The other person is you

I feel like I don’t even have that much to recap on this past weekend? Had a good jump lesson last Thursday, took Friday off, and oh right…found a HUGE DEAD RAT in my locker bright and early on Saturday. ūüė¶

IMG_0720

Wish Gidget was actually a rat terrier or something…

Gross. So gross. I screamed and ran out of the barn, found my friend and asked her casually…”So, how squeamish are you?” She said she wasn’t, so I said ‘good! Come with me and bring a shovel!’

She disposed of Mr. Dead Rat and I set about thoroughly cleaning my freaking locker. So much work. So much rat shit and urine. So awful. It was a really nice day out too, and how did I spend it? Cleaning my rat-infested locker… I did end up riding later though and Oats was really good!

I ran later in the day and my watch died and I ran longer than I planned to, it was getting dark out. Yikes! It was also kind of a bad idea, since my ligament injury was flaring up in the evening after my run.¬†SIGHHHH I am ready for it to be done and sadly it isn’t. I am a very bad person at being injured.

31815561578_0c335b0cff_o

Flashback to a few weeks ago. Racing, and sooooo injured. Ouch! 

Sunday was another slack day, went riding (and I am still kind of processing things emotionally that are going on in my life, and I processed them through Oats. In a way I wish I hadn’t! Dumb of me) but he was good despite my being a dumb rider. I packed my run clothes and jogged after riding (ouch, that was a truly bad idea) and then met my husband and we went shopping downtown for Christmas gifts and some other things. It was nice to be downtown but I started getting really tired! Shopping is quite tiring for me, haha.

And that wrapped up my weekend, and I had a very chilly equine counseling session last night with Oats and my counselor. Very productive and it helped me feel more ‘grounded’ in my life/actions, if that makes any sense?

Ride tonight and I hope it is warmer~!

Advertisements

Christmas aftermath

Man, so many things. Good and bad. I enjoyed my time off, considering I was in a spectacularly grouchy/depressed mood, I was in a WAY better mind frame to celebrate.

We went to Ucluelet for a few days to decompress before the family madness began, and then celebrated Christmas Eve at my husband’s parents farm, which was nice. We then had Christmas breakfast and then Christmas dinner at MY parents, which was also good. My gifts were lovely, my husband got me everything I wanted and I really loved the cool and unique gifts my sister, parents and stable friends gave me. WOW so generous!

15724752_10100692280746856_7880429932877920860_o

Yes I am wearing a grumpy cat Xmas sweater! Featuring new boots for Oats, love them so much.

I also did some Boxing Day shopping and bought myself another pair of running shoes (I know I know, I have like 10 pairs now..eek) and some cool funky clothes (I also have too many of those, haha).

I ate too much, went to two parties in one night, drank too much (again) and ran a lot and also rode Oats five days in a row, gave him three days off, and now tonight will be day 4 in a row he gets ridden! That pony gets a lotta love, gotta say it, haha. He also enjoyed a home-made cookie from one of the girls are the barn and he gobbled it up in RECORD time.

No Xmas is complete without some holiday drama, and it led me to realize my new year’s resolution is to not whitewash what I want out of life. Not whitewash WHO I am anymore.

I will finish with this- as I go into the new year, I’m planning on setting the slate clean with a few people (my parents). I want to go into a fresh year unencumbered by people’s expectations of me.

I have a dog, horse, rabbit and husband because I love and cherish all of them, and they all add value and joy to my life. I would never presume anyone needed any of those items or animals to make their lives whole. This is my experience.

Please do not assume I need children to make my life whole. That is¬†your experience. I do not need convincing, judgement, argument or debate to ‘make me change my mind’. I don’t think everyone needs a dog, horse or husband to fully experience life–why do people think that about kids? Just stop.

In 2017, I am going to be clear about what I want with the people I love and am closest to. If that means they are upset with me, so be it. I am going to focus on what is most important to me, and maintain my priorities and my sense of self the only way I know how- with resolve and resolution.

So, I guess that’s my NYE resolution right there. I also really want to start planning my next exciting big trip and can’t figure out where I want to go/do next. Africa maybe??

Making it at the MANE EVENT!!

Finally, it was the weekend. We left fairly early on Friday to catch the Jim Wofford clinic at Chilliwack’s Mane Event and boy, he did not disappoint!

And they're off!

And they’re off!

Fresh off my lesson Thurs- quick recap, I can’t quite remember exactly what we did, but we did have a 2’3” oxer and it kind of scared me, we jumped it very nicely once, then I under-rode to a gentle stop by Oats, and then rode it well again…And a small bounce exercise, a green box skinny, and an x-rail on a circle that rode very nicely – historically a struggle point for me and Oats. Overall, quite nice, but I did have some nerves…

So, I was primed to learn something from the famous Jim Wofford himself. And what did I learn, from his gymnastic exercises with the upper-level group?

Rubbing shoulders with Jim Wofford- the man has a great sense of humour!

Rubbing shoulders with Jim Wofford- the man has a great sense of humour!

  • Look at the top rail of the fence until it disappears under you. This includes parallel oxers too!
  • For bounce exercises, ignore the placing rail. Focus on the top rail of the first jump.
  • Don’t start looking ‘through’ the exercises. One jump at a time! Riders and horses get into trouble when they start ignoring the first jump and stare through the exercises.
  • Let the horse make the mistake, you don’t need to make it for them.
  • Hitting a rail generally punishes the horse, you don’t need to punish. Reward them for a good effort on the next go-around, you will find they have fixed it! (sidenote- I’m bad for rewarding in the moment, need to get better about this).
  • He had a lot of riders riding with fairly loose contact, some with driving rein hands to correct hand use/placement. Let the horse be independent, thinking.
  • For drifters- take off your left leg if he drifts right.¬†Then¬†make your right leg stronger. Doesn’t work? You can add in guide poles.
  • The key is usually less is more. Ie- don’t use a martingale at home, fix what is wrong at home first. Don’t be the first to rush to more aids, artificial aids.
  • Only the elbows move for bounces.
  • Shoulders back, sitting up, no ‘posting’ at the canter.
  • Hands lower.

We watched a lot of his sessions, and I came away slightly intimidated – these were seriously good riders- and inspired as well. I want to try some of those exercises with Oats, the corner jump (we have done this before and he was fine with it), the ‘squeeze’ jump- now that looks interesting, and maybe a mini triple-bar or hogsback? So many good options to make jumping exciting and challenging.

I also took the opportunity to do some shopping…Too much shopping! Highlights included getting Grand Prix Vegas breeches for $50, Spooks stretch jacket for $150, Tailored Sportsman ‘Anaconda’ belt for $5, and a Toggi Equestrian long-sleeved t-shirt for $5 too. A steal!

I also got a lot of samples for Oats for treats- nutritional supplements, alfalfa cubes, treats, and some hay for Buster Bunny in a freezer ziploc bag. Score!

We also enjoyed a dressage session taught by Kristen Wysocki, and the Trainer’s Challenge featuring Sonny Gargulio, David Simons, and Glen Stewart. Glen Stewart in particular was a real class act, lovely to watch and a true horseman. Not sure who ended up winning- we were at the Jim Wofford Q&A session- but it was a real treat to watch.

The ‘equine experience’ at night was stunning as always, with fabulous performances by the Coastal Cowgirls on Vancouver Island – maybe I am a bit biased but I think their drill team performances were the slickest! They even had spins, and everything! One accident happened- not like last year when horses collided, but this time a horse spooked, the rider fell off and dislodged the flag she was carrying. It got caught in the horse’s breastplate! We ¬†all gasped and held our breath…But it was ok, it got removed and the horse/rider were fine to mount and continue.

Guess it’s not the genuine experience if there isn’t at least one hair-raising moment! On that note there were these young girls- the ‘Young Gunz’ and their performances were genuinely terrifying but very well done. My heart was in my throat!

As always, Mane Event is something we look forward to every year. I’m inspired to go try some new fun things with Oats and I can’t wait to show off my new awesome riding gear!

There and back again

So, I’m back from my holidays. They were much-needed, not necessarily that relaxing (are holidays with family EVER relaxing?) and ended with some car drama, but I’m glad I had the time away from work.

Christmas with the family

Christmas with the family

I needed the perspective, quite frankly.

I also needed some time away from my ‘real life,’ an area that bogs me down in the details so much so that I become enveloped from what is ‘important’ and get stuck on the routine. And I can get obsessive about ‘the routine’ to an unhealthy point.

Colossal gingerbread house

Colossal gingerbread house

But, family was stressful. We did a lot of great things, and I enjoyed good company, great food, and other fun activities. However, I also felt the strain of ‘try hard’ and a bit fakey, ‘let’s cover it up with fun and ignore the festering sadness underneath’ that I can be sensitive to…

Oh well, it’s over. Holidays aren’t always Hallmark-worthy, are they?

Buster shares a moment

Buster shares a moment

And when I flew back, my car was making a weird stuttering on the highway and stalled out in a parking lot. I was like, how long has THIS been going on?

The remains of the gingerbread house

The remains of the gingerbread house

An entire week, $1,115 later and I think it’s pretty much back to being road-worthy, but jesus. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to me! (GAHHHH!!!!)

And my darling pony has been alternately good and bad my week back. Pissy and kicking out some days, relatively forward and willing others. Pissy yesterday in my lesson with 1 kick out briefly, but was nice to jump (tiny x-rails) and we did some interesting work on straightness and coursework. Felt nice to get back in the saddle, even if my old insecurities came rearing back at me!

Now I am kind of dreading my dressage lessons…If he is pissy and bucky doing my regular work, how on earth will the more-demanding¬†work of dressage go for us?????? I am also trying to break in new boots, ouch they are not feeling super great either.

EEK!!!

To be continued next week….

And I am back at work. Not so glorious either…