The Katmah Experience

living and learning one day at a time.

First Response

A year ago I was writing a post around this time about how I had finally finished all 5 of my final exams. And how insane it had been. Well, happy to report I’ve finished 4 out of 9 of my finals this year, and somehow none of it seems insane anymore. I’ve stopped fighting it, and have succumbed to just rolling with whatever crazy comes next.

My life this week has literally consisted of eat, write or perform exam, eat, ride, study, work, sleep, repeat. It’s been a pretty good system, but this weekend I’ve been all about the turning my brain off. I’m making feeble attempts today to restart it to prep for the 3 exams I have coming up this week, but like anything in the -40 temperatures, it’s a slow process. Luckily none of my exams this week are too rough, and the most stressful one isn’t until Friday.

This week my only focus was reviewing some notes, and doing some practice- but above all else staying stress-free. The week started off kind of sketchy with a lot of head-aches and dizziness, which I know are a result of some neck issues (linked back to concussion fun times). Another reason I’ve been careful not to miss out on sleep, or stress too much. Thankfully I have an amazing AT who helped resolve some of that before my first written. She is on standby the next two weeks! While I did do some studying (there is no escaping..), I did more sleeping (dreaming of first responder scenarios every night.. seriously…). Wednesday was probably the day I spent the longest actually studying (11hrs), but besides that I tried to avoid hitting the books too much other then quick refreshers here and there at work, or in whatever free time I had. I honestly didn’t feel the need to cram too much, and valued the extra barn time, and sleep I got as a result. While written exams in the past sometimes caused me some issue, I’ve so far been a bit more relaxed about them- trusting that I know the right answers and going with my first response to the question. Heres hoping that pays off!


I’m 100% positive that the reason I’ve been making it through the jungle of exams, work, and life in general lately is because of all the prep I did coming up to exam season. After midterms I realized I had to step-up my game, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as prepared as I did going into the exams this week. Especially my First Responder practical. This exam is somewhat legendary among the AT student population. It’s probably one of the more stressful ones an AT student faces during this degree, until they take the national exams. In the weeks leading up to this week, I spent a lot of time practicing with some classmates, took the advice of some graduated students and read the text book front to back a couple times, wrote out A LOT of thought processes, and did a lot of rehearsal in my head. While I was nervous waiting to go into the exam (I don’t think anyone couldn’t be), as soon as I walked in all those nerves disappeared and everything I did just kind of flowed along. Hopefully it flowed along well enough to get me a pass! The fact that my “casualty’s” vitals went from high and somewhat shock-y at the beginning of my scenario to completely normal by the end tells me I couldn’t have done too bad.

Between all that, and working extra hours, I still found time to get out to the barn and ride my new friend Shakka a few times. Such a great study break, and he is such a fun horse to ride. Besides the fact that he makes me feel like a peanut on top of him (he is well over 17hh), he is just a big sweetheart to be around.


Even though temperatures dropped below the -30 Friday we had a great ride with Megg and Justinian, and then again Saturday when temperatures were even more frigid, we champed it out for a whole 15 minutes in the arena (lol), but it was a much needed break for me from the week. It wasn’t until Friday and yesterday after my First Responder did I realize how much exams took out of my energy. My whole body hurt, and I was completely wiped (likely a result of the adrenaline rush I got after my Responder scenario). Even today I’m still recovering, although I don’t hurt as much- and I did feed, blanket, turn-out and muck-out 6 horses today to help out a friend. The cold temperatures probably don’t help either. You’d think I’d have adapted by now after living in MB my entire life, and having used to train full time over the winter months!

The coming week brings a measly 3 exams, another somewhat stressful practical on Friday. My strategy will remain the same: good food, sleep, and studying without stressing. Don’t mess with what works!

Stay warm out there!


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