What am I becoming?

Ah, I last left this blog on a Thursday and haven’t blogged in…Over a week.

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Sometimes the evacuees are bunnies!

Why? Not vacation, I can tell you!

I was deployed on the Friday to help with emergency communications in Prince George, a service I volunteered for from work. I received the call at 11am on Friday, and was on a 2:45pm flight to PG. (Sort of, it turned into a big debacle and we flew to PG, couldn’t land, flew back to Vancouver, caught the next flight back to PG, and ended up there at 10pm).

We worked until 1am that night. Hitting the ground running in a way, eh?

It was a challenging, life-changing and good experience. But it was exhausting, emotionally difficult, and a ton of work.

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At least I had the chance to have some great times with friends when I got back!

I got back home on Friday, and had great expectations for going riding when I got home. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I crawled into bed, feeling like I got hit with a ton of bricks. So exhausted. I didn’t get up until 4pm?! Riding happened on Saturday instead. Ha.

Oats…isn’t being super great. He’s pretty fine most times, and then other times has this massive demon-spook that is just INSANE. He has also been spooking at things that don’t normally bother him, like birds, squirrels, etc.??? He had a few big freakouts in the field, which is typically his happy place? He spooked so hard and flew backwards so violently that I pulled a muscle in my hip trying to stay on (I did..). Jesus.

At least I had a fairly decent dressage lesson last night, but it started off rough and I was in an absolutely terrible mood. I wanted to cry for most of it, until it smoothed out and he relaxed and gave up the resistance.

I am having an increasingly hard time breathing while I am running- so much so that I am struggling to breathe running a shorter distance (5k)?? It makes me feel panicky and trapped, like I am stuck in my own body and it’s betraying me somehow. Ugh, I hate it! I’m fine normally, it’s just when I am doing my long-distance running…And I am an experienced runner, so WTF? My lungs were checked relatively recently and they were fine, more than fine actually- superhuman. So …yeah. I now have an appointment with my doctor to see if I have a heart murmur or something that is causing this newfound breathing struggle.

I don’t want to collapse.

Anndd….I came back to work to find a lot of my dear friends and longtime colleagues got let go on Monday.

Lovely.

 

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Float House Victoria: My review!

Curious about floating and immersion therapy? I did it yesterday and I’m here to tell you all about it!

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My pod!

First off, let me assuage your fears about immersion therapy (I know because I kind of had them too, but curiosity won out!)

The tank can be lit, and you choose to be in absolute darkness or not- the buttons are big and easy to press if you want lights back on. The darkness is absolute, meaning you won’t really know if your eyes are open or closed! The tank is easy to climb out of and you won’t get trapped in it. It’s total privacy- each tank has its own room with a shower. They start the session with light music, and then usher you out with ‘wake up’ music and the light gradually changes.

The sessions are 90 minutes long, and if you’re anything like me, that seemed like a LOOONG time to be stewing in a salt pod with your own poisonous thoughts marinating your brain. But…I’m also here to tell you that as someone that has a difficult time with ‘stillness’, it’s totally cool and you will fidget and move a bit, but then you’ll just…settle and won’t even think about anything. Trust me. I have many hamster-treadmill bad thoughts running my brain daily (also known as ‘life’) but in the tank? Absolutely nothing.

Also- they warn you a few times not to make too many ripples in the water because splashing your face & eyes STINGS like a motherfucker and of course I did that immediately. Ouch. And you shower before you get in the tank to remove makeup, lotion and shampoo, and then shower afterwards to clean salt out of your hair & body. I would recommend ear plugs-that they provide- because I still feel like I have salt water sloshing in my ears, and I did use a neck support floaty, because my head had a hard time dealing with floating on my puny stalk of a neck.

I even sort of fell asleep- as someone with stress related insomnia that is a very unusual thing for me! It also didn’t really feel like sleep? It felt more like my brain was allowed to go quiet. I did love the suspended-in-air feeling too, it’s so neat. The 90 minutes goes SO fast- I know what you’re thinking but it’s true, it goes amazingly fast and I’m generally an impatient person but wow…time’s up already? Getting up and hatching myself out of the pod and into the world felt like a cruel joke- so many noises and lights.

I would recommend you try a session in a float tank. It’s pricey (mine was a gift, it is around $75/session) but the gift of stillness for a busy mind is SO valuable.

You didn’t come this far to only come this far

Hmmm words to live by?

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Go Oats go! Love a keen, uphill canter.

A rough night last night with my dear doggy scratching herself silly…She definitely has fleas right now. GAH. Time to get on treating her! It kept me up.all.night. Bad for her, bad for me.

After an exceedingly grouchy morning, I’m ready to digest on my ride last night- I wanted to keep it fairly relaxing, as we had a challenging dressage lesson the day before. I had cancelled my jump lesson last night (there are five Wednesdays in Nov., and I only wanted to pay for four lessons because I am basically hemorrhaging money on horses every day…).

And it felt like the right decision, you know? He was fun to ride last night, and I worked on a few small items, lightly. We did some distance work on poles, and borrowing briefly from my jump lesson last week, when we did collected canter raised-pole work, I collected his canter in to one pole, and let it play out for the next.

I really liked how he approached the pole with the collected canter, though it was difficult to get/keep that canter. He popped up, and round, rather than big and flat as per his usual canter.

Now, to work this engaged canter into our normal jump routine…Hmmm….

Oh and the weather was god-awful- sooo glad we have our indoor arena! It was pouring rain, and freezing cold. BRrr….Our rainy but mild November is officially over.

Goofing around

Coming back from travelling in Brazil, then moving, and now…I just don’t feel that motivated when I ride. Sure, I love my lessons and I am having a blast, but that spark to get out and go to horse shows? Not there right now.

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So, the field to the left? Yes we jumped up and down from it!

Part of me struggles with this, but the other part is like, whoa whoa whoa…You went traveling, you bought a new house and moved into it, things are busy and it is a season of change. Sit tight, and that desire will come creeping back as it always does.

I am noticing it in my riding too. On Saturday I schooled Oats in the ring and he felt BLAH. Just so..ugh. Looky, silly, resistant, annoying…no thanks. Sunday, I went to school in the ring and saw my friend had removed the planks that separate the big x-c field where they turn horses out from the riding arena (these are made to be removed, it’s really neat actually.) I kept an eye out on the horses to make sure they didn’t decide to suddenly gallop into the riding arena, and she practiced jumping up and down from the arena to the field, and back again.

It looked really fun!

So I had to try it too! I asked my friend for a lead, but you know what? Good old Oats was like, nah I got this. He ambled up from a trot over the bank with NO drama (or enthusiasm..ha) and then my friend suggested I walk down to minimize any surprises for Oats…Well, he had this one too! He slowly shuffled down the bank. Ok. Needs more energy, haha.

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My hands probably looked exactly like this.

Eventually we worked up to cantering up the bank, cantering around, and then trotting down the bank- Oats was a VERY good pony and did it all with no silly behaviour, and no drama.

I rode the down part with my hands too high, oops, I was surprised haha. It has been like, ages since I did anything like that!

And then, because I was having too much fun goofing off, I left the ring and went to finish my ride in the big field up top. I couldn’t face schooling after having so much fun goofing around with a bank, ahha.

And that, friend, was a good and fun ride. I need to let the anxious, ‘must be competitive’ part of me go sometimes…I ride for fun, and I ride to enjoy myself and my horse. That’s what it’s all about. Plus, the weather is fantastic right now, yessssssss!!!

Victoria Day long weekend in Port Renfrew!

And now for something entirely different- we went camping in Port Renfrew for Victoria Day. I desperately needed to get away from my personal horse drama (that continued the week after, no thank you rotten Oats), and what better place to reconnect than the quietness of Port Renfrew.

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Ripe salmonberries

Unfortunately, everyone else on the entire island had the same idea. Port Renfrew is a hidden gem no longer. It was very busy on the campsite at Pacheedat, and we practically had a party/disco going on full blast around a km up the beach. I’m NOT kidding- it was nuts! They had generators powering huge speakers on stands, disco lights, about 50 tents in the area, and more than 100 people.

Sheeeeeesh.

Well, we tried hard not to let that ruin our weekend away. We had a good campfire going, and it was just me, my husband and our dog. A nice time. We even picked salmon berries and those were ripe already and totally awesome, if you can believe it. We roasted weenies, drank beers and just had a nice time.

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Camp-style

Do I kind of wish we’d done more? Maybe. But I was kind of fried and burned out, so it came at a great time. The next day we checked out Botanical Beach, got stuck on some rocks that led to us clambering around on them for wayyy too long (ha) and then wrapped up the day by grabbing burgers in Lake Cowichan.

A good long weekend and well-deserved break from reality.

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Dog-eye view of the campsite

Being appreciative

Rode Oats a lot this past week/weekend (Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun/Tues) and while I can’t even really remember how my rides went, with the exception of a fun jump lesson and some small jumps/polework on Saturday, I remember one thing:

I love riding him! I feel very appreciative to have him in my life, eating $$ and all.

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Photo courtesy of Nicole G. I love it so much! Big D and his mini-me.

I saw a photo my trainer took of Oats and his buddy Donato (Big D) being reuinted in the field and it made my heart sing with joy. He was so happy! The photo was sooo cute! I don’t always have these feelings and to be honest mostly take old Oats for granted (it’s like I’m afraid to acknowledge how much of an influence he is in my life, just in case). But, I heard some tragic news this past week about one of my trainer’s horses passing suddenly with a twisted-gut colic, and wow…I would be heartbroken if that happened to Oats.

So, my rides were unremarkable but you know, unremarkable is a good thing these days. I didn’t have my lesson yesterday b/c I skip every other week now for $$$-saving purposes (HA yeah right), and I will have it next week. But, we had a very solid ride focused on circles and straightness down the quarter-line. Easier said than done!

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha.

Also, with more daylight and warmer temps, I’m wanting to actually BE at the barn more now, and my barn friends have moved back so it’s a win-win for all of us here.

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More screenshots- jumping the weird jump!

 

An Easter getaway in Cumberland

Ran out of time apparently last week to do a recap, but this past Easter we rented a small cottage ‘the Crooked Cottage’ in the mining town of Cumberland for a brief getaway. The timing couldn’t have been better- I was fried from the demands of the everyday, my legs were trashed from the half marathon, and needed some time to chillax.

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The crooked cottage.

Unfortunately it was FREEZING in Cumberland- like 5 deg and cold the whole time, but we enjoyed our stay anyways. We got there later in the afternoon and hiked around the mountain for a bit, finding some mountain bike trails that were pretty intense if you had to take a bike on them!

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Retro

My allergies also went into insane hyperdrive and I felt lousy the whole weekend…Blah! They also made me feel sick last week as well, with hot/cold chills, a sore and swollen throat and body aches. Lovely.

Regardless, I went for a jog in the Cumberland trails on Saturday morning, while my husband picked up doughnuts from the BEST bakery. We got cronuts, and jam-filled, lemon-filled, oh, everything. So hot and fresh. YUMMMM. The trails were great to jog on, the only bummer part was when I got turned around and my run went from an 8k ok run to a 10k slog! Oh well. We were also super close to the brewery (Cumberland Brewery) so we went there a lot too, haha.

The town shuts down early and doesn’t seem to open much at all- most stores were closed on Saturday and Sunday, unfortunately, so that left the bakery on Saturday and the brewery haha.

The bakery, to my ultimate sadness, was closed on Sunday (Easter Sunday). I had to console myself by sneaking onto the Easter egg hunt course by Mine site #5 and stealing an Easter egg. It had bubblegum in it though, grossssssss.

It was a nice weekend, too bad about the lousy weather and terrible allergies, but it felt good to get away, regardless.