Frozen, freezing, froze

UGH. Mostly just a rant about how terrible the weather was this weekend, AND last night. FREEZING.

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Last week.

I don’t really want to ride, or run, at all in the deep-freeze. Plus we live on the island and it’s never supposed to get this cold?!! What gives. I rode grudgingly on Saturday and it was pretty miserable. Oats was good but I was just…stiff and cold. Went for a run on Saturday after riding and almost died. It was HORRIBLE. I was almost crying it was so miserable. Freezing, rain, toes frozen, face windburned and chapped…UGH.

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Practically this week. wow. 

Sunday was marginally better and I had a fun ride where I got to jump some small jumps with a ground crew (my friend Sarah’s friend Christi was visiting and set for us very nicely) and then she rode Sarah’s horse too! A fun day all around. And I wasn’t bitterly frozen.

I then hoofed it to some hills and ran a decent hill loop (and then wondered why my legs feel so tired today…) and called it quits on exercise. Husband and I ended the evening with a footbath each, with foot soak and peppermint foot lotion. Ha, the things that make you happy in the winter.

Monday I had an equine counselling session, and I rode briefly beforehand. It was FREEZING. I caught my breath going down to the indoor it was so awful. My eyes were watering just walking around. Terrible. I toughed it out for a bit, but just couldn’t warm up. Probably the coldest night I have felt of all the deep freeze nights last week. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

And today? Ran to work and it was pleasantly chilly but I was overdressed (afraid of freezing like Saturday/yesterday) and had to take my hat off I was sweating so much. Harumph.

Tuesday dressage, and no Thur jump lesson this week.

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All is too much: Weekend recap

Funny, for a not-busy weekend it sure ended up being busy!

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The weather was horrendous for most of the weekend. Winds of up to 90km/hr at my house, sideways rain, just so shitty. I went for a run in the AM on Saturday and after 2km of getting blasted backwards and sideways, I gave up after something hit my ear and hurt! I ran more interior routes and then headed home.

Friday we were lucky enough to do some fun Halloween-y activities, like pumpkin carving and making candy apples- the candy apples didn’t quite turn out like I thought (the candy slides off them and puddles on the tray…) Wouldn’t make it again but nice to try once.

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We were going to do the big corn maze on Saturday after riding, but the weather was so awful that I ran horse errands instead (hay nets, grain, MSM for Oats). We are rescheduling for next Saturday as the weather has improved significantly this week. Oats was fun to ride on Saturday, can’t even really remember what we were working on (transitions? Probably transitions. It’s always transitions now.). Saturday night was board game night at the Board Game Cafe with the barn girls. Always a great time! 🙂

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Sunday Ian helped me move jumps at the barn, a quick ride for Oats focusing on straightness at the canter with ‘small’ canter and ‘big’ canter, and going across the diagonal STRAIGHT (again, a big weakness). We were then off to Cobble Hill to Mile End Farm for his birthday lunch with his parents and a hike and a hot tub.

A nice end to a nice weekend. Couldn’t ask for more.

Things happen. That’s all they ever do.

Enjoying this song by Dawes recently.

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Oats, looking as impressive as always.

It feels lately like all I am doing is ranting about the weather (terrible), work (more terrible) and just feeling draggy, grouchy, griping, unhappy, burned out, fried, stressed, sleepless, exhausted, etc etc etc.

I’m happy to report that today, unlike every single day this week, the sun is shining, it is slightly warmer out, and I do not feel completely fried, though it is a Friday and those days are notoriously nightmarish at work, sooooo yeah. But hey, I’ll take it right now.

Last night though was a different story, ha. I walked home in the longest, bitterest, saddest walk ever. It was FREEZING, rain/frozen rain/hail/snow and blasting wind. It was quite epic in a really bad way. I was soaked, even with an umbrella, and had to take my dog out, and then get dressed and go ride in my Thursday jump lesson.

To say I wasn’t really feeling it is the understatement of the century, ha.

But, I did.

…And I didn’t regret it. I never do.

We had a fine warmup, it was a long warmup b/c I was FROZEN. I needed to warm up longer than Oats, who was feeling pretty fine. We worked over a really crazy exercise- two outside lines, and then a gymnastic in the middle of the ring.

It was pretty nuts! Small jumps-only x-rails, and we really enjoyed it. I was able to really ‘ride’ my ride. Sit tall, make decisions, ride forward, and go with it!

We’d jump the first outside line, and the slice the three fences on a diagonal- then jump the next outside line, and slice the fences on the diagonal going the other way. Then over small flowerboxes as skinnies (we failed at this EVERY TIME. Oats deked out, hahahhahah) and the over the gymnastic in the middle.

I like it! A good challenge, even if I was a grumpy Gus about the entire day.

Really enjoying the creativity. Go pony go! Loving what my trainer has for me each lesson.

Can’t get enough of myself

Dressage semi-private on Tuesday, and my willpower/enthusiasm was greatly waning. I had a really bad stomach ache with stabbing pains at work, and it didn’t go away all night. I just wasn’t feeling great, at all.

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Also, Oats’ friend moved away on Tuesday. I bet he misses him!

It got cold here again, after a blissful period of 9-10 degrees it plummeted back down to -1 or so. GOD.

Despite my stomach trouble, I was able to mostly ride it out. I only lurched sickeningly a few times at the canter and our ride was actually pretty good though- Oats was amenable to most of my suggestions, and we worked on transitions: walk/quick steps/trot/medium trot/canter. All while asking the horses to ‘stretch’ and reach down while still engaging their back. We did get some nice steps in the trot/quick steps, but in the canter it mostly turned into Oats flying around with his head down instead of being, well, engaged.

Oh well, at least he was trying! His attitude has been quite good about dressage so maybe we have turned a corner with less hissy-fits in our future. One can hope!

As I rode Oats 4 x days in a row, I took yesterday off and went for a jog instead. I am glad I did it, but my face was frozen after and it kiiiind of felt like a mistake, as it was BLASTING wind and absolutely freezing. My legs felt like blocks of concrete. My foot started hurting again (oh joy) and I was kind of feeling grouchy about how slowly I am running right now.

I do not have high hopes or expectations for my upcoming race- the weather is supposed to be incredibly shitty AGAIN (every race this season has had just terrible weather) freezing, raining/snowing. Lovely.

And in case you can’t remember, here is a recap of what the weather was like at each race:

  • Prairie Inn Harriers 8k: Freezing cold, with a blizzard starting once the race ended
  • MEC Rust Buster 10k: Freezing, about 0 deg the entire race.
  • Cobble Hill 10k: Cold, pouring rain the entire race.
  • Sooke 10k: My prediction? Everything at once! Freezing cold, rain mixed with snow, wind? We shall see 🙂

And to top it off, I burned my hand last night, and jacked up my wrist somehow (still not sure how?). Add that to my ever-present chronic and horrible allergies, and my bum foot, and I feel like a falling-apart robot right now! At least I am sleeping pretty well?? Love that.

Jump lesson tonight, and I hope it’s not completely freezing. Though, it will be.

A good ride and a not-so-good ride

Had my jump lesson on Wednesday and Oats and I were fresh and ready to go! I had taken Tuesday off to attend the lousy Hudson’s Bay event with my mom.

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He was jumping better than this over the skinny!

I think that day off really lets Oats shine- I was SO pleased with his attitude jumping, and it just felt so smooth and perfect. How often do I get to say that? Haha. We worked on a bounce gymnastic, canter-in slightly collected. It scaled up to three bounce jumps (tiny), to a 1-stride jump. We then worked in the gymnastic, to a small course that included a single box ‘skinny’ fence. I was a bit concerned about the box- no wings, no guide rails…What was the likelihood of a run-out??

We started the course and he was bang on! It was great. We then approached the skinny box and Oats did have a good firm look at it, and up and over, perfectly. Wow! I was caught up celebrating and forgot to ride my last fence in the course- oops, haha.

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Last year- a very eager Oats.

Time for a second go-around: And it rode just as perfectly as the first. How often do I get that? How about never, hahah. I was so pleased with Oats, a fairly technical gymnastic, he was working hard and huffing and puffing, but he was focused, rhythmic and never wavered. Good boy Oats, I love your efforts.

My trainer said she could tell how good our rhythm was due to Oats’ snorting- he was snorting so rhythmically it was funny- “snort, snort snort- jump- snort snort snort snort-jump,” haha.

But I have to say, I was thrilled with how smooth and focused it felt.

And then there was yesterday…Ugh. I got on and Oats felt weird. We walked for a long time, because he just felt ‘lateral’ and not forward. I went up to trot, and then canter, and his canter sucked. He was short striding, and backed way off my leg. He was soooo stiff. Ahh, poor Oats.

Clearly the work the night before, probably combined with standing around all day in the rain doing nothing= stiff as anything pony. Probably a bit sore too. So, I went down to more walk, some trot and just did some light bending, serpentines, circles and called it a day.

He is getting today off, and I hope he moves around a little more- I hate when he is feeling this way.

Free to be me!

I had my dressage lesson on Tuesday and my legs were still kind of killing me (see Halloween half-marathon and my apparent lack of fitness…). I was SO tempted to cancel the lesson, just take it easy again.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Did I? Nope! I am proud of myself for committing, even when I was tired, my legs still hurt, I was having a lot of trouble with stairs- going down them was not easy until yesterday- but I did it. Oh and it was absolutely pouring cats and dogs. Yeeeesh.

It was a good, thorough and challenging lesson.

Things Oats is allowed to do now: Express himself appropriately. His major hissy-fits of yesteryear are no longer, apparently, and now he is okay to say ‘THIS IS HARD!!’ and then…move on and accept it.

Phew!!

We worked on lateral work at the trot, and he had a few ‘moments’ but funny enough Karen really liked when he was haughty with a little more attitude, because his trot suddenly became very ‘prancy’ and bouncy, instead of flat and draggy like usual. So, we could use it! Ha, take that, pony 🙂

After some fairly extensive lateral work, we brought in transitions- walk/trot in shoulder-in, and haunches in. This was tough, I’m not going to say it was easy. But, it was good work, and I was very pleased with the solid effort-not without minor drama- from Oats.

Then we moved on to holding a nice mid-level neck with a lot of bend inwards, from a slow trot to a canter, holding the bend. Easier said than done…We struggled with that more. I had a hard time keeping the bend, not letting Oats throw his head up and out, and keeping the canter with the bend. Ah, things…

We finished the lesson by working on ‘spins’ sort of. Getting Oats to disengage his hindquarters and let me ‘spin’ him, instead of bracing against me. It wasn’t 100% successful, but I could feel a real change from the left spin to the right. A very interesting technique, and not something I am used to doing.

Bonus- all that work let me forget how tired and achy my legs were!

A good pony.

 

Weekend update: Storm of the century?

All last week, we had pretty dire warnings about how bad the storms were going to be. 100km/hour wind, torrential rain, the tail end of a typhoon, wow it was going to be something! 

Newsflash: it wasn’t.

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This is where I live…

It got super windy in the afternoon on Saturday, big gusts, and it rained heavily for about an hour and that was it. Kind of a letdown eh? Friday the storm was apparently gearing up, so I put on my running gear and ran along the breakwater to check things out. It was pretty wild, and felt totally exhilarating, until I had to turn around and run back. It was sooooo terrible- rain pelting my eyeballs, felt like nails being driven into my eyes, rain pounding into my ears so hard I got an earache! Wow, not doing that one again!

Saturday I rode Oats in the morning and it was so busy- the arena was packed! A lesson, and two of us hacking. Sigh…Oh well, Saturdays are a good lesson time so no wonder it was busy.

Saturday night I was at a birthday part for a friend, and had a fabulous time. They rented out a restaurant and we all paid $15/person, and got all the appetizers we could eat! I had a few ciders as well.

Sunday I was out at the barn, and determined to do some lateral work on Oats (it’s like homework, I never do it and kind of hate it, but it is good for you!) I had planned on doing that work on Saturday but busy arena =/= opportunities for lateral work at all. So I had the arena to myself on Sunday, yesss!

Except there was also a jump set up, and some good poles, and I also wanted to keep working on my eye….

So I ended up doing a bunch of pole work, hopped over the small jump, and then worked on lateral work. It was kind of a bust so I focused on straightness and an engaged trot instead. We were both sweating like crazy after! A tough workout for ol’ Oats and he needs to be clipped in the WORST way.

After riding, I let Oats graze for a bit in the longe ring, while I…gag…cleaned the rat crap out of my locker. I was gagging while I did it, there was SO MUCH OF IT. Oh my god, so gross. So disgusting. I feel all shivery and grossed out just thinking about it. Yuck. I brought bathroom spray and my rubber gloves and just..man.

My locker has turned into effing RAT CENTRAL. Oh..no. So nasty. I got home, ripped off all my clothes at the front door and put them straight into the washing machine and went to my bedroom in my underwear–everything was contaminated. YUCK!