am made to be ‘checked in’ for a solid hour. 

Oats responds very positively to Karen.

So, she said we need to work on staying checked-in throughout a ride- building on smaller ‘stressors’ to gradually bigger ones, like a horse show.

And I need to work on staying present- bending, more leg, leg to the fence. It’s easy when a trainer is yelling at you, but in a show ring? You can yell at yourself- Go legs! Sit up! Sit Deeper! 

Honestly, none of this is new to me. The sliding, slacking ‘out of it’ feeling I have always had…I just need to hear it again, and again, and again. From multiple sources. Oats is not a horse I can ride ‘checked out’ anymore.

And have a horse show that I royally embarrass myself at. That is a good incentive too.

So, Karen set up a exercise of ‘leg leg leg!’ short gallops, checking-in at the canter, bend left/right, then cruise of a 1ft jump, then gallop, then circle, bend-counter bend-gallop…It was exhausting but good.

She said that I may not want to hear it, but the horse show was a good lesson (but a hard one) to learn. 

(Photo credit to the talented Christi Kay)

The Good/Bad/Ugly


Oh man, where do I start?

I couldn’t have written this post yesterday or Sunday. I was too pissed off, confused, steaming!

Even now…ARGH.

Let’s start with the good: Had a really nice week with Oats. He did some pony riders for my mom, went in a jumping lesson with me and was GREAT! And we got some great shots out of it! And then we had a fun ride in the rain on Saturday, and then..dun dun dun…horse show on Sunday.

Just a small Appy show, but this is where the Bad/Ugly started:

We warmed up fine, he was moving out nicely until we hit the ring. He refused a warm up oxer TWICE! That is already unusual. He was slacking off behind my leg and lulled me in…

There were like 20 riders in my division, and so we sat, and sat, and sat and got bored and sleepy in the holding pen. Our round came up, and it went okay…I tried for a solid 5 in a line and blew it…got a chip to an ugly 6. Oh well, shit happens eh?

Boy, does it EVER.

My next round, I felt anxious…Underpowered. I didn’t feel like I had him WITH me, you know? He slid to a stop at the FIRST FENCE and I fell off over the jump, and pretty much landed on it.

Yes, I fell off AGAIN at a horse show. That makes two in a row, and my fourth fall off Oats since March. WTF>>>

I felt airheaded, fluffy and out of it. I couldn’t focus? It was so weird. I just kept saying I felt strange.

It’s true, I did. Couldn’t get my head in the game, you know? And boy did Oats feel it. 

We went in for our last round and he stopped AGAIN at the second fence in the line. This time? I got ANGRY. That is ENOUGH of you (and lets me honest, me too) sleepwalking through the rounds and taking me down the freaking daisy path here.

I spanked him, HARD.

Turned around in quick circle, and blasted him over the silly little jump he neatly ‘declined’ to jump over. Then I kicked his ass all around the course. Hesitate? BLAM! Slow around the corners? KICK! I rode him like I was on fire, and damn, if it didn’t go MUCH BETTER.

He is not a stopper, so I have no idea why he was riding like shit.


Let’s not have a repeat like that ever again. SHit! How does it feel like I’m getting better (more effective rider, my position is improving-you should see the pics!!) and getting worse at the same time? WTF is all I can say right now. 

I might take a break from showing for awhile. Clearly, I have some issues that need fixin’

Photo credit to the talented Kourtney Anne.


Throwback Thursday: Ardie and I

Throwback Thursday: Ardie and I

Love this big ol’ guy. A TB that looked and moved more like a warmblood. Or, according to a trainer who hopped on him one day, ‘cantered like a washing machine.’ HAHA.

Leased him for six months or so when I lived in Vancouver. He was at Burnaby Horsemen’s Association facility, which was super close to my house. I rode him in two horse shows, a small in-house horse show featured here, and a bigger indoor show in Cloverdale.

He was such a sweetheart, big lug, and he and I practiced hunters together. He used to scare me because of his size, but we started getting good together by the time I moved to Whitehorse.

Here’s to you old man- I was tempted to bring him up North with me, or maybe move him to Victoria with me when I was horse shopping! He is now semi or mostly retired, according to his owner who I keep in touch with here and there.

I tell you, it was a real shock to go from him to Starr, who I would also ride on the same days after Ardie.

Love this old dude.


Throwback Thursday: Riding up north

Throwback Thursday: Riding up north

Yes, I used to live in the Yukon! In Whitehorse, to be exact. And it always struck me as very funny that a place that has ‘horse’ in the title could be so….backwater when it came to real horses.

To be fair, I was moving to YT directly from Vancouver, which was a pretty horsey place (I lived in Burnaby, and rode at the Burnaby Horsemen’s facility). It was awesome!

Yukon?…much. People here tended to keep their horses outside all year, didn’t have stalls, barns or tackrooms (all creature comforts I was DEFINITELY used to!) and definitely not many arenas or indoor arenas. Actually, the first indoor arena in YT opened up while I was there, crazy eh?

And it gets extremely cold. -44 cold. And it was -30 for literally months at a time. People seemed to yahoo around in the bush all summer, their horses sat outside doing pretty much nothing in the winter, and then they hopped back on. Needless to say, the horsemanship I saw wasn’t overall great.

There were standouts though, and from what I understand, they competed their horses at QMS during the school year. Every year, at the ONE horse show offered in Whitehorse, they were the only riders who looked flat-out fabulous. Everyone else was kind of a scary shitshow.

I was genuinely concerned when I watched the hunters over fences and equitation classes.

Anyways, here’s myself and a big ol’ appy Josie. Not sure what her story really was, but she was pretty cute, green to jumping but very honest. We placed ok at the show, from what I can recall- and trust me, winning ribbons that said Whitehorse horse show was worth it- where else will I ever see that again? Haha.

I rode her in a dirt arena, and sometimes we hauled to the new indoor arena. She did get really sour as a lesson horse, and I eventually stopped leasing her when I started getting blamed for her bitter attitude. Forget that! I bought Mr. Oats, and moved back to Victoria…Which feels like a freaking horse mecca compared with Whitehorse.

So anyways, here’s the two of us in a hunter hack class- we wove drunkenly up to this fence and I was frankly surprised she jumped it! haha.


A week of Mr. Oats

So, here’s another update on Oats before I forget how our rides went! (in a nutshell: they were good). This video (unrelated) is from our horse showing this summer, at the Appy Club shows at Westside Stables.

Tuesday– Oats and I worked on some flatwork, focusing on an active walk. We hopped over a crossrail a few times and called it quits.

Wednesday– Lesson day! Oats and I worked on our trot-canter transitions (I was wanting to do walk-canter butttttt we weren’t quite there) and he was good, no drama. We worked over a small crossrail grid, to cantering 1 haybale jump at the end. So dusty!

Thursday– I was NOT in a good mood. Work yuck, other assorted hassels and I was ready to fly off the handle! Luckily Oats is a good pony, and he was very reasonable with me. We worked on transitions in a circle (walk-trot, trot-canter) with more success on the right than to the left, which surprised the hell out of me.

Also, we trotted over a crossrail and knocked an entire jump standard down. Oooops! Embarrasing! HA.