Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Epic Pony Weekend: Dressage Daze

Pretty face!
Friday and Saturday consisted of dressage rides for me and the Baconator. Lindsey generously let us use her fancy Devacoux, which may have been a mistake. It's ok, it is not like I can buy a new saddle right now anyways, but damn my ass liked that piece of cow. It didn't tip me forward, didn't hurt my knees, and felt more in contact with Bacon. I told my husband this and he sent me a picture of a cat vomiting and told me that's what his wallet thought of that.
Uh oh. Toe pointed out.
Day one was a continuation of letting Bacon stretch around the arena and evaluating how she felt. The girls set up the jump course while we scooted around the arena. I wasn't asking her to do much of anything and just enjoyed riding in the pretty saddle. Before the ride started, I got really worried as I tried to put the polos on my horse, but my hands were just not cooperating. I had rolled one of the polos wrong, and when I went to try and re-roll it, I just couldn't get my hands to figure it out. It made me so sad and I began to think that the ride might not turn out so great. Fortunately, Aimee came over and took my polos and fixed it all for me.
Stupid outside leg. Lovely mare.
Bacon's right lead canter was so very nice and soft and she stayed very elastic in the contact. I made sure my hands gave her somewhere to go, and she just went. I could have ridden that all day. At one point, the other two ponies were loose as jumps were being messed with and Aimee snapped a pic of me riding right past the two cool kids who thought nothing of it. The hardest part of the day was when Lindsey told me to keep my toes pointed forward and to que Bacon with my calf and not my heel. I could get my inside leg to cooperate more-so than my outside. But it was amazing how my leg looked longer when I got it right.
I spy and Aimee and Courage!
The second dressage day was just me and Aimee. We got Bacon dressed up and she gave me a dressage lesson. It was on the simplest of things, but them damn things are hard to do. She made me and my horse think. Thinking is hard. We worked on a lot of the things that Aimee had done in one of her clinic rides. Walk horse. Stop. Make sure horse is in balance and listening to your seat. Back horse a few steps to rebalance the weight on the hind end. Walk forward. Stay soft. Stop bracing when asking for the downward transition. Rebalance. Do not rush. Do not ask too much. Do the same at the trot. Keep toes forward. PENIS. And do it all again. And again.
Stay connected at the walk.
That is a better looking leg.
We worked on getting nice balanced upward transitions. Bacon is good at pretending, so we broke it down to small sections and made her be real about her connection. Shit is hard. Ask my horse. She agrees too. She was trying really hard to please me and that was all I could ask of her. At the end, we had a really nice through moment and a really nice ride. The great part is that I can do all of this at home in my tiny arena too. And as much as dressage pisses me off, it felt really nice to get some of those true good moments. So I guess we better keep working on that.
Getting that inside hind to step underneath.
No penis for me!
Damn you dressage.
End result. Engaged hind end. A slightly more responsive horse. And no penis.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Life Can Be Such An Overdose

Fall color is lurking in the trees.
Well, the vet came out last Tuesday to examine the B. He found that most of her pain was located in her frogs. This is not surprising since we have been battling thrushy feet for a while and most of her time spent out in the pasture has been in the "swampy" area. He told me to keep the equipak cs on her feets and to KEEP THEM DRY.
Seriously. How could I not figure this out. That is one funky ass sad foot.
This means a pen overhaul, which is what we were planning to do this spring, but then our money started flying out of our pockets and it is harder than hell to keep it there. Goodbye savings account! So, if anyone has any good advice for keeping pens that are mostly out in the weather mud free, that would be great. Specifically what would make for a good base for sand to go on top of. Especially for a horse that will weave right through the sand...
What mom? No more standing in the mud? But why?
Though I do think most of her pain is from her frogs, the structure of her hooves has been compromised because of this. I feel like the biggest moron for not really noticing that in the first place. I am pretty ignorant to hoof knowledge, and I hate that, but I am now looking at the whole picture of the hoof instead of just the frog. Since she has been dealing with mild-moderate thrush for a long time, her frogs have been eaten away and contracted. Making her heels equally weird. And that sensitivity to the back half of her hoof (where most of the landed concussion should be) has led to her landing more toe first, adding increased shoulder sensitivity and foot structures being altered. What else has this lead to? Well, instead of the regular off of the track long toe underrun heal, this new way of going has led to shorter strides and now an almost club footed look. Plus, weaving doesn't help any. It is all a vicious cycle that I am now on a mission to break.
Sometimes all you need is friends, ponies and pie.
How do we do that? Farrier is out of town until this week. So we started with drying the feet with a heat gun and applying Durasole 5 days in a row. That really started to help, and then we transferred Bacon over to Prisoner's house to play with him and Papa in a totally dry pen and pasture for the weekend. We also wanted to asses her soundness in an arena without a crap ton of rocks in it. I guess she was ready to go on an adventure because she practically drug me onto the trailer. That doesn't happen regularly, so that was funny. And there was no weaving either!
Welp, them front boots are too big.
Day one of pony fun (Thursday) was jump tack set up and just letting her stretch and cruise around at her comfort and using the whole arena. She really liked the stretching and we had a nice little ride. She was much sounder without all the rocks, but there was some stiffness too of course. We had a great time watching our friends jump but secretly wished we could join them. Ok, probably not so secretly because when I let Bacon cruise around on a loose rein, she would head towards a jump, and I would pout, but whatever. The start of the weekend was pretty darn good.
Even stretching in the canter. This makes her neck look even longer.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Four Things, Why Not?

I want to do this with my Bacon
Well, tomorrow is the big day for Bacon. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of whatever is going on with my goofy girl.  I just want her to be comfortable and happy again. She still seems fine and happy, plays in her pasture and weaves vigorously like always. It is hard when all you look forward to is riding and competing on your pony, and a lot of that did not happen this summer. But all I really want is for her to be ok again. So, to keep my mind busy, here is the four things filler post!

Four names that people call me other than my real name: 

  1. Lergies/and or Penguin (from racehorse trainer-in reference to my allergies and my arthritis walk)
  2. Boogs (my grandpa called me this when I was a baby, and stuck in my family)
  3. Crazy Ass (thanks husband)
  4. Poo (my maiden name was Lapuh. Said like La-poo)
This was Dr. Boo. He was 32lbs. Please do not let your cat get this fat.
Four jobs I’ve had: 
  1. Stall cleaner
  2. KB Toys associate (NEVER AGAIN)
  3. Veterinary Assistant/Cat Wrangler
  4. Lyme Battler (not a real job, but some days it feels like it)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. The Horse Whisperer
  2. Silence of the Lambs
  3. Harry Potter movies
  4. Nightmare Before Christmas
Also one of my favorite places to be,

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James
  2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  3. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
  4. How Good Riders Get Good by Denny Emerson
Four places I’ve lived:
  1. Tuscon, AZ
  2. Boise, ID (dad's house)
  3. Kind of Blake's parent's house?
  4. Nampa, ID with husband in first house!
Santa Anita as the sun comes up

Four places I’ve visited:

  1. Washougal, WA (motocross races)
  2. Puerto Vallarta/Cabo San Lucas/Mazatlan Mexico
  3. Peru, IL (I consider eastern states their own special place)
  4. Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. On a cross country course on Bacon
  2. Hanging out with my Grandpa Frank for probably the last time.
  3. Scuba diving in a tropical reef or with sharks
  4. Back up to Goat Lake
    Four things I prefer not to eat:
    1. Organs. Nope.
    2. Yogurt. It weirds me out.
    3. Coffee. Brown poo soup. Nope.
    4. Those suckers with bugs in them.
    Onward to PIE!!!
    Four of my favorite foods:
    1. Beef Jerky
    2. PIE
    3. Fruit leathers
    4. Cool Whip. From the container. Don't judge.
    Beach days are fun with hubs.
    Four TV shows I watch: (I only have netflix, so this is what I do)
    1. American Horror Story. I just keep rewatching it. 
    2. House M.D. 
    3. Friends. This show makes me happy when I am blue.
    4. Dexter
    Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
    1. Thanksgiving. Hopefully I will feel well enough to eat all of the food.
    2. Halloween Jump Night. Even if I won't be able to ride, I still get to dress up.
    3. Christmas.
    4. Idaho Eventing and Dressage Association's banquet night. Last year I won all kinds of prizes and sat next to the dessert table.
    Four things I’m always saying:
    2. NO. (Usually in reference to the goaties).
    3. I don't feel good.
    4. Well crap. 
    Going too fast. Whoops.
    Four horse breeds I’ve ridden:
    1. Quarter Horse/Paint horse
    2. OTTB
    3. Andalusian
    4. Thoroughbred on the track!
    How could you not like these faces?
    Four breeds of dog I like:
    1. Great Dane
    2. English Mastiff
    3. Saint Bernard
    4. Newfoundland
    Four horse events I want to participate in:
    1. Aspen Recognized Horse Trial
    2. Jumper Show (while looking competent)
    3. Rebecca Farms Horse Trial
    4. Any recognized horse trail
     Four of my favorite animals:
    1. Horse
    2. Giant Breed Dog
    3. Goaties!
    4. Sharks/Snakes/Tarantulas
    Four places I would like to go:
    1. Kentucky! (Churchill Downs, Kentucky Horse Park, Keenland, all big Stud barns)
    2. Cozumel, Mexico (scuba diving!)
    3. PNW on a boat to go whale watching
    4. Germany 
    Four things I wish for:
    1. To be healthy again
    2. For my pets, friends and family to be healthy and happy
    3. To feel useful
    4. For no one to feel sadness.
    My girls

    Friday, September 18, 2015

    Flashback Friday: All the Damn Concussions

    I have so many photos of this clown, it is ridiculous.
    While I was waiting for my husband to come home last night, I got a phone call from him. With the rain we have been having, he took the opportunity to ride his dirt bike as much as possible. He called and told me he would be home on time, except his friend had gotten a concussion while riding last night. This is nothing new in motocross (or horses, for that matter) so I sighed and asked if he was ok so far and if they would be taking him to the hospital. Which got me reminiscing of all the times I had to take him to the hospital. Motorcycles, man, I tell ya.
    I hated this gear. It was so ugly, but free.
    This is better.
    Every year that Blake raced, I had to take him to the hospital at least once. That was eight different occasions. One back injury, broken wrist, shoulder, and five concussions. Yep. Five. That is also not including the other concussion he got while playing rugby. Once he concussed himself twice in three months, he knew he had to give up the racing. It was a very extremely sad moment, it was wordless, but I saw it in his face. But we kind of want to keep him around, and every time he hit his head, things would get a little more difficult for him. It made him a bit dyslexic, so I am especially proud of him for graduating with a computer science degree.
    The section where he had his first concussion.
    Flowers at the track.
    The first concussion he got was while I was telling someone else about my concussion on Booger. He was riding around, playing with some kids (he always helped the younger ones that looked up to him get better on the track) and messed up a double on the track. He got up right away, walked his bike over to us and looked really confused. The kids started to ask him questions, and he couldn't answer them. We went back to his truck, where the others helped me load up his bike and change him back to regular clothes. As this was happening, he started to get more confused. He would point to his right knee, but he would say left. And then he would be puzzled, because he knew it was the right knee, but he could only say left.
    Sometimes the lighting was great.
    I loved this brown gear. Don't know why. Racing in Washougal.
    We got him in the truck and I started to drive him home. During the drive, everything kept getting worse. He was now mostly speaking jibberish. I knew he was asking me questions by the way he phrased and sounded out the nonsense, and I couldn't answer them. When we got to his house, I hurried in to tell his mom that he needed to go to the hospital (keep in mind I was 16 and he was 15 years old). On the way to the hospital, he tried to escape out of the van, vomited several times and got extremely angry and then sad. Some words were coming back. I told him I loved him and he turned and screamed at me that he didn't care. Three minutes later, he started to cry and grabbed my hand and said he was so sorry. It was so surreal.
    Playing on the sand hill.
    More racing in Washougal. Looks fun, right?
    We got to the hospital and they brought him back immediately. At this point, his answer to every question was "November 22nd". He was quite uncooperative with everything and yelled at all of the doctors and nurses. They wanted him to pee in a container to check for blood and the male nurse asked if he needed help. He yelled "NO I'M NOT GAY" and the man laughed a bit as we apologized for Blake's behavior. After lots of testing, they finally let him sleep. I half think this is because he was so belligerent and wanted a break. He had to answer some questions to go home and one of them was "what major holiday is it this month?" and his answer was "my birthday." They then asked him what other major holiday, and he said "Thanksgiving". He was free to go home.
    There was a 120ft jump in Washougal. It scared me.
    He says he is afraid of heights. I don't buy it.
    We got back in the van, and he was still angry and impatient. He plopped his head onto my lap and I tried not to move a muscle because nobody wanted to wake the beast. We got him home and settled on the couch. I slept on the floor next to him and woke him up every couple of hours to check on him. At some point in the night, he woke me up because he was situating himself on the floor with me. He was soft and kind and quiet and caring. It creeped me the hell out. It was like his mind rewound itself in his sleep and he was back to normal.
    Oh look, a picture of me at the track. I was always there.
    So, I had to do this whole ordeal four more times. Except all of the other times, I would take him straight to the hospital and his mom would meet me there. We would sit, embarrassed, as Blake became angry and loud and uncooperative every single time. The part I find interesting is comparing my two concussions to his. Mine were both horse related (Booger tripped and bucked at the same time while galloping through a pasture and somersaulted with me on him, and Vegas reared and fell on top of me. Both times without helmets. I am so dumb.) but I reacted in a different way. I didn't get angry. I was emotional and confused, almost goofy, but no anger.
    It was a great place for photos though.
    Blake always seemed to recover quite quickly from his concussions. It took me much longer. With the Vegas fall, it took me months for the head pain to go away and the weird falling feeling. I did not go to the hospital either of those times. I certainly should have, but I didn't. With the Vegas fall, I did go in to seem my doctor 5 days after. My head and leg killed me. I tried to work, but all I did was stare down at the counter. It was like I was under water and everything was in slow motion. Also, Vegas had crushed the muscles in my leg, so they were trying to recover as well. The doctor told me NO WORK for at least a week, but I still went to class. Let me tell you, organic chemistry sucks anyways, but it is especially hard after a concussion.
    Washougal can get a little wet.
    Yearling Vegas says she would never do such a thing...
    Concussions are scary, and I do not like them. I am always worried about the lasting effects of all of the concussions that Blake has had, and I worry about him getting more, as he still rides. I worry about my friends' heads. Our other motocross friend who had his first concussion earlier this year was repeating himself every 30 seconds for hours until he snapped out of it. What are your guy's experiences with concussions?

    A gopro shot of him now. Still being dangerous.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015

    Fun pony day. But I can't get this thing out of my mind.

    Looking good in grey! Despite the ghetto pens behind us.
    So me and the other two musketeers had a fun pony day on Sunday. The day didn't start off too great (I now hear fuzzy radio songs playing and water running when there isn't anything actually playing or running, and still suffocate myself awake when I finally do fall asleep) but it ended pretty well (minus the hour long drive it took to get home instead of the 20 minutes it should have taken).
    Um, can we say FANCY?
    We played with Lindsey and Prisoner first. They busted out some sweet and relaxed dressage in the arena and then showed off in the pasture for funner pictures. Needless to say, he is looking quite marvelous and even better than the last time I saw him go. Lindsey also never fails to dress to impress on her little pony boy. We also got to play with her new client project horse. Super green but also super cute and snuggly!
    Look at that kissable face.
    Next was Bacon. Or should I saw "Swamp Monster". I gathered the creature from the irrigated pasture/swamp and began the 15 minute soak down so I could ride it. It looked like chocolate milk was pouring off of her. Ew. Forelock, ears, everywhere. She still ended up looking pretty great when all tacked and I got on.
    All of the PS.
    Swamp monster was also a bit fidgety and tense and not the normal Bacon I get to ride, but that was ok. She usually goes to work, and she certainly did after a bit of a warm up. We tried trotting some circles and Lindsey entered my brain and told me to try and leg yield in and out to get her to focus on me. It helped a bit, but I brought her back down to a walk and tried some shoulder-in and that kind of loosened her up and got her listening.
    Pretty pony! Leg touching horse, toes in.
    We went back to trot and got some decent stuff out of her. We worked on my foot position in the stirrup to help keep my calf completely against her and toe in. It was kind of amazing. Of course, it would creep away, especially in the canter work, but it was a start. I have trouble hanging my leg and putting weight down through my leg into my stirrup. I just kind of clamp and go. Aimee took pictures for me, while the goats stalked her. Goaties love musketeers.
    Goat friend Reaper!
    Goat friend Mayhem! Eating the photographer's shirt.
    The canter work was alright. Our transitions were pretty iffy, but we didn't work on those too much. Once we got going in the left lead, I struggled to ride the choppiness of it. I still think she needs some more body work, but there is also a major player that could be the greatest factor. Once we were done cantering, I brought her to a walk and the pony was pretty damn lame. Right front. She took some major head bobbing steps. I stopped her. I walked her again, she was ok. I stopped her, started her again and turned and she was lame again. She would take a iffy step here and there during our ride, but not like this. I have so many large sharp rocks in my arena, and sometimes I wonder if it is just her hitting those. But my gut tells me no. And this is all I have been thinking about.
    Don't ask about my hands. I just like to t-rex.
    Her right front was the same leg she went super lame on a couple years back. It is also the same leg that she has been on and off on throughout this spring and summer. Of course, my mind starts to think of all of the most horrible things. Could it just a sensitive foot/sole? Could it be navicular? Bone in her foot fractured? Will she have to be dressaged only? Lightly ridden? Retired? She dies?
    Leg starting to lose contact with horse, but still better than usual.
    I tried to put it out of my mind when I put her away. But it is still there. We put all ponies and goats away and then went for food. I kept troubling my friends with questions on mare. Because damn.
    We know these faces. They run the internet.
    After food, we went and played with Aimee and Papa. We all know how good they look and how sexy Papa is, but it is always fun to watch them go around and work through their ride. Plus Aimee got to bust out her pink polos on him and her Red Barn bridle and that is also fun. Oh, and stole Lindsey's pink browband. I also found a helpful way to make Aimee look ahead, but I will let her tell you about that ;)
    Papa winning at stretchy trot!
    Overall, it was a wonderful day. My friends know how to have a good time and my horse made me really happy, despite her tense start and lame ending. I called my vet this morning to schedule a  lameness exam for the Bacon, hopeful that he will take payments. Until then, I will try not to worry, but no promises.