Horse goals: Go get it

Had actually very few rides last week (rode Tuesday and Thursday) took Monday/Wed/Fri off because I wasn’t feeling well on Monday (exhaustion is a thing??) and had a physiotherapy appt Wednesday after work for my back, and had a work thing Fri night that ended up kind of not happening…

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But in the end, I felt like riding fewer days worked well for Oats and myself? He had more time off, and I had time to recover from the busy horse show weekend. Win-win! It’s hard to convince my brain of this though. My busy brain likes to remind me that I need to keep going, keep grinding, keep working. But I don’t have to listen to it.

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In fact, my jump lesson on Thursday was far from perfect. So far. Ha. But it was pretty fun and by the end I was saying Oats needs to have the jumps up higher because he’s not respecting them! One jump he was just cantering over and I was like wha, where is the jump?? Pfft.

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But my dressage lesson on Saturday was really good! He felt pretty nice, very cooperative and I felt much less tense than I have been. Even the awkward moments (breaking stride, trying to drag me out of a circle, some swapping, it was like hey, ok you can just sit and be ok with this awkwardness. Just sit with it for a moment, instead of reacting, or scrambling, or whatever.) And you know what? It went just fine! 

A lesson to me- sometimes you don’t have to react, do, be, whatever. You just have to maintain and be ok with whatever is happening.

So I think my goals for the summer are:

  • Ride a 2’6” course at home – ideally comfortably. Maybe try for a 2’9” fence in a grid? I’m not going to push this too much. Feeling good and not stressed about it is key.
  • Ride a competent first level test- I don’t much care about the scoring, but I do want it to feel more cohesive, round through the back, less struggle. I will know it when I feel it. Be present in my body doing it.
  • Show at 2’3” comfortably- maybe a course at 2’6” if I am feeling confident and good about it. I’m not pushing this goal too hard- I want to feel present, confident and comfortable.
  • Practice what I preach- less tension, less stress. Ride a 5-day week, and then ride a 4-day week. Let things go with Oats, let him have more time off.
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No one wants it to happen to you

Ah, this week has not started well. Actually, the down slope started this weekend when my car started it’s twice-yearly breaking down/stutter process. By Saturday it was full on busted- hard to drive, hard to get going again from stop lights and scaring the shit out of me! UGH not AGAIN.

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Mr. Oats has a doppelganger! Meet the new pony Daisy.

I had a lesson with Oats on Saturday and I was in a miserable mood, worried and kind of freaking out about how I was going to drive home with my car like this… Anyways the lesson was challenging and kind of awkward and frustrating. Like how my life is right now, ha. Mirroring much? I didn’t love it but I guess that’s just where we are right now–facing challenges.

I was complaining about my car on Friday night at my friend’s birthday (Bin 4 Burgers- love it!!) and my horse friend and her husband CAME TO MY HOUSE after riding on Saturday to help me fix it. WOW!!! Faith in humanity= restored. They did me the hugest favour, I couldn’t have even asked someone to go above and beyond like that. 🙂 A silver lining in all of this car-related misery.

Sunday my friend and I were going to go to take the horses to the beach, but the weather went to shit and it was raining, cold and lousy. Instead we rode together, and her husband picked up the part for my car I ordered that morning, and he fixed it. And it ran again!!! Hallelujah!! I also rode her horse Donato and it was just hilarious. He is so huge!

Monday brought some more bad news, some bad things happening to those close to me. It made me feel very sad and overwhelmed. I had an equine counseling session that night, because last week I could just *feel* that there was something left that needed to be brought up. I had a great week last week but had this constant, nagging ‘sense’ that I was fragile, vulnerable, ready to cry – like a turtle missing their shell, you know?

So we had the session, and we brought it up to process- and it wasn’t pretty but it needed to be done. I’m processing something bigger that is affecting me, and it has to happen.

Tuesday I was in a better mood and felt less vulnerable and less prone to crying. More level-headed, if I might say so. Though I was just exhausted. Running felt like I was running through sand. So tired. My ride on Oats was great though, fun and pretty easy, laid-back. So tired.

And today? Still on the tired side but not as bad as yesterday. No riding, Oats and I get the day off!

 

 

Back on track and back to the grind.

Christmas holidays came and went and I was blissfully away for TWO whole weeks of it!! It was very worth it, and I had a great holiday. Highlights include…

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Barn Christmas party featuring the best Secret Santa ever!!

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Taking the horses up island to Hi Point to take part in the Christmas by donation Jump Day for Cowichan Therapy horses, and the Hoof ‘n’ Woof that I had a BLAST at!

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Going to Ucluelet for a little downtime with my husband and dog, and we enjoyed a cool wood cabin, wood-fired pizza, wine, a hike and some running trails.

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A massage at Bear Mountain’s Sante Spa. Worth it!!

A movie- we had free tickets to go see Molly’s Game. Recommend, even if it was a bit long for my liking. All movies are though, ha.

Christmas eve at my in-laws farm in Cobble Hill featuring- SNOW! That’s right, a white Christmas on the island. We never get that!

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Christmas day party at my parents, where I was the designated driver- went well, better than I thought it would actually.

Jump lesson with Oats- pretty fun!

Dressage lesson with Oats- toughhhh workout!

Working equitation- ease of handling- clinic with Oats. We had a great time and Oats was really good at it! I want to do more of this!! Everyone was really interested in the Working Equitation after we posted a video of it to my Facebook.

Hiking at East Sooke Park- New Years day, and a fun activity to do with the husband and dog.

Seafood for New Years Eve- a classic!!

And I loved all of my presents, I got some great ones even if my husband went wayy overboard on my gifts this year (Blundstone Boots, cool horsey socks, Back On Track knee brace, winter gloves, a neat book) I got everything I could have possibly wanted. I even have my SAD lamp plugged in at work now.

 

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.

 

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!!!