Working Equitation Day 2: Redemption!

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!!

The gang. What a great weekend!

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!

Ease of Handling round

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!

Working Equitation Horse Show

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.

It really is beautiful eh? too bad the grass is so dead! This is for our Ease of Handling/Speed Round 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 waiting…

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!).

…To be continued!

BC Day Adventure!

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!

Wow, what happened to the summer?

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!

Man, sometimes you can’t win!?

Go south

After a kind of challenging Dec and a January that wasn’t improving….We took a trip to Mexico! Specifically Huatulaco. I had been there before, but not for a few years and after two years of going nowhere and doing nothing…I was beyond fed up, stressed out and unhappy and I WAS GOING DAMMIT.

The weather was beautiful EVERY DAY.

It was an extremely stressful lead up. In the days that preceded our trip, we had:

  • A tsunami warning
  • Crazy fog taking over everything and not lifting
  • Omicron variant taking over everything and overwhelming the health system, flights, work-staffing, ferries, buses, etc
  • One of my colleagues went missing and he is still missing three weeks later
  • No third booster shots (I just got mine this week!)

No joke. I was SO TENSE and freaked out going into the holiday. I had no idea what to expect, and how our testing worked to get home, what if we had tested positive and had to quarantine, what to do with the animals and Oats, etc etc etc.

And you know what? It went perfectly fine. Were there glitches, like not having a paper copy of our COVID neg test results and the airport demanding them, when we only had QR codes/apps? Yep! Was there uncertainty? Yep. Was it worth it? OMG YES 100%. For your mental health, go. Just go. Life is too short and too horrible most of the time. Do something nice for yourself, for once.

We swam, kayaked, went stand-up paddleboarding, went into town, snorkeled, went fishing, I did aqua fit and we drank a million crazy cocktails and generally just had an awesome time.

I needed it desperately and I firmly believe so does everyone else.

Mr. Oats does a Working Equitation horse show: Day 1

Phew this was a super busy weekend, to top off a super busy and bummer few weeks.

I signed Oats up for a Working Equitation horse show! We have some experience with this discipline, but I was also taking lessons on Sundays to practice up, as well as working on our dressage with our trainer. We hauled out bright and early Saturday to Hi-Point in Glenora for our dressage day at 9:30am.

Swear, our warmup was more…nice. Oh well, you gotta get back somehow!

The test was quite simple, similar to a training level test? But no fear, I had a good warmup and then immediately rode pretty poorly soooooo it was still challenging for us. At first we went to warmup in the field (Hi-Point has the only x-c on the island) and Oats was AMPED. I was pretty sure he was going to buck me off lol. So a trainer suggested we move to a section of the indoor roped off for warm-ups and bingo, he settled right away.

After our dressage ride it was still SO early, ha. I knew Oats would need more work- a new place where he has done x-c and he was hot hot hot means he needs a lot more work to get him chill and used to it. After all, we had our two rounds the next day (Sunday), Ease of Handling and Speed Round.

So I hung out a lot, and watched the Intro class finish their Ease of Handling (they don’t do speed rounds). Then I got Oats out, wearing shorts again (haaa) and rode him. As I suspected, he WAS amped. Good at the trot, but power-trotting around and tossing his head excitedly. We cantered, and he was good, and then tried to buck, haha. He has a very powerful buck and just snakes his head down and humps up and woooof it’s hard to get back, haha.

So, rode that for awhile even though it was HOT out, like close to 30 deg?? I was hot, Oats was hot but he had a ton of ‘go’.

After our ride he chilled out and was sooo thirsty, poor boy! That would be the theme for the weekend- Oats is sooo thirsty!

After my ride, we went to the pond for a swim 🙂 I had my mango White Claws, and all was right with the world. I even had a bbq with my new friends that evening, and it was delicious. Early to bed, I felt very tired. A long day in the sun and around people?!! I have been a total hermit for like a year?! ha.

I did feel worried about the course, as it had several x-c elements that Oats was not familiar with (water, a bank). Turns out I was right to be concerned…

Which was too bad, because after dressage we were leading! To be continued…

And off to the Big Smoke (Kelowna)

Which actually wasn’t smoky really, but as the wildfires gathered strength I heard it got much, much worse. We did get incredibly lucky on this trip on the whole!

We drove through Vernon and it was wall-to-wall cars from Vernon to Kelowna and Kelowna was just terrible. Gridlock traffic the entire way. WTF??

Winery tasting with the family

We couldn’t check in to our hotel (damned Kelowna hotels, we stayed at the Prestige Beach location and I kind of hate it…) until after 4pm so we had hours to kill with Gidget. I decided I wanted to check out Gellatly’s Nut Farm which is also a beach and provincial/historical park. We couldn’t walk Gidget through the nut orchards because they apparently were worried that some dumbass child would mistake a dog shit for a nut (which then I think, they had it coming…) so we took turns cruising through the orchard and I found a hazelnut and a walnut! The walnut was interesting, all green and the nut inside the ‘fruit’. I had Ian dig it out and it stained his fingers for a week!!!

Summertime and the living is easy

We had dinner at my folks place, went for a swim and the next day met them in the morning for a swim and a nice visit to a winery close to their house.

That’s a big beer

We then staggered around in the heat downtown which was tougher than I thought, I felt so hot and dehydrated?!

Summerhill Winery’s pyramid of mystery

Back to my parents for dinner, birthday cake and a swim (which was awesome!), a walk to their beach locally and then back to the hotel. The next day we were up bright and early to drive to stay a night in Vancouver, where we ran the sea wall (yes!!) and had Moroccan dinner, which was very cool, and then back home- holidays all over!

I miss being on vacation….

Christina Lake

And my vacation continues! I wanted to write more last week but work got tooooo busy. After we spent some time in Princeton (there isn’t much there, ha. We did some swimming, hanging out in the river, and running), we zipped off to Christina Lake which wasn’t too far.

The river site at the campground. Living our best life!

There isn’t much of a town there but WOW the lake, it is just incredible. So warm- the warmest I have ever felt in Canada. Remarkable! The lake is also quite large but you can access it from a few different points. They do not allow dogs anywhere near the main lake at the provincial park, so we packed up our dog and went to the next park over where there was a big campsite AND they allowed dogs at the dog beach. Plus, the dog beach was super nice- usually it’s crappy and miserable, but this one was great.

Ice cream at Christina Lake, yumm!

We camped the two nights in Christina Lake at a small campsite that had it’s own river access with a sandy beach- I can’t tell you how incredible THAT felt, it was soooooooooo awesome. We basically had our own swimming hole shared with the other campers, and it was a very quiet campsite. So fortunate! I loved it.

The lake itself- sooo inviting.

We swam, camped out, went into ‘town’ for an ice cream and generally hung out in the sun for a few days. It was blazing hot out so that was key to be near the water. So amazing though 🙂 Gidget on the other hand had some complaints about camping…To be continued 😉

Ian and Gidget at Kalso. The adventure continues…

Back from vacation

UGH.

Back to reality indeed! We did get incredibly lucky on our trip- the Interior was starting to flame out, but we only had issues with smoke in Revelstoke and we were only there for a few days. Thank god. It is also an issue because no WAY does anyone want to be a tourist in a place that is being evacuated/needed for hotel rooms. How tone deaf would that be?? Yikes! So we had our holiday timed well, as the fires got a lot worse when we came home.

But otherwise, it went really nicely! We started off with a few nights in Princeton, which is kind of a small nowhere town but has gorgeous scenery, a nice river, a great restaurant, I guess one of two existing restaurants- (the Copper Pit!!) and some fun trails to run courtesy of the Kettle Valley Railway. Here are the first few photos 🙂

Rainbow Bridge at Manning Park
One of three accidents we saw on the trip. Everyone was fine, thankfully!
Manning Park
The town of Coalmont- a total ghost town outside of Princeton driving down this insane avalanche canyon road! No cell service at all!
Swimming in the Similkameen- it was COLD!!
Swimming in the Similkameen.

HEATWAVE

Wowza, climate change is real! We got temperatures reaching up to 37 degrees here on the West Coast, so I didn’t do a ton of riding this week and past weekend, more like hosing off the poor horse!

While I am a fan of the heat, I was concerned about our furrier friends. I ended up cancelling Oats’ jump lesson on Saturday (32 deg!!) and we went on a summer adventure instead! And on Sunday I got up early and was in the saddle around 8am, but it was still incredibly hot so we just did a little w/t and called it quits. Monday I got up VERY early and had my butt in the saddle at 6:35am to beat the heat- and it did the trick! The shade was out over the outdoor arena, so I rode outdoors for as long as we had shade and then I get to beat it to work- so, finished up around 7am. It was much cooler then, thank god.

Swimming time!

Our summer adventure was a great call though. We hoofed it up to the Cowichan River and went swimming and it was glorious! The water was a bit cold (I am a wimp though) and it was very hot out. Gidget came with us and we definitely enjoyed ourselves.

We then zipped over to Enrico’s for a wine slushy (yess!!) and hit up Ice Cream Mountain on our way to the barn. I rode Oats bareback at the walk for 10 mins and that was it, phew…it was smoking hot! I felt very good about cancelling my lesson that day, it just didn’t seem very fair for the horses.

Wine slushy!

And now we’re off to another summer adventure, after a ride tonight 🙂 I love summer, and it’s starting to cool off from our insane heatwave here.

So many good flavours: Peanut butter and chocolate, Raspberry cheesecake, Pralines, Caramel cookies ‘n’ cream!