Tag Archives: life

Spectrum

I know I know, reblogging is kind of a lazy way out of this week’s post. My life has taken over my schedule and won’t let go- but I still wanted to get something up for the week. Heart of the Continent is coming up with schooling starting Wednesday and competition starting Thursday so I will make a point of posting through out or at least after that show- the biggest show of the year here in MB!
I picked Spectrum to reblog because reading through it I can both relate to some of what my past-self was experiencing, and can find comfort from some of the stress I’m under currently with what I was feeling back then on the rodeo circuit. The past couple weeks have been full of great things, but also some more stressful, hectic things. I’m keeping up all right, but sometimes I wish I was off travelling again with the cowboys/girls around NZ.
Wish me luck with catching up to myself this week, and enjoy this piece from katmah history!

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 In less then 3 days since making my move North to my family’s place in Whangerei, I’ve gone from grooming for the rich/elite/ whatever show jumping barn, to roping steers and barrel racing at a local rodeo. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum!

The first few days at my new home were pretty quiet. While everyone else was away at work or studying for exams- I stayed in the house, cleaned (yes mom, I cleaned), and baked. As the weekend came, things got a bit more exciting- roping and barrel time! I went with Alison and Diva, her horse, about an hour and a half to Paparoa where the Northland District Team Roping Club was having a club day.

Saturday consisted of practice time for the 5 or 6 of us there. The group joked that I was their new groom- but soon had me practicing heeling with the…

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Fair Perspective

This past weekend I went back to my roots for the charmin’ Carman Country Fair, taking Felix (The Rio Zipper), through his paces in some pleasure classes. I haven’t shown there, or at any Country Fair in a few years- the hunter/jumper world kind of kidnapped me and wouldn’t let go. It was kind of cool looking back at the different perspectives I’ve had as a participant over time, and how things change (and don’t) as I age.

I wasn’t one of those kids who competed at country fairs in the “hobby horse” classes, or the lead-line classes from an early age. I didn’t start showing until I was 11 or 12. When I did, it was through 4H on my first horse, Otis. Back then, I couldn’t care less what ribbon I got- or how precise our stop was at cone 2 in Western Horsemanship, or if our lope was slow enough for the judge; I did however hate showmanship. For the most part, I was just happy to be on my favourite horse. The stress of competing can’t phase a horse-crazy kid. Or shouldn’t anyway.

As I got older, progressed through horses and levels, started going to more fairs and started trying out for the Regional team- I enjoyed the competition more. It mattered more if I placed in my horsemanship classes, or got Monty over every jump in our little equitation classes. I wanted those points. I wanted those ribbons. I wanted to beat my peers, the ones who always seemed to have the perfect patterns, and have no problem getting that perfect lope in pleasure classes. I still hated showmanship, but I wanted so badly to make that regional team, win those stake classes, and be named a high-point.

The year I finally made the regional team and got to go to my first provincials was so exciting! I was finally one of the cool kids who could did well enough to be named to the legendary Central Region Team. The confidence this gave me through the next few years of country fair showing was irreplaceable. Belonging to that team proved that I had potential. I could hold my own against my team-mates in try-outs, and we were the top team in the Province 3 years running. Therefore, I was someone in this world. Having those perfect patterns, the perfect turnout, it was expected now. With that behind me, all the sweat, blood, and tears before (and after) were made worth it. Showmanship still sucked (maybe not as much as trail now), though, even if I could pull off a good pattern. Also, who could forget the Central Team rap of ’07?
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After I had retired from 4H, and there was no more provincials to attend, country fairs were still a staple in my summer schedule. Now combined with a few more hunter/jumper shows, I was starting to be torn in different directions. HJ shows were new, and I felt like a nobody again. I was showing up on my humble appy and paint, lost among the close knit barn-groups that dominate that world. The braiding techniques that were more than acceptable at 4H shows were nowhere near close to HJ level. I knew how to rock a show hack/road hack class (thank you country fairs), but found that many of the norms from country fairs were not present (prize money, for one). It was a different world. One where I was being pushed in new ways, having to start all over at the bottom. Country fairs remained my home turf for a few years yet. Me and my trusty (somedays) chestnut mare were rock solid with each other. Just don’t ask us to do trail. Showmanship was acceptable, though. The jumping classes at these shows were no problem. Summer after summer we rocked the fair circuit, whether it was a great show, or hilariously awful show (if you knew Flash, you’ll recall those), high-points weren’t uncommon. Those were some of the best summers. Those of us still left-over from the Central Team were the cool Senior class regulars. The ones who chatted and joked in the line up while the judge made their decisions. Or even in rail classes as we passed one another. It wasn’t the same if one of us wasn’t there. Something felt off.

One by one, us regulars drifted away. Whether it be to move for school, just get busy with “real-life”, or get involved more heavily in another part of the horse-world (Hunter/Jumper, for example). The classes started getting smaller, and the atmosphere that once surrounded the fair circuit changed. Other things took over; there were bigger classes to win, other high-points, different teams to make that took precedence. The skills we learned from all those years on the circuit forming our base for success in all these other areas. Showmanship, funny enough, probably lending it’s fair share life skills (as stupid as it is).

Coming back to Carman Fair this year was fun, and exciting- for many reasons. I was riding a gorgeous young prospect, I got to pull out my fabulous Western saddle, and there is just a novelty to going to a country fair whether or not you’re participating, or just taking in the sites, sounds, and smells. One of the challenges to Carman Fair has always been that the Midway is traditionally set up right beside the horse ring. From my point of view, this is a right of passage every rider on the fair circuit goes through. Getting their horse used to the crazy carnies popping in and out of the trees, or the “dragon wagon” rattling from the corner, or the kids shooting out of the slide behind the trees (with the carnies). What a perfect experience for a young horse.

Coming home to Ctown Fair, I knew I was likely to be the only one of the “regulars” from the prov. team days there. The fair itself has shrunk dramatically since the “good old days” (I did not just use that term, what am I, 60?). I was going to give Felix some experience, and maybe catch a glimpse of the magic that used to surround the show. A hilarious perspective change that I noticed immediately was me preaching to my mom about the importance of making sure Fe was clipped and ring ready- whereas she kept saying “Oh, it’s just carman fair. It won’t matter that much”. Completely the flip side of where we started out. The next thing I noticed was the emptiness of the barns the night before. There were some horses there, but not that many competitors as there used to be, braiding tails, putting slinkies on, making sure everything was show ready for the early morning start. It was like a shadow of what used to be.

I’m making this sound depressingly nostalgic. It wasn’t, it was just somewhat different then the memories that hold true. Overall it was a great show, both results wise and enjoyment wise. It was somewhat lonely, not knowing many people I was competing against (and there only being 5-10 of us).

I’ve been talking a lot about how things have changed over the years, which is easy to do when you look back at how much you’ve grown as an individual. But really, things haven’t changed too much in the bigger picture. The people running the show are still bickering about the same things. There are still some riders complaining about the same things. There are still fussy show moms, and kids showing only because they’ve been doing it since they were 2 and their parents love it. It was still classically hot, and it still stormed as it always does right after the fireworks. It’s still very much the Carman Fair. The same, but different.

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Showmanship still sucks, for the record.

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Why does this feel familiar?

So how long has it been since I last wrote? Years? Yeah. Sorry about that. You should feel special, though, as I’m choosing to write instead of work on my case study. Because its so abnormal for me to choose writing instead of school work….

I can’t even blame it on being busy. I will, however, blame it on attempting to not be busy. No, that is not a phrase that grooves with my style of living, and yes it was painful to write. I’ve been harshly reminded by my own brain lately that when I try and do too much (my regular amount) that what happens is not in my control. Wait, was it ever?
I’ve been back at work full time the past two weeks, mostly successfully. I’ve ran a couple times, which still isn’t producing symptom free results. BUT, it has been improving. I have hope that one day soon I will be able to run and not have a head ache. I’ve done a couple almost regular strength work outs as well, and those are surprisingly not as bad as running. What else have I been doing? I’ve been making an honest effort to do what is right for me in the moment.

This isn’t new.. I always try to do this, not just after I hit my head.

Doing that, for me, has always been more difficult when my regular routine of insanity and running about from one thing to the next is taken from me. It’s happened a few times, so you’d think I’d be more comfortable with it. Turns out, my comfort zone is pushing myself to the limits of comfort. I’m always looking for more, something new to achieve, or how to better myself. Is that a bad thing? No, it’s an important part of our human nature. If we weren’t always looking for more, for something else, where would we be today? So take away my option to be busy and involved, and I feel lost. It happened to me a few times when I was traveling, again when I got home and had surgery last summer, another time when my second surgery was cancelled (that might have just been more general frustration with the Universe), and now- right after a very optimistic start to my summer, followed by a head injury. I should be the boss at recovery by now.
This time has been different, slightly. Initially it was the same panic and “seriously, universe? Again?”, then it was the acceptance and “fine, I’ll take a week off”, and then it was “okay a weeks over lets get on with it”, and finally the realization that maybe it’s going to be more than a few weeks til I’m “normal” again. Looking back, I’m starting to realize that the one thing that is common in each of the situations I’ve been in where I’m forced to slow down, or worried about the way my life is going, is riding. It was a major factor in why I went to NZ and took that first job. Riding was the reason (one of them) why I left LC finally, because I knew it would ruin the sport for me if I stayed. Riding was the reason I took the next 4 months mostly off being in the saddle, the longest amount of time I’ve spent out of the tack probably ever. Because of that I was able to realize that my love for the sport wouldn’t disappear if I didn’t do it all the time (which was a huge fear for me). Riding (and my new career choice, AT) is what brought me home again.
Last summer the thought of getting back in the saddle kept me mostly optimistic through recovery, and the first show back (and the last show of the year) was one of my best- proving to me again that I can step away and still feel welcome when I come back again. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point- riding is a huge part of what my life orbits around, and what anchors me.
This time, like I said, something felt different. After the initial head hits ground event, I just couldn’t go out to the barn. I honestly did not feel up to it, and I didn’t go out until a week or two later. Even then I didn’t ride. I knew I couldn’t, and shouldn’t. Most of the panic and anxiety for me was around work and school. At first, realizing this scared me a little. Did it mean that riding was less of my life now? Was I losing hold of something that’s held onto me for so long? Then I got on my horse, because I felt ready to, and everything became a little clearer.
I wasn’t supposed to ride until after I could successfully run and weight train. But, in order to be me, I have to bend some rules. I did it 100% feeling ready to. And I’m not just saying that.
Last week I had my first jumping lesson in over a month. I was so nervous. I’d had 3 rides on my horse in the past month, he’d been fresh for all of them, and I was still far from normal. This lesson was going to be my deciding factor on whether to go to the Beach Party Show this coming weekend. All day at work I’d had the worst headache of my life, and I wasn’t feeling very well at all. At the end of a long week.. it had been my second week back full time, and I had also taken on two evening shifts along side my full time hours. I had pushed it a bit. I was so close to cancelling my lesson. When I left the office, my head ache dissipated a little- and I decided that I was going to try riding, staying honest with myself and stopping if anything got worse. Want to know something really awesome? Of course you do. As soon as I sat in the tack, everything else melted away. No headache, no anxiety over money, school, or my health. No excess thoughts. Just the current moment. Relying on pure instinct and learned muscle memory for the next hour, it was the best lesson I’ve had. My horse was perfect, I felt amazing in the tack, and nothing was disturbing that. It was truly one of those surreal moments. C was extremely pleased with us as well, confessing that she was also a little worried about how the night was going to go, but very pleasantly surprised by both my riding and my horse. Needless to say I am planning on competing this weekend, and I’m really hoping the heat doesn’t absolutely ruin me. Look forward to what I’m sure is going to be some interesting days ahead!

What am I taking from this?

You can plan all you want. You can think you’re in control all you want. You’ll almost always be proved wrong. So, what can you do to make sense of it all? Have something to come home to. Whether its a family, a career you’re passionate about, a hobby, or all of those things. I have a few of those things, all which come into play in keeping me grounded at one time or another. Right now, it’s riding. It’s giving me the confidence to relax. To take a step outside my anything but comfortable comfort zone. To trust that things are going to work out. Because they usually do, if you take time and trust your instincts.

Anyway, here are some snapshots for you….

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And some foodie pics!

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies. Seriously the best EVER.

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Looped Conversations

Do you ever find yourself having the same conversation, over and over again? Whether it’s with others- or inside your own head. It could be about your goals, the latest thing to happen to you, where you plan to go next, what so and so did last weekend and how hilarious that thing was. Or maybe it’s that you have to work harder, things are happening and you can’t slow down otherwise they’ll stop. Anyone been there? How about  the classic “nobody will respect me if I don’t do this, or achieve this”. Along with this conversations, inwards and outwards, might be arguments. Differences of opinion, causing a ongoing discussion- many times within our own minds.

I’m not the only one to do this.. right?

It’s a good thing most of the time. Allowing us to push past the barriers we set for ourselves, break our own standards, and get closer to our goals. It’s what keeps determined people determined. It’s what helps us break bad habits. Whether it is people in our lives telling us that we can do something, even when our head is saying “no, I can’t”. It’s the opposite of that, the “yes, you can” voice when everyone else is saying “that’s impossible, you’re crazy”. I believe it’s important to have a balance between those two. They generally keep things in a good perspective, when utilized properly. Often it’s that inner voice that helps us to do what’s right for us, when that is the most important thing.

What about those conversations, those stories we end up telling day after day, to different people (or sometimes the same people again and again)? Are those words, those events we keep retelling, what make up who we are? I read somewhere once that our memories are reconstructed every time we think of them. I know from personal experience that memories I have seem to become different over time. Usually becoming more positive as I realize how I’ve grown and learnt from the original events. Things that once seemed like it was the worst thing ever turn into a good story and something to laugh at. Life is always changing, and so are we- therefore it’s pretty hard to let something like words describing an event, or a continuing debate or conversation define us. Who we are today is not necessarily who we were yesterday (coming from someone who is recovering from  concussion, I can vouch for the truth in that statement #moodswings).

Where am I going with this? I’m not really sure, I lost that train of thought 400 words ago.

I was having trouble thinking of what to write about this week, because my life has drastically slowed down as I’ve been doing my best to recover from this concussion. I would usually write about how crazy my life was, and what I did in the past week to work towards goals, or what new goals I’d set, or what crazy obstacle the universe had thrown at me. I’ve already covered the concussion issue a few times, so I didn’t want to focus on that for yet another week. Truthfully, I’m tired of thinking about concussions, and symptoms. As much fun as they are.

I have lots of those “looped conversations” in my life (you’ve probably noticed a few in my posts.. I natter about the same things over and over sometimes (sorry)). Whether it’s about school (which courses am I taking, what order, with who, planning the final years of my degree, etc), riding, working (you’re doing how many jobs?!), time management, diet, and it goes on. I often refer to my life as being 3 separate lives, my time being split between studies, riding, and work- with some time left over for my own fitness and friends and family. All those things kind of tie into each other though, and more and more I am finding ways to integrate all those different parts of me into one big me. The things I study not only have drastically improved my riding and fitness, but also changed the way I think about things. Work not only pays for riding, but more than one of my jobs also lets me use skills I’ve developed through both sport, school, and past experience. My friends and family are a big part of the reason I can handle all those different things at once. With all these things going on and feeding into each other, how could I not have lots to talk about to those around me- but also within myself. Those conversations didn’t necessarily stop when all the other things got put on hold. You may have picked up from the earlier posts regarding this injury (and other for that matter), that I wasn’t in the best state of mind.. necessarily.. when it came to accepting the whole rest and recovery idea. I looked for every excuse I could find- going as far as asking many of the people in my life for advice, somewhat hoping they would say something that I could interpret towards not slowing down and just pushing through. Luckily for me, I was only met with the answer I needed to hear (over and over again). So while those ongoing conversations inside my head are something that keep me moving and determined so much of the time, this week I had to work towards using them to do the exact opposite.

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Nothing.

Surprisingly, I actually was able to also quiet all those conversations in the process. Which was actually really nice. I spent a couple days just laying in the sun, on a dock, on the river. Listening to the birds, instagraming the crap out of the scenery, sprouting more freckles, and just doing and thinking nothing. Absolutely nothing. How’s that for brain rest? To steal a quote from a friend, being a “human being, not a human doing”.

When I wasn’t doing nothing, I was doing passive activities like making paleo cheesecake, napping, instagraming pictures of my food, testing my concentration levels, and visiting my horse (while being watched like a hawk by M- I swear, he thinks I’m going to somehow spontaneously melt). Speaking of the horse- A HUGE thank you to everyone at the barn who as gotten him out of the stall for me every once in a while (looking at you Lauren, Laura, Megg, and Marilyn). So comforting to know that he is in good hands.

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So now we’re entering Week 3 of recovery. Here is where I attempt a slow progression back into my regular lifestyle (don’t worry I have permission this time). Slow being key. I started by a short, easy 3 mile ride on the stationary bike while at work. Exercise progression starts with aerobic, once I am back to a higher intensity on that front I can move back into resistance training and riding. I worked a full day yesterday, and felt great.

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The absolute mountain of paperwork I was greeted with Monday morning. Just screams “welcome back” doesn’t it?

After work I made the mistake of trying to work on my case study- and had to stop after 20 minutes because of dizziness. I was only able to work half a day at my full time job this morning, as the dizzy spells were aggravated by my tasks at work. Should have seen that coming as when I woke up in the morning and was getting my stuff ready, I tried to pack my phone charger which I was convinced was my water bottle. Can’t explain that one. Tomorrow I’ll try a full day again. The only on-going symptom left over is fatigue. I just can’t seem to get my energy back. The doctor said that was likely, and that with time it would return. It’s still very much one day at a time. Definitely hit my head a lot harder then I originally thought.

How was that for writing about a week of nothing? I tell you I could make an essay out of just about anything. Mad talent.

Below you’ll find many snap shots of food, and random photography from the week. Just for fun.

Wish me luck with getting back to normal, or whatever you call my life!

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Find that rhythm

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” -Nick Caraway, The Great Gatsby.

That variety of life. Do you ever look around at what you fill your life with and wonder how you’re lucky enough to be where you are? I do. Sometimes I have to pause and breathe- taking in everything that surrounds me. As you will have picked up by now if you read my posts even on a semi-regular basis, my days could use a few extra hours in them majority of the time. I’m surrounded by amazing people who inspire me, support me, and keep me on this planet. Sometimes all the different shoes I fill can cloud my focus. I can get lost in it all, forget to slow down and take that breath.

This weekend thankfully I had a few different opportunities to do just that. With my first show of the season coming up next weekend, as well as a midterm, I am so glad this weekend turned out the way it did. Whether it was sitting on the floor of the gym or in an Olive Garden over Sangria (technically not supposed to have alcohol yet- but seriously, a little Sangria never hurt anyone), or anything else in between- I got the chance to just slow everything down for a little while.

A phrase often used by C in our lessons is “find that rhythm and stick to it”. Put into a riding context, finding your rhythm or pace is imperative to getting around a course, or doing anything really. You definitely notice when you aren’t on it. I’ve had rides where I can’t find that rhythm if my life depended on it. But when you find it, things happen for you. You see distances, you make lines, that single oxer on the diagonal is amazing. I’ve been translating that to my daily life lately. Sticking to “that rhythm” is how I make my schedules aline. My different lives, and the goals that go along within each of them, instead of colliding and crashing into each other- they work around one another and often even compliment each other.

Sometimes, like the past week, I fall off that rhythm and get a little lost in everything. There was less “enchantment” to life and more just flat out exhausting. It’s like getting into a combination at an awkward distance and then getting stuck in the middle because you lose your momentum. It’s not a good feel. Re-organization, a deep breath, and “riding positive” (man, m&c are full of philosophical quotes) are what is needed to get through that combo successfully. That’s exactly what I’ve been able to do the past few days.

Something about this upcoming show in Brandon is a little bit nerve wracking for me (besides it being the first show of the year). I have a lot going on right now. It’s really not surprising my focus isn’t always where it needs to be. Between two.. three jobs, completely reworking my eating habits (which is still amazing, btw), spring courses, and training myself and my horse for competition… things can get jumbled sometimes. Some of the weird feeling about next weekend is probably because it’s the first show in a long time that I’m going into with no chronic injuries to speak of. Those ongoing issues almost became a comfort zone for me, even though they were far from comfortable. When something is with you for that long, it becomes a habit and part of who you are. While I’m very excited that I have been able to move past that pain, it’s a little weird not having it still. And of course, there is the fear that it will come back. I don’t write about this often because its a scary thing for me sometimes, and I have struggled with it and worked on it for a long time. However, it’s also something that I’ve gotten through, learned from, and improved from. I’m in the best shape of my life, and never been more able to handle whatever life throws at me. I’ve always said that life begins when you step out of your comfort zone. This is just another piece of that comfort zone I’m stepping away from, onto better things.

The other new thing for me is heading over to jumper land. It’s not exactly new, I’ve been there before. But it feels different this time. Maybe because I’m more prepared than I’ve ever been. And it’s one step closer to some big goals of mine. Things are starting to happen for me, hard work is paying off. It’s exciting, and it’s terrifying. Finding that rhythm with my horse isn’t as elusive as it used to be- and I have much more confidence in myself as a rider to know that even if things don’t go perfect- I can fix them. I can get out of that combination. A little leg, positivity, and a lot of determination is all it takes.

Up until this weekend I was having a hard time visualizing myself riding around a course and something not going wrong. My focus just wasn’t there yet. Then, this morning, while hacking Willard as a rain storm pelted the tin roof above us, things started to clear up for me. All I could hear was the rain, all I could feel was the rhythm of my horse underneath me. No conscious thoughts, other than knowing that this is my rhythm. This is where I need to be right now. Things clicked back into place somewhere in those moments. I’m back on a rhythm. Thank all the things. Not being on a “rhythm” is frankly exhausting, and a lot more work than it should be.

Had enough philosophical musings? Okay. Well here is a quick update on Week 4 of my diet! It’s been good! I had a few days where I wasn’t feeling amazing, but I think that was because I overdid it on the fibre side of things- which can cause some GIT discomfort. I’ve been feeling much better the past few days and more back to my normal. I made some amazing meals over the past week, as well as some cookies. I’m interested to find out how this new eating style holds up over a weekend of competition. I’m really, really hoping that it goes well and I have just as much energy as I have had while eating this way and that carries over to my riding. That would be amazing! It will definitely take planning. But that is something I am getting very good at.

This upcoming weekend will be a good trial run on many fronts. I am hoping for good results in all aspects, but it’s one of those things you just have to take as it comes. No sense worrying about it until something happens worth worrying about. Although at this point I’m wondering if we should do some anti-rain dances. That might be something to think about.

As usual, here are some photos of my delicious food creations (and one just for fun selfie)!

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Hummus, anyone?

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Breakfast “pasta”

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COOKIES! I love cookies!

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Look at how much my hair is growing!!!

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Carrot at the end of the stick

“You’ve got that ‘march glaze’ about your eyes.. its that time of year for you students”

Yep.

Talk to any student right now and they’ll either give you a zombie-like reply and/or mumble something about “only 3 weeks left.. so close”. I know pretty much all my peers, as well as myself, are pretty much over the whole classes, assignment, school idea.

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Totally burned more calories on my run then are in this dish…. Totally.

It carries over to other things as well- like running. Tonight, for instance, the only reason I convinced myself that doing my run was a good idea was by bribing myself with cake and ice cream. Productive? No, not really. But, hey, it worked. And it was better than sitting on the couch and eating cake anyway. Right?

But in all seriousness- I’ve been working really hard at keeping my motivation levels up. 2 weeks ago now I started a self-designed “pre-show season bootcamp”, which I have been sticking to as best I can. I’ve been putting all the fitness programming knowledge I’ve learnt this year into action (anybody want a trainer?), and feeling the results. In a good way! Since I’ve made so much progress with my back and hip issues- much thanks to the great AT/Chiro that helped me get on this track, Dr. Notley – I want to go into this season as best prepared as I can to not back track. There is definitely some fear there that it will all kick up again as soon as I start riding full time- but I’m trying to keep my thoughts trained on the fact that I’m in great shape and stronger then I’ve ever been. And if it does, then I know how to work through it. Anybody who has had a lingering injury will know how tough that can be sometimes. If you’re interested in seeing some of my workout plans, I post them all on my Fitness Log, so feel free to take a look!

It’s been a pretty quiet few weeks for me, school wise. Well. Relatively speaking of course. It’s kind of the quiet before the storm. The storm being finals. The quiet being me still running around 6 days a week not knowing what I’m doing half the time. But hey, I’ll take it. The last big project I worked on and finished (B), was a group presentation on “Norms in Athletic Therapy” for psych skills in sport and life. Past being frustrated with my fellow group members for most of it (apparently none of them had really done a presentation or public speaking before…(thank you 4H)), it was a pretty fun project. Instead of sticking to boring classic research for our references- we decided to interview two practicing ATs from the community and use their answers to support our points. Norms was a pretty tough concept for us to present- and there were definitely aspects we lost marks on because of that. Norms are the things you do in life, but don’t think about really.. ever. For an AT it would be something like showing up before a practice, having a certain set of personality characteristics (naturally or taught), or being the type of person people are comfortable talking to. Its things that aren’t in the code of conduct, but things that are often past down through peers or teachers you have along the way. What norms do you have in your career, or daily life? In groups/organizations you are a part of?

The next big paper I’m writing is on (hopefully anyway, proposing the idea to my prof tomorrow) the Canadian Eq. Team and the Tiffany Foster situation at the olympics- mainly on how Eric Lamaze and the other members of the team reacted relating to the topic of “leadership” in sport. Should be a pretty interesting topic, I think!

In health news I’ve finally got a date with a specialist… unfortunately not for another month or so- which I guess isn’t bad for wait time. I’ve also started looking into seeing a naturopathic doctor- so here’s where I ask you lovely readers- does anyone know of good names in Winnipeg?

As I alluded to in the opening paragraphs- I’m in the homestretch for the semester. What’s my “carrot at the end of the stick”? Besides cake.. it’s getting on my horse and starting spring training! Everyday I get through is one day close to riding season. Assuming I can get my saddle on the white buffalo…

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Do what you love. Find it. Do it well. If you don’t know how to do it, learn. Know that it will rough you up a few times, and occasionally bring you to tears. Do it anyway, to the best of your ability. You’ll have no other choice. There is no end- only the journey. It will be a long one- but know this: You will be forever changed.

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Turbulent 2012

Similar to previous years, seeing as I don’t make resolutions, here is a list of some of the most memorable moments of the past 12 months (in no particular order)!

  • Meeting the people I met overseas. Especially all the distant relatives. To be made to feel at home in a country that is so far away from home was something truly awesome. I am very lucky to have had that experience, and those people surrounding me during part of a pretty rough year made some impossible situations very possible. 
  • The last few weeks of travel in NZ. Working for a grand prix rider, glacier hikes, bus trips, amazing scenery, living on trail mix and instant noodles, being broke, sitting along the coast and listening to the waves crash to the shore, scenic train rides, busing through, unbelievable landscapes, and everything else. Pictures don’t do it justice, and no words can describe it. This post has more detail on some of what I did those last few weeks.

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  • Flying into Vancouver, and then Winnipeg. After what seemed like ages away, the sight of the Rocky Mountains covered in snow and looking glorious brought an unexplainable feeling, and was the best thing I’d seen yet. There is no better feeling than coming home after being away. If even where you were became like a home away from home. All those things I experienced, good and bad, were solidified as my plane landed in Vancouver. A journey was concluded, and another begun. I came home both the same, and completely changed. DSCN0373
  • Choosing a career path, and making relevant goals. I battled with myself long and hard over what I wanted to do with my life. Pretty much exactly a year ago I decided that athletic therapy was where I wanted to be, and set some goals for myself. It was definitely the right choice, and accomplishing the goals I’ve set has been unbelievably challenging and terrifying- but also fantastic. It’s nice to know that I’m doing something with my life that is always going to present me with a new challenge to keep me motivated.
  • MHJA’s Fall Harvest Show. I believe this was in last years list too. Coming up to this year’s show, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. After a surgery in mid-July on my tailbone- I wasn’t able to ride up until 6 days before the competition (approx 6 weeks off for both me and my horse). Challenge accepted. I definitely pushed my recovery a little far- but I rode everyday for those 6 days and against the advice of pretty much everyone went to Fall Harvest. I’m sure we only survived that weekend on pure adrenaline (sooo out of shape). It was at that show, same as last year, that the difference in my riding ability really was shown. Mike broke his gruff exterior more than once at this show, saying “we might make a rider out of you one day”. A huge compliment!
  • Similar to the above, the Hunter Derby class at Fall Harvest 2012 (Check out this post for more!)
    . This was the first year doing a derby was realistic for me, and I got the okay from my coaches to enter. I wish I had a video of it! But any rider reading this will understand- it was one of those courses that presented so many new challenges and tests for both horse and rider and somehow, by some luck, we got around it and were rewarded the greatest feeling of teamwork and accomplishment. Best way to end off our short season!

    Not from Fall Harvest, but from Beach Party 2012.

    Not from Fall Harvest, but from Beach Party 2012.

  • Getting to know the people I ride and compete with better. I realize this is more than one moment in time, but over the past year I’ve really gotten a chance to spend more time with my coaches, Mike and Charlene, as well as other riders who train with them. It makes the sport so much more fun to be surrounded by people like this! I’ve learned a lot just by being around them, and they’ve helped me to gain confidence in myself and as a result ride that much better.
  • Kin-3201 Biomechanics. From day one this course terrified me, as well fascinated me! The study of biology and the forces acting upon it. Anatomy and physics combined. Being someone who never really excelled in physics- this was a challenge. But I found the math part of things much easier to understand when it was put into a athletic/movement perspective. I liked this course way more than I thought I would. And the final project, which was one of the hardest academic things I’ve done so far, was so cool! My post Critical Instant has more detail on the project and what I did my research on. I learned so much from this course, and loved the challenges it presented!_DSC0315 _DSC0317

 

2012 was a challenging year for me. I saw some pretty unbelievable things, on both ends of the spectrum. I experienced some of the worst physical pain, and emotional turmoil I ever have- but also had some great accomplishments and good times. I am positive 2013 will present new challenges, tough times, and good times to rival what 2012 threw at me. After facing what I’ve faced the past 12 months, I don’t know what else could be better preparation for whatever 2013 has in store. Here’s to the New Year, and may it be what it will be!

 

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Season of love

Okay, so here is my obligatory holiday season post- expect another one around New Years.

I’ve been meaning to do a post on my experiences with family and friends over this past year- because it’s probably the main reason I’ve made it through the year without completely losing it, and there really isn’t a better time than Christmas time. As long as I can remember Christmas has been about spending time with family and friends- making house calls, dropping off baking, sharing one another’s company, etc etc. It’s time spent with the people who surround you during every aspect of your life- in a variety of ways. The past year or so for me has really opened my eyes to how the idea of family travels past the blood relations, without borders, and can get you through some pretty rough times.

This is the season to really look around you and appreciate what you are blessed with. Some people only have a few to call family, others have many. I’m blessed with quite a few, near and far, who I call family and who have shown me great kindness and love. Finding people in life that accept you for you and support you in wherever your life takes you is irreplaceable. The love I felt, right away, from relatives who only first met me when picking me up from an airport and taking me in for a short time was amazing. Or sat with me in the hospital when I was 10,000 miles away from home. I know my family in Canada was very grateful for all that too. I can never thank all those in NZ who did that for me, and hope that one day I can return the favour. I was lucky enough to spend my first Christmas away from home (and without snow) with NZ family who took me in as one of their own with no hesitation. Because of all those in that hemisphere who showed my love and kindness throughout my stay them, I saw a side of the country that I might not have experienced if I had done the typical travellers thing, or heaven forbid, stayed at my first job there. And during some of my darkest times there (believe me, there was those too), I had amazing support from close friends and family back in Canada. I found strength through those people, when I couldn’t find it in myself. For me, that’s what family is about.

Everyone interprets the meaning of family differently, I think. Traditionally it’s defined as a household with a mother, father, and children and then extended relatives. But for me, it encompasses the traditional aspect, of course, but also those people who have been by my side through different experiences and periods in my life. Friends. Being the busy person that I am, I meet people in many different places. There’s friends that have stuck with me since high school, relationships developed and tested through time spent in sport, training, work, travel, and now University. My mom has always told me that often you are closest to a person at a certain time in life because that’s when you need them, and vice versa. That relationship doesn’t always stay as close as time passes- but during that chapter of your life, it was important and is something to be respected. Time spent apart, and distance travelled can sometimes change a friendship- but a true friend is always a friend. Throughout this year I’ve been surrounded by a variety of people. Some of which I am quite glad I’ll never have to interact with again. But many who I hope are a part of my life for years to come, because they have brought out strength in me I didn’t know I had and reminded me that even when things get bad, they don’t stay bad forever. The stress in my life is truly only manageable because of the great people I have surrounding me. And I really do have some amazing friends and family in my life.

I am so happy to have people in my life that are there for the ups and downs, and am equally happy that I can be there for them through their goods and bads.  To surround yourself with people who keep you striving towards your personal goals is so important. I do not believe true success (however you define that) is ever possible without a base of people supporting you through the trials of pursuing dreams. Life throughs some wicked tests, and even if you’re someone who studies better alone, the idea of having others to compare, contrast, discuss, or even just get distracted with is what makes those tests doable. Sorry for the school analogy. I’m currently in study withdrawal.

All this being said, I hope that everyone out there is blessed with people in their life who bring them you on the bad days, celebrate with you on the great days, and make every day in between worth living. Having each other is the greatest gift of all- and I hope this is something all of you are grateful for this holiday season.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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From the pages..

The internet here has been very slow- that’s why I haven’t posted anything in a while. I want to post some pictures of the beach and my wanderings the past week and bit, but the low speed internet won’t permit that. So I figured I’d put a little bit on from my journal- just kind of a reflection piece I guess- most of you have probably heard all these stories from me before. If so, the other point of this post is to let all you out there know I’m still alive! Yay! Pictures will come soon, I promise! For now, here’s some thoughts from the pages of.. me? There’s news at the bottom of this post. I give you permission to skip down to that if you don’t feel like reading  a novel first :). You’re welcome.

Nov 23- Change. It effects us all. Where were you 5 years ago? I was in 9th grade. A shy, reserved kid who dreamed of going to college in Alberta to study equine science. I played volleyball at school, but didn’t plan on playing many other sports- especially not basketball. I was bff’s with somebody who I never thought would leave my life, we were inseparable. Thinking back, this year had a few life changing moments I didn’t see coming. The first; Mr. Martin approaching me, asking (telling) me to come to JV basketball practice. After much convincing, I agreed to go. After all, Erica did it and I idolized her as the big sister I never had- and, if I hated it- I could quite anyway, right? Wrong. I came home from the first week of practices bawling. All the other girls were so much better then I, and I made so many mistakes and got yelled at so much. I can’t do it. I’m not going back! This idea ended quickly. Mom said I was at least finishing the season- no quitting- that was that. I’m forever grateful for this. Also for Mr. Martin including me in the team, tough love and all. I learned (started to) how to be tought and determined that year playing with the older “athletic” girls. This is where I first learned what being a true athlete means. That year I also got Will. He also was something that taught me how important confidence is.

Jump to 2 years ago. My grade 12 year. I now played every high school sport I could. Captain of volleyball, soccer, and basketball, as well as riding on average 4 times a week (often during school hours (spares.. of course..)). Through grades 10-12 I met Lyle Myers- who is definitely responsible for taking me to the next level of toughness. Character building as he would call it (I’m shaking my head as I write this). I remember when I first started training with him in the mornings, this would have been in grade 10. Joel, Pierre, Mackenzie, Garth and I would be in the gym every morning at 7am running sprints. Hell. Sometimes Mr. Martin would watch from his office. I always tried harder if he was watching. I swear this was why I got off the bench and got to play more Varsity in my gr. 10 year. As much as Lyle caused me physical pain and discomfort with his training- I can now see how much it helped and changed me as an athlete- and person. I’m sure anybody who knows Lyle, or has trained with him, would say the same thing.  What a crazy old man. Back to my senior year. By this time I’d made many new great friends, most of which were on teams with me. My best friend who’d been by my side for 7 years decided that I wasn’t putting enough effort into her and all but cut me out of her life. What would high school be without a little drama, right? Those close to me know how much this effected me. As it would anyone I’m sure. To this day I still get confused about the whole situation- and it took me a long time to get over it. It didn’t stop me from pushing myself in every way I could.

Our basketball team made Provincials that year, after an amazing season. I’ll never forget what it was like to be apart of that 2010 team, and it still inspires me. That was true teamwork. Every time we pulled a one-point win out of our asses it was because of pure heart and athleticism. On the court, it was like we were one person. When we were on, nothing could stop us. No matter how much taller the other team was, or how many more players they had (often close to double our team in both height and numbers). I draw from the experiences I had that season all the time when I need a little reminder of what awesome feels like.  I learned so much that year about people, myself, and life. But I guess that’s what high school if for. Setting you up to learn those things. I say “setting you up” because you re-learn a lot of things you thought you know as soon as you get into the real world. This same year, I was also faced with my coach of a year and a half pulling a giant con on Bluebear and in the process leaving me without a coach 3 weeks before my first time competing at a Gold (national) level show (Royal Manitoba Winter Fair). Putting on a brave face through this time was unbelievably hard. It felt like, yet again, I was being left behind and having to start all over.. again.  With the help of Sheryl Feller, someone who’s been with me since the beginning of my riding career, I was able to keep training up to Fair week- where Wilf McKay took over as my temp show coach- a role he has filled a few times over the years.

It certainly wasn’t my easiest show. I had the added pressure (that I put on myself) of making a good impression on my future coaches Mike and Charlene. The days leading up to and the first few days of Fair week I was all but a nervous emotional wreck. I remember one morning I was reviewing my courses by the ring and Charlene came up beside me and helped me dissect the course. No introduction (not that she needed one), just straight to the point in that calm tone of hers. I relaxed so much after that. And had a very successful first showing at RMWF. That same year, I applied for the Miss Manitoba Pageant as a joke. Well, it started as a joke. Then I actually got accepted. And followed through with the whole thing. Swim suit competition and everything. I remember telling my mom about it, and her first reaction was laughing for about 5 minutes and then saying “they actually accepted you?!”. Thanks Mom.  But also, thank you for letting me go through with it. To Dad too. I know how grateful you were when I only placed third (boo yah top 3!). I learned a lot from that. One that pageants are generally a money grab. Two- spray tans are really, really questionable. And useless. Three- confidence is beauty. It was something I never thought I’d do, but can now say that I successfully did. I’m very proud of winning 4/5 special awards, but also very very happy i didn’t win my category. It was just enough to remind me to believe in myself, because even when something seems insane chances are I’ll get through it, and learn a lot on the way.

Today, looking back on all the chaos that was the past few years- all the friends I’d gained, and lost, all the teachers and coaches who pushed and believed, all the things that cause me to break down, every lesson I learned the hard way- it all brought me to here and now. I have all of the above, and lots more (I could list everything.. but you’d be reading for as long as I’ve been alive probably. I’ll save you that), to thank for who I am today. So many memories, good and bad. I’ve grown and changed a lot since then. Made new friends, kept old ones, reconnected with some. I definitely couldn’t have handled some of the things I’ve dealt with in my first year of Uni, or in the past few months in NZ. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to come this far away from home if I hadn’t learnt how to believe in who I am early on. It just goes to show that everything-mo matter how devastating, amazing, hard, easy- benefits you if you let yourself learn from it. Living means changing constantly. We always have to be learning and adapting to keep up with our world. It’s okay to screw up, or to be different, or to be the rookie. How else do you gain experience? You gotta start somewhere. Live is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Well, there’s your novel for today. Gonna have to buy a new journal soon. Don’t worry, not all the entries are that.. thoughtful.

In other news, as I said up top- the internet is slow. Those of you that have me on Fbook will have seen my pictures from the beach and the area around where I’m living. Lucky you! I’m still unemployed (although I’ve applied for probably close to 100 jobs- including going into town and handing out resumes in person), and still unable to drive standard. Which leaves me at the house a lot of the time. Cooking, baking, cleaning, reading (‘Tis by Frank McCourt if you were wondering- great read!), going for walks, just chilling. I’ve been trying to add more working out to get some strengthening accomplished for the good ol’ back/hip situation. I’m backing off on that though, as it’s STILL consistently bothering me. So no change on that front. I won’t get started on that.

I just realized I’ve been here for over 3 months already. Wow!

I’ve booked a ticket to Christchurch for Dec. 7, where I’ll be staying with some more family connections for a few days- then going down to Dunedin for the 12th to do something that I haven’t spilled on yet. With the exception of a select few (whom I expect to keep quiet). My only hint is that it’s something I never EVER thought I’d do. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve said once or twice that this is something I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever do. Well, I’m pushing myself to a new limit. December 12th something crazy goes down. Stay tuned for more on that.

After my weekend in Dunedin I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do. I might visit some other family connections that live not far from there, in Alexandra, and then head farther south and do some exploring there. Then back to Cchurch and eventually back to the North here in Whangarei where I’ll be for Christmas.

I’ll stop writing now, because this post has now reached the word count of a research essay. Also, there’s no pictures. That’s no fun! I’ll post again soon with some pictures and hopefully some adventures. There will definitely be more on December 12th’s events!

Ciao!

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