Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I'm Just Sad

The best Grandpa Frank ever.
Sorry for the depressing post coming your way. You have my permission to exit now..

You are seriously still here? Well, alright then. I'll keep going.
I mean, just look at him and my grandma.
I feel like I have been in a whirlpool of sadness the past couple of weeks. I was pretty happy coming from my dressage schooling show, and then that was shut down by life. My only grandpa left has been struggling in and out of the hospital for about a month now and things are not looking the greatest. Nobody can tell us what is wrong with him except that he is losing blood. He is so weak it is hard for him to talk and he had a reaction the second time they tried to give him blood. And because Medicare is not the greatest, they sent him out of the hospital and back into a rehab place because he used up the amount of time he could be in the hospital. Go ahead and ask me how happy I am about this.
So beautiful. I am sorry I can't keep you.
The same day he went back into the hospital I got a claim explanation from my health insurance. It was for my surgery. And had stated that I will be owing more than $22,000 for my surgery. Panic and tears took over and I scrambled to figure out why I owed this much. To my knowledge, I had figured that the surgery was covered. Why? Because I had received a letter of approval for the surgery from my insurance and when the doctor's office called me the day before surgery and I asked about billing, they said that the insurance looked good. I have been talking with the insurance company and they state that their claim is correct because the surgery was not performed in one of their covered hospitals. Even though everything else through this doctor has been covered. My only option is an appeal.
PS browband on a Bobby's bridle.
I already feel pretty useless in general because I cost a lot of money, don't have a job because of my health issues, sometimes can't even do normal house work because I will be sick for the day and I don't bring any money in. The fact that I may cost us over twenty grand is something I am really struggling with. We have been struggling money wise for the last couple of months because husband has been making giant payments on his motorcycle and the horse trailer. Which makes me feel even worse about that purchase of the PS of Sweden bridle. Husband told me to buy it though, so I did. Before I saw our funds, of course.
Will be switching that bit out. The guards are too distracting to the beauty.
I have been trying to sell a couple of breeches and my beautiful western show saddle to help. So far no luck, but I am sure someone will purchase in the future. I have also come to face the fact that I may not get to fulfill my dream for this year because of the cost. The one where I get to compete in my first recognized horse trial. I would feel very selfish to try and do that. Maybe next year. Maybe not at all. Because I never know how sick I might be.
From the photo shoot. I was jealous.
I have a clinic and derby this weekend. Our first run at novice. I already entered it a while ago and husband wants me to do it. I am nervous for it of course and just hope I don't make a fool of myself. It is going to be quite hot for us this weekend and reaching into the 90's. Most days have been in the 70's here so I am really worried about that. I will make my clinician (Jan Byyny) well aware of my health issues and step down if I need to. I just need to be able to recognize that point.
Damn bugs everywhere.
Bacon and Lucy got body work done today by the wonderful Redheadlins' Husband. I feel like a bad horse mom, because Bacon was out and tight and popping everywhere. She has one spot on her neck that is really out. I am ashamed because I couldn't recognize any of it. And Lucy, well, I assumed she would have some things going on. Her hip was way out of wack and he pointed out how weak she is in her hind end and all of the lost muscling. He gave my homework for her. Back and forth over poles for 10 minutes a day and then increasing the pole size. That I can do. But still, I feel horrible. It just pointed out another thing I am not doing well with.
OTTB love.
There are some good things still, though. Like looking forward to the goats. And I have been booked for some art things. I got to do a photo shoot the other day and got paid for it, so that was nice. I was really nervous, but it was pretty fun. I donated a photo shoot and a painting to be done for a fundraiser, so I will be doing those too. I hope I can do some good work for them.
I wish I could be that happy.
I am hoping this weekend gives me a new high to feel alive again. I still have my husband and friends and family and ponies and pups. And my grandpa for now (all the way in Illinois, but still).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Got Your Goat!

Actually, I got two of your goats. You over there Sir, the one with the momma pygmy!

Maybe I ought to explain. My husband wanted goats for his wedding present (don't ask because I wouldn't be able to answer) and that was back in September. I told him he had to get their pen ready before we could bring them home. Well, school happened to the poor kid. And then he graduated and it was winter. Finally, winter was pretty much done, and there he was, fixing fencing and preparing for his kids.
Maybe one needs to be named The Blur.
Some goat kids were posted on craigslist, but we were too late on the draw to get them. The lady was very nice and had a selection of quality does waiting to foal, so we decided to get put on the waiting list for a Boer and a fainting goat. Males, because they were cheaper. Well, two months went by, and the damn things only had girls if they had any and husband was pouting big time. I tried to contact her about getting does instead but never got a response back. Well fine then.
They were playing boss of the top of the step. 
Again, I went on craigslist to search. Alas, I saw the cutest damn pygmy goats listed. They were priced well, and based on the writing of the ad, very well cared for and loved. I contacted the person hoping to snag the half black/half white one and a white/silver one. Unfortunately, the half and half was already sold, but the two white and silver guys were still available. Blaker wanted two different colored ones, but these guys just seemed to well cared for and were still available, it was hard to pass.
Attack the mom!
The next day we went out to go see them and decide if we wanted them. The owner had a fun facility and it was obvious he was good at wood work and having nice facilities for his critters. He opened the door to the goat pen and my heart was immediately melted when I saw the ball of sleepy kids piled on top of each other. I wasn't the only one either. Blake radiated happiness.
I stands on you. Because I iz Mr. Mayhem. The smallest of the tribe.
He let us hang out with mom and the kids, and we were there for about an hour just enjoying their company. They rotated between sleeping, spazzing out, taking a minute for lunch, and then spazzing out and trying to climb on things. The owner told us there was about a 2.4% chance for Gertrude to have four kids that were all bucks. We talked about vaccinations and debudding (which husband decided against because horns are cool, duh) and waiting a month to take them home. They were all really friendly and happy and momma kept a close eye on them all. The owner slept in the goat barn for two nights waiting for her to birth them. I assured him that our goats would be totally spoiled.
So, in a month, you will be receiving many goat pictures. Because they are just too damn cute. I have a feeling Mr. Mayhem and Outlaw will be very popular. Husband wanted to name one The Reaper, but decided to change it to Outlaw. Because he loves Sons of Anarchy. And it turns out that there is a Goats of Anarchy page on instagram, so I was cracking up at that. Also, goats will bring you many likes (Blake's picture is currently at 243 likes, my next highest picture is 102).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Art as Therapy. Also, Art as a Way to Win Things.

My first attempt at colored pencil and the horse that is Tanner.
So, I have been approached by a few different people now for art things and photo things. I always get a bit hesitant because trying to accomplish something as great as whatever that person has in their head is a bit overwhelming. And with my health difficulties, I never know when I will be able to finish a piece. Now doing art is like physical therapy for my tremoring hands. Sometimes it is just too hard.
One of my favorites, an acrylic of Petey.
Anyways, as quite a few of you saw on instagram or facebook, I finished a graphite drawing last week. It was of one of the racehorses we had in the barn, an arrogant asshole named Tanner. He was really fun to photograph though and fun to watch, just not fun to argue with. HorselessinHalifax requested a drawing of him, a fiery one, and I thought I had a nice photo to work off of to fit the bill.
The actual drawing I finished last week.
Much to my surprise, I finished it over a few days and hours. I did a different approach where I mapped out all of my details ahead of time and then went cruising through. My main problem with art pieces is I get waaaaay to impatient and usually get lazy and sloppy in order to finish it. I think this is one of my favorite graphite drawings to date.
One of my other favorites. Most of you know this handsome mug that belonged to the magnificent Cuna.
Also, I thought it would be very fitting for the Ogilvy Art Contest. Half pads, saddle pads and other swag is up for grabs so I figured I would go ahead and enter. Unfortunately, it is a contest where the likes count as votes. I hate those. Somehow it ended up in the Misc category and not the drawing/painting category, but I am not complaining because there are some awesome pieces in there that would kick my ass. There is a scratchboard in my category that is wicked awesome and I don't know how it doesn't have more votes. If you are bored and would like to vote for me, you can click here and like all of the entries you think are bomb.
The Ogilvy contest piece
I am going to sit and contemplate what to do for my next piece (a painting, where I am going to attempt an airbrushed background) and try not to think about all of the things that are extremely stressful in my life right now. By the way, meeting Niamh was freaking awesome.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Video From the Dressage Schooling Show

So, this video isn't riveting by any means. It shows all of our current flaws and I am ok with that. Because if you look at this video and compare it to our very first dressage test, I think it is pretty nifty. My horse is actually going forward now and getting some quality walk in. We went into the corners deeper than anyone else had done and it didn't fall apart. We had some pretty ok transitions. And I will take all of this and run with it.

So, if you are really bored, here is the dressage test from Wednesday night.

And the video of our first test for comparison.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

School That Dressage

Playing the waiting game.
Hello everyone! I am still here. That jumper show took a lot more out of me than I thought it was going to. I may have over dosed a bit on my inhaler when trying to prevent an asthma attack. The minute I sat down after all was said and done that weekend, I felt so so terrible. It has been almost two weeks now, and I still feel like garbage. I could barely walk yesterday morning because I was in so much pain. So, naturally, I went to a dressage schooling show later that afternoon.
Quick warm up before we enter.
Thank goodness for adrenaline, right?
I apologize for the video stills. I wanted video more than pictures.
I finally caved and took some drugs to help me through the day. Bacon thought it might help me if she rolled in the swamp irrigation water during turnout too. No Bacon. No, it does not. My husband gave me worried eyes when he got home, so I did my best to convince him that I was totally fine. He agreed to tag along with my and Lindsey to avoid playing bingo. He may change his mind next time because this was just about the slowest dressage show we have ever been too.
She sure can look fancy sometimes.
But, it was super quiet and easy going. Not an actual show, but a test of choice night. You pick any test and get judged and get your test back. No ribbons. Good for me and my nerves and for Bacon. We can use any time in a dressage ring that we can get. She came out of the trailer quite calmly and stood still for tacking up. Warm up was the calmest she has ever been and we did a simple walk, trot and canter. No drilling, easy peazy. And then we stood. And stood. And stood some more.
My toes love to point out.
Finally it was our turn to go. We made a lap each way around the ring, as there is a water complex and some fun jumps and things to look at on the left side. Bacon gave them a nice look too, but that was it. We entered a bit crookedly and had a wonkey corner and circle. When I went to cross the diagnol, a got a bell ring. The judge thought I was doing the beg novice test when I was actually doing novice test A. So, we restarted.
Medium walking...not sure what my elbows are doing.
We had a much straighter entrance and a slightly better corner. Our first circle was alright, we had some inconsistent bend and sometimes she would leave her haunches trailed out for a second. But our circle was pretty round. Across the diagonal, we broke contact for a bit as she got a little fussy and our second circle was not so round. Our downward transitions were miles better than our other attempts during a test and our upwards weren't terrible. We did get the wrong lead in the left canter circle, but I am not surprised. She has been having some difficulty with that lead so I suspect some body work is in order. We had some of our best corners and some better straightness. All in all, I was pretty happy with our ride. Especially because I didn't completely lose my cool, and neither did my horse.
Freeeee walk

Back to fancy trot.

Once we got the correct lead...
I gave her a pat, handed her to the husband to graze and went to grab my test. Much to my surprise, we got a 34 on our test. That is 10 points better than we have ever done before. It would have been even better had we gotten the correct lead in our left canter circle! We even got a 7 on our free walk (usually we get 4's). We even had a comment on the test that said "good bend in corners". Good bend. That's a first! I was very happy with this outing. It made dressaging a tad bit funner.
Now back to the other side. Because this is dressage and we must be symmetric.

Canter right lead. Zipper undone...whoops.

Square salute!

Friday, May 8, 2015

An Update on Petey: Bacon's Brother

Screenshot from the special rider's instagram account...because I don't want to give away the fun yet...
So I about lost my mind when the ol' redheadlins tagged me in a video on Instagram last week. I watched the video over and over, carefully studying the horse as he looked like somebody I once knew and loved. Or, let's face it, still love. And because I am dumb sometimes and can't brain, I didn't even look at the tags on it. I asked that Peter? Yes, yes it was.

And who was guiding him over the massive oxer? Why, that would be Holly Payne.
Holly Payne and Never Outfoxed at Rolex. Photo by Nancy Jaffer.
You know, that rider that just went to Rolex and snagged a 20th place on another OTTB, Never Outfoxed.
Ok, now I can tell you her instagram account. Video still from @hollypayneequestrian.
I freaked out even more and showed Blake. Mostly I was just happy that Peter (dubbed with the new name of Bruges when he was purchased off the track) was doing so very well. I knew that he moved with his owner to New Jersey and I figured I wouldn't see much of him again. Like the nerd I am, I messaged Holly and sent her some pictures of when he was at the track and told her how much his track family missed him. I learned that his owner is currently pregnant, so she will be training and competing him.
Love from Linds after his race back in the day.

Hi buddy. We miss you.
She also said how much she loved him and how he was a very cool horse and if we had any more like him to let her know and she would try them out. Well, I have one, but you can't have her. Anyways, I can't wait to keep track of his progress. He is making the move up to prelim currently, and most of the photos and videos of him on instagram are littered with hashtags #wantstogotorolex or something similar. And you better bet your ass if he makes it there, that I will be there too to cheer him on! You can follow along too if you would like by following Holly's instagram account.
Husband and Petey at Golden Gate.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Jump Jump Competition Day Two

Smiles all around!
Sunday I was again awake at 4am. The nerves were still there but lessoned. This may have been due to my complete exhaustion from the previous day. It was ever present as I got to the arena still and looked at the course maps. Course A looked like it would be quite fun to ride. Some rollbacks here and there and it flowed a bit better compared to the courses the day before. I focused on course A because that is all my brain could handle.
Linds= trainer lady, inhaler holder, water giver, course yeller when needed, and even color coordinated.
I hopped on Bacon and slowly walked and trotted around the warm up ring just to try and wake up. I watched the 2'6" riders go and tried to muster up some strength and excitement for my upcoming rides. Fortunately, it came back as I finally entered the ring. The judge recognized us and my smile (she commented on it every time we went in) and Bacon caught onto the "game" we had been playing that weekend.
The outside line remained. And was no longer scary.

Fun rollback to this jump I deemed as the "mustard and ketchup jump".
We had to do a tight left rollback into our first jump, and I wanted to make sure we wouldn't be taking the first rail down this time. I tried to keep her up instead of falling forward and kicking to the jump. It worked, and we didn't take the damn thing down! Actually, we never took the first rail down at all that day. We jumped clear and made it to the jump off. Unfortunately, we had a rail down in our jump off, as both my horse and I were very excited racing around and we got a bit flat. All my fault.
Brick wall to oxer...

Over the start jump here!

We made it to three of the four jump offs. And we had a rail down in two of our three jump offs. We had a rail down in one of our 3'0" rounds due to placing my foot wrong in my stirrup (I have a giant goose egg on my shin and when I place my foot wrong in the stirrup, shooting pains radiate through my leg). It was a shock of pain and I just fumbled along the rest of that ride. Sorry Bacon!
Mid turn. Apparently I lost my seat a little bit. 

Prepare for launch in 3...2...1...

Easy end jump.
But the last ride was sort of our best. I say sort of because we were on the incorrect lead pretty much the whole round, but we went double clear. It felt nice to come out of there without any rails. Bacon had to save my ass on several occasions that day because I would put her in a weird spot, but she got it done. She realized that the start jump was the same for every round too, and couldn't wait to rail around the turn to get over the first jump. She figured out this new game and thought it was terribly fun. She made it super fun.
Ears forward to the next jump.

Saving my ass over the oxer.
We ended up with a second and third in the 2'9" division and a second and sixth in the 3'0" division, with a reserve champion ribbon as well for the weekend. I would say it was a very successful weekend and it was way better than I thought it would turn out. And well worth the sickness I am feeling now trying to recover from the weekend.
Too much fun!