One view I’m sick of.


My body just can’t keep it together this year, it seems.

I’m back in a hospital- this is my third night here. This is, thankfully, completely unrelated to the surgery I had last month- but unfortunately may result in another surgery. Tuesday evening I started feeling pretty sick, and I thought I was food poisoning- as I had had the same symptoms twice earlier this year when I was overseas. Both previous times I was scary sick for 3-4 days, first 24 hours consist of getting absolutely everything possible out of my stomach- the next few days trying not to move. This was/is pretty much the same. The difference this time being I actually went to a hospital because I couldn’t handle the pain.

And I’ve been here since.

The doctors here don’t seem to think its food poisoning. Reoccurring appendicitis is their diagnosis, after my blood results Wednesday show a high white blood count and general palpations of my lower abdominals are not fun at all. I haven’t had any morphine since the first night- haven’t really needed it and my reaction to it Tuesday kinda scared me so I’m avoiding it if I can. Was similar to my reaction going under for surgery last time, and coming out of anesthetic. The sensation of suffocating and dizziness are just not what I like to feel. Ever.

They haven’t been definite on if they are doing sugary ASAP or if they are waiting. It tends to change based on who sees me. Dr Clayton, the surgeon in Carman, said today that he didn’t think he was going to “cut me up” right away, and maybe wait to see if we could do it sometime other then when I’m about to start school. But the night nurse just told me to hold off eating and drinking after midnight, “just in case”. But it sounds like, at some point, I will be having another surgery. Perfect.

My WBC was better today, but I still don’t feel near 100%, especially after eating. This hospital bed is managing to make every thing that had improved in my back and shoulder feel awful and basically my body feels bruised from the inside out (probably from all the dry heaving I did Tuesday). Also I’m realizing I am WAY too used to hospitals and everything that comes with it. I don’t even blink over needles, iVs, or drawing blood anymore. I can tell when a nurse is headed towards my room long before they get here, and I haven’t died of boredom yet. The only thing I can’t do is morphine, so hopefully I don’t need anymore of that for a while..

Anybody know where I can buy a bubble?

One day

Today was short and sweet, and a lovely way to end the season.

The only class we had today was the hunter derby. Now I realize I’ve been talking about the derby on here and really haven’t explained it. Really it’s just a big hunter course, this one had 15 jumps set between 2’6 and 2’9 ish, with options having more points. So there were often two jumps beside each other, one higher- equalling more points. Both the hunter and jumper rings at BHP were used and natural obstacles such as the bank and others were involved in the course- with easier options. There was a brief chance to school many of the options before the class started. There are two rounds, top 8 advancing.
Here is my best effort at describing the course: we started on a single diagonal vertical with a higher option (I took all the height options), bending line to the problem oxer from the previous days- it was no problem today thankfully! Then a bend and gallop to jump number 3, a single oxer, to a outside vertical, bending line to a oxer. This oxer was causing some problems today because you ride the bending line to it around the judges booth- which was set in the middle of the ring- so jump number 5 really comes out of nowhere. We got over it just fine and galloped down to 6, a vertical at the bottom of the ring- I made the mistake of letting him be a little too cautious to this jump and getting ahead- which resulted in a rail for us. 7 was an option of the ditch or a vertical on the outside rail of the jumper ring- we did the vertical (quite nicely too), then a turn to a bending line across the middle of the ring, tight handy turn to jump number 10, a vertical with bales underneath, then up the hill to a 5 stride, down the hill balancing to the castle jump (so much fun), and then a turn to the final combo, a two stride. That makes sense in my head because I walked it, visualize it, and rode it today- but I’m sure it makes no sense to you reading it unless you were there.
I was SO impressed with my horse. Many of the jumps in there he hadn’t seen- and he has never had to ride up and down hills in a course, and he even did the bank first time in schooling- no questions asked. He galloped around that course like a pro, brave as could be. I think he was having about as much fun as I was! Our score after the first round was 53- unfortunately the rail was what brought it down and we didn’t make the first cut. Without that rail we definitely would have been in the top 8.
Mike and Charlene were both very happy with us- Mike even said that “we might make a rider out of you one day”. One day… One day. I was all smiles for the rest of the day. The trick to courses like this is to gallop around and pull out all the bravery you have. Sit up and keep your leg on and equal pressure in the reins. Don’t abandon your horse. And your horse won’t abandon you.
So with that, my 2012 season is over! I had so much fun this weekend, and at every show I was able to go to. My horse is really giving his all for me- and I am becoming a much better rider then I was even a short time ago- and we are a much better team because of that. It’s funny how quickly progress can happen sometimes, I believe it was last year I wrote around this time about everything “clicking”, and here it’s happened again, even more so. I wonder where we’ll be this time next year..

Only time will tell.




First time for everything

Well today was interesting.

It started off with scrubbing stains out of my horses ear, and thoroughly upsetting him because clearly it was breakfast time- not face washing time. At least we know he slept well. After wandering the show grounds aimlessly for the better part of 7am- 11am trying to stay warm, we got on and had an awesome warm up for our 2’9 handy round. The course was simple enough, single vertical off the diagonal away, to a bending line coming home to an outside six, to a diagonal 5, finishing with a roll back from a outside single oxer to a vertical on the diagonal quarter line.

For any of you who read that and were lost.. Don’t worry- its something probably only other riders will be able to decipher as its what goes on in my head while learning and riding a course. Except this course apparently. I jumped into the first jump, got to the second (the in of the bending line) and had a great jump, galloped down to the out of that line, a perfect distance set up, legs on, eyes up- aannnnd he ran out the left side. This is the same jump that caused so many problems yesterday (myself included), and it did the same today. This time thankfully I stuck to the saddle and was able to get him over the second time. This is where my brain stopped using all reasonablelogic. From this jump I proceeded to head towards jump 8. The single oxer on the outside. Before I got there I heard someone yelling “other way! Other way!” and two strides out it clicked that I had absolutely no idea where I was going. None. Whatsoever. But taking the voice shouting in I decided to turn around and eventually figured out where to go. After this I had a great round. Even though I was disqualified for crossing my track and therefore going off course. This is, as far as I can recall, the first time I have ever gone off course. Ever. Silver lining, it was a great warm up round!

After that fiasco I had my 2’9 under saddle which we placed third in. And I had some time to catch my breath before I warmed up for my 3fts (again super warm up). My first 3ft course today was pretty simple. Diagonal coming home, outside 6, diagonal 5, outside oxer, to inside bending line. This course went much smoother, mostly because it didn’t have the apparently super scary oxer in it. We added in our outside 6, but everything else was grand. He was jumping so well! We placed 4th in this round. Our 3ft handy was the same course as the earlier handy. And I went in prepared for war. Crop in my left hand, good pace, leg on, supporting him with all I had, lots of left aides coming up to jump number 3, straight line to the jump, no surprises (and really- he has to know its there by now), aaaaand he ran out the right side. Thankfully this time I kept my conscious mind in place and he got a good thwack and off we went over the jump the second time and proceeded to have a fantastic ride rest of the course. Mike said he easily would have won if we had gotten that jump the first time. Seeing as almost everybody had problems with that line. Apparently it’s a scary jump. As it was we placed 5th in that class, and pinned third in our under saddle again. Not bad for what it was! Still pretty shocked at getting lost in the first course, but as they say there is a first time for everything. And based on how much everybody was struggling with that fence- I am really not too worried about it. Yes, its frustrating. Horribly frustrating. But looking at the bigger picture, he’s had a spectacular season. Even comparing this season with 2011’s season I see huge improvements in both me and my horse. I am stronger, and we are both more confident.
Tomorrow we are doing the hunter derby- which I am so excited for! Hopefully they choose to not include that one oxer though.. That would make a lot of lives easier, I think- based on the past two days! Either way it should be a fun class and a great way to end the season!

Stay Positive

Day 1 at Fall Harvest went about as well as I could have hoped! And we survived the extreme humidity. Thank you Gatorade!

The reason I have the title as “stay positive” is because it was a phrase tossed around a lot today by Mike and Charlene. When they say it, they mean it in a physical, biomechanical sense. As in, when you are riding on course- keep your body upright and your leg on with a feel on the horse’s mouth. Supporting your horse to every fence and waiting for the distance. Not letting yourself jump ahead or fall forward or get weak with your leg. It’s also a phrase I use a lot with myself when I get frustrated over insignificant things that shouldn’t bother me.

All my rounds today went very, very well. My 2’9 was smooth and put together, although I added on the seven stride- which was the right decision for what it was. I generally use this class as a warm up for my 3fts so adding is not a bad thing because it sets us up nicely for the bigger jumps later on. I had my Sr Low 3ft division today- and I honestly couldn’t be happier with my horse. He was a little picky in the warm up ring but once we got into the class he tried his heart out for me. And I felt so strong in the tack today. Our first round in 3ft included the 2 stride, which was so much fun! I jumped in a little tight, so initially I was worried about ending up with an add, but almost immediately I heard Mike’s voice in my ear saying “sit up, leg on, feel the reigns and trust him”. Guess what. It worked. He jumped out of there like he could do 2 strides all day every day, giving me a huge effort over the out oxer. We placed 5th in this round. Next was the handy round, the handy part being a tricky bending line from jumps 6-7- and -8. Six and seven were easy as they had been included in the previous courses. Eight was the tricky jump. A oxer facing the out gate off a bending turn. A lot of people had problems at this jump- including me. I’d had a great round up until this point. Perfect distances in both lines and he was jumping so nice. Up and over six and seven in good distance and as I made the turn for 8, we drifted slightly to the outside- as he thought we were done and I wasn’t quite “positive” enough. Now this drift wouldn’t have been a big problem if I had caught it in time- unfortunately I had been lulled into a trance by our great round so far and let down my guard a bit too much. Of course we didn’t find a great distance to eight and of course I didn’t support him through it which resulted in him skidding to a stop and me jumping out of the tack. I landed on my feet thankfully, and have a very sore foot as a result. He wasn’t being dirty, he was just a little unsure of the distance and didn’t have much support from me. Many other people on this course had the exact same issue- which means the course designer set a fair challenge. It was very frustrating to end up DQ’d after such a great round otherwise, but in all reality I have to “stay positive” and recognize exactly that. It was a great round otherwise and I have so much to take from the experience. It was a reminder to me why I have to be there for my horse- no matter how well he is going. It’s a team effort. As Charlene likes to say, “horses keep us humble”, and this was a perfect example of that. Mike and Charlene were both very happy with my riding today, especially since I’ve been on for only a week in prep for this show. So that’s encouraging, maybe some of their lessons are finally starting to sink in!

Tomorrow is a new day, and I hope we can recreate some of the rounds we had today! Such a good feeling!

Electrolytes and Insanity

What an exhausting week! And it’s not even over yet.

I’m sure the only reason I’m still going is my consumption of Gatorade, booster juice, and pizza. Okay maybe not the pizza. My days have been spent between work and organizing school stuff- and my evenings riding, coaching, a little gym time, and more riding. For all those concerned over the welfare of my butt, don’t worry- its surviving just fine!
Today was warm ups for Fall Harvest! I made it! Now I just have to survive the next 3 days. By Sunday it will be 7 straight days of intense riding, 5 of those days jumping days, and 3 of those 5 competition days. All that after 6 weeks of literal down time. One might consider this insanity. Needless to say I’m pretty tired, and sore. Feeling pretty out of riding shape, but so happy to be here and competing anyway. So far I’ve been pretty impressed with how my back/hip has been handling the sudden throw back into riding. Haven’t felt anymore then fatigue in my left hip, so far. This weekend will be a good test for it. This might be the result of any number of things- the surgery improving things was one theory, or the new treatment I’ve been trying is working (dry needling/active release), a month off has tricked it into behaving, perhaps- or any number of things. Whatever it is, I’m not complaining. But I am interested to see what comes of it after I compete for 3 days, as shows usually tend to bring out its worst. Fingers crossed!
This weekend I’m competing in my regular divisions, jr amateur 2’9 and both senior and open low 3 ft divisions- with the hope of doing the derby on Sunday. Our warm ups today went very smoothly, it was a very bendy course with a two stride! Which means the courses this weekend should be fun and provide a good challenge!
Tomorrow morning starts at 5:30 am, so I’ll leave it here for now and update when I have something more interesting to say!

Wish me luck!

Just in time

I’ve broken my record for length between posts, I think. Which must mean my life is finally getting back on track (insanely busy)!

It’s been just over a month now since “the surgery”, and I’m finally almost back to normal. I’m done dressing changes, and although there is still some healing needing to be done- I’m pretty much able to forget about it and just let it happen. Which is good, because that means I can ride! Yesterday was my first real ride back since surgery, and I haven’t been that happy in a long time! Willard has been moved to McMullans for the week as we’re planning on going to Fall Harvest this weekend. Yes, a show right after a month off- an excellent plan, isn’t it? Any other year I might not have felt comfortable doing this, but this year I have complete faith in my horse and our ability that this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. And here is where I need to say a HUGE thank you to my friend and fellow rider Laura Clark, who rides at Bluebear and also hails from Carman. She has been coming and hacking Willard for me over the past month and after riding him tonight in the ring I was so happy to find he was moving beautifully and so willing to do lateral work. Like I never got off! I knew he would be in good  hands with her. So, Laura if you read this, thank you thank you thank you!  It’s great to know my horse is in relative condition even when I’ve been unable to ride for a while.

I rode for about an hour and a half yesterday, and an hour today- I just couldn’t bring myself to get off. Even though my body has gotten a little too used to the easy life. I’ve been slowly trying to add things to my schedule, like work outs and now riding, plus work- and soon school again. 2 months ago it was easy to do all of those things in one day and still have energy at the end of the day. Now, it’s a little more challenging. I’m still trying to find the energy I used to have. I’m sure it will come back, I’m not really giving it a choice. Hopefully over the next couple weeks, as my schedule starts to pick up again I will feel back to normal. School is only a couple weeks away!!! I can’t believe how excited I am! Before I started this post I had my nose stuck in one of my texts already. Wonder how long this will last? Haha

My class schedule is pretty full. Actually, it is completely full. I have 10 courses, my 5 for the fall are: Nutrition, Biomechanics, Data Analysis, Anatomy and Physiology, and Scientific Principles of Fitness and Conditioning. Following those, with my AP running all year, are: Intro Kinesiology, Research Methods, Prevention and Care of Injuries, and Psych in Sport and Life. It’s definitely going to be a challenging year, to say the least. To add onto my school schedule, I plan on riding and working as well. Although fall has some of my tougher courses, I think it will be the easier term, schedule wise as most days all my classes are in the afternoons- so I’ll have most mornings and evenings free to work and ride and study. The winter term things get a little crazier with courses spanning from late morning to evening classes plus a Saturday class- which means I’ll be in school 6 days a week. Unfortunately this was the only way I could schedule things so I got into all my classes and labs, so it will have to do! The past week or so has been a flurry of me organizing text books, gym memberships, locker rentals, and everything in between. Thankfully most of that is done now and I can focus on Fall Harvest, and then finish moving things to the city and settle in there. As much as I’ve been pretty stressed lately, it’s all for the right reasons and I’m very excited to face the challenges that come up this year in school. I proved to myself in Anatomy this spring that I can get decent grades if I work hard at it, so I hope I can continue proving that to myself in the future. That B was definitely not easy for me, but it was such an accomplishment when I got it! I still stop and wonder sometimes why I chose this path. What is someone who has always drifted towards arts and never did well in sciences doing in a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the most challenging specialities?! At the same time, I can’t see myself doing anything else. And the more I talk to other people in the profession, the more I fall in love with it.

That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m exhausted! Here are a couple pictures from my ride on Sunday- and I hope I write again soon! There will definitely be a Fall Harvest update!

MS River Rouge cruise!


Diamond- 60 years


It was my gorgeous grandparents 60th Anniversary last weekend, and so we celebrated this weekend with friends and family. I could not have been more blessed with the family I have, and am so inspired by my grandparents. They are two amazing people and not one day goes by where I’m not grateful for them. All they’ve accomplished in their lifetime is truly inspiring and makes me proud to be part of their story. Here are some shots from Saturday’s party!

Betty, Vic, and Grandpa

Betty and Vic

Uncle Lyle and Grandpa

Lyle and Terry

Grandpa and Summer

Grandpa and yours truly

Momma and I

Jane, Allyson, Mom!

Jane and Kathy

Darryl, Allyson, and Summer

Grandpa and Grandma!

Watching the slideshow.

Lyle, Grandpa, Grandma, Mom, and Darryl

All of us!

I could write forever on how great these people are, and how much they mean to me. But I think you can see within these pictures what a happy, loving group of people this is. Some of my favourite memories stem from time spent around them, and I draw a lot of what keeps me going from them. I was so glad to see everyone happy and healthy this weekend, and I hope there are many more like it!

The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.