We took the opportunity to do a field trip on the weekend to try out our dressage trainer’s amazing new footing at her farm, Fairlawn. It’s also a gorgeous facility, so huge and spacious and bright so why not !?!
The ponies were…less than thrilled to see the trailer pull up again (Two WEEKS in a row?) but got onboard when we were there 🙂
And I said: Let’s do something FUN! That’s all I want to do now, lol. I only have less than a month left here, so let’s make the most of it and really enjoy ourselves, so that is the lesson we got- a pas de deux lesson with the two dudes!
And they are so cute together, I think they’re really figuring out how to rate with each other!! And Becky and I only forgot where we were going once or twice I think 😉 The horses picked it up faster than we did.
We then enjoyed a little cruise around the fields after, as they have a lovely little pond you can ride around. The boys were very well behaved, and it was just such a fun and chill atmosphere. Can you ask for any better? Plus the weather has been amazing lately…chilly today, but far, far above the seasonal temps for Oct. We’re stuck in the groundhog day of my dreams…An endless summer!
Ah yes, forgot that I ran this one of a few busy weekends ago (Sept 11?). It’s quite a small community fun run, and it is unique in that it offers two distances: the full marathon, and the half. It is not chip-timed – and as I learned when I ran it- not quite a full distance either, hah. 😉
There was a small crowd as we started slightly after the full marathon folks, and it’s a point-to-point, so you do have to be aware of getting back to your car. They do offer a shuttle, but luckily for me Ian wasn’t running so he could pick me up afterwards! Yes!
The weather was fantastic. It’s been an incredible fall, no rain, just sun and warm weather days. I love it! I was a tad chilly in the morning, but that burned off pretty quick. Speaking of burned off, there was also smoke- due to forest fires from WA. Luckily for us, the smoke in the air didn’t get too bad until later in the afternoon and I was finished fairly early, so not bad.
I started up near the front, as it was quite a small race. I hung out for awhile with another guy, cognizant of not wanting to blow up my pace (this was supposed to be a practice run for training, NOT a real race). Did I actually do that? Well…sort of. I got pretty into the idea of racing quick 😉 and mistakenly thought I was KILLING IT!! A new world record for me!! (newsflash: This did not happen. You merely rise to the level of your training, not above it.).
So, I jogged along, beat the one guy and had a few fasties ahead of me. I hustled and caught up with them…and then started feeling tired. The aid stations were a bit odd, not very evenly spaced and we had one right off the bat where we didn’t need them, and then 1 at about 12k? And then one at the finish, lol. Guess they were more important for the marathoners hahaha. The gravel was ok to run on, but I think the fatigue of training caught up with me and I started feeling pretty chewed up.
I lost the fasties and kind plugged along solo for awhile. Wish I had some pictures actually!! And then it was the finish- at about 20.60, we were definitely a touch short. Oh well! I came in with no fanfare and my time was around 1:30:?? which is fine for a training run for sure, but again- course was short. I believe I was second female but not quite sure as there’s no awards or anything unless you win!
Waited around for Ian to come, he didn’t so I decided to just go and tackle the rest of my long run rather than waiting for the smoke to get worse, and for my legs to start stiffening up too much. That part was a SLOG lol. I did see a lot of other marathon runners so I cheered them on, hah clutching my participation medal because I didn’t know where to put it haha.
I finished that in about 1.5 hours, jogged back to the staging area and ran into Ian again. We wrapped up the day by going to Stillhead distillery for a spirits tasting (so good!!!) and then we went to watch the finishers of the Finlayson Arm Ultra (50k/100k day) and then went riding. A good day all around! 😉
I would recommend the Lake to Lake Marathon for a fun training opportunity that is supported and quite reasonably priced, it’s a beautiful course and very fun. Not a serious race, in my opinion but that makes it more fun!
After my sad-sack ‘dressage’ test where Oats had a head tossing freakout, I forgot where I was going and he was spooking at everything, I was determined to just let it go. Ok fine, it sucked but I’m camping in a great spot, it’s super hot out and we have trails and a pond to swim in. It could be worse!!
So we trail rode, I focused on letting it go past me and I went for some more swims…Even going skinny dipping when everyone else who was finished for the weekend went on a night time trail ride. Daring eh?? HAh it was so refreshing, I slept amazingly well despite the really loud concert going on all night in a nearby farm (and they had huge tents, a professional sound system and everything!).
The next day of course I didn’t ride until… after 2pm. Was I hanging around, biting my nails, feeling hot and festering? NOPE! I was determined to actually enjoy my experience for once. I fed Oats, cleaned his stall, longed him in the morning (he was tired) and then I went on a little run to check out where the Cowichan Trail connected to where we were the day previous. Then I cooled off with a nice swim, packed up my gear and lazily went over to think about tacking up…to find they had accelerated the schedule! Yikes!
Ha but it was totally fine. We had lots of time still! So I tacked up, and felt fairly confident about the tracks I was planning. There was no real water obstacle, and no bank, both of which challenged Oats last year.
When it was our turn, I was fairly pleased with Oats, with the understanding that he was quite footsore on the rock hard grass, and some areas were worse than others- he couldn’t hold a good canter at all, and did a fair amount of ‘trantering’ where it was very hard. He was a good boy though and I couldn’t wait for my fav- the speed round!!
Oats is NOT fast, but he’s a canny little dude and gets really into it. When we had the speed round come up, he was great!! Of course we got absolutely blown out of the water by some of the other speedier riders and horses but he’s just SO fun 🙂 and I think he really enjoys it too!
We were in last place after our miserable dressage, and then first after Ease of Handling, to settle in second place out of three. Not bad for us and a great way to wrap up our show season. Go Oats!
And the fun keeps rolling! We did the Working Equitation horse show in Glenora a few weeks ago, in mid-August. I personally think that is the best time…even though it was extremely hot. Like, very hot for us. Last year Oats was high as a kite and a bit difficult to manage, so I was more prepared this year to work on his energy levels (though I may have overestimated them and worked him into tiredness a little early?!) guess that’s better than a nutty horse on-course.
I took Friday off work (I have a few days to use up and MAN I am really enjoying it!!) and my working equitation trainer Shelly and I loaded the horses/gear up and set out. The Malahat is pretty much terrible any time of day, but it was particularly nasty on a Friday afternoon so it took us ages to get there (and then about 2+++ hours to get home on Sunday…eff this for a 45 minute journey…).
It was a muggy day, I had already longed and bathed Oats at home so I didn’t stress him by working him further on Friday. Instead, we got the ponies comfortable in the stables, which Oats HATED and was pissed about all weekend, feeling like he was stuck in a cage… And then we went for a swim!
The next morning came really early, it was so hot out that I was slowly roasting in my tent. I went to warm up Oats after his breakfast/cleaning his stall and he was hot hot hot hot to trot! Sooo I hopped off and longed the little turd to get his yahoos out. He did have some! THEN I hopped back on and he was a gentleman.
And then, the waiting game…
And by the time my dressage time was up, I was pretty over it. Hot, tired, Oats was hot and pissy, and some flies were really bothering his eyes. We warmed up fairly nicely but it was very hot and stuffy in the arena, and the minute we trotted down centreline…Oats was freaked riiiight out. His head was on a swivel, he was spooking and flinging his head wildly. I got so distracted by his wacked-out behaviours that I forgot where I was going!! I had to pull up and ask the judge (who is SUPER nice). YEEEEK. I was in such a bad mood after that piss-poor showing. ARGH.
And then I noticed that everyone was crabby after dressage. HAHAH. So true.
After, to put the bad taste of the bad test out of my head, I asked Shelly to come with us on a trail ride. She did and with a few minor Oats moments (where he runs backwards and is an ass every time we stop on the trail..) they did really nicely 🙂
And then I got to go swimming again, and start perseverating about the Ease of Handling Round and Speed Round the next day… No banks this time, thank god (our real nemesis last time!).
We had FANTASTIC weather this August, so we headed up Island to visit my in-laws, and my new nephew too!
It was so warm we swam in the ocean, every day. It was heavenly, just divine 🙂
I also went on a 27-km run that was pretty miserable, as it was 30 deg, full sun, a long, hot day AND I hit the trails to escape some of the heat and ended up tripping and falling pretty dramatically, but hey- I didn’t even get hurt!
I wrapped up the run covered in dirt/dust, lol and Ian had to go looking for me because it took me forever to get back, those trails…Not fast!
After I left my last blog entry, it basically fell off a cliff!
Things were very busy, and lots of opportunity to blog but I just didn’t have the desire I suppose?
We went on a really nice summer holiday to visit my family in the Interior of BC, where we enjoyed camping at Christina Lake, kayaking, hiking, running, horseback riding, and biking/running the Myra Canyon Trestles, a trip to the Kangaroo Farm and then…COVID when we were in Vancouver.
We also enjoyed a fantastic dinner and wine tasting at Mission Hill, courtesy of my parents. It was divine!
Yep, the big Covid hit us, pretty hard. Not unexpected, as my sister was sick when she had dinner/visited with us in Kelowna but I was still fairly surprised and thought it was just terrible allergies when we were in Vancouver (running the sea wall, going out for drinks, out for dinner…greeeat…). Nope, COVID.
That knocked us on our butts for a while, and when I was feeling better I was working from home, and then back to work, where work proceeded to knock me on my butt again too!
Phew, after a suuuper long day at the horse show on Sunday, I got home around 6-ish and we immediately zipped out to catch the last of Pride.
The Pride parade and festival happens every year, and ends up at the park near our house, we can just walk over! It was also extremely HOT out so I was kind of glad it was a bit shadier. Lol and of course, it’s 16 degrees and chilly/grey out today. Man, this weather!
A few weeks ago we finally went to a show, in a month where despite my best efforts, EVERYTHING got cancelled on me. 😦
Games day with the horses? Cancelled, not enough entries.
Bachelorette party? Cancelled, bride got COVID.
Movie I wanted to go see? Left the theatres.
And so on…ARGH.
But this is the one thing that actually happened this month. And it went very well, both horses Donato and Oats were superstars and didn’t put a hoof wrong. My scores are not competitive anymore, and I am not entirely sure what to chalk that up to?
Not able to replicate the homework we do at home in the ring?
Me losing focus?
Whatever it is, it’s going on at every show we go to. SIGH. He is very well behaved but we just don’t have magic anymore. Regardless, it was a very nice day and super fun to get out there with our buds. We missed them so much over the years of injury + COVID that despite our lacklustre scoring, it’s just nice to be out, doing the things we love to do, you know?
Not only did we have a blazing jump lesson this past weekend, but we also had an adventure! This summer is all about fun and trying new things for old Oaty and me. I had a long and arduous summer/fall/winter/spring with Oats and his injuries that honestly, really burned me out of life. I didn’t feel eager to do anything anymore, ya know?
And what is the antidote to existential ennui, with horses? Why, anything new!
So that’s why this summer so far I have gone trail riding, take Oats and friends to an obstacle course workshop, done working equitation (lessons and the horse show!) and this past weekend, we went into a trail class!
It was very casual, a fundraiser for a new riding ring at the Beaver/Elk Lake Equestrian Society, and we were like the first people there at 8:30am, hahah. The volunteers were great though and got us rolling very quickly, not a lot of waiting around. Just how I like it!! No warm up arena available, so it was going in cold! Not our forte, as it turns out, ugh. The course was flowing quite nicely, nothing too challenging or spooky and not difficult to remember BUT we just didn’t have it together early enough on-course.
We bumped the gate and almost knocked it down, haha. Whoops! And that was our first obstacle! And then he was great over the bridge and to the mailbox and then the dreaded L-shape backup…Was a total mess. We clobbered the poles, Oats put up a big fuss about backing up and instead put his head straight in the air and went sideways… gah!
Moving on, he was excellent for the pole bending at the trot, picked up an ok canter, and then proceeded to completely blow the next back-up request. Face=palm. This is stuff WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON and this just..eh. Sucked.
He was then very good going over the uneven poles (though by Braille…He clonked every.single.pole.) and was nice over the tarp. Good Oats! We then picked up an ok left canter and halted fine, and then forgot what to do for a 360-degree turn on the forehand right, and then turn on the haunches left. My fault, whoops! He was great for it.
So, I knew what we had to practice the next day in my home arena: Backing up nicely through L poles. Also maybe I should refresh my memory of how to do a turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches NOT against a wall…My crutch as I learned.
But after our trail class we had a surprise: A trail ride! My friend who boards her horse near the venue/park rode him over and we rode back to her barn, where our other friend picked us up. Oats was THRILLED to be with his ‘big brother’ again 🙂 so cute. He screamed the whole way back to our barn for Donato…Poor Oats!
It was a very successful day, and I did even go and practice the ‘L’ shape on Monday’s ride. Gotta get that turn in sooner, which is my biggest fault in this obstacle.
But I also have to say that I am really enjoying these no-pressure fun adventure outings. Horses are so fragile, life is so fleeting…Let’s do it all, guys!
Have a crazy few weeks going down at work so have to limit the blog writing, but in the meantime we’ve been doing lots of dressage rides, zero jump lessons, and lots of working equitation lessons too!
We have also been riding around in the fields- not so much in the big field as you cannot get to it at the bottom anymore, you can only get to it from the top of the stables, so I usually just ride and then zip out to the lower fields. Today though, big field (the one he went kind of bananas in and galloped around bucking, eeek) has my name on it!!
We also rode in shorts the other day (regretfully, ouch my skin) and had some fun while Ian videotaped us jumping the small fences I put out in the field with his help. Every year, without fail, I am the only one to put jumps out- so at least this year I get to enjoy it!!!! Unlike the absolute disaster of last year, which shall not be named, ugh.
And apparently another heatwave is coming?? We have been very, very lucky to not have smoke here. I am very appreciative of that.