Your Best American Girl

So, yeah. What happened was…

20840949_10100829903389976_6490251507703239620_n

  • I got deployed to assist with wildfire emergency communications in Prince George again. So, two weeks out of my summer were up there.
  • When I got home, I was immediately on vacation, that started horribly and tragically. It wasn’t good.
  • Got back from vacation, and still had some time off, so I mourned Buster, rode Oats, rode in a lesson, prepared for a dressage show on Saturday, and rode in a polo ‘slow chukka’
  • And now I am back at work, with a dressage lesson tonight, a successful dressage show in the books, and a polo night tomorrow, with jumping on Thursday.

20800251_10100829903409936_5363191994037858463_n

The show went super well, it was just a scored ‘ride a test’ where you ride the test, the judge comes out to run you through some exercises based on what she saw during the test, and then you had an opportunity to try the test again, maybe improve on what you worked on.

I did Training 2 & 3, and this time I finally had the correct Training 3 test (unlike last time, where I was kind of a disorganized mess…) and things went SO well. Oats was a tad spooky in the beginning but it was easily worked through and he gave me some really quality and consistent work.

20729444_10100829903370016_2866308465176649253_n

And our tests were scored fairly, the judge was so nice and very complimentary. She said we should be doing First Level, so I am going to talk to my dressage trainer tonight to see what she says. I was immensely flattered! Just to think, Oats and I getting these kind comments!

I’ve really been basking in kind judge comments. Our first dressage show of the season, the judge even wanted to know what kind of pony Oats was! 🙂

For a girl that prefers jumping, I am starting to wonder if I should be taking dressage a little more seriously or what these days? I am seeing some real progress with Oats in it.

Advertisements

What am I becoming?

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

19959134_10100812003895706_2599429745342352619_n

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.

20024171_10103525625440731_1203069291723835050_o

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.

 

What are you doing with your whole life? How about forever?

Oh man, this winter is just dragging for me. In excruciating detail: the wind is insane, it’s been unseasonably COLD for about six weeks now?! It’s dark. Work is insane. I miss my friend who moved away. My family is…a work in progress…shall we say?

waves-lash-dallas-road-seawall-near-ogden-point-on-friday-afternoon-photo

This is about the third time I have used this photo to illustrate how awful the wind has been. I was scared for my life!

Needless to say, I’m so over it. I have been struggling over the past oh six weeks or so with feelings of intense unhappiness. It isn’t really every day, but it’s been frequent enough to make me seriously wonder- why can’t I find joy in things I love? In the everyday? Is is seasonal affective disorder?

I have been taking vitamin D, and making sure to get outside, but still…It’s honestly super difficult.

Anyways, that whine preamble was to start my ride week in a nutshell:

Fell off Oats on Sunday after my race when he spooked lightly at something.

15492565_1037279729716968_1957635225815813949_n

At least Oats has his best horse friend to play with every day!

Tried riding Tuesday because I was too stiff and sore Monday to ride. There was a windstorm on Tuesday with wind gusting up to 90km/hr. It was TERRIFYING. Thank god I was on Oats,  who allows me to do the dumbest things with him. I wouldn’t trust any other horse. Still, I was scared out of my mind and ended up riding for 15 very tense minutes and I jumped off and thanked god I was still alive. NOT doing that again. Just terrifying, 100% alone in the pitch black with hurricane winds. Nope…

Wed: Actually a good jump lesson. I was in a bad mood all week, and so wasn’t expecting greatness or anything. I thought Oats was going to feel stiff but he was moving out quite nicely! We worked on a gymnastic- my nemesis- to a small course with a skinny on a circle, and another skinny on a straight approach. Oats was a very good boy, and I quite enjoyed my ride!

Today: Planning on riding. It is -5 and feels like -9. To give context, it’s usually around 8 deg Celsius and rainy here in the winter. I am so sick of it.

Hold on, hold on

So…After my exciting, energy draining weekend I was looking forward to settling down and working on some good stuff (like, not falling off jumping is a big one that I am apparently incapable of doing right now…).

And I had a great ride on Tuesday- no lesson, just cruising around in the field. Oats felt great, I was chill, everything was nice. I had some high hopes for my lesson on Wednesday, looking forward to it and feeling like generally, everything is pretty fine. I spent the day loving photos of Oats from the Derby and feeling pretty much on top of the world!

Except I wasn’t.

I came into my lesson not feeling angsty, or strange or stressed or anything…And then it became immediately clear that this was NOT my day, or Oats’. He started off spooky, looking at everything and ‘startling’ constantly. I don’t do well when he is like this- it sets me off in a really BIG way- and I started having trouble managing the situation. We warmed up okay nevertheless, and he kept startling and being spooky and looky. Sadly, this only got worse as we continued on…

It started pissing me off, more and more. We went to work over trot poles to eventually build a gymnastic (not something new in our world, pretty ho-hum) and Oats COULD NOT GET HIS SHIT TOGETHER. He trotted, fumbled, tripped, stumbled, fell and just fucked around, adding in some startles that literally set my teeth on edge.

I couldn’t manage. Like, I was riding and shouting ”I HATE this horse.” UGh.

Normally, when he’s like this, we can deal and get through it. But this time? Oh, no.

We slowly worked our way to a small x- rail to another x-rail, and Oats bizarrely managed to trip on the last pole, catch it hard between his hind hoofies, almost fall and sting himself so badly with this weirdness that he was limping?!!!!

I was ready to jump off- I was worried he’d really hurt himself! But Nicole convinced me to keep walking him out and eventually he worked out of it. He was just surprised. Still, wow, WTF is going on with me/my horse? I just was crying in disbelief.

So, back to the drawing board.

He trotted out okay, and then we went back to poles. Poles are ok. Then, the small x-rail…That was ok too. Then add in another x-rail, to a small vertical. The wheels immediately fell off again- Oats stumbled, tripped into the vertical, and my whole arm went through the reins. EFFFFF!!

I lost my shit. I yanked him up,  and burst into tears.

I was in the middle of probably the biggest horse-related meltdown I’ve had since…Oh, maybe a really bad dressage lesson last year, when I got off and cried?

Weird, so weird. I just couldn’t cope, or manage the situation with Oats at all. I wanted to yell, shout, scream, cry and just freak out. We ended up walking, walking, walking and breathing. Oats seemed not fazed at all, but wow, I was. In a big way.

Finally, when I was able to calm down and manage my emotions, we cantered over a few small x-rails, which were totally fine and rode great. He was still looky as hell, but it was ok.

SIGHHH

I cried a bit later, telling my friend about the ride. And then when I dismounted and was walking Oats through the gate, I went to latch it and he spooked so hard he almost fell into the gate. WTF? He is not a spooky horse…So yeah, not sure what was going on with him yesterday, but whatever it was, it sucked out loud.

I give up

“It’s no use to go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

So yeah, another whiny post in a long stream of whiny posts. I am losing the plot, horse-wise, and I can’t seem to get it back.

I fell off 3 times in 7 days. The horse show was a disaster, Oats warmed up really nicely, and then immediately wouldn’t play in the ring. He was distracted and stopped repeatedly, and I fell into an oxer- making that my third fall.

13179014_1300781003284576_582948502654733175_n

A bad jumper show.

I had a lesson last night that had many opportunities for me to fall off – with Oats ungenerously slamming on the brakes repeatedly- about five times. I didn’t fall though, so I can consider that a success?

Now, my horse is a stopper. Lovely.

I’m bummed, frustrated, mad at myself and at Oats, and hurt. I don’t trust him to jump now, and I don’t trust myself.

How did this backslide happen so suddenly??? How do I get ‘me’ and Oats back?

I honestly felt like crying after my lesson. I just can’t seem to get a break. I haven’t really felt like blogging, mostly because I’m so unhappy with how things are right now. How hard do I have to work at this? I’m not jumping high, the jumps I’ve been falling off at are the lowest ones I’ve been jumping recently. So WTF?

I’m just so confused and upset.

My show schedule as of now is kaput. I don’t feel like even trying right now.

Your family loves you when you cross the finish line regardless. But they love you a little more when you win.

Saw this and kind of made me laugh- is it true? Well…Maybe in your heart of hearts, it is.

I had a weirdly challenging week. Things made me laugh and cry, on the same day. It was both not stressful and incredibly stressful (ie- job was fine, personal life wasn’t.) Not normally the way things go.

Wednesday, I chatted with one of the gym regulars, a guy I see pretty much every day at my work gym and he mentioned to his colleague that he didn’t know my name, but that he called me Super Girl in his mind, because I worked so hard at the gym, and he thought that I looked like the actress on the Global TV show ‘Supergirl’ Melissa Benoist. I was very flattered and it pretty much made my day! Wow! What an nice compliment.

On the same day (Wed) I took off riding for a doctor’s appointment that was HORRIBLE and so invasive, physically painful and emotionally extremely difficult. UGH. Even thinking about it makes me cringe and get mad.

Cue stress eating all night when I got home. Instead of a run.

So…yeah. Monday I get poisoned, Tuesday is a good day, Wednesday is both good and horrible at the same time, what was in store for my jump lesson on Thursday?

Well, again a mixed bag.

Work was fine, except I learned they were re-doing Watership Down so I of course had to revisit that and I found it super emotional? I’m not sure why, but even reading references to it (and listening to ‘Bright Eyes’) was making me tear up.

And then, the drive out to the barn was a nightmare. Traffic was backed up, I was stuck in gridlock for 50 minutes. It was insane! I got to the barn at 6:20 and my lesson was at 6:30. FML. I was so tense, anxious, angry, pissed off, edgy…It was a very bad way to start my lesson. I came in wanting a ‘win’…My miserable experience at the Dr’s was still very much in the forefront of my mind, and like, I was just feeling so edgy.

Didn’t help that I was now running very late, it was crazy windy, and I was just…aRGH. So ARGH.

Oats warmed up really nicely, no spooks at all thank god. We worked over grids (and I still kind of dislike them, I almost ate it at the last fence due to jumping ahead…you can’t take grids for granted still, dummy!!).

Our work was good, but the two-stride last week that I mostly conquered I really…didn’t this week. It was kind of a hot mess. And then it was good. And then kind of a mess again?

One note of pride: Our outside line that I kept bungling last week rode just lovely this week! So…Mild improvement on that scale?

HA.

I also felt something interesting: Oats kicking it in to a higher gear. It felt so awesome, this power that he suddenly was able to open up with. Wow, I wish I could get that feeling every time!

So, to sum up- I came in on an angry, anxious and difficult personal time this week- and managed to not completely screw up my ride, with my  mostly forgiving and saint-like pony.

 

When bad things happen to good people

I don’t want to write a lot about this, mainly because it’s not my story to tell. But I can’t just let it go on and leave everything ‘sunshiney’ and happy, because that’s not life and it’s not reality. My friend’s parents were recently involved in a tragic accident and her father passed away.

I found out shortly after finishing my race up in Cedar, and was in shock when I found out. These were great lovely people, who I knew through living with my friend on and off over the years. Fun, adventure-loving parents who meant the world to their daughters. They had retired and were living the life! And then this happens.

I have been sharing what happened with others close to me (my sister, my parents, my husband) because I feel like I can’t shoulder this news myself. I need others to hear it, hear what happened and understand. It’s so very sad, and sudden, and horrible.

It feels like these things happen in waves, and it seems so strange to me that the people close to me are caught in this wave. My heart goes out to my friend and her sister, who are facing this heartbreaking reality day-to-day. In just one day, one moment, their lives were changed forever.

I want to help, want to make a difference, but don’t want to interfere or anything.