Tell me that you want me forever

Wow, so many things and so burned out. Where to begin??

Work continues to be a byzantine nightmare that I can’t escape from, like being stuck in a Escher painting or something.

Ah, my little psychopath cleans up so nicely

My own fitness- terrible. Potential leg re-injury after 8 months from my initial stress fractures. Not sure if I am going to come back from these anymore, given how frequently they reoccur and then STAY injured. Don’t you just hate your own body sometimes?

My potential hernia- Have an ultrasound next week and I kind of both hope it isn’t a hernia and hope it is. SchrΓΆdinger’s injury??

Riding- great! That is primarily what is going right. We had some awesome lessons last week, hmm let me think. For dressage we worked on NO STIRRUPS! That’s right, I did a whole lesson without them. Crazy eh?!! It went really well though! Oats was so good and calm, and we worked on canter-trot transitions w/o stirrups on a circle. Apparently no stirrups are my superpower πŸ˜‰

Jump lesson was good but we had to ride in the indoor due to the rain (blahhhhhhhh) and it is not nearly as thrilling as riding in the field, boo!!!

And then we had a saddle fitting that lasted for 2 hours and was quite comprehensive. I was glad of it, but also a tad skeptical as I have had two saddle fitters work on the saddle over the past year, with a check/re-check every year and how did it get so bad with them on it??? Riddle me this?!

And then I zipped off to watch Ian finish the Finlayson 50k!! I am always so drawn in by these events and I get SO jealous. I wish I could run again 😦 I miss it, and I am so envious of people that get to push themselves w/o breaking. When will it be my turn??

Winner winner! He did great!

But that was fine, because the next day was the Sooke Saddle Club fun show and BOY that was more excitement for me that I would prefer (in like, a year hahah good GOD). I have grey hairs now due to that show.

And Oats was nice to ride this week too, Monday was a bareback hack in the field at the walk, cruising and eating. Tuesday we worked on something tricky that we flubbed at the horse show- backing around two barrels in a figure-eight. It is HARD! We did a good warm up, canter, trot, and then focused on the barrels- he was better but still very much non-thrilled about the barrel exercise. Something good to work on then!

And as for the Fun Show? Well, stay tuned tomorrow! It is a doozy!

Some great rides

Oats has been a star this week! I was a bit freaked out because after I rode in the outdoor (it is deep and the sand is harder on his aging joints), w/t only, he presented the next day with some bigtime swelling in his injured leg region. EFFFF….Except it’s windpuffs. He is sound, and the swelling lump went down after the ride, basically deflated. Oh Oats!

We’re getting there! (from a jump lesson a few weeks ago when it was actually warm out!) Spring in reverse??

It’s not amazing, but it’s also not a biggie really. He has now presented with them on and off all week, since I basically triggered them by riding in the sand 1 day. Oh well!

Otherwise, we had our jump lesson and it was pretty thrilling for me. We’re still JUST getting back into it, and we jumped…TWO FEET! whee! I swear to god it looked like 3ft to me until I moved the jumps back and realized how…small they really were. Hah. Fooling me for sure. I had adrenaline! I also wore my ‘big boy’ spurs and kind of overused them once and Oats was mightily offended. Sorry dude, he was such a good babysitter for me πŸ™‚ What a sweetie.

And to think, I was freaking out this day because he was going too fast! Hahaha.

Wednesday we walked around the big block with his horse neighbour Mercury. It was very pleasant, and the boys were as good as gold. Yay Oats!

Thursday we had our dressage lesson and I am happy to report that not only does Oats look like he’s gaining his weight back (a struggle!!) but he remembered how to counter-canter!! Amazing! We did some light counter-canter work and he was a STAR! Ok, we did struggle on one rein in particular (going right) but to be honest with how rusty we were, he was fantastic. I had to wrap my brain around it too, I mean it’s been over a year!? Great job Oats, what a superstar πŸ™‚

And he has today off. Well deserved I think! He has also enjoyed over 10 minutes a day of hand grazing on the nice new lush grass, as he is not allowed turnout for a year due to his tendon injury. It’s a really big bummer, but we’re trying to work with what we’ve got at this stage and I absolutely DO NOT want to risk another really serious injury for the old boy.

An amazing weekend!

The weather was INCREDIBLE last week and this weekend. Wow. After my extensive complaining that April was the new February (no joke, I realized I had been writing ‘Feb’ on all my journal entries for Oats?? I guess it really did feel like Feb?), we had a real turnaround with a heat wave and I loved it!!

So glorious…

Sadly, like all things ephemeral and temporary, it will not last, but man…Wasn’t it glorious? Weather up to 20 degrees (15 where I live on the water always), and it was just stunning. It was easy to forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic that is getting worse before it gets better- my vaccine time is NOT going to be soon, sadly- it was just so nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.

I enjoyed the sunlight perhaps a bit tooooo much- my face was sun-shocked and red and tight but not sunburned after my extravagances this weekend. Even with sunscreen! Ha! I guess it had been that long since it was so sunny and warm, my poor skin didn’t know what to do.

We took drinks to the beach and sat for a few hours and watched otters play in the seaweed beds, hunting. We people-watched, admired the sunlight, the water, and listened to music. It was perfect.

On Saturday my husband joined me on the track!! I know! He never does, so we hoofed it over there after I rode Oats (lightly- he is very hot with his shedding fur coat and is not acclimatized at all), and worked on rehabbing both of us for running again. Me due to injury, him due to not running over the winter. It was hot and really nice out.

That afternoon we hit the beach again! It was glorious.

Sunday I went for a brief run, then headed back to the stables to ride and medicate Oats, and then we set up a work party for Sunday so after our ride I worked in the fields cutting back blackberries, dumping and scrubbing water tubs, and checking fence lines, picking rocks and fallen branches. Hot work and damn those blackberries are terrible. But, good to get it done and such a lovely weekend to do it on eh? Hard to believe it was April.

The good times never last though, and this fine, fine weather will be going on Thursday. Back to cold and rain. I am already sad to see it go….

Between the breaths

I had my dressage lesson on Thursday, and I was feeling apprehensive. Why is it that my rides are SO GOOD in my lessons, and then so….underwhelming, disappointing, frustrating on my own?

I mean look at this handsome boy, who wouldn’t love him?

So I did it. I owned up to my trainer and told her that I had been struggling, and how do I change it?

Well, firstly, she called me on my BS and said I needed to change my attitude and expectations first. I had a bad attitude about progress- wanting too much and accepting too little, ha. And that my rides previously were great chiefly because I had no expectations about them- they just ‘were’ and it was great!

From last summer- so nice! We’ll get there πŸ™‚

It’s all true, isn’t it?

So we worked on developing a good, solid canter, one that I can take to a jump, or to a circle or anywhere. It felt really nice! And we also worked on a better mental state, one that accepts fluctuations in my ride and in my day. Can I accept that the day I come with a plan could get derailed? And be positive and kind about my ride? Yes, I definitely can.

And now I need to start!

My rides this weekend were great actually- not amazing, but solid, no-drama rides. Getting me and Oats where I needed to go. I only wanted to start the tension yesterday, and ended up letting it go, phew. Saturday I was actually in a pretty bad, amped up mood: I locked my keys and phone in the car at the feed store, fun fun. Ended up cooling my heels for awhile after I borrowed a phone to call the tow truck, and then a cool $70 to get it opened up! Shoot!

I was at the feed store to buy a fattening product for Oats, as he has been losing weight as an oldster who is getting back into work regularly now (four weeks, can you believe it??). He needs more help to address his weight, as I noticed in the past two weeks I had to put my girth up two extra holes on each side! Funny that I was so worried about him blowing up and getting chubby only a few months ago….Well, the work is good for him, and soon he will be back at his regular weight with a little extra help. Poor guy is getting skinny!

We also had our farrier appointment on Friday and he was well behaved, which is always a treat. πŸ™‚

And me? My leg injuries are still giving me a lot of stress and trouble. Had another shockwave session on my left leg last week, which was excruciating, and had my hip tendon worked on (crunched the hell out of it squatting down at the barn and pulled it out, and it never went back in for weeks= pain and discomfort). So, hoping something works out for once?!!! Been now two months. Yay.

Happy Easter weekend!

I did have a pretty fine weekend, all things considering COVID…and my injury, ugh.

We had our dressage lesson on Thursday, then on Friday it was Oaty’s day off, so my husband and I went on a hike to a local area (Cowichan) and got snacks at Tim Hortons after.

Cowichan River Trail

Saturday I rode, and it was….eh. I was really hoping to recreate the nice canter I had on Thursday in my lesson. WRONG. It was crummy, ha. Fortunately, the next day was another opportunity and I let things go by then.

Hiking with Gidget

Since we’re not allowed to visit family or friends, or eat indoor at restaurants, our entertainment options these years remain very limited. Sooooo we decorated our Easter gingerbread house, and dyed fake eggs that my husband picked up at the buck store. Fun! The eggs were kind of lame though and barely dyed, taking on a barely-there pastel effort, compared with the very vibrant dyes. Oh well!

Tucker as the Easter bunny with my loot!

Sunday we did our egg hunt and my husband hid 40 foil eggs! Yes! I missed a few hahah but in the end got them all. It was finally a pretty nice day for riding, and we worked on some calm lateral work at the walk, and a nice contact in the trot, and called it a day walking around the outdoor. In the afternoon we took a couple of beers to the beach and listened to music, which was pretty chill and nice.

The eggs could have dyed better…

Monday I had off but my husband didn’t, so off to the barn it is! I worked on some similar things to Sunday, remembering to keep my expectations in check- and Oats was pretty good! Left the shitty canter alone, ha. I headed to the beach after riding with my dog and we enjoyed the chilly sunshine that day too.

Then it was back to work, and a jump lesson, and then a truly horrible ride (yesterday) where Oats lost his brains again and had shit fits at every single corner of the indoor….I guess forgetting that absolutely nothing had changed in the less than 24 hours since we had our jump lesson the evening previously? I really got on his case for that. He is WAY too old for his BS shenanigans?! Plus the temperature had dropped quite dramatically and it was COLD at the barn, and a lot of the horses went crazy. I guess it was too tempting?? He was fidgety and nutty in the crossties, so I kind of figured he was reacting to the weather or something yesterday…HORSES! God. Let’s hope today is much, much better.

Keeping your eyes up: First jump lesson back with Oats!

I was supposed to have my first lesson back on Tuesday but we rescheduled to Saturday. After a lovely dressage lesson on Thursday, I was on cloud 9!!! When Saturday rolled around though, I was a ball of anxiety. What-ifs went racing around my head, I felt sweaty and out of it, and just so anxious! For some reason all of my fears of his re-injury went around and around and it was so weird. We walked and trotted around, he’s gotten very silly about the doors and corners of the arena so I was glad to have a good 10 minute walk to get the sillies out and make him a solid and reliable citizen again, and he settled down.

We’re getting there- slowly but surely!

We limited the canter– again because we want to make sure to be VERY careful about how his post-rehab recovery goes. And when we went to right lead, we just started hopping over teeny-tiny fences! YAY! I was practically hyperventilating, and trust me when I say my breathing was kind of all over the place the whole afternoon after, because of a big post-adrenaline dump. Ha it was nuts!!

Oats was a total star! He was very chill, very ‘yes ma’am I got this’ about everything. πŸ™‚

And we just, did it! I was stiff, very awkward. I got left behind twice which feels unheard of for me?! Just because I couldn’t relax enough to really go with the movement at this stage. I also forgot where I was riding – in a course of four fences!! hahahhaahah man, I am rusty.

So glad we had this lesson on Saturday. It shut down a lot of fears in my head.

Weirdly we had a miserable ride yesterday for some reason (Oats was literally trembling with fear in the arena??? There were no bears or cougars, to my knowledge???) and was racing around like a deranged llama for most of the ride, sooooooooo yeah. It was great to have a very low-key and successful jump lesson.

As for yesterday who knows what his deal was? We had a very long, very quiet and very slow ride. I kept him in the walk until he stopped trembling and trying to exit stage left. We only trotted and then went back to walking, some lateral work that he was pretty good at, and called it quits when he was fine trotting quietly and not losing it. Horses!! My husband says they’re basically a confusing relationship hot and cold, good and bad?? Maybe!

Tough love

I have to give it to myself, because clearly I don’t know how to be disciplined! But with Oats, ha. My trainer had to laugh yesterday when I was talking about how I fucked up my leg (AGAIN). She said, you were so meticulous and dedicated to your horse, and then you go and trash your leg??

I don’t learn, apparently…From 2019 and now again. Shit!!

Yeah unfortunately the same kind of drive and dedication that makes me commit to a lengthy and extremely long rehab program also makes me run myself straight into the ground. Two sides of the same coin…

BUT we had our second dressage lesson last night and it was really good!! He has been a bit resistant, I guess coming back into ‘real’ work that involves not going in a straight line and then walking for 45 minutes has been a bit of a learning curve for old Oats. We worked on that resistance with some very small, quiet and slow sitting-trot circles. He was really good for that. We then worked on sitting trot- big posting trot- sitting trot, trying to maintain a deeper frame, coming down rather than up. Tough for us, as Oats did want to bring his head up with each transition. We then moved on to canter (we take a LOT of walk breaks currently for his safety) and we started with the right lead.

I dream of this canter again…

It’s his nominally better lead, and I was pretty pleased with it. True, still a bit tough to maintain the nice ‘low’ frame in the canter, particularly while going large (wheeeeeee and we’re off!!) but I was quite happy with Oats attempts. I kind of figured the left would be worse, naturally.

Well, he surprised me! Left was really nice! The transitions were a little bit rougher (head got high), but we stuck with it and were rewarded with a lovely downward transition to sitting trot from the left lead canter on a circle. Good job Oats! I was very impressed with his ability to come back into work so well. Phew! πŸ™‚ Feels SO good. My lesson mate also had a really nice ride on her boy, and was thrilled to see the progress to date. All in all, a great lesson to be coming back to.

Discipline

To my extreme frustration, my leg is totally fucked. Like…I can tell the delamination has started and that was something I SO wanted to avoid. I started having trouble walking this week 😦 and it hurts going up the stairs, going down the stairs, and riding. YAY.

All that shockwave and strengthening exercises? Five WEEKS of them? Did shit all.

So I’m headed back down the road to having 6 months off. Yay me.

On that note, I’m stopping any attempt at running for a week, no more walk-jogs, nothing. If I can’t walk anymore, it’s gotten so much worse than how it started. 😦 Funny I have to have the discipline to NOT do anything???

Chaos by invitation?

Some good, some bad. I was celebrating on Friday (I can still drink sparkling wine, so that was on tap!) about Oats having his first riding lessons (though with trepidation), my leg was feeling better and things were looking up!

They still kind of are, but I am struggling with my leg injury again. ARGH. It was actively hurting today at the walk, which it hasn’t been since I got injured so good-byeeeee progress…. I had to go back to walking. Love it. Five weeks and counting, and I have not made measurable progress?? Things were looking up last week and then boom! Hurting again.

At least Oats is doing ok (watch I say that and then god only knows…). We had our lesson on Thursday, he had Friday off, then we did a lighter day on Saturday and he was pretty bad. Spooky, jumping out of his skin, etc etc. Our canter was nightmarish. Sunday he was worse- much spookier, and we were able to bump up the canter to three circles and they were all terrible, ha. Monday was another light day (we are doing it one day with more work, one day back off, much like what I was doing with my leg rehab until it got fucked up again). He was quite nice on Monday! Edgy and spooky, but his canter (only 1 circle) was quite lovely and his trot did get smoother, though I did feel resistance at first and it wasn’t amazing- just better.

And the weather, well I guess I can’t complain THAT much but can we get some spring weather?? Soon? Anytime? It feels like Feb. every single day. Some rain, but otherwise quite a dry March- just cold, unseasonably cold. Struggling to get to 10 deg, lows of 1 or -1 every night. What gives??? I have gone back to wearing my winter coats, because I have been so cold.

I guess the Year of my Discontent will just continue??? Or something? Good things are happening, just not very quickly and not very much good I guess.

At this point, food has been my only friend and companion!!

No lessons, just rides

The trainer I ride with for Faith’s lessons was not feeling well, so Faith and I just did a hack day. Did I think I’d be able to take it easy, seeing as how it wasn’t a lesson? Ha, that showed me! We worked quite hard on transitions. Up, down, walk-trot, trot-canter, walk-canter, canter-walk (ok this one was rough) and so on and so-forth.

Miss this more than you can ever imagine.

We ended by doing a cooldown walk with her bending both left and right, and trying to find that ‘release’ in the walk. It’s tough, her bending is still very much an issue but her transitions- particularly upward- were getting really good! Go Faith!

And then I had rehab time with old Oaty. He was really well behaved, so I think the key to his outbursts/spookiness/seeing things in the mirrors was chiefly due to him being bored out of his numbskull, haha. Add in a little canter, some walk poles, and gasp- I even added 1 pole on our trot path so he could trot it yesterday too- and he is a new man again! πŸ™‚

I guess they all need variety, and more hard work! He does get tired after his canter, but he had plenty of zip yesterday which was nice. Good boy Oats! We enter week 3 starting after our ride tomorrow. Finished with Week 2. Phew!!