All a blur

This week went by too fast. Stupid short week. I’m having to look back at my Facebook newsfeed to figure out what I crammed into my days lately, because my brain isn’t functioning so well at the recall. And you all thought I post things just for you’re enjoyment, HA, it’s really just because I need some sort of tracker for my life.

What I’m getting so far from my week is that I practiced a lot of first responder scenarios. Like, every day a lot. I am very comfortable with a spine board now. First with Nikki, my football supervisor, and her study partner as they prepared for their CATA exams which took place this weekend (so glad I have another 1-2 years to fret about that one). From this we learned that I am a horrible actor. Unless I actually have had the injury in the scenario (good chance of that). Otherwise it’s clear that I made the right decision to leave my theatre minor when I did. Other practicing took place with some of my classmates, as we prepped for a scenario presentation taking place this coming week. Only a 5% version of our actual 45% final practical. It was very, very interesting going from practicing with two basically certified therapists, who have miles of experience in the field, to practicing with other rookies. There was a lot more awkward silence and panicked looks in the latter.

Wednesday night I attended the Clansmen’s end of season football banquet. Where I was initiated as a team rookie. Apparently its tradition for rookies to be told that the banquet dress code is game attire (jeans and black collared shirt), when it is actually more of a dressy event. Since I am a newbie, I was told just that. I got ready at Nikki’s house, and she went as far as to dress in her game attire, only to change last minute and fill me in on the joke. Didn’t really bother me, I was happy to be going and I was definitely not the only rookie on the team. Also, as a resident kin student, jeans are pretty much my dress-up anyway.

On Thursday apparently the only thing I did was change my profile picture.

Just kidding. We all know my Thursdays are never that simple!

I’ve been picking up my regular evening shifts at MORfit again, both of which with Claude. Tuesday was the crazy day, due to a significant increase in clientele both in the gym and in the clinic, as well as a staff meeting in the middle of it, I was running between the clinic and the desk all night. Thursday was much the same, however I was able to spend a bit more quality time in the clinic. I got to observe and input on an assessment, as well as massage two clients. The second client was my first deep pec massage, and I got to do it with Claude standing over my shoulder. That wasn’t intimidating. However, he gave some really good advice- and soon I was much more effective for both myself and the client. That evening ended with Claude first making sure I was working with him next week, as he had booked extra clients already, and then giving me a legit pat on the back and a “great job tonight” before going on his way.

I remember last week writing something about not knowing what to fill my Fridays with, now that football is over for the year. This week I found a worthy replacement, as I got to have a flat lesson with C on Megg’s horse Justinian, our favourite import over at McMullan’s! I love it when she goes away and asks me to exercise him! Mostly because I get to avoid studying..

Anyway, flat lesson! Probably the most out of shape I’ve felt all year.. It’s definitely my off season. After huffing and puffing my way through a warm-up, I started to get back into “the zone”, if you will. Justinian is a completely different ride from my own Willard. And completely different shape, and has a completely different attitude. But it didn’t seem to take long to adjust to his style, it definitely helped that I’d hacked him a few times this summer. C tuned up my equitation, and reminded me how much I’m missing being in training. Stupid school, stupid career goals.

It was nice to have some guidance with the very minor details in the equitation of working with younger horses, though, especially to gain some exercises to throw good ol’ Sonny into next time I ride at HC. I fully believe every rider should have a few lessons a year on a horse that isn’t their own, just for the added benefit of learning the adaptivity needed to be a well rounded rider. When you’ve been working with one horse predominately for a while, the ability to just think something and have the horse respond instantly because he can pretty much read your mind and you his, can be taken for granted. Getting on a less familiar mount, things change. You have to be crystal clear with your questions, because if you aren’t you for sure won’t get the answer from the horse you wanted or expected.

And then here we are at the weekend again. I actually did get some studying in, but I also spent a good chunk of time with my brain in park. Which is what my weekends turn into. My crazy weeks turn my head into mush, and it usually takes me to just before I write my weekend blog posts on Sundays to recover. This weekend I had some delicious home cooked food, as always, visited with my grandparents over grandpa’s massage, and got to spend time with a good friend. Old fashioned slumber party and all. Thank you bad roads!

This week is bringing more practicing, working, studying, and hopefully eating better then I did last week. I really started to notice how much I’d fallen off the “not eating gluten/sugar” wagon when I just couldn’t keep my energy up no matter how hard I tried. So half way through last week I reevaluated my eating habits and started getting myself back on track. With exams coming up I really have to keep the right things for my body available, because nothing is possible without that piece of the puzzle. I’ve also started adding a few more gym days to my schedule. My body is much happier when I eat right and actually use it.

2 weeks til Finals! Ah!

“The young do not know enough to be prudent- and therefore attempt the impossible- and achieve it- generation after generation.”

Stealing from my Uni blog again…

Don’t worry, another post is coming yet too. But I already had this one written so I figured I’d post it to give you something to read in the meantime. Some of it maybe a repeat, some of it may not be.


It seems like longer than a week ago that football wrapped up for the season. But, I guess it is that time of year when time seems to double its pace.



Our final game went by with no new injuries. Seriously. Nada. The game itself was pretty anticlimactic, after the Clansmen battled their way through play offs to make this final game, they seemed to run out of gas and basically handed the opposing team the championship. It was too bad they didn’t play up to their ability, but it was still pretty awesome to be on the sidelines in the IG Stadium. I remembered my hand warmers, but they were hardly necessary as there were heaters field side which thawed numb fingers in 10 seconds flat. It was a challenge to get the prime spot directly in front of the heat between the players milling around the area as well, but it was a luxury to have hot air anywhere close to where I was standing!





Besides the heaters, the most exciting thing for me about the final game was having a player that I taped pre-game be in awe of my heel-locks (lame– and yes, I am still incorporating heel-locks into my posts. Deal with it.), exclaiming “Wow! That was so fluid and cool looking! Is that hard to do??”.  Maybe one of you paid him to say that so I’d shut up about the darn heel locks already, maybe I’ve actually improved this season. Either way, it was nice to hear! The second cool thing about this game was how the players were afterwards. Yes, they were disappointed and a little down after their loss and the season ending- but more then a few of them made a point of coming up to Nikki and I after the game and thanking us for the season.




So, what did I learn through my first football season?


  • Heel-locks aren’t impossible (sorry, last time)
  • Players respect firm decision making and honesty
  • Fanny packs can look cool (still up for debate)
  • Bring your own water, unless you’re immune to whatever is growing on/in/around the team water bottles
  • Breathing is good. Breathing gets things done.
  • Legs are heavy
  • Even if you have no idea how to fix equipment, players are going to run to you for help anyway. Figure it out.
  • Pre-make heel and lace pads, and make a lot of them
  • Teenagers say the most priceless things (seriously, did we used to say stuff like that?)
  • You’re best prepared to deal with whatever happens if you take care of yourself (sleep, eat, dress appropriately).
  • Jumping into the deep end is the best way to learn, even if its terrifying

And many, many more gems of knowledge. I’ve been asked many times by friends and family if I’ll work in football again, and the answer is always yes. It used to be a sport I was kind of terrified of, and knew nothing about (still on that list is hockey, wrestling, rugby, water polo, and judo)- but now I can add it to the list of things I sort of understand and like.


In other AT news, I somehow found myself giving my 85-year-old grandfather a deep tissue calf massage after he charlie horsed it curling on Friday (**crosses that off bucket list**) I have to say, he complains a lot less then the clients I work with at work with Claude.. Where most people would be expressing many different phrases out of discomfort, he was giggling and saying “yep, you found it.. that’s the spot!”. After working on it for him, he found that he could walk with much less of a limp. I gave him a few stretches and strapped ice on it for him before leaving (and giving him, and grandma, instructions for ice and the next few days etc). He showed up at my door the next morning, telling me how much better it felt and that he went for a walk that morning and could walk “almost like brand new”. Grandma, of course, wasn’t happy, because he hadn’t done his stretches yet that day- and clearly wasn’t following my instructions by the book. You win some you lose some. It was nice to be able to help a family member, even with something as minor as a charlie horse, and see them happy with the results.


I do have some goals for the coming weeks, and I’m sure many of you other students have similar ones: Practice/study the heck out of assessment, first responder, and taping. I’ve started keeping a tally of the reactions I get when I tell people (those not in a science degree) that I have 9 finals. So far it’s been equal between exclaiming “is that legal?!”, speechless jaw dropping, and pity. One of my best friends, who is working on a arts degree, likes to pipe up with:

 “I only have one exam this entire year… and I’ve only ever had one midterm in my entire University career…”.

She isn’t allowed to speak to me on that topic in the first couple weeks of December.


Enjoy the last weeks of the semester, everyone!


A super productive weekend.. studying.. (…sleeping)

If one dreams about reading notes and making study guides.. does that count?

This week seemed both really long, and like it disappeared way too quickly. I’m going to keep this one brief, as I can’t really remember many events from the week right now anyway. Here are some of the memorable moments:

  • Coconut pumpkin cashew chicken curry, on sticky coconut rice noodles, courtesy of Wednesday night wine and dine with Emily. Probably the best recipe we’ve made yet!
  • Walking onto the IG field for our final game on Friday! If you want to feel like a real badass, that is how to do it. Plus, they had sideline heaters. Seriously. I had to compete with players half the game for a spot in front of it.. I lost majority of the time.. because, well, they are twice my size.. BUT STILL. It was super cool to play on the “big kid field” under the lights. Makes one feel important!
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    And so my football season is over. I have Friday’s back, but I haven’t figured out what to fill the time with quite yet. While I don’t have the energy to reflect on it now, trust me- there will be a full katmah style reflective post on football coming soon.
  • Grandpa’s birthday dinner with the famjam. Always a good time when the Rance’s go out. 85 and looking young!
  • My hair is long! Almost!
    20131110-200916.jpgWhen taking a selfie, silly faces are mandatory.
  • Sonny at HC actually listened to me this week. Huh? It’s like we’re making progress or something. We’ve been working so hard on getting the left lead and balancing his canter out. This week we actually picked up the lead with little to no issue. While we did do more bucking then smooth cantering.. the bucking was at least on the correct lead. I’m taking that as a win.
  • I accomplished nothing this weekend. Besides sleeping. And hanging out with a dog I’m dog sitting. I did open my Assessment textbook for almost 2 hrs today. Whether or not any of the information got off the page into my brain is another story. I also started to study my First Responder text, but then I fell asleep… Soo.. there’s always tomorrow.. right?
    This coming week I’m looking forward to more studying, and practicing. I live such an exciting life! The countdown is on til the series of 9 final exams hit and my life becomes even more exciting. Can’t you wait to hear me whine about it?!

Making a suppressed rider happy

I’m realizing it’s not actually that long since I wrote last. And that this is going to be my second post today. And third this week. Awhaaa?

I guess I’ll keep it short then! Thursday I got to ride my old friend Sonny at Horse Connection, and our intention that morning was “Patience”. Definitely something he needs to develop a little more of.


“Look at me, I’m so perfect!”

Lucky for him I match his stubborness play for play. The most significant exercise we did that morning, after putting him through his regular paces, was just standing still and “being” for about 15 minutes. Oh boy. 5 minutes in and he was thinking I should consider calling it home time. Oh brother, 10 minutes we were digging to China. Annnd then the mind games went in my favour and we stood still and relaxed for another 5 minutes. Then he got to leave the ring. I know. I’m such a slave driver.

After spending my night off Thursday accomplishing nothing productive (except for going to the gym for the first time in what feels like years), I was on strict orders from Emily to a) not take back my shift at work and b) NO SCHOOL WORK. So I wandered around with her for the evening. Friday, my busy day, went by quickly and before I knew it I was hopping around under the lights trying to keep warm, assessing concussions, and watching my underdog team win their semi-final game. We didn’t get off the field until 11:30, which meant I didn’t get to get until close to 3:30AM (coaching staff was very insistent the trainers join the “debriefing” at Tavern). This lead to a relatively unproductive Saturday. However, the weather was just too perfect to be stuck inside writing about the physiological and psychological effects of massage on a rowing athlete. I got some of my own physiological and psychological benefits by riding both my horses and heading out across the fields with Mom for the afternoon.

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Willard surprised me in a couple ways. For one, I was able to get his girth on without too much struggle (he is a little chubby..), and secondly, he hasn’t been touched since the end of August– so getting on him I was slightly apprehensive and ready for psycho-horse to emerge- but he was decently sane the entire time! He seemed equally as happy to be out and about with me as I was with him.

Felix! He is really starting to grow into himself (seriously, take a look at those pictures!). I haven’t been on him since Carman Fair in July, but mom has been riding him throughout the fall and I am so excited about everything to do with him! He’s developing a little bit more attitude, but for the most part, he is SO willing. His jog just floats, and his lope is gorgeous to sit. I wish it was spring so I could be on both my boys more often!

Sunday I got a little more horse time, this time playing the role of coach.


Week to week, it’s so great to see these two improving and gaining confidence in themselves and each other. The past couple weeks have come complete with a few new challenges and speed bumps for them- all part of the growing process. I’m so happy to see the right instincts there and developing. It’s honestly one of the highlights of my week, every week, to work with these two.

The remainder of my weekend was spent working and finishing up my first (unfortunately not last) paper of the year. 12 pages down, god knows how many more to go! That’s my week in a nutshell. Things I’m looking forward to in the next week? Playing in the Investor Group Stadium (by playing, I mean hanging out by the 50-yard line and dealing with injuries)!

I’ve been managing my time like a pro lately, and really hope I can keep up with that over the next few weeks. Now, to work on sleeping!

Quarters (cold)-Semis (colder)-Finals (likely frozen)!

Copy and pasted from my student blog, I will be writing another post on the rest of my life the past week- but this will have to satisfy you until I finish this damn 12-pager paper I’m procrastinating on. Enjoy! 

Frozen toes and superman spats all the way to finals

The Clansmen have surprised many a doubter the past couple weeks and are on their way to finals! I love working with the underdog team. Frozen massage tables (and fingers/toes) aside- I’m really excited to see this team make it all this way (also to play in the IG stadium!!).

We assessed Frost the snowman just before this picture was taken…….
Me being a dork during our quarter-final game

So yeah, we won quarter finals. That game was a great game to watch, and we even had some injuries to deal with during! The first being a quad contusion, which I ended up doing return to play for as Nikki was called out to the field to another injured player. It basically went from me observing her assessing the quad injury to her hucking a roll of elastic tape at me and yelling “compression!” as she ran onto the field. That was how I ended up doing my first quad compression wrap and return to play functional testing. By the time I ran said contused (is that even a word?) player through testing and sent him back onto the field, Nikki had returned with a possible ankle fracture (x-rays resulted in only a severe bone bruise and sprain the the medial side). Here I got to help with my first on-field splinting. The rest of the game seemingly passed with no more notable injuries, until after the game when a player came up to us exclaiming he had a broken finger. As Nikki assessed him, it was pretty clear there was some sort of fracture present (he pretty much dropped with pain as she palpated the mid-phalange). He was referred for imaging (player was of age, so parents were not called). The next morning after finding out the player had gone in for surgery that night, we found out he had numerous fractures to the finger. Can anyone say burst fracture?

                                                                      So that was fun.
Taping before that game I got to practice some tape-jobs I hadn’t seen or done since P&C. Again, mostly because Nikki was being swarmed by anxious players pre-game- I got tape tossed at me and vague directions/reminders on how to do an elbow hyperextension and all-around wrist tape. I know, I know, not hard- but still somewhat new for me at that point!
This week brought semi-finals, which somehow we also won. Is it bad that I was pretty sure this was going to be my last game this season? Again, loving the underdogs! I noticed during pre-game taping this time that some players who I hadn’t taped too often were definitely more willing to come to me for taping instead of going to Nikki first, and then coming to me as a last resort. It was a nice confidence boost to be able to tape their ankles, thumbs, and wrists and have them be satisfied. Especially before an important game. Continuing with what worked for them in quarter finals, Nikki spatted one player with superman tape- which resulted in a pretty cool look (little did the player know, they sort of looked like polka dotted underwear pattern from field side lol)
Nikki and the (In)Famous Superman Spats
The boys showed their underdog spirit in this game, that was for certain. The two significant injuries we had in this game was a 2nd degree ish MCL sprain (maybe, jury is still out on that). Player came off complaining that his knee gave out and originally had pain on the posterior aspect of the knee. Strength was good, and no laxity. The pain then moved more to the medial aspect of the patella and was somewhat difficult to provoke with special tests. The on site doctor had a look at it and decided it was the inner portion of the MCL that was irritated. The other significant injury was a concussion- which I got to run an assessment/SCAT on (weooo look at me go) and after the game I even got to call the parents!
The athlete was definitely not quite feeling right, but still maintained his smiley and happy-go-lucky attitude through the whole thing. Luckily this was a player I had interacted with before, so it made assessing him a little easier. We decided to refer him to see a doctor that night, because while on the sidelines with me he started to develop more symptoms (dizziness/headache) which hadn’t been there when we first talked to him.
Headed to the field for the Semi Final game
I’m going to have to say the concussion assessment was probably my most significant moment over the past couple weeks. Assessing has been a source of panic for me in the past, but it’s getting easier for me to chill out and do my job. Related to this, this weekend I ran a shoulder assessment on my step-dad (classic RC tendinitis/pathy) and that combined with the concussion assessment I did on Friday were the first two assessments I’ve done where I haven’t A) blanked and had my thought process turned to profanities or B) ran the assessment and then realized afterwards I forgot something rather significant like PROM or palpation. Yeah, that seriously has happened. Please tell me I’m not the only one?
Another significant moment was remembering hot packs to have in my mitts this week. Oh my god can I hug whoever invented those?
Goals? Besides remembering hot packs for my toes next week, and getting a picture in the big kid stadium… I’d like to continue honing my assessment skills on whatever opportunities come up over the next week. It’s been really cool reflecting back on how much I’ve grown over the season. I’m really glad it’s not quite over yet, because I’m not sure what I’m going to do with Friday nights when football is over. It’s provided me with so many great learning experiences (most of them by literally being thrown into something and having to tape, assess, refer, or call Nikki, out of). Anyway, I’ll save all that fluffy stuff for next time.
If you see me before our game next Friday, remind me to pack my hand and toe warmers so I don’t forget!