Intro to Summer

As usual the past few weeks have been a blur. Between studying for exams, showing, working, and finally writing exams- I’m now realizing I feel quite lost not having anything to study for.. until September anyway. I’ve filled that gap by trying to plan out my courses for next year. A task that is actually impossible, seeing as I’ve been given a VERY late registration date because somebody in the office screwed up and lost my paperwork along the way, so most of the sections I’m hoping to get into will most likely be full by the time I register, which means I’ll be rearranging this schedule a thousand times over no doubt. Luckily, I have a friend on the inside (my AT) who is always there to help pick the right courses and answer any questions! Can we say hero?

As you may recall, I was at Summer Smiles horse show over the past weekend, and it was definitely summery and full of smiles! I got into Winnipeg from Regina at 8am (getting up at 3:30am was really fun), and made a fast transition from half asleep, grody commuter to semi-awake student and managed to get to the University by 9am to catch my last review lab. After that I had a quick study date at Olive Garden with my favourite study buddy Michelle, and then squeezed in a quick nap before heading out to BHP for warm ups. Because my mom is awesome, my horse was already there and all I had to do was check in at the show office, put numbers on tack, and head out to the ring. Will was a star, very concurrent to how he’s been all spring. So after going over a few jumps, having pizza with Mike and Charlene and a few others from the barn, braiding, and making sure everything was good to go for the morning- I made it back to my apartment, only almost falling asleep on the way back to the city a couple times. Back at the park for Day 1 by 7:30, I quickly realized that Mr. Willard had waaaaay too much energy for the hunter ring, or any ring. So, since I had hours to spare, I set about working his energy levels down. Generally I’ll hack for about half an hour on show mornings. I spent an hour and a half on him that morning, and believe me- one of us was worn out. Nevertheless, it was the right choice- as he was perfect for all our rounds that day! We won our 2’9″ Jr/Amateur class, and placed top 5 in all our Sr. Low rounds. Mike summed it up perfectly later that day by saying “you have to do what’s necessary to be successful”, so if that means spending almost two hours hacking- it’s worth it. My original plan for this weekend was to spend the extra time I always have at shows studying and reviewing for exams. I have no idea why I thought that was going to work. I really tried hard on Saturday to focus on studying, but when I’m in horse show mode- trying to memorize the origin, insertion, actions, and innervation of the pectineus muscle just doesn’t work out. Plus I was extremely tired. So I decided to give up on the day time studying, and focus on studying after the show day was over. Again, why would I think that would work? By the time I got back to my place at 7:30pm, I sat down to study and woke up an hour later with metal ring imprints across my cheek from passing out across my notebook. After that I decided I should maybe just go to bed, at 8pm. That 14 hrs of sleep was worth it though, Sunday was another great day, without excess energy thankfully. We pulled off a reserve champion in the Jr/Amateur Division, and again top 5 placings in the 3ft classes. I even had enough left in the tank to do a little studying that night.

Patti, Charlene, Alison, and I rushing to wait some more..

Monday morning began with the last quiz of the course, and it went very well! That gave me a little bit of confidence to roll with for the exams on Wednesday and Thursday. The bell ringer on Wednesday wasn’t my best work, I don’t think anyway, but Thursdays written portion felt really good. Either way, I’m done for a couple months! Now what?

On Tuesday this week, I had my second consult with a sports med regarding the old reoccurring back injury that never seems to leave and also opinions on if and how the cyst on my tailbone could be affecting it. A couple weeks ago I had a consult with a doctor at Pan Am, on the same thing, who x-rayed my back and found nothing and ordered a MRI which I’m booked for later in July. She was pretty unhelpful, in the sense that she couldn’t really give a definitive answer to anything I was asking other then saying that the pilonidal sinus could be related, but there were too many factors to be sure, and that SI joints are tricky and the best thing she could suggest is cortisone shots and discussing other invasive treatments outside of the therapy I’m already doing.  The doctor I saw this week, at Legacy, is also very interested in seeing the MRI and hopes to be able to give me a better answer after those results. Although his initial diagnosis, without the MRI results, isn’t the best (mechanical back pain, likely chronic), he seemed pretty proactive and willing to help me try out more treatment options such as acupuncture/dry needling to go along side therapy – seeing as I’ve tried everything else. My AT, who I trust more then anyone, is thinking that this upcoming surgery on the cyst is going to make a big difference. There is a structural problem that keeps reoccurring, and we can’t quite figure out why. Basically what happens is my SI joint slips out of place, causing the left part of my pelvis to rotate funny- in turn causing lower back muscles, hip, and thigh muscles to do really painful things. Bending over lots is usually what really sets it off, which is a good reason that I’m no longer working in the manual labour field- because that’s all I was doing. As much as I’m frustrated that nothing is fixing this problem long term, I’m very glad I have such a talented AT on my side- keeping me functioning and somewhat sane.

And so now I get to enjoy 2 weeks of summer before I go under the knife and spend most of July recovering. I’m loving my new job, although it’s quite a transition going from outdoor work to a office job. What’s on my list of things to do during the next two weeks?

1. Ride (duh), as much as possible! I had an awesome ride tonight, even though it was nothing more then a simple hack in the ring here at home. It was one of those rides where I felt completely ‘in the zone’ the whole time, and like my horse could read my thoughts, and I his. Every rider will know that feeling, and know how great (and addicting) it is. With the MHJA Beach Party show approaching this coming weekend- I’m grateful for every ride I have like this. There is no better feeling then feeling that focused in competition!

I’ve also been coaching a local girl for a few weeks now, and I’m loving watching her progress! It’s a great challenge for me trying to explain the simplest parts of riding to someone who doesn’t necessarily understand them yet. It’s not always easy to explain something that has become second nature to you. I’m getting better at it though, and by the improvements I see every week in my student- she is understanding at least some of what I say! I’m happy that at least if I can’t be riding most of the summer, I can be helping someone else build skills in the sport!

2. Run, bike, plank, push up, pull up, lunge, squat, lift, press, work out! I’m seriously going to miss the gym, almost as much as I’ll miss riding during recovery time. The changes I’ve seen in myself over the past 6-8 weeks of consistent training are amazing, and I am so excited to get back into it as soon as I can.

3. Work. Because my student life has taken a serious tole on my bank account. The fact that I’ve been in between pay cheques for quite a while now doesn’t help either. Luckily for me, my next pay cheque should come through.. right after surgery. So my two weeks of real summer will be spent doing the cheapest activities I can find. AKA, hanging out with my parents.. a lot đŸ™‚

All that makes for a very, very busy couple weeks. But, I usually function better when I’m kept busy- so I’m glad for that! There will certainly be some crazy days, where I’m not quite sure how the schedule is going to fit. Example being, next thursday when I have my pre-op/anesthesiologist appts all afternoon at Boundary Trails in Winkler, and then warmups at the RRX grounds in Winnipeg. Everything always works out though, in the end- so all I can do is keep right on going- one day at a time.

Somebody told them they could grow up, graduate, and make me feel old!


Again, time is flying. I think I need to clip it’s wings, this is getting out of control.

A LOT has happened in the past few weeks. I’ve been too busy to think, as usual. Cramming my schedule as full as I can, and paying for it. But some things have changed that I hope will make a few things a bit less stressful over the next while.

The biggest news I have is that I’ve changed jobs! Which makes me very happy, because, although Aubin’s was a friendly place to work- it was really effecting my back in ways that did not make me happy- and I’m relearning how touchy my back can be, unfortunately. I’ve been interviewing for a few different positions over the past month or so- all of which would have been good options for me. But then, as life always does, a option came out of the blue that was really too good to pass up. Due to a lucky series of events, I got offered a job at Farm Business Communications- the same company my mom works for- as they needed a position filled ASAP, and knew I was capable of the work (work being video previews/interviews on new and upcoming farm products). These events happened late last week, I accepted the job on Friday, and as of this morning I’ve been in Regina covering Canada’s Farm Progress Show. Talk about jumping right in. I didn’t really do much today, just helped some other FBC staff set up booths around the trade show- tomorrow I’ll start my project. I have about 45 new “innovations” to talk to, take video of, take pictures of over the next two days.

This is something that I feel pretty out of my league in. Not going to lie. Although just bumming around the show today I realized that I am pretty comfortable in this type of situation. It really is just RMWF.. times 10.. on steroids. And the fact that I don’t have a hot clue what half of these products are for will probably be okay, seeing as I’m supposed to put together video explaining them. I won’t have to play dumb, let’s put it that way. No acting necessary. I think my biggest challenge will be keeping the technology on my side. I’ve already realized that the memory cards that came with my video camera don’t work with it, so I’ll be relying on the internal memory, which severely limits my space. So there will be a lot of downloading breaks. Sounds quality will also be a challenge, as the crowds will be spectacular. Another great thing about this new job, I will be able to keep working even during recovery from surgery (July 12th). Something I definitely wouldn’t be doing if I stayed at Aubin’s. Which is a relief. I never thought I’d be grateful for all those times I spent following my mom around at events like this. But I realized today that none of this is new to me- except now I’m the one interviewing and taking notes.. instead of being bored watching Mom do it. And it is SO weird to be at something like this, with my mom’s colleagues, without her here too. I have to say though, even though this is probably the last thing I would have seen myself doing this summer- I’m liking the challenge it brings so far. It’s taking me out of my comfort zones and will help me build new skills that can only help me later on.

I’m here in Regina until Friday, when I fly out bright and early at 6am back to the ‘Peg, getting back just in time to catch my final review class of my Anatomy class and then head to BHP for warm ups at the Summer Smiles Show. Seems like just yesterday I was just starting this course, and now I’m a week away from writing my finals. I was hoping to just be able to focus on studying this week, so I could ease a little stress off the weekend at Summer Smiles and just worry about competing, not cramming- but as my life keeps reminding me this is rarely an option. What fun would it be if things always went to plan right? And this is definitely a acceptable change. I’ve been flash carding myself in almost every possible spare second I have (except for right now, consider this my study break). And if any of you are at the show this weekend and see me sitting around not studying? Smack me, please. Unless I’m riding- then please don’t.

View from my room at U of R, 10th floor.

The Gift

It’s next to impossible to predict where you’re going to end up, or how happy you’re going to be, or what you need when- until you know. We go so long not appreciating what we have, only to look back and realize what we missed. Sometimes I think that happens for a reason; how else would we be able to learn from experience? There was so many times in NZ that I couldn’t get myself out of what was definitely the darkest place I’ve ever been. But upon drawing from past experience and lessons learnt I didn’t give into that, and low and behold I learned too much to list and was able to turn some brutal times into experience that will help me the rest of my life. It’s taken me awhile to be grateful for all the crap I had to handle over there- and believe me I still have moments where I struggle to see the good in some things. But it’s getting easier to appreciate ‘the gift’ all that bad brought me. Insert typical “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” quote.

I’ve been thinking about NZ a lot lately. To be honest I never really stop thinking about it. Thinking about all the good, and the.. challenging things I experienced in those 6 months away. Thinking about all that’s changed and how I’ve grown. Thinking about what I miss and what I don’t. I remember often being frustrated while I was over there because I couldn’t make progress towards goals that had to do with school, or sport and being anxious to get home for that reason; so I could get back into school and into training. What I didn’t realize then was that I was taking steps towards those goals, just in a different way. During my time there I came to the realization that I wanted to change career paths. Who knows if I would have come to that conclusion as quickly if I’d been here in school. More then that, being away taught me how much I really want to reach those goals. I came home more driven and focused then I’ve ever been in my life. And in order to keep the schedule I do, that is what I needed. There is no way I could have a life like I do right now and not be determined or focused. As it is I could do with a little more focus sometimes.

When I was flying over BC in March, looking at the snow covered mountains, I had to work hard to fight back tears. Mostly tears of excitement over being home after what seemed like a long, hard 6 months. I was ready to be back in the comfort of home. But, as anybody who travels will tell you, its hard to come home after being away for so long. Especially after growing so much as a person.  It took about a week of me being home for me to feel a little lost somewhere that is the most familiar to me. But- at the same time- I came back with a different perspective. I came back ready to chase my dreams harder then I ever have before. I don’t get shaken by much anymore because more then once I’ve experienced how far you can fall and then all at once find a way to get back up. I started to realize what my priorities are, and that I can’t wait for people to make decisions about my life- because it’s just that, my life. I know I made the right decision to come home when I did. I love school, and that my horse is going as well as he is so far this season. Neither of those would have been possible without that extra 3 months in the home country. Part of what is sometimes disorientating about being home, still, is trying to fit in as the person I became in the place of the person I left as. If that makes sense. As much as I adore everything about living at home- small town life isn’t quite jamming with where I’m at right now. There really isn’t a better way to describe it.

I think the past few posts have been about my amazing horse. The fact that he has been going so well this year is also partially thanks to all those things I picked up in NZ. The confidence I feel between us lately is spectacular, and I can thank every horse, trainer, and owner that I worked with/under overseas. Riding different horses is such a good way to develop confidence and skills in the saddle. Doing that under the scrutiny of other trainers and in a high stress situation really doesn’t hurt either (well, after the fact anyway). My riding is more instinctual now. It takes less time for me to process decisions. Where I used to hesitate, I now act. All of this is effecting my horse in the most positive way possible. Because horses are such responsive creatures, every ounce of confidence I feel- he picks up too. One of the reasons riders are some of the most focused people I know- without that, there is no partnership, and with no team- you have no success. And as any rider will tell you, what you feel when all there is between you and your horse is pure trust and you feel like you can do anything- is by far the best feeling out there. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to achieve that in almost every ride this season so far. 

Our first show will most definitely be Summer Smiles in June at BHP. I’m more then excited, and really hoping all he’s been doing at home is going to come through at the show- otherwise I’ll look like a dick saying all these wonderful things about him haha. To makes things a little more stressful, because that’s what I excel at apparently, my final exams fall approximately 2 days after that show- which means on top of showing I’ll have to be studying in every single spare second I have. As far as the midterm, I’m not going to complain about my mark. It definitely could have been higher- but it also could have been much worse. It’s good enough to keep my average at a place I’m happy with. It’s at the right level to kick my ass in gear to push a little harder next time- which is good. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.