A Deeper Understanding: Thanksgiving!

I feel like a broken record when I say this, but wow my weekends are busy! Riding lesson on Friday night (and after feeling like total crap last week, I had to shoe-horn myself into my breeches and go anyways. Thank you buttons for your structural integrity!). I still felt pretty miserable…

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But the lesson went well! We worked on introducing Oats to counter-canter signals, which was difficult but he was really trying, like a good boy. 🙂 Saturday more riding (we were in the field goofing off, it was soooo nice out) and then off to Victoria Beer Week’s Fresh to Death beer fest for the afternoon. It was great, and the weather was fantastic.

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Fresh to Death- see our friend the Skeleton! 

After the beer, we zipped off to The Flying Pig for some happy hour food (and I dropped my wallet on the floor and lost it there…) before heading home for quick R&R before going out to my friend’s birthday party. We were downtown at her party and didn’t get home until 1am! I was wiped! But it was an awesome day/night.

Sunday we got up and I tore the house apart trying to find my freaking wallet…Luckily the fine folks at The Flying Pig had found it, and messaged me on Facebook to tell me they had it! YESS!! We picked it up, went to the stables where I rode Oaty, and then we were off to the farm for Thanksgiving #1. Though it was pretty miserable weather, we had a super nice time with great food!

Home in the late evening, and I was up early-ish for an equine counselling session on Oats at the barn. It went well too, and then home again for lunch and preparing for Thanksgiving #2, at my parents. That went fine too, though felt quite long. The food was excellent!

And now, I am back at work. Can I get a weekend from my weekends?!!

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The one to wait: Sooke Saddle Club Dressage Show and Tell #2

Going into this show (only a mere month since the last one) I had a goal of riding a cleaner, more competent test. I wanted Oats to be more through his back, balanced and listening. I didn’t want his tense, head-flaily test of last month.

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From the last show- photo courtesy of Lois Burton.

And the scores? Yeah, well those can wait. We have other fish to fry.

I had a dressage lesson on Thursday instead of jumping, so I could prep our mindset for the show- and it went quite nicely. I was very pleased with how Oats was responding and felt like maybe this was a good omen for the show? A softer, listening and more responsive horse? Could be!

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Also from last show- happy to say there was improvement this time! Photo by Lois Burton.

Saturday the show was hot hot hot! I, in my infinite wisdom (thank god, b/c it usually only goes one way with me, ha) had decided to only sign up for 1 test. Good idea, me! Oats warmed up okay…But his canter was resistant, high-headed and draggy. I wasn’t super impressed with it, and quickly got annoyed. I asked Christina, who hauls us and is an experienced dressage rider at third level, for some advice.

She suggested I throw in some shoulder-fore at the canter to really work on more straightness and solidify the half-halts. So that’s what we did, and wouldn’t you know…it worked! Got him off my hands, listening better and more engaged. (Note- he sometimes flails into a flying trot while doing this exercise, but hey, baby steps).

We went into the test and wouldn’t you know, it was awesome!! Things we mucked up- my 15-metre circles were WAY too big, and my lengthens did not show enough differences…But otherwise, a really solid test and an improvement for both Oats and I, markedly, from last time. I could feel it!

The judge was very complimentary- she said didn’t I tell you to move up last year? And I said, but I did! This is my move-up! And we had a laugh at that. She ran us through the circles a few more times to work on my geometry, and we did a few lengthens in the canter- very exciting!

And then get this- she ran us through a Level 2 test! Just for fun, to play around with what is being asked at a higher level. It was hilariously bad, but super enjoyable to play with it, and see what happened! It made me feel fired-up and excited 🙂 Even though we kind of sucked at it. And our score for the level 1 test? A very generous 70%!!

My review: Tim Horton’s Love Reese’s to Pieces doughnut & brownies

My lovely friend Lindsay bought me both the Love Reese’s doughnut and the brownies last month from Tim Horton’s, and they were both great! And now I am sharing the favour with reviews of both. Starting with the doughnut…

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Now, doughnuts from Tim Hortons automatically get marked down by me, because they are like the lowest-common denominator in sweet snack foods. They barely try at all, and it’s like well, better than nothing I guess but also pretty much EVERY doughnut out there is better than theirs. So… yeah. I ate the Reese’s doughnut gratefully (who am I to turn my nose up at doughnuts) and I remembered the last time I bought a Reese’s doughnut, I was bitter and appalled because it was a SHAM – it was a paltry Boston Crème doughnut with like, a few mini Reese’s peanut-butter cups on top. Pfft!

Happy to say that this one is no sham doughnut masquerading as a delicious doughnut- it has really good peanut butter filling it! And the toppings are tasty as well, chocolate glaze with Reese’s Pieces. My only quibble that takes it from being an amazing must-buy: There is not nearly enough peanut butter filling in it, and it’s in the end still a Tim Horton’s doughnut- too flimsy, makes you think you’re eating mega-calorie air and not at all satisfying. Plus I have a history with their old Reese’s doughnut, so I do hold that against them.

Now, the brownies…

So good. Must buy. The portion sizing is generous, you get two squares which was perfect for eating one before my riding lesson and one after. Genius! The texture is fantastic, it doesn’t taste like slightly stale air like all Tim Horton’s doughnuts seem to, and best of all it is soooo peanut-buttery! The icing is amazing, smooth mix of chocolate-peanut butter and really makes the brownie. Top notch! It is worth the calories–have no idea what the count is, but if it’s like all fast food (fat food) it’s probably heinous– and I loved it. Rich, so the two squares are a great idea, and offers some semblance of portion control.

My advice? Ditch the doughnut and go all in for brownie. Actually consider that my advice for life.

Thanksgiving weekend recap: The fire inside.

Peaceful fall

Peaceful fall

So, when I last left, I was practically running out the door to get away from work and was desperate for a weekend, any weekend, so long as it long!!

No sooner was I relaxing into my weekend (hard-won) on a sleepy Saturday morning when I woke up suddenly and unpleasantly with a horrible wrenched neck. It was excruciating. I couldn’t look to the right, the back of my head/neck hurt, it hurt to chew anything – my jaw ached, and my shoulder/neck area felt frozen and throbbing, alternately.

Greeeattttt….

No rest for the wicked?

Secretly, I hoping to run to the barn on Saturday, where I would ride Oats and have my husband pick me up from the barn to go straight to my in-laws farm (maybe soon to not be their farm if the sale goes through, more changes,. eek!!). Instead, I could barely walk.

Walking even jostled my neck horribly. I was in a ton of pain, on muscle relaxants and alternating hot/cold therapy to just be somewhat mobile. No running for me. I decided to ride anyways (because I’m insane??) but my husband had to help me get Oats out of his pen, groom him- it took forever – because he was so muddy, and lead Oats to and from the arena.

Yeehaw a skinny!

Yeehaw a skinny!

Once I was on, things were ok, though I couldn’t look right at all and was very uncomfortable trying to go right on Oats. He was a good sport though, and seemed very careful with me–even though we were doing a bit of jumping!

Oats taking care of me.

Oats taking care of me.

We got some photos, and I hopped off gingerly, and Ian led Oats back to the barn and helped me untack, carry my saddle back to the barn, and unbridle Oats. That was pretty funny, he tried to pull the whole bridle off Oats’ head w/o undoing the noseband, but did manage to get the throatlatch off. Oats was like WTF? But he’s a good pony now and didn’t take advantage…

We called it a ride, and headed off to the in-laws farm. There, I upped the painkillers a bit and enjoyed some pear picking in the pouring rain (hah!!) and a lot of good quality hot tub and wine time. Sure didn’t hurt my neck situation at all, but mannnnnn did I feel it the next morning…

My neck was pretty much healed by Sunday morning but my wine hangover had a ferocious hold on me. I was like, I’m hungry!! I’d eat something…”I feel sick!!”….I’m hungry!!! I feel sick!!

All morning. Gag.

I didn’t have much time to feel sorry for myself though. We were up and out of the house to cheer on my friend who was running his second marathon!!! Gidget was miserable, whiny and annoyed at waiting around to watch. I was pretty happy though, we managed to cheer him on and get a great photo too! He did awesome.

Great work!!

Great work!!

Then, I felt inspired….

And not quite so sick anymore.

So, like the crazy person I am, I decided to run to the barn, ride, and then maybe run home. Note: this is not a short distance.

My own horse-half marathon? A new challenge? A way to work out the extreme pressure and anxiety I’d been experiencing throughout the week, and was too injured too often to resolve it through exercise?

No matter the reason–I was going to DO IT!

And so, I did. And you know what? It was fine. I jogged to the barn, waved hi to my friend Sarah who saw me at an intersection- and said I was crazy, haha. And I rode and STILL had too much ‘intensity’ in my ride on Oats. Luckily he is still a forgiving pony and he was a good boy for me, even when I come to the barn ‘running high’ and with extra energy I can’t resolve normally.

We worked through some poles- they were terrible, he does better at jumps- and then a brief lateral session once way each where he was quite reasonable, and he was sooooooo sweaty! I then sponged him off, ate a coconut-chocolate Clif bar, and changed back into my clammy workout clothes and prepared to run home.

The run home wasn’t quite as smooth as the way there- my stomach started hurting a LOT, I kind of blame eating the Clif bar so soon after riding and then running again- and my knee was bugging me a bit, and the noise on my calf injury got turned up too…

But I made it fine, it just took a long time.

So, Sunday was an investment in time. Me time. Time to work out whatever anxiety I had going on through my running and riding.

The next day I felt pretty good, tired, but good. Sometimes the fire that burns inside burns too hot and too bright, and threatens to consume us. My way of dealing with it is through exercise.

Thankful for…

At the tail-end of the grouchiest week in recent history, I’m reminded that this Thanksgiving I am grateful for many things- not just a laundry list of recent complaints, as I’ve been ranting about this week.

Today, I’ve been trying to keep a lid on my ”I HATE doing this” to moderate success, so I am going to chalk that up to a win, and hope I can keep my hair on for the rest of the day.

Not that my day has been particularly motivating or I have accomplished much–nope, not today. I tried though, but as it turns out, a week of hell nears burnout city by Friday. Oh well, a long weekend is just what the dr. ordered.

So, I’m thankful for a bunch of things–

My lesson with Oats went really well last night, even though we completely demolished a crossrail when Oats decided he didn’t have to actually jump from a trot- I did warn Nicole but she laughed at me. Well, who’s laughing now when she had to pick up the whole freaking jump and put it back together! Haha. It went much more smoothly at the canter. We worked on a fairly simple exercise and I didn’t worry about the jump heights (low) which is a nice change. Oats is a good pony.

I have a job. Leaving it at this point right now…

Husband– always around for a good time! A great cook and not shabby baker either.

Pretty much never happens.

Pretty much never happens.

Buster Bunny, the Rabbit- looks cool wearing shades while also being the surliest rabbit in the city.

Hipster Buster

Hipster Buster

Gidget- I like to call her the ‘world’s most annoying dog’ but all she wants to do is cuddle on the couch. What is so wrong with that?

Please don't leave me.

Please don’t leave me.

Running– I’m happy with what I have been able to achieve, lucky me! My calf injury is clearing up too.

Looking relatively fresh at the finish...Photo courtesy of MEC.

Looking relatively fresh at the finish…Photo courtesy of MEC.

Parents/family– They exist and sometime exist to annoy me. But hey, they seem to always have my back.

Christmas with the family

Christmas with the family

Friends– I am going to watch a friend run his second marathon on Sunday. I’m so impressed by that- and I also think he is crazy- but I’m proud of him. Also my other friend who is going in on making ciders with me–a few years in the making but it’s happening!! YESSS!

Sasquatch!

Sasquatch!

Health– Not always a guarantee given how much complaining I have been doing about my out of control allergies lately, but on the whole, I am fortunate.

Good food– I love lots of food as evidenced in my post yesterday. Yum!!

Pick everything!

Pick everything!

And that’s it. Happy Thanksgiving!