Forget Me

And as we start getting back to normal, I started my lessons back up! Of course after 2 months of no lessons…I desperately needed them. My jump lesson was good and to the point, and Oats got back to it like he had never been away! Small tiny little cross poles, but it felt good to get back to the groove again with my honest as the day is long pony. A good feeling for sure 🙂

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Hard to believe this was in March, and like one of our last jump lessons?!

I then had my first dressage lesson back on Saturday at the freaking crack of dawn, and you know what? I wanted to really take me and Oats back to basics. My hands are too rough, I feel like he is shortening through his neck because of that in the warm-up, and our transitions are now non-existent and tough and leaning. I know a lot of this is because of the weird anxiety I had over the past two months, but that is no excuse for BAD hands and terrible warm-ups and transitions.

So, our entire dressage lesson was a rework on soft hands through the warm-up to start things off on the right foot. And you know what? It felt great! I was able to warm up with soft hands and then incrementally work them up into the contact. Oats was then more responsive off my seat!

Of course, he was still a spooky goof yesterday, so I spanked him pretty hard and then we revisited what we learned on Saturday about warming up nicely, stretching rather than compressing his neck and spent the whole ride yesterday just doing that- and it was good! He was pretty sweaty, but it wasn’t difficult work- it was just comprehensive and warming up with ‘reach’ rather than some sort of weird giraffe-neck.

He spooks because he can get bored, and I’m like, enough of that!!

But then he got down to business, and was reaching quite nicely. I’m so glad to be able to get guidance again. I definitely need it to keep both of us honest, nice to each other, and back on track!! Oats likes it too 🙂

Oats and I then got to explore one of the unused pastures to see if it ok for turn-out, and it was. Oats was in hog heaven, with knee-high grass and weeds everywhere!

When your life resumes (sort of)

At least my riding lessons are back on! Yes!

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I ran my shoulder into a telephone pole a few weeks ago. Totally an accident but ouch! 

But with the resuming of some ‘normal’ activities comes roaring back all of my previous concerns/issues. Footing in the indoor.  Horses not being turned out enough. The outdoor is kaput, at least for this season? UGH.

I told my husband that I want to just buy a farm and deal with all this myself, dammit!

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Ian made bagels and they were great! 

Otherwise…Address what I can, and then see what I can manage or not manage. Oats has been great otherwise, we had a return to lessons last week (jumping and dressage!) and I was really able to address our warm-up issues in a way that felt both calming, and productive. Go us! Phew!

I felt rusty as all hell but otherwise? Pretty darned good. Oats is moving great, I’m very pleased with that. I missed my trainers like crazy too. All the drama, angst, moving, rude and horrible boarders and COVID 19 and just…Man. My trip to Argentina  (haaaaaaaaa) not a thing anymore, summer holidays..?? Just. ARGH.

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Oats has enjoyed lots of hand grazing, now that I work from home during this time and I have no commute! 

It still feels like some of my life is on hold, and will remain so.

Ian and I are able to get a lot of cool runs done throughout areas locally, and in the Cowichan Valley and I feel extremely grateful that we are able to do so with ease. Same with riding- at least I can do it? Despite all the ‘should I stay or go’ angst that continues to plague us?

I miss horse shows, friends, races, travel…Happy hours are coming back, and so are hair cuts, but the other stuff? Nope.

Ian and I are forced to be creative with our time, so we do a lot of running, food projects, and some creative projects too- like water colours.

This is a long and strange time, and I didn’t want to blog about it because all I felt was gloom and doom. I don’t really feel that anymore, but I do feel like I’m in this strange limbo where everyone is acting like normal, but behind the act is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.

But since it’s going to be awhile, I might as well come back for now.

Prairie Inn Harriers 8k Race Recap: When the problem is you

Yeah it sounds like a grim title, and it isn’t really that terrible BUT I raced on Sunday (ha before the snow really started flying!) and I wasn’t pleased with my body, my results. The race itself was fine, the volunteers are excellent and I even had pizza and cupcakes after! YEah! But during the race, I had a hell of a time trying to breathe. It felt like someone was squeezing my lungs. My throat was on fire from straining to suck in air. I was red-lining the entire race, at a pace that shouldn’t be a problem or issue for me. It was also quite windy, and we faced a real headwind and cold blowing air for a bit of the race. Fun times!

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I got passed by everybody at the finish. Wow that was humbling! 

I was just totally fried. And after the race, my damaged lungs were like, filling with fluid or something? I coughed and coughed and coughed all afternoon/night, horrible racking sounds with a deep chest rattle. I honest to god sounded like a 90 year old person with COPD or something. It was extremely unsettling and really alarmed me. In a moment of desperation I dug out my old inhaler and used it, and was finally able to breathe normally before bed.

Now, this struggle with asthmatic breathing isn’t new to me- in 2016, almost all of my races were shitty and I had some really scary incidents where I thought I was going to pass out because I couldn’t breathe- at all. Finish lines, etc. When I was running the track series, I would cough ALL night.

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I’m a fairly experienced long-distance runner with lungs that are apparently ‘superhuman’ when they were tested two years ago, so really WTF is going on? I had my lung capacity tested, stress-tested (off the charts..), and heart checked with an echocardiogram. All perfect. I ended up getting an inhaler, and regular allergy meds (I have a terrible, year-round allergic cough), and also iron pills for my extremely low iron. That seemed to fix it?

Even now, my throat feels scorched from the efforts on Sunday- and it’s Wednesday. And I still have a sort of cough.

The race was very disappointing, primarily because it felt like my body betrayed me. I tried as hard as I could, and I felt like death, for a minute slower than last year. Ironically, I ran that race with a nasty chest cold, and when I finished I coughed so hard I pulled a muscle in my ribs. ??????

It’s annoying to try so hard and get nowhere. I feel like I am going back in time, to 2016. People tell me that I need to be kinder to myself, to my body. I feel like I can’t sometimes- I want to push, to punish, to try harder, force myself, challenge myself, make myself do it.

That’s not the answer, but it has been my answer- and it worked in the past. Races are really all relative though, so who knows?! Athletic performance is always a bit of a crapshoot, haha.

So my next steps? Get a new, not two-year-old expired inhaler. And then we will see!

Easy tiger

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I love the photos Christi took. I miss summer! (though I don’t miss the drama-filled shitshow that summer turned into…)

After a week fraught with stress, I had a really solid, nice weekend. It was good, relaxing, stuff to do but not TOO much, you know? A fine balance with me. I had a dressage lesson with Sam on Friday and Oats was sassy, and we had to work HARD but it was a far better lesson than last week. I felt like he was more flexible, and not quite so stiff. His left lead canter is still a work in progress, but he was trying, he really was. He wasn’t misbehaving or anything, I could tell it was just tough for him.

So, things to work on. I know that his canter is what is holding us back from Second Level right now- just too much to fix/try to adjust at this point…Oh well, onwards right?

Saturday I had a nice ride, flatwork but working hard at it! The vet came and gave me wormer for Oats – he was going to do it, but I said it would be easier if I did. Oats HATED IT and was in a sad, deflated state after. Nothing looks good, can’t eat, bad taste in my mouth..wah wah poor pony.

Then we had a show- we went to see BRONCHO perform (most of their stuff was from the album Bad Behaviour) and they rocked! Such a fun set. I’m glad my husband sprung for tickets. I was on the fence- not sure if I would like them enough, since they are pretty new to me. But it was super fun!

Sunday I did something fairly ambitious- ran to the barn from home (it was raining in my face the entire way. Joy.), rode (bareback! It was fun and chill. Just what we needed), and then I ran home. It was a lot of running (a cool close to 25k, whewww) but at least it stopped raining and the sun came out! Sure didn’t help the absolutely wicked chafing I experienced…Ouch….that one needs more time to heal. Lesson learned about jogging in wet tights. Bring a spare shirt and shorts. At least it was very mild out?!

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From last spring- I hope we continue to have mild weather~

We even had tacos for dinner and went to Dairy Queen to get dessert- Peanut Buster Parfaits! And on that note- I couldn’t believe how expensive they were now. 1 cost a cool $6.50. Can you believe it? It wasn’t THAT good. Pfft. I won’t go again. Not worth it…Plus the clientele at DQ, in a pretty normal/ok location close to downtown, was ….yikes. Street involved, druggy, a sex worker was wandering around. It was about dinnertime? Hm.

I am dealing with a lot of rebound hunger today though, ha. Despite my dinner + dessert!

Comeback kid?

So I deliberately haven’t been updating my blog because I wasn’t happy with what I was writing (read: ALL ranting). Gosh, it was too much even for me! I don’t like being a black cloud. And it felt like my entire summer leading to fall was just so…Disappointing.

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Dressage day. My friend did the braids, aren’t they cute?

But, as my counselor says, the path to enlightenment is long and sometimes hard. And once you’re on it, you can’t really get off it!

So, here is a recap of my season-ending horse show. And as a tale of two horse shows, it went well, and badly! Ha. I had two kind of lousy riding lessons the week before, back-to-back. They were technical and I just felt…Like I didn’t know how to ride anymore. That was a marked difference from my last show (CDRC that is) when I felt like I was on top of the world! Nothing could bring me down!

And now, I’m down. I felt deflated and uninterested in going. But I also didn’t want to bail on my friend, who I really enjoy showing with. Sooooooo…My headspace was kind of ambivalent. And I am not really an ambivalent person.

Saturday was dressage, and I was a bit anxious about it, because our last dressage outing, Oats was tense, anxious, gassy as heck and acting strangely. It worried me a lot! It was terrible. This time? Our first test sucked, he was distracted and tense through his neck/poll, but ok, fine. Our second felt lovely, enough though I forgot how to ride the counter-canter loop on the second pass and he swapped! Shit!! BUT the rest of the test was lovely, and I was super happy with Oats. We won the class with a 67%, which was very reasonable, and we were third in our first class with a 64%, which was fair. The judge was pretty tough, but I found my scores to be right in line. The classes were quite large! About 13 rides in Test 1.

Our jumping the next day, well…I was ambivalent as I mentioned, and it was pissing down rain the whole time. UGH. I so did not want to be there, getting soaked. Oats felt the same, I guess, because he stopped at SO many jumps. Shit!! Needless to say, we’ve had better, and quite frankly, been better prepared. I should have left my ego at the door and gone down a level, but I didn’t. So, I learned something more about myself and my horse- if in doubt, knock one down. There’s no harm in it.

Lessons learned, all!

Here’s to a more productive, learning September and fall. I guess it can only get better from here?

Cruel Runnings

This week was objectively much better than last! I’m feeling good, had my last day of shockwave and am now on a three-week trajectory to hopefully being able to run pain-free without flare-ups again, so why do I feel so ambivalent?

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I just want this good feeling back! Plus I miss the nice weather…

I have a horse show this weekend, and my lessons this week have been so…awkward that I am starting to not look forward to riding in it. Weird eh?

We worked on some technical polework in my lesson Wednesday and while hilarious, it was definitely a challenge (Oats was convinced we were JUMPING and why did we have to canter each pole nicely? Why??)…And then in my lesson yesterday, I just felt so stiff and disconnected and annoyed with Oats, who in turn ALSO felt stiff and his canter felt more like a bunny hop than a canter…It was not great. Our steering was miserable, his canter felt bad, I got really backed off in the grid-pole exercise and couldn’t focus.

Kind of a deflating few lessons. I like having super great power lessons to leave me on a confident high before my shows, but this week? Ha, NOPE.

I came out of my ride yesterday not really feeling disappointed (look, polework is tough for both of us, and I just couldn’t get in to the rhythm!), but feeling extremely ambivalent about riding in the show tomorrow. I just wanted to scratch. Sigh…

But when I get down to it, my goals for the show aren’t really anything? I want to have a fun time with my friends, and enjoy the companionship with my horse. If anything, I had a fabulous few rides last week and the weekend with Oats, so why does the impending horse show throw me in such a tizzy? Am I letting the pressure of it get to me, even if my goal is pretty much- show up, don’t embarrass yourself and learn something good!

Trying to puzzle out why I’ve felt so stiff, awkward and blah this week! I fee Oh well… I’m going to ride tonight, and for me the hardest thing about riding is to enjoy it and not make it a ‘workout’ for me and the horse. Tonight will be a test for me- can I be fair about it, and just cruise?

 

Another one bites the dust! (Almost!)

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Clobbered the jump. Lesson to all- don’t jump ahead! 

Had a VERY close call with falling off in my jump lesson yesterday, but you know what? I was proudest of the fact that even though my ass ended up above the saddle on his neck, barely clinging on, I regrouped, got my head straight, and went out and RODE it. Competently and quietly.

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Now that’s more like it! 

Ok it was a little bit ‘Oats/Jesus take the wheel!’ but hey, we did it! It was definitely a challenge, mentally and physically, for both Oats and myself. Maxed out height for us, a triple combination, going downhill into the setting sun. Not easy for us, likely easy for others! Though don’t ask me to ride a whole course after that, ha. I was spent!

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It felt easy when we did it with small jumps,and then sure, put ’em up. GULP! 

The course itself rode really well, I was feeling really glad about it, but I know that I was in my mind starting to get amped about heading to the combination, as it was the final few fences on course.

As we rounded the corner, I started gunning Oats and went to jump up his neck, and he went NOPE! Guess again!

And I had to cling on, haha.

Luckily he is as honest as a summer day, so we gathered ourselves, and headed back out. I’m just really enjoying my horse. I learned the other day that my sister’s rabbit died (peacefully, in her sleep enjoying a snooze in the backyard) and I was surprised about how I almost cried when I read about it. I just can’t imagine losing another animal, and part of me grieves in advance for when I have to make that heartbreaking decision, or see it happen to one of my darling critters.

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I remember when I almost lost Oats to a serious choking accident.

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Even at his worst after that, every day is golden. Lucky to be here. Horse shows, jumps, dressage shows, they’re all bonuses. My chances to ride him, and enjoy him, are what really matter.

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go Oats go!! 

I do still want to work on my bravery, challenge, keeping my butt out of the saddle, improved straightness and leads. So many things! But I feel good and confident that we can do it. He’s my boy.

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So majestic!