Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year End Recap!

What did the year look like for us? It was filled with a variety of fun and some not so fun, but such is life. Bacon and I kept ourselves busy when I was feeling up to it and when she didn't have sore tootsies. Let's take a look at what 2015 had in store for us.
There was no riding during this month. Because we are in Idaho and winter is mean and frozen and gross when you don't have an indoor. But, hubs and I did go on our honeymoon cruise to Mexico! And I met my ENT doctor, who also concluded that I have Lyme disease. I also announced that I would be leaving my job as a veterinary assistant because of the sickness. Boo.
Husband bought a new motorcycle, because he is evil. I was excited because I rode two days in a row and I hadn't been able to do that. I did a blog hop on fear in the horse world and we worked on dressage in the pasture.
Bacon had some lameness, the first in over a year. I was so very worried. And then, DUH, thrush. She had been living in mud for months, and that had been a battle. Everybody got their teeth done and I laughed like a horrible person at the line of drugged ponies. Bacon's feet were better and I got to ride in the Nicole Cobb clinic on my birthday on day one! And then on our second day, I had an asthma attack and was completely embarrassed.

We got our awesome trailer (that we still don't have a truck to pull) this month. It was a circus, but it is awesome. I had my nasal/sinus surgery and promptly two weeks later, traveled to Utah and rode in a clinic. It was Bacon and I's first out of state outing, and despite the rain canceling the xc riding, we had a lot of fun. The horses were electric because of the xc was in the middle and around a horse track, complete with trains right next to us and soccer fields as well. It was also our first indoor experience.
We started May out with a ton of fun had in our first jumper show. We competed in the 2'9" and 3' division both days and came out with lots of ribbons and reserve champs for 3'. We also competed in a dressage schooling show and scored a personal best of 33 for the Novice A test. It was the most relaxed we had ever been. We also picked out Blake's new kids, Mr. Mayhem and Reaper! Annnd I learned my Grandpa Frank had leukemia and that my insurance company did not want to cover my surgery.
Regardless of the sadness, we still had a good time in June. We started out doing a clinic with Jan Byyny and it was awesome. First day was stadium day and second day was xc. That same weekend we competed in our first novice derby. Though we struggled getting our left lead again in dressage, it was still a good test and we finished on our score of 35. The horse races began too and we started with a win! We competed in our second novice derby and had our first run out on xc because I lost a stirrup and my arm band slid down and got caught on my hand between the sunken road. We also brought the goaties home.
I only posted 3 times in July. I was feeling pretty sick and didn't ride much. My mom and grandma came to visit from Arizona though, and we revisited one of my most favorite places on earth. Stanley Lake. My brother and I looked at the map on the trail and made a vow to come back and hike up to Goat Lake. The goats kept my busy and happy and I shared my new goal of hiking to Goat Lake and my husband pushing to make that happen sooner rather than later.
I learned that Slipknot would be coming to Idaho in October on this month! We completed my goal of hiking to Goat Lake, which was worth the torture and almost dying. We also won two Idaho Cup races that same weekend. I rode Vegas in the CWD and it was pretty laughable. She determined that she would rather be a western pony. I also did one of my favorite posts, the one where I shared what other objects my horses look like.
I saw a new doctor I hoped would help me, but he couldn't and I pouted some more. Hubs and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and I got to ride the Baconator a little more. We had a fun pony day and got fun pictures and a new stirrup position. We still struggled with lameness and had the vet out, who decided it was her frogs that were the bain of our existence. I felt so stupid because I never realized it and failed at hoof knowledge. Despite the feet issues, we still had a fun pony weekend at the end of September and worked on dressage.
Bacon and I had the super farrier come out and put fancy feet on. The result ended with us competing in our last novice derby of the season. We defeated the sunken road with no issues this time and came out with a first place. And my horse survived being braided. My horse came up with a stupid swollen knee and no lameness, we had more pony weekends with friends and discovered truffle fries. We went to the Slipknot concert (wee!) and I convinced my husband to let me ride Lucy in the dressage saddle. AND competed in our last show of the season, a jumper show, in 2'9" and 3', on a fire breathing dragon and hit our new personal best in height dressed as a plague doctor and a carcass horse.
I offered up my cartoon services and so many of you ordered some (thank you soooo much!) and my mom became extremely ill again and required hospitalization for the third time this year. And I did a couple of blog hops. Life slowed down quite a bit after October.
Zoom Zoom month!
Ah, here we are now. Not much riding has happened, but I did get to ride in an indoor again this month. On the most obnoxious my horse has ever been. And I did get to ride her again the other day before it dumped snow and froze, and again it was a little exciting. My horse bucked with me for the first time ever and I laughed. We got the pens filled with road mix, mats and sand. And I stated my musical dressage goals!

I hope your year was kind to you. You never know how it is going to play out, and even though I could have done without the expensive surgery, lameness, sicknesses, and money issues, there was a lot to be excited about. Now it is time to go out into the 17 degree weather to go clean some frozen pens!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Let's Play a Game: Horse Computer Games

My yearly birthday ride celebrated with my brother and friend. 
Now, I don't know about you, but when I was a horse crazed kid living in a home with no money and a non-horsey dad, I still had some things to occupy myself with horses. I coveted all of my horse books and snatched any Thoroughbred Series or Marguerite Henry book from my elementary school library. I memorized all of the horse breeds, set up jumps and barrel courses in our backyard and watched all of the horse races I possibly could. But when I needed to fuel the fire of "owning" my own horse, computer games helped me keep imagining I had my own trusty steed to compete on.
Such a bad game

It started with the 1999 game "Let's Ride!" which promised to let you choose from 12 horse breeds to groom and take care of, as well as competing in show jumping, cross country and dressage. I don't remember much from this game other than being clueless on if I was actually grooming the horse or not, kicking ass at show jumping and being pissed at the dressage portion because I didn't know what they meant by half halts. I don't think I ever got to compete on cross country, but I do remember fun little things I learned here and there in the game.
I wish I had that much cash on hand, Mike.

The second game was probably the 1998 Daily Racing Form's Horse Racing Game. I loved this game. I got to buy horses, sell, breed and race. There were different tracks with low starting purses and where you could move up as your horse did better. You could be the jockey. You could bet. And they even had hidden cheat codes. The graphics weren't high quality or anything, but I had a blast pretending to be a race horse champion at all the things.

My homeboy, Barney, with a radish on his ass.
Horse Illustrated's Championship Season is still probably my most favorite game. There were four horses in the barn to take care of and everyone started out with Barney, the paint. As you got better, you could move up onto the other horses, but I stuck with Barney because we were buds. There were little games and trivia and videos to learn about things. You got to groom, pick feet, muck out pens and each horse had certain feed requirements. Dressage, show jumping and cross country was all fun. Cross country was my favorite.

I think I need to play this again.
Lucinda Green's Equestrian Challenge was also pretty damn sweet. I played this as a high schooler (I don't even care) and I enjoyed it. Your horse actually looked pretty horse-like, so that was nice. If I remember correctly, he was always braided, even in his paddock. When doing xc, you had to keep track of your horse's stamina, and had to practice before moving up through the levels. You could also choose different riding attire and tack. You even get to end up competing at Adelaide, Kentucky, Burghley and Badminton if you get good enough.

Of course, the horse game play was interspersed with Oregon Trail 2, Professional Bull Rider 2 and Extreme Rodeo. And The Sims. When it is just you and your brother all summer long while your dad is away at work, these games did just the trick. And now that it is fricken freezing outside and I am all diseased and stuff, I am half interested to find these games again and see how well I can do now. I wonder what "cowgirl" Alyssa back in the day would think of me now. Would I be horrified by all the breeches or english saddles, or would little me look up to me and think I am cool for riding an ex-racehorse over jumps? Did you play any horse games back in the day? What was your favorite?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Year End Goal Evaluation

Fancy pony.
Well, it is time to look back over the year and see how we did with our goals. I think I had mentioned that halfway through the year I was going to pop in and see how I was doing, but uhhh, that didn't happen. It is all good though! Alright, time to see what we accomplished.
Nose bra!
1. Discover my illness and kick its ass- Hmm. Fail?
       Well, I learned a lot about what else is going on with my body and how certain tests are done. Two more doctors determined they were convinced it was still Lyme disease and we discovered that I am baseline for Sjogren's disease. I certainly do not feel any better, had to leave my job in February, but I try to put this failure on the back of my mind. This is still a work in progress.

2. Complete my first 3 Day Event- Fail.
       I wanted to, so so badly, but it just wasn't in the cards. When you don't have the funds, it just ain't going to happen. And that is ok. We probably would have been able to finish, but not done well, so hopefully next year we can attack this goal again and do it well!
Taking names over the 3'9" jump.
3. Reach a new personal record jump height on Bacon- Success!
      Bacon and I busted this one out of the park when we competed in the high jump competition on Halloween jump night. We attempted 4' and cleared 3'9", while our highest jump from last year was another airy 3'3" vertical. Not only did we beat it, but we did it in costume.
Jumping our last fence in our first novice derby.
4. Compete at Novice somewhere- Success!
       Bacon and I competed in our first novice derby in early June. We finished on our dressage score and it was a new level of fun I had reached while competing. Just a year before in the same derby, Bacon and I had our first show doing the crossrail division.
Making faces and not pooping my pants before a test.
5. Learn to relax during our dressage tests- Some success
      While we are FAR from dressage champs, Bacon and I's dressage game stepped up this year. I was a bit less tense and had a somewhat better understand of how to ride the tests. We improved on our scores by a minimum of 8 points. Next year I hope to get even more relaxed and more refined in our tests.
Vegas and Mr. Mayhem love.
6. Ride all of the ponies more this year- Some Success
      While most of the rides were done bareback, all of the ponies were ridden (sporadically) throughout the year, and Lucy even got to play dressage pony. I wish I could ride them all more, saddled for real work, but none of them seem to be complaining about it and I just do not have the strength. Maybe next year.
Don't touch it!
7. Do more course work- Success
      While our coursework was still limited, it was better than last year. We competed in our first jumper shows and came out smiling. Bacon loved it once she figured out the fun game and we ended up reserve champs in the 3' after our first show. We also did a clinic with Nicole Cobb and it was a blast. Except for the whole asthma attack. I still find jumper shows scary because I have such a difficult time memorizing the courses, but I am not nearly as petrified as before.
Next year, we will have a picture like this of all three musketeers.
8. Get more awesome pictures- Success
       Definitely a success. Tons of fun photos taken by great friends, husband and even a professional photographer while all dolled up. That's a win.

9. Pay off my damn saddle- Success
       Got that sucker paid off. Thank you tax refund!
YAY saddle! Ready for a training level jump.
10. Do a training level jump- Fail
         I had hoped to get more cross country schooling under our belt for this to be able to happen, but that was a no. Next year we will get this done for sure. I know we can do it.

So, that makes it about a 75% success rate? Not too bad for an achy diseased person. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of cool things happened this year. Bacon and I conquered a lot of goals and we had a lot of fun doing it. Next year is always full of questions and one can always hope the answers will be good ones. And even if they aren't, we know eventually there will be good ones waiting.
Looking forward to next year!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ay Chihuahua

Goats make things better.
Well, this week has been a doozy. It started out pretty cool. An awesome dinner with friends Sunday night, where we exchanged ornaments created by Hamer and Clay.
Bacon, Moo dog, Lindsey and Prisoner, and Aimee and Courage!
The food was amazing, as was the conversation. Horse girl dinners are pretty bomb. Though, my husband came back from riding his motorcycle that evening and said his truck really wasn't running right. No big, we shall take it to the shop.
Can't wait to ride in these!
My presents to myself arrived as well. I am soooo stoked about my Ariat V Sport boots that I scored off of ebay for $102. My other pair of tall boots fits so well that I can place my whole arm along side my calf. Classy. But these things are fricken awesome. And luckily, I fit in them because the seller told me they were medium calf, and it turns out they are SLIM. I also received my new Lyme Disease spirochete buddy, Limey D. I was so confused when the box came, but all boxes from amazon are under my husband's name. I opened the box and then peeked inside and threw it. I thought, uh oh, I opened a present I wasn't supposed to.
Limey D snuggles my new boots

Husband made me open it all the way and I was so very confused. Where the hell did this guy come from? I looked in the box again and saw a note. It came from the one and only Emma! She is so awesome. My husband already chucked him across the living room because he was mad at him. But he hangs out with me. I kind of love him.
The Milano
My Premiera Milano bridle also came (last week, but it still counts) and I was sooooo very excited to go put it on my horse. It was shiny and padded and pretty and rolled and glorious. And then I went out to put it on. And I couldn't even get it on my horse. Everyone online suggested to size down, so I did to a cob, and there was no way the sucker was going on. So, I pouted a lot. We put it on Courage. He looked awesome. Lindsey put it on Prisoner. He looked awesome. So, she will be the new owner of a lovely bridle. I think I will try the Monaco bridle next.
The Monaco
We also found out that my boobs appear cancer free. So that is a huge plus. I scared the oil change guy. He saw my horse stickers and grain and though, Oh a nice cowgirl. And then he got in my truck and started it. He said my music didn't match. I laughed a lot. The Omeprazole is killing me though, and probably making me lose more weight. Which I don't really need to do. I started out this year weighing 132lbs (my most ever) to 109lbs now. My chin and lymphnodes were super swollen starting this week, and now my upper thigh is. No idea what that is about. My pony seems to know something is wrong. She has been following me around when I clean her pen and must keep her nose on my cheek or hand.
Back to when the pony cleared that 3'9" jump
And then we got the call about hubs' truck. It had the original spark plugs (96 Ford Ranger, so old spark plugs) and they started to foul. Which started to ruin the coil and wiring. And that caused it to run on only half of the cylinders. And that threw the motor out of whack. So it needed a full tune up. $600. Ok, that sucks, but that is do-able. And then we got another call. Cylinder three was fouling, which was likely due to broken or stuck valves. That fix would be an additional $1100.

Poor cute hubs.
We don't have that. Husband is contemplating on whether to try and fix that himself or to sell the truck, or...We Kelley Blue booked it, and in good condition, his truck is worth $2,000. So we are in a bit of a pickle. Our 10 year anniversary was yesterday and that is when he learned the news. It made me very unhappy to see him so bummed out. He really loves his truck. And I just bought those two things for myself, and that made me feel even worse. I have been feeling sicker this week than normal. I will be ok when this week is done. I know it could always be worse though.
Life is a battle. Put on a Christmas sweater.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dressage Goals: Enter Sandman. Or Dancing Queen?

Our first dressage test of this year. Warm up.
So, as I am sure you have noticed, Bacon and I aren't so great at dressage. We can blame this on a few things (mostly me). My lack of dressage knowledge, no lessons, no arena large enough to work in, lack of fancy movement/position, etc. I would really like to remedy this. And that is hard, because dressage is boring to both me and the pony.

This fall, playing at Prisoner's house
It is also hard. Really hard. And it is hard for us to be motivated to do it and to do it properly (or what I think might be proper when there is no one watching us from the ground). It would help if our riding space were larger than a 50ft square. I am hoping that Bacon's feet will be tough enough next year so we can ride in the lumpy pasture. But dressage is beneficial for all the things, so we need to get better. Not only that but we need to improve our scores to be more competitive. But the biggest motivator I have found?

Freestyle dressage.

If I have to do this dressage business, I have to make it fun. Freestyle dressage looks fun. I love music. My dad let us listen to Beartooth and In This Moment at the dinner table for Thanksgiving. I learned my love of music from almost all family members. I was trained by my grandpa at the earliest of ages to know the difference between Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The first song I boogied to was Aerosmith's Walk This Way. And then I got the nickname Boogs. I haven't heard that nickname said since my grandpa Bob left us 7 years ago, but I need to uphold it.
Shirt did not stay white. Boogs and Bacon.
In order to do freestyle dressage, you must follow these rules: USEF Rules, DR 129.9: “Except for USEF/USDF Championship classes and for FEI Pony Riders, FEI Junior and Young Rider Freestyles, in order to enter a freestyle class at any level, a horse/rider combination must have received a minimum score of 60% in the highest test of the declared freestyle level or any test of a higher level at a Federation Licensed or FEI recognized Dressage Competition or “open” Dressage class (i.e. open to all breeds) at a Federation Licensed Competition held prior to the competition where the horse/rider combination is entered to ride a freestyle class.
Just add music. And fix lots of things.
So basically, Bacon and I need to score higher than a 60% at a recognized show. Preferably at first level for us. You know what else is cool? The rules say any music is accepted. You know what that means. METAL (That spider dressage saddle would really help with that). Sooooo, the goal for next year is to make it to a real dressage show and get through some training level tests. If those go well, we will work our way towards first level and hopefully be that much closer to our goal of ROCKING THE SHIT OUT OF DRESSAGE. With metal.
Slipknot? Avatar? Cradle of Filth? Volbeat? INSTRUMENTAL VERSIONS?
Yeah, I don't think the judges will be too fond of lyrical versions.
Do you think we can do it?  Do you dream of doing a freestyle to a certail set of songs? Do you have any song suggestions? I have so many ideas, but I have a hard time corralling them. Though I do think we need to include this folk metal song.

Maybe they would appreciate a German pagan folk song

Maybe a little Korn and Skrillex to tickle their senses and get those stiff asses grooving

Or should we go with something creepy? (Don't worry, not creepy at all)

So many options. How am I suppose to choose?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Wish List!

Soooo, I already have a present list that is always ongoing all year long in the form of a Google Doc. I put all things I hope to own someday on there. If someone wants to get it for me before I do, extra cool! It is ridiculously long, so I will not put everything on here. Plus, I will take off the boring things (like new glasses) and possibly add extra things on here that I know aren't going to happen. So here we go:

Aztec Diamond Products
Specifically the Aubergine and Snake Skin breeches. Puh-lease!

Valentine Equine Hollywood shirt-Black
Obviously to go with my black lace Aztec Diamond breeches

Black Lorenzini Stirrups
Too bad they aren't purple

Champion Flexair Body Protector
Black/Gunmetal, because apparently we can't have black and purple. Grrrr.

This whole outfit from PS of Sweden
(bonnet, polos, pad)

Custom Helmet Cover
Black with purple chevrons and white outlines

Borne Saddlery Black Widow Saddle
Because duh. I need it.

Plush Lyme Disease Spyrochete
So if I get pissed off about being diseased, I can chuck his ass across the room. 
And of course, lessons, the Karen O'Conner clinic in June, and a real event! Okay okay, most of these aren't on my list. But I really wish. What do you want for Christmas?