Farewell Port Townsend

And what did we do on our last day, other than me joining the race? Well, we did a lot of hoofing around, ahha trying to get to a brewery (The Pourhouse). We finally made it AND they took a few bucks off my drink when I showed them my race bib – I had brought it just in case πŸ˜‰ and it finally worked!

SO good

I enjoyed a sour, and then a truly incredible salted watermelon-apricot sour and wowza it was so tasty, I couldn’t believe it!

We cruised around, ate ice cream, drank beer, enjoyed the sunshine again and then ate dinner at the local greasy fish’n’ chips joint, Sea Jay’s and headed out to see the drive-in movie. That’s right, they have one of the last drive-ins in Washington State! OMG it starts so LATE though, wow. We got there after 8pm, and watched Sonic the Hedgehog #2 at like… 9:30am to 11:30am. Got back to the hotel after midnight. Phew, I was exhausted haa and my legs were starting to bug me, aching a lot I guess due to sitting too much!

Luckily we didn’t have to get up too early in the morning and it’s a quick and easy sail back home.

I would definitely revisit Port Townsend! I do recommend it πŸ™‚

Working Equitation clinic with Darcy Henckel

This past weekend for a change in gears- we took part in a 2 day clinic with Darcy Henckel!

I think Oats liked her too!

She was very friendly, agreeable and horsemanship-focused, something Oats and I really appreciated. It was a very focused weekend that reviewed how we approach each obstacle, and obstacle work in general, through a relaxed, calm and horse-forward approach.

Bridge was no problem for all the horses! Photos courtesy of Stella French.

Oats was a gem but I WAS prepared lol. I rode the absolute snot out of him on Friday, after not really wanting to ride on Friday (freaking tired man) but I knew I kind of had to, to prepare him to behave for the weekend. He was pretty lazy on Friday, so I was going to call it a day, until I lost his shit spooking and spinning violently at a pony that he sees every single day, soooooo I figured he had a LOT more to give. And boy, did he! We hand galloped for 35 minutes, and he STILL had energy to do another huge spook after that. Face palm.

I swear I was trying to smile, ha.

I called it after his second spook and we cooled him out outdoors. He was so sweaty he was lathered white with sweat. Gee, thanks Oats… I gave him a calming paste the night before, and then Saturday came to the barn to longe the sillies out of him before our session in the AM. Meant a very early morning for me, but you know what? 100% worth it. He was very well behaved for both days, and I was NOT taking any chances of him being nuts or too silly.

Ok now I am trying to smile better πŸ™‚ Through the figure-eight with is more like double-D’s!

He was calm, quiet and cantered nicely in a group. He approached the obstacles with focus and attentiveness, only really losing it at the gate on the second day when he spotted some horses unloading near the entrance of the arena and wanting to look at them instead. Can’t blame him for that!

I really liked how calm, quiet and attentive the trainer was. We weren’t pushed, nobody was, for anything that was too much. A good focused day was had by all πŸ™‚ And I learned more about the obstacles- so many things to recall, ha. A lot of pitfalls you can fall into.

Taking it easy: Horse edition!

And how is old Oats? He’s doing great! We haven’t had many WE lessons- due to my race schedule and a few other scheduling conflicts, but we have been enjoying our dressage/multitasking lessons on Thursdays very much πŸ™‚

Out for a walk in the sunshine

And on Sunday I was sooooo tired from having friends over that I couldn’t stomach the idea of rigorous ride so we cruised around the block and then I met some friends for lunch (for me that means a gigantic milkshake from Politanos!) 100% a great idea. Get yourself over to Politanos and you will not regret it!!

This is the Cookie Monster. It was good!

WordPress is pretty much broken and other Xmas fun

When I last left, I had a nice time in Kelowna visiting family, despite the growing spectre of bad weather + Omicron threatening most of everyone’s Xmas holidays!

I came home (flight was only delayed for over an hour) in the evening and then by morning we were up and packed for Christmas in Royston with my in-laws! When we left it was chilly and rainy, but that would immediately change…

But first, we visited the lovely Kingfisher hotel and spa to check out their beautiful lights display with my inlaws. They live quite close to it, and it is really a gorgeous place.

We cruised around Courtenay to look at the Xmas lights and were amazed by this guy- as it turns out, this house and skeleton are owned by an acquianteance of mine’s parents. Small world!!

Then my husband generously got us visits to the Kingfisher’s Hydropath experience, which I LOVED. Soooooo nice and relaxing, it’s a very expensive but super nice things to do and wow, you leave feeling tired hahah.

But we still had Christmas! It snowed a TON up in Royston on Christmas and we also lost power at his parents house, booo. We also spent three hours shoveling. Three of us! The worlds longest driveway?? Snow sooo heavy and thick, man. At least it wasn’t super cold out, but it did make me feel excited for our next adventure- back to cross-country skiing! πŸ™‚

And on Xmas eve we visited with my friend and her sister and mom, of whom also bought houses close to my in-laws. That makes four people I know who have moved up-island…Maybe the writing is on the wall? Should I move to Cumberland, Courtenay or Comox???

We swam around in her mom’s AMAZING giant hot tub/therapy swim pool and it was sooooo cool. I loved it!

And were all limbered up for skiing the next day too! We hit the slopes in the afternoon and I rented everything online, so it was a breeze to swing up to the Alpine Centre at Mt. Washington and go for a good few hours of x-c skiing. The weather was pretty good, considering it was basically a blizzard the day before (we walked to my friends’ mom’s place, lol). A bit tricky to drive but wow, such a gorgeous day for skiing. Of course, I took Ian on the longest route possible by accident (Far East) and we had to hustle our buns to get back in time before the rentals closed and so did the trails, eek!

We did get a chance to feed the whiskeyjacks though, so cute, I just love them!

It felt nice to get out and get active for sure. The only downer part was the absolutely miserable weather we drove home in on Boxing Day. WOW it was nightmarish. Basically a blizzard with black ice most of the way back, with a special shout-out to Nanaimo for their absolute HORRENDOUS highway conditions. We got caught waiting after two minor accidents, so it was a good 5.5 hours home. At least we made it alive, jesus. It was bad.

And waiting for me at home? More snowstorms!! 😦

Man!

Sidney Spit for BC Day long weekend

The ferries were absolute NUTS this weekend, but not for us! We wisely didn’t travel. Instead we made a super nice dinner, I had a Working Equitation riding lesson on Saturday and then on Monday we went to Sidney Spit.

Lighthouse at the end of the Spit

You take a small ferry (passengers only), lots of water (none on the island) and off you go! It’s a lovely island only 30 min boat ride from Sidney and the sand….Oh man the sand. It is glorious! You can walk forever, but be aware- the tides come in very fast and then you’re wading back, which we were, ha.

On the boat

It has a forested section as well and is quite large. Part of it is a National Park and the other part is privately owned. There are campsites you can book through the feds too, which seemed tempting to me (a bit anyways). The weather was glorious not too cold (never a given here, lol even in summer!) and sunny, not too hazy or cloudy.

Busy at work

We cruised up and down the beach, relaxed on the beach for awhile while Ian built a ‘dog cage’ in the sand for Gidget, and then ate our lunch and walked through the forest paths. Incredibly, the time goes by so fast! We got the 11am ferry and then took the 4pm home, ok well straight to the barn so I could ride/medicate Oats and then home by 6:30pm. A busy and full day, but so great πŸ™‚

Finished product πŸ™‚

Camping take #2~

That’s right, I have now camped more this year than in my life, basically! Ha. We went up to Stoltz pool at Cowichan River and camped from Fri-Sunday, and luckily the weather was on our side. It was pretty warm out, so we didn’t need to wear too many warm clothes and didn’t freeze our butts off at night, phew.

Can’t complain!

Saturday I still wanted to ride and let’s face it, hanging around a campsite for an entire day/night?? NOT my thing. Plus it’s a no-service area, so no phones or internet! So we zipped down to Victoria and I got to ride, and pick up grain for Oats. A win-win πŸ™‚

Ian whittling down the sticks for my mega-marshmallows to roast!

We then had lunch (sandwiches that we made) at Spectacle Lake and it was a lovely day. Headed back to our campsite, packed up our chairs and headed to the river for some chill-out time!

Sunday it was grey and drizzly, so a good day to pick up and go I guess. Decent timing of the weather, get crappy when we’re leaving. All in all, a nice weekend to try and do something different. πŸ™‚

Wanting things isn’t enough

Had my jump lesson this weekend, and it was a good one (before my actual weekend went to hell in a handbasket, but that’s definitely tomorrow’s rant..). We worked on a very simple exercise, focusing on almost exactly the opposite of what I did in my dressage-jump lesson, hahah!

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Enjoy some blurry screenshots! I miss riding outside in the summer…SIGH. Oh and my leg definitely slipped back here, ha.Β 

I intellectually understand the value of both exercises, but still feel a bit torn about which one do I follow more closely? Can I do both? I feel like Oats is good at cruising, but he’s also… just cruising, so if you want to go anywhere, you’re kind of SOL. Whereas maintaining a more ‘showjump’ seat and ride, with those sharp turns, and flexible hands, seems to get me nailing EVERY distance. What to do?

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One jump was a decent size. Old me would have laughed at it, but new me is like, WOW it is bigger? Oats didn’t care one way or the other.Β 

I want to be soft, forgiving and flexible. I also want an active, energetic seat that nails every single distance. How do I get both?

Oh and my ride on Sunday should have gone better but I had SO much tension and it kind of sucked. Like, it was ok but I want my hands to be softer, more forgiving even if he loses his marbles in the corner? Maybe I just need constant trainer supervision to keep me honest?!

I do want to ride better, and I think each day I can make that my opportunity. I just need to not get sucked into his drama (OH and there wasΒ drama this weekend arghh).

Until tomorrow goes away

And another dressage lesson in the books, and man, I am getting blown away by how soft, forgiving and good Oats and I can be! It’s an excellent revelation πŸ™‚ I want to be that rider, who has a horse with a soft mouth, who has forgiving hands…And we are getting it! Now I wish I had it years ago, but to be honest, I don’t think I could have.

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Something more like this…Β 

This is just part of the journey I guess?

We added canter to our building blocks of progress, and while the canter does require much more ‘maintenance,’ it also felt way better than it normally does. Also, with the idea of contact as a ‘living’ thing to be constantly worked on, rather than a ‘set it and forget it,’ I am actually having toΒ ride more. It sounds funny, doesn’t it? What am I doing on a horse if not riding?

Well, the truth is I like to get statue-still and mistake that for perfection. It really isn’t. A horse is a living, breathing, flowing, reacting thing, and so am I. So, no room for turning into stone, ha. Or having a grip on my contact. Ebb and flow, take and give. And my legs need to actually be used rather than just ‘there’. It’s funny it has take me until now to ride like this, but hey- progress?!!

It is humbling but I’m really enjoying how excellent Oats feels!! Yes!

Now if only our TERRIBLE weather would freaking shake out of it. Every day is either cold, or rainy, or cold, rainy and windy. I had to go back to wearing jeans, sweaters and vests and jackets. Efff…. So much for this miserable summer.

I know what needs to be done. But why can’t I do it?

I feel extremely ambivalent about everything right now. I know some of the reasons (suffering from horrendous allergies, and now I am allergic to everything, so breathing isn’t really something I can take for granted right now. I started a new medication for endometriosis and I am hoping it freaking levels out soon, because this on top of allergies makes me feel like my body is under some sort of attack, constantly?!!).

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Course marshal

But also, just…Life ambivalent. I feel very sensitive to a lot of the bad stuff happening to my close friends and horse friends. I also am struggling with change, and trying to embrace it as a net positive, but…yeah. I also got approached to change my lesson times to the weekend, and at this point, it’s feeling like a hard no. I like having my weekends free, and my day-to-day is intensely scheduled, so having a free day is just…Mine. You get it? Add in the layers of feeling guilty about not being flexible, on top of my trainer’s father DYING last week, and just..UGh. Can I crawl out of my skin for a month or so, let me get some breathing room?

My counselor says I need a break. Like, a month break.

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Surveying the courseΒ 

I know I can’t do that- my brain would probably melt or something. But at the heart of it, she’s right- I need some space, some time. For it (riding) to be easy, non competitive, non training. I feel like I have lost a bit of the ‘why’ and the drive, to be honest.

Even when I think about competing, and there are so many fun looking events?! But I just feel…Blahhhhh about it right now. So blah. Maybe it’s my allergies talking, but yeah. I can’t get excited, I don’t want to move lesson, I just don’t want to do anything!!

Oats has been good, though our lesson on Friday was outright bad. He bucked, he was pissy, he was angry and tearing around like a deranged llama. Greeeat.. My trainer is newish to us, and said she had never seen him like that before?! Ha. Yeah it has been awhile!

He was fine this weekend though, and my husband and I went up to volunteer at Bear Mountain’s XC Pan Am cup challenge, and it was very neat! A quick ride after, and then I had my friends over for a really fun dinner – fondue!

So like things are fine, but I’m just not feeling it.Β  At all.

I luv the valley, oh!

Finally I had a fun weekend!! After the hassle, stress, drama and fear of last weekend I had one that I truly deserved. It was an extremely challenging week- health issues, a snow storm with ice, plunging temperatures, family drama, and oh, we can’t forget work, now can we?

And then I drifted happily into a lovely weekend, I am happy to say! I had a ride on Friday night (it was FREEZING), and then a lesson on Saturday morning (went well! funny enough we were working on ‘wide hands’ because I was bracing my chicken-wing elbows against his neck, and my shoulders hurt the next day!), and then shopping and dinner at Fiamo for ‘Dine Around Victoria’ celebrations.

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I bought a bunch of stuff from the GAP that is closing out downtown, and then my friend Jess and I enjoyed an excellent seafood-based menu at Fiamo. We chose the $30 menu, and had a warm ‘salad’ that was more of a soup based meal that had char-grilled

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Seafood antipasti platter

squid, kale, feta and olives in broth, and a seafood antipasti consisting of grilled octopus, salmon, tuna tataki and vegetables. It was delicious! I had a glass of prosecco, and for dessert we had the chocolate ‘salami’ which was unusual but very tasty.

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Dessert: Chocolate salami

The next day I got up and went for a quick jog, because it was time for Sea Cider’s annual Wassail event! They did not have it last year, but I’m glad they brought it back for this year. The ticket prices did go up- $3, from $2, but you don’t pay for entrance fees (which are a TOTAL MONEY GRAB and I HATE THEM). So, it’s a win!

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Raise a glass!

We enjoyed a new cider- the Cherry!! I loved it! And the food was excellent. I had the chicken/cashew curry, the cornmeal-spiced apple cake/muffin thing with whipped cream topping, and the maple bread pudding with whip cream. Delicious! A great day with good company.

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Cornmeal muffin things. Good!

I then rode Oats, and headed home (at like 4:30. Whoops long day!).

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Sausage rolls- I didn’t try these but I heard they were good!

And best of all- good times with good friends, and the weather improved! It was like close to 10 deg yesterday! We’re back, baby!